A/N: For my zombie. May you one day find your little demon boy who will risk everything for his moment with you.

Alec.

Act one- Time

The tiny red and black spotted bug sped along the top of my finger. I watched in rapt fascination as the creature no larger than my fingernail navigated the narrow spaces of my hand. Though my skin was not smooth and there were many possibilities for her to fall, the bug never lost her footing on the surface of my skin. I knew she would not easily be removed from her path without strong force, or her own desire to move.

"Ladybugs are good luck." Jane's finger touched mine and the bug scurried over to her skin as if we were the same body.

I watched the little red dot rush around as if life was going to end before she had time to live it. My sister and I smiled—our twin bond causing us to share the same thought. Time was such a useless thing. We were children. We had full lives stretching out in front of us. Time was something we had to spare.

I could have watched the lady bug all day—become lost in the simple pleasures of her journey.

But I was unaware that my time was soon to end.

Jane gasped, pulling me from my distraction. The bug took flight following the shaking of my hand.

I was momentarily saddened by the loss.

"Ah… and what lovely creatures you are," a voice proclaimed in front of us. I hadn't heard him join us.

I looked to Jane to find her eyes transfixed on the stranger as if he were a god. She reached out her hand—straining to touch him.

I couldn't help but be drawn to him as well.

"Come…" he said simply. I was so enraptured with his presence that I missed the toe of his shoe crushing the delicate bug with one seemingly unconscious movement.

**************

Act two- Duty

I died.

And then he brought me back.

Life before the moment that I met my master no longer had meaning. Memories before that moment no longer existed.

My sister's hand stayed clutched tightly in my own. That, our bond and trust, was all that mattered now. All that survived.

I no longer had a soul.

I no longer had a need for a heart.

I only desired one thing—to please my masters. It was my charge, my purpose—my duty. I was given the responsibility of protecting our family. And I was good at what I did.

Today would be no different than any other since our sixteenth birthday, when we were finally changed. I stood still as stone and watched the scene play out much the same as it had for three centuries.

A bended knee and a whisper of forgiveness—humans purged the evils of their souls to a man ordained by their God to hear such declarations of guilt.

Vampires gave confession too.

Not by choice.

I stood at the foot of the royal thrones—a most holy position in the world of immortals, and watched as she dragged the female in by her hair.

I suppressed a sigh, opting rather for an emotionless calm on my face.

Theatrics seemed to be Jane's only method of persuasion anymore. I could tell she was quite pleased with herself this morning. She smiled in her scarlet eyes, and kept her elfin face reserved. She kept the smirk from her lips, as it would cause pain to our masters if the expression was to fall upon their forms—and we never harmed our masters.

My eyes shifted to the screaming woman with raven hair. They flashed on my visage only for a second but I could tell her eyes were golden hewed.

This time the sigh escaped my lips.

Master Marcus turned to evaluate my impudent utterance. We had not been given invitation to comment on the situation. "She has every right to bring forth her suspicions, young one." he scolded.

I bowed my head to beg for his forgiveness and to show my respect for his attention. Eyes downcast to my shoes, I spoke, "It is unwise to attack what is other simply because a spiteful passion rules you, master."

I could hear my sister huff her resentment from her position on the opposite side of the thrones from where I stood. This argument was not new. We had had this very discussion not two days ago in private. She would hate me for bringing my worries to their attention, but Jane had to understand.

"Perhaps she has a valid reason to hold such rabble in contempt?" Master Caius offered.

I lowered my head further down, acknowledging the honor of having been addressed by two of our three rulers.

"Perhaps, master," I agreed. "But perhaps it draws unnecessary attention to interrogate without subtext. To... act out of obsession and not logic is to invite complications... warrant awareness of matters better left… undisclosed."

The laughter that broke the short silence was charming. It was the laugh of our highest king—master Aro. As with everything else that he said and did, I instantly adored the sound of his mirth.

I didn't accredit my reaction to Chelsea. She might have the ability to create a devotion in me to these beings that I could not fight, but the love I felt for my masters was pure. I was not a slave to this keep. I was a servant to the will of the immortal royalty by choice. And in all of my three hundred years of life I had never once regretted my pledge to the Volturi.

I believed not that I was forced to love my master, Aro, but that the emotion of love existed in me only for him. I had no memory of a time before immortality. Love was something only humans cared to hold on to. Vampires had no need for emotions. We had hungers and needs but those concepts existed without emotion. The only sentiment allowed in my heart was my reverence for the being that granted me this life. This power.

This purpose.

I bit down on the inside of my cheek to keep my lips from turning up at the corners. His happiness naturally made me happy. To smile now would not be tolerable, however. Council was a place of stone-faced discourse and not jokes.

"Look at me dear boy," master Aro's voice dripped with familiarity. His eyes were wells of thousands of years and experience.

I followed his command. He smiled. "Well said, dear Alec. But I wonder my loves... if we should allow darling Jane to explain her rash of... prejudice that has spread since our return home." His face lit up and he clapped his hands in anticipation. There was a childlike innocence to the way master Aro explored the wonders of the world.

I found myself almost eager to question the situation as well. One small stray thought ate at the back of my mind. I quickly quieted it. Doubt had no place inside this room, or inside my mind.

I followed his eyes as they settled on my sister. Her golden crown of blond locks made her look angelic. Her blood red eyes and evil sneer that she cast in my direction told the truth.

I smiled in return to her annoyance-- taunting her.

"Jane, my love?" our master spoke as if we were all sitting around a casual dinning table and not in the great hall bearing witness to a triumvirate judgment.

"Yes, master?" My sister's head dipped lower than mine had. Where I only loved my masters, Jane worshiped them. Master Aro was her entire world.

"What is the transgression that brings this deranged child to our feet?"

I grimaced as I turned my eyes back to the screaming mass of a woman. Master Aro's words were at once beautiful and degrading—reminding all in his presence that he was the supreme-being.

"She was in the scared lands... with a nest of unmentionables." That was Jane's term for golden eyes. Vampires who chose to drink animal blood over human. I cared not one way or the other for their choice. It was not a crime to live that way-- Master Aro found it fascinating to study. Until the day he said someone with golden eyes was in violation of something, or declared war on all non-human eating immortals, I had no quarrel with them.

"Ah... Alec?" He nodded toward the woman's near hysterics. I felt a wave of numbness pass from my flesh to the air before me. Like a coming storm the cloud of silence floated over the trembling woman. Instantly she stilled. No sight, no hearing, and no further movement-- I claimed all of her senses in one breath.

Demetri and Felix took hold of her arms and pulled her limp form to the foot of the throne steps.

Vampire soul-purging.

When a human sat before a priest and begged his council they were to clear their souls with admitted truths and hidden secrets. But they could always lie. Maybe not even intentionally lie, but leave information out that the priest would find helpful to determine judgment on the sins spoken through the opening between mortal and spiritual guide.

There was never a possibility of lying to my master. There was no hiding from my master. Master Aro raised his hand and placed his palm against the cap of her head. In a minute his gift allowed him to see every thought her mind had ever possessed.

Humans sought wisdom through confession. Vampires dealt verdicts with it. Master Aro was judge, jury and if he so desired executioner—though all of us in this room held that honor for his biding as well.

I had killed many an immortal brought to this spot and treated to this process.

"Ah," my master remarked only seconds after touching her. I watched in silence. Jane would greatly desire the woman's death. I simply wanted to appease the maters. I no longer found killing a sport like my sister still did.

"She is her sister." The fellow masters nodded as if master Aro had simply answered a question spoken out loud a moment before.

I was perplexed by the exchange but it was not my place to know every detail of what was discussed in and out of this room.

"Let us finish it tonight," master Marcus spoke. "Complete the ritual and put this child to rest. Her family will never stop looking for her until your promise is fulfilled."

Master Aro's eyes scanned the room as if the answers to this situation hung in the air before him. His lips pursed, and I unconsciously pursed mine as well. He looked to me. His features softened, "You will guard her tonight, my boy."

I bowed and thanked him for the charge. Though I had no idea what, or who I would be watching tonight, I would not fail him.

************

Act three- Love

We stood by the grave. Jane tapped her foot with her impatience to be rid of this place. The land lay beyond the portcullis of our castle walls. It was a forbidden area, even for those of us who called Volterra home. No one was allowed to enter the sacred lands—it was the consecrated earth where our human families were buried.

I never considered why they were kept here—or why any of us were not allowed to visit this place. The rule was that we were not to come here. So I never did.

"Who are meeting out here?" My sister huffed.

I shrugged my shoulders. "Necromancers, I believe."

Necromancers, or Necros as most of us immortals called them, were masters of dark magic. They were not magicians; magicians relied on illusion and misdirection. Necros dealt with reality. Magic was pathetic-- Parlor tricks that could be easily replicated with the unnatural abilities like the ones of my changed body.

Necros were said to be linked to the power behind what altered our blood to venom and birthed the vampire race.

My masters held these voodoo priests in the highest regards. Thus, we held them in high regard.

A stout figure appeared in the darkness. My vampire eyes showed his face to be old and covered by a thick, black beard.

"Nicodemus," I acknowledged as he drew closer to us. He nodded lightly and started setting up his tools for whatever ritual he was called to perform.

I could feel the desire burning in my sister—Jane wanted to know what we were witnessing. She wanted to ask the old wizard what he was doing. But it was not our right to question. If we were supposed to know these answers our master would have provided them for us.

Nicodemus was one of the oldest Necros of the keep. It is said that he belonged to Volterra before the Volturi claimed it. Whatever he was up to, it was something very important.

He clapped his hands and two henchmen, who I did not recognize, began digging. None of the graves were labeled. There was no need to put a name to any of the plots in this land—none of these lives were meant to be remembered.

Once the earth was turned and a small wooden box lay before us, he read an incantation from his book. I joined my hands behind my back to watch. Rituals were a treasure of our masters. I honored them with that in mind but I bit back the sigh at the trifle nature of such acts. Like humans pretending their lives mean anything beyond the small amount of years they live... ritual was simply the reminder of authority.

"Hold this," he said handing me a small, antique glass bottle from his bag. The base of the piece was three times wider than the spout. There were ornamental swirls blown into the glass that wove around the neck and begged the eye to peek inside. The glass had a faint pink hew at the top and the color darkened to an almost red tinted black at the bottom.

The color didn't seem to be a stain in the glass, but rather a residue from the liquid the glass contained.

As if I was possessed by something I could not control, I pinched the stopper and pulled it out. I had never once questioned, challenged or did anything opposed to what was asked of me by my masters. Why now had I broken so easily, and without any encouragement at all?

I held the bottle to my nose to guess at what it held. My eyes rolled back and before I could be stopped the sanguine juice was flowing into my mouth.

"NO!" Nicodemus yelled.

I snarled as the bottle was pulled from my grasp. I turned to fight the heathen who believed his throat was more deserving than mine for the drink. I met the stern eyes of my twin sister.

"Stop it," her voice was followed by a tiny smile and there was a shock of pain that shook me awake.

I didn't feel like me after she released me from her gift. Somehow I knew… I would never feel like me again.

How could I? There was a drop still on the end of my lips. I licked it slowly, reverently as I tried to convey my shame through my eyes. Jane's eyes were skeptical. She could see that I didn't regret tasting the blood.

And if I didn't regret that, then I was admitting to not regretting disobedience.

"Delicious," I said simply and turned back to the grave. I linked my arms once again behind my back. I could feel my sister's eyes on me the entire time.

Nicodemus looked from Jane to me and went back to completing his task.

"Why blood?" Jane asked quietly as the man stopped to wipe his sleeve across his forehead. I supposed she took my rebellion as an invitation for her own. Nicodemus continued to pat sweat from his brow. Was it warm weather? ... I never noticed.

"It is her blood," The death-raiser explained. "It is part of the ritual. You call her soul back to her body by way of the life force that had kept it tied here to begin with."

I frowned at the thought. That blood was the blood of the person he was pulling from the earth.

"How long ago did she die?" I asked, again without thought.

"Three hundred years."

I looked to my sister. She was eyeing the bottle with disgust. Jane hated drinking cold blood. "As old as us," I whispered. She raised her brows and leered at me over the offensive antique.

Nicodemus laughed. "Not quite. She is technically older. She was seventeen when she died."

Jane rolled her eyes. We had only been sixteen upon our deaths—and we were young for vampires. Our masters did not wish to turn as at such a young age but master Aro said there was a plague claiming the lives of many humans that year—he did not want us to die before he could save us.

"Who is she?" Jane asked flatly. I resisted the urge to growl at her. We would surely be punished for too much knowledge in this matter. It wasn't our secret to know.

"I don't know," the wizard answered. "But she must be very important. Zombies are a tricky a business to deal in. You can't always bring everything back."

Zombies? The walking undead. Was there anything more vial in existence? I looked at my cold, stone hands. Perhaps there were.

"Come, help us." Jane and I both took a side of the wooden coffin and helped carry it to the crypt at the base of the keep. The box was small… a reminder that she was young when she was laid to rest.

Once inside he had his henchmen help tear open the box and gently remove the body.

Perhaps it was the blood swirling in my veins, but I couldn't help but be drawn to the girl once she was lying on the stone table in the darkened crypt.

It was unbelievable. If she had died the year we had… there should have been nothing left of her body but bones.

"Tilt her head back," Nicodemus commanded to his henchmen. They did as they were told—I still marveled that there was a head to tilt. All the while the sorcerer kept chanting and as he raised the bottle to her lips I felt my tongue moisten mine. Her flavor was still fresh on my tongue.

She was a delicacy—my singer. I let that thought settle into my bones. This poor girl was blessed with a second chance at life and yet her blood was destined to be the most desirable drink for my system. Ever so much more than just any blood, her blood was something special to me and me alone.

Jane nudged my arm and pointed at the body.

I'm not sure what bothered my sister all I knew was that the girl was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. Zombie or not.

She wasn't very tall not much taller than Jane. Her hair was brown, like the earth that she was pulled from. I would have expected her skin to not retain the same shade of pale pink that teenage humans had. In truth it wasn't quite the same shade. She was far paler than most humans, though not as ghostly white as any of us surrounding her.

She lay as if she were resting. Like some twisted fairytale from the books that Jane liked to steal from children's room-- she liked to burn them to prove a point. Fairy tales were wasted dreams.

"How is the ceremony coming along?" I turned to find master Aro entering the crypt. Jane and I bowed our heads as he joined Nicodemus at the table.

"Very well," the old man smiled at my master.

"Shouldn't she be awake by now?" I didn't miss the irritation in my master's voice.

"She should, but there was a… smaller amount of blood stored than I had expected." I closed my eyes and tried to block out the memory of my failure. "She will be awake shortly."

"Excellent."

Master Aro moved to stand before us. In unison my sister and I knelt before him. "Looked at me, my loves."

I searched my master's face for forgiveness. I knew he was unaware of my disobedience but he would soon find out the truth—all he would have to do is touch one of our hands and he would know the memory as if it were his own.

To my surprise he kept his hands clasped behind him as he spoke. "This child is being given one last night on this earth. It was a promise given to her mother upon her death. She is to enjoy the ball and the evening however she wishes. And at the end of the night, she is to be terminated."

We nodded in unison. I understood his wishes—though I wished to understand the pain that shot through me at the word 'terminated'.

"Jane, you are to remain on watch of the grounds."

"Thank you, master," she whispered reverently.

"Alec," his eyes seemed to bore into mine as he gave me instruction. "You will guard the girl."

I bowed my head. My chest swelled with an emotion I couldn't name. "Thank you, master," I too whispered.

****

She awoke shortly after everyone else left. Nicodemus warned me that she would be disoriented for her first moments, especially when she tried to walk the first time.

I didn't mind the thought that she would be unsteady. I liked the idea of her having to hold on to my arm for support.

What was happening to me?

"Hello," she said peeking over at me as she sat with her legs dangling over the edge of the table. Her voice was not musical as those of my vampire family, but it was a symphony to my ears.

I shook my head. "Hello." I nodded to her, as the gentleman I was trained to be.

She giggled slightly and looked down at her feet. I was unsure about her reaction. What had I done that had been comical?

"Why can't I wiggle my toes?" She asked non sequitur.

I looked down at her feet. They were covered in dirt and her toes were in fact motionless and slightly yellowed. I tried to hide the disgust in my features—Nicodemus had said Zombies were a tricky business. I took that to mean that it was a fine science. I imagined this was a common since he had said that not all of the body could be "brought back".

"You're a zombie," I stated pointedly.

She smiled at me, eyes dancing with some joy I didn't comprehend. "Neat."

I couldn't help but show the shock I felt at her words—she seemed to have a gift in stirring strong emotions in me. Her face was immediately unsure as she regarded me.

I cleared my throat. "What would you like to do?" I leaned against the table as I spoke. I wanted to be closer to her, even closer than I was now, but I didn't want to frighten her.

She shrugged her shoulders and looked around the crypt with wide eyes. "Dunno… I … I don't really remember anything. What should I want to do?"

I considered her words. I remembered what my first hours after the change were like. I had thought of everything and nothing all at once. I had wanted to try and do everything, but I couldn't decide where to begin. And I had been unbelievably thirsty.

This situation was completely different, of course. I had been granted a limitless amount of nights and moments to discover what I liked and didn't like. This girl had one night. A few short hours.

My chest squeezed at the thought—why was that, I wondered.

"There is a ball being held in the great hall tonight." She seemed only slightly interested in the mention of the party.

"Do we have to go to the dance?" I could tell there was a hint of nervousness in her voice. I leaned in closer to her, placing my hand on her knee. It was the most intimate moment I had experienced since becoming a vampire.

"No," I whispered. She smiled, and the sight made me smile. She leaned over and kissed my cheek.

I felt a fire spread through my body at the feel of her lips against my flesh.

"Oh," she gasped pulling back from my face quickly. I couldn't deny the fear that lashed through me. "You're cold." Her fingers touched her lips. My eyes were transfixed on the sight.

Her lips were making my mind wander to fantasies I had never considered before. I was practically panting with the effort to stabilize my breath. And I couldn't seem to care to hide these reactions either. She reached her fingers back toward my face and my eyes closed out of an anticipatory pleasure.

She did not disappoint me. Her fingertips gently touched my cheek where her lips had rested and the tingling intensified tenfold. The heat from her touch slowly glided toward my lips… I all but groaned when she finally caressed my lips with her soft, barely alive fingers.

The memory of her mortality drew me from my dream—forced my eyes open. I had to stay focused tonight. My master had told me to allow her to do whatever she wanted, but he also told me she was to return to the earth by the end of this night.

"Can I just spend the night with you?" She whispered.

And like that the rational thoughts that I had just remembered were banished from my mind completely.

I nodded slowly, never removing my eyes from hers. "Yes." I vowed.

***

We strolled through the courtyard, and she made a point to place her feet in the great fountain. I briefly remembered the human child who had ran through that fountain to save the life of the one she loved.

Fairytales. They did not always come true for everyone.

"What's your name?" she asked shaking her feet dry and joining me beside the entrance to the underground tunnels.

I searched her eyes for what she truly desired. My name was insignificant in this single moment she had left on earth. Why would she want to waste time getting to know me?

"Alec."

She smiled with a brightness that lit her eyes from within. "Alec," she repeated.

I was thankful she turned to inspect the archway of the alley since my chest felt like it would burst. The sound of my name… on her lips… my hands were shaking as I reached out to take one of hers with one of mine.

She smiled as our skin connected, biting her lip.

"What's your name?" I asked quietly. I felt suddenly uncertain about getting to know her more than was necessary. I knew that I couldn't keep her.

"I don't remember." Her eyes filled with sadness—I watched in horror as tears welled in the corners of her eyes.

"Don't cry," I begged. I brought my hands to her cheeks and caressed her face with my thumbs. She sighed as if she felt the same warmth at my touch as I did with hers.

"Can you give me a name?" Her request froze me in place. Could I give her a name? I had lived in Volterra for three centuries. I had helped secure victories over vampire armies. I had pulled apart the bodies of invincible immortals. I had drained and drank the blood of the most innocent of bodies.

But I had never been asked to do something as impossible as give someone a name.

She watched me with expectant eyes. I wanted to roll mine. Where did one begin when it came to naming a person?

"I… You…" I stuttered.

"I like the way you look when you're thinking like that." Her finger was suddenly running down the center of my brow. "So serious," she mocked while scrunching her face to match my expression.

I couldn't help it, I laughed. The release of the emotion made me feel light… and different.

"Please Alec… give me a name." Her arms circled my shoulders, fingers tangling in my hair.

Who was this girl? Why did we belong together so perfectly?

Like I had inherited my master's gift for this one moment a name popped into my head and seemed to fit her beautifully. "Brittany."

Her smile was dazzlingly and she nodded her head sharply. "Brittany, I love it."

I smiled with her. My body seemed to just naturally follow her lead. Before I realized what I was doing my lips descended upon hers.

The first brush of our flesh was softer than a butterfly's wings against thin air. The heat that I had felt from her fingers seemed to spark to an electric pulse from the joining of our lips.

I titled my head and deepened our kiss. One part of my mind gave everything over to this moment with my Brittany. I enjoyed the pleasure that coursed through me, the sensation of bliss that was clouded my every thought. But another, smaller, part took in to account the fact that my body naturally controlled its instincts to not harm her.

I had wondered how Edward did for as long as he had with his Bella. I understood kissing my Brittany that my body had no desire to hurt her—even though the scent of her blood was intoxicating me and making my throat burst into flames with another hunger.

I embraced her and pulled her body flush to the length of mine. But I didn't hold her too tight—nor did my teeth seek to puncture her flesh.

Maybe it was the knowledge that she would not be here tomorrow. Maybe my body just naturally knew to not harm her.

Maybe it was my sense of duty that reminded me that my master to me to protect her.

As she drew back from my touch, her eyes meeting mine, I realized what I truly was.

Love.

In less than a handful of hours I had fallen in love with this ill fated girl.

***********************

Act four: Eternity

I took her through the keep and up to the tallest tower—to my sanctuary. It was a garden grown by the first human consort to the Volturi—the only woman I ever slightly considered a mother to me. When she died I had found it impossible to destroy to space.

I understood now that I had Brittany beside me why that was. I had loved that woman, cherished the memories we made in this garden throughout her life. I wanted to honor that.

I wanted to mark this place with Brittany's presence as well. I knew there would be no grave for me to visit once she was gone—there would only be this space and the memories we made in it.

We sat in the center of garden, the scents of roses and lilies wafting around her. "The moon is so beautiful." Brittany rested back against my chest and marveled at the full shining orb in the sky.

I smiled. "Not as beautiful as you." She laughed. "What?" I said, unable to not share in her joy though I had no clue what she was laughing at.

"You're just so sweet," she turned to look up at me. I winked and she shook her head before returning to my embrace.

"Alec?"

"Hmm.." I responded nuzzling her neck with my nose. She smelled divine.

"How much longer do I have?" I froze. I had reminded myself of her situation all night long—never allowed the thought of her termination to be out of my head for more than a minute.

It hadn't seemed like a reality until she spoke about it.

"Alec?"

I gently pushed her off of me and stood. I couldn't face her. I didn't want to admit that this dream would ever end.

"It's okay…" her arms wound around my waist from behind. Her cheek pressed against my back to comfort me.

Me? When she was the one who would not live to see the sunrise, why was I the one being reassured?

"Not long then?" her voice wasn't even sad… just resigned. I felt an anger well inside me that surprised me. I had felt anger many times since I was turned, but never for the being that I did in that moment.

I loathed my master… hated that this other half of me would be removed as suddenly as it had been discovered.

I turned in her embrace. There were a million things I wanted to say. The first would be how sorry I was that her life had been so short. The last would be the fact that I would live for all eternity in agony without her.

I tried to ignore that truth—I would deal with that pain later.

But I was unable to speak at all. Her lips were on mine and we became a mass of mingled limbs and lips and soft whimpers of shared pleasure.

She drew me to the ground and settled herself beneath me. I stretched my body over hers—we felt so right together.

"Brittany," I whispered between kisses. She panted my name in return.

The moment was a fantasy… one that I had never hoped for. I didn't want to wake from this dream.

"Alec… please…" she begged. I ran my hands along the sides of her petit body. Some part of me knew instinctually what she asked for. It was the part of me that wanted the exact same thing.

I sat back on my heels and drew my shirt above my head. She wore only a satin, white dress. I was shaking as my hands clasped the sides of her dress and pulled it slowly over her body.

She was perfect and pale in the moonlight… we matched in color. It was fate mixed with irony as I ran my fingers across her soft, pale breasts. We were perfect for each other, but this would be our only moment together.

She moaned as my hands cupped and caressed her chest. My lips followed my hands and I explored and worshiped her entire body. There was a freckle in the bend of her elbow. A scar on her right knee. My immortal mind committed every magical imperfection of her body.

She would live forever in my dreams. Even though, that as a vampire I never slept.

Her hands explored my body with a determination that fueled my own. Like the lamb hunted by the wolf, she felt our time slipping away from us.

She removed the remainder of my clothing as I was beyond the ability by that point. My mind was a haze of her scent. My body was on fire with a heat a thousand times stronger than the venom that had changed me. I was all sensation and movement—my lips and tongue tasting her. I couldn't get enough of her.

My need pulsed and throbbed to be buried deep inside her. I could feel her mirrored response building between her thighs. Our bodies were meant to be together.

I pushed into her slowly… again my body naturally protecting her and not allowing me to hurt her.

It was almost too much. The wet and the heat and the feeling of being a whole person for the first time in my existence.

Everything was sensation… pleasure. We were labored breaths and blazing flesh.

Hard. Soft. Pure. Sin.

I could have spent an eternity in that Eden, buried in heaven that was her body.

We drew to our peak together—hers crashing down around me and sending me spiraling into another form of consciousness.

I kissed her one last time, hard and quick on the lips, and collapsed on to her body like a human who was spent and dead tired.

"I love you," she whispered.

I closed my eyes.

I knew in that moment that would die with her by the end of this night.

I refused to let her go.

***

She slept. It was mystifying for me to watch. I had never considered the fact that she might become tired in her one night on earth. But I couldn't deny that I found her adorable as she slept.

Her chest rose and fell in the rhythm of slumber and I found my hands aching to reach out and touch her. Stroke that fire inside of her and find my release with her once more.

But that desire spurred me all the more. I was loath to leave her for even a second, but there had to be something that I could do. I had served master Aro for three hundred years. He called me his son.

Surely he would grant me this one request. He would see what she means to me and would find a way to allow me to keep her. He loved me, as I loved him. He would want to see me happy.

The ball was in full force as I entered the royal chamber that led to the great hall. I thanked whatever power there was above when I found my master alone in the chamber.

"Master Aro," I knelt in my place.

"Ah… Alec, my boy. How is our little guest enjoying the party?" His voice was filled with the warmth of his love for me. My heart was near ready to burst from the hope that I would be spending tomorrow night with my Brittany, as well as every night after that for the rest of eternity.

He cared about her; he wanted her to have a good night. I felt my confidence soar as I raised my head to speak.

"She loves the keep… finds our entire city to be truly magnificent."

"Good," his face glowed with pride—pride for me. Maybe even pride for her.

"Master… I…" words failed me. I had never requested anything from my masters before. I didn't know how to go about asking anything from him now.

"What is it? Come… give me your hand."

Yes, of course. I could give him my memories and he would instantly know not only what I desired to ask him, but just how perfect Brittany was as my mate.

I reached out my hand, as I had as a child the first time that I met him. His palm felt oddly cold to me. I ignored the thought. We were the same temperature, my master and I.

Master Aro touched my skin for only a second. He gasped and withdrew his hand as if I had struck him.

"No."

I balled my fists as he spoke. I watched in horror as he face grew detached and his eyes turned black with authority. I wanted to fight him… wanted to use my gift on everyone in this castle and run off with her in that moment.

But I couldn't.

Chelsea was lurking in the corner of this room. It was the only explanation as to why I suddenly felt no desire to even return to the girl upstairs. I wanted only to fall to my knees and worship my master.

Or at least that is what my brain was telling me to feel.

My heart, and the soul I had believed I had lost for good when I was changed, would not allow her power to change me. I loved Brittany. That was a fact stronger and truer than the lie that she was forcing on me.

I bit down on my anger—looked upon my master with a fabricated reverence.

"When the final strike of the midnight falls her blood must be drained." My master's red eyes pierced the calm I was trying to convey through my own scarlet gaze.

He turned without further explanation. I knew, naturally, what he did not say. We did not tolerate failure. If I did not take the task into my own hands, another of the Guard would.

She could not be allowed to live.

Once he was out of the room, I rose and turned to leave as well. Chelsea followed him to the party. The ache in my chest broke open to a flood of anguish. The clock on the mantle of the ornate fireplace read ten fifty nine.

I had only an hour left.

I raised my finger to my lips. The scent of her blood was still fresh on my flesh. I could hear her heart beating in the close distance. She was awake in our private garden. I closed my eyes trying to bid the image of her there from my mind. I knew she would be lovely in the moonlight, surrounded by the beauty that had been a solace to me for so long.

She had replaced that splendor with her own.

My body did not wait for command to move. Her flavor on the air guided me to where she was. Would I ever notice the scent of another's body after tonight? If I did it would only serve as a reminder that hers was better.

She was more delectable, more attractive, more... everything to me now.

I stood in the shadows of the rose bushes as she danced quietly around the courtyard. There was no music but the wind, no company but the stars, but she danced with inhibition.

I felt my lips draw upward. I smiled. How had this creature changed me so effortlessly and so vastly in the span of a few hours?

She was softly singing to herself as she twirled in the starlight. It was not a song I recognized, but I knew I would hold it to my heart as a lullaby to sooth my soul after tonight.

She swung around and I caught her in my embrace. We danced- she naked and I fully clothed- in the late night air.

"I missed you." She kissed my cheek and laughed as I dipped her back.

For the first time since I met her, I could not share in her joy.

"What is it?" She asked when she saw the sadness in my eyes.

We sat once more, and she wound herself in my embrace. I committed her slight form to memory. I wanted nothing more than to follow her into death. I did not desire anymore nights without her. But as sure as I was about that I was positive in two other truths.

First, if my master wanted me dead he would have ordered it the second he read my mind. He would ensure that Chelsea and the rest of the Guard kept me from destroying myself and tempting an execution. I could not hope to die unless they were willing to grant me the death.

Secondly, I had to be the one to kill her. I couldn't allow her to suffer at another's hand. And if I killed her, how could I hope to ask to follow her into heaven?

"I have to go now, don't I?" Her eyes were wide and trusting. I swallowed and nodded.

I refused to blink as I watched her final thoughts pass through her mind. "Will you hold me... stay with me until..." I nodded again. Words failed me as I felt my chest constrict with a pain more acute than any that my sister could inflict with her gift.

She lay back down on the soft grass. I was at a loss as what to do.

Already I could hear the swift footfall of the one who would finish the deed if I did not. Panic rose in my chest.

It wasn't enough.

Time.

Pleasure.

Memories.

It would never be enough. I brought my hand to her cheek. Her eyes close and she hummed at the feel of my skin against hers.

A peace that I did not deserve swept through me. As if she had found some way to turn my own ability against me, Brittany numbed all of the fear and confusion from within me. It was bittersweet but in this moment I was happy.

She gave me this night, this lost breath of life. I would treasure it always. I would treasure her always.

I lay my body back on top of hers. Two pieces of a whole, joined for a final time before they were broken forever once more.

"Alec?" She whispered. My response was my lips gently pressing against her chest. "Do you think I'll finally get to... go... to heaven?"

I brought my nose to the hollow of her throat. I choked back empty tears that were only an echo of the emotion my body could once produce. I hoped that she could—I believed that if there were such a place she would be sent there. But I could not desire that she go there.

I could never follow.

At least in the purgatory of this half death we were together. Were she granted access to those gates of peace I would surely feel her loss for all eternity.

Forever alone.

My lips pressed softly to hers. "Yes my love," I promised. It broke my heart to admit it but it was the truth. "You will find your way to those pearly gates."

I looked longingly into her midnight blue eyes. If only they were red-- if only she were alive so that I might keep her. I ran my fingers through her hair.

"What do we do now?" She hitched her leg over my hip. I wanted to deny the immediate reaction in my body to her nearness. My mouth fell open on a gasp.

She was wet and burning with invitation. Without thought I pushed my pants aside and slid into her. Our bodies joined as naturally as the time moved forward around us. Again, I was amazed at how easily my body adjusted to not hurt her. My need and passion was never stalled but I also never lost control.

Her breath was a strong perfume that clouded my mind. For a moment as the pleasure coursed through my veins and her light sighs tugged at my heart, I fantasized a life where I could keep her living. Our tongues mingled in her mouth and I tasted her innocence. How could I hope to corrupt that with a life lived by my side?

I could not.

Jane's advance stopped suddenly as I felt my body near climax. Brittany's head fell back as she joined me-- exposing her luscious neck to me.

I hugged her body close to mine. We were both out of breath, both still soaring on the euphoria we brought each other to. "I love you," I pledged.

I heard Jane's breath catch as I sunk my teeth into the neck of the only creature I had ever truly loved-- the only other being I had ever confessed love to.

I was quick. I could not stand the idea of her suffering. I tried not to moan as her blood rushed into my mouth. Blood that was designed to tempt me more than any other vampire.

She fell limp in my arms… as if she had simply fallen back to sleep.

I rocked back on my heels and clutched her still form to me. I sobbed tearless cries into the black, cold night.

My sister did not join me, but rather lost her own innocence as she watched my torture unfold.

I brought my lips to her forehead one final time.

The only person to ever truly love me.

The only thing I had ever hoped for in my life.

My fantasy.

My love.

My zombie.

***********

A/N: Happy belated birthday Zombie! Hope it was everything you hoped for and more!