Title: Golden Blood

Subtitle: Memories

Author: Lady Snowblossom

Note: I'm sorry for the delay. I really hate writer's block. But, here is the next chapter. I hope it was worth the wait.


BBA office, Hong Kong, 2008

"Ahem." Dickenson coughed into his fist. The griffin and salamander looked up from the papers in Robert's hands and blinked at him, then Robert set the papers down, before carefully placing his hands on his lap and waiting for Dickenson to go on. With a sigh, the rotund vampire settled deeper into his chair and tilted it back.

"I am going to assume here that you are talking about Rei Kon, since he is the only one of 'The Bladebreakers' currently in Hong Kong. Am I right, Robert?"

"Indeed." The blueblood nodded, "we ran into him in one of the all-night markets. He had run afoul of Yovela, who had him in thrall."

"And I'm guessing this Yovela is no longer with us."

"Again, you are correct." Robert answered, "she intended to feed on Rei, but once she stated her intentions, Johnny and I passed judgement on her and rendered sentence."

As Robert elaborated on how they had met Rei, Johnny glared down at the miniature of Kai. It showed Kai dressed in a riding jacket of deep red with black trim on the lapels. The jacket was opened to reveal a blue shirt and a white scarf around the youth's throat. There was a haughty expression on his face and his visible hand – the left - was resting on the neck of a black hunter.

" . . . So he'll just remember the whole incident as very bad dream, that may have him swearing off vampire movies for a while." Robert paused as a low growl from his companion interrupted him, and he looked over at his mate, whose eyes were flashing dangerously.

Sensing Robert's attention was now on him, Johnny slowly turned his head and met the mildly curious look of his mate. "We can't work with them! What would my clan say, if they found out that we, or rather I did as he wants." The Scot waved a hand at Dickenson, whose shrewd eyes were narrowed in concentration. "And I let that damn Russian just waltz out of our castle. The honor of my clan won't allow it!"

"Jonathan, shut up." Robert said calmly, "How many times must I tell you that the laws of the Destroyers take precedence over your clan's needs or desires?"

Johnny hissed and Robert frowned, but before he could say or do anything, Stanley interrupted.

"Jonathan McGregor, I am aware that your clan has it suspicions about what happened at High Mound, but you really only have the word of a dying servant to base your belief on that it was Kai and not his grandfather that killed your cousin, don't you?" The old man's mustache bristled, as he glared fiercely at the seething lizard. "I am only going to say this once! We need Kai, if we are going to succeed in bringing down his grandfather! And if you can not understand that, then I will have no choice but to petition the High Council of the Elders to have you restrained." Dickenson snapped curtly.

"You wouldn't dare!" Johnny hissed his face paling. If the elders ordered him restrained, he would be escorted by other Destroyers to a place of confinement – forbidden to leave on pain of death, until the elders released him; and Robert would be powerless to save him.

At his side, Robert stiffened and he reached out to grip his mate's shoulder. "That won't be necessary." The German's icy tone conveyed his anger at the threat. "I will see that while this team of yours is in our care, nothing untoward happens to them. You have my word on it."

The older vampire leaned back in his seat and regarded the two Destroyers narrowly. "Very well, Robert, I will accept your word with . . ." And the rotund old man raised a finger, "the understanding that if something does happen."

"I will accept full responsibility." All three understood what Robert was saying, he would ensure that Johnny did nothing to hinder the progress of the plan to defeat Voltaire Hiwatari, or Robert would pay the price and the cost might well be his life.

"Robert, I can't believe you would . . ." Johnny's indignant words died in his throat and he froze as his mate turned his head and fixed him with a deadly look.

"Golden blood, you will obey me." The command was issued in a cold, clear and cutting tone and left no room for refusal, as Robert gripped Johnny's chin and stared into his eyes.

Not daring to look away, Johnny flinched at the not so subtle reminder that he was the subordinate in their relationship – except when it pleased Robert to let him dominate. And as much as it galled him, he knew that he had to obey – at least, for now.

He licked his lips and whispered. "Very well, I will obey, my lord."

Openly suspicious of his quick acceptance, Robert released Johnny's chin a little rougher than necessary and after giving him a telling look, turned back to Mr. Dickenson. "When do you expect to start fielding them?"

"Not for some weeks, yet." Dickenson settled deeper into his seat. He glanced at McGregor, but the Scot had his head down and his arms were folded across his chest; a clear indication that he was brooding. Stanley sighed and continued, "We still have to convince Voltaire that Kai is his willing 'tool' and Tyson, who's in Japan is a couple of months short of his thirteenth birthday, I would like him to have reached it, before he takes to the road."

"If you think that is best, then all we can do is wait." Robert looked at his watch and frowned at the time. Raising his eyes, he began to gather up the papers and pictures in front of him and put them neatly back into the folder. Picking up the folder, he handed it back to the BBA head. "If there is nothing more we need to discuss, Johnny and I must return to Germany today. There is a small matter we need to attend to back home."

Dickenson shook his head, "nothing at the moment, Robert. And I will let you know when to meet them." The German nodded and rose with Johnny at his side. He gazed at the older vampire and bowed.

Dickenson rose and bowed back; "have a safe journey, Robert. Johnny."

"Until then." Robert said formally, before turning and beckoning for Johnny to follow. In a few swift strides the two Destroyers were at the door and gone.

Dickenson watched until the door closed, before carefully gathering up the papers and replacing them in their folder and putting it away in a drawer. Then, he went to the window and gazed out over the horizon. After a few moments, he sighed and resolved to forget about the surly Scot for now and focus on something else. Right on cue, the phone rang and he returned to his desk to see what crisis he had to deal with now.


"Enough, Spencer." Boris commanded and as the blonde lowered his arm, the older man walked over to the post and pulled Tala's head back by his hair and gazed down into the slack face of the unconscious boy. Releasing the crimson locks, Boris turned away, ignoring the hollow thud of Tala's chin on his chest.

"Release him!" Boris pointed to the guard nearest to the post.

"Sir!" The guard leapt forward and extracting a ring of keys from his pocket, he quickly undid the manacles. As soon as his support was removed, Tala slid down the post and crumpled like a discarded rag doll.

At a sign from Boris, the guard grabbed the unconscious boy and dragged him to the side and left him lying on the ground, then the man turned and returned to his place.

Boris nodded and then turned to where Kai stood. The stoic youth was standing quietly between his two guards, but Boris thought he saw a flicker of something - fear? Apprehension, perhaps, deep in the crimson depths. He stared at the boy for a moment longer, then he walked slowly over to where the captive stood.

"I have been very lenient with you, because of who your grandfather is and I now see that that was a mistake. Your conduct in the training room tells me that you are not serious about your goals, so we will just have to make sure that you become serious." He glared at the bluenette, who glared back at him. "As soon as you are back on your feet, I will personally supervise your training, because as of this moment, I am relieving Tala of his training duties. And I can assure you that before too long, you will be wishing Tala was still in charge." Boris stated calmly, then he nodded to Kai's guards. "Strip him and take him to the post!"


Bryan swallowed hard against the bile that surged against the top of his throat. He'd see those laughing bastards in hell, before he'd give them the satisfaction of seeing him break. They all called him; 'Ice' and he'd show them what ice really was.

So, he gritted his teeth and forced himself to gaze dispassionately at the crumpled form of his beautiful wolf. The redhead was lying in a patch of mid-morning sun and the falcon knew that flies and other vermin would soon be crawling on that glorious body and he felt the bile rise again.

The men at the window stopped laughing and Bryan glanced over to see what it was that had their attention. A naked Kai was being fastened to the pole and the vampire was staring up at the windows. One of his guards let out a low wolf whistle.

"Nice. I wouldn't mind pounding him through the mattress." The words were uttered in a low lust ridden voice. "Or perhaps he and Tala could put on a show for us." The voice continued.

Bryan bristled. His silvery eyes bore into the back of the speaker's head. It was the head of his guard detail and the falcon added another reason to his growing list of reasons for killing the fool.

The man turned and smirked at the silent boy. "What do you think, Bryan? Think your bitch and Voltaire's grandson have good entertainment value?" He approached the lilac-haired warrior and ran his hand over Bryan's chest and down the front of his pants, squeezing his manhood and leering at him.

Bryan stared - straight-ahead and blank faced.

"Dima." One of the other men warned, "You know Boris has given orders that his pets are off-limits, unless he says otherwise."

"What's the matter, Christof? Think I'm stupid enough to get caught at playing with one of them, like Zhora was?"

Christof drew himself up and sneered, "Nyet, I think you're a fool, because only a fool would bait 'Ice'." The raven-haired man looked out the window at the redhead, then he looked back at the fuming idiot, who had removed his hand from Bryan's body and was glaring daggers at him.

Dima snarled, "he's just a boy. I don't know why you all are afraid of a brat!"

You could have frozen alcohol with Christof's smile and he looked past the man to the boy standing motionless just behind him. Then he looked over at Dima. "You'll find out one night. You won't be missed."

Dima growled, 'He'd show this lot of losers. He'd approach Boris about sending Bryan to his quarters; then he'd teach the little brat what a real man could do.

As he glared at his men, Dima didn't notice the light in Bryan's eyes, if he had he might have started running and kept going for the rest of his life.


Spencer glared at the pale back of the youth, he held responsible for Tala's beating and Bryan's isolation. His ham-sized hand squeezed around the handle of the whip and his massive muscles rippled as he flexed them.

He might have been reluctant to harm his friend and captain, but he felt no such concern for the bluenette before him. He would avenge his companions.


Boris walked over to Kai and the vampire glared at him.

"Spare me your speeches, Boris, just get it over with." The youth snarled.

The Abbey director glared and leaned forward and put his mouth to Kai's ear. "I will bring blood to you, later." Then he straightened and turned from the boy and returned to Spencer's side.


Kai forced himself to relax as the lash whistled through the air and connected with his back. He could sense Spencer's burning hate and knew that the blonde would hold nothing back. As the lash continued to fall, he looked up and saw Bryan.

The falcon's face was blank, but his eyes burned with hate so intense that Kai could see it from where he stood. As he focused on the other, he watched as Bryan was grabbed by a guard and roughly hauled around.

Then, he roared in rage. Bryan had flipped him a double bird, just before he disappeared from sight.


Hong Kong Airport, 2008

Johnny sat in the lounge reserved for VIP's and sipped at a Bloody Mary, with emphasis on the 'bloody'. He felt, rather than heard Robert's return and turned his back on the German.

"Johnny." Robert's cultured voice flowed like water over Johnny's nerves and the way he said his name in that low husky tone reminded the Scot of pure unadulterated sex. But, he refused to give into the temptation to turn and lose himself in his lover's arms.

He drained the cocktail in a single draught and held out the glass. "I want another."

"Johnny," Robert ignored the demand and sighed. Carefully, he placed his hands on the Scot's shoulders and began to slowly rub the tense muscles, "I wish you wouldn't fight me so much on this."

"I'm not." The lizard responded mulishly, "I simply want everyone to acknowledge that I have a legitimate claim and allow me to exercise it."

Robert shook his head and slowly moved his hands down Johnny's arms to lightly grip his wrists before removing the cocktail glass and setting it on a low glass and steel table by the black leather sofa they were on. Then, moving back up Johnny's arms, the German nuzzled his mate's weak spot located just behind his right ear; before biting lightly at Johnny's earlobe and smirking at his love's hastily stifled gasp.

Then to his surprise, Johnny tore out of his arms. The Scot got to his feet and stamped over to another black leather sofa. Ire flashed from red eyes as the lizard settled down and hissed, "don't you dare try and seduce me into giving you your way, Robert! I'm serious about this!"

Robert settled back on his sofa and eyed the angry youth. "Johnny, I am very aware of your claim. God knows, you air it at every chance you get, but Dickenson is right and you know it. We need Kai. And besides, you gave your word."

"Only because you invoked the golden blood, you bastard!" Johnny hissed angrily. He got to his feet and stalked towards the lounge door, menace in every step.

"Where are you going?"

Pausing at the door, Johnny glanced over his shoulder and snapped, "I am going to go find someplace private to sit until the jet is ready and then I intend on getting drunk, fall into my coffin and spend the rest of the trip - ALONE!" Then he jerked the door open and stormed out, slamming the door behind him.

"Johnny," Robert said softly into the silence, "it was the only way and one day, I pray you will see that."


BBA training room, Hong Kong, 2008

"Ready to give up?" Rei called to his companion. The neko-jin glanced up toward the clock on the wall and grimaced. "Jin, its' nearly time for lunch and I want to take a shower before we head back to the dining hall."

"That's right." Jin said, mock disgustedly. "Kick my ass around the room and then demand a victory dinner." Then the irrepressible boy grinned, "I guess if you're hungry, you're over that nightmare, eh?"

Rei tilted his head and a thoughtful look crossed his face. "Yeah, I guess so." He pocketed Driger and mused aloud. "You know, I've been having a lot of really vivid dreams lately, I wonder if it means anything. That old woman said . . ." He trailed off and shook his head, "nah, I'm just reading too much into her words.

"What did she say?" Jin asked, as he walked around the dish to join his friend. He gave Rei a playful punch on the arm. "Come on, you can't leave me to die of curiosity!" He pleaded, as Rei began to walk away.

"Oh, just that I was going on a journey to back where I belonged."

"Back to the village?"

Rei paused and turned back to him, a slight frown creasing his brow. "I don't think so. She said something about the way being treacherous and I can't imagine it being dangerous to go back home. I know they're probably angry that I snuck off. But, I just couldn't stay."

Jin nodded, "felt confined, did you?"

"No," Rei shook his head, sending his braid flying. "It was more like suffocation. They had all these expectations of me. I was to be the next wielder of Driger and fight all my village's battles, marry this girl, Mariah and in time become Elder; but no one asked me what I wanted." He sighed and turned away from Jin and resumed walking. "I wanted Driger, but I don't want the rest of it, so when the elder handed Driger over to me, I knew then that I had the power to follow my dreams and quiet the voice that kept calling to me."


"Yeah, its silly, I know. But, I just felt like there was this 'presence' that kept calling to me and I just had to answer its call, or spend the rest of my life dealing with the 'what ifs', and I didn't want that." Rei sighed and reached for the exit door. Pulling it open, he glanced back at Jin. "I guess what I'm trying to say is I want to learn more about Beyblading than my village could teach me. I need to be out in the world."

"If that's the way you feel then it's a good thing you left." Jin fell silent as he followed Rei from the training room. As he trailed after the Chinese, he pondered on what Rei had said and came to the conclusion that he wouldn't have wanted that kind of pressure placed on him, either.

Then, his stomach rumbled and he forgot all about the conversation and hustled after Rei to hit the showers.


Piqued by his men's attitude, Dima turned to Bryan, who was staring out the window. The man followed Bryan's line of vision and smirked as he realized that the boy was watching the action in the courtyard.

'Take a good look, punk.' He smirked, 'because that's all you're going to get to see of this show.' Grinning wolfishly, he reached out and grabbed Bryan by the shoulder and hauled him around. "Fun time's over, falcon! Time to go back to your room!"

"But, Dima!" One of the other guards protested.

Dima turned to him with a snarl. "Shut up, Slava! Boris didn't say, when this little punk had to be returned to his room. He just said to take him back." Dima smirked, "so, we are taking him back. Now, fall in!"

Grumbling, the other three did as they were told and took their positions.

None of them saw Bryan's hands and what he was doing with them.


Boris's office, Balkov Abbey


Boris glared down at the empty glass in his hand. After he had ordered Kai and Tala to be taken back to their rooms, he had ordered Spencer to find Ian and go train, knowing full well that the pair would defy him and would go tend to Tala instead.

After signaling to the guards on the floors to send everyone about their business, he had retreated to the privacy of his office, telling Timofey on his way that if anyone short of Voltaire tried to contact him, he'd turn him over to the scientists as a lab rat!

The guard had fervently assured him that no one would bother him.

Now he sat in the privacy of his office and pondered his next move. 'Kai will need a liter of blood and four days at the minimum to regenerate. Tala will need longer, but I can't let them have more than a day. Voltaire has too many eyes watching for me to give them more time.' He growled in frustration. He poured himself another shot of vodka as he came to a decision.

'I can't let Tala have more than a day's rest, but I can give him something else.' Boris grinned ferally and picked up his phone. He dialed a number and waited, only a few seconds passed before a voice was asking who was calling. Boris ignored the demand and began to issue his orders, confident that the man on the other end would recognize his voice.

"Osya, I want you to pull the guards off the dorm floor tonight and 'arrange' for there to be a glitch in the camera system that will take all night to fix." A squawking sound came from the phone and Boris hissed. "Don't question me! Just do as you're told!" More sounds issued from the instrument and Boris replied in a calmer tone. "Very well, that will do." Then he hung up the phone and leaned back in his chair, chuckling dryly. "Well Bryan, I've cleared the way for you, let's see how long it takes you to break out."

Still chuckling, he rose from his seat and headed for his office door, it would never do for it to seem that the director was brooding in his inner sanctum. Just as he was reaching for the knob, the phone rang.

Retracing his steps, he sat down and grabbed up the phone. "Boris here."

An icy voice answered him. "Boris, why did you not inform me that my grandson was at the Abbey?"


Infirmary, Balkov Abbey

"Hurry up, Spencer!" Ian hissed as he peered out the infirmary door. The youngest Demolition Boy stood watch, while his taller teammate rifled the medical cabinets for bandages and painkillers.

"I'm hurrying!" Spencer snapped as he shoved a box aside as useless. "I think those damn medics have rearranged the cabinets again! I can't find the . . . ah! There it is. Got it!" The blonde pulled a large shallow jar from one of the shelves and quickly stuffed it into his vest pocket. "That's the last of what we'll need. So, let's get out of here, before our luck runs out."

"I'm all for that." Ian replied, as he checked again to see if the coast was clear.


Spencer closed the door of the cabinet and spun. In five swift strides he was at Ian's side and the pair slipped out of the infirmary and quickly lost themselves in the shadows of the corridors. They moved quietly along the walls, dodging the cameras, as they watched for staff and students.

Reaching their dorm area, the pair peered around the corner. The hallway was empty.

"Ian, take the supplies and go to Tala. You can tend him as well as I can. God knows, we've lots of practice." Spencer began to dig the bandages and ointment out of his pockets and handed them the shorter blader.

"Spencer, where are you going?" Ian asked, as he stuffed the items in the pockets of his pants.

"To see Bryan." The blonde sighed, "he's not going to be at his most rational right now."

"Are you sure, you should go?" Ian said doubtfully, "I don't think he's gonna be very happy to see you. I doubt you're his favorite person right now."

"I know. But, I must. For his and Tala's sake." Seaborg's companion leaned out to check the hallway again. It was still clear, so he stepped out and beckoned Ian to follow. Sweeping down the hall, the two paused outside of Tala's door. Ian reached for the knob, as Spencer sighed, then turned away. The snake watched uneasily as his best friend walked away.

"Spence, be careful, don't let your guard down." Ian called softly.

The whale paused and turned back and nodded his acknowledgment, before resolutely, he faced forward and headed on down to the falcon's aerie


The first thing that Kai's senses registered, as he regained consciousness was the rank smell of old blood. The second was that his back was a white-hot hell. And the third was the feel of the cool stone under his cheek.

Slowly, painfully, he lifted his head and looked around. There before him, only a few feet away was his coffin. 'So, I'm in my room and not the cells.' He thought as he began to gather his strength. Gritting his teeth, he began to use his elbows to drag himself over to his coffin, the distance he had to cover was only a few feet, but the journey seemed to take a lifetime. His lacerated back screamed at him and he could smell the coppery tang of fresh blood and knew that some of the welts had broken open again.

Reaching the dubious sanctuary of his coffin, he grabbed one of the gleaming brass handles to pull himself up. He lost his grip a couple of times and banged his face painfully against the oaken panels, but he finally made it to his feet and panting and fighting a darkness that threatened to engulf him, he fell into the embrace of the white silk lining.

Lying on his side, he found himself looking at the picture of the boy, Rei. He reached out a shaking hand and touched it lightly. "I wish you were Vlas." He whispered and lost his battle against his pain and passed out.


After Spencer disappeared down the hall, Ian opened the door and slipped inside and stopped -staring in surprise.

Tala wasn't alone. Osip, captain of the reserve team was with him and the ginger haired youth was gently washing Tala's wounds.

At the sound of the door closing, Osip looked up and nodded at the gaping blader. "Ian, good. Do you have any medical supplies? I've run out and haven't been able to sneak into the infirmary to get more."

Wordlessly, Ian dug out his treasures and showed them to the other youth.

"That's good." Osip said approvingly. "Now, bring them here, so we can get Tala taken care of."

Ian finally found his voice. "Osip?" He squeaked, then coughed and tried again. "Osip, what are you doing here?"

"Washing Tala, what does it look like? Now come here!"

Ian crossed the floor, babbling as he came. "Yes, but, Tala isn't one of yours. He's ours! I mean, he's my captain! We'll care for him!"

Osip set aside the pan of bloody water and reached for the jar of ointment in Ian's hand. "I know that! But, I didn't know when you and Spencer would get here. Or, if Bryan would break out and try to reach Tala, despite Boris's orders." He opened the jar and scooped out a generous amount of the cream inside and began to gently work it into Tala's injuries.

"Besides, I need to talk to you and Spencer urgently, so where is the whale?"

"He went to see Bryan. He's afraid Bryan will do something stupid."

Osip paused and shot a worried look at Ian. "He went alone?"

"Spencer can take care of himself." Ian said quietly.

Osip nodded, "ordinarily, I'd agree, but facing an enraged Bryan alone isn't smart, especially now."

A sense of dread filled Ian and he dropped the dressing he'd been about to open. "Why now? What's going on?"

Osip snarled, "Dima is what's going on. He was head of the guard detail that took Bryan to watch Tala and Kai . . . And he . . ." Osip stopped with a sigh and took up more ointment.

Before he could say anything else, Ian glared at him and demanded in a strident tone. "And he, what? Damn it, Osip, spit it out!"

"Dima asked Bryan if Tala was any good between the sheets and expressed the hope that Boris would hand him over to the guards for their amusement. And then, he wanted to know if Bryan thought Kai and Tala would prove to be good entertainment."

Ian exploded. "Son of a bitch! I'll kill him!"

Osip raised his hands and tried to quiet the raging blader. "Ian, calm down! Dealing with Dima can wait. Right now the important thing is to see to Tala, now give me that dressing and hurry up with the bandages. I want to get this done while Tal is still out."

"How do you know this?' Ian hissed harshly as he complied with Osip's demands. He ripped opened the dressing packages and helped the jaguar layer them over the welts. Then he tore open the bandage boxes and as his companion supported the redhead, began to wrap Tala up.

"Tighter across the ribs, Ian! Tala's gonna need support there." As Ian complied, Osip remembered his question and nodded toward the door; "I wasn't there this morning. I wasn't feeling too good, so I was excused from attending. A little while ago, I opened my door to go to the bathroom and I saw Lavrenti and Olek taking Tala to his room and when they came back out, they stood outside his door and talked about it. I suppose one of the other guards on the detail told them."

"Shit." Ian hissed, "I know Dima is a horse short of a troika, but I didn't think he'd be stupid enough to ask Bryan something like that! Doesn't he know he's signed his death warrant? Bryan will kill him!"

Osip shrugged indifferently, "won't be any great loss." The young man ran a hand through his shoulder length hair. "Look, I just thought you should know. Bryan isn't likely to listen to me, but maybe he'll listen to you or Spencer. You've got to keep him from breaking out, or who knows what Boris will do to him, without Tala to temper the old bastard's wrath. Once Bryan's off the shit list, he can deal with Dima, but he shouldn't do it now. Hell, even ole Ustin could figure out that the falcon did it, if that fool were to disappear now."

Despite the situation, Ian had to snicker. Old Ustin was the oldest scientist in the Abbey and he walked around in a world of his own. Every student in the Abbey; was convinced the man wasn't even on the same planet with the rest of them; he was so detached from reality. Then, he sobered as he looked down at the youth he was wrapping like a half-done mummy. 'Oh, Tala.'

For several minutes the two worked in tandem and once the bandages were all in place, Osip gently laid Tala down on his pillow. As Ian gathered up the discarded boxes and pouches, Osip quietly pulled a white sheet over the redhead and glancing quickly at Ian, who had his back to him, tenderly stroked a pale temple and pulled a loose strand of crimson away from the other's cheek. He sighed, as a look of longing crossed his face; a look he quickly suppressed as Ian returned to his side.

"Osip, we owe you." Ian said quietly.

"For what?"

"The warning and for being here, when we couldn't. We won't forget." The snake said intensely,

"If you ever have need . . ." Ian let his words trail off leaving the offer open-ended.

The ginger haired jaguar nodded. "I've got to go. I'm supposed to have my team in training room six by twelve bells." Osip placed a hand on Ian's shoulder. "Just tell Spencer what I said." Ian nodded and Osip gave Tala one last look and quickly strode to the door and out.

After closing the door, Osip sagged against it and wiped at his eyes. "Ian, you guys owe me nothing. Bryan isn't the only one who loves Tala." Then pushing away from the door he slowly headed up the hall to seek the solitude of his room and the comfort of the half-empty bottle of vodka; he had stolen from one of the guards.


High Mound, Hiwatari Estate, 1814

Kai shifted in his coffin as his dreams took him back to a happier time.

He was just lighting the last candle, when a slight sound made him turn and a smile crossed his face. Slipping out from behind a fifteenth century tapestry depicting a hunt scene, a lithe figure entered the room and Kai spread his arms open in welcome, whispering softly as he did so. "Vlas."

He laughed softly, as his beloved ran across the oak floors and over the expensive oriental carpets to fling himself into his arms. Kai whirled the boy around and pressed a kiss to soft warm lips, as Vlas melted into him, their kiss deepened with Vlas's arms wrapping themselves around his neck. They stood like that for several moments, until Kai pulled back from his lover and smiled at the youth's mewl of protest.

"You're late, love." He murmured, as he reached down to cup his darling's sweet little rear. The curve of Vlas's buttocks fit his hands beautifully and he gave them a gentle squeeze, an action that provoked an adorable blush in the other boy.

"I know, but Labrentsis made me clean all the brass ornaments on the harnesses and bridles tonight, and he sat there and watched me until it was all done." Vlas snuggled closer to his lover and tucked his head under Kai's chin. "And all the time the old goat sat there - glaring at me, all I could think of was that you were waiting for me, and I couldn't bear the thought that you might go to sleep without me."

Kai's arms tightened, "that wouldn't have happened, love. I'd have waited all night for you." He drew away from the warmth of his lover's body, although he wanted to stay right there in the circle of Vlas's arms. He gave a sniff and commented, "you do smell like horses, polish and moldy old hay. You need a bath. Fortunately, I have the solution all ready." He grinned wickedly and before Vlas knew what was happening, Kai scooped him up and carried him into the adjoining chamber.

"Kai!" Vlas mocked struggled in his lover's arms, as he was carried around the panel set in front of the fireplace. Then, he was being set on his feet and he smiled in pure delight at the sight of the sky-blue porcelain full of scented steaming water. He took a deep sniff and sighed. Kai had scented the water with oranges and jasmine, two of his favorite scents. He purred with satisfaction as he trailed his fingers through the water.

Behind him, Kai smiled, pleased that his darling was so happy with his insignificant gift. He allowed Vlas a couple of seconds to play, then unable to stand it any longer, he gripped the boy by the hips and pulled him up against his front and nuzzled his neck.

Vlas shivered in delighted anticipation as his lover's body pressed against him and he sighed in pleasure as Kai whispered against the sensitive skin of his neck.

"Bathe with me?"

The black-haired beauty turned and raised adoring eyes to his beloved, "did you have just bathing in mind?" His golden eyes burned with a promise of pleasure and Kai sucked in a breath. Then, he lowered his head and claimed Vlas's willing lips in a crushing kiss. When they came up for air, the bluenette purred as he began undressing his darling.

"Oh, I have more than bathing in mind, my little barn cat." And Kai's own eyes began to burn with promise. "Much more."


Boris put down the phone and stared into space for a moment, then he sighed. 'We are going to have to put Kai's acting skills to the test sooner than I thought.'

He rose and began to pace. 'One thing in our favor is the old demon has agreed to put off the meeting for a few days and that will give Kai time to regenerate.' As he thought about how to best approach the coming interview. Boris returned to his desk and picked up the phone and dialed.

" Miska! I want four units of whole blood – the type doesn't matter – warmed to body temperature at once! Put it in a chest and have it waiting, I'm on my way!"

As he put down the phone, Boris smiled chillingly. "It's show time, Kai, and I hope for all our sakes, you put on the performance of your life, because make no mistake, it will mean your life. Not to mention – mine."

Then, he turned and left the room.


Kai's room, Balkov Abbey

A hand shaking his shoulder woke Kai and he lashed out, unwilling to leave the joy of the dream. As the shaking resumed, he could dimly hear someone curse and he opened his eye and glared up into Boris's face. "What do you want?" He rasped as he gripped the side of his coffin and attempted to sit up. When he failed, he reluctantly allowed Boris to slip an arm around his shoulders and help him upright.

Kai's nose twitched at the rich scent of Boris's blood. He could feel his fangs itching to take a bite out of the vein throbbing scant inches from his lips. Fortunately for him, Boris chose that moment to step back from the coffin.

"I brought you some blood and we need to discuss something."

Immediately, Kai focused on the small chest that sat on the floor by the single chair his room boasted. It had been moved from its place along the wall and was now even with his knees.

"What is it, you want to talk about?" Kai asked.

Boris sighed as he sat down on the chair and opened the chest at his feet. He reached in and pulled out a unit of blood and held it out to Kai.

Kai snatched it from his hand and greedily sank his fangs into the pouch. He sighed with relief as he felt the warm fluid flow over his fangs and past his tongue to slide down his throat. In a matter of moments, he was dropping the bag to the floor and reaching for the next one in Boris's hand. This one he took the time to savor and to appreciate the warmth that it spread through his body.

Boris waited until Kai was half-done with his third unit of whole blood, before saying quietly. "Voltaire wants to see you."