Y'all know the drill, pretend there's a disclaimer here.

It's been a while since the last update with this one, but I hit something of a block, and my school schedule got out of control for a little while. Fortunately, the semester's pretty much over, so I'll hopefully have more time and less stress (which should lead to more updates).

As always, enjoy! (and feedback is always greatly appreciated!)

Chapter 13

"What's wrong with him?" Harrison asked. He was unable to tear his eyes away from the trembling form of his father, who was now being attended to by a house elf. "He's not dying, is he?" he asked as the man vomited blood again and collapsed into the stubby arms of the terrified house elf.

The Dark Lord smirked slightly. "Far from it, actually," he said, letting go of Harrison once he was sure that the boy wasn't going to approach his father, though he kept a close eye on him. "Antonin has always been much stronger than he looks. Follow me," he said, looking down at Harrison. "There's no need for you to watch this. He is merely purging all of the harmful substances out of his body."

"So it looks worse than it is?" Harrison asked, not moving from his spot.

"Much worse, I assure you." The older man was silent for a moment. "We'll discuss this further in my study." He watched Harry for another moment before making a slight motion for the boy to follow him.

Harrison cast one more look at his father, whose head was being cradled by the house elf, before hurrying to follow the Dark Lord through the halls.

Once they were both seated rather comfortably in the man's study - Harrison in one of the stiff armchairs in front of the man's desk and the Dark Lord in the chair behind his desk - the two of them watched each other for a moment before either of them said anything.

"Is he really going to be alright?"

"He should be, yes. I've had my best Healer look at him, and she believes he's going to fully recover within a week," he said. "He has made remarkable recoveries since he was first returned to my custody," he added.

Harrison frowned. "How's that?" he asked.

"Antonin no longer has a fever, and he's stopped bleeding out of his eyes and a few other, less pleasant, orifices. He's not having any more seizures, either," the Dark Lord said. "His body is purging out whatever toxins he's ingested, but it will take time before he regains the health that he had before he went missing," he said.

"You're going to make sure that he's healthy, though, right?"

The older man nodded. "He has served me well, Harrison, and I have no intention of neglecting a man who has been devoted to me since before he went through puberty," he said. "You have my word that I will do everything I can to repair your father."

Harrison nodded, not saying anything. He wasn't sure how to feel at the moment - the comment about his father going through puberty had been somewhat disturbing, and it had momentarily distracted him. Finally, after a few minutes of silence and looking around the study, he looked back over at the Dark Lord. "Do you know what happened to him?" he asked.

Another, shorter silence settled between them before the Dark Lord said anything. "A few werewolves found him half dead in their territory. Had they not recognized my mark on his arm, they would have killed him on the spot for potentially endangering their pups. Instead, they took him to their Alpha and the Alpha then saw fit to send Antonin back to me," the Dark Lord said once he was sure that Harrison was calm enough to actually absorb what he was being told. It wasn't an easy thing to talk about, after all, and the boy was still just that - an eleven year old boy. "Your father is quite fortunate that he has been in my service as long as he has," he added, sounding almost as though he hadn't meant to admit as much aloud.

"How come?" Harrison asked hesitantly. He kept looking over his shoulder with an almost hopeful expression on his face, looking toward the door as though he were expecting his father to walk into the room, completely healthy.

"He accompanied me when I first established a treaty with Greyback's pack," he said. "And one of the wolves who found him remembered him. She went to her Alpha and he brought your father back here," he said.

Harrison frowned slightly, not saying anything for a moment. After a few minutes, he cleared his throat quietly and looked up at the Dark Lord. "What happened to him?"

"I don't know the details yet, but it appears the creature that killed Kostova wanted something from your father, and he did not give it to them," he said. "This was their punishment for his disobedience."

"Was it a vampire that went after him?" Harrison asked.

The Dark Lord nodded. "I believe so, though I haven't been able to confirm that yet," he said quietly. "Until I know why your father was attacked, I am keeping you both in my Manor."

Harrison hesitated. "Bellatrix is still at home, and Lady Malfoy said she was going to come by today to check on us," he said.

"And no doubt as soon as you set foot back in your Manor, the Zabinis will be on you as well, and I do not want you to make yourself that vulnerable to them," he said. "Part of your bloodline that has them so keen on your blood is the complacency that has been bred into you. The Zabini boy may not be as intelligent as his mother on this issue, but the fact remains that Serena knows how to manipulate people, especially when they are desperate, and she will use that to her advantage."

"But she's been looking for whoever hurt my father since she found out he was missing," Harrison said. "She's been helping me, sir," he added.

The Dark Lord frowned slightly. "She has been after his blood since he was still a student in Hogwarts, Harrison. Serena Zabini may have offered her assistance to you, but the two of you have vastly different goals in mind when it came to finding your father and exacting some kind of punishment on his assailants," he said.

Harrison sighed quietly and fell silent, looking down at his dress robes, which he was still wearing from the evening before. "I'm not going to be allowed to go back to Hogwarts, am I?" he asked.

"Not until I'm sure that you're safe," the Dark Lord said. "And I have every intention of making sure that you stay current with your studies," he added when Harrison looked up at him, an almost confused look on his face. "Does something displease you?" he asked.

"Could I go back home to change clothes, and maybe get some things for Papa?" Harrison asked hesitantly.

"I cannot allow you to be alone with him for another few days," the Dark Lord said. "Once he has stopped vomiting blood, I will consider allowing the two of you a conversation, but I will not risk you becoming contaminated with whatever's been done to him."

Harrison nodded. "I understand, sir," he said. "I just want to get him some things so that he won't be scared when he gets better. He doesn't like waking up in strange places without having any memory of how he got there in the first place," he said.

The Dark Lord watched him for a long moment before he leaned forward. "I will take you to your Manor, where you will gather your things quickly. We will return here within half an hour, and I expect complete obedience from you," he said, his tone leaving no room for argument. "If you disobey me at all, or if you take too long, I will bring you back here and I will keep you locked alone in a room until I feel that you've learned the importance of following my orders. Do you understand?" he asked.

Harrison nodded, having silently gone pale at the look on the Dark Lord's face. "Yes, sir," he said quietly.

Without saying anything else, the man stood up, motioning for Harrison to follow him. As they left the office, heading down the hall and into a sitting room, the Dark Lord started speaking. "You will stay within arm's reach of me for the entire time that we are in your Manor, and you are not to make any unnecessary noises," he said, looking down at Harrison as the younger man jogged slightly to catch up with his larger strides.

"Is something going to be hunting us, then?" Harrison asked with a confused frown.

The Dark Lord smirked. "No, not the both of us," he said, and Harrison paled slightly. "As I told you before, Serena Zabini knows how to manipulate people, and she's been after your father longer than you have been alive. She will not hesitate to use you in an attempt to get exclusive access to your father," he said.

"But you won't let that happen, right?"

"Of course not," the man said, looking almost offended. "Your father belongs to me and I have never been particularly good at sharing, especially with the likes of Serena Zabini and her kind."

Harrison bit back a smirk, knowing instinctively that it would not be a good idea to insinuate that the Dark Lord was somehow jealous of Serena. Instead, he hurried to follow the man into the sitting room and watched as he spoke quietly with a house elf.

"Do not allow anyone or anything into my Manor until my return, and if the wards are broken, keep Antonin isolated and safe," he said in a tone that brooked no argument.

The house elf nodded before silently disappearing.

Harrison took a few steps into the sitting room, feeling suddenly uncomfortable when the man's red eyes were pinning him in place. He fell abruptly silent but found himself unable to look away from the gaze as he scoured his mind for what he could have possibly done wrong - otherwise why else would the Dark Lord be staring at him with that detachedly amused look on his face? After a few minutes, he couldn't think of anything he'd done that was offensive to the man, though with the mask of mild boredom that he wore almost all the time, it was truly difficult to tell. Drawing from the stores of his courage, Harrison straightened himself a bit. "Have I done something wrong, sir?" he asked, hoping the tremor in his voice hadn't been as obvious as he feared it was.

That reaction only seemed to amuse the Dark Lord further. "You have done absolutely nothing wrong, Harrison," he said. There were hints of a slight smirk on the man's face as he took a few steps toward Harrison. "In fact, your behavior has taken me a bit by surprise."

"How do you mean, sir?" Harrison asked. He clenched his fists tightly, reminding himself that he could not run away from the Dark Lord without appearing a coward.

"Despite your fear, which smells rather exquisite, you have acted with a maturity far beyond your eleven years. There are grown men in my ranks who are not able to remain so composed and in control of their magic when they are faced with similarly stressful situations. Yours, though, is uniquely dangerous," he said, still approaching Harrison. "And yet you stand before me almost completely composed, ignoring your fear and behaving like you've almost expected something similar to have happened."

Harrison shrugged. "I haven't really expected anything, sir. But after learning about the history behind my blood and why I would be hunted, I applied that knowledge to the fact that my father has been dealing with the same information and the same threats since he found out," he said. "I know he's going to be alright, so I'm less worried now. But the knowledge that I possess had me wondering about all the possibilities surrounding my death." He took a deep, not entirely calming breath before continuing. "And that my reaction to a worst case scenario differs so much from your soldiers speaks more to their incompetence than any fault of my own," he added, evenly meeting the man's gaze as the man stopped just arm's length away from him. "Sir."

There was a brief, almost tense silence between them before the Dark Lord smirked. "I daresay you've earned a bit of my respect, Harrison. Not even my most devoted have been able to speak to me in such a manner," he said. "And I assure you, I was not pointing out any sort of flaw in your person," he said in a quieter voice before he took hold of Harrison's chin. His eyes flashed completely black at the moment of contact, and Harrison did his best to bite back a surprised gasp at the sight, though he made no attempt to escape the older man's hold. The Dark Lord seemed to know what had happened to cause such a reaction, as his smirk only took on a more satisfied look. "Come," he said, dropping Harrison's hand and holding his hand out to the boy. "I do not have much time to spare on errands such as this."

Harrison flushed slightly but took the man's hand. The Dark Lord immediately tightened his hold on Harrison's hand to an almost painful degree and the two of them disappeared.

They reappeared seconds later in the center of Antonin's office.

Nothing seemed to have changed since Harrison left earlier that day, which he took to be a good thing as he looked around. One thing that did take him by surprise was the sight of Narcissa Malfoy sitting on the couch that he'd only relatively recently vacated.

Harrison smiled at Narcissa as he reclaimed his hand from the Dark Lord. He didn't take more than a half step away from the man, though, remembering the older man's threat to lock him alone in a room should he disappear. "Hello Lady Malfoy," he said quietly.

She nodded in response but seemed to be at a loss for words at the moment. Her blue eyes dated almost suspiciously between Harrison and the Dark Lord before she visibly gathered herself and stood. "My Lord, it is a pleasure to see you here," she said with a curtsy. "I had not expected you to be accompanying Harrison."

"I find myself in possession of something that belongs to him," the man said. He glanced down at Harrison, who was watching him with an almost expectant look on his face.

"Can I talk to her in private, sir?" Harrison asked. "I won't leave the room, I promise."

The Dark Lord watched him for a moment before pointing to the chair behind Antonin's desk. "Sit," he said. "I will give you five minutes alone while I check for any threats," he said. He waited until Harrison sat down and made himself comfortable in the chair before he left the room.

As soon as the door closed behind him, Narcissa walked up to Harrison and started checking to see if he was injured. "Are you alright?" he asked.

Harrison nodded. "I'm fine, I promise," he said. "He's going to protect me, I think," he said.

"Protect you how?"

"He's going to make sure that some of the people who are after father and me aren't able to catch us," he said with a slight smile. "And I'm going to stay in his Manor with him for now."

"Do you know how long?"

Harrison shook his head. "He found Papa, but he's really sick right now, so we're staying until Papa is all better and until the Dark Lord thinks it safe for us to come back here to stay," he said. He fell silent for a long moment, looking down at his hands. "I think he's going to keep us safe from the monsters who have been hunting us," he said, his voice barely audible. "If he really means it, that he's going to keep us safe, do you think he's going to keep us safe without asking for our blood as payment?" he asked, looking up at Narcissa with a look of hope on his face that made him seem much younger than his eleven years.

Narcissa was silent for a moment, taken completely by surprise at the question. Finally, after she'd regained a bit of her composure, she cupped Harrison's face between her hands. "Harrison, darling, why would you expect to bleed as payment for your protection?" she asked.

"We have valuable blood, me and Papa," Harrison said dully. "I suppose it would be the only thing I can offer to repay him for giving us shelter," he said.

"You owe me nothing, child," the Dark Lord said as he walked back into Antonin's office. "You will be safe for now." He glanced over at Narcissa. "Your sister is awake and has recovered enough to be taken back to your Manor. Keep her there, under lock and key, until I inform you otherwise," he said, wiping a red mark that looked suspiciously like the shade of lipstick Bellatrix had worn the night before off of his neck. "And make sure that she is not allowed anywhere near the rest of Lucius' liquor stores."

For a moment, it seemed like Narcissa was going to laugh, but she just nodded and stood up. "If you need anything, Harrison, owl me directly," she said, sending an odd look in Harrison's direction. At his nod, she headed over to the fireplace. "I'll inform Lucius of the change, My Lord, and then I'll return for Bellatrix," she said before she Floo-ed back to Malfoy Manor.

Harrison looked up at the Dark Lord. "You didn't hurt her, did you?"

"No more than she deserved," he said. He seemed almost amused at the question. "I don't think we'll be interrupted, but Serena has the tendency to step out of the shadows. Come along," he said.

Harrison didn't say anything, choosing instead to silently follow the older man out of the office and through the halls.

It didn't take him long to pack his father's things, as Antonin had always stuck more with the simple things. A week's worth of clothing: black trousers, long-sleeved button downs - all of them in darker colors - and his favorite pair of dragonhide boots. Then came his father's journal, a set of formal robes, and the two only two pictures from Antonin's nightstand.

Harrison was particularly careful with the pictures, and he ignored the peculiar look the Dark Lord sent him as he cast a few extra protection charms to make sure that the pictures wouldn't be damaged on the strip, no matter how short it may be.

He packed a similar wardrobe for himself, though he included his schoolbooks as well.

All in all, it didn't take more than half an hour before everything was packed into two large duffle bags and resized to fit into the pocket of Harrison's trousers.

"Is there anything else?"

Harrison shook his head. "No, sir," he said.

"Excellent. I've got work that requires my attention back at my Manor," the Dark Lord said. He held out his hand for Harrison to take.

Harrison smiled apologetically at the older man as he took hold of his hand. "Papa set up the strongest wards he could to prevent Apparation anywhere else but his study," he said. "I don't know what'll happen if the wards are broken, but he always told me that it wouldn't be pleasant."

For a moment, it looked like the Dark Lord was doing his best to hold back a sigh. "Very well," he said after a moment. "Stay close."

They had almost made it back into Antonin's study when something reached out from the shadows and grabbed a chunk of Harrison's hair, jerking him back.

He yelped, his hands going to the back of his head. That was a bad move, as his captor took the chance to snatch his wands and bind them together with a murmured spell. Harrison's eyes widened and he tried to pull his hands free, but he found that he couldn't move them away from the back of his neck.

The Dark Lord stopped, his eyes going entirely black as he scoured the shadows. When he saw the creature that was holding Harrison, he bared frighteningly sharp fangs and growled. "Release him, Serena," he said in a glacial tone of voice.

"I'd really rather not. His father is such a stubborn man, and I look forward to having him again, but until then, the son will do quite nicely," she purred, stepping out of the shadows and tightening her hold on Harrison.

He whined at the painful grip on his hands and started squirming in earnest to get free, but his captor hissed coldly.

"Stop squirming, little prince. It would be a shame for me to accidentally snap your neck," Serena said. "It is almost a pleasure to see you again, Dark Lord," she said, seeming to be completely unaware of the glare being leveled on her.

"I will not tell you a second time, Serena," the Dark Lord snapped. He said something in a guttural language that Harrison didn't understand, but Serena did.

"I found him first, and I will not share him with the likes of you, demon," she hissed, once again tightening her hold on Harrison. For a moment she seemed almost frightened, though she hit it well.

The Dark Lord smirked wickedly and stepped forward. With a few movements too swift for Harrison to see as less than a blur, he broke Serena's arms, ignoring her pained shrieks, and pulled Harrison into his embrace. "You mistake me for the type to abide by the claiming traditions of your kind," he said, turning Harrison almost gently. As he did so, he silently released the bindings restraining the boy's hands. "He has been mine since he was no more than an infant and he was abandoned," he said. "He has never been free for you or your spawn to claim, and as he is not unattached, he will never be able to promise anyone anything," he said coldly.

Serena stiffened, stopping in the middle of murmuring her Healing spell, and glaring at the man. "Prove it."

"With pleasure," the Dark Lord said. He reached a hand down to rest three fingers against Harrison's left collarbone. The younger man just did his best not to squirm when cool fingers and the tips of very sharp claws pressed against his skin. As soon as he made contact, he hissed out something that sounded vaguely like "Shayistaya shah."

Harrison didn't feel anything change as the man pulled his hand away, and nothing looked any different to him, but whatever happened seemed to prove whatever Serena had doubted.

She let out a frustrated scream. Her eyes brightened to glow visibly, and she gathered a globe of raw magic in her hand.

The Dark Lord smirked. "Try it, Serena. I look forward to taking the chance to rip the skin from your flesh, piece by piece," he said. "Before you die, though, I will be sure to allow you the privilege of watching your son suffer for your behavior before I deliver his soul to the devil," he added.

That seemed to resonate with Serena. She stopped gathering her magic and instead chose to glare at the Dark Lord again. "I claimed his father before you had the chance. He belongs to me."

"He pledged me his life and loyalty with a Blood Oath. Your claim on Antonin is as invalid as your claim on his son," he said.

"Wait," Harrison said quietly, pulling the attention of both Serena and the Dark Lord onto him. "Were you the one that almost killed my father?"

"I did no such thing," Serena purred, though the sudden smirk on her face told betrayed her lie.

"You're lying." Harrison pinned as vicious a glare as he was capable of on the woman, finding not a small amount of reassurance with the Dark Lord at his back. "And I know how to get rid of you without ever getting my hands dirty."

A brief glimmer of fear flickered through her eyes, though it was quickly smothered. "You aren't anywhere near as powerful as you think," she said.

Harrison said nothing for a moment, leaning back a bit into the Dark Lord's embrace. He smiled slightly when the older man rested a hand gently on the back of his neck. "I may not be as strong as my father yet, but I know how influential my blood can be in the right hands. I'm sure even just a few vials a year would be enough to convince one of your more intelligent cousins to make sure that the problem of you and your son is permanently solved," he said coldly. He glanced up at the Dark Lord. "That is, of course, only with my Lord's blessing," he added.

The man merely sent a knowing smirk at Serena. "It's certainly an offer to consider," he said. "Take your leave before I decide to help you out of this Manor."

"You're not welcome here ever again," Harrison said quickly. "Not you and not your son. I'm going to make sure that this is completely impenetrable before my father comes back home," he said.

She sneered at him. "You, little prince, are nowhere near as powerful as you think," she said, though it was becoming clear that she was getting a bit desperate. "I am not afraid of what you think yourself capable of."

"You're lying again," Harrison said, smirking slightly as the hand on the back of his neck gave a reassuring squeeze. "Just like you were lying when you gave me your word that you didn't touch my father."

At that, Serena relaxed a bit, giving Harrison a smug smile. "I did not lie about that. I laid no hand or fang on your father. My son, however, is growing into his powers and he needs to be able to practice on captive prey before I send him out on the hunt," she said, her smile turning menacing as the look of betrayal and hatred dawned on Harrison's face. "Your father made himself an easy target for a few moments, so I took the chance to give my son the opportunity to taste aged perfection," she said.

Harrison opened his mouth to curse Serena, but the hand on the back of his neck tightened in a silent warning and he shut his mouth with a click. He glared at her, hoping her hair would spontaneously catch fire before she had the chance to escape.

"Leave, Serena. Now. Otherwise I will take a great deal of pleasure in teaching you why you do not use any of my disciples as your plaything," the Dark Lord said with a cruel smirk.

She sent a dirty look in his direction before disappearing just as quickly as she'd appeared.

"That was well handled, Harrison," the Dark Lord said, removing his hand from Harrison's neck.

"Thank you, sir," Harrison said. "Slinky?"

The House Elf appeared seconds later. "Is Young Master being alright?" she asked.

"Do you know where my book is? The one that I warded?"

"Slinky is going to be getting the book," she said, disappearing. She reappeared seconds later, handing the book to Harrison.

He nodded his thanks. "The vampire woman is no longer welcome here, but I wouldn't put it past her to come back here and try to ruin the Manor. If that happens, make sure you and the others are hidden away somewhere. You could probably find shelter with the Malfoy house elves if it gets too bad," he said.

Slinky nodded. "Is Young Master being in trouble?" she asked, looking between Harrison and the Dark Lord. "Slinky is being able to protect the Young Master if he is being in trouble."

"I know," Harrison said with a small smile. "Papa and I are going to be staying with the Dark Lord for now, but we'll be back." He glanced over his shoulder at the older man, who was watching his every move. "Would it be possible for us to set up wards to make sure that Serena and Blaise can't come inside the Manor?" he asked.

"Not at the moment," the Dark Lord said. "Once your father is healthier, I'll consider it. We do need to get back to my Manor."

Harrison nodded. "Papa and I will be back, Slinky," he said.

"If Young Master is needing anything, he is calling for Slinky and Topsy," she said, pinning him with an almost expectant look.

Harrison smiled slightly. "I will, thank you," he said. Having said that, he followed the Dark Lord through the halls and back into Antonin's office. The door had barely shut when a hand once again wrapped itself around the back of his neck and the two of them Apparated back to the Dark Lord's Manor. This time, though, rather than finding himself in the sitting room, Harrison realized that the older man had brought them both back to his study. "Thank you, sir," he said.

The Dark Lord nodded. "Since you're going to stay here, I suppose it would only be proper for you to be given something of a tour, unless you've got more questions to ask me."

"I thought you had work to do," Harrison said, flushing slightly when the man correctly guessed that he still had questions that he wanted answered.

The older man smirked, and only then did Harrison realize that the Dark Lord's eyes were still completely black. "I will be unable to focus properly until I have recovered."

"Are you ill?"

"Not in the traditional sense, I suppose. Take your bags out of your pockets and resize them," he said with a slight smirk. "Tango," he said once Harrison had done as told.

A house elf appeared in front of him.

"Take these bags up to the suite next to mine and unpack only that which belongs to Harrison. His father's things will be unpacked once he is healthy enough to make use of them," he said.

Without saying anything, the house elf bowed to the Dark Lord and took the bags before disappearing.

Once that was done, the Dark Lord walked over to the two chairs in front of his desk and took a seat in one of them. He looked expectantly at Harrison, who quickly made his way over to the other chair. "Before you start asking your questions, I want an Oath from you."

"What kind of Oath?"

"An Oath of Silence. I will strengthen it with my own warding," he said. "You're going to ask the sort of questions that requires a heightened level of insurance, and I have no intention of certain knowledge reaching the general public."

Harrison scowled. "I won't tell anyone what you tell me."

The Dark Lord smirked. "I'm inclined to believe you, but there are ways that wizards have to coerce information from someone without their knowledge," he said.

Straightening a bit, Harrison held out his right hand, palm side up. "I solemnly swear to keep my silence about anything discussed in this room, either now or in the future. Should anyone try and invade my mind for the information, I grant my magic the permission to bury the information in my mind so that no one can extract it," he said. He paused for a moment as the Dark Lord took his hand and started tracing the tips of very sharp claws along the lines in his palm. "I will not attempt to share this information with anyone else, and I will not make a record of what I've learned," he said.

"So mote it be," the Dark Lord said quietly. Without any warning, he slashed an odd, almost runic shape into the younger man's palm, smirking when Harrison whined in pain and tried to pull his hand back. He didn't let go of his hand until the wound sealed itself, leaving only a small, barely visible scar.

Harrison took his hand back, poking experimentally at the scar and frowning when it didn't hurt. It took only a few more seconds before he looked back up at the Dark Lord, who was watching him with his still-blackened eyes. "Are you really a demon?" he asked.

The Dark Lord smirked. "Of sorts."

"What are you, then?"

"I believe the official term is a cambion," he said.

"What's a cambion?"

"The offspring of a demon and a human."

Harrison's eyes widened slightly. Rather than trying to run from the older man as part of his instincts urged him to do, though, he found himself leaning closer to the man. "Is that why your eyes are black?" he asked.

The Dark Lord nodded.

"Why are you telling me this?"

"Because you are the type to dig at something until you know everything you can about a mystery," he said. "And I will not tolerate you staying here while you're doing whatever you can to learn my secrets."

"Am I still allowed to look?"

The Dark Lord was silent for a moment. "I suppose," he said. "You will keep whatever you learn to yourself."

"Can I ask you questions if I'm not sure about something?" Harrison asked.

He nodded once. "Only when it is just you and I," he said. "If there are others present, you keep anything you've learned to yourself, understood?"

Harrison nodded.

"Do you have any other questions?"

"Why was Serena afraid of you?"

"There is a hierarchy, of sorts," he said. "The type of demon that sired me has been around long before the vampires were an unholy glimmer in the eye of their creators. Most of the vampires have learned long ago to respect that hierarchy, though there are some, like Serena, who think themselves able to intimidate the demons," he said. "Serena and her spawn are in desperate need of a reminder of the way things are, though."

At that muttered statement, Harrison couldn't stop the cold smile from coming over his face. "Are you going to kill them?"

The Dark Lord chuckled. "Are you truly so willing to see the two of them eliminated?" he asked.

"Serena both deserve a slow and painful death, and if you don't deliver it, my father will when he's better," Harrison said.

"And her son?"

"If you don't kill him, then I'm going to make sure that he regrets the day he ever thought it would be a good idea to lay a hand on my father," Harrison growled. He was unaware that his eyes had changed again, into the feline slits.

The Dark Lord noticed the change, though, and he smiled slightly. Without giving Harrison the chance to pull away, he took hold of the younger man's chin, forcing him to meet the black eyes. "In that case, I will reserve their deaths for you and your father, but I am looking forward to taking a pound of flesh from the woman," he said. "Plan your attacks carefully, and I will offer my assistance."

"Why are you being so nice about all this?" Harrison asked, his eyes narrowing at the man. He thought back to the conversation with Serena and scowled. "Is this because you've got some kind of claim on me?"

"My claim is merely proof that you belong to me, Harrison. It is incidental in this case."

"Then why?"

The older man was silent for a long moment, his thumb rubbing lightly along Harrison's jaw as he thought about his reasons. "Because you and your father are both under my welfare. I am responsible for ensuring your health and safety, and I have no intention of neglecting my duties when it comes to caring for one of my most faithful disciples and his son," he said. "And I find myself rather curious as to what your plans will entail," he added, almost reluctantly releasing Harrison from his hold.

Harrison smiled weakly up at the man.

They sat in the comfortable silence for close to five minutes before Harrison yawned.

"You are tired?"

"A little bit, sir," Harrison admitted.

The Dark Lord stood suddenly. "I'll bring you to your rooms," he said. "Once you're more rested, I'll see that you become more acquainted with my Manor," he said.

Harrison nodded. He stood up as well, though he stumbled a few steps before righting himself. "Thank you."

The older man just hummed quietly, once more motioning for Harrison to follow him.