Updated 6/15/12

A/N: Thank you for clicking this link, I am forever grateful :) Just so you know, this happens maybe a few days after the movie ends. Enjoy.

Chapter 1: Night

Priest sat by the fireplace, staring into the dying flames and the still burning embers. Too many things were rummaging around in his mind, keeping him far away from sleep. The insomnia gave him too many unpleasant memories of the war, sleep having been an elusive friend and enemy, sometimes granting rest, but most of the time merely haunting him with nightmares.

He looked to his left where Lucy and Hicks were nearly sharing a sleeping bag they were so close together. He found it slightly odd that he did not mind; that seeing his daughter cuddle up to some high and mighty sheriff did not throw him whatsoever. He understood their devotion more than they knew, and to take away her freedom would be insensitive. A stuck up clergyman was the last thing Priest wanted Lucy to think he was. He'd been obeying them for so long he was worried he might turn into them before he'd escaped the city. Hicks had proven himself with his courage and honesty, that was enough for now.

Questions plagued him now as he tried to make out Lucy's face from the darkness. He never wanted to hurt her, even when he told Hicks that if she was infected, he would kill her. It was never a lie; it was the only possible way to relieve her of the misery that infection must cause. He couldn't have her suffer; to kill her would have been the only mercy anyone would ever have given. But now that she knew the truth, he wondered how she felt about it. Was she hurt because of the family secret? She looked relieved before, like she'd subconsciously known that there was more to her life then everyone let on, but there was no real way of knowing. Their journey here had taken a day, neither having talked to each other about much but food and water. And sleep.

Now all he could think about was Lucy. That happened frequently, even before he rebelled. On the good nights and the bad nights. The good nights were easier, memories of the year before the clergy found him the most peaceful time of his life; when everything was almost perfect. Almost. He had Shannon, and she was enough. They were in love, but it wasn't the truest of loves. Their unexpected child bound them together for the pregnancy and an entire year after. Life was bliss under the church, when war was safe and far away from the cities high walls. It was enough. But the when the clergy found him and told him that he was given the gift, they tried to erase all memory of that bliss. He fully accepted his purpose then, his loyalty to the clergy complete pure and untainted. He found strength within his heart to let God take whatever he had to in order to make him a defender of all mankind, but never was his memory erased, only put away. He remembered everything.

It was harder to let go of Lucy than it was Shannon.

But on the bad nights, many memories and questions came at him, as rapid as those vampires used to. The question that always came first was the most treacherous for him to have. He wondered if Lucy remembered him—but he already knew the answer. Who on earth could remember that far back? He hoped if there could be someone like that, that it could be her. But what was the point of brooding over this hope? He prayed that God take this misery from him, and when nothing changed, he knew he had to hold on to his love. There was nothing wrong with it, there couldn't be. But maybe that was why he was being exiled from society, as punishment for holding onto an unholy feeling. No—that couldn't be it. He was waiting for something. There was something greater that he had to fulfill, it didn't end here. It couldn't end like this. So much sacrifice for so little appreciation, so much pain. He wasn't selfish—but no one should live like this.

His reoccurring dreams of losing comrades were the most gruesome. He saw Black Hat's death most often. He hadn't had that dream since his escape from Cathedral City, especially now not he knew what had become of the former Priest. He wondered, now staring at the fire dying in front of him, if the same thing had happened to another Priest—to himself, or Priestess even—would they have sided with the vampires? Would they had completely lost their faith like he had? It was a sobering thought, especially on these nights when his thoughts were clouded by such personal memories. Did he even have a choice? Had becoming a human vampire distorted his mind? Or had he chosen to forget God? Was being half dead really that much freeing? He never wanted to find out.

Freedom. What did it mean now? Yes, the church protected the people—the Priests protected them—but they also held them captive. They were as free as the vampires in the reservation. He hadn't fully realized it until he had to rebel against them. But although he was against the church at the moment, he was never against God. He knew he was in the right place. Denial would not save anyone. Ignorance would not help the human race.

He got up. The floor boards creaked below his feet. This town was deserted years ago, he remembered evacuating it. Priests and rebels were coming one by one, so in a few days, they should have a good team. He was thankful that more people understood the risk of ignorance and the right in this rebellion.

The door was nonexistent, a few broken wood pieces hanging from the hinges still attached to the side of the house. He walked through the doorway and stepped off the porch with little sound. There were no lights on, but his eyes adjusted fairly quickly. He strode through the dirt road for a minute before he realized that there was nothing he was striding from, or to for that matter. Was he so used to being in a hurry? But was it a habit he cared to break? Not really. A war was about to erupt and he wasn't going to start relaxing now.