Burnham awoke an hour later to the sound of the wheels landing against the runway with a deep thud in Fairbanks, Alaska. He tried to stretch out in the back of the Hummer that was sent to bring him to the resort. He knew that the car would be sitting at the airport for a while longer because he had instructed the driver to wait until Thalia's Sekhmet Box was loaded into the van that would follow them to the Fairbanks Signature Resort. The population of Fairbanks hovered at less than 100,000, and it wasn't exactly tourism central. Because of this, the only vampire-suitable lodging within several hundred miles was an ultra-upscale cross-country skiing resort 30 minutes north of the city; the Signature. So while there were a thousand things on Burnham's mind waiting for him to meditate on, right now he was only coherent enough to just barely recall last evening's events. More than anything he was just excited to get to his hotel room. Burnham watched as Anubis Air's specially designed forklift moved Thalia from the plane to the van. As he turned his attention back to getting comfortable he thought aloud, "Usually it's a limo. A Town Car. But a Hummer? Interesting. Oh yeah, there's 5 feet of snow on the ground. I guess that explains it. I can't figure any more of this out now." He yawned deeply. "Need more sleep. Another 45 minutes and I'll be half dead under a Elderdown comforter and 600 thread count sheets. Yep, that's what I'll focus on. They better be at least 600 thread count sheets." Since making the travel arrangements fell under his purview, he knew exactly where they would be sleeping, and so he figured that even if Fairbanks wasn't going to be his new favorite place, this resort might just make up for it.

An hour after sunset, Burnham groggily opened his eyes when a knock at the door forced him up out of his sleep. Thalia waited at the door patiently, but then decided she really had no reason to be patient. "I'm hungry, and I want to see where this goes. So let's get this show on the road, as they say." She was wearing a v-neck crimson alpaca sweater, jeans and a pair of red suede Mary Janes. Thalia may have been short, but she always felt that wearing heels minimized her reaction time to any sort of threat, so she wouldn't put herself in that position now when there might be trouble afoot. Besides, she didn't mind her height. The better the element of surprise for those who didn't know better. She took a second to smooth out her sweater and knocked again. This time he answered. When the door opened, she took a long second to take in the view. He was wearing a pair of sage green flannel pajama bottoms that would have fallen off if his rear end wasn't quite so perfectly round, and the drawstring around his waist was cinched just enough, so the waistband hung low around his hips. That was about all he was wearing.

When Burnham opened his door to see Thalia standing there, his heart started racing fast enough to jolt him wide awake. "Well, she certainly looks rosier tonight than she did yesterday. I suppose that's a good thing. I have to admit I wouldn't mind doing that again... if I didn't feel so woozy." Thalia interrupted his thought process by speaking to him in Greek again.

"Good morning. I have news. I suspect, however, that it's probably not the kind of news we should discuss with me standing in the hall.

He nodded. She figured that was enough of an invitation and gently pushed past him and sat on the plush king size bed. Between the mattress, feather bed, and down filled linens, the bed was nearly three feet high, and sitting on it required a bit of a hop for her to get onto it. She continued, "Besides, I took the liberty of ordering room service for you since I knew you would awake a little... depleted."

She licked her lips. "You're O-negative. It happens to be my very favorite. I thought I'd return the favor."

A flash of panic happened across Burnham's face. His thoughts started to flood in, "These pants are thin, loose fitting, and will not hide an erection. I will NOT get turned on. I won't. Stop it, now. Distract yourself."

He started to reply to her in English, but then figured that their newly forming habit of speaking in Greek should at least provide them some privacy amongst any person or vamp that could overhear. The resort had a log-cabin style design. The interior walls were thick logs of spruce, but the doors were intended to be more decorative and as such was a solid plank of natural cedar. The doors of the vampire rooms were built with a sandwiched inner membrane of steel, so there were two doors to get through, but they were in Burnham's room right now and such precautions were not deemed necessary there. Anyone standing outside the door would be able to hear their entire conversation. Burnham got his act together enough to speak aloud. "Um, I'm glad you enjoyed...me. What did you order?"

"Almost Everything. Everything that did not have bacon. I don't understand why people eat bacon. I can't stand the smell. But I didn't know what you liked, so I ordered everything that did not involve charred swine."

Burnham smiled. His own wide, bright grin reminded him that bacon might be preferable to the smell of his breath right now. "All right then. Excuse me, I'll be back momentarily."

He loped into the bathroom to brush his teeth and to hopefully wash the look of deep, fatigue filled sleep from his eyes. Three minutes later, room service had arrived with his breakfast; three carts loaded to the hilt with everything from slices of quiche lorraine to a spinach and gruyere strata and about twenty different varieties of pastries. The accommodation itself was large, more like a two room suite. The various breakfast items were placed onto a dining table that was located in the living area of the suite, and Burnham started towards the table to dive in. Thalia followed and sat in the chair adjacent to his. That is when he noticed three bottles of TrueBlood dressed up in a heated bucket on the edge of the table. He mused, "Well at least I know I'm not what's for breakfast." He sat and spoke to her. "Thank you for joining me."

Thalia revealed a faint smile, then redirected her attentions to the blood on the table. "Apparently we will be keeping each other company today. It's casual Thursday for us."


"We are not expected anywhere. I called our contact. We will be meeting with her tomorrow night. Tonight she is making further preparations for our appointment with the Queen."

"Did she tell you what kind of preparations?"


He peered down at her.

Thalia chugged half of one bottle then looked back at him. "Here's to hoping the human doesn't panic on me." She spoke. "She's arranging for the packing and loading of her and her mate's worldly belongings."

Burnham's eyes widened. "So best case scenario is that they'll be banished, or what?"

Thalia grinned. She was pleased. "No panic. Just contemplation. I'm liking this one more each day." She said,"Not necessarily. They may not be banished, but even if they get out of whatever mess they're in without punishment, it's not an entirely intelligent decision to stick around to live under a Queen that has at any point in time wanted to cut your fucking head off." She shook her head quickly as if confirming her conclusion to herself. "No, not a good idea."

He looked at her with a slight amount of surprise in his expression. She snorted. "Get over it and get used to it. Frivolous use of profanity is a useful thing when you're forced to spend centuries around testosterone drenched men wielding weapons. Its use makes it easier for them to see me as a fellow fighter, or at least belligerent enough to not be worth the fight. Makes them more comfortable around me and it transforms me from being seen as a girl they want to conquer to, rather, a girl they want to protect. While of course I need no man's protection, I am sure you can imagine that wielding a fierce attitude is easier than going around draining every man that may attempt to assault me."

Burnham shrugged. "Fair enough. I'm not bothered by it or anything. In fact, I regard it as a useful part of communication. I just... didn't expect it coming from such an..." "Well, innocent certainly isn't the word..." "...petite package."

Thalia shrugged.

In between taking bites of the poached salmon and sea salt omelette he thought, "I should take this opportunity, if it means she's willing to reveal more of herself to me." He took the leap. "Since we're talking about your collective centuries here... we've already confirmed that you're Greek. Why the Latin last name?"

"Magnus? I'm sure you might be able to figure it out. What do you know of the use of the word as a forename or surname?"

He pondered. "Magnus. Means 'great,' was adopted by many Scandinavian royalty as a forename..."

Thalia was beginning to have fun. She was also finishing off her second bottle of blood. "And where did they purloin its use from?"

Burnham's other line of thought took over now at the site of the second empty bottle. "Out of curiosity, how much blood do you need to sustain yourself? And the most prominent use of the word that I can think of was from Charlemagne. Charlemagne; Charles the Great. Carolus Magnus. Yes, I'm relatively certain they took the usage from him."

Thalia nodded, pleased with his quick progress. "Me? Even amongst vampires I am of a respectable age. Because I am old I can survive on less than a half litre a day if necessary. I just... truly love blood...even this tinny, bottled shit. I did not, however, intend to overindulge with you last night. It has just been so, so long since..." Though unnecessary, she took in a deep breath. "Well, anyway, yes. Charlemagne. I was born of an affair with the son of a Roman Patrician. My mother gave me my father's last name, but my father was a true asshole in every sense. In fact, he tried to have me killed a couple of times. In any case, he was a seventh generation descendant of Charlemagne, and seeing as that makes me an eighth generation descendent, I decided to use Magnus as my surname shortly after I left Europe. At the time it was quite a bit less recognizable than my father's name, and as you can imagine, a vamp girl's best asset is anonymity."

"Fascinating. Why did he try to have you killed?"

Thalia hid her enjoyment behind the vampiric equivalent of a poker face. "This is so highly amusing. I might end up telling him too much, but if I do, Eric be damned I'm going to glamour the living shit out of him. Besides, he might figure a lot of things out on his own just yet." What she told him was, "He had been elected to a high office..." She hesitated. "An office where great morals were deemed compulsory. Morals that he decidedly lacked. He was widely reputed as a man-whore, really, but I was the only verified proof of his consorts. His family preferred they stay rumors."

Burnham was now deep in his mind churning through pages of textbooks he had read but had long ago discarded from easily accessible memory. "Son of a patrician... position of morals... eighth generation descendant of Charlemagne, that would put us in the 10th century AD..." "Jesus Christ, your father was a Pope!"

This was the first time Thalia laughed aloud in at least a year. "How delightfully, ironically, blasphemous of you."

He continued in astounded excitement, "Pope... Pope John XII... he was known as a fornicator. And that would mean you were born.... in the 950s? Jesus, you're the daughter of Octaviano!

His excitement was almost contagious. Thalia now had to put some effort into holding back her laughter. It had been so long since she had come across a human with knowledge of European history in any depth. "959, to be exact. I'm glad you've found my parentage to be such a cause of pleasure. Like I said, as far as I'm concerned he was a real bastard. But I digress."

Burnham leaned back from the table, finally stuffed. He'd had at least one forkful of just about everything they brought to the room. Thalia was polishing off her third and last bottle of TrueBlood. He looked at her in defeat. "Does an overabundance of blood leave you feeling like there's a lead weight in your stomach like food does?"

"No. In fact, I could start all over again with the...right motivation." She eyed him with a hint of longing.

Again, he failed to notice the undercurrent of tension in her voice. "Must be nice." He grinned. "I should probably get dressed soon. So... since we have all night to ourselves, what are we going to do today?"

"Well, I'm not so much concerned for me, but seeing as you're quite a bit more vulnerable, we should formulate a plan for tomorrow. The fact that we are not needed tonight is a great opportunity for us. We are going to discuss what I think will expected of us when we present this item, and then determine a Plan B. Then we will continue by forming a Plan C. Additionally, we need to devise a contingency plan for all three, just in case," she smirked.

"Concerned for me?" Burnham looked up. "Should I be more distracted by the idea that you might care for my welfare, or worried about your implication that I may be in danger tomorrow?"

Thalia wiped any expression of kindness from her face. "Hmm. I did say something that could imply that I am becoming attached to him. Poor thing, he really has no idea of the nature of vampires. The ones that actually care for you are the deadliest ones of all." She looked at him with a dour glare, not wanting to admit to herself that tendency to form bonds with those she liked was completely out of her control. In fact, it was her vampire strength, though she saw it as a curse. Thalia's special ability of sorts was that she could induce people around her to be fast, loyal and steadfast companions. The type of bond that would with most people require an uncommon natural compatibility and thirty years of shared experiences to form would take her two days if she wished it. It was like a very focused, specific, and terribly powerful glamour that she could use with no effort and barely any intent, and it was a formidable talent. It resulted in having a virtual personal army of vampires and the occasional human that would fight to the death for her not because she she was vicious, but because they loved her.

While Thalia developed the skills of a master tactician simply from growing up under the set of circumstances she had, but it was her power that kept her both insulated and safe from many would-be aggressors over the centuries. Unfortunately, the bond went both ways. That meant that the loss of loved ones that vampires already struggled to cope with, amplified over decades and centuries, nearly crippled her. After the last incident that resulted in the deaths of her nestmates, she swore not to repeat her mistakes. But Thalia knew no middle ground. She was either part of a large, close-knit family, or she was alone. Since the 1990's she had focused constant effort into self-contempt and the isolation of herself from everyone else in order to repent for the use of her gifts.

When Thalia finally answered him, she decided to focus on Burnham's latter issue. "Don't be silly. Isn't it always the case that you should be more concerned with the issue of your mortality?"

"Well, yes, that's a good point. Maybe I was just hoping..."

Thalia looked at him, expressionless, but she was anxious.

Two of Burnham's more advantageous personality traits is that he was neither shy nor easily embarrassed by his emotions. He was often quite forward with his thoughts and emotions. It was often a bit much for human women, but Thalia found it convenient and pleasing. Vamps apparently found little use for embarrassment, and appreciated frankness because it was efficient.

"Well, let's be honest. It wouldn't be every day that I find an excessively attractive female declaring any sort of concern for me, so you can't blame me for hoping that there would be something more behind it. At the least I was hoping that by the end of the trip you'd tell me I have a nice butt." He stood, turned around, looked over his shoulder, and wiggled his behind. Thalia was still hesitant to crack a smile. Instead, she raised an eyebrow. Burnham continued, "Ok, maybe it would be more up your alley to compliment me on the fact that as a 27 year old I can speak a 2,000 year old language perfectly?"

Thalia caved. It was a bright, genuine smile and it completely changed her appearance. "Fine. Your ass is quite sufficient, and your language skills are quite impressive." Now her smile transformed to a subtle smirk. "However, it remains to be seen if you can put either of the two to any real, compelling use."

All he could do was grin. He walked back into the bedroom and climbed onto the bed. He sat on the bed cross-legged. Thalia half expected him to start meditating. Though he was working hard to make it unobvious, she could tell he was losing himself in thought. He took a second to ponder, "I'm not even sure what I want. I know I want to know more about her. I know she fascinates me. I... know that she could kill me. Why is it the only thing I can focus on right now is getting her to, well, let me in?" While he wasn't entirely uncomfortable, intentional flirting wasn't familiar territory for him, so having lost his nerve, he changed the subject. "The last third of the Byzantine empire. The Ottomans. Having lived through all these... exciting times, how on earth did you end up in Shreveport, Louisiana?"

Thalia stood up from the table and returned to the bedroom. She stood in front of the window and looked out, gazing at the falling snow. To her eyes it almost seemed to shimmer in the night sky. "It is of course a very long story. For now, suffice it to say that I have... horrible luck in choosing where to live. Between ambitious vampire power grabs and natural disasters, I have lost my home and most of my nestma-" She interrupted herself, "...my family members multiple times. I can neither control nor predict the natural disasters, so I figured I could at least do better at avoiding the power plays. Eric has a very good reputation for being a fair Sheriff. Additionally, he has positioned himself well. He has made sure that he is... less expendable. So I decided to come here to live under his territory, hoping for some peace. At least for a decade or two." Her voice began to fade a little, "It would be nice... if I could just have a decade or two."

In a rare moment where Thalia was free of distrust and skepticism, she spoke to Burnham in almost a whisper, "So you will have to forgive me if I am terse with you. Between the floods and the earthquakes I have lived through, I try not to like anyone with a pulse. You die far too easily. Generally, you humans make it easy to dislike you." The corners of her mouth upturned just a little. "Though you, specifically, may not be so bad." Smoothing her sweater down again, she turned to him and took the opportunity to appreciate that he still wasn't fully dressed. With a smirk she said, "Either way it has little to do with your level of attractiveness. I don't have to like you at all to fuck you."

Burnham spoke before he could edit himself, "Are you offering?"

Thalia could see that he was beginning to get apprehensive. It was in everything from his quickened heartbeat, to his scent. Oh, his scent. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. To Thalia it was musky with a hint of sweetness. It reminded her of a Fae nectar she had been given once. The nectar had healed her and brought her back from the brink of catastrophic injury. When she drank it she could barely see or smell, but two sips had transported her to a world of comfort and bliss. For a second she imagined that his smell could do that for her. She decided then that she would stop. She would not play flirtatious games with him; she couldn't play these games with him. "I want him. I think I would thoroughly enjoy him if he were mine. But he is not. While he belongs to no one, he works for Eric, and that complicates things. There is also my sworn penance. I can't afford to form any... attachments now. I am done with that. I cannot do that again. I am so... absolutely... completely... done with... companionship. I could benefit from a few centuries alone." She could only look at him.

Burnham was busy trying to gather courage. "You can do this, Bobby; in for a penny, in for a pound." He put locked his fingers together, stretched upwards, closed his eyes for a long second, and pretended to be nonchalant about his flirtation. He tried to keep his voice from shaking. "To... fuck me. Are you offering to take advantage of me in that way?" He managed a comfortable smile. "I just want to be clear, you know. Though I would assume it would be much better if you did, in fact like me of course. I suppose I can't have it all, though."

For a split second, she looked at him with a ferocity in her eyes that reminded him of just how lethal she could be. "I'm so weak! I am so fucking weak in some ways. This will be the death of me." With vampire speed she had him forced down onto the bed flat on his back. Her left hand not so gently cradling his neck, and her fangs fully extended, she leaned over him so her eyes were level with his. With as much restraint as she could muster, she put just enough glamour in her voice for him to recognize the influence she could have over him, but not enough to compel him to do anything. Her voice rang with a smoothness and mystical quality that was completely foreign to him, "Listen to me carefully. Be careful what you wish for, Robert. These days I try to be... as polite as a being of my kind can be. I do not take what does not belong to me, or what has not been offered to me unless absolutely necessary. But make no mistake. If you are offering yourself to me, I certainly will not refuse you. But I am not gentle. I am not patient. It is just not in my nature. I am certainly making you an offer. But you need to be certain that I am what you want."

The tension was so thick it was palpable. Burnham was sprawled back onto the bed, his back arched and his neck in the soft pressure of what was essentially a vice grip with painted pink nails. The rest of his body felt like it was being swallowed since he had sunken down into the plushness of the featherbed and the heavily stuffed, embroidered and silken duvet on top of it all. Thalia's grip on him was the only thing keeping him from smothering into the pile of what looked like twenty pillows near the head of the bed. She had crawled onto the bed, straddling him yet again, and suspended an inch away from his face she was completely still and her eyes bore down on him, waiting for an answer. He was excited, he was aroused, and he was petrified. But the more he thought about how to answer her question, the less he could control himself. Suddenly, he burst out in half-coughing fits of laughter.

Having lost all ability to concentrate, he spoke in English. "Me?"

Surprised, Thalia let his neck go, and sat up sharply. Her expression softened but was now infused with obvious confusion.

Burnham's head fell back into the sea of pillows and he scrambled to sit up on his elbows to meet her stare. Still laughing, he began trying to choke off his laughter so he could breathe. Once he caught his breath he spoke. "I'm sorry, it's just... it's just that the one thing I've ever been able to count on in my entire life is that I always know what I want. I've always, always, been certain of the things I want. But since about 4 AM this morning, I haven't the foggiest clue about anything. I always see things in such a... linear way..."

His body was still shaking underneath her in laughter and his speech was punctuated by gasps for air.

"I have three goals. I have a plan for reaching those goals. Then I have have a plan to revisit my goals after those three have been attained. See? Very linear. Organized. Controlled."

By now he was almost guffawing. Thalia was thinking about slapping him, but he kept talking.

"But since yesterday I've barely been able to think straight. All I've wanted to do was get to know you. Understand you a bit more. Alright, perhaps a lot more. And I wanted to be... well, close to you. I'm sure that after a thousand years you know that you're gorgeous... intimidatingly so, but it makes it hard to not think about you... that way..."

He was starting to calm down now. Thalia's expression hadn't changed.

"And then there was last night. I wasn't expecting that. I wasn't expecting that at all. I don't even know what it means. Does it mean anything at all? Is... was that par for the course when biting? Or did you do that because..."

When he didn't continue Thalia realized she needed to answer him. "Turning you on? It is not necessary, but if one is not aroused it is not as pleasurable. I wanted you to enjoy it. To... enjoy me."

"But why? Why bother when you said you don't like to deal much with humans. Why bother to help me enjoy it?" He spoke with an urgency in his fearful urgency in his tone, "Why was I worth at least that much to you?"

That was a question she was completely unprepared to answer. Thalia remained silent. Burnham's voice got quiet and soft.

"And it wasn't fair, you know. You gave me no warning, and that was the first time. The first time that's ever happened..." A sheepish grin crossed his face. "At least, in the presence of a woman."

Thalia's face became one of incredulity. Since he was silent, all she could hear was his heartbeat and all the blood pulsing through his veins. His scent was still there, but far more potent now, and she was beginning to notice the extent of his trepidation. He was starting to tremble with nervous energy and she wanted desperately to calm him down.

Burnham began rambling now, "At heart I'm an academic. And I'm not blind. I know my tendencies don't endear me to most females. So I've gotten used to keeping these sorts of things in the realm of my dreams. Then suddenly here I am throwing myself at you like some sort of fangbanger..." He sighed, frustration and confusion in his voice. "I'm sorry, I..." He sighed again and went silent.

Thalia was torn. She wanted to comfort him but not encourage him any further. She was trying to backtrack but saw no way out that would both spare his feelings and not require more confessions on her part. Her voice was still soft and just short of hypnotic. "No. You are not like one of them. I would not have accepted your offer of blood if you were like them. And I did not know; I would never have assumed you to be a virgin with your... sense of worldliness otherwise." She reached down and brushed a lock of his hair off of his face. "We will leave this... discussion for another night perhaps. I think your first time should definitely be with someone else. A human. Someone who will-"

Burnham reached around her back and flipped her down onto her side with as much strength as he could muster. It was good for him that she was vampire; her vampiric reflexes allowed her to quickly and willingly react to his sudden aggression. She chose to concede. Otherwise, for Burnham it would have been like trying to flip over a brick wall. Now he was on his side, facing her, the length of their bodies pressed against each other.

"I have to disagree with you. Besides, does the human thing look as if it's worked out well for me so far? I believe I'm back to knowing what I want again; exactly what I want."

Burnham realized that there was really no point in trying to seduce a woman who had around a thousand more years experience than he. His breathing was deep but quick "I can't even remotely pretend to take the lead here. So I'm asking you..."

He pleaded with her with his eyes. She was still struggling with herself. She wanted to relax with him. She wanted to connect with him, but it was difficult to control her ability when she let go. The longer she thought about it, the more she could smell that sweetness; the adrenaline permeating his blood. His brown eyes were alive with excitement, anxiety, and fear. Mostly fear. He was waiting on her to do something, just about anything would do, and he was becoming terrified that she would reject him. While his left arm was propping him up, and his right arm was still around her waist, suddenly he had noticed the absolute stillness, almost rigidity of her body. As still as her body and her shut eyes were, he could feel that she was struggling with a decision. Dejected, he shifted away from her and crashed down onto his back, bouncing a bit on the thick linens.

Still on her side, she reached out to him. "Robert listen. It is... complicated. This whole situation might have more ramifications than you would expect, and it would not be honorable for me to-"

She was interrupted by the pressure of his lips on hers. He had lunged forward and wrapped his right arm around her and used his left to hold himself upright, pulling himself out of the five inch bulk of silk and feathers. The feel of the silk in the fireplace-warmed room was a rousing, subtle contrast to the slight chill of her cold skin. She allowed herself to fall backwards as they kissed, but she unhurriedly reached for his hands and began to guide them. He had asked her to take the lead, and she was going to try to do that without making it obvious. It wasn't lost on her that if he thought he was taking all of the initiative here, he may not take it poorly when he eventually found out the potential consequences of loving her.

Burnham had released his deep kiss and had started covering her neck in short, sweet pecks. He nudged her sweater aside to continue along his path, and when he reached the small hollow of her collar bone, he lingered. Any reservations Thalia had now vanished. Her fangs had descended, and between him on top of her and the enveloping bulk of duvet below her, even with vampire strength she struggled to pull her sweater up over her head. He lifted himself long enough for the sweater to be thrown halfway across the room. She tried to sit up slightly underneath him and he grasped desperately at her back, trying to remove her bra. She shifted onto her elbows to help improve his access, since 15 seconds later he was still yanking at the hooks.

She could feel his smile as his cheek brushed against hers, and his voice came out as a gasp. "Give me some credit here; you do this every day. Me, not so much."

Thalia had exhausted her patience. She responded by carefully tugging at his ear with her teeth before whispering into it, "Shut up."

The bra off now, she playfully shoved him aside to yank off her jeans. She was moving fast, but once she had shoved them below her knees Burnham managed to help pull them completely off. Ten second later, his pants were off as well, and he took a second to take in the view. It was the last second he would get, because just then she grabbed him and wrenched him towards her. Had he not been so pumped full of adrenaline it may have hurt him, but at that point his attentions were fully elsewhere. Accompanied by a urging moan, she forced herself to control the speed of her movement so as not to overwhelm him. She wrapped her left leg around him and used her right hand to gently guide him into her.

He was starting to palpitate now, and even Thalia began to breath heavily as he struggled to keep rhythm and grasp her breast to caress it. He arched his back to reach her left nipple with his tongue as her breasts heaved back and forth, and just as he managed to reach it, he began to realize the swell building within. His jaw tightened and his breath quickened. Thalia could feel, smell, and almost taste every minute shift in his anatomy. When she felt him tense she moved quickly to distract him. Controlling her strength as much as she could, she locked her other leg around his waist and flipped him, forcing his exit just long enough to halt his climax. Her words came out as a frenzied cry, "No! Not. Yet!"

His face was strained with the attempt to stop, but the sudden movement was enough to halt his orgasm. Now there was no question she was in control. She climbed astride Burnham and with renewed ardor she bucked against him. His hands seized onto her waist desperately, and it was all he could do to hang onto her since he was so lost in the exhilaration he could not coordinate his muscles to do much else. When she felt her own fervor rising, she shifted to reach his lips with hers, but this time was different. Now she had given in to him, and despite being in the middle of rapturous sex, she was angry. She was angry at herself for being fallible and angry at him for unnerving her. For being so alluring to her that now she had tied herself, inescapably, to a human. Her kiss this time was vicious, and just when Burnham thought he was going to dissolve around her she thrust her hands behind his head, burying them in his hair, pulled the nape of his neck towards her lips, and plunged her fangs into his jugular at the base of his clavicle.

He came inside of her just as his blood surged into her mouth, and her body recoiled against his with the force of her own orgasm. He screamed just before he collapsed back, completely splayed onto the sheets. She lapped softly where she had bitten until the blood slowed, and then stopped. She continued until the fang marks had faded and then disappeared. She slid to his side, reached beside him and pulled the duvet over them both. All he felt was a new sense of warmth and comfort as he blindly reached to pull her to him as he drifted off into sleep. Allowing herself to be pulled closer, she sighed and watched his face relax into an declaration of complete tranquility. Watching him sleep, her first clear thought was, "Damnit, now I'm going to have to order him the entire lunch menu, too."


The rest of that night drifted by lazily for them. Thankfully he had awakened before she managed to order the majority of the lunch menu for him at 2 am. Settling for a club sandwich, they lounged around and talked about various worldly things until Bobby felt he couldn't put it off any longer. Thalia was draped across the sofa in the sitting room while Burnham dug through his suitcase looking for a pair of jeans. She was dreading the topic change, but she knew it would come.

Burnham's face revealed that he was flustered. "I don't want to bring this up because I'm afraid of what her answer will be. What a role reversal! Is this what it's like for the typical teenage girl, head over heels in love with the guy that just wants to screw her? Well, at least I won't allow myself to be clueless for long." He looked towards her and spoke, "Thalia, I need to know if this means anything to you. I have to admit that I... well, I don't really know how these things go with vampires, but if there is such a thing as a commit-" He stopped himself cold. He already had a feeling that he was asking for a lot. He wasn't going to take it further than he absolutely must. "-A serious relationship in the kind of life you lead, I would really like to be with you in that way. I feel-"

This time Thalia cut him off. "I know how you feel. Let me guess; you feel strangely drawn to me. There is a fondness there that makes you want to want to be close to me. I am probably quite a bit more... likable than I was yesterday. I feel... safe, for you. Comfortable. You probably also feel a little defensive about me now. There is a hint of a drive to want to protect me. Worst of all you are feeling everything short of a compulsion to kiss me every time you look at me."

Burnham was awe-struck, and he stood up from shrugging his jeans up his legs. As soon as he buttoned them he turned around to gape at her for a second before he spoke. "Something like that. Am I that transparent, or does this have something to do with the 'consequences' you spoke of earlier?"

Thalia nodded. "It does. I..." In a thousand years it never got easier to explain it. It didn't help that she normally didn't discuss it with the victim. She had found that it created a strange dynamic for someone to love you, know that it wasn't exactly of their own free will, but still have no choice than to continue to love you. "Do you know what it is, what it is for a vampire to use glamour?"

Burnham nodded.

"Well, it is something like that. But it is far less of my own volition and a great deal more potent. Simplified, it makes people like me. A lot. I could have kept it from affecting you had we not been intimate; had I not wanted you so badly. However, it seems that things progressed differently, and here we are."

"So you're saying that this feeling of wanting to change everything in my life to be with you is basically the result of a super-special vampire spell you put on me?"

It was Thalia's turn to nod.

Burnham howled in laughter. Thalia was beginning to suspect the whole situation was about to make him crack. "Robert, you need to take this seriously."

"Oh, just so I can be clear, are you going to call me Robert all the time, or just when you really want my full attention?" He continued, amused. "I am taking it seriously. How do you expect me not to? Don't get me wrong. I don't doubt that you have this ability. I only doubt that it's affecting me as much as you think. Think about it. You're the first woman I've talked to for longer than 30 minutes that doesn't bore me to tears, you're damn near a living goddess, and before you ever laid a lip on me I had just about placed myself emotionally prostrate to you several times. I don't think I could have made myself anymore vulnerable. Then, to top it all off I volunteered a major vein just to provide you sustenance. I think I was obviously falling for you quite a bit before I gave you my virginity. Which, by the way, is also a pretty big deal and was a decision I made before you super-glamoured me. Whatever role your power may play in this situation, it certainly isn't entirely responsible."

Thalia tilted her head and looked at him incredulously, "What if you are wrong? Why are you not bothered by this?"

He shrugged. "Why should I be? I know how I felt before we made love, and however I feel now, it isn't useful to waste time resenting you for feelings I enjoy having. I can't recall ever being this... optimistic towards anything before. Ever. I'm happy." Then the possibility occurred to him, sharply cutting into his mood. "The only reason I would have for hating this is if this is... unrequited."

She sat up and patted the seat on the sofa next to her, gesturing for him to sit beside her.

"I'm not going to lie to you. There is nothing about being with me that will be easy or simple. And I fear for you. Being the human companion of a vampire can be a dangerous thing, even if I do try to stay out of anyone's attentions." She placed her hand on his leg. "But yes, I do care for you." Now a broad grin spread across her face, "and I have no plans to kick you out of my bed if you are not dying to get away from me."

Thalia was pleased this was working out far better than she had hoped. Her look changed to one of compassion. "I am not particularly ravenous as far as vampires go, either. I have no desire for any other bedroom companions, so that should not concern you."

He was smiling. He leaned towards her to kiss her but interrupted himself. "Forgive me if this is presumptive or rude, but I know only of what I've seen in Fangtasia or in the presence of other vampires that Eric has reason for me to be around. I have to assume that you have... those you feed from, yes?"

She stifled a snicker. "It is rare when I feed directly from a human. On the rare occasion that I do desire warm blood, I do have a very small, select group of those I can call upon. Mostly I..." She paused, "Brown-bag it."

He looked at her quizzically.

"Blood bags. My donors use blood bags. Most vamps feel that they must have the warmth and the excitement of a biting a body. Personally I find it far more convenient to be able to retrieve my sustenance from the refrigerator, much like yourself. It also saves me from having to deal with humans on a regular basis. Managing their emotions can be taxing, and I have to work hard to keep them from getting attached to me. It is much like not wanting to cuddle after sex, you see. I take their blood then I ask them to leave. I want nothing to do with them after feeding, and their feelings are hurt. Yes, this way it is much easier all around."

She glanced toward the window. "Dawn approaches. Again. Seems to happen every day."

Burnham chuckled. "What about developing our double-triple-quadruple back up plan of operations for tomorrow?"

She kissed him quickly and then smiled. "I didn't want to wake you, so I finalized our hopefully unnecessary escape plans while you were sleeping. Just follow my lead; I am sure we will be fine. Do not stay up too late today... Bobby. Yes, indeed, I think I will reserve Robert for when I really need your attention."

Thalia retired to her room for the day, and Bobby Burnham spent half the morning staring out at the falling snow, wondering what he had just gotten himself into, and wondering what would await them both at dusk.