A/N - I got this bee in my bonnet a couple of days ago and decided to try it out. I don't quite know where I'm going with it. If I get readers, I'll write more.

Disclaimer: I don't own the Carpathian Series. I don't own any of the established characters from the Carpathian series. I don't profit monetarily or otherwise from the posting of this story. And I'm not in any way, shape or form trying to copy the way Ms. Feehan writes. I'm just carried away with the concept and have decided to run with it and see how far I can get just for the sake of creativity.

"Rusti? Someone's on the phone for you," said Syndil.

Tempest turned and frowned. How had anyone known where she was at, let alone knew what number to call? "For me?" she asked, shocked. She hadn't known enough people to even keep track of in her human life and the only two or three she cared for had no idea where she was at. She thought it was best that way, under the circumstances. She knew they wouldn't understand.

She made her way through the empty arena and suppressed laughter as she felt a breeze whip by and settle next to her. Her lifemate, Darius, materialized. "Who is this person that knows where you may be contacted?"

"I don't know," she shrugged. "I don't even know how they would know where to find me."

"I will take the call first."

As she gave him a 'look', "Sure you will," was all she said, deadpan.

Vampires are wily and unpredictable. You will do this thing for me. I will ensure your protection in all things.

"Seriously, Darius, who's going to do what? And through the telephone?"

"You have a penchant for getting yourself into trouble. That, you cannot deny."

She didn't answer as she got to the back of the empty arena. She had gotten into several scrapes back when they'd first gotten together and he was determined to never let her live that down! Okay, so she had nearly died several times, but that wasn't the point!

The band members were doing sound checks for the next day's concert, setting up their equipment. Darius and Julian were checking entrance and exit routes, better ways to secure the area. It was one of the few large concerts Desari consented to give. As usual, Julian did not understand his lifemate's need to continue to entertain despite the danger. But since it made her happiness, he could do no other than ensure her happiness.

As Tempest approached the phone, a feeling of sadness overwhelmed her. And she had a feeling as to who it was waiting for her at the other end of the line.

Darius had already picked up the phone, determined to find out who it was first, but Tempest snatched it from him, fear in her chest.


"Danica?" came Rusti's worried voice through the phone. "What's wrong?"

She was just barely holding back tears. "Rusti!" came the relieved voice. "I don't know how I knew to call you or where…I just did." And neither of them talked about how Tempest knew it was her on the phone before even hearing her voice.

The two of them were more alike than either of them had ever discussed. Tempest had known Danica in high school. The two seemed to be naturally drawn to one another… Tempest talked to animals and Danica…just knew things, felt things, could seemingly pluck information out of the air. She was amazing. And she was great at hiding not just her abilities, but herself. But now, she was scared to death. "It's Lena," she sobbed on a whisper.

"The baby?" squealed Tempest. "What's wrong with her?"

She had one sad smile on her face as she said, "That baby is fourteen now."

Tempest remembered little Lena, Danica's niece. She had been 5 years old the last time she'd seen her. "What's the matter with her?"

Danica swallowed back her tears. "She's…she's scared to death. She won't leave the house, she's stuck to my side like glue. In the daytime she's okay, but at night she's scared. She's having nightmares. Screaming nightmares where she wakes up caked in sweat!"

Tempest remembered the little girl, how independent and full of mischief she'd been. "What do you think is wrong?" she asked as fear twisted at her.

"I don't know," she wailed. "But someone…something is after her. She hasn't told me that, but I can tell. She only says that when she's with me it can't find her."

Danica had a natural shield and being near her seemed to be shielding Lena from…it. Tempest nodded. "You keep her there with you, all right?" She ran her fingers through her hair. "Don't let her out of the house alone or out of your sight. I'll be there within three days, all right?"

Darius knew from being merged with Tempest's mind, she was thinking that a vampire stalked the young girl. "We will find a way to send someone to her on the next rising," he said.

"Who is that?" asked Danica. "You weren't into guys back in the day. Did you finally find someone?"

"It's my husband," said Tempest with a small grin. "And you?"

"No," she said. "Um…my sister and her husband died. That's why I have Lena now."

"Oh no, I'm so sorry!" said Tempest with a huge frown. "That's terrible."

"So she's been with me, officially, for like four years now and…she's a good kid, Rusti. It bothers the hell out of me to see her like this!"

"Before I get there, Darius is going to talk to some people and have someone sent to you tomorrow, okay?"


"You still in the Bronx?"

"Yeah, I am." She rattled off her address. "Hurry. I don't know how long I can protect her from…whatever this is."