A/N: Hey, everyone. Thanks for all the reviews and emails. I really appreciate it! Hey, do me a favor and check out the stories from my good twin, RestlessDreamingSpirit. She's really awesome, and she's my twin…so I offered to promote reviewing her stories. I'm happy though since I get to be the evil twin. How cool is that?! Well, thanks, and I'm sorry about my mess up with the new moon and full moon thing with Marun. Really, he only transforms on new moons which is when there isn't a moon present in the night sky, but I made a typo in the last chapter. Sorry about that. I don't like to check the chapter which probably makes me a bad person, but it takes too long… :'( And I already take to long to update, right? I'm sorry about that too. I'll try to make deadlines…I'll post my deadlines on my profile page if you'd want to check it out. LOVE YOU GUYS! Oh, and to my beta, you're lazy. Why don't you start checking my stories for a change? Huh?
"So, Marun, if you were a mutineer against your brother, I guessing this means Dymtri has more children?" Marun held up one finger just before it transformed into another paw. "Just one other?" Marun nodded as his snout altered. I looked to Aluxin.
"Is he going to be alright?" I asked concerned for Marun as he changed slowly. Aluxin hauled Marun into my bedroom where he plopped the little wolf's body on the comforter with ease. I sat in an armchair to keep me from falling in shock. Aluxin sat in an armchair beside my own and tugged me over to his lap. I obeyed, and blinked down at him.
"He's really Dymtri's kid…What happened?" I questioned. He sighed.
"Marun was exiled. That's it. He ended up at my gates one day, and I agreed to shelter him if he provided us with information from the other side."
"How old is he?"
"Nine, I think." I smiled at him.
"I have a little sister whose eight. He reminds me of her."
"I hope not. Does your sister have a wolf tail?" he asked jokingly. I looked down at his hands wrapped around me.
"Aluxin," I whispered. "Let me see." I turned his hands over in my own, but he withdrew them and averted his eyes. I caught a glimpse of the remaining crucifix shaped scars on his palms. "Are there no ways to heal that?" He didn't answer. I leaned over, put my head against his own, and smiled. I put a hand on his cold cheek and he smiled at the warmth in my skin. "Are you thirsty?" I asked playfully, trying to lighten up the extremely somber mood. He raised an eyebrow at me.
"Are you offering?" he questioned.
"Would it stop you if I wasn't?" I asked sarcastically.
"Ah,"he said and gave it a moment's consideration, "probably not now that you brought it up."
"Then, yes. I suppose I am offering." I sighed. He smirked a very toothy smile and I held up a finger. "On one condition."
"What condition?" he asked, warily. I jumped up off his lap and stood in front of him.
"You have to find me first." I paused. "Now close your eyes! Count to…fifty."I instructed and darted off in his bedroom when he finally shut his crimson eyes firmly. I had no doubt he'd find me, what with his vampire powers and such. But thinking about that took away from the fun, so I shoved that strand of thoughts to the back of my mind.
"Forty-nine…Fifty." announced Aluxin, before the chair he sat in gave off a sound that he had risen from it. I shut my eyes, almost unbearably tight, as I hid in a luggage rack cubby that lined the ceiling.
"I wonder where she could be…Raven? … Raven?" I heard Aluxin call teasingly. I attempted to stifle my seemingly loud breathing, but I soon found a pale hand sliding along the edge of the cubby. It fumbled around some baggage, bidding its time, before resting on my ankle. His cold hand tickled pleasantly as it slid along my calf, knee, and then my thigh. Suddenly, his other hand caught my leg as well and tugged me down abruptly. I gasped loudly, and fell heavily into his arms. He smiled smugly, then lowered my feet to the ground. The hungry look in his eyes made me wary, and I fleetingly wondered if this was such a good idea as my back hit the wall. He pressed against me as he bent over my exposed neck as he soothed me by caressing my cheek with a chilling hand. I dismissed my doubts, and he grazed my neck will his teeth. He didn't bite, and I glanced at him with appraising confusion. What was he doing? He smirked at me suavely, then dropped his mouth to the collar hem of my shirt where he slowly dug his fangs into the skin just above it, and my eyes widened. I felt overwhelmed as the shocks from the bite settled over my limbs as ripples of intense pleasure. My eyes almost rolled into the back of my head before I unexpected collapsed. He caught me and stopped early. I knew he hadn't drank enough since it had only been a few seconds since he'd started. I flattened myself to the floor and urged him to finish as I tugged down my shirt a little, revealing some cleavage. Aluxin smiled and positioned himself over me as he finished feeding. Now, as I writhed under him, I noted this feeling as one of the benefits of marrying a vampire. Aluxin pressed himself closer so I couldn't move so ably because moving made it harder for him to get the blood into his mouth and not onto my shirt. When he finished, he smirked down at me with irresistible charm. I peered back up at him, then kissed his cheek sweetly before crawling out from under him. I fixed my shirt and watched him as he paced away into my bedroom, presumably to check on Marun. He came back out of the doorway with a frown on his face and there was a question hanging in his eyes.
He met my eyes and his frown deepened before glancing back at the bedroom that was hosting Marun.
"Raven?" he called softly, meeting my eyes with pleading, "Do you think…when we get married…" he trailed off, uncertain of how to ask.
"Just spit it out." I coaxed encouragingly.
"After we're wed, would you mind…if we...adopt Marun?" he asked, his eyes boring into my own with an intense edge. I smiled warmly, and replied, "Really? Oh my god, yes!"
I jumped up and down excitedly, and hugged Aluxin tightly before I noticed a tiny wolf pad out of my bedroom warily from my view over Aluxin's shoulder. I squealed, and ran over Marun who was a little cautious of my overwhelming delight. I squatted down, and petted Marun softly and gently. Marun licked my hand affectionately, and I looked over at Aluxin who was now standing with his arms crossed a few feet away observing.
He rolled his eyes at me, amused, and said, "You're easily excited." I nodded. Marun made a little howl, and I jumped as Aluxin snickered. "And easily scared."
"Oh, shut up." I muttered, "What's Marun thinking?" Aluxin closed his eyes to concentrate studiously, and I waited as patiently as I could. Though I couldn't mask some of the bored sighs I let out. I noticed Aluxin peek an eye open when I sighed too loudly.
"Patience." He scolded, then closed his eyes again.
"I'm mortal. I don't have all the time in the world like you, Aluxin." I admonished back.
"Werewolves are almost impossible to read, mind you. I'm only slightly able to read Marun's thoughts because he's so inexperience at guarding his mind."
He continued, "He's thinking you're insane."
I opened my mouth in protest, "No, he isn't! Aluxin!"
" Alright, alright." He said soothingly, "He's trying to guess what's got you so excited. And, where we're headed to." With that, I plucked Marun's tiny, furry form from the floor and sat down with him settled on my lap as I petted him lightly. Marun stared at me then titled his head with wide, glistening, wolf eyes. I stared over at Aluxin who was sitting down in a nearby chair leisurely for interpretation.
"He's wondering why you're human. He's never seen one before, and Vampire only marry vampires."
Oh, didn't know how to answer that one…
"Marun," I started. "I have no idea." Honestly, I don't know why I'm human. I mean, who does? I could have been as easily born a rock or squirrel, right? And, Aluxin married me only to sway his mother's control.
"I did not." Aluxin suddenly commented, startling me.
"Huh?" I said, confused.
"I did not only marry you to rid myself of my mother. I could have easily killed her."
That thought made me smile, which Aluxin noted with a smirk, and I quickly dispersed the thought of setting Theodora out in the sunlight in order to burn to death.
"Then why?" I asked, curious.
"I enjoy your company over all, I suppose."
"And I'm not under your mother's orders?" I added with a roll of my eyes. He's such a liar. That's the only reason he's ever gave me for this marriage—He doesn't want to be puppeted my his own mother.
"No. Technically, you are under her orders."
"What?" I said shrilly, then began my protests of mortification.
"You listened when she instructed you to feed me, remember? I recall you obeying her then." he informed seriously. "And there were other ladies present who despised my mother almost as much as I. I could have chosen one of them."
"Why didn't you?" I asked, curiosity digging into me.
"Are you listening? I said I enjoy your company most. Isn't that enough reason?" he asked.
I sighed, and Marun howled louder. I looked sharply at Aluxin for another translation.
"Thank you for your opinion, Marun." Aluxin said, deliberately sarcastic. Marun tumbled off my lap purposely and strode over to Aluxin. Marun pranced around his feet then Marun bit into the hem of Aluxin's black pant leg, causing Aluxin to lean forward to peer down at Marun with interest. "Oh, really? You think so?"
"What's he saying?" I demanded.
"He called me rude things I'd rather not repeat. It seems he's acquired a dirty mouth." Aluxin said, quite amused yet slightly offended. He tapped Marun on the top of his head between his wolf ears, now stiff and vertical for alert hearing, "Marun, I'm not an asshole..." Aluxin paused. "I heard that."
"I'm going to sleep." I announced, then pushed myself out of the chair before slipping into my bedroom with exhaustion piling on me. I flopped onto the bed's smooth surface, and without covering up or changing, fell asleep within seconds. I was surprised to be able to fall asleep since I could still hear the two in the main room, if that's what you could call it, name calling and debating.
"Marun, I am marrying for love…stop, I'm not an ass. No, I'm not kidding. I mean it. I do love her. Did you just call me stupid? I know she's a mortal. Sssh, she's sleeping. I don't want her to hear us." I heard Aluxin, his voice decrementing so I couldn't hear after that point. I was barely awake while this was all going on, but I smiled to myself nonetheless and wished that I wasn't so tired that I had dreamed that.
I was awoke by a sudden disconcerting feeling, and I found myself in Aluxin's arms as he set me under the covers of my bed. I wrapped an arm around his neck, and he looked a little startled as I pulled his face down to mine and gave him a kiss before turning over to get comfortable to go back to sleep. I felt something fall onto the mattress, then fur slid across my upper arm, which was unprotected since it was outside the sheets and comforter. My mind alarmed for a second, and then I realized it was Marun. I peeked an eye open, and the small wolf was pacing in a circle before resting in a ball next to my head.
"'Night, Marun." I whispered and added a "Good night, Aluxin." I heard my door squeak open, and my warily called, "Aluxin?"
"Hmm?" I heard him respond from the doorway.
"…sleep here." I muttered softly, but Aluxin could still hear me. Vampire powers are useful, I thought. I'd never have to yell again, which means no sore throats. I mentally laughed at the irony of that—no sore throats…unless you count getting your throat bitten. Aluxin came back into the room, shutting my door behind him, and climbed into my bed on the opposite side.
"Sweet dreams." He whispered to me before I fell asleep without my usual restlessness.
"Morning, Raven." Called a cute, boyish voice. I rolled over in response, and muttered, "it's really night, isn't it?"
"Yes, but it's traditional for humans to wake up to 'good morning.' That's what Aluxin said."
I sat up on my elbows, rubbed my eyes, and swung my feet out of the silky, welcoming bed.
"When did you change back?" I asked curiously, noticing Marun in his human form.
"While you and Aluxin were asleep. I only transform on the night of a new moon, when there is no moonlight, since I'm of royal blood. So, while it turned morning, Aluxin had to sleep and you as well."
"Is Aluxin awake?" I asked groggily, stumbling along.
"Yes. He's outside." Marun informed cheerily.
"Outside?" I echoed with dread. I'm home…back to my normal town, family, but, at least, I don't have to worry about work. Marun nodded and made a concerned face, which was adorable with his wide eyes and little pout.
"Do you not like it here, Raven?" he asked while grabbing my hand to pull me to the stoop of the stairs leading from the door to the plane to the landing strip outside. Aluxin was standing outside, thought it was night, it was unusually windy, and his hair slapped around his face. Marun pounded off the stairs, jumping the handrail and making me gasp in alarm. I forget, you know, that this kid could jump off the empire state building and walk away unscathed. I sighed, and Aluxin snickered, obviously aware of my evident worry. I stood at the top of the plane stairs, still a little nervous, after watching Marun jump over the rail and land safely on both feet unharmed. I started down more slowly now that I almost had a heart attack caused by Marun. Aluxin suddenly shifted locations with a mischievous smirk, then Marun smiles up at me from the landing strip before calling out, "Raven! Jump! Try it."
I gave Marun a horrified look as I leaned over the edge of the handrail to peer down at him from the top step of the plane stairs.
"Are you crazy?" I criticized. "I'd die. I'm like up thirty feet!" I stood up there scoffing at his attempts to get me to jump off. Suddenly, Aluxin picked me up bridal style and flung us both off the top edge of the staircase. I took one look, closed my eyes, and clung to Aluxin's neck for dear life. When I felt the reverberation of our landing jolt us, I felt safer. I squirmed until I was set on my feet, then scowled at them both. I almost had two heart attacks. They laughed together—Aluxin's melodic, dark chuckle and Marun's light, sharp, almost angelic giggle. I sighed gustily at both of them. This is what I get first thing in the morning…I'm going to die by the end of today with the both of them in such high spirits.
"Master Aluxin," Marun said in his childish tone, "Where are we going?" Aluxin glanced down then ruffled Marun's hair so it flew every which way in a disheveled style. Aluxin looked to me for the answer, and I wasn't very knowledgeable myself since I was stuttering quite a bit, "Well…uh….um….Should we go to my place first?"
"Lead the way." Aluxin instructed me with a dramatic flourish of a bow in an 'after you' gesture. Marun clamored beside me, grabbing my hand to keep up, and I stalked out of the private airport without interruption. I waited, leaning on the exterior of a limo, for Aluxin to return with our luggage. We'd apparently have to get Marun clothes to wear later since his outfit was less than inconspicuous among normal people. Moreover, I'm convinced you needed a license to carry hidden weapons and bullets, and we'd have to veto that holster too. Marun caught me staring down at him, observing his outfit, and he stared innocently back with large glistening eyes.
"You know, Marun…you're freaking adorable." I commented, smiling down at him. He shifted his bullet holster, then ducked under it as he slid it off over his head.
"So I've been told." Marun joked, giving me a toothy smile causing his large eyes to squint. I patted his head, fixing his hair so it wasn't all over the place, and he looked down at his outfit with disgust. "I want to change." He announced, and I informed him that I'd take him shopping. Until then, he had to deal with his ensemble, which he didn't look too excited about enduring. Aluxin strolled out of the sliding doors of the private airport with his hands full of bulging suitcases, probably weighing enough to kill a normal human if dropped, without the slightest effort visible. He loaded them in the trunk of the limo despite my vehement offers to help him. Finished, he grabbed my hand, causing me to jump in surprise, which in turn made him laugh. We both slid into the back seat while signaling to the driver as Marun hopped inside also. Fifteen minutes into the ride, Aluxin spoke:
"Marun…would you like to…well, if…"
"What is it, Master Aluxin? I've never seen you stumble over your words before."
"What," I intervened, giving Aluxin an amused look, "Aluxin is trying to say is—Would you like us to adopt you?" Marun, I'm afraid, looked dead. He stopped breathing, didn't move, not even to blink, and he looked petrified. I leaned towards him and experimentally waked a hand in front of his face to confirm that he was alive. He blinked, and his large eyes shifted over to look blankly at me.
"Marun?" I whispered gently.
"REALLY!?" he suddenly screamed, making Aluxin and I jolt in surprise at his abrupt outburst of energy, "PLEASE!...I mean, would you do that, Master Aluxin? Mistress Raven?"
I smiled warmly before nodding, and Aluxin agreed before Marun launched himself at me, catching his tiny arms around my neck in a hug. Marun withdrew a minute to look in my eyes as he asked excitedly, "Does this mean you're my mom now?" That never struck me fully…I was going to be his mother. I looked over at Aluxin, slightly out of consciousness as I thought this all out.
"You realize, Marun, that'd we have to have your biological father's permission?" reminded Aluxin calmly. Marun glanced over at Aluxin a little forlornly before returning his attention back to me, waiting for an answer.
"Of course." I responded and he hugged me again before settling in the seat beside Aluxin, and peering up at him with his usual charming eyes. Aluxin sighed, then said exhaustedly, "Yes, that means I'm your father then." Marun hiked up on the seat and hugged Aluxin, a tad bit more formally than me. Marun, by the end of the car ride, was calm and composed. I relayed all directions to the driver, and the limo driver actually delivered us to my apartment in record time. Aluxin grabbed the luggage as I lead Marun to my apartment door while raking my memory to remember if I had cleaned it before I left or not. Thankfully, I had. I could tell my the sight of the uncluttered living room which was usually covered in blankets and magazines, though now spotless, that I had straightened it up beforehand. Aluxin tossed the suitcases in an empty coat closet, and I dialed pizza delivery. Compared to the grandeur of the castle and its inhabitants, my place seemed insufferably boring in character. Not really anything interesting to do, but I suppose it'll have to do for now. I ordered some pizzas, expecting them both to eat mortal food as well. They could, couldn't they, I thought vaguely.
"Yes." Aluxin commented moodily with a defensive glare. "We can."
"Oh" I was all I said before sifting through my dresser for something Marun could change into. Hot breath hit the back of my neck, and I glanced sideways to see Aluxin observing me almost touching me.
"I need to leave, will you be alright?" He whispered against my neck, trying to be secretive since he didn't Marun to overhear from the living room. I knew he was mentioning his plan to sneak back to Dymtri's headquarters without any backup.
"Aluxin," I hissed back, "I'm going with you!" I pulled out a shirt that would definitely not fit Marun, but it was small enough to be loose at the least. It'd most likely end up like a dress on little Marun, but beggars can't be choosers…
"You can't. I'm going alone." Protested Aluxin, growing more and more forceful. I went to argue back, but he swiftly put a finger to my lips, and said very deliberately, "No, Raven. I'll go. Please? Just stay here." I looked to his eyes, which smoldered with crimson, and I shook my head with emphasis. His face grew colder, and he peered at me through narrowed eyes while his teeth clenched.
"So be it." He stated before stalking away.
"What?" I said, running after him as he stomped out of my bedroom with an icy face. "I can go?"
He turned around to face me swiftly after retrieving something I couldn't see since he hid it behind his back. Marun was watching TV. with the utmost attention, not even bothering to acknowledge us interrupting with our yelling. His eyes were transfixed on the screen, and every so often he'd click the channel button on the remote next to him.
"Raven," Aluxin said softly. "You're not coming with me."
"Like hell I'm not—" I protested again, but Aluxin kept stepping forward with some kind of urgency I sensed to be a bad indication. As soon as I was retreating to my bedroom, Aluxin closed the door behind us and withdrew a roll of duct tape.
"You know," I called from my painful sprawl on the bed, due to my arms and legs being fixed to the bedposts by ridiculous amounts of duct tape. "This would be a lot more fun if you weren't leaving."
"Is that an innuendo? Or, are you trying to seduce me?" he laughed as he tossed the roll of tape to the floor before heading for the door.
"Well, now you'll never know, will you?" I retorted, and pulled painfully on the bonds as Aluxin rolled his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest.
"This is all for your own good, Raven. You could get hurt!" he justified sincerely.
"So? You could too!" I reminded him, and added that to my list of worries, which was already undoubtedly long. He sighed, and returned to the side of my bed. I peered at him, peeved. Bending down, he touched his lips to mine and the contact caused my eyes to shut partially before returning his kiss, making me flinch slightly from having to lean forward painfully to deepen the kiss. He put a cold hand to my cheek, electing a breathily gasp from me since he was unwontedly, chillingly cold. He parted my lips, and my tongue danced in his mouth before he bit it gently, just enough for some blood to erupt and contaminate the kiss. The taste of blood swirled in my mouth as well as his, but he just deepened the kiss further by pressing my head back onto the bed, which, thankfully, let some of my muscles stop straining. I pulled at my bonds again, wishing I could wrap my arms around his neck, but he halted and withdrew before making a speedy escape through my bedroom door and into the living room. I sighed, and glowered as I heard the door to my apartment slam behind him. I glared at the shiny, silvery grey duct tape with distain.
"This is a little too kinky…" I commented thoughtfully before I started screaming.
"GET…ME…OUT…OF-," I began loudly before Marun peeked his head in carefully, "Marun, please untie me."
"Aluxin told me not to." he implemented as an excuse. Marun, for such a sweet little kid, was very rebellious for the two hours it took Aluxin to return. Sounds like a short period of time, doesn't it? Well, it's not. And I have red marks as proof. Plus, I didn't even get to have a piece of pizza! The pizza was delivered almost an hour ago! When I was halfway through my mental list of all the misfortunes that could have befallen Aluxin, the front door to my apartment flung open and slammed close. The apartment silenced, which frightened me, then I caught the sound of Marun's laughter and settled down.
"Flair!" chirped Marun, "Master Aluxin! I mean, dad. Vivian!" His excitement was hardly contained in my little apartment, and stopped myself from wondering if Marun had ADHD. Then, thankfully, Aluxin appeared in the threshold to my room. He gave me a cheeky smile, and walked in after closing the door behind him.
"Now, back to where we were." He whispered as he leaned down to my face. I snorted, and turned my face to the side, away from his kiss. "What's wrong?"
"Aluxin..." I growled in an irritated tone. "Get out." He halted, a frown on his face, then sat heavily on the side of the bed with a thoughtful face.
"Raven," he started, looking sincere, "I know you're angry with me—"
"Obviously." I commented sarcastically with a roll of my eyes.
"And I'm sorry."
"Ok." I said softly with a sigh, and Aluxin unleashed me from my duct tape hold mutely. He stared at me, confused.
"I said I was sorry. Am I forgiven?" he asked. Since I was now free of my duct tape, I laughed rather manically.
"Are you kidding?" I was almost rolling on the floor, that was how funny I thought this. "Aluxin, I'm pissed. I just said ok, so you'd release me."
Aluxin's face hardened and my face grew an insolent look.
"Raven, this isn't funny."
"Aluxin, your stunt wasn't either!" I shouted, now mad, "You can't restrain me when you don't like what I want! I was worried about you! And you tied me up!"
"I had to." He explained, making excuses, "You would have tagged along, and gotten yourself hurt!"
"So?" I demanded. "You have no right to hold me against my will with duct tape.