Disclaimer: Same old, same old – as before.
WARNING: THERE WILL BE BAD LANGUAGE AND VIOLENCE, SO READ AT YOUR OWN PERIL.
All reviews, and constructive criticism, gratefully received – but no flaming please; and I will try to update regularly.
Chapter Six – No Guarantees
They entered the landing and Sky left him to go back downstairs to the others. However, something seemed to be tugging at the back of Lucian's mind and he turned to follow the corridor further along – where he found Uli huddled in a room, crying.
It seemed strange almost, as he felt she wasn't one to give into wild bursts of emotions. She saw him and immediately went to him "It's not fair! It's not!! Why must we always lose those we love?!!"
He picked her up and hugged her to him "hush….its alright, hush now – do you want your mother back here asking awkward questions?"
Her green eyes widened in fear "NONONO! She must not come….I….I cannot tell….I must not tell!!!"
"Hush Uli…come with me" he led her further into the room "perhaps to tell me would be alright, hmm?"
She looked behind her and then sighed "I can't….Lucian, its awful; they will take from me those I love like my own…."
He hugged the little girl "I understand Uli, truly I do."
She hugged him back "I know you lost a loved one too."
"Two loved ones, Sonja was having my baby; but her father had her put to death."
"Her daddy was a very bad man. What happened to him?" Uli frowned.
"Selena killed him when he tried to kill her and Michael."
"Vampires aren't all bad – I like her and Khan."
"Uli, will I or Raze die?"
The little girl stared at the wall behind him "I hope not, but they will not say."
"I see" he nodded in understanding "they think you'll tell me?"
"They know I would, because they also know I love you very much."
"The feeling's mutual." He smiled.
"Do you love my mummy?"
"Sorry?" he was a little taken aback at her forthrightness.
"Do you love my mummy too?"
"Well, I like her a lot – I….think she's a good person." He finished lamely.
Uli smiled as Lucian wiped her tears with his thumbs "grown ups always play games – it makes me laugh."
Lucian grimaced slightly "well I don't mean to; but it's hard for grown ups, we have to be careful."
"Of what?" innocent eyes held his own.
"Of getting hurt; we get hurt too often Uli, it makes us wary of the next time." He admitted.
"I see, but mummy wouldn't hurt you – you been joined."
Lucian did a double take "how do you know about the joining?"
"Grandma told me; so I know mummy would never do anything to make you pain in your heart."
Lucian hugged the little girl "you've got a good heart Uli, your daddy would be very proud of you."
Uli stepped back and stared oddly at him "are you proud of me Lucian?"
The lycan leader looked at her in confusion "of course I am."
"Then that will do – you're as good as any daddy to me."
Lucian could feel the sudden lump in his throat threatening to choke him, so his voice came out more husky than usual "I'm very honoured you should think so much of me Uli, especially as you barely know me."
The little girl patted his chest over his heart "I know you in here very well Lucian; you have a good heart. It reaches out to me and mummy, even if you don't think it does."
She glanced over her shoulder again "the final battle will be very bad – I will have to kill a lot of bad people; so will mummy. We don't like killing, Lucian – I don't want to do it, but they say we must. We have to end the war; to kill the evil amongst the immortals."
"I will be with you, Uli – you and you're mummy; so will Raze, Michael, Selena and Khan and a lot more besides." Lucian tried to reassure her.
"That helps me a little bit, Lucian." She put a small hand on his arm "but promise you will not leave us..."
Lucian closed his eyes "Uli...."
"Promise me....for I do not think mummy and I could stand it if we lost you too...."
The lycan leader sighed "alright – I will do all I can to remain breathing."
Fierce green eyes held his gaze "promise me..."
"I may break it, Uli. I cannot guarantee my life; Fate has its own rules" Lucian tried to reason with the child.
She remained steadfast "promise me Lucian....please!"
He finally capitulated "alright, I promise you I will not die."
"Good; I know you would never break your word. You vowed to avenge your lady, even if it took eternity, and you did it..."
He nodded "I did; but she wouldn't have wished it."
"No" Uli agreed "but you kept your promise to her anyway; and you'll keep yours to me too."
"Your faith in me is both humbling and more than a little frightening" Lucian chuckled.
"I cannot help it – you have a good soul; so bright it makes my eyes hurt. I can't do anything but have utter trust in you." She flung her small arms round his neck and the great lycan leader gathered her close.
"Ah, Uli, Uli – you would squeeze tears from even the most hardened heart."
Uli smiled as she stood back "your heart is not hard; you just think it is."
"I have slaughtered many hundreds over the centuries" Lucian sat on the floor next to her "perhaps even thousands....."
"And me and mummy will kill tens of thousands, Lucian. But it's the way it must be - I only worry about those I might or will lose." She sighed "sometimes fate sucks."
Lucian nodded "indeed it does; yes, indeed it does."
When he went downstairs with the little girl a short while later he heard Sky regaling Raze and some of the others with stories about her childhood; all present were laughing at the antics she got up to with her kindred.
"So you led them all astray did you?" Khan grinned.
"Yes; yes I did - I was most definitely their Alpha female" she nodded with a mischievous smile "and because my Grand-da was the leader he would have no word said against me – I should've been a spoilt brat really.."
"What stopped you?"
"My parents" suddenly all the laughter left her "they didn't like them you see; they took me away......"
"You resented it?" Raze rumbled.
"Yes, so much" she closed her eyes "I wanted to be with those in Ireland; to run wild and free as I always had. But then I suppose if I'd stayed I wouldn't be here now – those that killed them, would've killed me too. You could argue that my parents did me a favour in the long run."
"We all have our paths to follow" Raze nodded solemnly "some are more painful on us than others."
Sky sighed "some tear the hearts right from our bodies and stains our souls with a grief that never really leaves us. Some paths that Fate chooses for us seem too hard to be travelled at all......."
"If that is so" asked a female vampire called Lenore "then what do we do?"
"We take a deep breath and travel them anyway – for, when you truly think about it, what choice do we really have? We have to play the cards we're dealt, right to the end of the game – good hand or bad; all we can do is hope to win the game at the final tally."
"And have you; won the game I mean?"
Sky shook her head "I won't know the answer to that until after the last great battle."
"You mean if you survive?"
"No, I mean if I restore balance, give back order; if I ensure that right and just, conquer the evil we will face – then I am content to say I won in the end. I played a good hand, whether I survive or not. So long as you all prevail, I will be happy."
Lenore rested a hand on her arm "if we have anything to do with it, you will survive right along with us Sky."
"As I said though, Lenore; we have to play the cards Fate deals us – it may not be for me to remain; there are no guarantees."
"Nothing is cast in stone" Lucian said forcefully; striding forward as the others, vampires and lycans alike, fell back. Word had got round that he had claimed Sky, and so few would be willing to risk a challenge. She had gone willingly with him after all, and they'd all seen what she could do when angered; let alone the Alpha male now walking quickly towards her.
"No, the future is fairly uncertain I agree" Sky nodded as he came to her "but I accept the worst that could happen and hope for the best. To do anything else would be foolish; I am many things Lucian, but I am not a fool."
"True, but you do sound defeated – as if your survival doesn't matter; it does. What of Uli? Losing her father and then you? What of......m...the rest of us" he almost said 'me', but checked himself in time. Though he needn't hav, the slip had not gone unnoticed by anyone in the room and only confirmed his earlier actions.
"Once this thing is done, Lucian – no one will have need of me."
He stepped close to her; so near in fact she could feel the heat from his skin – his warm breath on her face as he looked down on her and murmured "there are many who will need you Sky; not least your daughter – or I."
She rested her forehead against his chest and said quietly "with the many I have to kill, Lucian; the thousands I will slaughter – would you really make me live with all that blood on my hands?"
He had a simple answer as his hands came up to hold her gently to him "yes; for I could not be without you."
Sky sighed "then I would not leave you....."