A/N: The response to Accidental was so encouraging I went ahead and decided to post this. Keep the response coming, and it'll all even out! Advance warning: this one is somewhat complex in vocabulary. But don't let that stop you. Myrnin and Amelie are older than the other characters, and it shows.
Summary: Amelie convinces Myrnin to take on another student.
He was having one of his bad days. Again. It seemed they were becoming more and more frequent, with less time in between episodes. She was worried.
They all were.
Well, all five or six that actually knew about Myrnin, that is. She watched as he muttered to himself in an old tongue, flipping pages of a journal so fast they ripped at the seam. Greek, perhaps. The Greek of the Byzantines and ancient Romans. The forgotten kind.
This could not be allowed to continue. Amelie turned sharply about. Samuel stood close behind her, watchful. As if he could protect her should Myrnin go feral. But it would not stop him from trying.
"Samuel," she said softly, "thank you. Your presence is no longer required here."
He turned his pale face toward her, but his eyes never left Myrnin. "Lady," he began, "I feel it would—"
She cut him off sharply. "I do not."
Now, at last, he looked at her. Her eyes were as cold as winter—she could see them reflected in his expression as it twisted, ambivalent. He would accede to her will, in the end. He knew his duties.
She turned away from him, and listened as his footsteps retreated up the stairwell. They paused at the top, but he did leave. She waited until she heard the sound of his car shifting into gear, and the squeal of tires faded away. Then she returned to her examination of Myrnin.
He hadn't moved, or taken any notice at all of what was happening around him. His complete concentration blocked out most outside distractions, and her presence dimmed the rest. He had come to rely on her far too much these past few decades. Where she was, no harm would come to him. Perhaps, then, she was only obstructing herself by coming to see him. But there was no other way.
"No," Myrnin said suddenly, not looking up from his book.
"You are projecting. I can feel your distress from where I sit. And you are wrong," he added, finally looking up. His eyes were clear. "There is another way, and you know it."
"You ate the last two students I sent you," she observed.
He shrugged and tossed the book aside. It seemed for the moment he was in full control of his faculties. "Trifles. What are two in the face of thousands?"
"They are, of course," he continued, "insignificant. Your heart does not bleed easily for even your own so-called children, my queen."
"Yours does not bleed at all."
He accepted the statement for what it was. A fact. "I am old, majesty, older than even you. I do not feel things the same way. Compassion was not a quality I could retain through the rise and fall of the empires."And live.
"So you admit to feeling no distress over our…impending doom?"
He looked at her askance. "Not at all, Lady."
"Then you will continue working to find a cure."
His lips curled up into what might have been a smile. "I had almost forgotten how clever you are. But no fool could ever hold this city as you have. Very well. I shall continue my research, for all the good it may do."
Amelie relaxed. Marginally. "I will send you another student."
She drew herself up, and centered the full force of her stare on him. "That was not a request."
He met her gaze squarely. Challengingly. But if he was older, she was queen. And the position was more than just ceremonial. He lowered his gaze.
"This one shows more promise than any of her predecessors," Amelie continued, as if he hadn't interrupted. "She is human, certainly, but she is a precocious child. She can learn anything you deign to teach her. And she could save us all."
"Salvation through a human child?" he quipped.
The irony was not lost on her.
"I will require you to treat her with respect, and attention. This could very well be the last pupil you ever take on. If students are the legacy of their teachers, I expect great things.
"But, Myrnin," she added, a hint of frustration threading through her voice, "you'll have to try."
She smiled, but it was a weary smile. What good was being queen when all your subjects did was mock, undermine, or try to overthrow you?
"Oh, and one other thing, Myrnin," she began.
Too late. He was gone, this time shuffling around several half-empty bottles of red crystals. She turned and left him there, alone in the semi-darkness. She didn't look back; she didn't feel sorry for him.
Because weren't they all alone, in the end?
How morbid. I don't think I would make it as a Vampire in Morganville. Please leave a review on your way out!
Author's Musings: It is difficult to get inside Amelie's head. She's the Queen of the Vampires, for heaven's sake! Who knows how her mind works? But in the end I managed, and I think it turned out rather well, considering. She's too interesting to leave alone. It was a little deeper, and therefore a bit more confusing, than my dip into Shane's POV. Wow. This is really fun. The universe Rachel Caine has created is really open ended--leaves me a lot of leeway. I think I'll probably do a what-if story next, rather than something that has already happened.
Again, thank you so much for your support! Suggestions, comments, questions will be read and responded to accordingly.