July 16, 2013 Update: Sorry, this isn't actually a new chapter, rather it's just an announcement. Here's the bad news: I've discontinued this story (Please don't kill me!). Now the good news: I've started a rewrite of the whole story, and just posted the first chapter today. I wouldn't be so mean as to tell you this story is cancelled and not give you anything in return. Head on down to my profile to take a look.I hope you enjoy the new story as much as you've been enjoying this version.

I'd like to thank everyone who reviewed this so far, especially those faithful readers who I can depend on for a review after every chapter. I like to think I'm not a review-whore, but more often than I'd like, I find it difficult to get in the mood to write (partly why updates take so long, for which I apologize). Your continued support and encouragement helps tremendously, and I really appreciate it, so thank you all dearly!

Now before I turn into a complete sop, on with the chapter!

Avernus and Leto spent the remainder of the day napping, having sex, and teaching Leto Nordic and Cyrodiilic when not engaged in either of the first two activities. Since the sun's rays prevented Leto from leaving the cover of the tiny overhang, and Avernus was nearly immobile on his own in the forest's terrain, there really wasn't much else to do to pass the time. Surprisingly to Avernus, the sex was initiated much more often than not by Leto; now that Leto's lust was out of its cage, it wasn't going back in, apparently. Indeed, they didn't even bother to cloth themselves until night fell and they were ready to depart.

After their second round that morning, Leto had confided in Avernus that she had never had sex like this before. When he asked for clarification, she told him that while she had had sex before, she had never once made love with someone. She said that every time she had had sex before, it was practically rape. Consent was given, but it was coerced and extorted from her by higher-ranking males in her society in exchange for not making her life even more miserable than it usually was. It was all about using her and selfishly trying to extract as much pleasure from her as possible, exploiting her like a resource to be taken and then discarded. But making love with Avernus, on the other hand, was beautiful. It was unselfish, and generous, and loving, she explained. She cared for him, and he her, and they tried to make the other feel the same pleasure they felt and their happiness brings joy to your heart.

As Leto explained her views, Leto's use of the word "rape" to describe what happened the previous night, and the anguish and guilt she had felt upon waking suddenly made much more sense to Avernus. In her eyes, she had become like the men who had abused her for their own pleasure, not only by not bothering to obtain freely-given consent before she set to work on him, but also by adopting their views and attitudes towards their sex, even if she wasn't in her right mind. Regardless of however brief, she had become like the men who caused her misery by acting and thinking like them towards the one man she loved. No wonder she was so upset upon waking, this morning.

Along with Avernus's realization came a very strong desire to console her. He wanted to reassure her that though she might have acted in a manner she didn't like, she hadn't hurt him like she had been hurt, and that he wasn't upset with her. He wanted to give her such joy and pleasure as to utterly drown out the guilt and shame she felt. He wanted her to feel loved and cherished, to know that she had his love. Avernus reached for Leto, and round three of their love-making began.

Of course, since the sun was up, Avernus had had to erect several additional wards to keep from being discovered by the variety of different creatures that were now awake and roaming the forest.

Their food was also running low as well. Avernus had only brought enough for one night, not expecting to stay for the next day as well, and had already eaten his portion last night. When he brought this up, Leto insisted that he eat her portion, explaining that he was still recovering from his starvation and that the loss of a meal would be less severe for her. Avernus tried to argue, but relented when she threatened to force-feed him if he kept it up.

However, it turned out that Leto wouldn't go hungry that day either. She had practically squealed in delight when a skeever walked into the clearing, unaware of their presence as a result of Avernus's wards. Leto had immediately shot it and then asked Avernus to bring it back for her. He complied with her request and inquired into how they would cook it, which prompted a bout of laughter from Leto in response as she told him that she had no desire to ruin the skeever by cooking it. As she stared at Avernus's confused expression, another illuminating conversation was started.

Avernus learned that eating raw meat was actually much more common among Leto's people than he had previously thought. Her society also ate cooked meat too, and Leto explained that they cooked some of their meat so that it would last longer, since raw meat spoiled much more quickly, but a lot of the meat they ate was consumed raw, and that raw meat was much preferred to cooked meat. Of course, being of a lower caste, Leto didn't get nearly as much of her meat raw as the upper castes got, and she was rather disappointed that it was practically unheard of on the surface for meat to be consumed raw, so when an opportunity to eat raw meat finally presented itself, Leto was ecstatic.

She dragged her kill over to the very edge of the cover provided by the overhang and shifted the cloak they had laid on the ground away so as not to soil it with blood and entrails (although by this point it was already stained with numerous bodily fluids from their frequent coupling and in need of a thorough wash anyways). Avernus had watched in fascination as she expertly skinned the dead skeever with her claws, and then sank her teeth into its throat afterwards to drain it of most of its blood. So excited about her opportunity was she that she went about her tasks completely unabashed, though Avernus wasn't repulsed or disgusted in the least by her actions anyways; it was always interesting observing the customs of another culture, and he was more curious than anything else.

Avernus had watched in fascination as she tore strips of meat off the skinned skeever, her sharp claws rending flesh from bone with ease, and greedily devoured them. Bones were pulled apart and organs were discarded as Leto continued to tear into the carcass, but Avernus noted that she saved some of the larger bones, which she later cracked open to suck out the marrow. At one point, she offered to share with Avernus, and he accepted a small morsel of the skeever meat, just to see what it tasted like raw, for he had never had meat uncooked before. While he had to admit it didn't taste nearly as bad as he thought, it was, however, a bit too chewy for his liking and he let Leto have the rest.

Of course, the Skeever was too large for Leto to eat all in one sitting, so when she was done, she set the carcass and the collected bones aside and nibbled on them over the course of the day. After her initial meal, despite draining the dead skeever of as much blood as possible, her hands were still quite bloodied. Instead of licking them clean, however, she had stared at Avernus with mischievous intent in her eyes before she had wiped them clean on his chest and stomach. He was about to cry out in protest, but was silenced when Leto had then begun licking and kissing the blood she had wiped on him, while stroking and caressing his sides and back. And so began yet another round of love-making

By this time, they had lost track of how many times they had done it. Leto had worn Avernus out fairly quickly and he eventually started taking up passive positions when they did it. Leto was more than happy to take up the dominant role, however, and Avernus found out that he quite liked it when the woman took charge.

By the time night fell, Avernus was thoroughly fatigued, despite the frequent naps, but Leto, possessing far greater stamina than Avernus and remaining cooped up for an entire day, felt like a coiled spring. Once they had clothed themselves (being more vulnerable to the cold, Avernus received the clean cloak while the soiled one was stuffed away into Leto's bag), Leto donned her weapons and bag and slung Avernus over her shoulder. Bursting with energy and curious to see how her vampirism affected her body's speed and endurance, she began sprinting towards Whiterun as soon as she cleared the forest and came upon the grassy plains that characterized much of Whiterun hold.

Leto and Avernus were both surprised at how quickly her body was capable of carrying them, as they watched her long legs quickly eat up the distance to the city. Indeed, Leto was so quick that it took her not even an hour to reach the city, whereas it had taken them over three hours the previous night. Of course, half the time spent getting to their place in the forest, Avernus had been walking, but even taking this into consideration, the length of time it took to reach the city was impressively short.

Upon arriving at the gate, the guards attempted to deny them access to the city, much like when the two first arrived with Magnhild, coming from Riverwood, but a bit of mind-altering illusion magic from Avernus saw them through without incident, and now here they were, strolling down the streets and making their way back home.

There weren't that many people out on the streets after sunset, but the few that were would usually turn their heads to stare at the bizarre couple. Since Avernus was wearing the only unsullied cloak, Leto had nothing to cover her unusual body and clothes, and she was considerably more noticeable. But neither Leto nor Avernus were bothered by the stares they received, which weren't too numerous anyways, and they paid them no mind.

"Well, I don't know about you, Avernus, but I had a wonderful time today," Leto remarked quite cheerfully before flashing him a large, toothy grin, "We should do this more often."

A fit of laughter overtook Avernus upon hearing Leto's words. "While I certainly have no objections, I`m sure everyone else would become terribly suspicious," he remarked after his laughter settled down, "We still haven't told them about us."

"So then we tell them," declared Leto, as if it were the obvious course of action to take. "Well, unless of course you're ashamed of bedding the scary vampire Falmer lady," she joked, earning another bout of laughter from Avernus.

"Not in the least," Avernus laughed back. Even though Leto had asked this in jest, Avernus was still able to discern a thread of anxiety in her voice. He hoped the lightness and ease with which he answered were enough to dispel her fear.

"However," Avernus began, a note of depression in his voice, "I think it would be best if we kept the exact nature of our relationship a secret for now."

"You're worried about how your family will react?"

"Mostly just my father," answered Avernus, "You'll already be enough of a shock to him, just as you are. I'd prefer not to agitate him more than necessary."

"Well, to be honest, I don't see how we can hide it," began Leto, "We're a day late; we were supposed to be back late last night. What possible excuse can we come up with to explain this?"

Leto raised a very a good point. There really wasn't much he could come up with, nothing believable at any rate, and an excuse presupposed that Avernus would be willing to lie to his family about this, which he wasn't entirely sure if he was ready to do.

"Good point," Avernus replied after a moment, "The only excuse I can think of would be that you had a difficult time finding any animals to take blood from, and by the time you did, there wasn't enough time left to make it back before the sun came up, forcing us to stay the day. And that's not a very convincing excuse, is it?"

"Not really, no," confirmed Leto. An uncomfortable silence passed between them as they both tried to imagine the consequences of their illicit tryst. "So are we going to tell them, then?" Leto asked eventually.

"If they ask, I suppose we'll have to," Avernus answered glumly, "Though I seriously doubt that they won't."

"Best to just get it over with," remarked Leto.

"Hmm. Perhaps."

By the time Avernus and Leto arrived, it was fairly late in the evening. The sky was black, the stars were out, and the torches and braziers that lined the streets were lit, radiating a comforting warmth and orange glow over the cobbles. They ascended the steps of the porch, crossed over to the door, and gently undid the latch, so as not to disturb anyone still awake.

Upon opening the door, they were greeted by the sight of a crackling fire in the hearth and Avernus's mother sitting in a chair directly in front of it, wrapped in a blanket and holding her hands close to the flames for warmth. Upon hearing the door open, followed by the muffled tapping of Avernus's cane as it struck a part of the floor covered by rugs, she turned her head in their direction, a look of mild surprise evident in her features. She then rose and cast off the blanket as she strode forward to greet them.

Oddly enough, however, the look on her face changed from one of mild surprise to one of anger, and when she was within arm's reach of Avernus, she slapped him in the face. The crack of her palm on his cheek was enough to shatter the silence that permeated the room, and Avernus likely would have toppled over, had Leto not been supporting him. Leto, who had seen the blow coming, was shocked. She could have easily blocked it from coming, but she wasn't sure she, an outsider, had any right to interfere in a matter between mother and son.

"Where in Oblivion have you been?" she hissed in whispered Cyrodiilic, so as not to wake the rest of the house. Leto could mostly understand her words, thanks to Avernus's instruction. "You were supposed to be back last night, or before dawn at the very latest. You're a full day late! Do you have any idea how much worry you put your grandparents and I through?"

"You know I can protect myself, mother," Avernus hissed back, "Things didn't go quite as smoothly as we had expected, but your reaction seems unjustified."

"Does it?" Sylva retorted, "Your tattered shirt suggests otherwise. Do you know your father arrived not even an hour after you left? He's been lying on the table in the back room ever since, recovering from some of the worst wounds he's received in years, and he was with a full company of guardsmen! You went off with just one other person!"

While Sylva had been shouting at her son, Leto had disengaged herself from Avernus and sat down in the chair next to the doorway. Most of what Sylva said, Leto couldn't understand. She was speaking too quickly, and Leto's Cyrodiilic wasn't that good yet, but it was quite clear that she was upset with Avernus. Leto had no idea why. When Sylva's rant finished, Avernus looked like he was about to say something, but Sylva cut him off and began speaking again, this time in a somewhat calmer manner.

"Now, you're going to sit down, and tell me exactly what happened with you and Leto," she said as she moved to support him in a similar manner as Leto and forcefully guided him to one of the upholstered benches by the hearth, before taking a seat herself on the opposite bench, facing her son. Leto got up as well, after a moment, rising from her chair by the door and moving to sit next to Avernus.

Avernus was dreading the conversation that would take place. He wanted to be discrete about the relationship between Leto and him, and reveal it when his family was ready, but he didn't see how he could keep the truth from getting out now, without resorting to lying.

"Well? Start talking," prompted Sylva, "What happened after you two left the city? Where did you go?"

"We went south, into the forest in the foothills, where there wasn't supposed to be anyone around that Leto might accidentally hurt," Avernus answered.

"Except there were people there, wasn't there?" Sylva inquired.

"Yes. Leto ran into a few Stormcloak soldiers, and-" Avernus replied, but was cut off by his mother.

"Leto ran into Stormcloaks? Where were you?"

"Not with her," answered Avernus, "On even ground, I can't even walk without a stick, and in the forest I'm nearly immobile without someone else's support. I would only slow Leto down, so I waited at a distinctive landmark while Leto went off to find a source of blood to feed on."

"You stayed all alone, in the middle of a forest full of criminals and dangerous creatures?" Sylva shrieked in dismay, "Have you no sense of self-preservation?"

"Of course I do," Avernus snapped back, "We picked a relatively defensible location for me to wait in, and I erected several magical wards and barriers to ensure that my presence went unnoticed. I wasn't encountered by any people, criminals or otherwise, and the few animals that stumbled across me were fooled by my magic. I'm not helpless, mother."

"I suppose not," Sylva conceded, "But then, why is your shirt all torn up? I somehow doubt you would have done that to yourself. Were you attacked?"

"Well, not exactly. Leto became quite aggressive once I restored her mind to its natural state and nearly," Avernus stressed, "attacked me, but was ultimately able to prevent her thirst from harming me." Avernus knew it wasn't the complete truth, but he preferred not to tell his mother that Leto had ripped his shirt off in a fit of frenzied lust that he had willingly participated in. He knew he'd have to tell her sooner or later before this conversation ended, but he intended on delaying it for as long as possible.

"And if she wasn't able to control herself?" Sylva inquired, not pleased at all at hearing that her son's companion was that close to harming him.

"Then I would have restrained her telekinetically, which she wouldn't have been able to resist," answered Avernus, "Really, how can you fight being remotely suspended in the air out of arm's reach?"

"I suppose that would have worked," Sylva conceded after a moment's thought. "Returning to Leto, you said she encountered Stormcloaks?"


"What happened?"

"They attacked her, so she killed them and then fed on them."

Sylva's eyes widened at that, a shocked look appearing on her face, but it lasted only a moment. "I suppose that was to be expected from the Stormcloaks," she said, "But she didn't purposely engage them, did she?"

"No, they attacked her first, and she simply responded," answered Avernus.

"What worries me more is the fact that the Stormcloaks have advanced this far into Whiterun Hold," Sylva remarked, "We know they plan on attacking the city, but I didn't think it would be so soon!"

"Neither did I," Avernus agreed, "But I suppose it isn't really surprising. Tomorrow is already the 25th of Last Seed and winter is quickly approaching. We'll probably be getting snow in little over a month, and I doubt the Stormcloaks will want to lay siege to a city when it's freezing cold out. Best to try and capture the city before winter settles in."

"That's true," acknowledged Sylva, "But returning to the subject of your little expedition last night, if you waited safely for Leto to find a source of blood, and Leto dispatched the soldiers with no injury to herself, it looks like, relatively early, why did you not return home last night?"

Upon asking her question, Sylva's voice reacquired the stern, almost accusatory tone that was lost when the discussion turned towards the threat of the Stormcloaks. Avernus knew he was in trouble now. There was no way to avoid mentioning what had transpired between himself and Leto the previous night, and even if he was willing to lie about it, no plausible alternative excuse came to mind.

"Well…" Avernus began uncertainly, "I don't think Leto's thirst was sated immediately after feeding – after all, our hunger doesn't go away immediately after we finish gorging ourselves at a feast, for instance – and I think, uh, some of her vampiric instincts that her thirst encouraged remained heightened. So, when she came back to the clearing I was waiting in, um…"

Sylva was immediately suspicious the moment Avernus started talking. He had answered her previous questions confidently, but now he was stumbling over his words. That his hand sought Leto's and grasped it for support seemed to Sylva like an incriminating gesture. What had they done, she wondered, that caused her son such discomfort to mention, when news of his companion killing Stormcloaks didn't even seem to faze him? Did she even want to know? She was dreading the answer.

"We, uh…copulated," Avernus finished lamely, whilst averting his eyes.

Sylva's mouth fell open in complete shock. He did what?

"Then we fell asleep and woke at dawn, so we had to stay put," Avernus hastily added.

An oppressive awkwardness permeated the quiet room, and the silence that ensued was nearly thick enough to be cut with a knife. Sylva didn't even know what to think about that. Did she even hear that right? No, she did. Her crippled, emaciated son had gone out in the night and fucked a vampire in the middle of a forest, right after almost being attacked and fed on! The first thing that came to mind was that she should slap him for being such an idiot and a scoundrel!

"You selfish idiot!" hissed Sylva. Had she been sitting next to her son, she would have slapped him again. "You delayed your already-dangerous excursion and frightened your grandparents and me to death just so you could have sex? You ass! And with a vampire no less! What's wrong with you? You said she nearly attacked you, and you get in bed with her? Have you lost your mind? You're normally so sensible, but this is incredibly stupid!"

"Are you quite done?" Avernus snapped back.

"No, I'm not," his mother continued, "What if this affects your judgement? I have nothing against Leto personally, but she's a vampire! She's dangerous by nature, whether she intentionally means to be or not. And it's not just your safety that's at risk, it's all of ours! Think of your old grandparents, or the twins! If something goes wrong and they get hurt because your entirely inappropriate emotional involvement with Leto prevents you from seeing danger, will you be able to live with yourself?"

"You're being ridiculous," rebuked Avernus, "My feelings for Leto will not impair my judgement. I've had these feelings for Leto for some time, and have I not been handling her vampirism well? Give me some credit!"

"We've only known about this since yesterday," argued Sylva, "There's still plenty of time for you to screw up!"

"And I repeat: I've felt this way about Leto for some time now and it hasn't prevented me from handling the outbreak of her vampirism, which was entirely unexpected, in a safe manner," Avernus insisted.

"I suppose," Sylva grudgingly conceded, "But I'll be informing your grandparents of this. They have a right to know about this since your…indulgence…affects us all."

"Fair enough, I suppose," Avernus sighed, "But you can't tell Father about this. At least not yet. He'll have a hard enough time dealing the fact that Leto's a Falmer. He should have time to adjust to that first, before we throw any more surprises his way."

"On that we agree," remarked Sylva, "It wasn't the bandit raid where he nearly got killed; that went exactly according to plan, apparently. But on their return he and his company were ambushed by vampires. They were the ones who wounded him so terribly. If we tell him that there's one living in this house – to say nothing of the fact that you're sleeping with her – there's no telling what he'll do."

"Ambushed by vampires?" Avernus echoed, "And they didn't manage to kill everyone in Father's company?"

"No," Sylva answered, "After the vampires ambushed your father, they were in turn ambushed by a group of vampire hunters, calling themselves the Dawnguard, that had been following them. Most of the guards survived, thanks to their intervention, and the survivors patched your father up the best they could before carrying him back here."

"Lucky for them," remarked Avernus.

"And us," said Sylva quietly, "Without their aid, your father probably would not have come back at all."

Avernus hummed in acknowledgement.

"Now go to bed," Sylva commanded, as if he were still a small child, "I have to stay up to tend to your father, and I don't want to have to deal with you" Apparently, Avernus wasn't forgiven just yet.

"Alright, goodnight, mother," Avernus replied with a hint of annoyance. He made to rise from the bench, but Leto was faster and helped him up.

As the two reached the stairs, the warm, orange light from the fire no longer illuminated their way, leaving the stairs and the landing shrouded in darkness. Leto, of course, had no difficulties whatsoever in being able to see; indeed, she could even clearly make out the individual grains of the wooden boards that made up the steps. It was a different matter for Avernus entirely, however, as he stared wide-eyed and unseeing.

At that moment, Leto was reminded of how…vulnerable Avernus could be at times. He was smaller than her, physically weaker, slower, and had significantly less acute senses, to say nothing of his lameness. By nearly every measure, he was physically inferior to her. Not that Leto felt that this made her better than Avernus as a person. Not at all, but seeing him in such a vulnerable state seemed to trigger primitive nurturing instincts in her, and she felt a powerful need to help him in some way. She knew he could easily produce a magical orb of light, like he had done to test her eyes back underground, and that her help was therefore unnecessary, but she didn't care.

As Avernus shot his left arm out, his palm facing upwards as if to conjure the light in it, Leto grasped it instead, intertwining her fingers with his. "Will you let me help you?" she whispered to him.

"Alright," Avernus replied, recognizing her desire to help him as a need in and of itself. The next thing he knew, Leto was cradling him in her arms as she ascended the stairs, holding him tightly and placing chaste kisses upon his lips.

It was a bit strange at first. Avernus had expected Leto to simply support him, like she usually did when she went out with him, as she guided him up the stairs through the dark. He hadn't expected her to actually pick him up and carry him in her arms, but he didn't mind at all that she did. The more Leto handled him like this, the less Avernus felt indignant about it, he found. Now, as Leto ascended the last stair and began making her way down the pitch black hallway, Avernus wrapped his arms around her neck and shoulders, eager to respond to her intimacy with his own. This seemed to please her, as she held him tighter and kissed him again.

Before long, Avernus felt her one forearm twist beneath him, as she rotated her hand to be able to push the door to his room open while still carrying him. He was then set gently down on his bed before hearing the latch to the door click shut. He then felt the bed shift as Leto joined him, followed by her hands upon his torso as she removed the shirt she had ruined the previous night, and tossed it on the floor. Following this, Leto lifted the blanket up and slid it over Avernus and herself as she pressed her body up against his. She must have removed her top sometime after entering the room, Avernus realized, when he felt her bare breasts press against his chest, before she captured his mouth with hers once more. She kissed him much more passionately this time, and her tongue was soon dancing with his in no time.

Avernus was somewhat confused. What had brought on this sudden outburst of passion from Leto, he wondered? Not that he was complaining, mind you. But as the passion continued between them, he was reminded of his mother's strong objection to his involvement with Leto, and the accusations she threw at him, and instantly his primal desire was killed.

"I'm sorry about my mother," said Avernus after he withdrew from their kiss, "I didn't think she would be this…disapproving."

Avernus then felt her hands cup his face, and her forehead came to rest against his. "It's okay," she replied, "I love you, Avernus, and I don't need her permission to love you."

Avernus chuckled at how wilful and stubborn her answer was, and heard her chuckle back a little.

"Your family's been really generous to allow me to stay with you, and I really appreciate their kindness, but if they think they can dictate what the relationship between us will be, then they can kiss my ass, because they have no right," Leto cheerfully declared, prompting another bout of chuckles from Avernus. He loved how defiant she was!

"Good," Avernus replied, "I'm glad you're not intimidated by them. I'm not so sure I would be so defiant were I in your position."

"But are you willing to stand up to your family for me?"

"Yes," Avernus answered without hesitation, "I love them dearly, but you're right; they have no business interfering with what's between us."

"Then that's all that matters," Leto cheerfully replied before she kissed him again. "Now let's not think of such unhappy things."

Avernus hummed in agreement, before wrapping his arms around her and pulling her close once more. The events of the day quickly caught up with him and soon he drifted off to sleep.

So I realize I've had this story going for just over a year now. Wow. Not to stroke my ego or anything, but damn, I'm impressed with myself XD But the other, more important realization that comes to me is that I've been progressing very slowly with the story, which makes me even more grateful to everyone who's had the patience to to keep following this story. Upon realizing how long it's been since I started, I've decided to try and speed events along more quickly, but I'll still try to make it flow well. Your opinions on this would be greatly appreciated.

Anyways, thank you all for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays! ^_^