"Fifty – fifty years?" Alice muttered feebly in response – it was all she could say, really. "But you look..."
"I know," Maria tilted her head to side slightly so she could study Alice more intently. "You don't know very much about all of this, do you?"
She shook her head in response, and Maria sighed, then fell silent as she clearly went over what she wanted to say to Alice.
"Okay..." she started off slowly. "How old do you think I am?"
"About twenty five."
"Technically, I'm ninety-seven. But this is the only fun part about being what we are – when you master your powers, you get a little something in return. Immortality," Maria glanced at Alice, who looked slightly terrified, before she carried on speaking. "Do you want me to stop?"
"I – I don't know. I just... I need to know this but I don't know if I'm going to be able to take it all in," Alice spoke quickly, her hands tugging at the ends of her hair. Maria gave her a curious look.
"Are you all right?"
"Does it look like I'm all right?"
Maria paused for a moment.
"No. I'm sorry – I'm not entirely good with this sort of thing."
"Has this happened before?!"
"No! Well – yes, sort of – not that we're both being held captive here, but... more like I've had to explain to people what they are. Not often, but a few times, yes..." Maria sighed as Alice kept continually messing about with her hair. "Stop it," Maria reached out and gently placed her hand on Alice's, who recoiled in fear, jumping up out of her chair and backing away.
After a few moments, the look of fear was replaced with confusion, and she let go of the ends of her hair, staring down at her hands.
"Why... why didn't that...?"
"We've got the same... gift, if you like. I was blocking you anyway, but if even I wasn't, it would still cancel out. At least, I think it would... I'm not sure."
"Brilliant. I'm stuck in an entirely different state in America I didn't want to be in, I'm probably either in or about to have a panic attack and the only other person like me doesn't even know that much so that she can help me," now she was angry. That wasn't good. Not in this situation. Alice didn't want to offend Maria, but this was not the time for pleasantries, clearly. She was just extremely lucky that the other woman did not take offence, but instead came over to her, and gently placed her hands on her shoulders in what could be considered a comforting manner.
While the comfort was appreciated, it did not work. Alice was in the mindset of someone she barely even knew. She did not snap at strangers like that, not unless she knew they had harmful intentions. She felt she could trust Maria, but it didn't stop her from thinking that that trust she was starting to hold was just some work of a puppeteer, and she was just being controlled on the strings.
"I'm sorry. It's a lot. When – and if – we get out of here, I promise I will tell you everything in more detail," Maria said sincerely, squeezing the red-head's shoulders lightly. "But it's hard to leave. You'd have to be suicidal to get out of here."
"I don't want to be stuck here for fifty years like you," Alice murmured, staring down at her feet now.
"How old are you, dear?" Maria asked softly, her hands now falling back to her sides.
"Fuck. You've barely lived," she stepped back a few paces. "We need to get you out of here."
"But how? You – you said it yourself it would be suicidal," tears started forming in Alice's eyes. "If you've been here fifty years, then what does that mean for me?"
"You've got someone back home, haven't you?"
"How would you know?"
"I know about every single conversation that goes on in this house. Bill Compton talks to Russell a lot. He mentioned a man named Eric Northman."
Maria watched a slight glimmer of something – hope? Love? Anger? Upset? – flashed in Alice's eyes. A mixture of possible emotions signalled that it was a complicated situation. In the current moment, at least. Maria had heard a lot about Eric and Alice's odd relationship, and how they were both curious and enraptured by the other. Clearly something had changed. The change could have happened tonight, or a previous night, or any other night. But it seemed to spark something in Alice, and her tears worsened.
"I'm sorry," Maria came closer and put her arms around Alice, hugging the woman as she began to full-on cry. "I'm so sorry."
"I hate him... I hate him, I hate him, I hate him!" Alice growled into Maria's shoulder. "He said I was as a frail as a China doll. That I was pathetic."
"You're not frail. You're just not prepared," Maria pulled back from Alice and held her out in front of her, surveying her. "I can teach you. I can teach you much better than Eric has. And you are most certainly not pathetic. Just scared," she paused for a moment. "Listen, Russell's going to want to talk to you at some point, and I urge you to do everything he says, yes? If he requests you do something for him, just do it. If he asks you a question, answer it. Do not disobey him. Or you'll be so far into the shithouse that I won't be able to do anything to help you."
"Oh god..." Alice groaned, shaking herself free of Maria's grip and pacing up and down the room. "What if I don't want to?"
"You'll have to."
"I'm not good with this sort of thing."
"You'll get better at it. Let's just hope it doesn't take fifty years."
"How about we hope I can master this crap sooner rather than later?" she suggested, thinking more about her power than the prospect of being stuck in this house full of vampires for fifty years, much like Maria. At least she'd have Maria.
"That sounds like a better plan."
"So what happens now?" Alice then asked, ceasing in her pacing once more.
"We wait for Russell to want to talk to you. Come on, we'll go back upstairs," Maria gestured over her shoulder towards the door and promptly turned, leading Alice towards it. The red-head followed her with some caution, but as soon as they left the room, the hallway was found to be empty and free of vampires, so they were able to make their way upstairs in peace. Alice knew she would have appreciated the house a lot more if she wasn't exactly a prisoner in it.
She was led down a long corridor, and she almost froze to the spot when she saw a vampire standing guard outside one of the doors, which was the door they approached. He moved aside when he saw them approaching, and Maria opened the door quickly, ushering Alice inside and then shutting it with a click. This side of the door was made of silver.
There was a large bed in the centre of the room, and off to the side was an en suite bathroom. The walls were painted red, the windows were covered by gaudy curtains that matched the bedspread. Clearly not too much thought had gone into this particular room in regards to modernising it. It still echoed the nineteen-sixties a little too much. It felt bare, despite the fact that there was a wardrobe. It just didn't feel right. It felt like it belonged in a doll's house.
Alice leaned against the wall and slid down it, coming to rest on the floor, placing her head in her hands and trying to rid herself of the tears that were still streaming down her face. She didn't know how long she sat like that, but eventually she felt a warm body next to her and she knew it was Maria.
"I didn't exactly picture my life turning out like this, where I was some supernatural being being help captive in a house full of vampires who are addicted to my scent," Alice then murmured after a while.
"I didn't picture it like that either," Maria agreed, sighing as she did so. "I still find it odd how I've managed to get used to living here, not being able to get out. But at the same time, I still miss home."
"Where is home for you?" Alice brought her head up and faced Maria, a slight smile coming to the olive-skinned woman's lips.
"Well... technically, where I was born and raised in Calais. With my three older siblings and my mother and father. But unfortunately this affliction caused me to run when I was... well, when I was your age. So I left Calais in 1937 and fled to Paris, but I was still being chased. Then the war happened, and I deported here to Louisiana where I met someone else who was like me, but she was old... she was dying, because she hadn't quite gotten to grips with it. But she taught me everything she knew and in 1960 I was caught by Russell," Maria paused for a moment, her smile becoming slightly wider. "Sorry, I just gave you a brief description of my life. Home would be with that woman. Her name was Clarice. It was the only time I felt safe with somebody after leaving France. What about you?"
"If I were to go technically, it would be Dover in England. Maybe a bit of London. Although... sometimes home isn't a place. It's a person. And you just want to be wrapped up in their embrace and sleep the night away knowing that you're going to be safe if they're there," she hesitated. "Unfortunately for me, I can't feel safe with that person anymore."
"Is this Eric you're talking about?" Maria asked carefully.
"Yes. God, I am so hopeless... and utterly exhausted. But I'm too scared to sleep."
"I won't let anything happen to you. I promise."
"I don't make empty promises," Maria patted Alice's leg gently, and she leaned her head on the former's shoulder.
"Wake me up when you need to... tell me more about this stuff tomorrow..."
The red-head's eyes fluttered closed, as a darkness that was not entirely linked to tiredness consumed her mind.
Okay, this one was a bit shorter, but I felt like I couldn't really extend it any further for the time being. Sorry for the lack of update, I kind of lost my muse for this story a little bit, however it is definitely coming back. In the mean time, if you are a Sherlock fan and you want to read something that's updated more regularly, I suggest you have a look at my fic Returning the Favour. That one is updated regularly so there's that, and the fact I'm in the midst of planning an Eric/Alice/Pam one-shot that could either be relatively normal or really inappropriate.
So if that ends up relatively normal, I will definitely post it on here, however if it ends up highly inappropriate and smutty, I'm not going to put it on here, HOWEVER I can upload it to googledrive or just email it to anybody who is desperate to read it. I'll let you know what happens with that one.
P.S: I'm going to be in Italy from Saturday 5th April to Wednesday 9th April. So basically, even if I did have plans for updating this at all within a week, they would not happen.