The crowded ballroom pulsed with life. Literally.
From his place near the grand staircase, he could sense, if not see, the pulses in the delicate white necks of the ladies around him as they spun around the room in the arms of their partners. The men who supported the ladies also pulsed with their own vibrant life source, although their lives seemed to have more vitality. Pity, men were usually better tasting than the women, even if they were harder to kill.
A strikingly handsome woman passed by him, her bright green eyes meeting his for a split second across the ballroom. She beamed at him, causing her partner, a good-looking man with a cheerful disposition and red hair, to look over as well. The red-haired man smiled and waved before leading the girl over.
"I do believe it's time you had your turn," the woman's partner told him teasingly, his hazel eyes glowing with satisfaction.
The woman's smile widened as he lead her back onto the dance floor, her hands already moving to his shoulders.
"Finally, I thought that you would hide in a corner forever," she teased.
He smiled and placed his hand on her waist as he held her close.
"I cannot even imagine such an occurrence," he whispered.
The woman shivered and rested her head on to his shoulder. That was a mistake on her part.
He glanced down at the exposed skin of her neck, his eyes zeroing in on the pulse that was jumping erratically from the vein there. Somewhere inside of his mouth, canines elongated and sharpened into lethal needles as he leaned over the woman, a primitive urge overruling the need for secrecy.
The woman moaned quietly as his teeth made contact with her skin and went limp in his arms. He tightened his hold on her, his muscles relaxing as the warm blood trickled down his throat. He pulled her closer, trying to drink as much as possible.
Someone screamed not too far away. He looked up to see a petite woman with blonde curls fall limply into the arms of the red-haired man from earlier. A wall-length mirror was placed beside the couple. He caught sight of his reflection in the mirror and stiffened.
His ice-blue eyes were wild with shock and thirst, his angular lips stained scarlet with blood. He looked down at the woman in his arms, a small part of him breaking as he saw her dead green eyes stare up at him accusingly.
Fitzwilliam Darcy screamed.
Darcy's eyes flew open as he sat bolt upright in his bed, his chest heaving with gasps.
His wife, Elizabeth, knelt beside him atop the covers, her auburn hair tousled slightly from sleep, her cat-like green eyes concerned.
"Fitzwilliam, calm down," she said soothingly. "You'll wake Edmund," she added with forced cheerfulness. "And we both know had disastrous that would be."
Darcy forced a smile onto his face as his breathing slowly returned to normal. Their son, Edmund, most certainly did not enjoy getting woken up before he was ready. Elizabeth often teased him that Edmund was his son since she was certain that she had never been such a horrible morning person. That particular brand of teasing had always made Darcy smile; he knew better.
"Are you alright?" Elizabeth asked, the concern in her eyes subsiding slightly when she saw that he was calmer.
Darcy nodded absently and held out one of his arms. Elizabeth smiled slightly and crawled back beneath the covers, her head resting on his shoulder.
"Nightmare?" she guessed.
Darcy nodded, trying very hard not to think of what the nightmare had been about. He shuddered as the image of Elizabeth's dead body in his arms came back to him and drew the real version closer to him.
"It was nothing," he said dismissively. "Some bad memories, that's all."
Elizabeth frowned, not convinced.
"Fitzwilliam, that was not nothing," she told him seriously. "You sounded like Jane when she has one of her visions."
"It wasn't a vision," Darcy snapped, his voice sharper than he had intended it to be. He closed his eyes and leaned back against the edge of the bed. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to snap at you."
"I don't mind," Elizabeth whispered, her thin hands reaching out to brush a strand of his hair away from his face. "I've heard worse from you, I think."
Darcy sighed and buried his face in her hair. He sighed as the scent of her permeated his nostrils, and then stiffened as another memory from his dream came back to him. He had liked Elizabeth's scent then, too.
Darcy pulled away slightly, his jaw tightening. He would not allow that to happen to Elizabeth.
Jane gasped, her eyes flying open as she woke from a troubled sleep. She felt Bingley stir beside her and relaxed slightly as his arm wound its way around her waist.
"Jane?" he murmured sleepily. "Are you alright?"
"I'm alright, Charles," she assured him gently. "I just… I think I just had a vision."
Bingley stiffened and lifted his head off of the pillows to look at his wife, his red hair falling haphazardly into his normally cheerful face.
"A vision?" he repeated warily. Jane hadn't had a vision since Wickham's death, five years before. The fact that she was having one now, right when they were starting to enjoy a normal life… it scared him a little.
"It wasn't much," Jane assured him quickly, eager to put her husband at ease. "I don't even remember a lot of it but… I still remember the tone of the vision."
"And?" Bingley prompted, bracing himself for the worst.
Jane sighed and leaned back into his arms, suddenly needing comfort.
"Something is coming," she told him grimly. "And it's not going to be good."
Disclaimer: obviously, I do not own any of these characters since all of the credit goes to the amazing Jane Austen. Also, just to make a few things clear, this is a sequel to my other story Hearts Like Glass (I would recommend reading it before you read too much of this), and it follows the lives of Elizabeth and Darcy, Bingley and Jane, and Mary and James Fitzwilliam after their marriage. And, as was stated by Jane, something particularly nasty is on the horizon.