David and Claire walked down the stairs into the core of the vampire coven. He had been thinking quite a bit during their drive. At first, he was happy that she had finally given in. He knew the attraction had always been there, she even said it had, but she had been scared then. He had seen the irony when he nearly died after her revelation. But she hadn't closed herself.
And now, he was starting to have his doubts. She was human. She would eventually grow old and die. What then? What if she developed a horrible disease that threatened to take her away sooner? Or, what if, during their struggle against these lycan hybrids, she was horribly maimed? Or worse, on the verge of dying? Could he resist turning her? She had warned him of the consequences if he did. He had no doubt in his mind that she would disappear forever if he did succeed. But, at least then, she would still be alive.
A light flickered next to him, bringing him back to the present. He looked at Claire. She stared at the ground, clearly deep in thought. She had let her red hair down and it covered her back. She looked paler in the darkened stairway. He didn't like it. She was right about one thing, although David didn't want to admit it. The vampires were never going to go back to the way they were. He looked around at the nearly barren walls and did his best not to react. Was she going to have to live the rest of her short life forever in the confines of this dungeon? He didn't like that thought.
As if realizing he was looking at her she looked up at him. "David," she said softly.
"Yes?" he asked.
She looked away and bit her lip. Then she stopped walking, and he followed suite. She rubbed her bottom lip with her right index finger.
"Is it that bad?" he teased. There really wasn't anything he could think of now that she could say that she needed to be worried about.
"It's not bad," she said. "It's," she paused. "Well… There's something I think I should tell you. I mean, I don't plan on going anywhere. And I think that it would be better if I said it sooner rather than later. But…" She was rambling. He gently cupped her chin and forced her to look at him.
"Whatever it is. You can tell me," he whispered. Her skin felt warm despite her complexion.
"David," she said softly, placing her hand on his. "I…"
"Where the hell have you been, David?" Selene interrupted as she stormed over to them. Instinctively, David placed himself in front of Claire, but that didn't stop Selene from spotting the human woman. "I thought we had an understanding," she said, looking up at David.
"We were attacked and she saved my life," David responded. He knew Selene wasn't fond of Claire, but hadn't really thought of what to say or do when he saw her.
"I'm sorry, Selene," Claire said, stepping up and moving next to David. He looked at her in surprise. "I understand why you don't want me around. But we have found something very important and really don't have time for this."
David nodded. To be honest, he had briefly forgotten about the new type of lycan hybrids.
"What did you find?" Selene asked, much to his relief.
"Some of the lycan hybrids have saliva that is toxic to vampires," Claire said, holding up her backpack.
She didn't have to say anything else as they made their way to the resident vampire doctor. The woman took the samples that Claire had collected and quickly began to examine them.
"How did you come to that conclusion?" Selene asked Claire as they waited for the results.
"We were attacked at one of your safe houses. David was bit and almost died," Claire explained. "I took a sample of the creature's saliva and examined it myself. Your safe house has pretty much everything needed to come to my conclusion."
Selene frowned. "Are you a doctor?" she asked.
David frowned. He hadn't thought about that. He looked at Claire and she shook her head. "I just… I like to read and learn."
"You read how to do… that?" Selene asked a bit skeptical. Despite being very old, she had never bothered to learn medical language.
"The human is right," the doctor said. Selene and David moved closer her.
"Are you sure?" Selene asked.
The doctor sighed as she leaned back and nodded. "I'll have to examine them more, but I do believe she is correct in her assessment."
"What are we going to do?" David asked Selene. Although Claire had said that only the earlier hybrids had the venom in their saliva, that didn't mean that later ones didn't have it either. Yes, the ones who had attacked them didn't, but what about others?
"Turn everyone into a hybrid!" Thomas stated as he strode into the room.
David was slightly relieved to see his father, even if he did disagree with the man's words. "Father," David said softly, shaking his head. It was an argument that Thomas had yet to win.
"He may be right," Selene muttered. Everyone stared at her in surprise, and she looked miserable that she actually agreed with Thomas.
"Even Selene understands that this war will only be won with all of us as hybrids," Thomas said, recovering from his surprise. He looked at Selene and nodded. "We should start immediately."
"I said you may be right," Selene quickly stated, shaking her head. "I never said we would do it."
"What more do you need?" Thomas hissed. "For my son to die again for you to change your mind? Maybe next time you won't be able to bring him back." He looked from Selene to David and then spotted Claire. His eyes turned blue as his fangs descended. "What is shedoing here?" he hissed.
David immediately stepped in front of Claire. "I'm protecting her, father," he said. He could feel her moving behind him, but he didn't look back at her. Instead, he squared his shoulders and stared his father down.
Thomas looked surprised for a brief moment, before his eyes narrowed. "You will condemn us to die the longer you wait," he said, turning his attention to Selene. Evidently, he had decided to dismiss his issue with Claire.
"Vampires have betrayed me before," Selene stated, allowing her eyes to glow blue and her fangs to come out. "I will not make a rash decision about this."
Thomas clenched his jaw. He didn't want to argue with them anymore. He knew he couldn't force them.
"I don't think that's the answer," Claire spoke.
Thomas' lips curled back in disgust. "And you think we care about what you think?"
"David is a hybrid and the bite nearly killed him," Claire pointed out, clearly not afraid of the older vampire. Her eyes were soft as was her body language. She was in no way trying to threaten Thomas. Instead, she appeared to be wanting to discuss their options.
Thomas looked at his son in surprise. David nodded, silently answering his father's question. He had almost died again.
"It may slow the process, but if all of you were to get bit I don't think you have enough blood to save all of you. I'm convinced that he would have died if I wasn't there," she said firmly. "Our best bet is to find a cure of sorts. An antidote or anti-venom to whatever this is." She waved her hand in the direction of the doctor.
"It will take me some time to figure out what exactly it does," the doctor said softly.
Selene watched Claire carefully before she nodded in agreement. "Turning everyone into a hybrid is not a decision I will make lightly. I want to know exactly what we are dealing with before making a rash decision."
Thomas took a step back. "Then you have condemned us all to die," he said. He didn't wait for them to say another word and swiftly turned on his heels and walked away.
"David," Selene said, turning her attention toward the young vampire. "I would like to discuss our options."
Claire touched David's arm and smiled. "I will find Tanis," she said, taking the hint. "Best let him know about the new details so he can record them."
David opened his mouth to protest, but she was already out the door.
"Come, David," Selene said. Hesitantly, he followed her. "Do you plan on turning her?" Selene asked after they began their walk.
He shook his head. "She doesn't want me to," he said. "She had me promise not to."
Selene let out a sigh of relief. "I do not trust her, David. She is hiding something."
"She saved me, Selene," he said, trying to defend Claire. "She gave me her blood. I," he paused. "Things have changed too."
Selene raised her eyebrows. "Between the two of you," she commented.
He wasn't sure if he wanted to tell her the whole truth or not. Out of everyone, she was the one who he could most relate to, having fallen for a human as well. But at the same time, they were in two completely different situations. "I don't know how they found us," he said, slightly changing the conversation. But, Selene had to know. "We were at one of our safe houses. Claire said she believed that they had been set loose, but the coincidence of them finding us is…"
"Do you think it's because of her?" Selene asked. "She called them?"
David shook his head. "If she had wanted me dead then she would have let me die," he said. He knew exactly what Selene was hinting at. "Why bring me from the abyss?"
"To attack from here," Selene said.
David shook his head. "Then they would have attacked long ago. Those lycans have no problem and no trouble attacking her to kill her. She's a friend now, Selene. And I trust her."
They were quiet as they walked. Selene contemplating on his words about Claire, and David's mind was surprisingly blank. He wasn't sure why, but he couldn't really think of anything. It was as if all his words, thoughts, and ideas had fled from him.
"Any news as to who is doing this? They must be nearby," he finally asked. They had been sending small scouting parties over the last two weeks, shortly after being attacked by hybrids.
Selene shook her head. "I agree they must be near us in order for them to attack so easily and quickly. But we have no news. Patrick has been going through everything from Detective Anderson's hard drive, but he has found little of importance. It appears that Anderson used his computer to track down the decoys, nothing more."
"They're not coming from Budapest," David said. "And we ran into a pack of eight on our way here."
"The scouts have been coming up empty as well," Selene said with a sigh. "They haven't been attacked and they haven't found any indication as to where the lycans are coming from. We've been focusing on the area southeast of Budapest, since that is where we have been attacked. But I'm beginning to believe that that is just a diversion. I've sent scouts further north." She stopped and David stopped with her. "I have noticed that the lycans have mainly attacked when only she is around. I think we can use that to our advantage. Capture a lycan or hybrid and get it to tell us the location of where they are."
"No," David said, shaking his head. He was not ready for Claire to be in danger again. She was finally safe and sound inside the coven. There was no way he was letting her back out there. He hadn't realized how relaxed he was until Selene mentioned using Claire as bait.
"It may be our only chance to catch them off guard," Selene firmly said. "Soon they will find us. It'll be better if we assault them first. It is what she was trained to be. She knows she's bait."
"And I said no," David said, crossing his arms. "Her life has been in enough danger. I will not her risk it again." He couldn't stop shaking his head. After all he had gone through. No! It was safer for her in the coven than out there. Everyone knew he protected her here. They respected that. The lycans didn't respect that out there.
Selene's eyes narrowed for a second before she continued on her walk. She thought him foolish.
"Selene!" David called out. He had no reason to continue following her. "Don't talk to her about it. Don't tell her to do this." He knew that he almost sounded desperate with that last sentence, but he could already picture the conversation; Selene talking to Claire about being bait, and Claire accepting to help them out.
Selene didn't say a word as she disappeared down a corner. David almost ran after her to make her see his side, get her to understand why he wanted Claire safe. But he knew that whatever Selene had decided to do, she would do it.
Instead, he turned and rushed over to the library, where Tanis was most likely at. David didn't even have to enter the room to know that the two were in there.
"You would make this so much easier if you would just become a vampire," Tanis whined.
"And who said I wanted to make this easier?" Claire asked. "Contrary to popular belief, I actually don't mind talking."
David walked into the room, but it appeared that only Tanis noticed him. Claire sat on the table looking down at the journal that Tanis was writing. The old vampire didn't care much for technology and preferred to write using pen and paper.
Tanis gave David a quick glance, before looking back at Claire. "Yes, but you can't hide your memories from your own blood," Tanis pointed out as he gave her a mischievous smile. "That way I'll know the whole truth than the bare minimum that you want to tell me."
Claire opened her mouth, ready with her retort when David interrupted. "Claire," he said. She quickly turned and looked at him, giving him a smile. He motioned for her to come to him, and she nodded in agreement.
"You are lucky," she said to Tanis as she jumped off the table. "I was about to ramble about the perks of being me."
He waved his hand in the air, dismissing her comment. "It would appear so," he said with a sigh.
She jogged over to David and wrapped her arms around his left arm. "Where too?" she asked.
He eyed Tanis for a brief moment before smiling and looking down at her. "Away from here," he said as he ushered her out.
"You know," she said, after a few minutes. "He'll never risk turning me. No matter how much he wants to know what I know."
David nodded his head, despite the fact that he wasn't so sure about her statement. Better let her think that and let him worry about the other vampires.
"He fears you," she said.
He didn't answer her. She was growing frustrated. He could sense that, but he refused to look at her yet.
She quickened her pace and stopped in front of him, putting her hand on his chest. "David," she said softly as she searched his face. "Don't think I'm suddenly weak and frail and you have to protect me from everything," she said. "I'm still the same. And I can stand up and fight for myself."
"But you are weak," he said. "You are human." He knew that his eyes were blue and that his fangs were out, but she didn't understand. He could crush easily crush her. He gripped her arms as if enforce the fear on her. He half expected her to get angry. Instead, she pulled away, shaking her head.
"And you have to calm down!" she said as she firmly pressed her hands on his chest. "I am what I am, and I don't want to be anything else." She cocked her head. "Remember? People die around me. I rarely die around them."
For a joke it was rather weak, but it calmed him. He let out a sigh and nodded his head. "You are right," he said in defeat.
She giggled. "I know." She winked at him. "You must learn that women are almost always right. So best enjoy me while you can."
He leaned in closer to her. She took a step back until she hit the door behind her. "Can I?" he asked, placing his hand on it. He wanted her. There was no telling if Selene was going to talk to her about being bait. And if she did, there was no doubt in David's mind that Claire would agree. It was quite possible that he would lose her soon. He had to be with her now.
She looked up at him and he gently moved a strand of hair, which was on her face, behind her ear. She kissed him first. His heart jumped as her lips met his again. This was what he had wanted and craved for such a long time. Her tongue was the first to tease his lips, and soon his tongue met hers. He wanted to be in command, but he liked that she was giving him reasons to continue.
She pulled away. "You're room?" she asked quickly, looking around.
He smiled and nodded to the door she was against. She wrapped her arms around his neck again as he opened the door, allowing the two to stagger inside. He started to take off his jacket and felt her hands trying to help him, but at the same time she didn't want to stop kissing him.
Once one hand was free he ran it under her shirt, and up her back. He found the clasp to her bra and tried to unclasp it as her hand ran up his back. "I can't believe this," he muttered slightly, breaking the moment as he reached his other hand under her shirt. She giggled as she laid her head on his chest.
"Trouble?" she teased.
"If I wasn't afraid of hurting you, I would have torn it off," he muttered. "Finally!"
He could see the bra under her shirt and she smiled slyly as she put her hand into her sleeve and took off one strap. Then she grabbed the other strap and pulled out her bra. She did it so effortlessly, and he had trouble with the damn clasp.
He quickly took off his shirt before kissing her again. She jumped up on him, wrapping her legs around his waist. She slipped her shirt off then leaned in and kissed his shoulder. He fought his body's natural instant to bite her. He shuddered as her lips moved from his shoulder up to his neck, finally returning to his mouth. His senses were working on overtime. He could hear her heart pounding out of control. He could smell her sweet scent. Her thighs tightened as she squeezed him.
He wanted to get them on the bed. At least then she would be on something soft. His left knee banged into his nightstand and let out a grunt of disapproval. She giggled, causing him to growl and plop her on the bed. Her breathing was labored and he couldn't help but stare at her for a brief moment. At some point she had gotten rid of her pants. He spotted the scar that was just below her breasts. It looked to be about two inches long.
"You…" she started to say, but he shook his head. He wasn't going to ask her. Not now. That story was for another time. He was afraid if they stopped now they would get started again. Instead, he focused on finding what made her tick. She was going to be his now. And he had every intention of satisfying her.