Authors Note: ::Is on knees pleading for forgiveness.:: I'm so sorry it took me so long to update, but I've been having problems with time and computer cooperation i.e. it refuses to work. Hopefully i'll get better though. Please don't hate me too much.

Disclaimer.: I think everyone already knows what goes here. If I owned any thing remotely linked to the movie than I wouldn't be a poor struggling college student. I'd be a rich struggling college student or at least a well off one.


Chapter 13

Mara awoke abruptly, her eyes straining in the darkness as a dark sense of danger filled her. Beside her Velkan lay on the stone floor sound asleep with his back propped up against the wall in a position that would mean back pains in the morning. She turned her gaze to the place where Kai usually slept and saw the great cat had moved, standing at the mouth of the cave with his eyes fixed on something outside. Something that made each hair on his back stand on end.

What is it brother? She asked worriedly.

One of the bloodsuckers, He told her bluntly, Mara's hand fell automatically to the hilt of her dagger, gripping the ivory handle so tightly that her fingers turned white. Silently she turned and bent over Velkan's chest, tracing a complicated rune of sleep lightly over his chest with her free hand before moving to stand beside her brother.

Outside the moon and stars lay trapped behind a thick curtain of clouds. Mara's eyes peirced the dark veil revealing everything before her as if it were the brightest part of the noon day and she saw a slight figure standing just outside the wards Mara and Velkan had so carefully put in place was a pale red haired woman eyeing both cat and woman with malevolent interest.

"So you must be the ones my master spoke of. "The woman spoke in heavily accented English, her words taking on an almost musical lilt. "The one that is keeping our pet wolf from joining us."

Mara felt her upper lip curl reflexively. Velkan was no one's pet and Mara vowed silently that it would be an icy day in hell before she would let this whore lay hands on Velkan. Beside her Kai growled low and menacing. The pale woman took in the pair of them with an expression of growing amusement that made Mara's skin crawl.

"I do not believe we have been properly introduced." The vampiress purred. "My name is Aleera," She inclined her head gracefully in a mocking half bow. "And you are?" Mara remained silent.

"You are a foolish child," Aleera said softly. "If you hope to stand against my master and live." Mara and Kai mearly stared at her, unblinking and cool. Aleera hissed in anger and for a moment her lovely face became a hidieous pale reptile mask before turning back into the lovely beauty she disguised herself as. She stared at the two before her and smiled wickedly.

"You plan to keep him don't you?" Aleera laughed, a sound like chiming bells that grated against Mara's hearing like nails on slate. "You are even more foolish than you look. You and your little pet," The woman sneered down at Kai and Mara felt his muscles tense beneath the thick coat of fur. "You can not hope to defeat the great power of my master." The woman finished with a little flourish of her hands to indicate there level of ability, or lack of, as compared to Dracula.

Mara felt Kai prepare to launch himself at the vampiress and she pressed her hand down into the back of his neck, forcing him back down. As strong and fast as she knew he was, he was no match for a vampire.

"I think you should leave now," Mara said, forcing her words to be calm and collected.

"Who is going to make me?" Aleera asked, stalking the edge of the wards, looking for an opening. Mara drew her dagger.

"You think that silly bit of stone will stop me?" She laughed as her fangs lengthened noticeably and her skin was shading to an inhuman shade of white. "I will enjoy draining you wild one." She purred as if she could already taste Mara's blood flowing hotly down her ivory throat. "Your life will be a drink like few others."

She lunged at Mara with superhuman speed. Kai roared and Mara ducked quickly away, saved only by reflexes honed by nearly a lifetime of training with Kai. She heard something whiz past her ear and glanced up in time to see a fist sized stone strike the vampiress neatly between the eyes. Aleera howled in pain and clutched her head while Mara backed hastily away. A glance behind her and she saw Velkan standing at ready, another rock clenched in his fist.

"Leave!" He hissed at her, his face contorted in anger.

Mara watched the expression on Aleera's face twist momentarily into an ugly grimace of anger before stretching into a sly smile crossed Aleera's face. She launched into the sky murmuring back in Romanian. Mara only understood the word 'wolf'. She turned to Velkan for a translation and found him staring after the Aleera, his face tight with anger, his fingers wrapped so tightly around the rock that they were turned white. Aleera laughed cruelly and leaped skyward flying off into the night.

Velkan hurled the rock in his fist hurled after her, and watched it fall short to the ground. Without another word he turned and walked angrily back into the cave, his eyes smoldering with fury.

"Velkan?" She asked after him cautiously. "What did she say?"

"Nothing!" He growled sharply.

Mara sighed, debated whether or not to follow him and press her question and decided to pace the perimeter of the cave instead, retracing the protective runes scratched into trees and dirt with her dagger, renewing their power for the next attack. She painstakingly retraced the runes in the dirt, even though they stayed as constant as the ones inscribed in bark and stone thanks in part to the dagger she used. As long as she remembered to retrace them regularly, Dracula and his servants would have no power here. It was remembering them that would be the difficult part. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Kai pass her.

Where do you think your going? She asked him archly.

Hunting. He answered sparsly. She could feel the hunger burning in his mind and felt guilty. He had forgone hunting for her sake, so that she might be safe and had subsisted only on the food she and Velkan had brought back. Enough for three people to be sure but a cat, even one as special as Kai, could not exist on a meal supplimented by berries and roots. She watched him pass into the darkness without another word and finished with her work.

The darkness of the cave was ominously silent when Mara finally came back in. She scanned the cave and found the young gypsy prince standing at the back of the cave, his forhead pressed to the cold stone wall.

"Velkan?" She called to him softly. "What's wrong? What did she say to you?" She felt anger burn in her chest at the vampiress for doing this to him. Slowly she crept up to Velkan and rested a hand on his shoulder trying to turn him towards her. He shrugged her off angrily.

"What did she say to you?" She repeated. She felt him exhale slowly and his arms folded around his waist.

"She reminded me of something," He said softly.

"Of what?" Mara was confused. What had that bitch said to him to get him so worked up?

Velkan opened his mouth to speak, then apparently thought better of it. "I have to go, Mara."

She looked at him concerned. "Alright. We'll sleep out the rest of the night and then leave at dawn. That way Dracula and his whores can't follow us, at least not during the day." She amended. The young man shook his head, his dark locks brushing across his face.

"Mara," He began, haltingly at first, then with more confidence. "I need you to go to my sister and tell her what has happened to me. She needs to know what to expect." Mara nodded her understanding and Velkan looked up, staring off into the night.

Something in his voice made her suspicious. "What will you do while I go to see your sister?"

"I will go to Dracula." He told her quietly

"No!" She protested. "He would use you and--"

"But he would keep me away from the village," Velkan cut her off. "At least for a time, and that may be enough for Anna to find a way to...to take me down."

Anger and fear flooded through Mara in a wave.

"Why? Why do you just give up now?" She demanded angrily. "Are you such a coward that you would walk willingly into the enemies hands?"

His eyes focused on her face and she saw despair and some other emotion.

"I'm going to change soon," he said quietly. "And when I do I will kill everything around me starting with you. Just as my mother was killed by her father when he was bitten."

Her back straitened at his unwitting insult. "I am not so easy to kill," She told him stiffly. He shook his head and started past her.

"You don't understand." He growled at her, "Werewolves go after the people they knew best as humans with the most ferocity. I'm a threat to you and everyone else I love."

"No!" She screamed her denial. "You are the one who doesn't understand if you think for a moment that i'll let you go to that monster!"

He loves me? She thought surprised as frustration flashed across his face. He opened his mouth to argue and she leaned forward impulsively, stopping his words with her lips in a deep, passionate kiss. She felt him stiffen against her for a moment and then felt his arm curl around her waist, pulling her close.

Her body melted into his and she felt his arms tighten around her as he devoured her, kissing the corners of her mouth, her eyelids, her cheeks, the curve of her ear and the line of her neck. Her hands slid up his back and she felt the hard muscles of his back underneath the thin material of his battered shirt as his hands traveled down her back to her waist and slid up again to cup her breast. The feel of his hot breath against her skin caused tendrils of liquid heat to curl in her belly and she moaned softly.

A sharp high pitched squeel of tortured stone sounded behind them and Mara and Velkan jumped apart, Mara's hand going to the hilt of her dagger, ready for any threat.

Kai sat patiently before them in the cave's entrance, the corpse of a small fawn hanging from his jaws and four parallel lines in the stone directly in front of his unsheathed claws.

Have I come at a bad time? He asked dryly.