Hi everyone! We are in the middle of a heat wave and I have no air conditioning. It's 4 AM, I can't sleep, and I'm BORED!

After being a sketchy lurker for a while I figured I'd finally try my hand at writing one of these thingies. This is my first ever fic (and my first creative writing exercise since high school…back in the Jurassic age), so be nice please! I originally planned this as a one-shot, but I started getting some ideas for an actual story. What follows below is the original one-shot. It functions here as more of a prologue--you get some hints as to what the deal will be with the longer story, but the meat of the tale really comes in in chapter 2. I hope that clears up any disconnect between this chapter and the rest of the story.

Disclaimer: I own diddly-squat, please don't sue me. I don't own Anna (although if I did I'd give her a talking to—choosing Van Douche-Bag over Dracula? What an idiot!), I sure as hell don't own Dracula (le sigh…), and I own none of the lines from the Two Towers that I so shamelessly borrowed (with ALL credit and respect to P-Jack, they're just so rockin'). I am just a poor grad student with a dissertation to write, students to teach, and no money to do it with. Every time you think of suing someone on this site, God kills a kitten. Please, think of the kittens.

Prologue/Chapter 1: The Day the World Went Away

Vaseria, Transylvania, 1888

I stood at the edge of the cliff for what seemed like an eternity. God…help us. I saw the werewolf lunge for me, I felt my brother push me aside, and then they were gone. I watched my brother tumble over the cliff into the Danube, I watched him hit the water, I watched the splash. And I watched the last ripple, the very last thing he touched, wash ashore. A twig snapped behind me but I barely heard it. The sun was preparing to break over the Carpathians, but I did not see it; the cold fog was lifting, but I did not feel it. I saw only the empty water where my brother had vanished, and I felt only the numbness that comes from being completely alone.

"Oh, what an…unfortunate accident," came a thick, deep drawl from somewhere over my right shoulder. I froze. I knew that voice and it made my blood run cold. Count Vladislaus Dracula stood behind me, his cloak open and damp along the bottom and his boots slightly muddied, as if he had been lurking in the woods for some time, waiting. "And what a tragedy for you to lose the only family you had left. So very noble of your brother to give his life for yours, my princess." He placed a cold hand on my shoulder and his lips brushed my ear. "I understand his passing is hard to accept, especially now that your father has deserted you…such a pity," he purred.

"You…" I breathed, my grief quickly turning to rage. I tried to back away, but I ended up walking straight into his arms. Good job, Anna.

"Of course, my dear. Were you expecting someone else?" he smirked.

"Leave me alone, snake," I spat venomously. I tried to push past him but he held my shoulders tightly, looking down at me with such arrogance and malice, and a hint of mirth. He shook his head disapprovingly.

"Oh but you are alone, little princess!" he taunted me. He moved behind me to hiss in my ear again, slowly circling me like a predator advancing upon his prey. "And who knows what you have spoken to the darkness. In the bitter watches of the night, when all your life seems to shrink, the walls of your bower closing in about you…" his voiced dropped to a whisper as his hand reached up to grasp my chin, "like a hutch to trammel some…wild thing in."

"You…you…" my breath caught in my throat and I could not speak, nor could I move. A tear escaped from my eye and I started to shake as I stared helplessly at him, this thing who had taken everything from me that I held dear. With one hand still firmly gripping my shoulder, he lifted the other to gently caress my cheek.

"So fair," he whispered, "but so cold…like a morning of pale spring still clinging to winter's chill." I stood rooted to the spot, spellbound by his voice and his touch. And although the rational part of me was repulsed and wanted to rebel against him, another more wanton and vulnerable part of me craved his comfort. His handsome face inched closer to my own and he softly pressed his icy lips to my brow. It was here that my body betrayed me and I found myself leaning into his touch, my eyes fluttering shut. His mouth dropped to my throat and he grazed his teeth lightly over my jugular, making me gasp—partly in fear, partly in unexpected, powerful desire. My heart started to pound wildly in my chest, my knees threatened to buckle under me. He snaked an arm around my waist and trailed his fingers lightly up and down my spine, embracing me, soothing me. "Shhh, there now," he breathed in my ear. I shuddered with delight as he began to place hot, open-mouthed kisses on my neck and collarbone. My mind was at war with itself. Why did I want to run from this beautiful creature that held me in its strong arms, caressed me with its soft fingers, and kissed me with its satiny lips? "And so alone, my poor, beautiful little princess," he murmured, "so alone…"

Velkan, I thought, and I snapped to my senses. "Your words are poison," I hissed and I shoved him away, spinning on my heels and making to run. But, before I could move more than a few steps, Dracula's vice-like fingers closed down on my wrist. Hot tears stung in my eyes as I struggled against his hold to no avail.

"Tut, tut, such manners…Where are you going to run, your highness?" he asked mockingly, yanking me behind him so that my back was to the edge of the cliff. He turned to face me, a powerful, menacing figure blocking my only escape route. I opened my mouth to scream, but he placed a long finger over my lips. "Scream if you like but it will do you no good, there is no one to mark you. What aid have you ever had? And what aid do you think will come to you now? Did you not hear me, my pet, you are alone…completely alone," the Count sneered at me. "The last of the Valerious…" he mused, "how utterly marvelous." His expression suddenly changed—while the corners of his mouth remained upturned, his eyes darkened and he looked at me deliberately and with purpose. I didn't like it. I didn't like it at all.

"Wh-what do you want?" I asked, my voice wavering more than I would have liked. He fastened his eyes on me and took a step forward.

"You," he replied evenly. "I want you. I want you more than anything in the world. I have wanted you since the day you were born" he said, running his large, cold hands covetously over my shoulders. "And, now that there are none left to stop me," his voice was a low husk, "I will finally have you."

"I would rather die," I spat, my tears flowing freely now.

"Ah, my love, don't be boring!" he drawled, "everyone who says that dies. And you are far too lovely for such a fate…too beautiful for such pain, such sadness." He pulled me closer and brushed away a tear from my cheek. "Perhaps," he purred seductively, "I can take that sadness away."

"Never!" I shouted at him, suddenly finding my voice. I jerked out of his hold and unsheathed my sword, my eyes flashing. "Take your hands off me, you demon!"

He just laughed indulgently, like an adult laughs at a precocious child, and gently pushed the blade aside. I suddenly felt very foolish—I knew a sword was useless against vampires and even more so against their king—but I still held my chin up proudly and glared at him. This only earned me another chuckle as he looked thoughtfully at the gap in the mountains where the sun was threatening to break through. His gaze slowly returned to me, his sapphire eyes glittering with lust and amusement, but also, it seemed, a glimmer of kindness. "But perhaps," he sighed, "that is a conversation for another time." He placed a soft, chaste kiss on my hand and bowed deeply. "My lady…" he whispered, "I will be seeing you again," and he took off into the lightening sky. I stood silently for a moment, empty water behind me, empty air in front of me. He was right. I was truly alone and, for the first time in my life, I was truly afraid. I broke down and wept.

So…what do you all think? Should I write more? Or should I run back to the library with my tail between my legs and take my authorial frustrations out on my poor students (those who cannot do teach, right)? Review please!