A/N: ...erm...right... Merry Christmas! *runs and hides in shame and terror*

Chapter 2

Kamui awoke to the sound of birds taking flight into the evening sky, screaming in objection to their disturbance. Immediately, he was alert and aware of his surroundings. Subaru stirred and he could feel his brother reaching out with his senses as well. While Kamui had mastery of telepathy, Subaru's empathy and psychometry were also very useful. Together, they were a force to be reckoned with. But even with a mageblood in their little coven, they had their limits.

Such as now. Although they could hear the leaves moving and being stepped on as if my by many swift feet, they could hear no heart beats. With the birds gone, there was a strange silence in the surrounding forest. It was a very eerie feeling knowing someone or in this case many someones were out there but sensing no one.

:Subaru, do you sense them?:

:No. Nothing. There's just a blank nothing.:

:There are at least five of them. How they got so close without us hearing them is beyond me. They must have a mageblood hiding their heartbeats.:

:A powerful coven then.:

:And hopefully friendly.:

Kamui stood from their huddle, sweeping his cloak out so that it covered his brother and most of his still injured childe. He was the Alpha of his coven. Small and makeshift thought it was, it was still his coven. Reaching out carefully, he felt for the mind he had made contact with earlier, finding it just to his right.

:You hide yourselves well,: he sent by way of welcome, looking over to where he could feel the mind to be approximately. There was a flicker of movement and then he could see a tall man with chestnut hair falling just past his shoulders standing just at the edge of the woods. A young blonde girl stood close by back behind a nearby tree as a bodyguard of sorts.

Both of the newcomers' appearances were pale and they both had red eyes, but there the similarities ceased. The girl had thin arching eyebrows and a stern appearance as if she was waiting for an attack. Her eyes focused on anything near the man assessed it, cataloged it, and remembered it. The man, on the other hand, was much less visibly stern. A smile tugged at his lips and while his eyes also took note of everything, he appeared much more laid back. His face was handsome but he kept rubbing his hands together gently as if holding back the urge to touch everything in sight.

"You'll forgive me if I don't speak mind-to-mind. My talents lie elsewhere, you understand," the man said, his voice flowing over every word like chocolate. Now that was a fitting description of the man. Smooth, enticing, and addictive.

"Of course. We all have our talents, cousin. "

"Cousin? I did not realize we were related."

"Forgive me. That is how my fellows address friends. Should I use another word more to your preferences?"

The newcomer smiled. It reminded Kamui distinctly of a cat holding a canary. So he met he smile with one of his own. A tiny twitch of the lips.

"Aro, will do," the vampire said, calmly walking away from the tree line and folding his hands before him. The girl twitched as if she wasn't pleased with her leader -was this man her coven's Alpha?- leaving her immediate vicinity. "You have impressive telepathic powers. I assume the rest of your party have similar abilities?"

"I hardly see how that's any of your business, Aro. Although I would ask, you hide your heartbeats well. I assume you have a mageblood in your coven. Does that mean the Hounds infest this place as well?"

The man quirked his head to the side, almost birdlike, and his smile widened. "Yes, I was aware of your heartbeats. You also seem to be aware, unless I'm very much mistaken, of what we are if you refer to us as a coven."

:Kamui, he doesn't feel right.:

Kamui hesitated, refusing to look down to where his twin hid. :Subaru…?:

Kamui was, in fact, very aware of the wrongness that radiated from Aro. It was a cold feeling, similar to what a dead body felt like. But he smelled like anything but a dead body. On the contrary, he smelled sweet, almost too sweet. He had to fight not to crinkle his nose against the powerful smell.

"I am indeed. You are vampires, are you not?" Kamui asked, allowing his eyes to fade to gold in a show of trust.

The man paused, his smile widening. "Curious. You use words I am unfamiliar with, speak as if you are one of us, and yet you have a heartbeat and can do things normal humans cannot."

"I am a vampire."

"Indeed. So you say. And yet, you'll forgive me if I doubt your word. I-"

:I am a vampire.:

Aro sighed. "Again, you speak with your mind. Such a fascinating ability. Can you only speak mind-to-mind, or can you read thoughts as well?"

"Why do you ask?"

:Kamui.: came Subaru's mental voice once more. This time, the warning in it was more immediate.

"My own curiosity. May I?" Aro stretched out his hand and waited, a friendly smile on his face. Kamui was beginning to dislike this man's smiles. There were too many, all untrustworthy. However, it would be very rude to refuse a fellow Alpha's offer unless it was outside the limits of common sense. Shaking hands seemed a simple enough request. But he refused to leave his small coven unguarded.


"You'll understand if I don't move forward any further," Kamui said.

"Of course," and then Aro was only two arm lengths away, hand stretched out halving the distance between the two vampires.


Carefully, ever cautious, Kamui reached out as well, his golden eyes never leaving Aro's crimson. Closer. Closer. And their hands clasped together and Kamui wasn't sure whether he wanted to laugh or cry.