Beta'd By: My dear friend and Bobbette, Erin *holds tightly*

Disclaimer: The usual. I don't own anything. Not even my sanity. Well, maybe Sabine, but that's not much, considering.

Note: Inspired by the prompt (given through an LJ community): The heart asks pleasure first, and then, excuse from pain." Emily Dickinson

Note 2: It's meant to be read as a one-shot so, even if it feels like there's more to it, there will be no fanfic-continuation (I hope), so don't ask for it, please?

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He can still taste her lips on his own, regardless of the long time that has passed, but it's more than just her lips. He can taste her blood, the flaming metal burning through his veins like bullets from heaven and hell. It's the perfect metaphor to how he felt when he first tasted her... when he made her his.

He remembers those nights, not just the night when he turned her, but the nights when she gave herself to him, body and soul. At least, he had assumed the inclusion of a soul.

Those memories of lust, and dare he say it, love, still taunt his mind even now.

Love has been nothing but a fading memory to him for so long... so many years... so many, in fact, that his heart had seen no interest in ever following a road that once left him with grief, disgrace and hate.

Until she opened that road for him, made him curious, made him wonder; perhaps he didn't have to spend immortality alone. Surely, all vampires must find a companion some time in their lives and he chose her.

He chose her.

He didn't regret his decision then; she was everything he'd ever want. She was smart, for a human in this generation, determined, strong and, of course, absolutely beautiful in a way most mortals would never realize.

It would've been perfection, she would've been his immortal bride, she would've been his chosen companion, but instead she chose to betray him, instead she turned his gift into a road of haunting.

And now he doesn't know what to regret, the pleasure she once gave him or the pain he's causing himself for keeping her near.

"Mr. Van Sciver?"

His secretary wakes him from his reverie as he looks up from his desk.


"Krista just killed the guards. She's asking for you, sir."

Marcus leans back and smiles in spite of himself. He expected no less from her. He stands up, ready to take handle of the situation. "Who's guarding her cell now?"

"No one, sir."

This makes him stop before he can leave his office.

"She's no longer in her cell... She's in her room, there are two guards by her door, but only because she let them."

He's both impressed and annoyed by this, as conflicting as both emotions may be, he knows when it comes to Krista a conflict of emotions is always the case.

"And how did she manage that?" He almost growls, but keeps his tone composed.

His secretary takes a step back, sensing the unspoken hostility in his voice.

"She was hungry... and she became armed soon after. You gave strict orders she was not to be killed so there was very little our men could do. She said she only wanted to speak to you."

He opens his mouth before shutting it close again. Speak with him? "She didn't try to leave?"

"No. She went to her room." She repeats, as if urging him to take handle of the matter already.

Marcus nods, buttoning his suit before heading in the direction he knows so well. There are two vampires stationed outside her door, their eyes angry and disapproving, but none will question or defy him... out loud. He motions for them to leave. He'll handle this on his own.

Krista Starr. He should've cursed the day she walked into his life, but instead, he blessed it and now? She is eternally his, he is her sire, yet... he can't have her anymore, won't have her, not after her betrayal. Can he?

He opens the door, unsurprised to see her standing by the window, gazing into the city lights and nothing else, even the room is covered in darkness.

"Hello, Marcus."

"Krista," he replies, closing the door and remaining unmoving, watching her closely.

"Nice of you to come," he can hear the sarcastic edge in her voice.

"I heard you were hungry." He retorts.

"Yeah, lucky for you, I got my hands on some quick meals before getting here. Don't worry. I doubt you'll miss them."

"What exactly is it you want, Krista?"

He sees her move finally, such a quick movement he would've missed it if he hadn't been paying attention.

She turns on the lamp near her side of the bed, inviting him to gaze at her.

He pretends to be unmoved by the sight. She's wearing a white long nightgown and by the specific locations of the blood stains he can tell she changed into it after she got to her room, not even bothering to clean her sealed cuts before doing so.

"You were right, feeding does accelerate the healing process, but it doesn't stop the bleeding before it heals." She admits, looking over her own body, the blood stains covering her hands, legs, neck and even her face.

He does feel anger and disgust that he'd let her torture go that far, that anyone but him had been touching her flesh, but he isn't going to let that show, not now.

He doesn't speak, so her words flow impatiently, "I've been tortured before, Marcus, part of the military training. Needless to say, it didn't work on me and cost you more men than you're willing to sacrifice so I want to offer you a deal."

"A deal?" His voice is raw with anger, the concern for her well being no longer relevant. "Do you truly believe you're in the position to offer me anything?"

"Yes, I am. You want to know where Blade is, how much he knows, how much I did for him and I want..." She chokes on the last words, something new for him.

"What? You want what?" He can feel the complexity of emotions now, anger, impatience and the tiniest shred of hope he had thought had died once he realized where her alliances truly lie.

"I want you to kill me."

He looks at her, his gaze penetrating. "And why would you want me to do that?"

"Because you can torture me all you want, I'll never tell you anything. So you have two choices, either kill me or kill yourself."

His smile is fake, he himself doesn't feel the smile, but he forces it anyway, "And you would kill me, if I let you live?"

"No," her voice is strong, yet pained. Where does this pain come from? "You'll kill yourself. I won't break, Marcus, you know I won't, so you'll spend countless nights starving me, torturing me, trying to break me, and it will kill you." Her voice is soft now, almost pleading, "It already is."

"Do you really believe you have such power over me? Your ego has grown much greater since I met you." He laughs, pretending her words aren't true, almost convincing himself that he doesn't care.

"Maybe. So, what will it be?" She asks, expecting an immediate answer.

He turns around, twisting the doorknob in his hand as he attempts to leave.

"You'll be moved to another cell with maximum security. You will tell me what I want to know and then, perhaps, we'll negotiate on my terms."

"You don't want to do this, Marcus. You don't want to hurt me, not when it hurts you, too."

Is she manipulating his emotions? Is he using his feelings for her to save herself? Oh, he should've known, it makes perfect sense. Two can play that game.

"I'm an immortal, Krista. I'll survive."

But before he can leave, before the door can truly close, he hears her say, "Immortal to death, maybe, but not immortal to pain."

That's when he realizes she's right... and that the door between them will never close. His love for her has not been destroyed, regardless of the pain that seems to have overtaken its meaning.