This story is something that is the culmination of sleepless nights and interesting musings. The concept, characters, and storyline belong completely to me. So do the world a favor and don't steal others ideas, it just makes you an asshat and then you get to have me as a vicious stalker (I'm not afraid of restraining orders :P). It is a WIP (very VERY unbeta'd) and while a majority of the story is written the end is not.

So enough with the harshness! On to the story…


She was blindly running through the trees as fast as her injured legs would carry her. They would not take her again; she would run until her last breath if she had to. Running on the pure survival instinct she pushed herself to the limit, ignoring the screaming signs her body was giving her that she could go no further. Blood was trickling in red rivers down her arms and legs spotting the ground below. She would rather that her scent not be so easily tracked, but time was of the essence and she had little of that before they became aware of her escape. Her bare foot caught on a root sending her sprawling to the forest floor where she landed, the air from her heavy pants rustling the leaves beside her. In vain she willed her limbs to move, grunting and pushing herself into a sitting position. Her vision blurred. Swaying she lost her battle to remain upright as her face once again made contact with the ground.

Suddenly, her world was quiet. The roaring in her ears dulled and her mind beckoned her with the voice of a soothing mother, it would take care of everything, all she needed to do was rest. The weight that seemed to be crushing her chest became heavier, her shallow breaths coming slower. If this was how her kind ended then it was the direct opposite of how they came into this world. She no longer had worries or nightmares, everything was at peace, and all she had to do was close her eyes and let the darkness embrace her. Her lids slowly closed as she watched the world around her dim. Finally, it was over…

Making his rounds was normally just another tedious duty. It was rare that anything untoward occurred on these patrols, the most activity being when a wayward human made the mistake of crossing into their territory. That problem was easily solved, though the poor souls never again saw the light of day. That expression always amused him, considering the light of day was deadly to his kind they made a point of never to see it. Goes along with the saying of old habits he supposed because in the case of his world…everything died hard.

His musings were stopped short when he caught a distinct fragrance in the air. Crouching down he took in a deep breath taking in his surroundings. He detected the heavy smells of the forest dismissing the common one's and moving on to the next until he pinpointed it. It was light like spring rain and lavender mixed together, his night vision penetrated the area until he spotted the source of the scent. He touched his fingers to the dark splotches on the ground and smoothed the liquid between his fingers. Blood. Not animal blood or human blood, its slight shimmer in the moons glow a dead giveaway. Vampire blood.

Gracefully coming back to his feet he scanned the area. He could sense the heat coming from the spatter so whoever passed by here, it was not long ago. His tracking abilities in full swing he swiftly followed the trail; the person was obviously not concerned with keeping their destination hidden. The many broken branches and the trail stamped into the disturbed forest floor, never mind the droplets of blood surrounding it, were dead give-aways

His steps halted as he saw a small form curled within itself, the scent of their blood permeated the area. Cautiously he approached, all of his military training demanded that he draw his weapon for his own safety, but he was drawn to the figure. The vampire was female barely covered in small scraps of fabric that was dirty and ragged, she was covered in blood. Long jagged cuts covered her arms and legs, her long hair was also saturated and covered her face.

Without a moment's pause he fell to his knees beside her and scooped her up into his arms, she was unconscious and barely breathing. She was trembling and he could feel her body temperature was cooler than normal. Gently he moved her hair away from her face and hissed at the bruises that covered her cheekbones and lower lip that was cut and swollen. Whoever she was running from certainly gave her a reason. If he didn't do something soon she wasn't going to make it.

Using his teeth he pulled his sleeve up to expose his forearm and he felt his incisors extend to rest above his lower lip bringing his wrist to his mouth he bit down slicing his flesh and his own blood sprung from the wound and dripped to his elbow. She needed her blood supply replenished so her body could heal itself. He brought his wrist under her nose so she could smell him and he hoped her instincts would kick in enough to feed. Her brow furrowed and she opened her mouth but she made no movement towards him. She couldn't do it. A growl rumbled from his chest. He knew females could certainly hold their own against an attacker, but that didn't mean that he was comfortable seeing one beaten within an inch of her life.

"Come on little one I need you to drink for me."

Pushing his wrist against her lips he let the droplets of blood fall into her mouth. She still did not respond. Then he felt the soft caress of her tongue. He shuddered. The movement was so quick and soft it completely caught him off guard and the predator within him awoke with extreme interest to her touch. Her soft lips wrapped around his skin creating a seal and he felt her light pull suckling his blood into her mouth.

"Take what you need sweetheart I have plenty to spare."

Taking one last mouthful she swallowed, though she never opened her eyes her trembling had stopped and her breathing became even, he had to get them both away from here before anyone else caught her scent. Standing with barely any effort, he cradled her against him and began a dead run back to the compound.

He kicked open the door causing a loud bang to echo back and forth down the long hallway. A few curious heads peeked out of the doors to see what all the noise was about.

"Grey what are you doing? Who is that?"

He didn't even stop to acknowledge the speaker but bounded up the stairs to his living quarters.

"Grey! What the hell is going on?"

He shifted her in his hold so that he could unlock the door, she let out a small whimper he shushed her and apologized softly.

"Are you going to answer my question?"

Finally he looked up to see his second in command Riley leaning up against his doorframe arms crossed. If his eyebrows rose any higher they would be up in his hairline. He had known Riley since he had awoken and they were inseparable. That of course was the only reason he wasn't split in two for questioning him.

"Riley, I really don't have the time to explain right now. I need to get her taken care of. Later ok?"

Without a second glance he opened his door and strode into his rooms. Being in command of the guard wasn't the most glamorous job, but it certainly came with perks of one's own large master suite. Flicking on lights as he made his way to the bathroom, he didn't have to look to know Riley was still hot on his trail.

Still cradling her with his left arm he used his right to grab a stack of towels and turned on the water in the bath tub. He needed to get all the blood off her so he could assess the damage to her body.

Riley cleared his throat as he shuffled from one foot to the other.

Plugging the tub he used the running water to dampen a washcloth and began clean the blood from her face as lightly as he could. He didn't want to cause her anymore pain.

"Well who is she?"

Grey growled in annoyance. One reason he liked Riley was for his tenacity, it made him a trusted ally and he knew he could depend on him. Unfortunately it also meant that when he wanted to be he was a pain in the ass.

"I don't know Riley, I found her when I was out on patrol. She had nothing on her to give an ID and I wasn't exactly focused on something as trivial as name when she was clearly dying."

"How do we know she's not from an enemy coven? You could have just saved the life of their most elite guard; we'll just have to destroy her anyways so she can't get back to her superiors to report anything."

He rolled his eyes.

"Take a good look at her Riley does she look like an elite assassin? She's dressed in filthy rags that barely cover her body –"

Riley let out a low whistle. "I'll say."

Grey snarled drawing his lips back to expose his teeth. Riley raised his hands and stepped back towards the bathroom's doorway.

"Whoa! Hold your horses there buddy, I was just agreeing with what you pointed out."

He took a deep breath and reined in his temper. Riley did have a valid point; they didn't know who she was or what she was capable of. Looking her over her figure was so frail looking, she didn't appear to have a fighter's body and there were no markings on her skin to show any rank that some covens did. She was a classic Jane Doe.

"I need to undress her and clean her wounds so can you please leave. We'll talk later."

Riley cleared his throat again; Grey raised his eyebrow in question.

"Maybe Jessica should do that? You know since you aren't mated or anything, hell you don't even know her name maybe you shouldn't be seeing her naked."

Grey rolled his eyes.

"Jessica is a twit. A secretary has no experience cleaning wounds and would probably only do more damage than good. Stop being a pervert for two seconds and you'll see there is absolutely nothing sexual about this situation."

Unless of course Jessica made her appearance known. She had no problem demonstrating how much she enjoyed being his personal secretary. He never liked clingy females who were prone to dramatics. Jessica was not only a card carrying member of that club, she was the current President. Not even her good looks could make up for the void that lay between her ears; she honestly got on his last nerve.

Riley scoffed and turned on his heel to leave the suite.

"Whatever man, I'll talk to you later." He said over his shoulder.

Grey waited until he heard the door click shut before he moved. Now that he could see her in the light the abrasions and bruising to her skin was so much worse that he realized. The nearest city to the compound was over 15 miles away, how long had she been running for? And who had she been running from?

The tub was full of water now, he tested the temperature with his hand to make sure it wasn't too hot. Now came the task of taking off her clothes, or what was left of them anyways. Letting out a long slow breath he gave himself a lecture about being detached and keep his mind purely clinical.

He still had her cradled in his left arm, she was so light and her frame so tiny he could almost forget he was holding her. He decided it would be best to remove her bottoms first so he could sit her in the water and then take care of her shirt. Untying the drawstring on the threadbare shorts he crooked his finger inside the elastic band and pulled to slide them down when he felt a soft rumble against his chest.

Was she growling at him? Good girl.

Trying to be quick about the process as possible he yanked and sucked in his breath when he realized she wasn't wearing any underwear. So much for having time to prepare for any real nudity. Taking a cursory look the marks and bruising on her body continued all the way up her thighs, her knees were bloody and swollen. Ignoring his temper he moved to put her in the water. The minute he had her legs submerged the woman arched her back at an impossible angle and hissed before she started thrashing in feeble attempts to push him away from her.

He wrapped his arms around her to keep her from doing any more damage to herself. Her little body shook with her snarls and growls, a body's last ditch efforts to defend itself against an attacker.

"Hush, little one, hush. You're with me and you're safe. I'm just getting you cleaned up and put to bed. It's over now, calm yourself."

He shushed her as he whispered in her ear.

He stroked her hair, careful to avoid the tangles and knots. He felt her relax and her growls became just quiet whimpers. Transforming from an anger-crazed tiger to scared kitten in a matter of seconds. From now on he was going to warn her of his movements so she would not be caught unaware again.

"Alright I'm going to remove your shirt now so I can clean your cuts. No one is going to hurt you, you're safe."

The ragged tank top wasn't even worth washing, so he just gripped neckline and pulled until he ripped both sides and once again until it just fell away from her. She slumped forward her bare breasts against his forearm. He gritted his teeth ignoring his damnable testosterone until he saw her back and couldn't hold back his gasp.

"Oh sweet, what happened to you?"

Her flesh looked like cross-hatched hamburger. There was not a single patch of skin that wasn't covered in angry welts or slashes, if he didn't know any better it looked as if she had been flogged. He was amazed at her strength that she even had the energy to try and fight him when he first started to bathe her astounded him.

Taking a sponge he squeezed the excess water to let it run over her back. She hissed at the contact but made no other movements. Repeating the gesture a few more times he carefully dabbed it against her skin slowly cleaning away the dried blood and dirt. He did the same to her arms and shoulders, her neck was bruised and he could see the faint bite marks near her jugular.

So not only had they beaten her to a pulp, they had fed from her to? Fucking bastards. They better hope he never found out who they were or they wouldn't even be lucky enough to see the light of day. That would be too quick for them.

Her chest was remarkably the only part of her body not injured. Thank goodness he could avoid that area, he made quick work of her abdomen and legs. The water was a dark crimson now and he pulled the plug to let it drain out, turning the faucet on again he picked her up to turn her head towards the running water.

"I'm going to wash your hair. I promise not to put your face under the water. It's ok you're safe."

Cradling her head in the crook of his arms he began cleaning her hair carefully running his fingers through it to get rid of the leaves and tangles. Reaching over he grabbed the shampoo on the ledge and squeezed some of the gel into her hair and worked it into her scalp massaging carefully in case she had any cuts he couldn't have seen.

Leaning her farther under the water he washed out the soap being careful to make sure he got it all out. Her hair was just past her shoulders, thank goodness it wasn't too long or he may have had to cut it to keep it out of the way of her back.

"Okay, let's get you dried off."

He lifted her back into his lap as he wrapped a towel around her torso being as gentle as possible. Grabbing another he dried her arms and legs, minding the cuts and then wrapped it in her hair. Cradling her in his arms again he walked out of the bathroom and into his bedroom, pulling the covers back he decided the best way to have her lay was on her stomach. There was less damage there and he needed to tend to her back to keep her safe from bacteria, infection would just take her that much longer to heal herself.

He peeled the towel off her torso and covered her bottom, in case Riley or Jessica decided to make an unannounced appearance. He needed to get some blood in her system to jumpstart the healing process, but he didn't want to leave her. Sighing he grabbed the phone next to his bed.

"Yes Grey? How can I help you?"

He rolled his eyes and ignored her attempt to use a seductive tone.

"Jessica I need a few pints of blood from storage brought directly to my room please. The fresher the better."

"Is there something wrong Grey? Something I can take care of for you?"

He tried to keep the annoyance out of his voice, but he wasn't sure he succeeded.

"Nothing is wrong with me. Can you please just bring me the pints as soon as you can? Thank you Jessica."

He hung up without waiting for her reply. He leaned over the bed and removed his boots so that he wouldn't make much noise, he walked back into the bathroom towards the medicine cabinet. There was a salve there that he kept that would take some of the sting out of her cuts so she could rest in peace. As he turned in the doorway to cut the light, he heard a feminine gasp.

"Oh my god Grey what happened to her?"

Jessica, who knew she was not allowed anywhere but his study was standing over the female with her hand covering her mouth as if she was going to be sick. Not that vampires could be sick, but the sentiment was the same. He let out a small growl of annoyance as he went to stand between her and the bed.

"That's none of your concern Jessica."

Her eyebrows shot up and she crossed her arms over her chest, huffing at his dismissal.

"Of course it's my concern. Everything about you is my concern Grey you know that. Now what's going on? Who is she?"

Her possessive meaning behind her statement was not lost on him. How many times would he have to tell this woman he was not interested her becoming his mate? He even tried to get her placed with another commander but they all thought it was humorous to watch the way she fawned over him. It was getting ridiculous.

"I found her on patrol and I'm taking care of her. Did you bring what I asked for?"

She rolled her eyes and presented him the cooler. He turned towards the bed dismissing her with his body.

He twisted the cap off of the medication rubbing it on his fingertips he began covering her cuts. She flinched and let out a low moan. Bending down he moved her hair behind her ear.

"I know it hurts sweetheart, I know. I'll finish as quick as I can. Just relax."

He heard a snort and clenched his teeth to keep from lashing out.

"Jessica, why are you still here?"

"You never asked me to leave. Are you sure you don't know who she is Grey. You seem awful…close."

Standing from the bed he whirled so he was face to face with his soon to be decapitated secretary. The brainless woman didn't even have the ability to look nervous, still had her arms crossed and was actually tapping her foot. As if he was the one creating a disturbance.

Leaning in so there was only a few inches between their faces and he growled. Her eyes widened and she swallowed.

"Are you questioning your superiors Jessica?" Her name came out as a hiss.

"Nnnnoo, no Sir. I was just –"

"Just what?"

"Nothing Sir. I apologize for disturbing you."

"Since you didn't seem to understand the first time. You. Are, Dismissed."

She didn't bother responding, just quickly backed out of the room. Finally she was putting her brain to some use.

The sun was approaching soon, his internal clock warning him that he would need to rest soon. First he had to make sure that this female fed so that she would heal faster in while she slept. He pulled out two small bags that Jessica had brought in and sat next to her still form. His incisors lengthened so that he could pierce the first bag with two small holes to make drinking for her easier. He looked over her battered body while trying to decide the best way to feed her without causing her more pain. Her smaller cuts were starting to heal already, leaving little pink impressions in her skin that would be gone by the next sunset. Thank heavens for small favors, it would be harder for her to mentally heal if she had to look at the evidence of her torture every day.

Very gently he rolled her over on her back and positioned himself on the pillows so he could cradle her head in his lap and make sure she drank every last drop. He swept the hair that was in her face behind her ear. She must have not had as much blood in her hair as he thought for instead of being blonde, her hair had a light auburn tint to it. He rubbed her gold and copper tresses between his fingers deciding that he was going to make it his mission to figure out this pretty little puzzle.

"Alright honey I need you to drink more for me before I can let you rest for awhile. This will help I promise." He cupped her cheek and rubbing small circles on her skin.

He brought the bag to her lips letting the small droplets of crimson settle on her tongue to allow her instincts to kick in. Her small delicate fangs came out to rest against her bottom lip as her throat constricted so that she could swallow.

"Take as much as you need."

Deciding she could handle a little more he gave the bag a squeeze to get a decent mouthful that she could swallow. She didn't move from the neck down, but lay like a baby bird with her mouth slightly open to receive the nourishment. He was proud of her, she had soon downed one bag in no time at all, he had been worried that in her shocked state he would have to of force fed her. Grabbing the other bag he took a few draughts for himself to replenish what she had taken earlier before letting her drink the rest.

Putting both bags into the trash next to his desk in his study he looked down to realize he was still in his uniform that was now covered with dirt and blood. He hadn't even bothered to take off his jacket, no wonder Reilly looked at him like he was a lunatic. If she had woken up to see him like this she probably would have had a panicked.

Quickly and quietly he gathered his boots and left them to sit next to the trash bin, he would clean those later. It was a very human habit to have, he knew, but he was meticulous with his boots and wanted no one to touch them but him. His black leather duster was no worse for wear but his top coat was going to need be cleaned. He left that on top of his desk, Jessica would take care of that in the early evening. He walked through his study barefoot wearing his simple black undershirt and B.D.U's. A shower would not be so bad either, it would give him time to collect his thoughts and decide his next plan of action.

Taking care to lock his bedroom door so they would not be interrupted he padded through the room to his walk-in closet to grab a towel and his pajamas. Normally he slept with just a simple pair of stretch cotton lounge pants, he didn't dare sleep naked as much as Jessica accidently came in while he was resting.

A sudden thought occurred to him. He would have to sleep next to her so he could reach her quickly in case anything happened during the day. Should he wear a shirt in case she woke up? He didn't want her to be frightened by a half naked man in bed with her. But then again, he was probably the last thing she was going to be concerned about once she realized she lived through whatever ordeal brought her to him in the first place.

Turning the light on in the bathroom he was suddenly surrounded by her scent. The washcloths that he had used were still sitting in the bottom of the tub and pinkish water was scattered around the basin. Taking another towel he wiped up the mess and threw all of the material away, tying the bag tightly to keep her scent down to a minimum. He didn't need to broadcast to the entire compound that there was a new Vampire here and she was locked away in his room. It was bad enough he didn't have enough information to defend his actions, any additional gossip wouldn't help matters.

The bathroom was once again pristine, showing no signs of being the makeshift sickroom that it was before. He turned the hot and cold water to where it would be the right temperature, stripped, and stepped in. He hung his head directly in the spray allowing the soothing warm water to run down his shoulders and back, washing away some of the tension that resided there as he thought over the events that brought him to where he was right now. What was supposed to be a routine patrol, on a routine route, suddenly became anything but routine when he caught her scent. Their compound was very well isolated from human and Vampire alike, he himself was only 2 miles away when he found her. So where had she come from? Was she dumped there or was she what Reilly suggested – a decoy or a spy. He shook his head roughly at that idea causing water droplets to fly in all directions from his wet hair. She was injured too badly to be a willing spy just to gather information about his coven, which in reality hadn't received any direct threats in the past 20 years. Sure there were scuffles once and awhile but that was between individuals, usually young vampires with something to prove. Unlike some covens in the North they were not involved in any feuds.

Letting out a loud sigh he realized none of his questions would be answered until she was healed. He would have to be patient and keep her safe and comfortable until then. He was confused by sudden protectiveness of her; it was probably because of her injuries and her being such a little female that it urged his dominant instincts into overdrive. He should have just taken her to the infirmary and checked on her later, but it didn't seem right to abandon her to the care of complete strangers. But wasn't that what he was? No, not anymore. She had taken blood from him and once blood was shared it tied them together. The only person he had shared blood with was Reilly and that was 100 years ago to save the man that was like his brother when they were in battle. So in his entire 200 year old life he only shared blood with two people but he had never taken from anyone besides his maker. There was never a reason, and he certainly was not one to allow a female to drink from him during sex. He didn't care if it made the experience more intense, all the lovers he had he could count on one hand and he didn't want any of them tied to him in anyway shape or form.

But that woman in your bed now is. She'll now be able to sense your moods and maybe even read your thoughts.

Damn.

He ignored the little nagging voice in the back of his mind as he cut the water and toweled off. The metal shutters had already been released to prevent any UV rays from getting in while everyone was sleeping. His steps became heavy as he stumbled to the bed, his exhaustion hitting him like a wrecking ball. He fell onto the bed and was instantly asleep.

Something was pounding in the distance. He no longer had a heart beat and couldn't get headaches so it wasn't from that. He let out a low rumbling growl, what the hell had woke him up? It was early evening just after sunset and he was still exhausted. The pounding continued. Whatever it was he was going to get up and kill it before it even had the chance to apologize.

He stretched his arms until he felt something warm and soft. He sat up with a jolt to see who was in his bed when his eyes caught the gold and copper waves covering his pillow. The events of last night came back to him like a movie on fast forward, the clips and images blurring together until it finally rested on the woman sleeping peacefully beside him.

She was still lying on her stomach; the sheet was wrapped around her lower back and thankfully had not fallen any lower. Her arms were wrapped around the pillow hugging it to her face and chest. All her wounds were closed and the more serious damage had become raised welts. The bruising she sustained was more prominent on the surface of her pale skin, the dark purple and black now would fade within hours. Her breath was soft and deep blowing out the strands that had fallen on her face with her movements. He leaned over to move the hair from her face, glad to see her cut lip had healed over but she still had bruising underneath her eye and around her neck.

He was about to lay back down when he heard the pounding again. Someone was knocking on his bedroom door.

"Come on Grey! I know you're in there!"

He groaned. Of course Reilly would badger him the moment the sun went down. He got up before his idiotic noise woke her up, she needed to sleep as much as she could. Unlocking the door he opened it just enough to poke his head through.

"Boy, you better have a good reason to be knocking on my door so early. I don't see any limbs that have been cut off, you want me to fix that for you?" He growled.

Reilly rolled his eyes at the almost empty threat.

"Oh come on man, I just wanted to see if your pet woke up yet?" He tried to peek around through the doorway.

Grey blocked his wondering eyes by standing to his full height.

"She's not my pet." He hissed.

"And if I answered this door any later she might have woken up. She needs to rest Reilly, you didn't see the worst of her injuries and I swear to all that's holy if you wake her up I'll cut your balls off."

"Gah, someone woke up on the wrong side of the coffin this morning."

Grey leaned his forehead on the doorjamb and gritted his teeth to keep from slapping his mentally disabled best friend. Only he thought human Vampire jokes were funny. Sometimes he wondered if he was changed before his brain could catch up with his body. Reilly was turned when he was 24 and was only five decades younger than Grey.

"Reilly are you sure your maker didn't drop you on your head when you were changed? I'm gonna start making you were a helmet around the compound."

"You wouldn't."

"Try me, I am after all your superior officer."

Reilly's eyes widened in disbelief, Grey couldn't stop himself from laughing at the horrified look on his face. He turned leaving the door open in invitation for Reilly to follow.

"Speak softly, she really needs her sleep."

He quietly walked over the bed and gently eased himself back on the mattress next to her. Since the wounds on her back were all closed he could cover her entirely in the sheet, he didn't want her exposed to any prying eyes.

Never mind your own.

Oh shut up.

He slowly lifted the navy silk sheet and brought it to her shoulders where he tenderly tucked her in. Her hair seemed to shimmer against the fabric, making it a look like living silky-smooth metal. Her eyebrows were the same color only her long eyelashes were dark ebony. He fought the urge to rub the tresses between his fingers.

"I gotta ask Grey. Why?"

He didn't look up as he watched her sleep. Honestly, he didn't know the answer to that question. He didn't know why he shared his blood with her, why he fixed her up himself, or why he insisted she stay in his bed. And what he really didn't know was why seeing her so relaxed allowed him to just be for once. He knew Reilly could perceive his confusion so he didn't really need to answer out loud; thank goodness it was only his emotions and not his thoughts.

"Well the general heard about your new arrival and would like a report as soon as she wakes."

Grey whipped his head up to meet Reilly's gaze. He hissed.

"And who notified the general about her?"

Reilly raised his hands in defense.

"Not me man, you know I wouldn't do that to you. The only other person who knew she was even here was –"

"Jessica."

He didn't need to see Reilly's silent nod to confirm that it was the meddling twit behind this. Now that the general knew, his questions would no longer be confidential; he would have to report everything about her. It felt like an invasion of their privacy and it put a time constraint on the time he had her to himself. What if the council decided she had to be destroyed? Would he be able to stand by and watch? There was nothing he could do now except wait patiently until she woke up.

"Please tell the general that when she wakes up I will notify the council immediately and that I ask not be disturbed until that moment."

"Sure."

Reilly noiselessly left the room; the only sound of his retreat was the click of the door as he shut it behind him. Still tired, Grey lay down next to her and was once again fast asleep.

It wasn't long before he was awoken by another sound, the soft mewl was so quiet he almost disregarded it, it sounded like a kittens sigh. He slowly opened his eyes and froze when he was met by the large striking midnight blue irises gazing back at him. Their faces were only inches apart, noses almost touching. He had never seen eyes that color before, so dark to the point they were almost black with small veins of sky blue. Alluring was the only word he could conjure up at the moment.

She had not moved from her sleeping position just stared unblinkingly in his direction. How long had she been awake? Then he realized his right arm was draped around her waist and his hand curved around her hip. Oops.

He cleared his throat as he hastily removed his arm. She just stared at him with a look that reminded him of a deer in the headlights. Not a good start.

"Sorry. How are you feeling?"

She slowly blinked, drawing his attention to her long lashes and how they beautifully framed her exquisite eyes. It didn't look like she was going to answer him anytime soon.

"My name is Grey. I found you in the woods and brought you to my home to tend your wounds. Please don't be frightened. I promise you're safe."

You're safe.

Her eyes were blank and flat until the moment he uttered those words and he watched in surprise as they came to sparkling life in front of him. He must have repeated that phrase to her a hundred times while caring for her and it seemed make her remember. Her furtive gaze darted around his bedroom.

"Safe?"

Her quiet voice was hushed and rasping and judging by the bruising on her throat she would sound that way for awhile. He gave her a small smile.

"Yes little one you're safe with me. But your wounds are still healing and you need to rest I'll wake you up in a little while so you can feed."

She nodded and her eyelids fluttered in her attempts to stay awake. He brought the comforter from the foot of the bed and covered them both and he chuckled when she snuggled deeper into the blankets. He laid back down on his side and when he closed his eyes he felt the bed shift. Opening them once again he saw her scooting closer to him, he didn't dare move. Slowly she leaned up on her elbows and tilted her head towards his neck, which he instinctually turned his head to the side to give her more access. It was a sign of absolute trust.

Her nose skimmed his suddenly overheated skin as she took a deep breath, taking in his scent. She sighed quietly, the warm puff of air causing him to shiver. He swallowed and cleared his throat hoping his voice would not betray him,

"What's your name?"

Her gaze became guarded and she retreated back to where she lay. Hoping he wasn't pushing his luck he moved closer, making sure he wasn't touching her.

"You don't have to tell me anything else for the moment, but it would be nice to know what to call you. And I'm sure you don't want everyone around here calling you 'sweet' or 'little one'."

The light was back and he let out a breath he didn't realize he was holding. As her eyelids shut he gently pushed her hair back from her face and she sighed as his fingers stroked her scalp.

"Please tell me your name?"

Her brow furrowed and she yawned. Just when he was convinced she was not going to answer him and go back to sleep she whispered softly.

"Thea."


And that's our first chapter folks! Questions, comments, concerns...lay it on me. (Figuratively speaking of course.)