A/N: Warning: There's a bit of cursing in this one...
Recap: So, Leila told Vlad that she killed her father, he tells her about a red moon ball, and takes her shopping. Then, they go and Leila meets some peculiar people. One of them says something weird to Vlad that pisses him off and he and Leila go into the garden. Are you confused as to what a red moon is? I suggest you go find out.
The bastard! What arrogance, to think that he knows of my affairs. I wanted to know what Leila had told him, so I took her out onto the landing.
"Vlad, what did he say?" She asked. I sighed.
"He said 'I know you're keeping him.' What did you tell him?"
Leila stumbled over her words, as if trying to accurately recount what had been said. "He- he asked me to dance, wanted to know who my blood parent was, um... he asked who lived with us and said something about me smelling human."
"Did you tell him who lives with us?"
My hands curled into fists as I hit my own leg in frustration and turned away. Leila took a step back, confusion and fear on her face. I turned back and apologized. I ran my hand through my hair, trying to release the dread and aggravation without turning violent.
"He means Van Helsing doesn't he?" She asked softly.
"I'm afraid so. Jean doesn't smell human anymore - he isn't all human anymore, anyway - so it must be unless you've had contact with anyone else." She shook her head.
"But why would he care? What's wrong?" I was hoping she wouldn't ask that. I was in no mood for storytelling, but now I'd have to.
"In about... 1889, I was known to have Van Helsing in my castle. Some members of the council didn't exactly like the idea of keeping a hunter alive, so I was asked to kill him. I never got any of their letters, but heard by word of mouth. By the time it got down the pipes to me, it was nearly 1900, so everyone assumed I had done it. I never said otherwise and no one has ever asked.
"Gabriel Roman has been... on less than decent terms with me of late. I tried to turn one of his descendants, Zaphire, and she killed herself soon after feeding. He never forgave me. Since then, he's been just short of stalking me, trying to find something to get me in trouble. I think he just found it..."
"So we have to get rid of him?"
"Who? Gabriel or... Gabriel...?" Leila laughed.
"If that isn't irony, I don't know what is. But I meant Van Helsing. We can get rid of Roman if you want."
"Yes, we need to be rid of Van Helsing at least. But..." I pulled her close and smelled her hair. She smelled like rain. "He was fucking with us. You don't smell human at all. Helsing has been in my castle too long and I've altered his blood anyway. He probably thinks that our reaction was proof and will start rumors. We need to get rid of Van Helsing before anyone goes to investigate. They'll probably wait a week before anything happens. There will be too many parties this week to celebrate the moon cycle."
"What do we do with him? We can't exactly kill him, but there's no place to hide him."
"... Actually there is, but let's return to the ball. We mustn't be gone too long or we'll be missed."
"Then would you care to dance?" I was surprised she asked.
"I thought you didn't dance."
"I dance, I just don't freak. I don't think that's quite this crowd's speed, anyway."
The night moved on, eating and dancing. I watched Leila meet other people who were equally surprised at her age and questioned her about rumors they had heard regarding Van Helsing. She dismissed them, saying that he was long dead. I had to stop myself from laughing. She was an actress, and a good one. Finally, I decided to talk to her again.
"How are you fairing?" I came up behind her and asked.
She turned. "Fine, thanks." Her voice was full of venom.
"Why do you and your blood father keep such a distance?" I asked, noticing that he was across the room. "He trusts you that much?"
"I have never given him reason to mistrust me. The one I think he doesn't trust is you."
"Ah, and there we have the problem. Perhaps we can discuss this further on the landing? You seem to have gotten bitter with the heat."
'Don't touch me!" She pulled her arm from my grasp. "It isn't your place to decide who I trust or spend time with. Stop harassing me."
She turned away from me and went to get a glass of blood wine. I assumed she was going to cry to Vladmirious because he was there, but she said nothing, not even telepathically. She just picked up a glass and slid her arm around his. He turned to her and smiled (something I had never seen him do kindly), then kissed her lightly on the neck before continuing the conversation he had been in. I wasn't sure if that was an innocent gesture of affection or if they were together. It's hard to tell with vampires, especially Vladmirious because he's had so few successful turns.
Of course, that brought up another question - why were so many of his turns problematic? I knew he was always drawn to the weaker of the human race, but what made this Leila so different? Before I could reason it out, I was swept away by a willowy young man named Faren. I'd have to intellectualize later.
I stood by Vlad and listened in on the conversation between him and Lydia Blackraven, the most innocent vampire I've ever come across. They were joking about vampiric legends and how unnecessary they were.
"The only difference between human lore and vampire lore is that you know the people in the legends... personally." Vlad said.
"I suppose it's better to not let them die off and not have their stories written somewhere." I offered.
"You should take her into the grand library someday, Vlad." Lydia laughed. "We'll see what she thinks then. It's a good 2 square acres and books are stacked on bookshelves, tables, everywhere. It's dangerous for a human. A stack of books could fall at anytime. But I digress. So how long have you've known each other?"
"About a year. I found her in Samoilacry."
"And when is the wedding?" I jumped slightly. I hadn't expected that kind of question.
"We hadn't discussed that. Vlad, what have you been telling her?"
"Nothing. He's said nothing. I just assumed. You two are awfully close and it seems to me that you lack no affection for each other."
"Can vampires do that?" I asked Vlad.
"Yes. It's not done very often, but we do it. It's more like a public union than a marriage." He answered. "Do you want to consider it?"
"Maybe." I smiled.
The night moved along nicely after that. Gabriel had left and Jane finally shut up when she realized that I was Vlad's blood child, so no one else bothered me. Vlad and I finally went home at nearly three in the morning. Everything was just fine until I remembered that we had business to attend to.
A/N: Just so no one's confused, although Gabriel is bi, Faren is human. He was there as eye candy and snack material, nothing sexual. I couldn't find any other way to word it. Got it? Please R&R and I will update as soon as I can. I also reposted the other chapters with some minor corrections. I might do that periodically if I realize I didn't make something clear or if I messed up.