A/N: Hello! Silver Phoenix 117 here, and finally, my first story is ready to be uploaded! I appreciate reviews, and, as all we authors say, 'All you have to do is push that pretty little blue button at the bottom of the page!' It takes 5 seconds minimum, and it can help so much to improve a story. Hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer: I do not own any of Amelia Atwater-Rhodes' characters, nor do I own her vampiric world. All characters that have not been mentioned in her books are mine, and if you wish to use them, please ask for my permission, and I'm pretty sure that I'll gladly give it. Hey, if you like them that much, it must mean that they're good, and that makes me happy! --

New York City, August 17th

Pain… what an interesting sensation. To her, it felt better than sorrow… or grief. The blade sliced through her pale skin, leaving a fine trail of blood in its wake. She narrowed her eyes at the blooming crimson on her wrist. Yes… that coppery feeling, a feeling of power. She wielded that power over herself.

"And what good is that going to do you this night?" A female voice broke through the silence surrounding the small group of kids in the empty apartment. The city lived on outside of the rotting walls of the old building, but inside… it was their own world, their world. Her dark blue eyes rose to meet fiery green ones.

"Leave her alone Whitney. She should have the right to cut herself if she wants." This voice was male. It belonged to a boy, of about eighteen years of age; his light blue eyes went perfectly with shaggy, sun-bleached blond hair. His skin was tan, perfect without blemishes, other than numerous scars that criss-crossed over his bare chest. His blue-jeans were torn and baggy, but the look suited his rugged appearance.

"If she gets blood poisoning then, don't come to me asking for help." This girl looked like a fifteen year-old, but her matronly eyes declared her as the boss in this place. Her snapping green eyes went with her blazing red hair with unchallenged harmony; she would never be able to betray her Irish heritage with those looks.

"The blade's new. She cleaned it in alcohol too."

"Where the hell did she get straight alcohol from?" Whitney nodded over to the empty plastic container lying near the open fist of a seventeen year-old boy with dark hair; he was apparently unconscious. A girl of sixteen lay on his muscular chest, clad in a black sweatshirt; salty tears ran down her eyes, as her fingertips traced his jaw line.

"Grocery store; how the hell should I know? I just know that Cameron's knocked himself out with the rest of it, and Lily's trying to wake him up with her tears, even though she knows that he loves booze more than her."

"Lily…," Whitney let her gaze trail to the duo, leaving the dark blue-eyed beauty at peace. The boy looked at her, letting his friend move to go and persuade the other girl to leave the unconscious male to his drunken dreams.

"Phoenix, you're bleeding. Let me get that cut cleaned up." Her nearly midnight eyes lowered black to the blood that was slowly dripping down to her hand.

"You do not need to worry. I shall be fine." Her voice was soft, comforting, nearly, in the harsh environment of the lower parts of New York City. His hand trailed to her pale cheek, brushing aside tendrils of rich, dark chocolate hair.

"I can't help but worry about you. You've scared me since Evan—." Her eyes now aflame shut his mouth for him.

"Do not speak of him."

"Phoenix… just because—." She dropped the blade from her hand and let her pale fingers ensnare his throat. He reached up to take her wrist in his hands and nodded gently. "Alright," he said as she released him. "Just don't hurt yourself too badly… please?"

A small trace of a smile warmed her full, ruby lips. "I won't, Darren…. Be at peace." He opened his arms for her, leaning back against the wall. She moved over from her perch on a wooden crate and slid onto his lap and into his warm embrace. Darren smiled softly into her dark mane and gently pulled her around so that she lay against his chest. He tilted her head up to his, her eyes glassy with fatigue.

He gently kissed her cheek, snuggling her against his body. "Sleep Phoenix; rest." She slowly let her eyes drift shut, the razor blade forgotten, the forming scar lost to dreams. If morning came for her, than she would think about it then, but another day was never guaranteed in the life that they led.


Flame… the word slipped into her dreams, slowly bringing her to reality. Smoke, was her next thought. Her eyes snapped open and met the blaze with even more ferocity. She was still his in his arms, his hand splayed on her hip, his hair mingling with hers. She shoved out of his arms and tried to shake him awake, all the while aware that flames were licking the room around her.

"Darren, Darren!" She didn't have enough strength… either that, or Darren was already unconscious in the hazy smoke surrounding them. It was getting hot… unbearably hot. She shook harder. "Darren!" she cried desperately now. She couldn't lose him too. He was the only one who understood… the only one. The others knew what had happened… but not entirely so. Darren had been there with her. He knew.

He wasn't waking. She would never be able to get him out of there. She wasn't strong enough to bear his weight. She could hardly bear her own at this point. She was coughing in the smoke, flames burning ever nearer. She stood anyways, forgetting what Whitney had told her about fires in the city. Grabbing Darren's limp arms she pulled with all of her might, amounting to nothing.

She dropped to the floor where the air was slightly less smoke-filled. The others were gone. She knew not where. Cameron had probably woken from after drinking the alcohol that she'd stolen from the store a few blocks away; he would have wanted more, of course, and he'd have tugged Whitney and Lily after him.

"Darren!" she shrieked, now waking entirely, forgetting about everything but him and the fire surrounding them. Her thoughts raced as she pulled him away from the wall that would soon be demolished by the burning crimson fire. Window… they were on the second story of the building. They could make it through the fall, she was sure of it. She was most concerned about Darren though. He wasn't waking up.

The smoke was drowning her now, as well as the flames. She managed to drag him over to the window, where she could make out the street below. There were sirens blaring in the distance, but the roar of the flames kept her from determining their distance.

The room was a blur now… she could hardly make out the window. Jammed… the memory came to her….

"Damn it is fucking hot in here!" Evan smiled as Cameron complained, glaring at the window. He held her in his arms, her legs between his as she tilted her head back against his chest to look up into those gorgeous brown eyes. He planted a soft kiss on her nose, making her laugh and smile.

"Open the window then," Evan said, turning her around in his arms so that he could kiss her properly now. His hands found their way above her hips and slid underneath her black tank top, making her shiver has his tongue delved into her mouth, claiming her as his.

She distantly heard Cameron struggle with the window. The door opened and the sound of dropping grocery bags whispered by her ear above Evan's voice as he kissed her neck and licked her collarbone, again making her laugh.

"The window's jammed, Cam." That would be Whitney's voice… she mused, struggling to keep herself from shaking as Evan found her bra snap. "Would you two get a room before I barf?" she asked impatiently. She could imagine Whitney standing with her hands on her hips, cross and irritable.

"Sounds like someone's a little PMS-tic, wouldn't you say, Phoenix?" Evan smiled as he lifted his head and stopped kissing her. Cameron and Whitney couldn't see what he was doing underneath her shirt though. She buried her head in Evan's shoulder as his hands played with her breasts, making her shiver under his touch.

"I am not PMS-tic, as you so poetically put it! C'mon Cameron, before I'm sick. We can sneak into some ass's pool if you're that hot."

The two others left the room that all six of them shared for the time being. She managed to tilt her head up to look at Evan. He smiled and nuzzled her cheek with his like a lovesick puppy. "Well…now that we're alone…."

Jammed, the window was jammed. She frantically looked for anything that would break the glass. The fire was screaming with her mind now, disorienting her with its deadly song. She was growing so tired… weak. She could hardly stand, and yet she knew that she had to get out of there with Darren.

A sharp, cracking sound above her head banished the memory and all thoughts of escaping. She looked up to see the beams of the ceiling caving in, snapping in half under the pressure of the fire. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion now. The beam split and fell as flames spattered across the room, embers landing on her skin and burning without the sensation. It hit her back, thrusting her away from the window and all chances of escape. Embers that were scorching the floor sprang up as if alive, spraying into her unprotected eyes when the beam clattered to the floor. The pain was there, but she couldn't feel it directly. She felt as if she were out of her body, looking over in spirit-form as she relived her death.

Sirens jolted her back into her body as swiftly as the beam that was now burning into the floor and her back had fallen. The pain was gone… she couldn't see anything that was more than a foot from her face, searing her delicate skin. It was all a haze of crimson fire that was encasing her in deathly warmth, except…. now she saw a shadow of black. It looked like another person was there… but her mind was leaving, beaten back by the smoke.

The beam was thrust away, but she didn't feel the relief of pressure. Arms wrapped around her as she was lifted from the ground, but she couldn't sense the touch. Eyes looked down into hers as her own drifted slowly shut, but all she saw was black before her blurred vision until everything became nothing, and she slipped into blissful unconsciousness.