Summary:

Six months have passed since Deep Dark. Astaroth is still on the loose and Henry has returned to Ontario - but with ulterior motives and a hunger for revenge.

Disclaimer: Blood Ties and its characters remain the property of Tanya Huff and Lifetime. No copyright infringement intended.

Notes:

I'm going to try posting the chapters as I write them for a change, instead of waiting till I finish it. Hope you enjoy the first chapter.

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It had been six months since vampire Henry Fitzroy and detective Mike Celluci had walked out of Vicki Nelson's life. She'd been numb for a while, and had let a few tears slip from time to time before getting on with her life. There had been no sign of Henry, and Mike refused to return her calls.

Vicki had been highly strung, anticipating a visit from the demon Astaroth at any moment. She truly believed he was still in Ontario. Strangely the supernatural happenings had grown quiet, it was as if Astaroth's presence had scared all non-human beings away, Henry included. Although the levels of human violence and depravity had sky-rocketed to make up for their absence. Every day reports of serials killers and rapists, mass murderers and suicides filled the news. She'd heard through Dr Mohadevan that Mike had been reinstated back at the police force simply because they needed him to help with the work load.

Coreen had become Vicki's lifeline. Their friendship had grown since the incident with Astaroth. Thankfully there had been enough mundane cases to keep the both of them employed and busy. The remainder of their time was spent trying to track down Astaroth and trying to find a means to expel him from Father Raymond's body when they eventually did find him.

It was late in the evening, and Vicki and Coreen were in Vicki's office, having just spent several hours doing yet more research. Coreen put down the occult reference book she was reading and scratched at the scar on her chest.

"Are you ok?" Vicki asked, concerned.

"Yeah, just this damn scar still itches. I guess I shouldn't complain if that's the only long term side affect of having my heart ripped out of my chest and put back in." Coreen smiled and continued to scratch.

Vicki smiled back at her, then stood up to stretch her legs. She walked over to the window, crossed her arms and stared out, deep in thought.

"You miss him don't you?" Coreen suggested.

"Who?" Vicki asked, feigning ignorance.

"You know exactly who I'm talking about. You miss Henry."

"Pfffft no!" Vicki lied.

Inside her heart ached with the thought of him. Yes, she missed him, but she'd promised herself she'd never admit it aloud.

Outside, unbeknownst to the two women, Henry lurked in the shadows. He stared at Vicki through the window, grinding his teeth as the bitterness in his blood began to boil with the sight of her.

He had left Ontario, just as he had said he would, but had found himself repeatedly in a state of emotional turmoil. At first he was saddened by the emptiness without her in his life, but he grew angry and spiteful. How could she so callously refute his advances for all those months they spent together? Her decision to stay with Mike had created an emotional wound in Henry, one that continued to fester and bleed to this day. As each month passed in Vancouver, he had tried to forget about her, but his subconscious tortured him. He was so often convinced that he'd see her in the corner of his eye, or smell her perfume at the night clubs he regularly visited. He kept masochistically picking at the metaphorical scab on his wounded heart.

Feeling restless with the weight of his unresolved issues, he had abandoned Vancouver and returned to Ontario, uninvited. It had not taken long for the young male vampire who had moved in to Henry's former territory, to seek him out. Henry had no time or patience for the bureaucratic and political process of negotiation. He was no match for the youngster, who was repeatedly sliced open by Henry's sword, to be left bleeding on a rooftop just before dawn. Henry had burned his bridges by murdering the vampire, and he knew it. He didn't care.

Upon hearing of Henry's return, and his apparent change of demeanour, Augustus had refused to be of any further assistance to Henry. He would have to fend for himself, and he was OK with that. He offered a considerable sum of money to the owners of his original apartment and organised with a moving company to ship his belongs back 'home'.

Now, he stood in the dark outside Vicki's office. At first he had felt relieved that she was still alive, calming his fears that Astaroth may have returned and harmed her during his absence.

As he began to remember the past, his thoughts became resentful. He reminded himself why he'd come back, and what he had come back here to do. He'd make Vicki suffer the torment that she had so carelessly inflicted upon him for twelve whole months.

He'd have his revenge.

Henry ran his tongue across the tip of his fangs, and found himself growing hard with the thought of it.