Chapter 20

(Parker)

Katie's point of view

A sense of nervousness flowed through me as I waited for Crina. I had known enemies now resided in the castle dungeons. I had even seen Monica not long ago. I couldn't help but shake my head as I remembered how quickly she had thrown hate my way for surrendering to the count. The fact I had done so to save Danielle didn't even seem to matter. I still wondered who else I'd heard in the dungeon during my brief encounter with Monica. When I had asked about the other voice I'd heard he had told me I would know that night but I still didn't know. Crina had told me later that Vlad had decided to wait until a few other prisoners had been brought in. I didn't know who would be brought before the count tonight except for one person, Parker.

I hadn't seen Parker since he'd tried to force himself on me when Angel was little. Memphis, Sasha, Angel, and I had left the apartment the following morning and never returned. I had been angry when he left but I didn't feel angry now. There had been a time I'd loved Parker and only wanted to be with him. I didn't feel that way now. I somewhat wondered how I would feel when they heard my ex. Would I become angry at Vlad? Would I feel relieved that he was punished for his attempt on me? I even wondered if what Vlad did to him would make me sympathetic toward him. Either way didn't matter though. Whatever the count decided to do I knew I couldn't stop him. Deep in that back of my mind where I tried to hide my most inner feelings I felt fear. Fear that after watching Vlad punish his enemies that I would fear my daughter's father now more than ever before.

Suddenly hearing a knock on the door I snapped back out of my thoughts. The door opened and I came face to face with Crina. "It's time."

"Is he sure he wants me there?" I asked for more steady than I actually felt. Crina gave only a neutral expression and said not a word. "I'm sorry Crina but I am human. I honestly don't know how I'll react and it….scares me."

It was the then the blonde woman gave a small understanding nod. "We are aware this may be very difficult for you. You will witness however as Vlad has decreed." I looked down and gave a sad nod. "This will be harsh but he will not allow you to see more than you can truly handle. You may think you are unable to handle more but Vlad knows better."

"Vlad seems to push the limits," I said before I thought.

Crina smiled at me then, "Indeed he does. Come he is waiting." With a sigh I nodded and we left Vlad and my bedroom.

The castle seemed eerily quiet as we walked through the halls. I didn't know exactly where we were going. I knew Vlad had given instructions to the wolves and some vampires of work he wanted down in another part of the castle but I hadn't seen it. Vlad had purposely kept me away from the area. It made me far more uncomfortable about going to this other part of the castle now. Vlad only kept me from things that he knew I would fear.

We approached two dark iron doors and the doors instantly opened. I knew it was either a sensor of movement or Crina's magic. Based on the size of the doors I was guessing Crina was responsible. We walked inside and I couldn't help but stop dead. I was in the stands of a small three row arena. In the center of the arena were instruments of torture. I couldn't help but stare.

"Beautiful isn't it?" Akila remarked. I ignored her and continued to walk by Crina's side as she lead me to a designated seated area on the second row that belonged to Vlad. It was regal in appearance as there were a few red velvet chairs in the stands. Two Black and Gold chairs were in the center. Vlad was sitting in one of them and rose to his feet as we approached.

"Thank you, Crina." Crina gave him an elegant bow of her head and then took her place next to Mecia at one of the red velvet chairs. On the other side of Vlad I noticed Draco and then our daughter.

Angel didn't look nervous or concerned at all. In fact she looked completely comfortable. It was a bit surprising to me but then I suppose it shouldn't have been. Angel had always been quick to adapt. Then again I was well aware our daughter hated Parker.

"Katie," Vlad said gently taking my left hand. He brought it toward his lips and I thought he'd kiss it. To my surprise he turned it over before I realized and kissed the backs of my wrist over the top of my veins. I think my breath hitched. There was just something about the way he kissed me there that made any blocks I had up toward him come down. Before I knew it I was seated in the chair next to his. He gave my hand a gentle squeeze and then stepped away. It was strange as he stepped away. I knew the time had come for me to witness but I didn't feel the nervousness I had before. Instead I felt a sense of calm I didn't understand and couldn't explain.

Dracula's point of view

I knew Katie was feeling a lot more uneasy than she was showing when I took her wrist in my hand. I kissed the back of her wrist and a sense of satisfaction filled me as I felt my lady feel almost instantly calm as I clouded her senses. Katie would witness my enemy's punishments but I wanted to ease her concern. I had listened to Mecia's words and understood that while I would be cruel to my enemies and I would force her to watch that I also needed to protect Katie to a point. Clouding her sense enough to calm her would allow for that.

Mecia was right to remind me of Katie's gentle nature. Katie was very gentle by nature but I was well aware, after watching her train with Memphis, she could also be lethal. Katie might have a gentleness to her but she was far from weak; something I had always known. Watching her kill a deer with virtually no effort had been very satisfying.

I made way down a few stairs and entered the arena before turning to face the crowd. My face became completely neutral and all eyes fell on me. Silence filled my pain arena. Yes my private arena of pain. While I may have changed some I still enjoyed witnessing torture and I knew the other vampires did as well. I looked at no one specific and began to speak.

"Tonight the enemy shall face punishment for their crimes," I began. "Crimes both fulfilled and attempted. While these enemies may not be your personal enemy I could not in good conscious forbid you from witnessing." I smiled wildly at what was to come. A rush of power raced through me. "Bring him."

A portcullis opened within the arena and I watched two wolves bring forth the man I hated above all others. I kept a neutral face but I felt amused as I saw Parker step backwards or at least try to as he caught sight of me. The wolves didn't let him back away and forced him forward and closer to me. He was so focused on me he hadn't even looked at what else was in the arena.

"I've waited a long time for this, Parker," I said sneering his name. I extended my arm towards the table and the wolves began leading him to it. "I doubt you'll enjoy this as much as I will."

"No!" Parker said as his eyes fell on the table and then the elements of torture.

"Just a moment," I said as the wolves went to put him on the table. "Perhaps you would like to say hello," I told him and gestured to where Katie sat.

Parker looked over and seeing Katie glared at her. "You lied to me!"

"No, I didn't. I never told you Angel was yours," Katie said matter of fact.

"You said…."

"You assumed Parker," Memphis stated. "Katie protected Danielle and as repayment your group wanted to kill her and her child. Why would she tell you anything? You suspected when Angel was young because she wouldn't have anything to do with you."

"Did you know?" Parker said.

"I suspected but the night you left I knew for certain," Memphis told him. "Blame yourself but not Katie. Besides you moved on very quickly."

"You betrayed us!" Parker sneered.

"No, I was never loyal to you. As for the rest?" Memphis asked. He shrugged and said, "Things change." As if to reiterate his point he put his arm around Hope.

"Somethings are even corrected," Fox told him from where she sat.

"You gave birth to an evil demon!" Parker told Katie angrily. "You should have killed her!"

"Don't worry when Vlad gets done with you, you won't need to worry about me, Memphis, or Angel," Katie said mockingly.

Parker had made a mistake. Throwing anger and hate Katie and Fox's direction had only began the process of anger and hate from my dark haired beauty towards her former lover. I knew right now I could do anything and Katie wouldn't even consider helping him or begging for mercy for him. I gave the wolves a nod and before Parker could react he was practically slammed down on top of the table before being tightly strapped to it.

Once he was secure the table was raised from a flat position so that now it was vertical and Parker's body could be seen by all. Slowly I approached the instruments at my disposal. I picked up the heretic's fork first and calmly approached my enemy. "Do you know what this is?" I asked him. Parker glared at me but didn't respond. I shifted my eyes so that he would think I was going to look away. In the corner of them I saw his uncertainty. "It's called a heretic's fork. It will force you to endure and feel more pain," I informed him. "If you lower your head these prongs will cut into you," I said not hiding the pleasure I gained at the thought. The wolves held his head and I placed the instrument around his head and positioned the fork at his throat.

Finished I walked over and picked up the hook from the table. I kept it low by my side so that if Parker wanted to see he'd have to look down. I moved my arm casually keeping the instrument just out of his eyesight.

"What…..ah!" he yelled as the fork struck his throat as he tried to look down.

"I did warn you," I reminded him. "Don't you like surprises?"

"Please, please don't do this. Kill me but do it quickly."

"Is that your only request?" Fox asked.

"Yes," he told her. Parker was trying to keep himself from falling apart but his fear radiated off him like rain running down a window.

Fox shook her head at him. "Your one request is for a quick death for yourself," she said tauntingly. "Not even a request for Mercy for Hana? Not even for little Mary? I would think you'd want mercy for your daughter over mercy for yourself." Parker looked away without even asking for a request for them.

"I will grant your daughter a quick death," I told the slayer.

"Not me?" he said angrily. "Me you'll put on display!"

"You would rather it be your daughter?" I asked him. "Shall I put you back in the cell and bring your child here to be tortured for everyone's enjoyment? It must be either you or her. Only one of you may have mercy. Which shall it be?"

I can honestly say I could not believe the slayer before me seemed to be actually debating whether to choose for me to torture his child over him. What kind of a father would do that?! I knew without question I would surrender myself for Fox.

Parker suddenly screamed. At first I was confused because I hadn't touched him yet. He hadn't lowered his head so I didn't know why he was yelling. Then I saw it. A dagger was in his leg.

"It's not a choice Parker!" Katie yelled angrily. "How old is this child?!" She demanded.

"Six," Fox informed my lady.

'Six!?'I heard Katie scream in my head. Things had been going so well but I suddenly got the feeling that was about to change.

'She is the child of an enemy.' I told her

'Mary is six Vlad! She's a child! She's innocent!' Katie said fully concerned. I shouldn't have been surprised. Katie was a mother and would of course instinctively want to protect a child; especially a young one.

'Why does Mary have to die? She's a kid.' came the sound of my daughter's voice. I was thankful they were at least not saying it out loud. Unfortunately my daughter didn't stay quiet.

"There is no reason to kill a child," Fox said nonchalantly. "Why take the time."

"She is the enemy's child and must be killed!" Akila said adamantly. "The child of an enemy cannot be trusted."

"That isn't true," Katie said. "Vlad and Memphis were once enemies but he protected Angel." Katie looked at me. I knew she wanted me to agree to her terms but I could not.

"The child cannot be released," I said firmly.

"What about changed?" Fox asked.

"The child is too young to make a vampire," Crina told my daughter.

"What about a wolf?" Katie asked her. Crina didn't reply. She turned her gaze toward me and said, "Don't turned wolves forget some of their memory?" she asked.

"If they are young enough," Rex admitted.

"Is she?" Fox asked. Without waiting for a response she looked at Michelle. "You lost your daughter to slayers. What better way to get even then to make one of their children yours and have them loyal to an enemy they hate?" she asked.

I was aware of the incident they spoke of. I was even aware that because of what had happened to the wolf she was unable to have offspring. Still I had to be firm in my decision.

"That seems like a better vengeance than simply killing the child." I was surprised to hear Draco's voice and looked at him. "Killing her quickly wouldn't be worth the time or effort and…your enemy hates the idea of his daughter as a wolf even more."

I looked over to see Parker was glaring at him. "My daughter will never be a flea bitten dog!" He yelled at my friend. I couldn't help but feel the human made no sense. He was willing to have his daughter severely tortured to death but being turned upset him?

"Rex, take Michelle to see the girl if she wants her let her have her," I told him. The Alpha nodded and the two left the arena.

"No! No! No!" Parker screamed. He lowered his head to look at his bonds and screamed again as the fork struck his throat once more.

A smiled pleased as my enemy was now forced to endure both physical and mental pain. His head raised up and I brought the rusted hook down on him. Parker screamed in agony as the hook tore his skin and he began to bleed. I used the hook on him a few more times before deciding to change my instruments. It was time for the cat's claw. Parker continued to scream in pain and agony as blood drained from his body as I tore at his flesh killing him very slowly. I became so engrossed in my work I forgot I even had an audience. It wasn't until I had dropped the instrument and turned around that I remembered Katie. Her look was neutral but she looked away.

I looked back at Parker and my eyes went wide. Even I hadn't realized how cruel I'd let myself become. Pieces of his flesh had been torn off completely. Some of them very sensitive. I internally sighed at the knowledge I may have gone too far for Katie to handle.

Author's Note: Okay everyone so I have figured out that I can't respond to reviews the way I used to. Apparently everything is a PM message now. Here's my question (and yes I need to know) Do you want me to IM each of you individually or answer here at the end of a chapter. I am asking because I am getting some of the same questions. Also for guests I cannot IM you back. So in the future I will answer you here. Thanks for reading!