DISCLAIMER: Immortals After Dark belongs to Kresley Cole.

A/N: HUZZAH for the randomness that is my brain! :D

~ Air ~

Furie gasped upon waking from her latest drowning, inadvertantly sucking in a deep lungful of-

Air? That can't be right. I must be hallucinating.

Furie blinked seawater out of her eyes, drew in another breath of air - yes, air, glorious air - and took stock of her surroundings. She seemed to have washed up on the shore of a small island. (Make that tiny - minuscule, really.)

Oddly enough, there a tent pitched just above the tide line. Furie hauled herself to her feet, her battered body groaning in protest as she did so. She hoped that whatever weirdo liked to camp at the edge of the ocean on a so-small-it-doesn't-even-qualify-as-an-island had dry clothes in that tent. Or at least a blanket or towel of some sort.

She was happy to find that the tent did contain dry clothing. To her surprise, she recognized some of it as her own.

Probably hopelessly out of style after… however many years I was down there.

She changed into it anyway, before going back down to the tide line to see if there was any sign of her mysterious rescuer. The other clothing left in the tent had been that of a male, and apparently he hadn't brought any of the Valkyrie with him, although she had found a note that began Furie's location is and ended xoxo, Nïx.

A few meters from where she'd washed ashore, Furie found an unfamiliar male floating unconscious in the shallows. A tiger shark pup nibbled his bloody palm before deciding that he wasn't something good to eat and darting away.

Before the Valkyrie queen had a chance to do more than look, however, his eyes shot open and he rolled to his hands and knees, vomiting seawater. The first breath of clean air into his lungs set off a violent coughing fit, and it was only after that had concluded that he seemed to notice his surroundings.

"Furie," he croaked out, eyes darting in every direction in a panic.

"Present and accounted for," she answered, unable to hold back a smirk as she kicked out at the water, splashing him. She wondered what species he was. He didn't have horns, which ruled out demon. And he obviously wasn't a natural water-dweller. Lykae, perhaps? "You forgot to bring me dry shoes." She was currently barefoot, since the boots that she had been wearing for the duration of her captivity were still wet - and likely in no condition to ever be worn again. "Also, your rescue plan seems to have had other flaws…"

"Yes, I wasn't planning on drowning," the male replied sheepishly. He gave a weak cough and rubbed one hand over his chest. He flinched at the contact and looked down at his shredded palm with an expression of confusion, then sat back on his haunches as he lifted the other hand out of the water to compare the two.

"A baby shark took a bite out of that one just before you revived," Furie informed him, indicating the more badly injured hand with a tilt of her head.

A look of mild surprise flickered over his features at the revelation.

Then his mind finally caught up with the reality of the situation and he looked up at her and asked, with an expression of concern, "Are you alright?"

"As much as I can be, considering I've been doing nothing but drowning repeatedly for the past…" Here she drew a blank because she honestly had no idea how much time had passed.

"Fifty years," he filled in for her.

"Fifty years," she repeated. That long? she wondered. That SHORT? her mind countered the previous thought. Time passed strangely when you spent every waking moment dying.

"Nïx sent me to rescue you," he told her, still making no move to get up from where he sat in the water. "She tried looking for you before, but never had any luck until now. She thinks she was finally able to see it because of the current Accession."

"I know," she snapped impatiently. "I saw the letter." He didn't seem inclined to volunteer the information that she was really interested in, though. "There were no provisions in the tent, aside from dry clothes and towels," she said.

"We're not staying long," he said, with a slight shake of his head. "The island is privately owned by humans who use it for illegal shark-fishing. They'll come out at dawn, when the sharks are most active. As soon as I feel good enough to trace, we're leaving."

Trace? A demon who shears his horns, then? But, wait. What was it that he had said earlier? "I didn't plan on drowning."

Oh, ye Gods. He's a vampire. And I'm his Bride. But that wasn't the worst part. And Nïx probably knew that, and she sent him after me anyway!

- fifty years later -

"… and that's how the King of the Forbearer Vampires rescued the Queen of the Valkyrie from the bottom of the ocean," Sabine concluded her story.

The assorted Lorean children all groaned when the accompanying illusions vanished.

Sabine grinned. "Don't forget, there's going to be a test next week!"

She might be the Queen of Illusions, and an actual queen of a kingdom besides, but she actually rather enjoyed teaching Lore history class to the little ones.


A/N: I don't know if you could tell by their brief appearance in the fic, but I love sharks.

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