Author's Note: This is a revision of the story Poor Unfortunate Soul. I received some comments on how the story didn't quite flow the way it could have, and where there were gaps, jumps, a gigantic holes in my plot. So, without further ado, here is the revision of Poor Unfortunate Soul.

WARNING!: This story contains rape, gay rape, pregnancy, beastial conduct, booze and drunken behavior, possessiveness, and other adult content. By reading further, you acknowledge that you are 18 years of age or older, and if you aren't, it's not my fault you read my brain-porn. What the heck are you doing in the M material, then?

Poor Unfortunate Soul

Revised Version

The pain went searing through his shoulder without much care except for the fact that this hoodie now had a hole in it as well. The repeating two shots, however, only made an entrance, and he missed his landing, crashing into the metal infrastructure of Basil's inner workings and coming to a not-so-graceful stop on one of the cogs.


He tried to move, but it hurt too much. Trying to open his eyes hurt as well, but that was mostly from the splitting headache of having come into contact noggin-first with a large steel cog. He groaned loudly, though, to let them know he was alive.

"Zephyr?!" the voice was high-pitched and worried.

He tried to move again, only this time the hood of his clothes was caught in the gear as it passed another cog. He moaned loudly, lying on the cog as his energy began to run out. Also his blood, if the red stains had anything to say.

A hand touched his face, warm and calloused, and larger than it would have been for the voice calling earlier. "Hang in there, kiddo." He was picked up and slung over the strong shoulders of the third member of the group. As he was carried back, he fell unconscious.

"So, how's he doing?" asked the first voice.

The second lay him down on the bed of the upstairs room. "He's taken two bad shots, but with his healing capacity, he should be alright by tomorrow."


Fat chance. Zephyr felt like hammered shit the next morning. Moving was impossible, unless he wanted to be screaming in pain. He could tell where at least one of the bullets had stopped inside him, and it was right against his lower spine. He tried opening his eyes. Well, at least they had made it back to Sweet Home, he recognized his room. Turning his head was another matter. It hurt, unless it was slowly.

He tried flexing his right hand. Ok, that one moved alright. Now to try the wrist. No pain, so Zephyr moved his elbow. Still nothing. The shoulder was next. Right arm was alright. Now for the other one.

Repeating the process revealed that his left shoulder was stinging, but that was probably from the bullet that had gone right through the day before. But at least he could move his arms. With a light huff, he decided to try his legs.

That came with almost no success. While he could move his toes and ankles, Zephyr couldn't move his right knee or either hip-joint without pain. Laying his head down on the thin pillow again, he sighed.


"In here." he called back. Carefully, he tried to roll onto his side. He hissed. The bullet against his spine must have been a special round, the pain through his lower body went in pulses.

"Is it safe to come in?"

"It's fine, Leanne." Zephyr sighed and watched as the door opened and skinny little Leanne walked in with a few towels and a basin. "What's that for?"

"Well, you were shot yesterday." Leanne reminded him. "This is so you can clean up."

Zephyr grunted as he tried to sit up, dropping back to the bed. There had been another shock, and his hips weren't obeying his brain, causing him to lie on his front. With a light groan, he propped his chin in his right hand and frowned.

"Something wrong?"

"Specialized round." Zephyr replied.

"Your shoulder?" Leanne asked.

"Small of my back, right next to the spine." He nearly jumped when he felt her cold fingers on his bare skin. She'd pushed his hoodie up and was feeling over his lower back. He inhaled sharply when she reached where the bullet was, pressing in against two vertebrae.

"What the?!"

"Don't move." instructed Leanne as she left the room.

"Like I have a choice?!" he shouted after her, only to cough. There was something in his throat, and he coughed again. His body heaved, and some blood and a piece of metal came up.

"Oh, lovely." Zephyr picked up the bullet that he'd choked up. This one was an ordinary round, meaning at least two of the enemies the day before had shot him, not just one.

"You moved." scolded Leanne as she came back into the room with the household first-aid kit.

"I choked up the other bullet." Zephyr replied, laying his head down again.

"Here, drink this. It should numb things down."

Zephyr sniffed. It was from Vashyron's private stash, and he downed a few mouthfuls before lying there, drowsy and quiet.

Leanne moved the hoodie again, feeling along Zephyr's back to locate the bullet. Carefully, she took the heated scalpel and cut. There was a grunt from Zephyr and a thud as his hand fell over the side of the bed, and then silence.

It was delicate work, which was why she was doing this and not Vashyron. Making a second incision through the muscle, she took a set of tweezers and pulled the bullet out from between the vertebrae. Her stitching skills weren't as good as a doctor's, but she remembered to use the sutures that disintegrated as he healed on the muscle and the ones that had to be snipped away on the outside skin.

Looking up, Leanne noticed Zephyr was asleep, so she quietly put the bullet on the rusty table and cleaned the mess before slipping out and closing the door.


It was 2am when Vashyron realized something was wrong. It started with a horrible sound that came from the cramped washroom. At first, he tried to roll over and fall asleep, but the sound repeated itself, and there was something else. A sound that normally came from Leanne's room whenever she had problems with her makeup.

Kicking off his blanket, and thus showing he slept in only his pants, Vashyron made his way to the washroom and knocked on the door. "Leanne?" he asked.

"I'm over here." she said, hands on her hips and wearing her full-length nightgown.

"But then . . ."

There was another whimper, and Vashyron pushed the door open.

There was blood on the floor, and Zephyr was leaned over the toilet, having just finished puking his guts out. Low alcohol tolerance, apparently, and he must have torn at least two stitches in his back.

"Come on, kid." Vashyron knelt and cleaned him up, catching the boy as he slipped on the floor trying to move. "Let's get you back to your room."

Leanne followed with the first aid kit again, knowing that she was going to have to redo some of the stitches.

Zephyr groaned as he was sat on the edge of the bed, falling over the instant Vashyron let him go. He coughed, nearly choking until Leanne rolled him onto his side for a bit.

"What happened? You were in your room all day." Vashyron asked, even as Leanne rolled the youth back onto his front and checked the stitches. "Never mind. Leanne's handiwork tells me everything."

Zephyr managed to move his hand enough to give the older male the finger, then passed out again.

"That's just pleasant." Vashyron sighed. "So?"

"It was a special round, but I'm not sure which kind. I know it's not poison, or he'd have been sick sooner." Leanne finished with repairing two of the stitches. "Huh?"

There was blood on Zephyr's lip, and more on the shoulder of his hoodie.

"Looks like he hurt himself getting downstairs." said Vashyron as he helped tug the top off the limp boy. If it was one thing he was grateful for, it was Zephyr's ability to sleep solidly. The limpness wasn't so helpful, but the removal of the hoodie revealed several bruises forming, and the torn scab on his shoulder where he'd been shot.

"A bandage should do for his shoulder, right?" Leanne asked.

"Yeah." Vashyron helped with the bandage, noticing that Zephyr only moved his upper body whenever he did react from their moving him. Laying him down again to sleep, the older male wondered if his charge was going to be alright.


Zephyr grunted as he tried to move. No good, his hips and legs just weren't responding. Grabbing the side of the bed, he rolled himself over and onto the floor.

That was where that ended, as he landed hard on his back, on something that had been left on his bedroom floor: the first-aid kit. A loud shout escaped him, and something inside snapped.

He twisted himself around, snarling. There was the smell of blood, from a living body. He sniffed. No, bad blood. It was his own. His breathing came in quick, shallow gasps, and he tried to drag himself towards the door. Hungry, needed flesh.

The door opened, and Zephyr snarled at the figure in the doorway, flinching as a hand touched his head. But the touch wasn't painful, just gentle.

"Easy there." The voice, though kinda gruff, was soothing. "Here."

Zephyr looked at the plate that had been put down in front of him. Scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausages, with a slice of toast and what was apparently supposed to be a pancake. Sniffing, he pulled himself closer with his arms and began eating.

Vashyron sighed, watching carefully to see if Zephyr was going to stay in his bestial mode or calm down. He hated dealing with him when he went feral, and it often involved several bandages, both for him and Zephyr afterwards.

Zephyr seemed calmer after eating, staying where he was lying on the floor for a while before trying to pull himself forward again. He stopped when Vashyron touched him, this time a light whimper escaping him.

Vashyron sighed. Still feral, but not aggressive. This wasn't going to be good, but better than when he was aggressive. Carefully, he picked Zephyr up so he would have been standing, holding the youth so he had no choice but to cling to him, or fall to the floor again.

Zephyr panicked, clinging tightly to Vashyron, his breathing coming in hard gasps.

"It's ok." He knelt, effectively dropping Zephyr over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes, and picked up the plate. "We just need to visit a friend."

Zephyr stopped struggling, instead just hanging there. He knew Leanne was following them, and the view of Vashyron's ass was less than pleasing, so he closed his eyes. World stopped swaying that way, anyway, and without realizing it, he dozed off.

When he next came to, he was lying on his back, looking up at a metal ceiling. There were lights on, but not right over him. His mind felt clearer, and his back hurt. He groaned slightly, and grunted when he realized he was strapped down. Turning his head, he scowled.

"Good to see you awake." said Vashyron.

"Where the hell am I?" Zephyr asked.

"I asked a friend to look at you." the older replied. "Especially since you were dragging yourself across the floor."

Zephyr didn't say anything as he tried to get a better look at what was going on. Whoever this 'friend' was, they knew to hide what they were doing from him; there was a sheet up, blocking his view from his chest down. However, this did nothing to dissuade him from concentrating to feel what they were doing. And he HATED what he felt.

Rather quickly, he tried to jerk his body away from what felt like a needle. The result was some swearing, and someone asking Vashyron to calm him down.

"Zephyr, they're trying to help you." Vashyron said. He tried to touch Zephyr's face, to calm him, but he got bitten.

Zephyr struggled again. There was a lot of pain as he managed to move one leg, despite the restraints. He could smell the blood, it helped drive him to move again, through the pain. He didn't realize it was his own.

Something gripped his arm, tried to hold him still, and he instinctively resisted. There was a sharp pain, and Zephyr screamed.

"He should be getting drowsy soon." said the 'friend', a doctor that had seen to the injuries of the trio that made up Vashyron's hunting group.

Zephyr continued to struggle, fighting against the sluggishness he felt until he exhausted himself and lay gasping for breath, teeth still bared and snapping at Vashyron when the other tried to soothe him.

"Looks like he burned through the sedative." said Vashyron.

Zephyr jerked his arm again, this time tearing through the leather strap, and successfully clawed Vashyron's arm. The smell of the fresh blood caused his mental state to deteriorate further into the crazed animalistic nature he'd displayed back when Vashyron had hunted him down. With one hand free, however, he was now a danger to the small compliment of medical staff in the room as well.

Vashyron backed away as Zephyr thrashed again. If nothing else, this was getting him to move again. This time, a leg restraint tore, and Zephyr was over on his front. It didn't take long before the last two were shredded, and he came at Vashyron like a wild animal.

Inside, Zephyr was just scared. His body was running on pure fear and adrenaline. He hated doctors, needles, not knowing what was being done to him. It had been those things that had resulted in the death of Cochet.

Cochet. He backed himself into a corner, realizing he'd bitten Vashyron at least twice. There was blood in his mouth, he must have bitten him hard.

Vashyron looked at him, holding his arm. Three of the medical staff held weapons armed with tranquilizers, but they would be of little use if Zephyr remained scared the way he was.

One medic fired. That was all it took, and Zephyr took off, on all fours, out of the clinic. He was scared, needed to be safe. Safe, and . . . and Cochet. The church. She liked the church. Without thinking, Zephyr made his way down the layers of Basil to the wrecked church. The same one Vashyron had found him in.

Emotions suddenly hit him like a wave as the adrenaline crash dropped him to his knees. Sobs wracked him, and Zephyr pulled himself to rest under the watchful gaze of the statue that was left standing there.

"What did I do?" he sobbed. "He was bleeding." He looked up at the statue. Dried blood graced part of the lower legs of the angel. His blood, from when Vashyron had found him, hunted him, and then taken him home.

Exhaustion overtook him, and Zephyr leaned on the statue and fell asleep.


"Where's Zephyr?" Leanne asked.

"He ran off." Vashyron replied, his arm bandaged. "I had hoped he'd remain asleep while the doc took care of him, but he woke up. His more animal-like instincts took over, and he struggled and managed to get away."

"So, he can walk now?" Leanne asked. "But he wasn't walking this morning."

"It's called adrenaline. Zephyr already gets worked up around needles and things. He was already in feral mode this morning when I brought him breakfast. Things at the office just kinda escalated that, and he took off. Most likely he's lying somewhere where he'd feel at least reasonably safe, and fully aware that he attacked me." Vashyron sighed. "Worst is, we can't go looking for him until tomorrow."

Leanne sighed. "Should I pack a bag for him for tomorrow? You know, for when we find him?"

"Might be an idea. Include food with it, he's going to be hungry."

Leanne nodded and headed up to Zephyr's room to get a change of clothes ready. As she did, she noticed the first aid box on the floor next to the bed. There was a fresh dent in it, and some dried blood. Looking over at the bed showed that Zephyr had probably attempted to get out of bed by rolling out onto the floor.

"Vashyron?" Leanne called as she came down with the change of clothes.

"What is it?" he asked, downing the last of a half-bottle of beer.

"I think Zephyr might have hurt himself on the first aid box this morning."

"That would explain the feral caution this morning when I brought him breakfast, and the lack of aggression. Bringing him to the doc probably wasn't my best choice if it was pain that threw him into that state."

"I just hope he's alright when we find him."

"If we find him." Vashyron mumbled under his breath.


"So, this is the church?" Leanne asked.

"Yeah. This is where I managed to track him the first time. Back then, there was a kill order on him, and I pinned him to a statue of an angel and put a gun right in his mouth. I could see the sudden fear in his eyes, and I shot. Two to the head, and he lived through it." Vashyron sighed. "He was using an old, battered up sub-machine gun, and it jammed on him. That was how I managed to get the better of the kid."

"There's fresh blood." said Leanne, kneeling to check the area. "From the splatter, I'd say someone was shot near here."

Vashyron frowned. This was not going well, and they'd just arrived. If someone had shot Zephyr, there was a good chance he wasn't around here anymore. And if he was still running on his instincts, he could have gone anywhere.

"The splatter goes further in, and that's the way the wounded person went." Leanne said, breaking Vashyron from his train of thought.

The pair continued in silence. There were some torn pieces of fabric along with the blood spatter, and several fresh bullets were found along the path as well.

"Wait." said Vashyron. He picked one of the pieces up. "This is one of the arm restraints."

"He was restrained?"

"Restless sleeper." the older clarified. "We didn't want to hurt him while taking care of him, so he was restrained to stay lying on his back."

"Hmm." Leanne checked one of the bullets. "Electrified rounds. If he's been hit with these, there's no telling what kind of state he'll be in."

There was a low growl as they reached the open room with the angel statue. The blood was thicker here, more splatter, and a lot more bullets lying around. More than should have been there from the fight that had transpired over two years ago.

"Zephyr?" Leanne called.

Something akin to a whimper or pained moan came from the base of the statue. Something shifted, but didn't really move that much from where it lay in a puddle of blood.

"Zephyr?" Leanne headed over and knelt next to the bloody creature. "Oh, Zephyr."

He coughed, blood dripping from his mouth. Only one eye was open, the other crusted shut with blood and dirt. He was shirtless, and his pants were torn down to practically being shorts. His wrists were all scratched up, and one had a small groove in it from a bullet wound. Zephyr lay his head down on the ground again, tired and weak. It was obvious some thugs had come and decided to take pot-shots at him, and he'd been unable to defend himself.

With a groan, Zephyr tried to push himself up, but his one arm gave out on him as he was almost up. Vashyron caught him before he could make contact with the ground, and he winced.

"It's ok, kid. We're here for you."

Zephyr whimpered as Vashyron leaned him against the statue. He hurt, and his vision was terrible. He could only tell it was Vashyron and Leanne by smell, and one of those was because of alcohol. He groaned as something was wrapped around his bloody arm, and he let his head droop. Breathing was difficult, and he coughed again, spattering blood on Leanne.

"Shh." Vashyron carefully and gently pet his head, trying to check for injuries while also keeping him calm.

Zephyr tried to look at him, swallowing. His mouth tasted like metal, and he shuddered.

"He's going into shock." said Vashyron as he helped tie a bandage to Zephyr's neck. "Come on, kid, stay with us."

Zephyr couldn't hold his head up, but he shifted his arm, managing to grab Vashyron's pant leg. A raspy, cracked voice managed to choke out, "Still here."

The older male smirked. "We done bandaging him?" he asked Leanne.

"Yeah. Here." She wrapped a checkered blanket around Zephyr before he was picked up. "Is he going to be alright?" she asked.

"Not sure. He's lost a lot of blood, and even with the better healing, he's going to take time to be rid of these wounds." Vashyron replied. He noticed the warmth as Zephyr leaned his head on his shoulder. "We're going to have to take him back to the doctor to see about at least some of these wounds."

Zephyr nodded slightly, and his one hand gripped Vashyron's shirt. "Sorry."

The older just smirked. "It's alright, kid. Just focus on getting better."


The doctor regarded Vashyron warily as he carried Zephyr in. "Is he safe this time?" he asked.

Zephyr looked at him from slitted eyes, then coughed. He felt weak, pathetic, and just a little bit scared still. He didn't move as he was lain on the examining bed, just coughed a bit more and looked away from the doctor.

"He's in worse shape than when you brought him last time." said the doctor.

"How bad, doc?" Vashyron asked.

He checked the wounds on Zephyr's neck. "Real bad." he replied. He paused, noticing something. "Easy, kid. Deep breaths."

Zephyr winced, his breathing still sharp and shallow. He felt the doctor touch his chest, and hissed in pain. He arched, howling in pain as the doctor touched over a particularly deep and agonizing wound. His back hit the bed hard as he lay down again, and he coughed.

"Zephyr?" Leanne reached over, stopping shy of his face, pulling her hand back a little.

He looked over at her, wincing again from another wound. He felt tired, cold, like his body was made of lead suddenly. He shuddered again, and then his head dropped.

"Zephyr?" Vashyron frowned. "He's out cold, doc."

"I can see that." The doctor turned Zephyr's head so he was looking up, fitting a mask to the boy's face. "Out. Send the nurse in, I need an extra hand."

Vashyron and Leanne stepped out into the waiting room, watching as a total of three nurses headed into the room.

"I hope he's alright." said Leanne. She sat down on one of the creaky chairs and picked up an old fashion magazine.

"We have to trust the doc is going to take care of him." Vashyron said, sitting down beside her. In a few moments, he was snoring, leaving Leanne to sit there and wait practically on her own.


It was well into the next day before Leanne and Vashyron were able to see Zephyr again.

His neck was swathed in bandages, and he was wearing a simple hospital gown. The arm that lay over the thin blanket was also wrapped in bandages, and an IV ran into his arm through a small gap in the wrappings. The oxygen mask was still over his face, and there was more bandaging over his head, and a huge gauze patch on his right cheek. And he was still asleep.

"Zephyr?" Leanne whimpered.

"He's actually resting a bit easier, now." said the doctor. "He was riddled with bullets and wounds. It looked like we were going to lose him for a while, but he kept clinging to life."

"How long is it going to take for him to recover?" asked Vashyron.

"He won't be able to leave here for at least another day." the doctor replied. "He's going to be very sore for the next while, and strenuous activity could cause the stitches to tear. So until he's better, there's to be no hunting jobs for him."

Vashyron nodded. "Leanne and I are going to head home, pick up a few of his clothes for him to change into when he wakes up." He looked at Zephyr's pale face. "Maybe some food, too."

"Good idea." The doctor swallowed as they left, then looked over to the figure hiding in the shadows of the curtain. "They're gone, sir."

Sullivan grinned as he stepped out of the shadows, looking at the wounded boy lying in the hospital bed. The only survivor of his project to try and replicate Rebecca's abilities. This was his project, and he was going to study this boy, this survivor, until he was good and done. "Move him to my estate."

"Yes, sir." said the doctor.


It was warmer, the air kinda stale. Smelled cleaner, and that was what made him fight to wake up. The hospital hadn't smelled this clean, but the room was white, clean and devoid of anything that could say it wasn't a hospital visually. But smell was a different story.

Zephyr struggled to sit up, failing twice before giving up in the attempt. Staying lying on his back, he scanned over the area. The room was too big to be a hospital room, or at least one that Vashyron could afford. The door was an electronic one, meaning someone had to key a code into a panel in order to get in or out. He was still in the hospital clothes, and the IV was still attached to his arm. Whatever was going on, there was at least a doctor still around.

There was a thud against what appeared to be a large mirror, and Zephyr frowned. He knew where he was, now. This was a prison room dressed up to look like a hospital room. Someone was observing him, hoping he'd be too dumb to notice. Shifting some, he managed to roll over and pulled the blanket up over his shoulder. His initial thought of the room being warmer had been wrong, at least while he was in the thin hospital clothes.

Lying in the bed, Zephyr tried to figure out what had happened. He remembered Vashyron and Leanne coming to find him in the church. They had bandaged most of his wounds, had taken him back to the doctor to make sure he would live. He could not-so-clearly remember that they had checked his neck. Leanne had tried to comfort him just before he'd fallen asleep. He had no idea how much time had passed. He checked his neck. Bandaged, probably to protect any stitches. He knew there was gauze on his face, probably for the same reason. Then there was his arm, which was tightly wound. That was probably a two-fold measure, both to protect any stitches and to keep him from pulling out the IV in case of a nightmare or if he awoke in a feral state of mind again.

The thud on the mirror happened again, and he groaned. Whatever it was behind the one-way glass, they certainly didn't know how to stay inconspicuous. Still, he didn't try to get up, but rather tried to find out what he could move without pain. His hands and left arm he could move without pain, and the right arm only hurt because it felt so cold because of the IV. His left shoulder hurt, but if he remembered right, he'd been shot there. Twice. He tried moving his left leg, but a shot of pain when he moved his knee stopped that attempt. Ok, now for the right side. His ankle hurt badly, and felt restrained, so he tried the knee. It was restrained as well. Just how bad had he been wounded?

There was the sound of the door unlatching, and Zephyr looked over to see who his captor was. He let out a huff of air when he saw it was Sullivan.

"You're awake."

He said nothing. He'd given Vashyron the silent treatment for the first while, but his doing this to Sullivan was for different reasons. He'd learned that the experiments done to him and the other children at the church had been ordered by this man. The other twelve children at the church had died because this man had ordered those experiments. Cochet had died for his experiments.

"Come now. You're really going to give me the silent treatment?"

Zephyr raised a hand and flipped him the bird.

"That's fine. Quiet is always the way I prefer my toys."

Zephyr looked back as the blanket was suddenly removed from his lower person and secured over his head. He tried to struggle, but it was in vain. His legs didn't work that well, and he was tied up in the blanket. He felt his legs suddenly hanging from the side of the bed, and managed to pull the blanket off his face. A scream escaped his throat as pain tore through his lower spine and ass. A hand grabbed his blonde hair and pinned his head to the bed as the pain continued. His breathing shook, and tears soaked the bed sheets as he was held in the humiliating submissive position. He stopped his struggles as the pain continued, just lying there and accepting it.

"Good boy." said Sullivan once he was finished. He pet Zephyr's head as if he were a dog, then left, leaving Zephyr hanging off the side of the bed, fresh blood dripping down his legs.

Zephyr let himself fall to the floor. He felt wretched, and managed to untangle the blanket from around himself. Pulling himself to the wall, he pulled the blanket around him in an effort to hide himself. He choked on his sobs. Just what had happened to put him in the possession of a man like Sullivan?


"What do you mean 'He's not here'? The kid could hardly move when we left him here yesterday." said Vashyron.

"I'm sorry, but there's no-one named Zephyr here at the hospital." said the nurse.

"When was he discharged?" Leanne asked. She was worried, now. Zephyr had been in no condition to move, let alone leave, when she and Vashyron had seen him last.

"I'm sorry. I can't release that information to anyone other than his parent or legal guardian." the nurse replied.

"I am his guardian." Vashyron stated.

"You can't be. His guardian picked him up already."

"Can I speak to the doctor that was on staff last night?" Vashyron asked, changing his tactic.

"He's still on duty right now." the nurse replied.

The tall male hunter found the doctor rather easily. Too bad for the doctor he hadn't seen Vashyron coming until it was too late.

The adult male pinned the doctor to the wall. "Where's Zephyr?"

"His guardian . . ."

"You know full well that I'm his guardian. So who took him?"

The doctor remained silent.

"Sir, abuse of . . ."

"Quiet!" Vashyron snapped. "Zephyr is MY charge. I filled out the damned paperwork here TWICE, each time stating that I was the one in charge of his care. So tell me, who took my charge?"

Leanne swallowed. It was a rare occurrence that Vashyron was actually scary, and this was one of those few times where her fear of him rivalled that of falling off one of the levels of Basil.

"Cardinal Sullivan." said the doctor. "He wanted the boy. Didn't say why."

Vashyron let the doctor go. "Bastard." He motioned for Leanne to follow as he headed out of the hospital.

"Now what do we do?" Leanne asked.

"We go confront Sullivan." Vashyron replied. "There has to be a reason he took Zephyr."


"I'm sorry, but if you don't have an appointment, you're going to have to leave." said the servant at the door.

"Fine." growled Vashyron. "How do I go about getting an appointment with the Cardinal?"

"Fill this out." The man handed Vashyron a stack of papers. "Once they are returned, they will be checked over, and then if everything seems to be in order, a messenger will be sent to inform you of when the appointment will be."

"Thanks." Vashyron sighed as he and Leanne headed away from the house.

"Well, we'd better get these papers filled out soon." said Leanne. "I'll start as soon as we get home."

"Yeah." said Vashyron as he watched the upper floor of Basil slip away above them. "The sooner we find out why he has Zephyr, the sooner we can bring the kid home."


Zephyr didn't move as Sullivan came into the room. How many days had passed? He couldn't remember. Life was a blur of pain. Needles in his arms to check his blood, needles in his back to check spinal fluid. The IV remained in his arm, since he refused to eat.

He felt like his body wasn't his own. He flopped like a rag doll across the bed, unseeing eyes staring vacantly up at the ceiling. More blood was being drawn, he could vaguely feel the prick of the needle. His knees were bent up against his chest, and a vacant pain filled his ass again. His body shook as he was ravaged, but he didn't move. He couldn't.

It was just like before. The men had come into the church, taken him and twelve other children away for testing. He was one of the older ones, so when the tests were over, he and two others would end up 'servicing' the doctors. One of the girls had started to cry about something one morning. The morning he'd snapped, and massacred the area, taking hold of a battered up sub-machine gun and taking off for the church. What had she said?

'I hate them!' She had been crying, harder than usual. Her friend, the third kid to service the doctors, had tried to comfort her. 'It can't be forever' she'd said. The girl had looked up at her friend and sobbed out something. What was it? Zephyr closed his eyes, trying to focus on what the girl had said that morning. His mind focused on reading her lips. I-M P-R-E-G-N-A-N-T

He felt his legs fall back onto the thin mattress of the bed. The assault from Sullivan was over, for now. Sometimes, he'd leave for a bit, then come back and violate him again. Other times, it would wait until the next batch of tests.

Zephyr opened his eyes, for all the good it did. He couldn't really see anything. While he felt like dying, they were keeping him alive. He didn't eat, so they pumped nutrients into his body to keep him alive. He didn't sleep, but they didn't care. He became detached from the world he was trapped in, retreating into memories to try and escape from the pain.

Someone came into the room. There was a beeping sound. Oh, the IV was empty. He could feel the tubes move as they changed the bag. He flinched. There was something new in this batch of liquid flowing into his body. The feeling was familiar.

Rebecca's venom. They were continuing the experiment. Not that it really mattered to Zephyr. He knew what would happen. It had already played out once before, and if Sullivan didn't watch it, things would play out again.

A cloth was wound around his arm, close to the elbow, and then something hard clamped over it. Ah, so they were restraining him. Good idea, but if events at the hospital some time ago meant anything, it would ultimately be useless. His other arm was shackled down in the same manner, and then the doctor turned his head, shining a light into his eyes. Must be checking for responses. His mouth was pried open, and a bite guard was fit into his mouth and fastened over his lower jaw. They were afraid he was going to bite his tongue or something.

Footsteps. Someone was petting his head.

"He's on the new batch? Good. I hope this mix will work better than the original."

Sullivan was back. Despite not seeing that well and not moving, Zephyr still had excellent hearing and smell. And the Cardinal smelled like scented oils. He must have been trying to cover up the smell of sex.

"We'll see how he's taking to it tomorrow."

There was the sound of more footsteps, and then silence. Again. It was almost deafening, but better than when they were around. At least, it used to be. Now, even the silence was filled with pain, as the venom continued to course its way through his veins.


"Well, the papers are submitted." said Leanne. She sounded uncomfortable.

"What is it?" Vashyron asked. He flicked the TV off so he could hear her better, then turned to face her. "Oh, gods, what happened?"

Leanne's dress was torn, and she was missing one of her shoes. Her hair was a mess, too, and her make-up was smudged. There was a bruise forming on each of her arms, and she was close to tears. "It . . . Sullivan's servants . . ." she started to cry.

Vashyron stepped closer, hesitating. The marks gracing Leanne's body betrayed a struggle of some kind, and he was suddenly aware of blood staining her clothes and running down her leg. "Let's get you cleaned up."

Leanne nodded, hiding herself in the bath for a good hour as she tried to wash away what had happened . . .

"I'm here to drop off the paperwork to request an audience with Cardinal Sullivan."

"Yes. Please come in for a moment."

Leanne had stepped in, handing the paperwork to the steward that waited. She looked around her a moment. "I should really be getting back."

"There's no hurry." said the doorman. He grabbed her arm. "We've been waiting for a cute thing like you."

Leanne had struggled. Why was this happening?!

Another servant came over and slapped her face, dazing her just enough for them to get her bent over a bench. One of them sat on her back, holding a fist-full of her hair so another man could force his cock down her throat. She'd tried to bite, but had been slapped for it.

"If you value your life and the life of that feral brat you'll be a good girl and let us fuck you."

Leanne had tried to scream, but with a cock in her mouth, it had only come out a muffled sound, hardly audible at all. Another servant came up behind her, and thrust deep into her previously untouched female parts. Leanne had started crying, gagging when the guy in front of her attempted to cum down her throat. She'd choked, coughing it all back up and onto the floor.

They took turns, ravaging her, laughing at her tearstained face. Six used her mouth, spraying their semen all over her face and in her hair. When it was finally over, Leanne had run, sure that she could hear their laughter as she escaped the mansion. . .

"Leanne?" It was Vashyron. "I got some clean clothes for you."

"Just leave them inside the door."

The door creaked open, and Vashyron placed the clothes on the edge of the sink before closing the door again. "You ok, kiddo?"

"I think I'll be fine."

"Do you need to see a doctor?"

"No. That shit sold Zephyr to Sullivan. I don't wanna see him."

Vashyron nodded. "Leanne."

"Yeah?" She stepped out of the tub, letting the water drain while she dried off.

"It was Sullivan's guys, wasn't it?"

She paused. "Yeah." She finished drying off and got dressed. "I'm coming out."

Vashyron looked at her, trying to smile to cheer her up. "You look good."

The dress he'd given her was a longer dress in a red with black spots pattern. The head-band with it was black with a little ladybug off to the one side.

"Thanks. I hope we get Zephyr back soon."

"Me too."


The sound of his heartbeat. It pounded in his head. He had been breathing heavily for who knew how long, but it had been since the last assault. He twitched. The locks were still around his arms. His body felt like it was burning. There was the sound of the door unlocking. Zephyr closed his eyes, playing at sleep.

"He doesn't move." came a voice. "It should be safe to switch him to a collar and lead system."

"Harness. We can't have him choking himself." said Sullivan.

Zephyr let them move him around as they fastened a harness to his upper body. The restraints were off his arms. He could feel the doctor changing the IV. Now was the perfect time.

In a flash, he was flipped over, snarling. He lunged at Sullivan, snapping his teeth. The IV stand fell as he gave chase. The harness lead became taunt as he neared Sullivan, but it was a vain attempt. As the Cardinal managed to key open the door, the lead snapped, and Zephyr escaped the room.

Several guards came at Zephyr, carrying weapons. He quickly calculated. Six sub-machine, four hand-guns, one grenade. He lunged at one, making him drop the weapon. Sub-machine gun. He grabbed it, firing off several shots before running towards what he hoped was the front entrance. Nope, just a room. With a window. Zephyr fired again, shattering the glass before he jumped out, twisting around and shooting at the guards that had come after him. He landed, hard, on the ground, rolling and charging on all fours for the lift.


"What's all the commotion?" asked Vashyron as he stepped out to get the mail.

"There's a new monster, out at the number one lift." said a hunter. "There a reward for killing it."


The girl came out, carrying her hand gun and tossing Vashyron the holster for his sub-machine gun and hand-gun set. "Let's go!"

When they got to the lift, there were several wounded hunters trying to get away. Something swung around and lashed at another, flipping the gun out of the hunter's hand to land in the hand of the monster. Two shots were fired, and the hunter scrambled away.

Leanne looked at Vashyron. She nodded towards where the monster was, and Vashyron nodded. He knelt, creating a stirrup with his hand. Leanne came running at him, stepped into the stirrup, and jumped as Vashyron quickly stood and launched her over the heads of the other hunters. This not only gave Leanne a clearer shot, but also a better view of the monster.

The monster looked up, then scrabbled in the direction she was flying. Several hunters opened fire, and Leanne screamed.


That was it, and Vashyron pushed his way through the crowd and into the area. He saw why they had called the youth a monster. Zephyr was clothed in a torn-up hospital gown that was almost too short, and he was down on his hands and feet. A hand-gun rested in his one hand, the snapped-off end of a lead wrapped around one arm. There was a harness strapped to his body, and he was breathing heavily. His hair was a filthy mess, and there were some fresh wounds.

"Zephyr." Vashyron said, kneeling. If the boy had gone feral, he was going to have to approach on Zephyr's terms.

The boy looked over and made his way towards Vashyron, still on all fours. Part of this was because his leg was caught in the IV that was also wound around his arm on the same side. He sniffed, then put his hand on Vashyron's knee, looking up at the older man's face.

The older hunter could see it in Zephyr's eyes. The boy was scared, and something had happened to him at Sullivan's for him to be unable to talk. He reached a hand out and pet the younger male's head. "It ok. Let's get you home."

Leanne ran up to them, and the trio headed back. One hunter tried to take a shot, but Leanne turned, aimed her gun back at him, and shot the gun out of his hand.

The first order of business once they got back to Sweet Home was to get the harness off him and the IV removed. Then, it was a bath. Zephyr soaked in there for a good hour before Vashyron convinced him to come out and get dressed.

He sat on the steps afterwards, watching Vashyron as the other tried to cook dinner. As he sat there, he ran his tongue over his teeth. His incisors had grown, looking more like fangs, on the top and bottom. Looking at his hands revealed that his nails had gotten thicker, like claws.


He looked over. It was Leanne.

"You gonna be ok?"

He shrugged. "Don't know." he said, lisping slightly. He coughed a bit. "Smell different."

"I smell different?" Leanne asked.

Zephyr nodded. "New perfume?" he asked.

"No, I still have the stuff that Cardinal Beatrice gave me."

Zephyr leaned closer to her and sniffed again. It wasn't perfume, it was something else. He scratched his head, wincing and rubbing the new scrapes. This was definitely going to take some time to learn to deal with.

"Dinner's burnt!" Vashyron called. He handed Leanne and Zephyr each a plate of toast, scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon. "So, you doing ok, kiddo?"

"Trying." He sniffed the food, then started eating like he'd been starved. Leanne giggled, but didn't say anything.



No response.

"Vashyron, have you seen Zephyr?" Leanne called down the skylight.

"Nope." came the answer. "Though I think this was supposed to be a note or something."

Leanne headed down the steps and took the page. The handwriting was terrible.

Just then, the front door opened, and Zephyr stepped in. "Hey."

"Where were you?" Leanne and Vashyron asked.

Zephyr looked a bit awkward. "Working." he said. "Ow." He wiped the blood from his lip. Readjusting to the fang-like teeth was hard, and often ended with him biting his lip somewhere.

"Where?" Vashyron asked.

"The café." he replied. "I . . . I thought the extra money might be helpful. And it's quieter, so I can try to adjust again."

Vashyron and Leanne understood. They'd tried to go out on a hunt with Zephyr before, but he'd frozen when one of the gunmen had fired on him, four bullets hitting him before Leanne had killed the guy with a clean shot to the head. Working at Café Chelsea was probably a better alternative right now.

"Was it easier?" Leanne asked.

Zephyr nodded. "He asked me . . . come back tonight." He sniffed Leanne again as she gave him a hug. It was becoming normal for her to greet him in the morning that way, but for Zephyr to put his arm around her was still a hit or miss. He put his arm around her this time as he sniffed. "You smell like . . . lady. At the café."

"What lady?" Leanne asked, heading into the kitchen to get breakfast.

"Owner's wife." said Zephyr. He nodded his thanks as Leanne handed him his breakfast. Wiping the blood from his lip from the previous scratch, he started eating, only to pause. "Leanne, come with."


"Work." He said. "Owner's wife . . . may know why you smell off."

Leanne looked over at Vashyron.

"Go ahead. A break is a good idea, and another lady for you to trade make-up tips with will be good."

"Ok. I'll come with you tonight."

Zephyr nodded. "Good." He finished breakfast.


The café was quiet when Zephyr and Leanne arrived. "Hey." Zephyr called.

"Hey. Glad to see you back." said the owner. "And who's this little lady?"

"Leanne." Zephyr replied. He looked a little awkward.

"Broom's at the back, the area needs a good sweep." said the owner.

Leanne watched as Zephyr went and got the broom, then started to quietly sweep the floor. "How's he doing, here?" she asked.

"He's quiet." the owner replied. "He froze up last night, when a gunfight broke out. It took my wife just talking to him and gently rubbing his back to get him to relax."

"Yeah, he said something, earlier today."


"He said I smell like your wife. That I should talk to her."

The owner nodded. "Chelsea. Can you talk with this poor young lady?"

A pretty woman came over. "Sure, love." She took Leanne over to a table.

Zephyr watched from a distance as the night wore on, always sweeping the floor, or carrying boxes in from the delivery wagon.

It was early morning, just as the sun was coming up, when a group of rather drunken and rowdy thugs came into the café.

"Excuse me, but no guns allowed." said Zephyr.

"Shut it, brat!" snapped one thug. He swung his gun at the boy, who thankfully moved and missed getting hit.

"Oh no." Leanne followed the owner's wife to the back room. "Is there a phone?"

Chelsea nodded and pointed to an older phone. "Who are you calling?"

"A hunter." the girl replied.

Out in the main room, Zephyr repeated the no guns policy that everyone knew the café had. This time, he wasn't quick enough, and got pistol-whipped in the shoulder.

"We'll keep our guns, brat." snorted a thug.

Zephyr snarled, showing the fang-like teeth. He was unarmed, but that didn't stop him from clocking one with the broom.

A gunshot went off, and Zephyr froze. Looking down, he saw blood running from his leg. Looking up at the thugs, he attacked, punching another before he got pistol-whipped in the shoulder again. Turning, he snarled at the thug and swung, knocking the gun from the guy's hand. But his one arm was useless now.

Another gunshot, and Zephyr froze again, dropping to his knees. He couldn't stand, there was too much pain. Two guns smashed into his head, and Zephyr went down. He was still conscious, somewhat, until two more shots went off, and he twitched slightly. There was a third shot, and then nothing else.

"There's a no gun policy here." Vashyron said. "No get out."

The thugs scattered, seeing as how their boss had just been killed.

"Sorry about that." Vashyron said to the owner. "Where's Leanne?"

"In the back with Chelsea. It's Zephyr I'm worried about." said the owner.

"Where is he?"

The owner pointed to the figure on the floor. "He was trying to defend the café."

Vashyron knelt next to Zephyr and checked for a pulse. "Still kickin', that's good." He carefully rolled the boy over. "Four shots, dislocated arm. Looks like he was pistol-whipped a few times." Vashyron looked up at the owner. "Got a first aid kit?"

"Here." The owner helped bandage the bullet wounds to Zephyr's legs and back, then helped set the shoulder back into place before bandaging it tightly. "He should probably see a doctor."

"The last one he saw sold him off." Vashyron said. He brushed some bloodied hair out of the boy's face. "You know of one that would come by my place to check on him?"

"Matter of fact, I do." said the owner. "Here's the number. Tell him Buck sent you."

"Thanks." Vashyron pucked Zephyr up. "Leanne, come on."

The girl came out from around the back. "Ok, one minute." She turned back to Chelsea. "Thanks for everything."

"No problem, dearie. Girls like us need to help each other."


The ceiling was different from the one at Café Chelsea. Squarer and greyer, to start with. He turned his head, getting a better look at where he was. The old sepia-toned TV looked back at him, sitting on top of the fridge. He was in the living room of the home base, where Vashyron usually slept. He tried to move, but a shot of pain raced up his arm, making him cry out.

"Morning." said Vashyron. He finished pulling his shirt over. "We were starting to wonder if you were ever gonna wake up."

"Huh?" Zephyr asked. "Oh, my head."

"It's been a week." said Leanne. "You were pretty restless, too."

"What about . . ."

"Don't worry." said Vashyron. "They know."

Zephyr sighed. He was rapidly becoming aware of the pain he was in. "Why didn't you put me in my room?"

"We needed to keep an eye on you." Vashyron replied. "You've torn stitches twice."

"Stitches?" Zephyr asked.

"Juris was over to check on you and patch you up." said Leanne. "So, he knows a few things."

"Juris?" Zephyr tried to move, but Vashyron pinned him down.

"He's a researcher and doctor." Leanne replied. "He took care of me when I was a little girl."

Zephyr was quiet for a bit. "Leanne."


"Did you find out why you smell like Chelsea?"

"Yeah. Juris did some bloodwork and confirmed it."

He looked over at her.

"I'm pregnant."

Zephyr sighed. "How long?" he asked, looking back at the ceiling.

"About four months." Leanne replied. "Maybe five. He wants to see me and do some more tests to try and find out."

Zephyr stayed where he was. "Is he a good man?" he asked.

"Yes." Leanne replied. "He's the reason I was standing on that ledge that New Year's you found me."

"He let you out there?" Zephyr asked. "Kind of irresponsible of him."

"No. He let me go from the place I'd been raised, and . . . I'd found out about when I was supposed to die. I had figured I'd die on my own terms, not my crystal's. So when midnight struck, I'd jumped. You caught me. I lived, defying the experiment that had lost me eleven other friends. Juris was happy to find out that I'd lived."

Zephyr sighed. "When can I move?"

"Probably tomorrow." Vashyron replied.

"Fine." Zephyr closed his eyes, the throbbing pain getting to be too much. A few minutes later, he was asleep again.


"Hey, Juris." said Leanne.

"Hello, Leanne." The man smiled, a kind and warm gesture. His glasses glinted in the light. "How are you doing, child?"

"I'm doing alright. Vashyron got hurt yesterday on a job, but I patched him up."

"Where's the boy?"

"Zephyr? He's upstairs." Leanne led Juris up to the roof.

Zephyr was leaning on the ledge, watching the city below. "Hey." he said as the doctor leaned on the ledge beside him.

"You doing alright?" Juris asked.

He noticed Zephyr looked out the corner of his eye to see if Leanne was there. "I'll live." he replied once he noticed the girl was standing at the ledge as well.

Juris looked down, noticing there was some red staining on Zephyr's shirt sleeve. "Well, I should check your wounds, make sure you are recovering."

Zephyr only looked at him from the corner of his eye. "What makes you so worried?" he asked.

"Leanne cares about you." Juris replied. "I'm concerned about her, and that concern extends to you."

From the main floor, Vashyron called for Leanne to come down and help with something, so the girl left.

"Fine." Zephyr tried to move, but it was quite apparent that he'd been leaning on the ledge for support. He felt Juris loop his arm over his shoulder and help him into his room. The youth was more than grateful when he was sat down on his bed.

"You're bleeding." Juris observed.

Zephyr nodded. "Nightmare last night." he replied as he struggled to shrug out of his shirt.

"You've torn your stitches." Juris said, checking the bleeding wound. "It's getting infected."

Zephyr winced as the doctor tried to coax some of the puss out of the wound on his shoulder.

"This is worse than I thought. How bad was the nightmare?" Juris asked. He checked the bullet wound that traveled along Zephyr's side. The stitching was torn there, too.

"I woke in a cold sweat." Zephyr replied. He shuddered. "You're hands are cold."

"Sorry. These are looking really bad. You're going to have to come up to my clinic in Chandelier."

"But . . ."

"Don't worry. Leanne is going to have to come up as well for a little while. There will be someone there for you."

Zephyr nodded. But when he tried to stand, his left leg caved under him, sending him crashing to the floor. His head collided with the side of the bed, and he was out cold.


Zephyr sat up quickly, gasping. The world around him spun, and he gripped his head.

"Easy, kiddo." said Vashyron.

"Vashyron?" Zephyr whispered. He coughed, his throat dry.

"Yeah. Came up for a visit." The older male handed Zephyr some water.

"Where am I?" he asked.

"Juris's place. You've been here a week."

Zephyr tried to piece together his foggy memory. "Oh, yeah. Something about my stitches."

"Yeah. Sitting up that fast isn't going to help your recovery."

"He's awake?" Juris stepped into the room, this time wearing a long white coat with several pockets. He checked Zephyr's forehead, then made him lie down again.

"Why do I have to stay lying down?" Zephyr asked. He still felt groggy and dizzy.

"You've gotten sick from the infections in your wounds." Juris replied. "You're probably very disoriented right now."

"Yeah." Zephyr replied. "Where's Leanne?"

"She's taking a nap in the room I gave her." Juris replied. "It's right next to your room."

Zephyr nodded, his eyelids getting heavy. in moments he was asleep again.

"He covered in a cold sweat." Juris noted. "He was dreaming again, wasn't he?"

"Most likely." Vashyron replied. "How long before he's good enough to come home?"

"That'll mostly depend on how often he has these nightmares." Juris replied. "But as long as he's either calm or asleep, the wounds seem to be healing well. Some of the stiches he didn't tear have been able to come out because he's healed. The shoulder wound is bad, still, as is the shot across his side. His left leg is still in bad shape, too. If he keeps going at the rate he is, he sould be back to your place in about a month."

Vashyron nodded. "How's Leanne?"

"Good. I've given her the option of returning home with you and coming back up here every two weeks so I can check on the baby, or staying here. She may stay until Zephyr's better, then start coming up every two weeks. However, for her safety and wellbeing, I'd like her to remain up here with me during her last month or so. It's so she can have a safer delivery. It up to her, though."

"Ok. Take care of them, Juris."

"You know I will."


Zephyr struggled, despite the fact he was asleep. His breaths came quick and shallow, and he moaned every so often like he was in pain.

Leanne stayed back, as Juris had instructed. This was mostly for the sake of her growing child, but also for her sake as well. Twice, Juris had gotten clawed from these nightmares. Still, she worried.

"Is he going to be ok?" she asked.

Zephyr arched, screaming, before finally lying still. He breathing was still panting, but it was a bit slower, a bit calmer than only a few seconds before. His body shuddered, and he whimpered.

Juris came over and carefully pet the boy's hair back out of his face. "Awake, are we?"

Zephyr nodded, looking a bit afraid. It was something Juris was quickly associating with the boy's nightmares, as well as the fact he was trembling again.

"Dreaming again?"

Another nod.

"Care to talk about it?"

Zephyr glanced over, noticing Leanne. He shook his head.

"Can you move?"

A nod. With a bit of a struggle, Zephyr sat up, but his whole body was trembling like he was cold. Once again, his shirt was soaked from the cold sweat.

"How's your shoulder?"

"Little sore, but I'll live." Zephyr replied. He looked up as Leanne wrapped a blanket around his shoulders.

"You looked cold." the girl said. "Anything hurt?"

"My leg." Again. His side and shoulder were almost completely healed, but his leg remained a wild-card. Sometimes, it was almost as good as new, and then suddenly, he'd lose the ability to move it, or it would suddenly stop supporting him, and he'd crash to the floor with little to no warning. Juris had been working on exercises with Zephyr for almost a month now, with little success.

Leanne sat on the edge of the bed. "It'll be ok, Zephyr. I'm here for you. Juris is here. Vashyron comes once a week to see us. Everything's going to be fine." She noticed a damp weight on her back and shoulder, but didn't move when Juris motioned for her to remain still. So, she just kept talking. "You know, I thought you and Vashyron were crazy when I first met you. Mind you, I was crazy, too. I mean, I'd tried to take my own life, but you had saved me, and took me back to Sweet Home. It took a while to get used to the gun you gave me, but after a while, I got used to it. I started to like it when we got jobs, and we worked together. I want to be able to do that again, once the baby's born, and you're better. Ok?"

A light snore answered her.

"Is he asleep?"

Juris nodded. "He seems a bit more relaxed now." He carefully lay Zephyr down on the bed, moving the blanket so the youth was covered properly.

"Will he be going home soon?" Leanne asked. He carefully rubbed her belly.

"That's up to him. There's not much more I can do to try and help him." Juris smiled at Leanne. "We'll ask him in the morning, alright?"

Leanne nodded and got up to return to her room. "Oh, Juris?"




"You want to send me back?" Zephyr asked.

"It's up to you." Juris replied. "There's little more I can really do to help your leg. However, I have fashioned a bracing for your leg so that it's supported while you're out. It'll help with support, but I would advise against depending on the brace all the time."

Zephyr nodded. "What about Leanne?"

"I've decided to stay here until the baby's born." Leanne replied. "It's not that far off, and Juris said it's probably better for me to stay."

"But, you said maybe only four months."

"That was two months ago, and I said four or five." Leanne replied. She fiddled with her fingers, only for a hand to grab hers. She looked up, noticing Zephyr was looking at her swollen belly. "What?"

"Who did this to you?" Zephyr asked.

"What do you mean?"

"About seven months ago, I was prisoner to Sullivan. Who did this to you?" She could hear the slight waver in his voice, even if he was talking softly.

Leanne sighed. "It was Sullivan's servants." she replied. "I went to deliver the request for an audience papers, and they raped me."

"Why were you requesting an audience with him?"

"He took you. Vashyron wanted to know why. He had a job to do, so I went to deliver the completed forms. You'd already been missing a week. We never got the audience, and about ten weeks later, we found you by the lift." Leanne bit her lip.

Zephyr carefully placed his hand on Leanne's belly. "Can I stay?" he asked.


"I'm not sure." He withdrew his hand and Leanne noticed him sniffle softly.

"What's wrong, Zephyr?" She noticed a tear. "What has you so upset?"

"I'm sorry you had to go through that." Zephyr tried to wipe the tear away, but this time Leanne caught his hand. He looked up at her, for once looking vulnerable, almost human.

"Why are you sorry?" Leanne asked. She bit her lip, suddenly, as she looked Zephyr in the eyes. Eyes that told a sad story, a knowing story. "Oh, Zephyr." She let his hands go and held him close. "It'll be ok." She looked over at Juris while she held her friend. There was no way they could let Zephyr leave now, in the state he was in. He was likely to massacre Sullivan and his entire estate.

Juris nodded. Zephyr was going to end up staying with them until Leanne had her baby.


"So, how are the kids doing?" Vashyron asked.

Leanne walked over and put the tea down. She was chewing her lip, never a good sign.

"Something up?" Juris asked.

"I can't find Zephyr." Leanne replied.

"Couldn't have gone far." said Vashyron. "He was here when I came in."

"Over here." Zephyr stalked through the room on his way to the one he was staying in.

"What's wrong?" Vashyron called over.

"Nothing." Zephyr replied. He started working at cleaning his gun.

"Does he do that a lot?" Juris asked.

"What, gun maintenance? Not really." Vashyron replied. He took a drink of the tea. "Why you asking?"

"He's been doing that every day for the past two weeks." Leanne replied.

"Kid." Vashyron called.

"What?!" Zephyr snarled.

"Never mind." Vashyron sighed. "He's in a mood."

Juris sighed. "Will this just blow over?" he asked.

"Hopefully. It can take a while." The older hunter looked Leanne over. "So, when's it coming?"

"Any time in the next six weeks." Leanne replied. "Why?"

"Well, I've been doing some work around the home base. Crib, new dresser, I even asked the lady at the clothing shop if she could babysit when we have a job. She said she'd love to, whenever we needed her to watch the baby." He sighed. "Just trying to help make things a bit easier."

"Thanks, Vashyron." Leanne suddenly looked around. There was no more clicking of gun parts. "Zephyr?"

No reply.

"Kid?" Vashyron called out.

Still no answer.

Juris looked around. "How did he manage to slip out on us?" he asked.

"I'm not sure. He's not one for stealth." Vashyron commented.

There was a gunshot outside.

"He's outside." said Leanne. She grabbed Vashyron's coat sleeve. "Be careful."

The older nodded and headed outside.

What he found was Zephyr, lying on a crate, with a cobbled-together rifle. He was looking down a hand-fashioned scope, taking aim at something in the distance. The boy cocked the gun, and another shot rang out.

"That ought to keep them inside." Zephyr smirked. "Jerks."

"Who were you shooting at?" Vashyron asked.

"Sullivan." Zephyr replied, checking down the scope again. "He's been trying to come after Leanne for the past week."


"Her kid is the child of one of his servants." Zephyr replied. He cocked the gun again. "Sullivan figures he has rights to it, which he doesn't." He fired again.

"What makes you say that?"

"For one, he's an ass. Two, the child is from an unprovoked rape. They abused Leanne, and now they want to steal her baby." He cocked the gun for a third time. "They're not getting it. Not after what that ass did." He shot again. "Got him."

"What?!" Vashyron asked. "You shot Sullivan?"

"No, the statue beside him. If I wanted to hit him, I'd have to aim a little south." Zephyr checked the scope. "And he's gone."

"South?" Vashyron asked. "As in . . . below the belt?"

"Bingo." Zephyr sighed and rolled onto his back.

For a while, there was silence.

"I hate him."

Vashyron said nothing.

"It was him that destroyed my life the first time."

Vashyron only lit a cigarette. He only smoked when he was listening to Zephyr talk about his past, like a way to subtly let the boy know he was still there.

"Thirteen of us, taken to be his experiments. Ten of us were too young for them to play with afterwards. I was one of the three. There were two girls, too. The day everything went to shit, one of them was like Leanne. But the drug that day, I couldn't control it. They all died because of him."

Vashyron looked up. From Chandelier, you could actually see the sky, and the grey clouds moving.

"He tried again."

Vashyron let out a puff of smoke.

"It hurt. But it was worse. This time, I was alone, taking it all."

The older hunter sighed.

"But the whole time, I worried about you and Leanne." Zephyr continued. "Were you two doing ok on the hunts? Did you miss me? Would I ever see you again? I knew I had to get out. Before he broke me." He rolled over on the crate and checked the scope again. "I was glad when you and Leanne showed up at the lift. It was like . . . coming home." There was a click as he cocked the gun again. "I won't let him hurt anyone else. Never again." The gun sounded again. "He won't get his hands on Leanne."

"I know, kid." Vashyron said softly. "We'll both protect her."


It was early morning when a knock on the door woke Vashyron from his sleep. Doing up the fly on his pants, the older hunter answered the door, accepting the telegram.

"Wonder what it says?" He opened the envelope, quickly shrugging into a shirt and pulling on his shoes moments later. He grabbed his gun, more as a reflex than anything else, and headed for the lift up to Chandelier.

Six of Sullivan's thugs were lying dead along the pathway to Juris's house, and Sullivan himself was backed against a set of crates, Zephyr's gun pointed decidedly south of the belt buckle.

"Leave." Zephyr snarled at him. "She's not your's to toy with."

"The child is that of one of my servants."

"Knock it off." said Vashyron as he marched over. "Your servants raped her. Right there, they lost the right to the child. Now bugger off, or I'll let him shoot."

Sullivan didn't move.

Zephyr cocked the handgun. "Five . . . Four . . . Three . . ."

Sullivan left, jumping slightly when Zephyr fired at the ground behind him, making him run the rest of the way.

"So, where is she?"

"Inside." Zephyr led him into the house, to the room where Leanne lay propped up, cuddling her baby.

"Let's see." Vahyron smiled when she showed him the little red-faced baby. "Girl?"

Leanne nodded. "Another little lady." she smiled.

"So, you got a name for her?" Juris asked.

Leanne looked up at Zephyr. "Well, I didn't pick it." she said. "Zephyr did."

"He did?" Vashyron asked, looking over at the boy. "So?"

"Cochet." Zephyr replied.

"Why that name?" Juris asked, knowing about Zephyr's history.

"She looks like one." the boy replied. "Besides, Leanne liked it."

Little Cochet yawned and blinked at them, then snuggled in for a nap.

"Cochet." Vashyron said. "She's adorable, Leanne."

"Thank you."