Larten trudged back to Seba as usual, two young rabbits slung over his shoulder, ready to be skinned. He tried whistling, he'd never been very good at it, but he had a longer life time to look forward to, didn't he? Now that he was going to become a vampire... But at the age of sixteen, he still had about two more years to wait. That could be a good thing, considering that he didn't think he was ready for his first drink of blood. Larten walked a bit faster as he whistled, carelessly stepping on branches. He didn't have shoes, but his feet were rough and used to the forest floor. Suddenly, he heard something. It sounded a lot like someone saying "Ouch!". He turned and put himself in a defensive position.

"Who are you? Where are you?" he asked loudly, trying not to look scared.

"I am the eye of the... OUCH! storm. The shad- OUCH! -ow in your soul. OUCH! Dammit. Just call me- OUCH! Des..." a middle aged man came out from behind a tree, still yelling in pain every so often. Larten's eyes widened as he saw why the man was hurting. Des was barefoot, and his feet were... strange. He has six webbed toes, and the skin on them looked as if it was cracking, the tender skin on his soles was bleeding and he was in a rush. "Follow me!" he hissed, pulling Larten towards him.

"Were are we-" Larten couldn't finish his sentence, the man was fiddling with his watch and it seemed that they were moving. They stopped abruptly. Des looked around them, checking whether they were in the right place or not. He walked up to the nearest house, and knocked on the door.

Larten heard a lazy voice call out, "I'm coming... I'm coming!". He guessed it would be about five minutes before whoever had said that came, so he contemplated his surroundings. The house they were standing in front of was grey, it had a funny facade of what looked like old stones stolen from a nearby palace or something. Turning around, he noticed he was standing on a sort of front porch. He realised the windows were tainted, so he couldn't see in. While he was checking out his surroundings, a young girl came out. She was wearing strange clothes Larten didn't recognise.

"Desmond Tiny! You're late!" she sneered, "What took you so long?"

Desmond frowned, "I went as fast as I could! It isn't easy going around without my boots..."

"That's why I stole them, idiot," she muttered, "Oh, hi, Larten!" she shook Larten's hand. "I'm so pleased to meet you! My name is Sarah!"

"Have we met? I don't-"

"You're using contractions? Hmmm..." Sarah thought for a while, "Aren't you meant to... Oh... I get it! You were still talking like that at sixteen, weren't you? Silly me! Come in!" Larten walked in and Sarah gestured for him to sit on the couch. She got up and muttered something in Desmond's ear. Larten wished, not for the first time, that he had been blooded so he could hear their conversation.

Desmond turned around, then seemed to change his mind, "Can I have my boots back?"

"What's the magic word?" asked Sarah, obviously very pleased with the pain he was going through.


"Good. Now say, 'Can I have my boots back, please,'" said Sarah.

"Can I have my boots back, please," Desmond looked clearly unhappy.

"No, and the magic word is Wingardium Leviosa!" she giggled and crossed her arms comically.

"Huh?" exclaimed Desmond and Larten at the same time. But Sarah just laughed even harder.

"Here, throw some water on your stupid feet, if it makes you feel better!" laughed Sarah, carelessly throwing a bottle of water in Desmond's direction. He caught it and ran out. Sarah sat down on the couch next to Larten.

"Would you like some chocolate?" she asked. Larten nodded, he didn't know what it was but it sounded good! She handed him a brown bar of sugary stuff. Larten helped himself to a square and handed her the rest. "Would you like some cola?" Larten nodded again, a bit unsure, what was up with all those exotic foods? She handed him a bottle made with a strange transparent fabric, it contained a brown liquid with bubbles in it. Larten wasn't sure if he wanted to try it anymore... It looked dangerous! He tried it anyway, it didn't look as if the girl was trying to hurt him. Sarah poured the cola into a glass cup, and handed it to Larten. He gulped it down, realising just how thirsty he was.


"Hey! Calm down! It's just carbon dioxide," Sarah tried pulling him back down. It took Larten about half an hour to stop worrying and it took the same amount of time for Sarah to explain carbon dioxide.

After that hour had passed, they heard a knock on the door. Larten realised that Sarah did not look happy. In fact, she was positively scowling by the time she opened the door. There was Desmond standing there with a confused girl.

"Hello, Rose," snarled Sarah. She turned to Desmond, "Here are your boots, Tiny, NOW SCRAM!" She threw a pair of boots at Desmond and slammed the door.

"Sorry but... Who are you? And why are you here? Is this Larten?" asked Rose.

"I'm Dead L E! Remember? That girl from fanfiction? Huh?" said Sarah angrily," The one that loved... Um... I can't really tell you because he's here, but whatever. I'm here because I'm a great friend and I have an awesome present to give you for your birthday-"

"That was on the eighteenth!"

"WHATEVER! It's a late present, because I didn't want to give this to you... And for your information, YES! THIS IS LARTEN!" Sarah stormed out of the room.

Rose looked at Larten. "Um... Hello?" she mumbled.

"Hello, nice to meet you," Larten smiled and shook her hand.

"Wow! Is that blood on your hand?" asked Rose.

"Oh dear. I must have forgotten to wash my hands after hunting."

"Hunting? But... This place... doesn't look like a place for hunting."

"I know... Desmond brought me here, I was in a forest before," answered Larten.

"Desmond... Hmmm... Hey! Maybe this is the future for you! You don't look two hundred..."

"Two hundred?" Larten started laughing, "Why would I be two hundred?"

Rose blushed, "Um... It depends... How old are you?"

"Sixteen," said Larten, Rose gasped, "Why? How old are you?"

"Fifteen... But... SIXTEEN? You're not even a vampire yet!"

"I know, if I were to become a half-vampire now, it would be ten years before I became an adult!" Rose helped herself to a biscuit that was in front of her and Larten did the same. Whilst they were munching, Sarah knocked on the door and came in.

"I'm sorry... Rose... I didn't mean to ruin your birthday-"

"It is NOT my birthday!"

"Whatever. I didn't mean to ruin your time with Larten... I... It's just... I'm sorry!" Sarah burst into tears, "I just don't want to give him away!"

"I understand, don't cry! DON'T! DON'T!" Rose put a comforting arm around Sarah.

Larten sighed. "Girls. Girls! GIRLS!" They didn't answer, but he continued anyway, "Look, it's extremely obvious that both of you like me, so why invite me here in the first place? Were you just going to go and bicker over me?"

"No! Of course not! I was just going to give you to Rose!" exclaimed Sarah.

Rose's eyes widened. "You really were? CG! That is the best present ever!"

Larten would have facepalmed himself if he knew what that was. "But isn't that sort of the problem? Sarah likes me and she doesn't want to give me away to you! Isn't there some other way?"

Sarah nodded, "He's saying the truth. I can't just set you guys up! I'm your friend, and this is your birthday... But I can't give you something like that! Why don't we just go out... Um... To a pizza restorant and have fun there? Larten can come!"

Rose laughed, "Okay! But I'm having cheese pizza!

"Me too!"

"I'm not so sure about all these new foods..."