Here it is, ppl. The long over due chapter 9. Sorry about neglecting it, guys. It wasn't my intention, honestly. School got in the way and writer's block. I'm trying to get the last chapter out before classes start, so pray that my mind doesn't get distracted or go completely blank. Thanks everyone for the feedback and enjoy.
Darien pushed the papers aside and rested his head in his hands. He sighed in frustration and ran his fingers through his already messy hair. He was in badly need of a shower, his face was rough to the touch and he hadn't slept in two days. But who could sleep, he thought to himself, when Serena, who he just realized he loved, had disappeared?
"And where the hell is Justin?" he hissed. No one knew where the detective went and to make matters worse he wasn't picking up his damn phone. Great timing, he thought. With Serena gone, he really didn't need the added stress and it pissed him off that the only officer he could trust seemed to be everywhere else but in his office doing his work. Work that involved finding Darien's partner. You know, the one with the blonde hair, his mind snapped.
So basically to keep his mind off everything, all he could do was work.
Darien snatched up one of the papers from the desk and began to read squinting his eyes in concentration. Michael Greene was unable to be obtained for more questioning on account of him being out of town. Out of town . . . Darien figured this would be the perfect excuse, a total convenience if Greene had actually been involved with Jennifer Martin's murder except he ends up dead too.
When she jumped down he peered into the cabinet. "Oh shit. That's…. that's "
"Michael Greene." she finished.
Darien could see faint lines at the top of Greene's chest. He pulled the cabinet out further and the long scratches came into view.
"Finger nails…." She said running her own fingers over the wounds.
"Either that or he was attacked by a bear." Serena ignored the joke and examined his neck where the marks resided. Darien and Serena gave each other knowing looks.
"So this is where he's been for the past couple of months. I thought he was on vacation."
"Maybe it was short-lived…" he looked over at Serena, "……or maybe someone wanted it to look like he was on vacation."
"A conspiracy?" With his nod Serena sighed.
But what's really interesting is that the merger between Diamond Enterprises and Greene Tech was successful when it was painfully obvious Michael Greene was against the whole thing. So many unanswered questions, loopholes, missing puzzle pieces. It was . . . weird, especially the mysterious markings found on the victims. And why hasn't any of these deaths ended up in the evening news? The day when the Martin woman was found, the crime scene was completely surrounded by cops. Why were they trying so hard to keep everything quiet no questions asked? To prevent panic? But people die everyday on these streets, why would it cause panic?
No one knew what was going on . . . except Andrew, of course. And that didn't make any sense. It took some serious sexual persuasion just to obtain the little information they did receive, but Andrew knew there was a homicide,sent the two reporters over there without hesitation. How did he know in the first place?
"Andrew . . ." Darien whispered in disbelief as he turned and glanced at the closed door with Andrew Franklin printed on the label.
Before he could go over the implications rationally, like a normal person, Darien was already knocking on the door. He assumed his lack of strategy was due to his lack of sleep and entered at Andrew's request.
"Andrew, the first homicide, how did you know about it?" he blurted immediately.
"What do you mean?" Andrew said clearing his throat obviously surprised at the blunt question. "It was a public thing, it was all over the streets." he said as if he practiced repeating that excuse over and over.
"No, that's just it. It wasn't all over the streets. When Serena and I got there the cops had the crime scene completely taped off, no one was even allowed near it. We had to trick an officer just to get information, so how could it be public knowledge? Who would tell?"
"I don't know. The person who found the body, I imagine." he practically snapped.
"Nuh uh, witnesses are taken down to the precinct for questioning, there'd be no time to gossip."
"Uh . . . well . . ." Andrew stuttered, he really wasn't the best liar.
"Andrew, what are you not telling me? And don't lie, you've been doing that a lot lately."
Andrew sighed and sat back heavily in his chair. He caressed his badly trim-needed chin in thought and bit the inside of his cheek.
"All right. Sit down," he ordered gesturing to the empty seat across from him.
"No, I think I'll stand thanks."
Andrew shrugged and continued.
"I'm not supposed to tell anyone, so whatever we discuss does not leave this room, understand?"
Darien nodded. "Between me and you, got it," he said.
"The day that Martin woman was discovered I received an anonymous phone call tipping me off that there had, in fact, been a murder, but she wouldn't tell me where until I agreed to her terms."
"Terms? . . ." he asked frowning ". . . what terms?"
"She'd continue giving me leads if I sent you and Serena to investigate, if I gave you two the story."
"What if she had been lying? She could've sent us on some wild goose chase."
"But it wasn't, everything she said was true. The murder, Michael Greene's disappearance, that social event at the Empire State building. . . everything."
Something clicked in Darien's mind.
"Wait a minute, now everything's making sense. Your contact, She's how you got the tickets, why you sent only me and Serena to the party, why you wouldn't approve the story that Serena wanted to write. You knew about everything the whole. entire. time . . ." his gaze never strayed from the desktop as he counted them off his fingers ". . . how could you betray yourself like that?"
"I didn't. I did what I could to get the story, the truth. I didn't betray anyone."
"You betrayed us. You let some anonymous woman tell you how to do your job all for a fucking story. What about our code of ethics?"
"I didn't go against the code, Darien . . ."
"You're letting people get away with murder, how the hell is that not going against the code?"
Andrew jumped from his seat.
"Open your eyes, Darien! I'm not letting anyone get away with anything, I'm biding my time. There's more here than just five homicides and punctured necks, there's the question of crooked cops and how the powerful people in this city use them to cover their tracks, hidden agendas . . ." he threw a yellow envelope on the desk ". . . you name it, it's all there."
Darien stared down at the package in shock. He was wrong? Andrew wasn't working against them, he was trying to help. He was well aware of the situation, knew that there was a conspiracy and wanted to find out as much as they did. He felt like an idiot.
"I'm sorry." he whispered.
Andrew exhaled slowly and settles back into his seat.
"Don't be. I would've suspected the same if I were in your shoes."
Darien cleared is throat. "Serena has these theories . . . Well, you've heard them."
"Yes, I have and you guys are very close to something. You have more information than I do and I have a contact."
They chuckle awkwardly at the small jibe before the silence falls.
"I think Serena's in trouble." he finally said. Andrew could see the wet emotion in Darien's face, his feelings were so obvious.
"Is there anything I can do?" he asked.
"No, if I need your help, I'll give you a call."
Andrew nodded as Darien made his way to the door.
"Be careful . . ." he said before Darien could leave ". . . There's more than one person in this fight. It's a whole department of people awaiting orders. Watch your back."
Darien smiled then nodded and closed the door behind him. When he got back to his desk, he ran his hand through his hair and packed the papers away. As he threw his bag over his shoulders there was a light tap on his arm. "Darien Reid."
"Not now!" he barked without turning around.
"Yes now," said the second voice.
"Darien swung around and eyed the two gentlemen. The blonde one he recognized immediately.
"Hey, aren't you the guy at the carnival?"
Zoicite didn't answer, only looked at the taller man beside him as if asking for his permission, a confirmation. Darien rolled his eyes and crossed his arms across his chest.
"Now's not a good time, come back later."
He went to move past them but Nephrite grabbed his shoulder and leaned in close to Darien's ear.
"If you want to see your blonde friend again, come with us," he whispered.
She remembered nothing after the dinner with Nicholas and she couldn't figure out the reason. Why couldn't she recollect three measly little hours? Did she have too much to drink? Her mind kept showing two glasses but she couldn't even remember what she did, so how was she to believe how much she drank, nonetheless, what she drank?
Her mind was screaming champagne, but she could've had vodka. It was all too confusing.
She wanted answers. She wondered about so many things, like how he always knew where to find her (whether she's at work or walking down the street barefoot) it didn't matter, like how she managed to grow sharp fangs which she wanted so desperately to sink into Darien's skin. That's all really. She wanted him to answer a few questions so she could finally go home and screw a very perplexed (by her relay race) Darien . . .
But from her reflection fading every other hour and her eyes glowing from blue to red to blue again, she knew going home would not be that easy. She just wished Nicholas would stop hiding like the coward that he was and relieve her of such a boring companion she happened to be stuck with at the moment.
Serena blinked and looked over at Dominique Safir who was watching her with a peculiar expression on his face.
"I called you several times. Did you not hear me?"
"Considering you've been calling me Serenity? No."
He frowned obviously confused. Serena sighed.
"My name is Serena, Se-re-na." she stressed the last syllables to get her point across
Dominique blinked. He grabbed a chair and dragged it to place in front of her and sat down and through all of this he never taking his eyes off of her. He stared at her with a thoughtful expression, but after two minutes passed with his same inactivity she became annoyed.
"What? What? What?"
He leaned his head to the side and bit his top lip. An action Serena would've found to be cute if she wasn't so frustrated.
"You're not what I . . . expected."
Serena raised a brow. "Really?" she said blandly
"Yes, I've heard many things about you. You're kind, loving, sweet and so, so innocent. But there's just one thing they failed to mention." Serena blinked "Your misplaced aggression."
"Well, excuse me if my behavior seems aggressive. Getting kidnapped and locked in a room with a complete stranger always gives me an attitude," she snorted sarcastically and then, as if she realized something, she frowned.
"Misplaced aggression? Trust me, my aggression is nowhere near being misplaced!"
Dominique walked over to the small round table and gestured to the teapot. Serena declined with a wave of her hand and instead watched him pour himself a cup before returning to his seat. He didn't speak until after he sipped and swallowed.
"You are angry, no? . . ." He didn't wait for a response. ". . . Yet, you are angry at the wrong person."
"Really?" she said in that dull tone again.
"It is not I who is keeping you here," he almost whispered.
It was only then Serena realized he was English, how she missed that before she wasn't certain. Well, at least she was learning something about this Safir person considering this was probably the only way she could find out who he was. She could only presume that Justin came to a dead end which is why he hadn't contacted her in days. She automatically made a mental note and brought her attention beck to Dominique.
"So then allow me to leave."
"I . . . cannot."
"I thought you weren't keeping me here," she jibed.
He smiled. "I'm not. There is a person above me, say, a higher being. He is keeping you here. I am merely an acquaintance, his . . ."
He smiled again. No surprise really, that's all he ever did. Serena's insulted him, yelled at him and all he did was smile. Very frustrating. Unnerving.
"Besides, where would you go? To whom would you run? Endymion cannot help you. He cannot answer your questions, explain your changes. So how is he supposed to offer his services when he himself does not understand?"
Serena pursed her lips. "So, then you tell me."
He smirked. "Sorry, but that is a job for only one man and he is not in this room."
Serena closed her eyes as he took another sip of his tea. Dominique made a valid point. Although she didn't know who the hell Endymion was, she knew that if she ran to Darien this would never go away, it would just hang over her head. What could she do?
She sighed and poured herself some tea.
As the bedroom door slammed shut Serena sat up in panic and groggily looked around the room. When her eyes landed on Nicholas they wandered the room before realizing Dominique was no longer there. She rubbed the sleep out of her eyes and leaned against the bed's headboard.
Serena watched her hands waiting for Nicholas to stop making awkward noises. They were particularly irritating like the shuffling of his clothes as he paced the floor, the wet smacking sound as he licked his lips and then there's the especially annoying one, the noise that doesn't necessarily have a sound, it's just the silence that always follows right before a man says something stupid.
"How are you?"
Or asks something stupid.
"Hm, you lock me up the moment I step through the door and you have the audacity to ask me that. How the hell do you think I am." she said harshly.
He began smirking but stopped when Serena scowled. It wasn't just any scowl, it was the don't-fuck-with-me-I'm in-a-bad-mood scowl and he figured now just wasn't the time to make any jokes.
"Serenity . . ."
"Don't call me that!" she snapped
Nicholas sighed. "Why not? That is your name after all."
Serena shook her head frantically as if she didn't want to believe it, refused to believe it.
"No, it's not! It's Serena Nicole Kyle and I have the birth certificate to prove it. So you and your friend can stop the bullshit because I am losing my patience."
He took a deep breath, walked over to her side of the bed and took a seat at the edge. Serena pulled her legs into Indian style because just the thought of him being so close, the thought of his sleeve touching her leg made her sick to her stomach.
"Serena . . . You and I have a history here that you may not understand, only you know what I am referring to."
Serena frowned and gestured with a doubtful look that she didn't know anything.
"You've been having dreams, haven't you? Dreams of another time, another life. Dreams that felt too real . . ." Serena lowered her eyes. " . . . yes, you do know what I am referring to."
"How did you know that?" she asked quietly.
"Because . . ." he shrugged. ". . . I just do."
Silence fell for a bit before Serena asked the question that Dominique wouldn't answer.
She cleared her throat. "What's happening to me?"
Nicholas leaned forward until their noses were almost touching.
He moved to kiss her but Serena turned away blatantly refusing his attempt at affection. Nicholas exhaled slowly before rising from the bed.
"I know that this is difficult for you . . ."
"You don't know anything about me," she interrupted.
"That maybe so, but one thing I am certain on is that you and I belong together and we've been given this second chance to make that happen."
Serena turned and laid on her side facing the wall, facing away from him. She didn't care too much about what he was saying, she wasn't even sure he knew what he was saying. It all seemed like one big illusion and she was afraid of her own fate, afraid of being forever trapped within his sick fantasy. Forever trapped as Serenity.
". . . this is a good thing." he continued oblivious to the fact that she hadn't been listening. ". . . and it will only be a matter of time before you see it as such."
Serena closed her eyes and swallowed back a sob.
It was only until she heard the door click did she relax.
"Do you believe in reincarnation?"
Darien frowned and took a look around the spacious room. He couldn't analyze much of the building they were in with the two men pushing and pulling him through doorways and up stairs he never walked. A part of him berated himself for following two complete strangers into unfamiliar territory but the other part, the important part, wanted to find Serena no matter the costs.
He blinked. "Not particularly."
"You will in a minute," Zoicite added as he and Darien watched Nephrite walk over to a desk in the corner and pulled out a manila envelope. He walked back to them and dumped the envelopes contents onto the round table.
They were large pieces of paper folded in half, old, worn, like the parchment painters used when canvases didn't exist yet. There were five of them and on one of the pieces there was a drawing, but before Darien could get a good look at them Nephrite collected them into one stack snd held them in his hands.
Nephrite unfolded one of the parchments and threw it down on the table. "Does he look familiar?"
Darien took one look at the and knew instantly. His hair was longer, but it was definitely him.
"Demando, actually." Darien frowned obviously confused. " . . . this portrait was drawn over a century ago."
At Darien's blank look Zoicite explained.
"It's Nicholas Diamond, only 100 years ago . . ."
"He was reincarnated? Is that what you're saying?"
"No . . ." Nephrite unfolded two more pieces. "You and Serena . . ." He pointed. ". . . were reincarnated, but he . . . He is something else entirely."
Darien fingered the parchments in awe. The girl looked just like Serena, there were difference of course, but the woman in the photo could easily pass as Serena's fraternal twin and the man, well . . . It was uncanny.
"Diamond . . ." he cleared his throat to keep his voice from cracking. ". . . what do you mean he's something else entirely?"
"He's a vampire," Zoicite blurted earning a glare from Nephrite.
Darien snorted before bursting into laughter.
"A vampire . . . right," he breathed.
"It's true," Zoicite urged causing more laughter to erupt. Nephrite rolled his eyes and leaned in close to Darien's face.
"Those marks on the victims' necks didn't just appear out of thin air . . ." Darien stopped chuckling instantly. ". . . Someone made them, three some ones to be exact."
The last two parchments were unfolded.
"That girl, she was at the society ball. She was dancing with Michael Greene," he said pointing.
"Yes, Raychel Landry and Dominique Safir are Demando's accomplices. They are the reason for your stress, Raychel especially."
"So that's Dominique Safir . . ." Darien murmured to himself. An image popped into his head at this moment, silver trays holding white-sheet covered bodies, all with holes in their necks. " . . . Two others like this one, same punctures in the neck and again, both found completely drained of blood." That's what the doctor had said. Completely drained of blood . . .
Nephrite raised a brow. "Is everything making sense now?" Darien nodded distractingly.
"Good, because we don't have time to explain it again, not with your girlfriend changing every other hour."
Darien grunted in agreement, but shook his head lightly as the words settled in.
"Wait, what? What do you mean changing?"
"She's been bitten, but . . ." he quickly added at Darien's distraught expression. " . . . she has to feed in order to completely transform."
"How do you know she hasn't already?"
"Believe us, we would've known," Zoicite said.
Darien relaxed a bit, "So what now?"
"We're going to get her and put a stop to this madness, but there's a few things you need to understand first."
Nephrite took Darien's silence as compliance and continued.
"Demando holds a grudge against you, well not you, but Endymion, ' he said pointing to the parchment holding Darien's face. "You need to be cautious, it's likely he'll strike you first, anything to keep Serenity away from you."
Darien nodded and ran his fingers over the perfectly drawn crest on his portrait's chest. He squinted and before Nephrite could finish his story Darien was tapping him on the arm.
"W-wait. What was I?"
"What were you? What do you mean?"
"Well, was I a duke, an earl? . . . A king?"
Zoicite snorted aloud as if to say 'yea, keep dreaming' but quickly covered it up with a cough when Darien glared at him from the corner of his eyes. Nephrite rolled his eyes and sighed.
"Anyway . . ." Darien pursed his lips in disappointment. Well, he thought it was an important question, relevant and all. It's not everyday you find out that you lived another life. The whole thing excited him but scared him shitless just the same.
"Hello . . ." Zoicte snapped his fingers in front of Darien's face. Darien blinked.
"Have you not heard a word?" Nephrite asked exasperated.
"Um . . . I was thinking, you were saying . . ."
"You and Serenity were to be married. It was expected, planned since the day you two were born, but that all changed when Nicholas Diamond walked into town. He instantly gained a liking to Serenity and plotted to separate you two."
Zoicite cleared his throat. "The short version . . ." he interrupted. ". . . you die, she dies and now we're back at our current situation," he finishes with a satisfying nod.
Darien's face is blank and Nephrite is scowling.
"What? I thought we could quit the details and get to the point."
Nephrite sighed and rubbed his temples. He slowly counted to ten before turning his attention to Darien who was examining one of the pictures with a particular serious expression.
"Where were we?"
"We died," he answered mechanically.
"Right, but you two were reborn again, that time and the next time until you were reborn as who you are today."
Darien moved the parchments around searchingly.
"There isn't any photographic evidence, if that's what you're looking for."
Darien stopped searching and pulled his hand away from the pile. Nephrite licked his lips.
"Demando has searched ten centuries for her and he won't give her up without a fight . . ."
"Whatever it takes . . ." Darien gave Nephrite a hard look. "Whatever it takes," he repeated fiercely.
"We know where she is, but there isn't much time. The craving will be hitting her soon and I don't know if she'll have the strength to fight it . . ." Zoicite swallowed. ". . . and then there's the other thing."
Nephrite narrowed his eyes in warning, now was not the best time. If Darien knew he could get too emotional. But, Zoicite thought, he already was.
Darien watched the exchanged glances and wondered what it was they wanted and didn't want to tell him.
"Is there something you two want to share?"
"It's just that . . . Well, we . . ." Nephrite snorted. " . . . I thought you should know . . ."
"What?" he asked impatiently.
"You and Serena are soul mates," Zoicite finished hurriedly
Darien lowered his eyes to the table top and spotted their pictures. They overlapped one another and seeing that made the butterflies in his stomach appear as if in anticipation of what was to come. Not the fight or the possible death, but the life . . . the life he would have with Serena..
Deep down he always knew.
Serena eyed Raychel closely. This woman who slithered into her life like the little snake she was and had the nerve to get Justin involved as well. It just pissed her off, she was pissed at it all, being stuck in this room as if awaiting her sentencing. It was frustrating and since Nicholas wasn't there to take it out on, Raychel would have to do.
"What do you two do exactly? Sit down and give each other jobs . . . 'you sit back and look pretty and I'll seduce the reporter' . . ." she mimicked. Serena snorts at the silence, "This is pathetic."
Raychel met her eyes.
"I guess when you put it that way it is a bit pathetic. After all, out plan wasn't thought out enough. It was too sketchy, wouldn't you say?" she said shrugging.
"And what about Justin? Was he just another part of the plan?"
"Justin was my plan, everything I ever did was for him."
Serena snorted in disbelief and rolled her eyes. Raychel scowled.
"What the hell was that?!"
"What?" Serena asked innocently.
"That . . ." Raychel breathed in deeply and pinched the bridge of her nose while Serena watched with a patronizing smirk. Oh how she could twist someone's nerves. Now that took talent. She only wished Darien could be there to see it, he'd be proud. When Raychel saw the sadness slide over Serena's faceshe sighed and the annoyance slipped away.
"You're thinking about him aren't you?"
"Who?" she asked picking off imaginary lint attempting to seem indifferent, as if she really didn't know, but in her heart she really did.
"You know who. Your partner."
Serena sighed. "I don't want to talk about Darien. I want to talk about Justin and how you used him . . ."
"I didn't use him!"
". . . to get, well, I don't know exactly," she continued as if Raychel's outburst never occurred.
When Raychel didn't say anything else Serena raised her eyes from her lap and met Raychel's. She never noticed it before, they were violet, sharp, piercing as if Raychel was reading every thought that ran through her mind, every emotion that she was feeling. It was disturbing. Serena picked a spot behind Raychel's shoulder and didn't look anywhere else.
Raychel sighed as Serena shifted her gaze and Serena wondered if she really was reading her mind. If she was, then she should be expecting my next comment, Serena thought evilly.
"You're so fucking selfish!"
Well that was abrupt, Raychel thought as she sat staring at Serena in shock.
"Excuse me? Selfish?"
"Yes. You don't care about anyone but yourself, about what you can gain. You say you did this for Justin? Well, I'm sure he wouldn't appreciate all the trouble you went through, all the lies and deceit . . ."
Raychel turned her back to Serena and walked away a bit.
"I lied because I had to, because . . . All he could think about was you! He never looked at me the way he looked at you. Never. Even when you viciously played tug-a-war between Endymion and Nicholas, he still wanted you, still followed you around like some sick puppy . . ."
"Endymion . . . him again . . . Who? . . . What are you . . .?"
" . . . and you have the nerve to call me selfish!"
Raychel twisted around and glared atSerena with a fire that melted Serena to her seat. Serena stared back in terror. Those eyes, red and glowing, she'd seen them before in her own reflection. She forgot to breathe at that moment.
"Don't you understand, Serenity? I sold my soul for him . . ."
She dropped to her knees and grabbed Serena's hands.
" . . . killed for him, I betrayed my best friend for him. How is that selfish? Everything I ever did was for Jadeite, for Justin."
Serena didn't understand. Who were these people? Endymion? Jadeite? She didn't know anything. Her dreams, her current situation, she didn't understand any of it. The only thing she knew at the moment was that this woman was hurting, those blood terrifying eyes were guilt-stricken, sad even.
"Raychel . . ?" she didn't wait for a response " . . . my name is Serena and I write for the Daily Globe. I've been called many things but Serenity was never on the list and I don't know hwo she is, but she sure as hell isn't me."
Raychel lowered her eyes and cleared her throat. Serena could see that she was trying to control her overriding emotions, trying but not doing a very good job of it.
"Oh, you are her. As much as you try to deny it, you will always be Serenity. No matter how many times you're reincarnated, you will always be her. Always."
Serena narrowed her eyes.
"What do you want from me?"
"How can I forgive you when I don't . . ."
A flashback hit her then, something, an image out of the recesses of her mind. An image of two people in bed.
She pushed the door slightly so that her head could fit through and when she peered in she wished she hadn't. Two figures laid in the middle of the bed intimately. She watched as their hands explored each other's body twisting and turning within the sheets that covered their naked forms. When she saw the familiar mop of jet black hair she turned away from the door and tears spilled down her cheeks. She would never forget how he ran his fingers caressed through her long raven hair. . . . . . . . . .
Raychel smiled knowingly, sadly. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean . . . I made a deal with him. If I succeeded, he would make me irresistible."
It was making sense now, all of it. "What kind of deal?" Serena asked cautiously.
"To turn your love for Endymion into hate so Nicholas would be free to marry you, to have you."
Serena's brows furrowed in thought.
"So everything that happened was because of you?"
"Yes, unfortunately. I've had to live with this burden for ten centuries and I just can't deal with it anymore, another day."
Raychel laid her head in Serena's lap and closed her eyes. Serena absently stroked her hair as if it was natural, like she had did it before.
"I don't want ot wear red anymore," Raychel whispered and just like that, Serena forgave her.
"So how long has Diamond been one . . ." Darien met Nephrite's eyes "You know, a vampire?"
"No one knows really. Not even my wife it was just impossible for her to not know. Makoto knew everything."
"Yes, as in, not anymore. She died." he said, his jaw clenching.
"I'm sorry to hear that. When?"
"Twelve centuries ago."
Darien's brows rose and he pursed his lips in realization.
"Hm, okay . . . Well, that explains how you know all of this. You were there," he said as if his life all of a sudden turned into one big illusion.
Nephrite pulled a black bag from under the table and unzipped it. He searched through it before upending it and pouring its contents onto the table.
At this time, Darien had already wandered over to the desk and picked up the picture frame gently. The girl had brown hair and large green eyes that sparkled with the laughter. Those eyes, he recognized. He knew them, seen them, but where? Then it clicked, Lita Jameson. Damn, he thought as he replaced the frame and walked back over to Nephrite. He would tell him eventually, but not now. Not now.
He, instead, turned his attention to the items laid out in an orderly fashion. Darien reached for one of the weapons and immediately started fiddling with the protruding parts. He eyed it with a frown, he couldn't even tell what it did nonetheless what it was. But not knowing makes the curiosity grow stronger. Before he could stop and actually think, his finger was moving toward the red button.
"What's this do?" he pushed it and then there was nothing but a loud snap and whoosh.
Of course, Zoicite chose that moment to enter the room and . . . Well, hell broke loose He was carrying a silver tray with three mugs of steaming coffee. He could only blink as an arrow pierced the air beside his right ear and imbedded itself into the wall. Zoicite eyed the arrow with trepidation and sighed in relief.
"Never mind . . ." he breathed. He took three steps backwards before turning and running out of the room, the coffee was all over the floor. He nearly left skid marks and Darien couldn't blame him.
So when Nephrite held out his hand, Darien willingly pushed the contraption into his waiting arms. He smiled sheepishly and plopped down into one of the chairs.
"Remind me to never do that again."
Nephrite smirked, "Don't worry, we'll start you off with something easy, like a knife."
Darien pouted. A knife?
"Now that's just insulting."
"Why is it only me?"
"You have spilled enough blood to fill an ocean, yet you feel nothing, no remorse, while I feel . . . everything."
"And whose fault is that?"
Raychel narrowed her eyes.
"I think it is yours."
He raised his brows at this and leaned forward on his desk his hands clasping. The fire was casting shadows over his face making it hard to read his expression, but Raychel took it as a sign to continue.
"When a vampire is created the human conscience should dissipate. So whose fault is it but the one who turned me?"
Nicholas smiled and sipped his glass of wine.
"Who's to blame if not you?" she finished.
"You're forgetting one person, Raychel. You." Raychel shook her head. "You are the reason your guilt followed you into death. You and no one else."
"Well, if that's the case I'm back at my original question. Why. Only. Me?"
"Maybe that's a question that only your fire goddess can answer," he said snidely
Raychel glared from across his desk.
"Screw you, Demando," she hissed. He chuckled and looked straight into her eyes.
"My, my I think I hit a soft spot," he taunted. He furrowed his brows, "how many does that make it now?"
When Raychel didn't answer he smirked and began counting them off his fingers.
"Lets see," he sneered ". . . there's the obvious one, your betrayal and you can't forget Jadeite and now your precious fire goddess . . . Am I missing anything?"
Her lips tightened. Nicholas always did this, always tried to get a rouse out of her. He was the only person who could push her buttons in such a way that could be casual yet deadly just the same. She ignored his comment and decided to do a little baiting of her own.
"How long do you plan to keep her locked up?"
"Until she comes to her senses."
"And if she doesn't?"
"Well . . . Then I'll have to force her."
Raychel shook her head disapprovingly
"You are one stubborn bastard. Will you never learn, never give up?"
Nicholas sighed dramatically
"Must we repeat this conversation?"
"yes. And it will continue to repeat until you realize that you and Serenity will never be good together."
This is where Nicholas' imagination lacked. She always needed to demonstrate something in order for him to understand and even then he refused to believe anything. Raychel picked up his wine glass and flung it into the fire. The flames roared to life before resettling.
"You two are like fire and wine. When you mix everything gets burned."
Nicholas rises from his seat and walks over to stand in front of her.
"That, my dear," he says gesturing to the calm fire. ". . . is called passion."
"It's called chaos."
"Just what exactly are you implying?" His annoyance was obvious. Good, she thought.
Raychel sighed. The demonstration didn't work so words will have to do.
"Your lust has confused your reasoning."
"Lust?" he said insipidly
"Yes. You desire something that you can never have and yet you delude yourself into thinking you can change fate when in reality this so-called passion you sense . . ." Raychel could feel his anger rising. ". . . is the passion between her and Endymion."
She didn't even have time to react before his hand came across her face. She staggered away a couple of steps and let out a startled cry. Now that was unexpected, she thought as she rubbed her throbbing cheek. He never hit her before. Manhandled maybe, but never hit.
"What did I say about mentioning that name in my presence . . . In my house!?"
Raychel looked at him defiantly. "What's wrong? Can't handle the truth?"
He clenched and unclenched his fist and she thought he was going to hit her again, but he just growled and pointed to the door, "Get out." She continued to stare as if transfixed. His voice was thick with emotion and she almost thought he was going to cry, but he was too in control for that to ever happen, especially in her presence.
"Did you hear me? I said get out!!!"
"As you wish, your highness," she said bowing mockingly before turning and obeying his wishes.
When the door closed behind her Nicholas sat heavily in his chair. He eyed the flames for a couple of minutes until he turned away in disgust.
"You're wrong, Raychel. Just wait, just . . . wait and see," he whispered stammering through his words. The reason he stammered, he won't understand until the end.
It all happened too fast. She saw Nicholas coming with the knife glinting in the candlelight, but before she could warn him his throat was already cut and now she will forever be haunted by those blue eyes and how they stared at her in shock, fear. Regret? And then there was only the whistling of something narrow piercing through the air and the fast beating of her heart.
And then there was so much pain. At first it was a burning sensation that spread over her abdomen then up and down her side, but now there was nothing but hot searing pain. She fingered the arrow with hesitation as if she was afraid to know what it was causing the blood to the overflow her lips and run down her chin. As if in disbelief that this was the end. Her end.
When the shock dissipated she raised her head and looked into the warm brown eyes of the man responsible. They were sad, apologetic even and she wanted so desperately tell him that it was okay, that it wasn't his fault but her voice was currently lodged in her throat and the only sound she could make was a long gurgling whine. And even if she could speak he wouldn't have heard a word because Nicholas' screams echoed in the background, he was screaming because she was hurt.
That's when she felt it, the thick sticky fluid gliding down her leg, over her ankle and dripping to the floor. She began to notice several things at this moment like how dark her blood looked, nearly black. How it pooled around his dead body, matting his matching hair almost like he was being engulfed in a black hole, swallowed into another world so unlike the one he just left. She noticed how the tears began to fall at the thought of him dying, the sudden stiffness in her limbs, that cold feeling, almost freezing, as it crept up her spine.
She smiles. And just as she collapses she wonders whether or not it was happy or sad.
Serena jerked awake with a start. When she realized there was no arrow protruding her left side her breathing calmed enough to be considered normal, but her heart was still racing. The dream felt so real, the pain was excruciating and the dead man beside her was . . .
There was no response.
"Serenity . . ."
"Serena," she corrected absently as her mind still lingered on the dream, no, nightmare.
"What? . . . nothing," she said blinking at Raychel's attire, a hooded cloak and boots.
"No, but you are."
Raychel threw some fresh clothes onto the bed. "Put these on."
"Wait, what do you mean? What the hell's going on?"
Raychel sighed in annoyance. She hated when people asked too many questions. Damn reporters.
"I'm getting you out of here," she said impatiently.
Serena stumbled into her clothes before following Raychel to the doorway.
"But, what about you? Do you think Nicholas will turn you away with a slap on the wrist? He'll kill you."
Raychel smiled warningly. Serena cared about her wellbeing. She felt . . . Not so lonely anymore.
"I don't care what happens to me Serenit . . . Serena. At least my conscience will finally be cleared."
Serena eyed her suspiciously. There was something Raychel wasn't telling her. She could feel it.
"What's the real reason you're doing this?"
"What do you mean?"
"I'm not stupid. Your guilt is obvious, but there's something else. What is it?"
"You know, you might look like Serenity, but she wasn't nearly as perceptive as you seem to be."
Serena furrowed her brows. Raychel didn't wait for her to figure it out.
So . . . she did.
Well, that was it for chapter 9. Don't forget to R&R and tell me how it was, if it was disappointing, if I made any errors because I didn't thoroughly read this and I apologize in advance. I just wanted to give you guys something.