Regalo Gift

a fan fiction written by Ryuko Ishida

Ryuko: Wow... it's been what? 5 months? I apologize to those who have been waiting for an update. University has been hell and finals don't really help, you know? Anyways, I'll shut up to let you read the chapter.

And yes... I've changed the title of the story since 'Christmas Gift', really, does not sound good. (And that hasn't been my most favorite title in the first place.) By the way, regalo in Italian (and apparently in Spanish, too) means gift.

DISCLAIMER: 'The Silver Kiss' does not belong to me.

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From Last Chapter:

Trying to ignore the heat that had slyly crept towards her cheeks and failing to do so, Zoë said while turning her head in another way, "why don't we take my idea instead?" She grabbed one of his cold hands and stuffed their locked fists into her coat side pocket.

"There. Now we can both be warm," she told him. Simon couldn't object to that, and he gave her a smile to acknowledge his agreement to her suggestion. Thus, in that manner, the couple began their way again.

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Chapter Eight: Dangerous Wish

The remaining way back to Zoë's residence was a quiet one – not that it had bothered either of them, as their relaxed pace and tiny smiles suggested. All too soon, the two-story house was within their sight and the couple suddenly found themselves at the doorstep, with the yellowish alarm light flickered on to signal their arrival.

"Thanks for such a wonderful night," Zoë turned to face him.

"You're just saying that for my sake, aren't you?" His silky voice was in a teasing tone, but a faint hint of seriousness was intertwined skillfully within. "It can't be that wonderful if I've managed to upset you and made you cry."

"I wasn't upset," she quickly protested in a defensive manner, but her gaze hastily darted downwards. "And I'm sorry that I've brought the whole thing up when..."

"Hush," he gently silenced her nervous stutters with a finger on her soft lips. "You have the right to know about it – my past – so don't apologize for things that are not your fault." Simon had lowered himself so that his eyes were leveled with hers.

"It's late. You should get in," he suggested, and was about to kiss her good night on her forehead when she slyly evaded – only to plant a light kiss on his lips. It was quick and swift, and left him wanting more. He tried to tame the wild desire within his teenage, raging hormone-driven body and grinned while fighting these internal urges. "You just can't get enough of me, huh?"

"I guess so," Zoë smiled sheepishly, and her fight against the incoming surge of flush was losing – if the faint rose color on her cheeks were any indication. Instead of encouraging the uncomfortable temperature to stay, the dark-haired female looked towards the velvet black sky, and sighed. For once, Simon – who was usually fairly good at reading his companion as they began to spend more time with each other – couldn't start to guess the meaning of Zoë's release of breath. This frustrated him – surprisingly so – though his facial expression would never show. He wanted nothing more than to understand what she was thinking – not so that he could predict her actions and words in order to prepare himself but so that he could make sure his strides and hers were always in sync.

"What's wrong?" His tone was of pure curiosity – nothing probing or cautious.

"I don't want to go in yet," she explained, her gaze at the heaven never wavered. The thick blanket of clouds that had hung limply during the earlier part of the evening had miraculously dissipated, revealing an endless horizon of smooth black satin and speckles of star dust sparkling politely back at the inhabitants of Earth. The sight had momentarily mesmerized her, not only because of the undecipherable patterns of constellations but also because of the hypnotizing shade of the sky – the cool, crisp onyx that highly resembled the color of a certain someone's eyes.

And that certain someone's onyx-shade eyes just happened to be looking at her – a sliver of amusement danced across the depths. Zoë quickly lowered her head; Simon laughed.

"What about the curfew that your father had set up?"

"I don't have curfews," she announced defensively, casting her boyfriend a dark look as all traces of embarrassment evaporated into the thin air. "They're for kids." This statement caused no reaction on Simon's part: his smile was still there, and it grew upon seeing Zoë's pout at his teasing words.

"Regardless, I did promise your father that I'll bring you back by midnight. He's probably wondering where I had kidnapped you at this very moment." Zoë wasn't having any of it; she ignored his words and quietly folded herself on to the chilly stone steps. Her frail body couldn't avoid shuddering as the sudden sharp cold shot up her spine.

"So stubborn," Simon shook his head in mock disapproval, ruffled her hair playfully, but followed her example anyway as he sat beside her warm form. He embraced her wordlessly with his capable arms, rubbing gently to keep her warm. Neither spoke for some time; it was getting easier by the minute – this friendly, faithful silence. They were at a point when no words needed to be exchanged.

"Sometimes," her soft voice was hesitant, almost as if she was afraid to break the fragile glass of silence. "I just wish things could stay the way they are right now." Simon looked down at her, and saw with slight dismay that her eyes were not meeting his; they were staring at the fidgeting fingers in her lap. He wasn't sure where this conversation would be going, so he waited for her to continue.

"Any slight changes will result in such unpredictable consequences – it scares me a little, especially in these few weeks," she chuckled nervously, internally shivered as she proceeded into her next confession. "I can never seem to picture myself in the near future, you know, when mom could be..." she paused with a shuddered breath, and closed her eyes to go on, "or you could be gone..." The silver-haired vampire, whose initial expression of amusement during their earlier banter had entirely disappeared, now transformed from mere curiosity to an ancient grief that carved painfully, yet at the same time beautifully, on his pale face.

"Be careful of what you wish for, Zoë," his tone was blend and distant, almost cold. "If things were to stay the same as of today till the end of time, what of you mother then?" Beneath his thin layer of clothing, he could feel her tensed up at his words as it struck a cruel realization into her mind. Subconsciously, Simon rubbed the small of her back; with some success, he felt her posture gradually relaxed against him again.

"You're right." He instantly regretted using that tone with her as her next words dripped with a mixture of pain, self-blame and embarrassment for being so thoughtless that should not be familiar to such a young girl. "She would be tortured by cancer forever. She'd never be able to withstand it, and neither would I."

"No, you wouldn't," his voice now rendered emotionless, and when he was sure that all of her previous shaking had seized, he stood up briskly, all movements smooth and flawless. "And what of you?" he stole a glance at Zoë, who was still motionless on the steps, her eyes still evading from his. "Are you really willing to spend an eternity with me? I know your feelings for me right now is very real, but what about fifty years later? A century later?"

His volume was rising with leakage of feelings but it never startled her being; it only added invisible weight into her already overloading soul. "You might get sick of me – you'll regret the decision you've made when you were just a child..."

"Stop it!" She shot up in a blur, fists at her side and they couldn't stop themselves from shaking – either with rage or with fear, or perhaps some unknown sentiments, Simon really couldn't tell at this point. Her reactions were – that was to say – too unpredictable, especially for a human. "Stop treating me like an ignorant kid, all right?"

There was no denying now: her voice was shrill – with traces of hysterics and wildness – so foreign even to herself that she had trouble believing it was her who was speaking. "You know what I want, above all things, Simon. You know it," her last three words trickled with plead. She reached out, feeling braver all of a sudden – probably from her outburst that somewhat relieved some of the earlier weight – and attempted to grasp his hands, wanting his reassurance – no, needing it.

"Don't you understand?" He let her held his hand, pale and cold that defined his status but he made no attempt to look at her in the eye this time. "By being with you, I'm also putting you in danger." For a short second, Zoë's face expressed confusion. He looked at her briefly before facing her properly, taking her two, warm hands and caged them within his bigger, cooler ones.

He let his breath out slowly. "All this time, I'm trying to protect you from myself. You have no idea how difficult and frustrated it is to be so close to you and not..." He glanced at her neck to make up the silent words; just the thought of that warm, ruby sweetness was plenty of enough to make Simon swallowed hard.

"If it's so hard for you, turn me into what you are," Zoë replied in a small but calm voice, looking down at their linked hands. Once more, her suggestion surprised Simon. Didn't she know what she was getting herself into? He almost wished he could whack some sense into this girl he loved so damn much; it was that, or he could always walk out of this train wreck before it was irreversible for the both of them.

"What – a monster?" He laughed bitterly; the sound was so remote that it chilled her skin and bones as if ice-cold water had seeped its way through her hot blood.

"No – a vampire," her voice was still sensibly composed.

"Never," he retorted sharply. Simon could see that the persistent girl was about to say something but he cut her off cleanly. "Do you actually want to be a damned creature that has to feed off humanity and their fear and live by darkness for all eternity? Is that what you wish to become?"

"If it means I can stay with you," she remained firm on this discussion. Why was he not surprise by this?

"What about your family?" He intended to at least force her to think over her rash decision twice. When it came to this – her safety – this three-century-old vampire was almost as stubborn as his human girlfriend, if not more. "Your father – he'll realize at some point that his daughter has not aged in years, and we can't risk revealing our identity if humans take special notice of us. You'll have to leave your family and friends behind. Are you willing to sacrifice all that just so that you can be with a vampire?" His tone on the last word reflected disgust, and she knew it was aimed at himself, at what he was.

Still, it didn't make it any easier. What Simon said – she realized while biting her lip in forced silence – made so much sense that she had a hard time trying to find a good enough comeback for the argument. His expression softened.

"You'll get over it eventually," Simon told her in a lighter tenor. "You are, after all, human. Without exception, you will forget through passage of time." Zoë didn't like the peaceful features on his face – no, it wasn't that she didn't like it. It was more like she didn't like the reason behind that triggered this reaction – his thought that she would lose her memory of him to time. Did he really think that little of her?

"You know I won't," she muttered grumpily.

"We'll see, won't we?" He smiled down at her and took her hand, leading her to the door. "Now be good and go in. Your father must be worried sick."

Almost grudgingly, she murmured an unwilling 'goodnight', ready to turn around to open the door when the light touch of his hand lingering on her cheek stopped her.

"Goodnight, Zoë," he stepped back and retrieved his burning hand to see her in.

---o-----O-----o---

When he noticed that same presence around him from earlier, Simon was on his way back to his temporary home – a small, rundown studio that he made sure there was as little sunlight as possible that could reach in. The man who was in charge of the renting had looked at him a bit strangely then, about a week ago when Simon used the little money he earned in one of those one-time-only jobs to rent the place, since people would prefer sunlight more than anything. But it wasn't his job to ask, nor was he entirely interested in what this young defiant punk was thinking, so he accepted the payment with a shrug.

"Who's there?" He bit out sharply, his hunter instincts snapped on to their fullest extend. It might have been his imagination, but he was sure that a ghostly chuckle replied his question.

"Hello, Simon," that voice, undeniably musical and feminine, greeted with familiarity.

"It's you," he was taken aback when he realized who it was as a petite figure appeared out of the shadow. He was troubled by this seemingly familiar acquaintance with this young woman, both back at the bar and at this very moment. Something about the way she moved so fluidly and gracefully and the expressions when she was playing the black and white instrument seemed to strike him in more than one way. Her melodies sifted through some past memories of his distant human life. Yet, he couldn't exactly pinpoint who she was. "You're the pianist from the bar – Nicholas, right?"

"It's Nicky," she corrected him automatically. She was now standing in front of the slightly stunned Simon. Her black hair was still untamed, the silver earring dangling from her ears sparkled with a knowing gleam and even though she was still wearing the tasteful spaghetti-strapped dress in November, she wasn't shaking one bit. A small smile was playing along her full lips and eyes – which, now that Simon finally took notice, was a tone of wine-burgundy.

Simon merely nodded, half-wondering why she was telling him what he assumed to be her nickname.

"How did you know my name?" He didn't remember introducing himself when he made a song request in the bar earlier that night.

"You really don't recognize me?" Her excited tone was dampened a little, but it quickly surfaced back up as her expression brightened up once more. "Well, I guess I should've expected that. After all, we haven't seen each other for... how long has it been now? It must've been about three hundred years."

As Simon contemplated these words in his head, an image – fuzzy like an old photograph at first, but colors and lines slowly strengthened it in the back of his mind – was forming, bringing him back years and years when he was still a human, back to the time when he was still a youngster, free from all the troubles of the black, black world.

He was about fifteen then, a bit shorter than his current state and the rounder cheeks indicated essence of an innocent child, and he was standing beside a grand piano forte. The instrument was a smooth, creamy wood, with elaborate carvings on its huge body. Sitting at the keyboard on a matching stool was a younger girl, probably two or three years his junior, with black, slightly curled hair in two loose braids and short bangs that almost reached her soft, brown eyes. She gave him a goofy grin before wiggling in her seat to a more comfortable position; Simon chuckled silently at this.

Next thing he knew, colorful notes were flowing, surrounding them with friendly breeze that embraced their being. It was tranquil as he watched, with fascination, the way her fingers danced across the long stage and when he looked back up to her face, he saw with equal cheerfulness that a delighted smile lighted up her face.

"Nicky!" His normally collected voice was disbelieved and lying beyond that was the recognition screaming from the past.

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Ryuko: Hope that wasn't too confusing... or boring. Please comment to tell me how I'm doing. And thank you for those who've taken their time to read and comment on this story.

On a side note, I hope you guys won't mind me putting in an original character. It spiced up the story a bit. And just to give you a heads up, the next chapter would be a slight background of Nicholas Cross.