The pain of ice-cold fangs sinking into her flesh released a cry from her throat. The moment the creature pierced the skin above the pulse of her neck, the tension that held her body stiffly up was relieved, and her limbs gave way.

Strong arms broke her fall, and she dimly realized that she was being held again a cool silk-covered chest. She was lifted up and then she was floating with the creature in the air, and they soared into the thick pregnant blanket of the starless night.


She ran and ran. Blindly she stumbled through the darkness, the past hour screaming in her mind. How could he have done this horrible thing? She trusted him with all her life. She gave him everything she could give until she was dry.

Tears streaked her cheeks as the wind blew them into burning paths on her face. She had come home from work so weary she only wished for her warm sheets to envelop her. She expected to see her sisters watching an old movie curled up on the couch, a huge bowl of popcorn squeezed between them. She had expected to see the messy kitchen and hear one of the lazy bums yell that she would take care of it. She had expected to trip over some inane material that one of the residents of the house left by the hallway.

But she never expected to stumble upon the greatest betrayal of her life.


"Piper, please let me explain?"

She wildly shrugged off his hand on her shoulder. "What the hell more do you want?!" she screamed. All she wanted was for him to go away. "Just leave me alone. Don't you see you've hurt me enough?"

"I can see that you're hurting. And I just want it to go away. So listen to me!" he called after her.

"Just stay away from me and it'll be fine. I don't want to see your face again!"

"You need space. Let's talk tomorrow morning when everything's calmed down."

"No." She whirled around to face him. "I gave my entire life to you and this is what I get. I'm not a freaking idiot to give you the chance to kill me like this again!"

Was there regret shining in his eyes? Of course he should regret it. This was his loss. "It was nothing," he begun.

"You'll get nothing more from me!" Her legs carried her forward. Deep inside she prayed that he would not follow. Maybe he would return to heaven with his paramour. How long it had been going on behind her back she did not care. She really didn't. Please. She didn't care. No. She did Inot/I care. She'd never care again.


She floated in euphoria. That was her first conscious thought the moment she came to. There was a minor sting at the vicinity of her neck, and even that vanished within a few seconds of waking up. She looked down at her hand and was surprised to see how white her skin was, how smooth. In fact, she discovered as she glanced down her body, her entire skin was white and flawless.

Voices in her brain made her smile as the cool breeze tickled her. She was naked, floating in the air like a wisp of ecstasy. She allowed herself to lie limply. The creature below, standing on earth as he was, was pleased by the actions of his charge. She hung there, her legs and arms limply falling away from her figure, her soft hair fell in careless abandon in the air. He knew that she was staring at the black, black sky.

"You were made for this."

"I was," came the faint response.

"Do you enjoy it?"

"I feel nothing. I am grateful."

He allowed her to stay afloat and relish her new existence for several more hours. She basked in the darkness and let the energy of the night flow through her body. And then when he determined that she had enough he called out to her. "Come to me." And she did. Slowly she touched the ground and approached her master with such grace and poise that seeing her form approach gave him satisfaction. "You are perfect," he told her, to which she bowed her head and murmured her thanks. He tipped her chin up to meet his eyes. "Look me in the eye when I speak to you, my love."

"I'm not worthy of you yet."

"You are because I say you are. We are mates now, you and I." He ran his fingers down her cheek and was pleased at her shy smile. He looked down at her, and took off his robe to cover her with it. "You are mine now." She nodded. "Then kiss me and seal the vow, Piper." They did not break their gaze as his lips touched hers. They were looking at each other when his mouth opened and the kiss deepened to the point of ravishment.

His head lifted, and her bruised lips and shining eyes delighted him. "I will reward you," he told her, and she brightened. Very eagerly, her hands clasped his neck and brought him closer to her level. She rose at the tip of her toes and gently at first, then hungrily later, she bit into his neck and drank from him. She let out an excited squeal when he took her wrist and bit at her pulse. Together, simultaneously, they drank from each other.


She crouched in the darkness, waiting for the familiar scent to surge through her nostrils, to awaken cells in her body almost dead with boredom. This was an assignment she had to complete now. Damien told her that she cannot fully be converted without finishing off these little complications.

"A clean slate, my love. You need to kill them all. They will make you weak."

"But who are they really, Damien? Is it not pointless to suck them dry when I don't even remember?"

He brushed the hair away from her face. Her lips were just so inviting. He slowly bent towards her and licked the moisture off. He tasted the metallic tang of his own blood still there. Thrilled, he took her lips more fully and gently nibbled on the sides, taking in each and every of his essences on her. "You'll remember some. Not enough that you would back out. You need to do this for us, Piper. So we can fully be one." When she seemed unsure, he offered his wrist to her. "I know you want to, Piper." She did not move. Grinning, he slit his wrist and ran his tongue over the wound. Blood at the tip of his tongue, he teased her trembling lips. "Can you resist the fresh taste of blood? This is your life now." And she closed her eyes and took his hand, suckling from him.

When she finished, she looked at him with baleful eyes. Tenderly, he wiped at the corners of her mouth for the excess blood. "Don't you ever do that to me again!" she gasped out.

"Then I suggest, Piper, that you not deny your destiny. Ever."

And so tonight here she was. Much as she hated the way he controlled her, she was in this, with no turning back. She had asked for this conversion, and she had to learn to live with the consequences.

There she went. The woman that Damien had pointed to earlier settled into bed, and soon was drifting off to sleep. Very quietly, she stepped into the room from the window and approached the silent human. She settled in beside her, and the living creature let out a soft moan before turning onto her back. Piper sucked in her breath. The woman did not hurt her at all, yet here she was to kill her in her sleep.

She leaned to sink her fangs into the white neck, the way Damien did with her, only this time she would not stop until the heart stops beating. Yet before she could bite, a strong grasp on her arm pulls her away and hard onto the chest of a man.

"What are you doing?" he demanded.

"Let go!"

"We've been looking for you for days! Can't you even think about your sisters?"

"I don't know what you're going on about. Now leave me be." Leo glanced back at Phoebe, who was resting after an exhausting day of searching for clues on Piper's whereabouts. He pulled Piper with him to the hall.

When he glanced back at her under the light of the fluorescent bulbs, he took a step back. "Piper." The pale flawless skin, the red-speckled eyes, the gleaming white fangs that peeked out from her lips, ripped his heart to shreds. "What have you done to yourself?" Had his betrayal pushed her to this? Instead of running away, he took her in his arms and held her, tightly and warmly, not wanting to let go.

"Let me go. I need to do this. Just let go and you'll not get hurt!"

"No! Don't. Or else there's no turning back." His heart bled at his role in this.

She shrugged him off madly. "There already is no turning back, you fool! Whoever you think I am, I am her no longer."

"Piper, you're my wife," he told her brokenly.

"She's dead. Now let go before I hurt you. I did not come for you. Not this time," she warned. She pushed away and walked towards the door, but once more he caught her arm. "Don't think I can't get you off if I want to. I'm exercising as much restraint as I can not to snap your neck right now."

He pulled her close. "Do it."


"Kill me."

"Go to hell."

"After what I've done, I'm already there."

"Fine." She pulled him down, and he did not resist. She bared his neck to her, and she could feel her mad heart thumping, the exhilaration rising, at the prospect of feeding again. "Then you die."

He turned to look into her eyes. "With all my heart, I'm sorry."

She stared at him, moments passing by swift as sands in a broken hourglass. The world spun around her, and their eyes locked, hers fearful, his hopeful. "I adore you," she gasped out disbelievingly. "And, damn you, no matter how much you hurt me, I can't stop loving you!!" Triumphant, his hands caught her face, and he pressed his lips on hers. When he lifted them, she looked like the same Piper who had been his since the beginning of time.

"I kissed her," he confessed, "and that was the biggest mistake of my life. Every second I held her in my arms I burned because I knew how wrong it was. She presented temptation and I wanted to drown myself in her. But that would have killed me. And I choose life over that. I chose you."

"It's too late!" She shook her head. "What's done is done. I've cursed myself to this existence, Leo. Now just let me leave or kill me, before I kill you."

"You won't kill me. I know you can't."

"I can't. But I'm no longer me! Please... if you loved me at all..."

"If you love me at all," Leo cut in," you would let me help you."

"It's not going to work! I can't-- I can't--"

"Nothing is impossible," he injected. "Remember that. With love... and haven't we got so much of that?"

"I'll become that creature again..."

"And I'll get you back. Trust me." Her hand intertwined with his firmly, gripping him as a matter of survival. But more than that, her hand in his became a symbol of faith.


From the depths of her lungs her scream pierced her body through and ripped the still night air. It was an intense, throbbing mixture of agony and pain. She curled into herself, tightly as her hands balled into fists. Leo took the hands firmly in his own and pressed them close to his chest. "Easy. Easy, baby."

"It hurts!" she screamed.

He stared down at the warm blood that oozed out of her palms, streaking down his wrists in a cruel veiny path. "Relax, honey," he pleaded. "You're hurting yourself!"

"Leo," she sobbed. "It's inside me!"

"What is?" he asked, fearful at the panic in her eyes. "What is? Tell me so I can help you."





"He's inside me," she cried, her entire body trembling as she fought the evil trying to free itself from inside her. "I'm not strong enough to contain him. And he will get out, Leo. He will get out."

"You're strong. No matter how powerful he is, you will control him. He can't control you."

Suddenly, she became as powerful as he said, yet in a different sense. She snatched her arms away and grabbed his lapels. "I need him," she said harshly. "I need Damien."

"You don't need him. Look at me, Piper. I'm your husband. All you need is to lean on me, and we'll get over this. Trust me."

She bounded out of the bed and faced him, flaring up. "Don't you see that you're the cause of all this?! You drove your wife to this. And it's too late!"

"No," he replied quietly. "It won't be too late until I'm dead."

Piper, who seemed no longer Piper, drew her arm back and slammed it hard onto his cheek, and he fell on the floor, still. "We'll see about that."


The loud smattering applause that beat into the quiet night hammered one thought into her mind gone dull--she was in too deep, she was in too hot, she was irreversibly converted. "Damn your soul to bloody everlasting hell," she murmured.

Behind him, Damien's white teeth flashed with his smile. "You're a little too late there, love. The soul I had was sent there long ago, and it's dancing on top of burning coals."

"I was looking for you. Where were you?"

"I thought I'd let you nourish yourself without me to help this time."

"I needed to drink from you, Damien. Where were you?"

"What's the problem? You got your own drink by yourself."

"Where were you?!"


She whirled around. In her fury she leapt from her place at the other side of the alley, and landed on her feet right in front of him. "You were here all along? Why did you not show yourself!?"

"You needed a little pushing, love. Now you're mine. Forever."

She snatched her arm away and glared at Damien. A few yards away from them lay the corpse of a cop she had found doing his nightly rounds. "An innocent," she whispered.

"So fresh, isn't it?"

Piper could not deny it. The taste of his blood was far sweeter than Damien's, and the energy that pumped into her body after slaughtering him was heightened. "I killed an innocent."

"And you will crave to kill more," he told her, but she shook her head in denial. "There's no use running away from it, Piper. You wanted to forget, didn't you? I gave you the only gift I could give." He ran his hand softly over her cheek. "Come closer, love," he soothed. "Share some of it with me." Paralyzed as she stared at him, she offered her still wet lips to Damien. The vampire bent to take her lips, and started sucking the remaining sweetness first from her lower lip, and then the upper. His tongue plunged in to consume whatever taste remained inside her mouth.

Slowly, while he partook of the blood, tears trickled down her from her eyes. She did not move, merely allowed him to do what he must, what being her master gave him leave to do. And then when at last he lifted his head to proudly tell her how marvelous her first kill was, she turned around and walked away.

"I won't stop you," he called out. "Because I know you'll come home to me. You can't run, Piper. I'm inside you. I am you!"


It was so cold. The biting wind bit into her skin and wrapped around her bones like a blanket of death. Crouched there at the corner of a forgotten alley, she watched as the dark street was lit by passing vehicles, only to fall into blackness once more when the car had driven past. She had killed a man, who had done nothing but walk by, who had merely walked by to protect human lives. She, in her hunger and evil, was possessed by the urge to sink her teeth into his neck and draw his life out of him. And that she did. The cop lay lifeless somewhere in the city. And his family, waiting up for him, would be informed in several hours. Maybe by morning.

Her palpitating heart rose to her throat, and she could hear Damien's silent call. "No," she whispered. "I will not come to you again." The hair on her arms prickled as she felt his presence, yet she knew that at this hour Damien would be off searching for his own victim.

He had to hurry. Light would come soon. He needed to hide soon.

She gazed up at the dark gray sky as she sat there, trembling.


"Piper." He fell onto his knees before her. Slowly, her head raised from its shelter between her knees, and she blearily looked up at him. "Let's go home." She shook her head. "I'll take you back with me," he offered. "You can't stay here. It's almost morning."

She knew that it was. Her skin was beginning to crawl at the heat that was starting to flavor the air. "I'll stay."

"No, Piper," he said softly. "Until we figure out a way to resolve this, we need to get you away from the sun."

"I killed someone, Leo. I have to burn." Pain flickered in his gaze. "You cannot save me now."

"Yes, I can," he insisted.

"You know you can't."

"Nobody can tell me that I can't. I will not let you die."

Her hand rose to touch his face. "It's too late to even try."

He held her arms firmly. "Do you love me?" She nodded. "Then help me help you."

"I killed."

"You didn't," he insisted. "He made you do it."

"How can you look me in the eye and tell me that? You should go away. I murdered an innocent. If you care for who you are at all, you should either turn me in to the ones who can kill me or walk away and leave me to my fate!"

"I'm staying, Piper! I'm staying because of who I am! Who I am is you."

Leo. Damien. Both of them claiming to be her. Yet what now of her own identity? Had her essence been wasked away by these two men? "No, Leo. You only love me. But you're not me."

"Do you love me?"

"I love you."

"Then we're one."

The sun started to rise, and she hissed in pain. "If you value who I am you would not take me away when I choose to stay here."

Leo fixed his gaze on her and said, "All right." And then he covered her entire form with his body, shaded her from the light, and stayed there, still, unmoving. The day lulled her into the sleep of the dead, and still Leo did not move. The sun would not kiss her skin. Not as long as he was there to shade her.


She woke to find herself suffocated and limp. She tried to move, and when her full consciousness returned she realized what had happened. Tentatively she moved away, and he woke up. "You are insane," she murmured. He merely smiled.

When he tried to sit up, he groaned. His muscles were stiff. "Serves you right for being a madman," Piper muttered. Instead of leaving, she took his shoulders in her arms and pressed heavily with her fingers, massaging him.

"You're hungry, aren't you?" he whispered.

"I'm fine."

"You need... I know what you need. And..."

"I won't do that to you, Leo. No matter what monster I become, I will never hurt you," she told him.

"If there's a way--"

"You will find it," she finished for him.

The wind around them blew ice cold. The sound of footsteps rang on the cemented ground. Leo looked up. A heavily cloaked man appeared from the foggy mist. "You've found a victim this early in the night?"

"I am not killing anyone," Piper responded. "Get out of here, Leo."

"I won't leave you."

Damien's teeth once more gleamed in the moonlight. "Oh is this the man?" He regarded Leo with his blood red eyes. "Trying to take you back? Haven't you told him your accomplishment yet?"

"Don't listen to him," Piper whispered.

"Haven't you told him of your kill?" Leo's arms tightened around Piper. "Of the way I taste? Of how your fulfillment with me is far far more than that you feel with him?"

"Shut up, Damien."

"Of how you took me inside you and found out that your soul cries out for me, has been crying out for centuries?!"

"You're making all this up!"

"And how all your lifetimes your soul sought to find a mate, yet never found it because I'm a living dead!?"


"And all this time settled for him because he's there and I am not!?"

"You lie!!!"

"Do I?" Piper stumbled backwards, away from Leo, away from Damien, feeling the coldness seeping inside her. "Deny it all you want, Piper. You know it as well as I. You realized it when you lay in my arms this past week. He hurt you. I never have. You searched for me for thousands of years. Do you think you can easily turn your back on your true mate?"

Her eyes darted from Damien to Leo, and then back. "Piper." Leo whispered her name. Only that. One single word, and she knew what she needed to do. She had her choice.

"Go home, Leo. Now!"

She stepped towards Damien. His white arm raised, his palm up, prepared to receive her hand. Slowly she felt herself change. Her skin started to glisten, and she felt the itch of her gums as her fangs grew.

"Piper," he said once more. She met his eyes, and he stepped back. There was no more recognition in her gaze. It was dead. Had eyes been windows to a soul, then he was assured that Piper was no longer in that body. This, the woman standing before him, was now nothing more than an empty shell. He would find her again.

"Take me hunting, Damien," he heard her say. And the two together vanished from his sight.


"Drink," he commanded. Piper looked at the creature he held. Damien's fingers sank in the woman's hair. Already, her neck was marked by Damien's bite. She must be so afraid now. Piper looked into her eyes. Fear. Pain. Always they looked like that. It was beginning to bore her really.

She took the woman by the shoulders and pulled the trembling body against her. With a grin she sank her fangs into the soft neck and gently sipped at first. The hot rush of the blood in her mouth and down her throat made her greedy, and she sucked hard. "She's all out!" she gleefully announced.

Damien laughed. "Then we'll find another for my hungry angel," he assured her.

Piper dropped the woman on the ground. Damien took her arm.

What she did next was her immortality's greatest mistake. She looked back.

Now in the woman's eyes as she looked at her two killers was acceptance, and it was different. However, it was replaced by something else. Piper's downfall.

The dying eyes looking back at Piper were full of forgiveness.


"It's almost morning, Piper. I'm sorry. There's no time to make another kill. How about we just double our next night?"

She did not speak. The sky was beginning to light up. Orange streaks started veining, branching out. Damien pulled her hand to take her inside.

"I am evil."

"Oh love, you're not. This is the way of the world. The weak makes way for the strong. And since we are the strong we make the kill."

She shook her head. "I was stronger once too. And I protected the weak."

"That's the way the strong who know nothing work. Like your husband. I felt his powers humming around him, Piper. But did he fight me for you? No. It is his choice to stay quiet, to remain passive. That is not the way to be."

"He prefers love, not hate. He would not hurt anyone."

"That is where you're wrong." Damien bent for a kiss, and she turned her face away. "Didn't he hurt you when in your own room he took that woman's lips?"

Silent tears trekked down her cheeks. The sun peeked through, and his hand clasped her arm. She met his eyes and pulled away. And then the sun burst forth in the sky. She shook her head and turned to face the sun. Piper stifled her scream as she run towards it. And then she spun. Around and around.

She saw red. In her sight the earth changed into blood redness.

But first she danced under the sun.


Leo's hands claped and unclasped as he sat on the edge of the bed. He waited for night to fall again. But it was only morning, and she must be hiding in some basement with Damien. He wished that night would fall soon. He had a city to search, a heart to tend to.

"I'll find you, Piper. I'll find you again."

The end