Heyy! So here it is! My BRAND NEW fic! It's set right after HOURGLASS finishes. IT's my version of Afterlife which comes out next year. Hope you like it! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE REVIEW!

Disclaimer: I am NOT the fabulous Claudia Gray nor will I ever be. Hope you enjoy my writing anyway! The characters are all hers I just control their actions in this story and the plot line.

1. Bargain

I closed my eyes, placing one hand on Lucas's chest. His breathing was slowing and his heart sounded like it was trying to beat itself right out of his chest. "Lucas will rise from the dead as a vampire," I heard myself whisper. I sounded far away, distant. I squeezed my eyes shut tighter, trying to block my tears from spilling over. Balthazar put one hand on my shoulder but I flicked it off, simultaneously flicking my wrist to knock my coral bracelet into Vic's lap. "Bianca, where are you going?" Balthazar asked. I floated up to where Maxie was watching them. "To get help. Bring Lucas back to Vic's. I'll meet you there," I projected the thought to Balthazar.

Vic looked confused. His face was still wet with his tears and I could see that he was trying to make sense of all the weirdness around him. "Balthazar, what's going on?" For the first time since I'd met him, Vic sounded sad. I wished I could hug him and tell him everything was going to be okay, but I couldn't and Vic knew that as well as I did. Balthazar relayed what I had said to Vic. "G'luck Bianca!" he called, trying to sound positive. I had to applaud him; Vic was fairly good at the whole optimistic every-cloud-has-a-silver-lining mentality.

I smiled inwardly to myself, and then turned to face Maxie. Her face was blank for once, devoid of any and all emotion or feelings. Maybe that was her grasp on looking neutral and uncaring? I didn't know. I barely even knew this . . . girl, wraith, whatever she was, but I already felt like I knew her inside out, personality-wise. Snarkiness was her favourite weapon and sarcasm was the only language she was truly fluent in. She didn't do compassion, that much I could tell. "Take me to this 'magnificent' Christopher you've been talking about," I said, fighting the urge to snap and take out my frustration on her. Maxie didn't bite Lucas, Charity did. I didn't truly hate Maxie; I just didn't get along with her too well.

She looked confused but said nothing. The hurt I was feeling must've been plain on my face for Maxie to be rendered speechless. She took my hand in hers and closed her large brown eyes, furrowing her brow in concentration. I had a feeling that she was doing her teleportation thing, so I closed my eyes and waited to feel the nauseous feeling I felt the last few times. When a few moments had passed I opened my eyes, wondering if she hadn't succeeded. Well, we were somewhere. Where the nauseous feeling went I had no clue. I just hated how everything had turned out. Not Maxie's teleporting skills, but everything else. I hated being wraith. I hated Balthazar's sister, Charity. I hated myself for turning over the hourglass and biting Lucas. I had a feeling that one day Lucas would become a vampire, and that I wouldn't be the one to Turn him.

My life sucked, basically. First, I die. Bad enough right? Yeah, well after that I come back. As a vampire? No. As a wraith? Ding ding we have a winner! Then just when you'd think that nothing worse could happen to you, your best vampire friend, Balthazar, who has a psychotic vampire sister named Charity, bites your vampire hunter boyfriend who you have already bitten, thrice, and drinks from him Turning him into a vampire. The one thing he never wanted to be, even though you were, emphasis on the past tense, destined to be. I had always thought I was going to be a vampire, I mean from Day 1 I was drinking blood out of a baby bottle alongside my baby formula, until my parents told me about the deal they made with the wraiths to let them have me. Apparently, vampires only have bodies to give, no soul or spirit. When I found that out, I swore I would never ever be a vampire. Little did I know. Now I'd kill to get that old destiny back, that old future.

"Bianca, seriously. What. Do. You. Want? Your humanity?" the word 'humanity' dripped with her scorn. "He will never give it to you. Trust me, I tried. Been there, done that, asked the question. And what was my answer? No. A big, fat, two-lettered N O. You think you're any different than me? You think I wanted my brother to stab me with my quill pen in the attic of my . . . I mean, Vic's house and get away with it? No, I wanted anything to go back and show him up, maybe stab him with a quill pen myself, see how he likes this life. Seriously, you think any of us enjoy being dead? Able to see what's happening in the world and feel hurt and pain for the people it's happening to and have no say in any of it or the ability to help?"Maxie asked, sounding infuriated. I felt my stomach drop. Her brother stabbed her? No wonder she was so bitter.

I gave Maxie a wry smile. "You see, Maxie, my humanity is something I most certainly do not want back. For all I care you can have my old humanity. What I do want it my old destiny back. And I swear to God I would do anything to get it back," I told her. Maxie looked taken aback. "You—you want to be one of them?" she asked incredulously. I nodded. Sure as hell I did. I wanted to be with my Lucas, no matter what the cost was. If we were both vampires together that destiny wouldn't be that horrible at all. My thoughts turned to Mom and Dad, happy together and forever in love. Being a vampire the way they did it was no bad at all.

"Can you please get your head out of your fantasy world for two frickin' seconds? You are so spacey. You have to be a little more serious Bianca. Honestly, if you want Christopher to even listen to you and what you want, you have to be serious." Maxie rolled her eyes at me. "Just take me to Christopher," I said in a tired voice. I had had enough of Maxie and her constant criticism. Like I didn't know that my life was messed up? I knew that very well. I didn't need her social criticism to keep reminding me. "Jeez, just drop the high and mighty act thing, okay?" Maxie sounded as fed up with me as I was with her. I nodded at her. Anything to get back to Lucas. Dawn was only six hours away. I had that long to see this Christopher guy, uh wraith and return to Vic's cellar to lie with Lucas and Change.

Maxie and I floated over to a wraith who looked like he was eighteen or nineteen but had the air of someone who was as old as time. Which he was, I realized. He was the first wraith. That was why he was the most powerful. Maxie's gave turned affectionate at the sight of him. I was guessing that someone had a little crush. "Hi Christopher, this is Bianca. She has something she wants to ask you," Maxie sounded dreamy. And I needed to pull my head out of the clouds?

"Hello, Bianca. Thank you Maxie, you may go," Christopher spoke kindly and turned his gaze onto me. "Hello," I said, giving him the best smile I could muster. Maybe, just maybe, he'd pity me and give me what I wanted. He had kind blue eyes and playfully ruffled brown hair. I could see why Maxie liked him. I made a mental note to tell her that she had a good sense in guys. "You are obviously here for something, so as k what you want and I'll listen and answer," he said, as if he did this fifty times a day. Who knew, maybe he did. "Umm, it's a bit of a long story," I warned, and Christopher just nodded and motioned for me to continue.

"I was born to two vampires. But in order to have me, my parents struck a deal with the wrai— with you guys. I didn't know about this 'deal' until a couple of months ago. I had always thought—and been told— that I was going to be a vampire. Until, that is, I met Lucas. I fell in love with him right away. I've always been a strong believer in love at first sight, but I didn't expect to be one of the rare people who get to experience it. Anyway, Lucas, a Black Cross vampire hunter, well, he fell in love with me too. When we were dating at Evernight Academy he kept making comments about my parents not telling me the truth about my life—and I never believed him. I just thought he was jealous because from the way he described his mom, Kate, she didn't sound half as good as my parents.

"So Lucas showed me what my parents had been sheltering me from my whole life; the nasty, dirty, deceiving side of vampires that would definitely convince me that I would never want to be one. That was when I realized that my parents weren't any different than other vampires at all; they deceived me into thinking that being a vampire was all sunshine and happiness, well not sunshine exactly but you get my point. So I realized that I didn't want to be a good girl and become what my parents wanted me to become; all I wanted was to be happy with Lucas. Before that, though, Lucas got kicked out of Evernight, the vampire boarding school my parents forced me to attend and that he went to infiltrate. So he got found out and kicked out for good. After he left, wraiths started attacking the school and targeting me. That was when I learned why I was living and the only reason I was told was because Mrs. Bethany, the headmistress, forced my parents to tell me.

"So like any other typical North American teenager, I ran away with Lucas, my boyfriend. He was still in Black Cross at that point so I joined them with him. But it was hard. I required blood to function and everyone in Black Cross were anti-vampire and they'd have killed me if they saw me drinking blood. It would be like having an enemy spy stealing and listening in on all of your secrets. So, first they captured Balthazar, who was a really good friend of mine at Evernight and my date to the Autumn Ball two years in a row, since Lucas and I always seemed to be broken up for that event. Lucas and I saved him. We set him free. Later that week I got really hungry, thirsty I guess, when we were on a patrol together, so Lucas snuck over to a hospital to get me some fresh human blood. While I was drinking it Raquel and Dana who were some friends of ours in Black Cross at that time, saw me drinking blood and turned us in.

"We got kicked out. No surprise there. So we ran away, cuz they wanted to kill us. We ran to Chinatown in New York and stayed with the guy who was hiding Balthazar until he got his strength back. Balthazar gave us money so we could get out of town and we took a bus to Philadelphia. We rented a room at a motel at first, until we remembered that a friend of ours from school, Vic Woodson, lived in Philly. We met up with him and he offered us free room and board in his family's empty wine cellar.

"Lucas and I got jobs in Philly so we could afford clothes and other items for ourselves and maybe one day pay Vic and Balthazar back for the money they both lent us. But on my first day at my job, I got really dizzy and almost fainted. I started losing my appetite for blood which had been growing ever since I first bit Lucas on the night of the first Evernight Autumn Ball I went to. I've bitten him twice since. I started feeling really sick, so Lucas took me to a doctor. She asked me a bunch of questions but eventually she couldn't figure out what was wrong with me." The words were flowing out of my mouth on their own accord now.

"She went to go get another doctor, but I took off. I ran to the waiting room and grabbed Lucas and we drove away in our stolen car. We didn't steal the car, a couple of vampire guys did. We took it from them. That night, Lucas told me to drink from him and complete the Change and that when we both rose as vampires, to kill him. I told him no. I didn't want a life without him. So I died and became this. Lucas called our friends Vic and Ranulf and Balthazar. They helped him bury me. That was when Balthazar learned that his sister was in town. Charity, Balthazar's sister, hates me. I tried to be her friend and help her out but she wanted me to join her Tribe and I refused. Lucas went with Balthazar to go see Charity. Vic and Ranulf stayed behind.

"They fought with Charity and her tribe of vampires and that was when Maxie finally showed me how to materialize for a bit using my coral bracelet. I did and Vic, Ranulf and I drove after Lucas and Balthazar to help them. When Charity saw me coming she bit Lucas and drank from him. Lucas was already very weak from fighting so all Charity, a vampire, had to do was drink from him and he would start to Change. I guess I should've guessed that would happen, I sort of set Lucas up for it," I let out a shaky laugh and took a deep breath.

"So, what all that means is that I want to be a vampire with Lucas. Maxie told me that you can do that, or she alluded to it. I'll do anything to have that destiny back!" my voice rose and my tears spilled over. Christopher put one hand on my shoulder. It was a comforting gesture, in a weird way. "My dear, Bianca. You have been through a lot, I can tell. I do have the power to give you what you want, but I am really only allowed to bestow that gift on those who are truly worthy. I am not angry with your request at all and I understand your situation. It shows real courage to ask a question like that. I will give you what you want," he paused and I smiled but he held up one finger in a way that made me figure there was a catch, "but there is a cost. I will give you one year to adjust, but within one month after that year is up, you must take a vampires life and give it to me," Christopher rifled through his coat pocket, pulling out a coral studded stake and a coral chain-link bracelet. I knew just whose life I'd give to Christopher, Charity More's. Balthazar wouldn't mind at all, especially after what he saw in Charity when she fought against him.

"In order for the life to be mine, the vampire must be stabbed with this coral studded stake and have this bracelet around their wrist. You will them call me with your mind and I will come for them or send someone. If you agree to this, I will now take you back to your friends and you may start your other destiny as you wished. The thirteen months start as soon as you wake up and are fully conscious. But Bianca, I am very sorry that you won't give this life a try. It isn't as bad as it looks once you get used to it," he said kindly. "Thank you so much, you are amazing. But I have to be with Lucas. I'd just like to say good-bye to Maxie first. Christopher smiled at me and I ran over to the girl standing a little ways away.

"He said yes! I just wanted to thank you." Maxie blushed at my statement. "No problem. Good luck with your Lucas and adjusting. I'll be in Vic's attic if you need anything." I hugged her and floated back over to Christopher who handed me the bracelet and stake. "If you are ready now, I'll escort you back to your friends. Maxie will be your personal guide once you start your new life. You will be able to see her and talk to her as you would a normal human." Christopher took my hand and we descended through the clouds down to Vic's wine cellar.

Everyone was crowded around Lucas who was laid on the couch. My feet touched the ground and I fell down instantly, solid and breathing on the floor. My eyes closed and I could feel my heart beat as fast as a hummingbird's wings. "What the—? Bianca?" Balthazar cried. He sounded so far away, so distant. "She is okay," Christopher's voice said. He must've materialized. "Keep these safe for Bianca. She'll need them. She is Changing into a vampire, like Lucas."

"Who are you?" Vic demanded sound tired and upset. My breathing went wheezy and started to slow. "I'm Christopher, a friend of Maxie and Bianca. I gave her a chance to be with Lucas as a vampire. Tell her I say good bye and good luck." With that, I could tell that Christopher was gone because Vic and Ranulf gasped. "I thought you said spirits did not exist?" Ranulf accused.

My ears felt like they were stuffed with cotton and I felt sleepy. I could feel Balthazar's strong arms lifting me up onto the couch across from Lucas. I could hear my heart stop beating and my breath stop coming out. Lucas, too, was silent. At peace, I fell into a deep sleep.

Kay so that was it! Hope you liked it! So . . . . . . . . REVIEW!

Xoxoxo TC95