Title: Beyond the Canvas

Time: Some time after Bloodlines ending

Disclaimer: No, i do not own the Bloodlines series or Sydney or Adrian or anyone other character, though i do wish Adrian was mine...

Please enjoy!

When Adrian answered the door, there were two main things I noticed. The first, that his fashionable, and most likely expensive clothes, were splattered with dots of colored paint. And second, his eyes were bright with what could only be excited inspiration.

"Hey, Adrian," I greeted.

"Hey, Sage," he responded, moving aside so I could walk through the doorway.

My mind was too stunned by his appearance, that I didn't get the gesture and instead just stood outside. I tried focusing on the intent of my visit, but it was hard enough to concentrate on not staring. Adrian just looked so...lively. It was something his corrosive attitude couldn't ruin.

His eyebrows rose in confusion. "I have to say, even from you, Sage, I'm not used to women turning down my invitations."

Well, almost not ruin it.

I blinked away my dazed thoughts and stepped through. "I was just coming by to check up on your research. I haven't updated in a while." "Oh," Adrian said, something funny in his voice, as he shut the door. "Well, Sonya and the rest aren't here, so..."

I frowned. The rest. He didn't have to tell me he meant Dimitri. Dimitri's stay was not something Adrian was exactly excited for, or had even expected. It was almost unhealthy, and I couldn't help but keep a more studious eye on Adrian. Wary of his actions that could turn from harmless to outrageously wild in a single night. Dimitri had every right to be here, but I couldn't help but feel eager for him to leave. Watching Adrian just strengthened that feeling. I was on the look out for Jill, of course. Concerned for the effects of Adrian's immoral addictions on her. And I didn't want to have to babysit him and wake up at the crack of dawn just to drive across town to pick him up from some all-girl's dormitory.

"That's okay," I told him casually, reminding to look away from the deep green of his eyes, "I—"

My gaze turned to the rest of the living room. I was too engrossed to notice it before, but now I took in my surroundings. Similar to Clarence's living room when Adrian had been doing his 'homework,' canvases and rolls of paper decorated the room. Easels stood up against the walls, wet paint shinning on newly finished artwork. Landscapes and sketches, all with such interesting qualities meant to stand out. I recognized some paint colors on the canvases that seemed to have made their way to Adrian's clothes. And one painting in particular, across the room, still sitting on its easel, left me breathless.

It was a close up of the side of a face, focused so that the cheekbones were angled down, and the eye was looking slightly up. A golden brown eye. It stared straight through me, through the painting- its angles and planes so familiar and detailed to every line, I could almost feel a life coming from it.

I hadn't realized I had been slowly approaching the work until Adrian walked up beside me. "I wanted to show you this once it dried, but since you're here..."
Through my mesmerized state, I felt him watching me. But before I could wake my voice enough to speak, I was rendered speechless again. From my stance, the light hit the painting differently. And I saw the brilliant reflection of the golden swirls of a lily. Right below the eye.

Instinctively, my fingers reached up to my own lily imprint resting on my cheekbone. As if to prove it was real.
Still unable to speak, I looked to Adrian, who I found looking at the painting as if deciding on its quality, but I knew it was a look of pride, and he was just trying to be humble. I would've scoffed at the thought, but in my state it wasn't possible.
"I tried to really capture the...beauty of it," Adrian decided, unknowingly making a blush bloom across my face. "But I wasn't sure. It took hours to get it right. Or closest to it, anyway."
I was looking at the eye again, but broke away when I felt the imaginary pressure from Adrian's proximity. His eyes seemed...expectant, almost. And it took me a second to realize he was waiting for my response. Little escaped my throat; I wanted to say so much more. But with all that came, I hoped my awestruck expression was enough.
"It's beautiful," I breathed. And it was. He had made something bland and simple to be something wordlessly beautiful.
Adrian smiled, warm and genuine. "Well," he began, his annoying arrogance returning, "then maybe I did capture them perfectly."
I felt myself smile a little. Then, as the realization of his words finally reached me, the heat on my cheeks rose. My hand came back down to my side. And I said something to somehow break the oddly flowing intensity between us. "You definitely did the tattoo justice."
"Yeah," Adrian perked up, glad to see I'd noticed, "I found this gold paint that kind of reminded me of your tattoo. So I tried mixing a few colors to get the reflection just right."
Says the guy who claims his hands don't do manual labor, I thought. But instead, my smile widened. He had really put a lot of work into this. Then a disappointing thought fell on me, like a cold, soaked cloak, over my shoulders. What if he was imagining someone else's eye? Rose's were brown, and maybe he just added the tattoo to save himself from admittance. But a look at Adrian, his admiration and uncharacteristic nervousness changed my thought, washing it away like sunlight to morning dew. These were my eyes. Adrian had painted my eyes. But why?
I had even bothered to ask. The word just blurted out, fueled by burning curiosity. "Why?"
"Because I couldn't let it go," he admitted, rare sincerity in his eyes. "Ever since I saw your eyes in the sunlight like that. I couldn't forget them. I had to paint them. You mesmerized me."
I stared back. Thrown into muteness yet again. I heard some spirit in his muse, and this was definitely unlike him. But I couldn't help but feel his sincerity; so honest it seemed tangible. And listening to the last of his words, I grasped the meaning of his art piece. The eye mesmerized everyone who viewed it. I only wish I knew why— that remained unknown.

The trance seemed to have left Adrian so suddenly, it shocked me out of mine. "Anyway, I better get an A for this."
My Alchemist side sprung to life. "Adrian, you can't show this! You can't show an entire human class my tattoo! It'll-"
"Relax, Sage," he told me lazily, "I was just teasing you." He smirked.
I scowled. There was no need to tell him it wasn't funny. He knew that already. Well, at least, he knew it wasn't funny from my perspective. Still, I replaced the scowl with a sigh and shook my head. As if the motion cleared away the fog in my conscience, my purpose returned. "When do you think they'll be back?" I asked. Adrian gave me a blank look. "The others? With research?"
"Oh,"—Realization hit— "I don't know. They said something about several hours, and they left a while ago. It wasn't like I was keeping track of time or anything."
I translated that to "it's not my responsibility."
"But you're welcome to stay until they come back," he offered, friendly. No hidden remarks, no inappropriate meanings.
"Uh, n-no thanks," I was already heading for the door. "I have to leave. I thought this would be a quick stop. I have other things to do—"
"You know, Sage," Adrian's voice said against my back, making me turn unwillingly around to face him, "You don't have to do everything you're told, just because a superior asked you to."
His comment was heavier than it seemed. Hitting a little too close to the truth for me. Though I should've expected it, it felt weird coming from him. And the way he said it, how he looked at me with those dark green eyes as he did. The desire to stay, to be with Adrian a little while longer burned through me. But I took a second's pause to collect my logical self. I had been here long enough, with no purpose but talking to Adrian, a vampire. Even after busting Keith, I was still on thin ice with the Alchemists, and spending my free time in close spaces, alone, with a vampire, was not going to help my case. Or Zoe, for that matter. The thought of Zoe pushed away my desire far enough to give Adrian a firm look. One that told him I couldn't afford defiance, and I didn't need him to encourage it. Adrian's face relaxed, letting me go as I opened the door. But his face transformed into something else, something I couldn't quite put words to. Instead I looked away, figuring I could ponder on it later, and stole a final glance at the painting of my eye. As I walked through the night, I realized the emotion painted deep within the molten gold of the iris.
It was a deep fierce intelligence that seemed caged under a thick layer of glass. In a way, the eye seemed sad, as if it wanted something so bad, it was ready to fight for it, to break free of the glass barrier.
The warm feelings I had been filled with earlier vanished into a cold chill that gnawed at my bones, and stayed there deep enough into my dreams.

*Quick note, if you think Adrian was too forward, keep in mind that I imagine this scene occurring after a while, so Sydney and Adrian have known each other for a while longer than when Bloodlines ended. (plus, it's a fluff fanfiction, and I'm a romantic! 3 )*

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it! Please review and comment!