Disclaimer: I don't own any of the League or any of the characters of 'Underworld'; just the plot. Neither do I own Katie; she's based on a friend of mine who requested a role in one of my stories

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LXG 2004 2: Lazarus

As he sat in the filthy rooms that had become his only refuge from the world that had hunted and persecuted him simply for seeking his rightful place, Kraven tried once again to work out how things had gone so drastically wrong in such a short amount of time.

By the Elders! he cursed, as he stared listlessly up at the ceiling. All I wanted was what was mine by right; is that too much to ask?

After all, who had he actually hurt in his attempt to gain power? The Elders? A triad of vampires too set in the old ways to really adapt to the new world that the vampires faced around them on a daily basis? The lycans? They were nothing but savage beasts; he was doing the world a favour by removing some of them from the equation!

And now there was this whole mess with Marcus and Singe on his plate! Honestly, a single vampire Elder left alive- not even the one who'd started this whole mess in the first place- and they were still trying to kill each other! At this rate they'd be lucky if either side was left alive; from what little intelligence Kraven had been able to acquire on the war effort, Marcus had dispatched several vampire forces on practically suicide missions into the heart of lycan territory, and Singe had made numerous similar errors in judgement.

Quite frankly, from what he'd been able to gather, at present the lycans were proportionately ahead of the game, most likely due to their own greater physical strength when it came down to a one-on-one battle.

"Enough!" Kraven roared, as he stood up sharply in his room, throwing the table that made up one of the few pieces of furniture in the room off to one side.

He'd had it with this whole experience; if nothing else, that card game earlier, where he actually lost to a mortal of all things, was the straw that broke the back of the proverbial camel.

He would not sit around idly and let Marcus make an ass of himself when a far better option for leadership- namely, himself- was available. No longer would he be forced to muddle through life, relying on the 'good will' of those inferior to him to get anywhere…

No, from here on in, once he was finished with them, it would be Kraven who ruled the vampires.

All he had to do was get back to Ordgahz, scout out the situation with Marcus- maybe see if that ditzy servant girl, Erica, was still hanging around the place- and then…

He chuckled.

Give him a few days to come up with a plan of attack, and he couldn't fail to stop Marcus and claim leadership of the Coven for himself…

Glancing through what had to be something like the seventieth door she'd opened in her search, Fiona smiled with relief as she finally found herself looking at Selene; she'd been searching for the vampire ever since she and her little group of matchmakers had decided on their next move.

Fiona had already exhausted most of the immediate possibilities for where Selene might have gone- some of the more likely candidates had included the engine room and the main hold, rooms that lacked windows that even might be exposed to the sun- and had nearly given up hope before she remembered the various panels that could cover the windows if they wanted, and had decided to just check the cabin they'd allocated Selene. Sure enough the vampiress had been there, sitting in her chair and studying her Beretta pistols.

"Yes?" Selene said as Fiona knocked politely to attract attention, turning her head to look at the scientist inquiringly as she leaned in through the half-open door. "What do you want, Miss Brand; have we arrived already?"

"No, we've still got a couple of days until we reach Europe; I just thought it might be good for us to talk about… this and that," Fiona said, shrugging as she walked into the room and sat down on Selene's bed as she looked at the vampire critically. "Specifically, to talk to you about some of the… little personal details, shall we say… concerning you and how you feel about a certain Michael Corvin."

Selene looked up sharply at that comment, but then appeared to regain her composure as she turned back to gaze out of the porthole- or at least gaze at the porthole, given that it was still closed.

"If you must know, there's nothing to discuss," she said simply. "Michael and I are friends and nothing more; our working relationship is strictly based on the fact that nobody else can stop this nightmare before one or both of our two species are destroyed."

"'One or both of our two species'?" Fiona said, staring at Selene in surprise. "I thought Michael was a hybrid now; why are you acting as though he's still a… what was it you called the werewolf side in this war of yours again?"

"They're called lycans," Selene replied, glancing critically over at the invisible woman for forgetting that piece of information. "And I act like that because he was originally one of them; he was a lycan before I passed over the vampire strain of the virus that transformed him, even if the transformation had yet to fully assert itself. He may be a hybrid now, but I generally find it easier to think of him as a lycan. I find that it helps remind me that we both have a personal stake in both sides of this conflict, rather than just trying to make things better for one of us at the cost of the other side."

"Really?" Fiona asked, as she sat down on the room's bed to look at Selene. "And you're sure there isn't another reason for that little differentiation?"

Selene turned to glare at the invisible woman, a harsh expression on her face.

"What other reason would there be?" she asked, raising a critical eyebrow, her eyes briefly flashing a pale blue colour.

"Oh, I don't know… maybe a part of you's trying to deny something that you don't particularly want to accept by making Michael and you a bit too different?" Fiona asked, raising an inquiring eyebrow as she sat down on the bed beside Selene.

"What would I not want to accept?" Selene retorted, turning away from the scientist to stare back at the wall in front of them; evidently, she wasn't interested in discussing this matter in particularly great detail.

"A few possibilities spring to mind, really; for example, your… more-than-friendly feelings, shall we say… for a certain hybrid/medical intern?" Fiona asked, a small smile on her face as Selene turned to look incredulously at the League's stealth expert.

"What?" she asked, staring critically at the young woman. "I have no… feelings… for Michael in that way; he is a friend-"

"And you gave up everything you ever knew just to make sure he'd be all right, when you could have just let him manage on his own and gone home?" Fiona asked, staring at Selene. "Selene, you don't do something that drastic for someone who's only a friend, you know. Just because you don't know what you're feeling doesn't mean you should just deny it; that isn't going to help anybody."

Selene didn't bother to reply; she just turned to look out the window once again, leaving Fiona staring at the back of her head.

"If you want my opinion, if this is how you're handling the situation- acting like there isn't one in the first place- this isn'tthe right approach to take to sort it out," Fiona said, staring at Selene's raven-black hair as the vampire warrior stared out of the window. "You can't just get away from your feelings by pretending they don't exist."

"There's nothing to deny the existence of," Selene retorted, still staring out the window. "Michael is a friend; that's it."

"Yeah, and I'm the alien in this team of ours; not only am I human, but both Clark and the Doctor aren't from this crazy old planet of ours," Fiona retorted, glaring critically at Selene. "Look, you're not fooling anyone here; Harry took ages to take the hint that Ginny still liked him that way- the man may be a wizard, but he's still clueless in matters of the heart- and even he can see that you're interested in Michael."

"He's wrong," Selene said simply, not even bothering to look at her new associate as she spoke.

"Is that all you're going to say to me about this?" Fiona asked, looking critically at the former Death Dealer. "That the entire League are wrong about how you feel about Michael? Selene, I know it's a very cliché line, but 'Denial ain't just a river in Egypt', if you know what I mean?"

"Shut up," Selene said, still refusing to meet the invisible woman in the eye. The thought briefly crossed Fiona's mind that, if Selene had been Clark (Or at least possessed his powers) the porthole she'd been staring at would have been nothing but a hole by now, she was glaring at it so intently.

Probably hoping I'll give up quicker if I don't seem to be getting a response on any level, Fiona thought to herself. After acquiring her powers, she'd become even more sensitive to others' body language, constantly watching her opponents for any sign that they were aware there was somebody in the room who they couldn't actually see. Right now, Selene may have looked as though she couldn't have cared less about Fiona's presence, but Fiona could clearly see that the vampire was getting frustrated by her constant questions, approaching a point where she'd probably react more strongly to further attempts to question her.

It may not have been all that smart to provoke a vampire by pushing her too far, but given the partial invulnerability that was part and parcel of Fiona's powers, so long as she could turn invisible fast enough, Fiona felt safe enough in continuing this line of questioning.

"Look, what's the problem here, huh?" Fiona asked, looking critically at Selene's back. "It seems pretty straightforward to me; you like Michael, he likes you, all that remains is for you two to admit and get down to the 'good stuff'. I mean, you've been on the run for a while now, from what you're told us; probably been a while since you had a chance to let off some proverbial steam."

There was no reaction from Selene, so Fiona paused for a moment, trying to come up with an alternative argument to make Selene confess how she really felt.

And then a possible explanation for the vampire's reluctance hit her.

Could Selene be afraid that Michael wouldn't… measure up to her expectations?

After all, based on Selene's story, Fiona doubted that the vampire had ever found time to form a long-lasting relationship- she sounded as though her entire life had been devoted to the war against the lycans- but she must have had sex at some point, right?

From what little Angel had told them about the daily life of vampires- it was a topic he preferred not to think about, given his past- they were notoriously sexual creatures in most cases- the vampires from what he'd called the 'Kingdom' class of vampires were a notable exception to this rule- so Selene must have had sex a few times in the past, and most likely with vampires with at least a century or two of experience behind them.

Even if she hadn't actually loved them, the vampires in question must still have had a pretty good idea of what they were doing when it came to the bedroom…

And here she was, in love for what was possibly the first time in her immortal existence, and it was with a human who wasn't even thirty years old yet.

Maybe the reason she was rejecting Michael was just fear that he wouldn't measure up to what she expected from the man she loved? After all, her past lovers would all have been pretty… experienced… and Michael?

By comparison to the life span and sexual experience possessed by the average vampire, he might as well have been a virgin.

Even if Selene was genuinely in love with him, a part of her probably couldn't help but feel slightly disappointed when the time came for them to actually… do it… and he didn't have the experience of her previous lovers.

"Hoo boy…" Fiona said, exhaling slightly as she stared at Selene's back, suddenly uncertain about how to proceed.

After all, how do you start talking to a vampire with over a century's worth of experience behind her about sex?

"Uh… look, Selene, in advance, I'm sorry if what I'm about to say seems… impertinent… given that we've only known each other for a couple of days and all…" she said, already wishing that the other League members had given this job to somebody else. "But… if this is about you being afraid that Michael's… performance… won't be up to your expectations… well, does that really matter?"

This, at least, seemed to get a response out of Selene; she turned to look curiously at Fiona, as though confused as to where the invisible woman was going with this.

"What expectations?" she said, staring in confusion at the other woman.

"Um… mostly regarding Michael's abilities when it comes to certain… bed­-related activities, shall we say?" Fiona replied, lowering her voice slightly as she lowered her eyes. "I mean, well, I get that he might not be quite as good as what you're used to, but

For a moment, there was silence in the cabin, then Selene sighed as she finally turned to fully look at Fiona.

"How can I have any expectations about his abilities when it comes to sex, Miss Brand?" she replied, sounding almost sad as she spoke. "I would have nothing to compare it to."

Fiona's eyes widened in surprise.

Whatever she'd been expecting Selene to say, it certainly hadn't been that

A virgin vampire? she thought to herself, staring at Selene in surprise. A body like that, and she's never done it?

Wow… she was focused on winning that war

"Uh… right," she said, swallowing slightly as she looked at Selene apologetically. "Sorry I brought it up…"

Still, even as she spoke, Fiona's mind was already going over the possible factors this new information presented regarding the reason for Selene's distance from Michael. Given Selene's age, she must have been turned at a time when women were still meant to be regarded as 'pure', particularly when it came to their… wedding night.

True, things had changed a lot, particularly in the last hundred years or so, but Fiona doubted that it could be particularly easy to let go of the traditions you'd been brought up with, especially since, as Ginny had pointed out earlier, Selene hadn't had much opportunity for emotional development over the years since she'd become a Death Dealer…

Could it be that, on some level, Selene didn't want to lose her virginity?

After all, in many ways it was the last remnants of her innocence… all that was left of her humanity from before she was turned… the only thing she retained of the young girl whose family had been so brutally taken from her all those years ago…

Wouldn't it only be natural for her to want to keep something like that?

One last memento of the girl who'd 'died' when Viktor had turned her…

"Selene…" Fiona said, reaching out to place a hand on her new… 'friend', she supposed was the best term; anyone working with the League on something like this couldn't just be an ally… shoulder, "is this about your family?"

The vampire looked back at Fiona inquiringly, and Fiona continued. "Well, I mean, is the reason you don't want to… you know… because you want to remember the way you were back then?"

Selene just stared at Fiona for a moment, and then, in a gesture so small that it was barely even visible, she nodded once.

Swallowing slightly to prepare herself, Fiona left her hand on Selene's shoulder as she exerted a slight amount of pressure on the vampire's limb, turning Selene to look directly at her.

"I'm not going to tell you how to live your life, Selene," she said, hoping that her words were registering; Selene's expression at the moment was worryingly blank, as though she wasn't fully paying attention to what was going on around her. "I just want you to ask yourself… would they have wanted this?"

Selene opened her mouth, but Fiona held up a hand to stop her. "I don't mean the vampire thing; I'm prepared to excuse something that… complex… to say the least. What I mean is… would they have wanted you to live like this? Emotionally detached, unwilling to get close to anyone because you're worried about forgetting them?"

After a moment had passed, during which Selene failed to say anything in response, Fiona sighed and stood up, walking towards the door of the cabin. As she stepped outside, placing her hand on the door handle, she looked back at Selene.

"Think about it," she said to the vampire. "I doubt they'd hate you for finding love once more."

Then she left the vampire to think on what had just been said.