Oh, everyone. I love you so much. Thanks to all of you who continue to wish me luck and support me. A special thanks to Joey for letting me rant, helping me bounce some ideas, and offering so much support. To Rain, who kept me company, showed me my accidental racist ways, battled the never-ending Wifi Fight to show me support, and is even drawing vampires. And to my Roo-Roo, who helps keep me going, keeps me laughing, and edits this brainchild like a BOSS. LOTS OF LOVE FOREVER, EVERYONE.


"That's it?"

"What do you mean, 'that's it'? Greg ripped his arm open; what the hell were you expec…" Larissa paused, then suddenly laughed. "What did Ashlyn tell you? Were you expecting a corpse?"

Rudolf was silent for a while before he finally sighed. "It… it doesn't matter. How is he, though? Is he okay?"

"He's… been better, obviously. Should I even ask what happened or should I suppose Ashlyn's given you an earful already?

"Enough for the oldest vampire's lifetime. Speaking of her, though, you really ought to find her and talk her out of doing anything rash; I realize she's beyond livid and by all means, I'm ready to tear him apart myself, but now is not the time. My parents are already so on edge, if any of us were to start a fight with Gregory, I don't know what would happen…"

"…you turned into that when she told you, didn't you?"

"I did… I honestly was ready to destroy my brother, but even then, Ashlyn still easily knocked me flat on my ass and told me to get here as fast as I could. I don't think I've ever seen her so angry… I'm still not even sure if it was because she wanted me here or if she wanted to kill Greg herself. But really, Larissa, I wouldn't insist on it if I wasn't honestly worried about her upsetting the balance of everything right before the comet… Anna's with her now, trying to stall her in Carlisle, but she's never been good at listening to anyone other than you."

Dreams were supposed to go my way, right? Well, my dream-self was fucking emotionally and physically exhausted, so this conversation needed to stop. "Stop talking…" I grumbled, rolling over to face the two speaking vampires.

They both turned to look at me before Rudolf placed a hand on the blonde's shoulder. "Please…"

She sighed, "Fine. But you owe us both, Rudolf. Oh, that reminds me; he wanted me to tell you he hates you."

Rudolf's shoulders fell, visibly looking defeated and disheartened. "…he… he what?"

"Hates you?" Larissa supplied again. "Look. Before you get emotional and go running off again, he also spent the entire night missing you. He doesn't really hate you. He's just hurt. So… fix it, all right?" I watched as she sent a nod of her head in my direction before she disappeared out the window.

Rudolf met my gaze just about when I looked at him. His eyebrows pulled up in worry; like nothing bad had happened between us. Dreams were so much nicer than reality. His expression continued to soften as I held my arms out towards him, longing to feel his cool skin against me. "Oh," he started, carefully tracing the bandages along my arm before sitting on the side of the bed. "My poor Tony… I'm so sorry this happened." The vampire leaned down, pressing his forehead to mine, our noses brushing.

I frowned, bringing a hand to cup his cheek. "I wish you were real…"

Looking further troubled, he kissed me lightly, sighing. "Oh, Tony… I'm sorry…" He watched me for a moment as I yawned, eyelids starting their descent downwards. He slipped off his jacket and shoes, and before I lost myself to sleep, I scooted over, leaving him room to snuggle up behind me. If I was going to wake up in some odd hours, alone again, then damn it, he was certainly going to make it up to me now. He tangled his legs among mine, draping an arm over my side before his lips came to rest against the back of my head; now that was more like it.

I could have sworn I heard the first annoying beep of my alarm clock, but just as I was debating whether to get up to turn off the alarm, no persistent beeping followed; had I just imagined it? I fell back into a light sleep, only to wake up to the ring of the phone. Groggily, I sat up, rubbing at my eyes, looking around for the source of the noise. However, when my eyes fell on a certain vampire scooping up the phone on the floor, I frowned.

Rudolf pushed a button, asking a tentative, "Hello?" He listened for a moment, before a smirk pulled at the corner of his lips. "Ah, yes, this is he." I noted suddenly that he had an American accent.

Oh, no. I flung the covers off, stamping over to him. "What are you doing!" I hissed at him, trying to grab the phone out of his hand.

He grinned at me, pinning me to his side, stroking the back of my head. "Actually, yes. I am aware that Tony isn't at school. I apologize; I must've forgotten to give you a call. Mm? Ah, yes, he has the stomach flu… Monday? I'm not sure… we'll have to wait the weekend to see. Thank you for calling. Of course, you too." Hanging up, Rudolf set the phone on my desk, turning to pull me into a proper hug. "Well," he started, accent gone, "According to your father, you are sick today."

I shoved myself out of his grasp, eyes narrowed. "And what the hell gives you that right?"

His face fell. "I-I thought—"

"You thought what? You thought that you could just waltz back here after abandoning me and everything would be okay again!" Granted, I had woken up all of a minute and half ago, but I was already working myself up. "And you think I want to spend an entire day with you after all of this? Seriously?"

He took a step towards me, but I took few steps back, closer to the door. "You don't understand, Tony, I needed time to sort things out—"

"And you couldn't have told me?"

Frowning, he offered, "I think you would have a bit of a biased say in the matter…"

"I'm not even talking about helping you sort it out! I'm saying that I had no idea where you were! Why didn't you tell me?"

His voice finally gained an edge of defense to it, a single brow raised. "Wouldn't that have made you feel worse? Either way, I had to do what I needed to do— the outcome would have been the same, whether you had known or not—" He was still advancing, looking a little less diplomatic with every step he took.

Unfortunately, I found myself soon pressed up against the back of the door. "You should have told me…" I glared, "And what was so fucking important that you had to spend an entire day fucking sulking in England?"

When he took the final step that closed the distance between us, he turned his gaze downward, voice so cold, it sent a shiver through me. "Well, by all means, Tony, let me apologize for needing to cope with the loss of another lover."

For the first time since we had started arguing, my voice softened. "What do you mean…?"

Neither his gaze nor his voice warmed, and he continued to loom over me. "You already know how I feel about the comet… Just because you've helped us discover what you have— something that has been right under our noses for years— does not mean we'll be able to find it… the amulet could be anywhere. We've been looking for the damn thing for three hundred and fifty years and we've produced nothing. You'll go on living and I'll remain exactly as I am… I needed distance to try to remove myself from the idea of being able to stay with you… How can you expect me to do that, lying next to you, breathing in your scent, after I've just made you mine?" Rudolf brought his hand to my neck, his thumb stroking my cheek. "I have no desire to argue with you. I'm sorry things have turned out the way they have… I'll come back later, when you've had some time to calm yourself."

As he turned to leave, I felt panicked; I didn't want him to go again. "Bite me…"

He stopped. "…what?"

"If you're afraid of losing me, just bite me!"

Finally, he turned, eyes growing wide, startled and almost angry. "No."

Who was he to tell me no? After all of that and he wasn't going to do anything about it? Glaring back, I set my hands against my hips, defiant. "If you don't, I'll get someone else to—" I was cut off by his open palm slamming into the wall, inches away from my head. Despite flinching, I kept my stance firm; I was trying my hardest not to look terrified, but I was— my heart was thundering against my chest.

"Don't you dare, Tony."

"Why? Since you're so convinced that the comet's just going to come and go, then why won't you let me stay with you?"

His voice was low and his eyes were smoldering. "You don't know what that means. No blue skies, no birds singing, no flowers in the sunlight." He sighed deeply, chest heaving with it, almost quivering with frustration. "…just this constant night. I will not let you watch everyone you know and love die."

I rolled my eyes. "So you'll let me go, get old, and die? You'll watch it all happen? Or are you going to stay around only to run away every time we sleep together? Do you expect me to remain hopelessly in love with you as I get older every day? Or watch you leave every night trying to cope with whatever guilt you think you're living with? Really, Rudolf? Do you have any idea how hard this is going to be for us?"

He rolled his eyes, too, pressing his mouth into a hard, thin line to keep from saying something. For a long moment, he appraised me, before shaking his head. "I told you I'm not doing this…" He turned to go.

I should have left it alone. He had said he would be back in a little while, once I had cooled down, but I couldn't help myself; it was like the angry word-vomit wouldn't stop coming. "Fine! Run away! That's okay because I won't be alive the next time you see me!"

He whirled around again; note to self: when provoked, he was just as easily as menacing as his father. "You promised me, Tony," he growled.

"Who said I was doing it myself? Maybe you've forgotten, but your brother keeps trying to kill me!" I waved him on, "Go ahead, leave… I'm used to you not being there when I need you!"

Finally, it seemed I had taken it one step too far; Rudolf's face sobered, a brief flash of pain racing across his eyes. His stance deflated and it looked like he was floundering for something to say this time. "Tony, I—"

I would be the first to admit I hated seeing him looking so heartbroken, but until some serious groveling was taking place, I wasn't going to give. "No, I don't want to hear it! Do you know how alone I felt? Do you know I spent all of yesterday wondering what I had done wrong…? …wondering why you didn't think I was good enough for you? It was so hard, Rudolf!"

"Tony, I really am so very sorry… If I had any idea of what would happen while I was gone, I never would have left, and I'm sorry, I should have at least waited to leave… Come here, please," he held his arms out, beckoning me to come to him.

But I folded my arms, frowning. "No…"

"Tony…" He sighed. "Now you're just being stubborn and I won't have it, come here."

"If I do, you'll still leave… I've had enough of you leaving, so, no. You get your ass over here."

A relieved, breathy sigh escaped him as he smiled, walking towards me, arms still outstretched. "Whatever you wish, Tony." When he reached me, he slipped his arms through mine, lifting me up until I was a few inches higher than he was, looking down at him. As his smile warmed, Rudolf whispered, "Kiss me."

And I was more than happy to oblige.

After a moment, though, he set me down on my bed, his hand lingering on my face before he disappeared. I looked around for a few moments, wondering where he had gone off to, but after about another minute or so, he reappeared with a bowl of Coco Puffs in his hand. I almost laughed. "Breakfast in bed?"

His shoulders lifted up in a shrug. "Your stomach was growling all morning, you must be starving."

Well, that much was true. I hadn't eaten since lunch yesterday and the more I looked at the bowl he had given me, the more God Sent it looked. I lifted the spoon, dunking the ones on top as he sat down behind me, easily pulling me towards him until I was leaning up against him. When I started eating, he wove his arms around my waist, pressing kisses to my neck. "So…" I said through a partial mouthful of cereal, "I see you've helped yourself to figuring out where everything in my house is."

I felt him shrug, in a way that could only be called innocently. "It isn't like your parents stay home all the time when I'm here, and you honestly can't expect me to stay cooped up in that trunk of yours, can you?"

"I suppose not." As I had taken a few more bites, I snuggled back further into him, pulling my knees up some. "So, when are you going to tell them that you're my boyfriend?"

"Who? Your parents?"

"Well, yeah… who else? My non-existent friends?"

He squeezed my sides. "Shall I, then? I can only imagine how wonderfully that will play out. 'Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Thompson… your beautiful son has asked me to inform you of our ever-budding romance. I love him, he loves me, and I've already taken his virginity. It's good to see you again… May I stay for dinner?'"

I smirked and blushed as I listened; God, that would be the most awkward experience of either of our lifetimes. "…on second thought, don't tell them."

A smile was in his voice, "Why? I thought it sounded fine."

"All right, then I suppose I should tell yours, too?" I asked, idly stirring before taking a couple more bites. If we were doing awkward, we might as well do horrifying.

"Oh, God, no." Apparently, he thought the same thing.

I moved my head so that it rested against his shoulder, looking over to him. "You know… I think that any concept of 'us' is hopeless, no matter which way you look at it."

"And you wondered why I left."

"In my defense, you didn't explain yourself very well…" I mumbled, glaring.

Rudolf smiled, kissing my forehead. "I know and I'm sorry."

I looked down at the bowl of milk. "Do you want this?"

After he appraised it for a moment, he looked back at me. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't we already establish that I prefer the cow over milk?"

"Okay, smart ass. You could have just said no." I stared down at the remaining liquid, before trying to slide it onto my nightstand. Rudolf helped, pushing it the rest of the way. With it out of the way, though, I wrenched the covers from underneath me before once more snuggling back against the vampire. "Rudolf," I began again, after a few minutes had passed. "What are we going to do?"

"About what?"

About what, he said, like it wasn't obvious. "Everything… the comet, the amulet… us… It's already Friday… the comet is coming tomorrow night and all we know is that the crest belongs to the McAshton's… we don't even know what that means, it could be at the their house, it could be anywhere… and… and I don't really have three hundred years to help you find it again. I don't know what to do and I'm not ready to just let you leave my life…"

"Perhaps we should talk about this later," he said, kissing the top of my head.

Frowning, I grumbled, "But we're running out of time…"

"You've yawned twice when trying to explain that… you had a long, difficult day yesterday, you need to rest more. We can talk about it later. I promise."

At first, I debated the accuracy of all of this; I did have a long day yesterday, but we didn't have time to not talk about it… But then I yawned again. Maybe he was right… a nap really couldn't hurt, could it? I exhaled through my nose, suddenly wiggling down, stretching out on the bed. "Fine. But you promised. And you have to stay." I mumbled stubbornly, holding the blankets up so he could slide in next to me.

He shook his head, a smile playing at his lips. "Oh, Tony…" As he got in, he pulled me closer, so my face was against his chest, "Whatever will I do with you…?"

When I stirred awake, I found myself next to Rudolf, the way I would have liked to have been yesterday. Cool, secure, and pressed up against him, with his arm draped over me. Peeking up at him, it seemed as if he had dozed off as well, which was a nice change of pace from me starting creepily at him when he obviously wasn't asleep.

I slipped my arm off of his side, chastely pressing a kiss to his lips. "Rudolf?"

"Yes, my love?" He asked, without opening his eyes.

Leaning up, I glanced at my clock; it was only eleven thirty— we still had time. Of course, none of it could be used very proactively for at least another eight hours. I came back to rest against the pillow, looking back to Rudolf. How could he just… let things be? "Don't you want to stay like this forever?"

"I'm not biting you."

"Ashlyn said she could do it."

"I'd kill her."

Frowning, "You wouldn't."

Peeking open an eye, he stared at me for a moment before he rolled over. "Don't ruin the serenity of waking from a nap, Tony."

I scoffed before I extended my arm into his back, which did nothing except shoved me farther away from him. "You said we could talk about it."

"I said we could talk about our plans until tomorrow. I did not say I'd be willing to discuss your death sentence. Which neither I nor anyone else will be giving you."

Sighing, I pulled my arm back before sitting up. "Rudolf…"

He rolled over, so he was laying on his back, looking up at me, a tinge of exasperation in his voice. "Tony."

I dropped my gaze to my hands. Maybe what I was about to do was a little unfair, but shouldn't he know the truth? Both of what I knew and how I felt. "I know about Hadrian…" I said softly, lacing and unlacing my fingers.

"Did Anna tell you about him, too?" He asked after a moment.

Nodding, I looked over at him. "Can I be honest with you?"

The vampire propped himself up on an elbow. "I hope you always will be."

"I—" I sighed again. "I know you loved him so much… I saw, actually… and I can't even imagine how horrible that was for you. But don't you see? If the comet does come and go, then you will have to watch me die. Every day, I'll be a step closer to dying in front of you. I don't want to live knowing that somewhere, in the back of your mind, that thought will be there, haunting you. I couldn't bear if you started trying to distance yourself from me, but I couldn't bear it if stayed with me to the end… you'll be alone again and I don't want that."

At first he didn't say anything, but took my hand in his, stroking it with his thumb. A sigh parted his lips, finally as he sat up as well. "You know," he then maneuvered me back to the bed, and he was on his hands and knees above me. "You never fail to surprise me with how much you remind me of him… the similarities, they're almost uncanny. If I believed in reincarnation, I would swear you were him…" He leaned down, kissing my forehead. "And perhaps, our souls are destined to find each other always."

I could feel the corners of my mouth turn down and I tried to fight against it. It was conflicting, having him see the man he once loved in me. I was glad that I could somehow hold par against him… but wouldn't all of the similarities have him reflecting on the dead? "I'm not Hadrian, Rudolf," I whispered, reaching up to push him away.

Seeing that I was bothered by the comparison, he took my hand off his chest and brought it to his face. "Tony, I know that… I know you're not him. I'm sorry." He sighed again, his ruby eyes softening. "Tony… I've no doubt in my mind you'll hold me to this, but, I have a proposition for you. Right now, tension runs high for all of us; I know all of us are nervous. Can we talk about this afterwards? If we do fail, then let us save that conversation for when we have time on our hands. Is that acceptable?"

Slowly, I nodded. "Yeah… we can talk about it later." I smiled. "Like on Sunday."

Rudolf broke into a grin as he rolled his eyes. "Ever hasty, I see."

I wrapped my arms around his neck, pulling him down to me. "Yeah, well…"

Closing the distance between his, he pressed his mouth to mine. "I wouldn't change any of you, my beautiful friend."

I continued to smile against his lips before I pulled away, noting that his cool hands were creeping under the side of my shirt. After a glance downward, though, my brows furrowed. "What are you doing?"

"Are you honestly asking that?"

Blushing, I realized that I had actually asked that, and it was an incredibly silly thing for me to do. "I—… ah, okay…" It wasn't like I was against it, because we had already had sex… but I guess I hadn't anticipated it to happen again so soon.

"How shall I please you, Tony?"

I blushed even harder. Okay. Rudolf was not allowed to speak. Covering my face, I mumbled something about not caring.

He laughed softly, pulling my hands away before kissing my forehead. "You are so sweet." Maneuvering me out of my shirt, he began tracing his hands along my sides, kissing my neck and moving downwards. The more he kissed, the more he touched, the more I found myself exponentially less embarrassed and more flushed. His hands felt nearly freezing against me; I loved it. Looking at the mop of dark hair, I was suddenly overcome with the desire to touch it. It had always been so soft. Tilting my head, I stared up at him, brushing my hand through his hair. "What are you doing?" I asked softly, warming as his eyes met mine.

He took a hand off of me, only to capture my own, bringing it down to kiss my palm. "We will be together as long as we can be… and every day that we are together, I want to memorize your body, so my mind knows you as well as my heart does."

Despite blushing, I smiled, taking my hand back and playfully pushing his face. "You are so stuck in the eighteenth century." Yes. He wasn't allowed to talk anymore.

Thankfully, he didn't, going back to leisurely covering my body with kisses. He took his time as he kissed the slopes of my hips, watching the way my breath caught or the way I dug my fingers into the sheets.

"Rudolf…" I whispered, trying to tug his shirt off.

He smirked, almost hungrily, leaning back for a moment, peeling his shirt off before eyeing me, purposefully dragging his thigh over my tenting boxers as he leaned down again.

I was almost writhing underneath him. "S-Stop…"

His brow arched upwards. "Stop? Stop what?"

God… he was just… so… I blushed, frowning a little. "…teasing me."

About a moment after I had whispered that, I found myself suddenly boxer-less. His fingers were tracing my lips and as I looked back to him, he almost bore into my eyes. "Suck," he commanded, slipping his index and middle finger between my lips. Hesitantly, I began to lick at his fingers as he continued to rub his thigh against me, kissing my chest. Finally, he pulled his fingers from my mouth, covering it with his own before his fingers slipped inside of me.

I arched my back, inhaling sharply into his mouth.

"Relax," he all but purred. His slow ministrations continued until I was comfortable, and then again, his low voice purred, "Turn over."

Hesitantly, I did as he told me.

His hand found my hip, guiding it upwards, lifting me, even, so I ended up on my knees. Jesus Christ— my ass was in the air. Why was it so embarrassing this time? I buried my head in the pillow, hiding my red face. But once again, as he started preparing me, he eased away the embarrassment, and I was beginning to ride on the borders of ecstasy.

"S-Stop… I'm going to…"

"Then come."

I peeked over my shoulder, barely managing to murmur, "Touch me, please…" He obliged and I found myself rocking both ways into his hands, until finally I whimpered, face buried in the pillow as I climaxed. At first, all I had managed to do was halfway collapse, but after I had a moment to recuperate, I sat up, looking down at the bulge in his pants. This was… going to be interesting. I hooked my thumbs over the brim, gently tugging them down. Oh, God.

"You don't have to do that, Tony…"

While that was probably the case, it seemed like I ought to reciprocate at this point... even though I had very little blowjob knowledge. But if I could punch him and he didn't feel the pain, that sort of meant that I really couldn't screw up, could I? Tentatively, I lowered my head, licking my lips. Well. Here went nothing.

I closed my eyes when I took him into my mouth— because, really, there was no other way to look at it than sucking a dick and I wasn't entirely comfortable with that idea yet—, but it surprised me. It was like… a really bland popsicle. I attempted to tell him, but obviously, it didn't come out as clearly as I had intended it to be, almost completely unaware of the vibrations I had caused.

"T-Tony…" He stammered, tugging on my hair so that it little pinpricks of pain ran along my scalp. "…d-don't talk…"

Hearing him act that flustered certainly sent another warm wave of arousal rolling through me. I continued to lick and suck, trying to imitate what he had tried to do with me the other night. It was breathtaking listening to the way his breathing became heavier and how, if you listened hard enough, he made soft, little moans. I would be lying if I said I wasn't turned on.

"Tony… that's enough…"

As he nudged me away, I met his gaze. "But you haven't—"

He leaned in, kissing me before easing us back towards the bed, rubbing us together. "Not yet… relax, love."

I groaned as he pushed into me, head thrown back into the pillow, fingers curling into the blanket, my body aching; it didn't hurt as much as it had the first time we had done it, like Rudolf wasn't in as much of a hurry this time, but my mind was already elsewhere— I wanted more friction between us, faster. I wrapped my legs around his waist, urging him deeper. It was only a matter of time before I was seeing stars in my vision, unraveling under him. "Mmn… Ru… Rudolf…"

It felt like my mind had gone numb with pleasure, but I knew it was only a matter of time before I lost myself. He suddenly stopped, though, and I nearly whined at the sudden lack of contact. I half glared up at him. "What… what are you doing?"

Cupping my cheek with one hand, he rested on his other elbow, leaning in to kiss me slowly, lovingly, deeply. When he finally pulled away, I watched as his ruby eyes opened slowly, staring at me half-lidded. "We're not done, love. Don't be so hasty to finish." His voice was low and sweet; how could I have ever thought that he only wanted me for sex?

I shivered as his nose grazed the side of my neck before his lips left trails along my collar bone.

Rudolf's hand trailed along my side as he mumbled mantras of love and our friendship. Finally, he got back on his knees, "My life, my love, has been exponentially better since I met you. I have never been so grateful for mistaking someone for somebody else."

I laughed a little, tilting my head. "I'm glad you found me." I sat up to kiss him, stroking the sides of his face. "I want to be with you forever."


"…I want to be with you for as long as time allows us," I corrected, rolling my eyes, but smiling against his lips.

He smiled back, wrapping an arm around my waist, thrusting into me. "Much better."

We found rhythm once again, back against the bed, each motion purposeful and practically perfectly. We had become so enraptured in each other— it was just us. The world could have been ending around us and not only would we not notice, but we wouldn't care. We were with each other and it was delightfully beautiful.

"Tony… are you… are you…"

I nodded fervently, "Mmhmm…"

"Open your eyes," he whispered.

Meeting his hard, affectionate look and with a few more deliberately placed thrusts, the final wave of arousal went ripping through me. "Ah… Rudolf… I-I… love you— ahh!"

His groan was low, euphoric, and possessive, and he rode out his orgasm unhurriedly, before covering my face with kisses. Smiling, he murmured, "I love you, too."

After he maneuvered the top blanket out from underneath us, we crawled under the covers before his hand snaked around my waist, pulling me towards him. Rudolf was freezing as per usual and I was still warm. It was perfect. As I was adjusting against him, Rudolf dropped the occasional kiss on the shell of my ear, before whispering things that left a drowsy smile pulling at my lips. Finally, he settled in, his chin nestled on top of my head, his hands grasping mine.

When I woke up this time, I smiled finding ourselves tangled up in each other again. As happy as I was, I felt stiff and probably could do with a shower. After trying to extract myself from the vampire, I found that his limbs were purposefully trapping mine. Leaning forward, I dropped a kiss on his forehead, laughing a little. "Come on, fatty… you're crushing me."

His laugh echoed mine, "Sorry… I've been meaning to go on a diet…" Nevertheless, he released me, ruby eyes following me as I climbed out of bed. "Where are you going?"

I glanced over my shoulder, smirking. "What? You like what you see? I'm just going to shower."

"Don't tempt me to follow you in."

Holding up my hands, I shook my head. "No, that is totally okay."

He sat up a little, eyes narrowed. "Why? Afraid we'll break the tile walls?"

I blushed. "…that isn't… what—…" I pointed a rather accusing finger. "Get your mind out of the gutter. I was just going to say go ahead and go back to sleep… you haven't really slept all of yesterday or most of today." I smiled as I grabbed my towel and a change of clothes. Coming towards the side of the bed, I kissed him, nose brushing his as I whispered, "But if I was a vampire, we could have sex all the time."

Rudolf was obviously smiling, but he rolled his eyes before rolling over. "Have a nice shower, Tony."

Well… as far as changing me went, that was probably the best response I had gotten so far. I sighed, opening the bathroom door. Why was the majority of this leaning towards using my body as a bargaining tool?

I took a warm shower, stretching often and massaging my shoulders. Ugh, it felt so good. But now that we had finally used up the majority of the daylight, it was time to get down to business. I got dressed a little slower than usual in the bathroom, hoping to give Rudolf a few extra minutes of sleep. As I gave myself a final once-over in the mirror, my eyes gravitated towards my forehead. Oh, good. The cut I got last week was almost gone… and now I had a giant gash on my forearm. Lovely. Using the supplies we had gotten yesterday, I redressed my arm, and, finally satisfied, I went back into the hall.

With a peak out the window, though, I frowned. It looked freezing.

Back in my room, I grabbed a sweatshirt out of the closet, walking back over to the bed. "Rudolf," I whispered, tugging the sweatshirt over my head, "Come on, wake up… let's go look for the amulet." I watched as he rolled over so he was on his stomach, yanking a few pillows down to get comfortable with. Frowning a little, I continued to watch. Vampires didn't exactly strike me as the type to be able to sleep through anything; with exceptional hearing and an impeccable sense of smell… how could they? "Rudolf… I know you're awake." I waited for a little while, hoping he would just give up this façade, but when he still hadn't moved, I sighed, walking over to the window and climbing out onto the balcony. It was even cooler than I had expected it to be and there was still a little light out, but, at least, the sun had definitely already set. "I'm going to jump off this balcony if you don't wake up," I called over my shoulder, climbing up onto the ledge.

An arm was lassoing around my waist, pulling me back down, before Rudolf scooped me up, carrying me inside. "Why can't you sleep like a normal human?"

"Uh, because it's like… almost eight? Normal humans are still very much awake right now."

He seemed unimpressed with my argument, placing me back on the bed. "Well, we all know you might as well be part vampire now, anyways."

As he came to lie down beside me, I threw my hand towards his mouth, which he immediately shut. "I might as well be part vampire?" I repeated, mildly incredulous. "Well, maybe I would be if you'd just bite me. Then I'd be asleep right now and we wouldn't have to worry about wasting time, because I'd already be part of the undead, too… with like, another million years to find a stupid piece of jewelry."

"It isn't going to happen, Tony." He said, mumbling, lips barely parting.

I sat up, swinging one of my legs over his waist, trying to pull his lips apart. "If you get to be this stubborn, then so do I! Just poke my finger with your tooth or something!"

"No, Tony."

"Rudolf," I whined, rubbing my hands over his mouth. "Just let it happen… You can close your eyes… you won't even know—" And then an idea hit me. Maybe he wouldn't have to know… what if I just did it myself tonight?

Almost as if he knew what I was thinking, he sat up, shoved me away, and inadvertently, I went tumbling off the bed.

I winced as I landed on my ass, my mood suddenly sucked dry of all humor. For a moment, I sat on the floor, arms crossed over my chest, glowering at the wall. Well… god damn it. Maybe biting me would be taking the easy way out, but compared to what our other option was— finding an amulet that could be anywhere in the world—, it seemed like a lot less hassle. Sighing, I leaned my head back against the bed, surprised to see Rudolf looking down at me.

"I'm sorry, love, I didn't mean to shove you that hard," he whispered, kissing my forehead. He helped me get to my feet, before reaching out for me again. "But if you keep that idea in your mind, for your safety, I will not spend the night ever again."

Shrugging a little, I sighed. That didn't sound like a decent idea either. "It's okay. But… okay… fine… let's at least go look for the amulet?"

His look said it all.


"Tony… we've been over this countless times."

I floundered a little, frowning. "Yeah, but you said we could talk about it."

"Emphasis on talk. Shall I propose a plan, then? We forget about the amulet, come to terms with this peculiar situation, and work with the time we have left." He swung his legs over the bed, getting to his feet. Already with the small amount of time I had spent with him, I already disliked this debating tactic. He was taller than me and mostly immortal; it seemed like a pretty huge disadvantage.

Half scoffing, I looked at him. "So… you're giving up?"

His eyes narrowed. "I am not giving up. I've just found a more important way to be spending my time and energy." He reached for me, continuing, "It's far more productive to spend the time we have with each other, enjoying each other's company rather than wandering around on a hopeless treasure hunt."

I batted his hand away, rolling my eyes and opening the door. He was giving up. I wasn't going to listen to the excuses. I did hesitate by the door frame, asking one more time, "Can we at least try to look for it?" Sure, I was probably starting to sound like a broken record now, but hadn't most of my stubbornness paid off before?

Maybe he hadn't intended for it to sounds as confrontational as it had, but it certainly had come out that way. "And where on earth are you planning on looking?"

Frustrated, I rolled my eyes again, throwing my arms up as I started heading down stairs. "I don't know, maybe the McAshtons! Sorry, but I told your dad that, he didn't even seem like he was in that great of a hurry to check it out for himself. So sorry for actually trying to do something about this!"

"Let's not bring him into this, all right?" He half growled, stalking down the stairs after me. "And you don't know what my family has done; I've told you before, we've been looking for hundreds of years, Tony—"

"So, what, now that the comet's a day away you're just going to take tonight off?"

"That isn't what I meant and you know it."

I could have laughed. "Yeah, but even if that's that case, that's what's happening…" I turned around, holding my arms out as I took a few backward steps towards the door. "Look, if you want to stay here, that's fine, but I'm going to go."

When I turned back around, I could hear how exasperated he sounded. "Tony…"

"What? Just find something to do, play Halo, use my computer… whatever."

"That isn't—"

I opened the door, leaving it cracked. "Just shut the door before you go back to my room."


Still mildly annoyed with his lack of action, I went stomping towards the car, the gravel crunching under my shoes. "Okay, bye, see you later! Let's hope I don't die on the way there—" I reached for the car door, flinging it open and began to scoot into the seat.



My echoed name caught my attention, because it certainly hadn't come from Rudolf. I hesitated from shutting the door, surprised to see the blonde vampire standing at the end of the driveway. I swung one of my legs out, leaning on it as I called, "Anna? Why are you here?"

She looked between me, halfway in the car, to Rudolf, who was still a good length behind me, before finally back at me, her face asking the unspoken question as she continued walking towards us. "I heard what had happened and I only just got back… I was coming to make sure you were all right."

I shrugged a little holding up my arm briefly. "I've been better. How's Ash?"

"She's… okay." Her gaze had shifted uncomfortably as she finally stopped near the other side of the car. "Where are you going?"

Shooting an annoyed look behind me, I looked back to her. "Amulet hunting. Want to come?"

Almost instantly, she brightened. "Oh, of course, Tony, dear!"


And before her brother could do anything, she got into the passenger's side; laughing a little, I got in as well. However, of course it wasn't long before the door behind me opened and Rudolf was sitting, sulking in the back seat. Anna turned around, absolutely beaming. "Come now, brother, pouting doesn't suit you."

We had parked a safe enough distance away from the house, so no one would warn the McAshtons that there were three trespassers creeping on their property. I would have thought the vampires would have made some kind move to get us quickly and quietly to the house, but considering we resorted to sneaking across the street, apparently that wasn't on their list of things to do. Since we weren't about to go breaking into the house, we weren't left with much to look around; however, we finally settled on exploring their extensive back yard, our minds mostly occupied by other things.

"How am I supposed to leave hickies on you if you don't have circulating blood?"

Rudolf gave a teasing smile before looping his arm around my shoulder, pulling me closer. "Think of it as a good thing. Now there won't be any proof for my parents to find when I'm gone for days at a time."

"Incorrect," Anna supplied, almost gleefully.

Both of us turned, brows furrowed, as Rudolf asked, "Pardon me?"

"Oh, come on, Rudolf. It isn't like you do much in way of concealing your affection for him. Why do you think father dislikes him so much? Sure, he's human, but obviously, if he had such a problem with that, I wouldn't be allowed to go to Edinburgh as much as I have."

"So, he knows?" I asked before Rudolf had a chance to.

Anna nodded. "Of course."

Well… that was awkward. On the other hand, according to Anna, that explained why the lord of dark vampire fury hated me so much. Did I look that gay? Or could they really smell me on Rudolf…? …which meant that he had smelled of… and still smelt of… oh, God… I floundered, pointing to Rudolf, "And he smells like—?"


Rudolf then turned to look at his sister, too. "You haven't told me sooner, because…?"

She shrugged. "Because I think it's cute watching you trying to be discreet… because you really aren't." She shoved her hands into her back pockets, still partially smirking over at Rudolf.

…but that reminded me. The only time I had seen Anna in her traditional Victorian clothes had been that night at the graveyard. She had been wearing modern clothes even though Rudolf hadn't, well, except for the time I let him borrow my dad's clothes, when we had gone clubbing, and when he had showed up to my house. "Rudolf, do you not have any modern clothes?"

Anna was suddenly laughing and Rudolf was glaring.

"Oh, no, no, Tony," Anna interjected before Rudolf had a chance to explain. "He has them."

"Then why aren't you wearing them?"

Rudolf's frown deepened. "It isn't important, is it?"

Anna leaned over me, punching her brother in the shoulder. "Why don't you just tell him the truth? I'm sure he'll think it's just as endearing as I do."

"Just leave it alone—"

"If you don't tell him, I will."


She rolled her eyes and easily moved out of the way as he lunged at her, trying to cover up her mouth. It was all rather comedic, actually, watching them chase each other, acting the like poster children for fighting siblings. But as I was trying to keep up with them running circles around me, Anna had stopped by my side, holding Rudolf away at arm's distance. "He likes to dress up for special occasions to impress you—"

"—anyways," he interjected, looking a little embarrassed, finally managing to put some distance between his sister and I. "What were we talking about?"

I smiled. That was cute; he really was a gentleman through and through. "Hickies." I said, smiling rather cheerfully. "And me not being able to give you one. So, do me."

He looked mildly grateful that I had offered up the desired topic change, but apparently that gratitude was rather short-lived. "Tony, you're too much of a temptation as it is."

"I'll do it."


"What? If you love him, then don't let your teeth near him. Simple logic, brother dear."

"But I shouldn't—"

"Then, move. If you have no self-control, then let someone who has it do it."

What was she doing? Rudolf scowled, stepping in front of her when she had taken a step toward me. He pulled me away a bit, leaning into my neck, as if trying to provide some semblance of privacy, but it didn't entirely block my view of his sister. She was smiling and when she caught my gaze, she winked before jokingly putting up her hand to shield her vision of us.

"Ah!" It had caught me by surprise that his lips were actually on my neck and instinctually, I turned my head, trying to duck it into my shoulder. In the process, I caught his face, and I laughed a little, "Sorry, it just tickles…" I was actually surprised that he went back to trying and my hands grasped his vest, pulling us a little closer. He really did have a world of restraint; a wrong move on either of our parts would end up with him grazing me with his teeth. …and while I wanted it, it would certainly be a big violation of his trust and I did not want to go the next thousand years or so with him ignoring me.

When he was satisfied he moved to my face, his lips ghosting over my mouth.

Anna made some gagging noises before hissing, "Get a room!" Suddenly, they both tensed, and Anna tagged on, "Oh, shh, shh!"

Rudolf then grabbed me before rushing over towards the side of the house. In the process, we had scaled some hedges and I wasn't entirely sure where Anna had gone. Before I could ask what was going on, though, a light emerged in the darkness.

"Hello?" A man called, sounding a little wary. "Anyone there? This is private property."

Oh. I got it— and by that, my eyes had grown round and my pulse immediately spiked.

"Is someone there?" The man called again, flashing both a flashlight and electric lantern around the expansive yard.

I was pressed between Rudolf and the wall and I was almost giddy with possibility of being caught; it took both of my hands pressed over my mouth from giving away our hiding spot. Although, after the initial excitement had worn down, I noticed there was no gentle thumping of a heart sounding in my ear. Needless to say, it sort of sobered the moment. I frowned a little, lifting my head to catch his attention. I wanted him to be human again. It was selfish, maybe, but I wanted him to be with me. So we could live long, healthy lives of doing and seeing everything together, our hearts eventually giving out to natural reasons. He looked down at me and beamed, his lips coming to press a small kiss to my nose. Nuzzling into his shoulder, I stifled a sigh into my hands, which still covered my mouth.

I waited a beat after the lantern had been turned off and a door shut, before grabbing his hand and pulling him off again on our search, the fervor for finding the amulet renewed.

When Anna basically reappeared in front of us, she looked about as excited as we just had. "This is fun. We should have been doing it like this from the beginning."

Rudolf chuckled and nodded along. However, a beat later, his face grew serious. "Let's split up." It wasn't really a suggestion.

Anna scoffed, her shoulders slumping, as she put her hands on her hips. "That's so transparent, Rudolf. Besides, shouldn't I have a man to protect me?"

"Tell me, what man is stronger than you?" He asked pointedly, then looked to me. "And as handsome as he is, clearly, he is not your champion."

"Hey!" I hissed, smacking the vampire in the side.

While Anna had managed to not laugh, she definitely couldn't keep the smile off of her face. She then gave an airy sort of defeated sigh, waving her finger in front of her brother's nose. "I swear, if I hear or smell anything that doesn't remotely relate to amulet searching, I'm kidnapping Tony and I'm never giving him back."

"I would love to see you try." He returned just as cheerily and sarcastic.

While Anna had taken the other part of the yard, we kept wandering further back, past a row of trees; we were still on a path, though, so surely, it had to lead somewhere. We walked quietly, side by side, with his arm around my shoulders once again. It was a surprisingly comforting gesture, one that still felt like I could retain whatever scraps of masculinity I actually had left. As a minute or so passed, I squinted, catching lighter stone pillars encompassing a building. We walked through the entrance, still looking around, hoping to find something worth looking through.

"What is this place?" I asked, squinting and hesitantly reaching out and touching the doors.

Rudolf ran his hand near mine, looking up, "It looks like a family mausoleum." He brought his hand back down, giving the door handle a tentative tug. "It's locked… we could just break it down, but that would surely bring unwanted attention. We're already pushing our luck as it is."

"I'm coming here tomorrow with my dad…" I suggested.

There was a beat of hesitation, before Rudolf scooped me up, nodding. "Great. Then shall we be going?"


He sighed, "Tony. I'm not giving up and you know it. But like I've already said, we don't know if the amulet is even inside here. For all we know, it could be in China. A hell of a lot of good it would do us if it was there and we're caught here breaking into private property."

My eyes narrowed as I started to attempt to break free. "I thought you didn't get caught."

"Let's not argue." The next thing I knew, his grip on me had tightened and we had lifted off of the ground, Rudolf letting out the same low, resonating whistle that Anna had tried to teach me.

And of course, there was suddenly a swish of blonde hair in the moonlight and Anna was with us. "Did you find anything?"

Rudolf shook his head. "We're getting Tony back home."

Her brows furrowed. "Why?"

"Because our brother tried to kill him. Do I need any other reason to get him home in a reasonable fashion?"

Anna's lips turned downwards. That seemed to conclude any discussion that might have happened. But when we landed by the car, Anna spoke up again, "Rudolf, would you mind checking up on Ash? I think she and Larissa ought to be back by now."

The younger vampire's eyes narrowed. "What do you want with Tony?"

"Brother dear, I just want to speak with him; I'm not going to seduce him. So, please, go check on Ashlyn."

She waited for him to spend a few moments looking between her and I, until he finally launched upwards with a lingering warning of, "Don't let anything happen to him."

She rolled her eyes, turning back to me, shrugging. The blonde vampire did wait until we got into the car before she began again. "So… what happened?"

"Uh, when?"

Anna gave me a pointed look, patting my knee. "Everything that happened since Rudolf left."

Starting the car, I chewed on my lip a moment before I gave the brief run-down of everything that had happened.

"Hm. All right," she looked rather pensive as she leaned back in her seat. But after another moment, she sat up, bringing her hands together to rest against the dashboard. "Sorry, I only ask because Rudolf wouldn't really tell me what was going on. So, as we already sort of established, you've slept together then?" When I nodded, she sighed a little. "I know it was hard for you, darling, but in his defense, he's already steeling his mind for this." Leaning forward, her hand brushed my cheek and I couldn't help but to frown some. "He loves you so very much… I wish you could have seen him… it was honestly down-right heartbreaking."

As she made a move to cover my eyes, I shook my head. "Don't! I'm driving!" Was she crazy? Well… that, and I didn't really want to see…

"Has he told you, then?" At the blank look, she laughed a little. "I'll take that as a no. Since you've already seen his… other form, I suppose this won't come as much of a surprise, but when Ashlyn got down there and told us what had happened, it took all of two seconds before he had turned, raging all hell's fire." She shook her head a little, a small smile on her lips. "But… Ashlyn wasn't about to have that. She certainly is a tempest in a teacup." Things got quiet again. "…did… did Greg give her those…?" She made a vague scratching motion across her face.

I nodded slowly. "She didn't tell you that?"

"She really only mentioned what he did to you, so I could only assume."

"Yeah…" By this point, I was frowning, too. "She shouldn't have been hurt protecting me like that."

Anna suddenly ruffled my hair. "Don't say that, darling. It would be hard not to notice, but even though Larissa and Ash are my friends, they are very profoundly fond of Rudolf. He told them of our lives on his own; he really trusts them. We… as vampires, really value love, Tony. It's hard like this to find someone you could spend eternity with; it isn't like we can just go around finding mates. But the three of us know that he found you. He values you above everything right now. It's… it's beautiful, really… We promised each other to protect you no matter what. He's gone through so much. He deserves happiness now."

We had arrived back at my house towards the latter part of her confession, so we were still just sitting in the car. I scooted a little to my left, giving her a hug over the center console. "Thank you, Anna… thank you so, so much." Even though I tried to smile, it did end up faltering, "…but… even with your efforts, isn't he going to only end up alone one day?"

The vampire took my hand, smiling warmly. "I will not let that happen, Tony. If the comet passes and nothing proves fruitful, I will change you myself when the time comes. I won't let anything come between you two. Just make my brother happy; and soon enough, you'll be another brother to me, Tony, dear!" She was practically beaming as she brought her nose to mine.

Thank God. Thank God for sisters like Anna. I hugged her again; I was so completely, blissfully overwhelmed. Things were going to be okay. Even if we didn't find the amulet, my future was set. We could all be together. It would be beautiful.

"However," she said, holding up a finger. "Until then, I'll still be teasing him and you ought to keep bothering him to change you… if either of us give up at this point, he'll be suspicious."

"Okay." I could do that.

We got out of the car, slowly making our way upstairs. Laughing, I listened to Anna go off about wanting to plan our semblance of a wedding and how she was going to somehow coerce her father into being the one who married us. The entire mental image was down-right hilarious and it was just kind of massive relief knowing she was full-heartedly on our side for this.

A few more minutes passed as I went around my room, trying to straighten some things up while Anna continued to fill the silence now with the obvious differences between past suitors she had and men around these days. "Sure, they have a sense of fashion, but honestly, no sense of chivalry, not like you, Tony. It seems to be the opposite in your case—" As I was about to make some kind of snide comeback, suddenly, Anna turned smugly towards the window. "See? I haven't ravished your lovely human. Although, I can't promise I didn't try."

"Ha ha ha," Rudolf laughed dryly, landing on the balcony, stepping gracefully in the room.

"How's Ashlyn doing?" I asked.

He looked between me and Anna, before finally the floor. "Ashlyn is… surprisingly, going amulet hunting."

I grinned.

"Oh, don't look at me like that, Tony. She's only doing it because Larissa talked her into it. Something about venting frustration in a positive way." He gave a dismissive wave of his hand before he put a hand to his hip. "Now, sister, dear… aren't you leaving?"

Anna rolled her eyes. "Right. Sure, I am." As she walked towards the window, she mimicked his hand gesture, before stopping, intentionally sticking her hip out to the side and putting her hand on her hip as well. "I'm Rudolf and I'm sure no one thinks I like boys." She gave him what looked like could have been a playful back kick, but it sent him stumbling towards the bed. "Smooth, Rudy," grinning back at me, she gave a brief wave. "Good night, boys." And with that, she left.

I couldn't help but laugh a little, as I returned to the bed, smiling up at the vampire. "She's funny. But Ashlyn and Larissa are all right?"

Nodding, he sat down beside me, "Yes. Obviously, they're no longer staying with my parents, but they figured they might as well put forth some effort, too, especially since it'll keep Ashlyn's mind off of things."

Humming in agreement, I hugged his waist, half nudging him, so that eventually he was lying down, me resting on his stomach. "Rudolf…?"


"Is it time for bed yet?"

He lifted his head off the bed to look at me skeptically. "Oh, of course, now you're tired."

I only smiled back at him before I yawned. Only a moment later, I felt his hand in my hair; it trailed down to cup my cheek and then finally, turned my head. "How does it look?" I asked with a smile still on my lips. There really wasn't much I could do in way of hiding the hicky, unless there happened to be freak snow storm that would actually compel me to wear a turtleneck. On the other hand, I didn't really want to hide it. I snuggled further against his front, letting my eyes close.

"It's… there."

"For some reason, that didn't sound very reassuring."

"You shouldn't worry about it, Tony. Just sleep." As he continued to run his hand through my hair, letting his nails drag against my skin, I shivered pleasantly, smiling as he whispered, "Good night, my love."