They aren't mine.

It's the night after Frank's embrace.

Italicized comments in the first person are the internal thoughts/mental processes of the character expressing them.

Isolated italicized words are just for emphasis.

Julian Luna was a man who longed for peace, but was prepared for war. Taking time out from his interrogation of the Kindred hunter, and baby killer, Pere Carlsen, he thought of his recently embraced childe, Frank.

I need to hurry. He shouldn't awaken to The Change, and his First Torment, without his Sire with him.

Quickening his already brisk stride, he strode rapidly down the corridor leading to his childe's present residence. Julian stopped, and nodding in acknowledgment to the Kindred guards stationed outside the closed door, he opened it and entered.

Closing the door behind him, Julian glanced to his right and saw his newly embraced childe sprawled across the ornate bed. Prince Julian relaxed. Frank's still out. He sighed in relief. I was afraid he might wake up before I could get back. No one should have to go through The Change alone, but I had to, at least, have a preliminary 'discussion' with that maniac, Carlsen.

Julian was now certain Carlsen had been set on the Kindred. The man was too disturbed to have found the Kindred without help, and it certainly wasn't some 'rogue' Kindred who worked that human into frenzy. Julian's thoughts became grimmer as he thought of how he and Daedalus had detected multiple episodes of tampering in the creature's mind. It's doubtful Carlsen was ever normal, but he's become a monster. The only thing I can do with him now is to find out all he knows about the Kindred traitors who set him on their kin, before I give him to the Nosferatu.His thoughts shifted to Frank Kohanek. Daedalus, my older childe Sonny, and Cash will have to continue questioning 'Mr' Carlsen.

I'm too angry to play intimidation games with the human, and I also have Frank to consider. It's near sunset. He should awaken from his first rest soon. His body had already started the change from human to Kindred before I left. When Frank wakes up, he is going to be in pain. Wincing in sympathy at the thought of his childe's coming ordeal, Julian crossed the space between door and bed, to peer down at his newly embraced childe.

A fond smile appeared on the face of San Francisco's Kindred Prince, as he enjoyed the satisfying thought of Frank's embrace. I'm glad you finally put yourself into a position where I could force you into an embrace You have been in need of one for a long time. If it hadn't been for my promise to your late brood sister, Alexandra, I'd have dealt with you years ago. I promised her I would protect you. You take too many chances childe. You endanger yourself, and sometimes even the Masquerade. The only way I can continue to protect you is to make you my childe.

The smile on Julian's face turned into a brilliant grin as the Prince contemplated the newest addition to his family. , Frank Kohanek is a good investigator; the Kindred can use his talents. The man will make a nice addition to my family and the Ventrue Clan andonce I get him past his problems with Kindred law and authority structures, he'll make a good Kindred as well. Yes, Julian was definitely pleased with himself as he continued his thoughts. Frank wouldn't consciously betray the Kindred, but he needs to learn discretionand control.

After placing several pillows against the tastefully carved mahogany headboard, removing his shoes, and laying his suit coat on a nearby chair, Julian settled himself comfortably against the pillows. A smugly satisfied smile appeared on his face. Frank didn't fight me nearly as much as I expected him to after he awoke from his embrace. No Julian, how could you?Julian laughed silently as he tilted his head back to gaze at the ceiling. Sonny was right! Frank is a little shit. He won't admit it to himself, and certainly not to me, but Frank did want to be embraced. Julian didn't doubt Kohanek feared for his friend's life when the man gave the Prince his blood, but Frank wouldn't have continued to push himself into their lives if he didn't want to be a part of them. Julian looked down at the man he held in his arms. Your protestations of concern about Kindred invading the human world fall short my friend. His eyes alight with amusement; he tightened his arms around Frank. You're waking up too.

Relaxing against the pillowed headboard, Julian continued to wait for Frank to fully awaken as his thoughts returned to the new responsibility he had taken on. He sighed. Kohanek's been a lone wolf for too long. He's not a team player and the man's problems with authority are going to make respecting Kindred authority lines one of the most difficult lessons for Frank to learn. Frank Kohanek had little respect for authority as it was, and the Masquerade the Kindred survived by depended on following theorders of it's leadersMy new childe follows only those orders he gives to himself - all others he takes as, at best, suggestions.

Julian expression softened as, chuckling softly, he watched his increasingly restless friend. Frank's arms and legs were twitching and his head was rolling constantly against his sire's shoulder. Yes, childe, Julian thought with grim amusement, the first thing I intend to teach you about the Kindred is, that the first duty of a Kindred Sire is to protect their childe, even, or especially, from itself, until said child can, and will, take care of itself. The Prince's eyes narrowed as he heard Frank begin to moan, and protecting you from yourself is going to not only require your acceptance of our authority structures, but also your willingness to abide by them. I know you're a stubborn man, but I am far more stubborn than you will ever be, Frank Kohanek. Julian's ruminations stopped as Frank's eyes opened wide, and the man doubled over in Julian's arms, fighting to escape his sire's grasp. He's awake now. Julian calmly tightened his hold on his struggling childe and pulled Frank firmly back against him.

"Frank," Julian said reassuringly, as he wrapped his legs over the wildly thrashing Frank, and pinned the man's rolling head between his own head and shoulder. Rolling to his left, Julian flipped the pair of them to pin Frank's prone body beneath his own. Moving quickly, he raised his body, and rolled Frank over to lie supine beneath him, ending with Frank's confused eyes staring into his. Julian grinned. "Good evening, childe. Did you have a nice rest?"

Huh, was Frank's first thought as he awoke in pain and discomfort to find himself pinned beneath Julian Luna. He could feel every cell in his body implode or, at least, that's what he thought he was feeling. Frank wondered what the hell Julian was doing - and why he was grinning so obnoxiously. Shit! He called me childe I've been embraced - He embraced me! This must be that superflu' Change' thing he was talking about before we got to his car.

"Uh, Julian," Frank said, regretting the anchovy and pepperoni pizza he had eaten just before he'd received the word that Julian was somewhere in the old asylum. "I'm gonna throw up. You might want to move."

Wasting no time, Julian rolled the man to the edge of the bed, grabbed the waste basket he'd strategically placed beside it, and shoved the thing beneath the man's head.

Although he felt a certain amount of physical relief, Frank turned his head to look at his sire and say sheepishly, "Sorry about your socks, Julian."

Julian patted his childe's shoulder as he concentrated on maintaining Frank's balance. With sympathy in his voice, he then said, "You aren't the first newly embraced childe I've had throw up on me. At least you missed my chest."

Eww. Frank grimaced at the mental picture, as he continued to look at Julian, a sickly smile wavering on his lips."Maybe you should avoid embracing people who've just eaten, Sire," he gasped weakly.

Julian just smiled as he moved one hand to help support Frank's head. If I'd done that childe, he thought, you would have been awake when I embraced you, and knowing you, you would have felt obligatedto protest. You didn't needto worry about it. I had your consent. Protecting a childe from itself can start even before an embrace. This was better for both of us.

"How long is this going to last Julian?" Frank gasped before he once again used the basket. "I'm so cold," he protested as he started shivering. "My stomach hurts. Hell, every muscle and sinew in my body feels like it's expanding and contracting. Even the cartilage in my nose hurts," Frank grumbled.

Julian watched as Frank's body rid itself of its human poisons and waited for his childe's intestinal distress to cease. "Frank …," he said calmly, "…every Kindred has gone through this. The Change can affect people differently, but everyone has felt the pain as they lost their human life. You will get through this," Julian reassured his childe. "The Change should be complete in a day or two. The pain will be gone by then."

After several nausea-free moments, Frank turned his head. "I'm still cold, and something's missing."

"Missing, Frank?" Julian commented as he pulled Frank up to sit on the edge of the bed.

Using his foot to push the waste basket to the side, Frank stood and started to pace. "I feel like there's something missing in me, Julian. My body doesn't feel like my body anymore." He stopped in front of his sire. "I'm cold, there's a big hole inside me, and my cells feel like they're imploding." Frank stood with his arms wrapped tightly around his upper body. "I don't know who I am anymore, Julian," he said plaintively.

"You're Kindred, Frank," Julian said as he rose and rested his hands on Frank's shoulders. Looking into the man's eyes, he continued calmly, "You're Ventrue, and …," Julian stated firmly as he turned his childe, steered him toward the fireplace and gently pushed the man into a chair, "… you're my Childe."

Julian Luna perched on an arm of the chair and turned to look at Kohanek. "Frank, what you're feeling is The Hunger. You feel empty because you need to feed. You need blood." Julian held his right arm in front of his childe. "First lesson: Your nails can become talons. Use one, open my wrist and drink.

Quickly following the path of the upper left corner of his lips, Frank's left eyebrow rose in a dubious quirk as he stared back at the Prince.

You need to feed, Frank," Julian encouraged calmly. "If you don't feed, you'll die." As Frank complied, Julian smiled and said, "After you finish, lick it shut. Very good," he praised when the man had finished. "Do you feel better now?"

Frank glanced up at his sire after closing the man's wrist, leaned back, and sighed in relief. Meeting his childe's glance, Julian stood and moved to sit in another chair. After settling comfortably in said chair, he quietly watched Frank staring into the flickering flames of the fire. Several minutes later, Frank looked up, met Julian's gaze and said, "Why? Why do you want me? Both of us know I have problems with authority. I've rarely met an order I liked and I have a hard time following orders I disagree with. I certainly didn't make things easy for you before, and it's doubtful I'll make them easier for you now."

Julian shifted slightly in his chair and calmly returned Frank's gaze. He understands himself more than I realized. "Frank, the first thing you need to learn about the Kindred, is that the first duty and obligation of a Kindred sire is to protect his or her childe, even, or especially, from itself, until said childe can, and will, take care of itself." With an impish look on his face, Julian commented, "And, I'm nothing, if not dutiful.

You were past the point where I could allow you to continue as a human. You interfere too much. If you want to play in our world, you not only need to know - and follow - our rules; you need to be one of us before you can be trusted with our secrets." Julian laughed. "And don't worry about your usefulness. I didn't embrace you out of charity. You're a good investigator." The Prince paused to smirk at his childe's look of disbelief, before continuing. "You're useful, and both Sonny and I like you. I'm pleased to have you as an addition to my domain and family.

I can, and will, deal with you. Julian commented dryly. His eyes twinkled with his next comment. "… And I don't doubt I'll have to deal with you, at least, a few times before you settle into Kindred life," You aren't a fool, and I know you're as capable of change as any other person. You understand yourself more than I thought you did. All I expect from you, is to let me deal with you when you make mistakes, and to learn from those mistakes. In other words: Trust me, don't fight me. You've a lot to learn before I can let you loose on your own," Julian said briskly.

Frank relaxed, as a slow grin appeared on his face. "I'll do my best, Julian. Soo…," he drawled, "…what do I need to learn and how long is it going to take? Am I going to have a job at the end of this? I'm a cop; it's what I do and what I am."

"Thank you, Frank," Julian said warmly. "I'll hold you to that. As to what you need to learn: The Six Traditions, my laws, how to hunt, how to shield yourself, and how to use dominate to read minds and conceal yours, and the Kindred's presence, and shape-shifting. Julian raised his glass to his lips and took another sip of the deep red liquid, before continuing. "You will have a job at the end of 'this', and it will be as a cop." Frank is looking lost again and I've got the perfect lesson to distract him. Julian stood, and strolling casually over to the fireplace, leaned against the mantle. His eyes followed me. Good.

"Would you like to know how I met your grandsire, Archon?" Julian's eyes crinkled as his lips rose into an engaging grin when he saw Frank straighten in sudden interest. I thought that would get his attention. I t was only a few months after my wife had died in childbirth." Julian droned on for several minutes, speaking of his despair and melancholy after his wife's death, and of his decision to leave his newborn child, with family, in Manzanita. He spoke of his desire to escape his grief, and of trying to find a job in nearby San Francisco. The future Prince of San Francisco had found a position as a bookkeeper in, what he'd later, learned, was one of Archon's shipping companies.

Folding his legs, Julian crouched down beside the fire. With a carefully concealed smile threatening to break through, Julian casually grasped the nearby bellows and fanned the embers into a roaring fire. Cedar: Good. The Prince sniffed appreciatively as the pungent smell of the cedar logs soon filled the room and he continued droning on about Archon, the docks, and the best jambalaya outside of New Orleans, while, out of the corner of his eye, he kept a watchful eye on his newly embraced childe.

Frank appears to be enjoying the scent of the cedar. He's concentrating on me and he appears to be fascinated by my words as well. Smell, hearing and sight. I'd prefer a fourth sense, but I've got him now. Julian Luna calmly rose from his crouch and, sauntering over to the newest addition to his family, he stopped in front of the man. Continuing to speak softly, he reached out with his hands to bracket Frank's upraised face. A sense of satisfaction suffused the Prince. Julian was pleased with himself. I've got a fourth sense. Brushing his thumbs along Frank's cheekbones, Julian softly moved into his childe's mind and ordered him to sleep.

Frank woke with a start. He was back on the bed. The only difference was that Julian was now perched on the edge of that bed, calmly watching him. What the hell? I was just …. How did I get here? "What did you do, Julian?" Frank asked curiously.

"I dominated you." His sire replied serenely, and then, smiling impishly, continued. "You did ask me what you needed to learn. Would you like to go over how I did it?"

Kohanek grinned back. "Was that a rhetorical question, sire?" He asked as he pulled himself up to sit cross-legged on the bed.