Chapter 3

Three months later…

A mirror...a beautiful mirror with gold vintage trim. In it's smooth crystal glass I saw myself holding an infant, a girl, wrapped in swaths. Her eyes were mine, the same startling sea green only brighter, like touched by sunlight. Her tiny hand reached for my face, grabbing for my nose, her eyes alight with curiosity. Her eyes shifted to something behind me and when I followed her gaze I found Zero standing behind me with a hand on my shoulder smiling, for once. I looked back to the baby my mirror image held. I could feel the weight in my arms, hear and feel her soft breath on my face. I looked down at my arms away from the mirror shocked to find those sea green staring into mine. A smile broke across my face and I turned to see the part that completed the picture. But it wasn't Zero's face, smiling or otherwise I found.

Red eyes stared back into mine and a cruel, wicked grin curled his mouth, just showing the tip of his fangs, the rogue.

I startled awake in my bed. Like after many of these nightmares, my hand went automatically to the three strike scar on my neck, my fingers tracing the raised marks. I looked at the wall clock; two-thirty. Feeling my stomach lurch, I made a dash for the bathroom. I sank down against the wall when the swells had calmed.

I looked down at my stomach and slid a hand over the small bump, the cause of my abrupt sickness.

"I do wish you would sleep through the night, or at least let me sleep," I said aloud.

Deciding hope of sleep was lost, I hauled myself up to go to the kitchen, in search of a late night snack.

Not to my surprise, I found Kaien waiting by the door of my bedroom

"You could have knocked," I greeted plainly. Though he'd been unendingly kind to me over the last months, I was in no mood for his nagging tonight.

"You were sick again." He watched me carefully. He hadn't posed it as a question, though I answered anyway.


"It's still not too late to abort."

"My answer is still no."

"You still have to tell Zero," he reminded me for the tenth time.

"He'll find out one way or another," I answered. I wasn't sure I wanted to tell him, though he had remained close by my side these last months. In the weeks after the attack he stayed with me every night until the nightmares stopped, or at least until I'd stopped screaming in my sleep.

"He'll take it better if you tell him, rather than just finding out. He deserves to know, even if he doesn't like it."

I turned away. Kaien was right. "He doesn't have to." I said this, knowing full well it was a lie. I wanted his support, something I knew I'd lose if he discovered I carried the child of the vampire who raped me and murdered my family. He would probably hate me.

As if reading my thoughts, Kaien spoke. "Trust me when I say that he won't hate you for it."

I started out the door.

"Risu, if you care about him, you'll tell him."

The words shouldn't have bothered me, after all, it wasn't really Zero's business, but they touched a nerve. Zero deserved to know the truth.

Suddenly no longer hungry, I headed to the door and porch for fresh air.

Once outside, I sat on the porch steps and wrapped my arms around my knees and rested my chin on them.

"Another nightmare?" a male voice spoke from the darkness.

I almost rolled off the steps when a hand caught my shoulder.

"God, Zero, you scared the crap out of me!" I laughed off, even though Zero looked ashamed.

"Sorry," he made an awkward apology.

He took everything way too literally.

"Nevermind, it's fine." I moved over to make room on the step for him. He didn't take it of course.

His expression didn't budge as he stared into the darkness.

"Are you thinking about tomorrow night, the soiree?" I finally questioned.

He turned lavender gaze at my voice.

"Are you?" he returned.

His gaze betrayed his worry. It would be the closest I've come to vampires (other than Zero himself) since the pureblood's attack. Zero hadn't wanted me to go, but I refused to stay behind. Too much had changed in the vampire/hunter world for me to continue in ignorance, despite sane reasoning.

"You don't have to go, Risu. I would gladly stay behind with you here."

"No, I've been ignorant to the Hunter world too long already," I finalized. "Besides, I'll be perfectly safe with you there to protect me," I joked.

He only turned his gaze back to the floor, grumbling.

I got the feeling there was more to not wishing me to go. He didn't want to go.

My voice turned serious again. "I am a Hunter, I can handle vampires." Though I said to assure Zero, it sounded more like I tried to assure myself.

We both knew it was a lie, yet Zero made no counter but looked at the marks scarring my neck, proof enough of my blatant lie.

I forced a laugh through the sudden awkwardness. "Either way, we still have class in the morning. Come on, we could both use some sleep." I stood, waiting to hear his footsteps behind me as always. None came. I turned to see him staring at me with an unreadable expression.

"Zero?" I called.

He startled to attention, apparently not having realized he was staring, and followed me into the house.