Characters: Saverhagen, Cynthia
: A daughter to fill her mother's heart with pride—and grief.
: None
Author's Note
: I've always wondered exactly what their relationship was. I think I'll explore it more in future, but for now, you have this.
: I don't own Record of a Fallen Vampire.

These are the twin emotions that come into her heart when she lays eyes on her daughter now: pride and grief. Saverhagen, sometimes known as the Infinite Cross and never known as Maria, deals with it in her own way, and never shows either. Her mask is iron over the face and stone on her skin.

Cynthia Saverhagen has never been and never will be hers by blood. That path has been barred to Saverhagen of her own choice; a child of her own blood would be too close, too inextricable from her heart. The ones who called this girl theirs by their own blood didn't even call her Cynthia; when Saverhagen took a young orphan from a burning village Mariska died and Cynthia was born soon after.

She has been Cynthia for eleven years now, but she won't be Cynthia anymore, never again. After tonight, she'll only be the Black Swan, and that new identity will devour her.

For the first time, Saverhagen bothers to look at Cynthia, not to see the progress of the warrior, but to see the girl.

Fifteen years old, and no one would know that from looking at her. So ageless is this disturbingly still, silent woman that no one would think her a child. Men look at her and Cynthia is to their gaze so heartbreakingly beautiful that if she was ever to ask them for a favor of any kind they'd be falling all over themselves to do so. She doesn't ask, and they wait.

A Fury in battle is this unassuming girl. Saverhagen's borne witness to Cynthia's battle prowess; she's the one who trained her after all. Sword, bow and arrow; spear and mace. Incantations and spells. Cynthia is the best because Saverhagen shaped her to be the best. She always intended Cynthia to be her weapon, her ace in the hole, her test subject.

And Cynthia knew that. Well, she didn't know at the first that she would be the host of a spiritual parasite. She didn't know that her soul would become the payment for powerful black magic. No one ever told Cynthia she would become the first of many sacrifices on the altar of the Black Swan.

But she has prepared for this day for eleven years, and she is ready.

Saverhagen looks at her, and her heart swells.

Here is a daughter to fill her mother's heart with pride—and grief.

The day Saverhagen first feels like a mother to this girl (she had promised herself: never again, not after Stella's desertion, not after what she had to do to her for the sake of killing her nemesis) is the day she sacrifices her on the altar that bears the name: Black Swan.

There are more important things than family, after all. No one has ever had to tell either of them that.