Lazarus couldn't sleep, though Melissa seemed to find it a lot easier to drift off. "You reminded me of James; when he held me against the wall." He sighed, and tightened his arms around Melissa a little. ‘Sorry,' he whispered as she slept, her body rising and falling gently with his breaths. Not wanting to think, he turned the TV on, the volume low so it didn't wake Melissa up. The images on screen weren't enough to keep memories floating up, though.

As he stared at the screen blankly, he saw Melissa in his mind's eye, the memory of her eyes turning red as they moved together. He remembered telling her to drink from him, and how she caved so easily against her own morals. He blinked as he recalled the sensation of her fangs sinking into his neck, the feeling as she drank. It had felt as though she had been pulling his life out of the holes in his skin. He lifted a hand to his neck, and though there were no scars, he touched the place she had pierced, his eyes glazed now as they had been when she fed from him.

He shook his head and put his hand back on Melissa's waist. He had more useful things he could be doing with the day - terminating his and Melissa's tenancies, cleaning up, ready to move out, fetching boxes to pack clothes in. But he didn't want to move. Instead, he programmed the TV to turn itself on to wake them up in time to get the Eurostar, switched it off and closed his eyes, practically begging sleep to claim him.

When sleep finally took him, the hunter strode back into view, his cold laugh haunting him once more. The refreshed memory of the hunter's lab faded into sight. He looked around the room. It was strange to see it again, especially now that the burn on his wrists was only in his mind. He felt strangely detached from the whole scene, but he didn't know why. The hunter still intimidated him, but he wasn't terrified this time. Somewhere in the back of his mind he guessed it was to do with the fact that he was holding Melissa so close. It didn't stop his heartbeat speeding up a little as the hunter neared him. He felt the wolf within him whine as something silver in the hunter's hand glinted at him.

Abruptly the dream stopped, and his ceiling came into focus. He lifted a hand and was glad to see that he hadn't changed in his sleep. He glanced at the clock. And then swore. He had been asleep all of ten minutes. Is this man going to cause me many more sleepless nights? He wondered briefly. He felt a craving rising in him and cursed once more. Aside from the fact that Melissa would quite possibly kill him if he went and got himself some alcohol, he realised he didn't actually want it, more a case of his body missing it. He was still allowed cigarettes, however, though they were still frowned upon. He patted his pockets, looking for the pack, being careful not to wake Melissa.

Instead of finding the cigarettes in his pocket, he felt something small and round there. He pulled it out and gazed at it for a moment. Gabriel's ring. He twisted it between his finger and thumb, staring at the dull, discoloured gold. He looked at the family crest stamped into the gold so that it formed a small flat circle in the band. As it was a burial ring, the top had been decorated with coloured enamel. It was green, filling in around the fine gold lines of Gabriel's family crest. The green enamel was a little chipped and dirty, but in surprisingly good condition for something so old. He gazed at the green thoughtfully, noticing how well it matched Melissa's eyes.

Slipping the ring on his middle finger, Lazarus smiled a little. It doesn't suit me at all. He twisted his hand and pointed his fingers down. Or fit, he noticed as the ring slipped a little. He tried to imagine it on Gabriel's hand, but found he couldn't picture it. He pulled the ring back off and put it in his pocket again. I'll find somewhere better for it to live later, he promised himself, reaching down to the floor for his pizza. Feeling along the carpet until he found it, he did his best not to stir Melissa. His fingers met the plate, and then the singed crust of the pizza. It had gone cold. He sighed, but picked it up anyway, carefully eating it so he didn't get any cheese or crumbs in Melissa's hair. He only managed to eat half of it before his appetite disappeared again. "You reminded me of James; when he held me against the wall." Licking the pizza sauce off his fingers, he grimaced and put the plate back on the floor as James' smirking face filled Lazarus' mind. He wasn't like that... was he? No... I can't be like that. The thought made him balk. I'm much more pathetic than he was. In his mind, James' smile only grew until he couldn't take it anymore.

He strengthened his grip on Melissa and growled at the image in his mind. I'm nothing like you. Nothing. I can't be... I'm not that heartless. Am I? He looked over at his reflection in the TV screen. The distorted image of himself looked back at him, seeming to smile in answer to his question. No, no, no. No. He fixed his gaze on Melissa instead, the small smile he could see on her face. She told me to be dominant, so I was. But where do you draw the line? He was beginning to remember why alcohol was so attractive - his brain talked too much, doubted too much. Screw this. He carefully moved to that he was sitting up, with Melissa in his arms. He lifted her gently and took her to the bedroom, laying her down on the bed with careful ease. He draped the duvet over her and as he stood, she moaned quietly in her sleep, her arms searching for him again.

He smiled a little, and kissed her on the forehead softly, whispering to her a promise to return quickly. Moving back to the living room, he looked around for the laptop once more. It was time to cancel the tenancy, after sixty long years of living here. This thought brought a smile to his lips as he picked up the laptop, taking it back to the bed with him. He grabbed his cigarettes on the way, too, and put an ash tray on the floor next to him. There he spent the day ordering a taxi, cancelling tenancy, relearning French and cursing how much the language had changed since he last tried speaking it, looking for a job, and then looking at how he was supposed to apply for a visa.

‘God, this is complicated,' he muttered under his breath, glaring at the screen. Melissa had grabbed his hand in her sleep, so he was trying to email various reps and offices about gaining permanent residency in Paris with just one hand. He didn't mind, in fact the contact was welcome while his stress levels were rising. Eventually, he managed to bribe his way into permanent residency, using Melissa's money. He didn't like to spend her money, but if it got them away from that hunter... it was money well spent, as far as he was concerned. As the sun began to set, he heard the TV turn itself on in the living room. With a grimace, Lazarus turned to Melissa.

‘Melissa?' he said, squeezing her hand a little. ‘Melissa?' his voice rose in volume as she slept on. ‘Melissa!'

‘Hmm?' she murmured as he snapped her name.

‘We gotta go. Taxi will be here to pick us up in about ten minutes.' He said, closing the laptop with a satisfactory click. She pushed herself up and yawned, letting go of Lazarus' hand as she covered her mouth.

 ‘Mmm? Oh!' she pushed herself up.

‘We have to find the apartment in about... five hours. I'll do my best to be your shadow til we get to the train.' He pulled a case out from under his bed and slid the laptop neatly into it. ‘The journey takes about two hours; I thought we could do some exploring of the area before we see it, if you like.' He said as he dragged another bag out from under the bag. She rubbed her eyes and nodded.

‘Oh, I fell asleep, didn't I?' she moaned.

‘Yup. It's okay,' he smiled at her as he packed clothes in the bag. ‘We'll probably have to book a room in a hotel for a day as well, so you might wanna put something in the bag?'

‘Like what?' she asked.

‘Like a change of clothes? I dunno, it's up to you.'

‘Mmm.' She thought for a moment then shook her head a little, the subtle movement gently rippling her hair. ‘No, I'm fine thanks.'

‘Okay.' The intercom buzzed loudly and Lazarus looked up. ‘That's the taxi. C'mon.' He held out his hand for her to take as he shouldered the bag. She looked at him but didn't take his hand.

‘Yeah, you go I'll be down in a minute.' She said. He hesitated and nodded.

‘Sure,' he said and left, leaving the door open. Melissa pushed it closed and went to the fridge. She looked inside and found the blood bags hidden behind ready meals. Pulling one out, she sighed and tore into it, drinking it down quickly. She dropped the bag in the bin and closed the fridge door, and then followed Lazarus down. She found him standing by the door and he walked her over to the car, providing her with his shadow.

‘Thank you.' She smiled, walking with him, carefully keeping her eyes on the shadows on the floor. He opened the door for her and waited until she was sat inside before sitting beside her. He squeezed her hand, a little apprehensive that the sun would burn her through the window. She smiled, acknowledging his anxiety. She leant her head back on the seat.

‘I'll be okay. The sun's not that strong.' She looked out the window to the clouds above. He nodded, but kept hold of her hand anyway. Unable to think of anything to talk about, he kept quiet.

‘Have you ever been to another person's concert'" She asked, feeling uneasy in the silence.

‘Yeah, a few. I stopped going after a while - I got jealous,' he laughed.

‘How did you get jealous'" She asked, joining in with his laughter. He looked at her and smiled.

‘They were all better than me.'

‘I find that hard to believe.' She said.

‘Well did you ever go to any piano concerts?' he asked arching an eyebrow.

‘Once or twice.' She smiled. ‘I preferred whole orchestra though.' He nodded.

‘I only got to see one full orchestra.' He said thoughtfully. ‘I got myself a job at a theatre once, when I was younger, and I was to open doors and sell food during the interval. So I watched while I didn't have to work.'

‘Oh.' She smiled. ‘What did you think?'

‘It was good; I wish my job there had lasted longer,' Lazarus said ruefully, smiling at the memory.

‘Maybe we could find one in Paris and go watch it together.' Melissa suggested. He nodded.

‘Yeah, I'd like that.' He grinned. It was at this point the driver decided to interrupt.

‘You going to Paris?' he asked, grinning at them in the rear-view mirror. ‘You're a lucky guy, mate.' He said to Lazarus, eyeing Melissa in the mirror. Melissa sighed and shook her head.

‘Yeah. He is.' She said. Lazarus smiled.

‘I know, I am.' He agreed.

‘The city of love, eh? I'm sure you're in for a good night, girl.' The driver chuckled to himself. Lazarus resisted the urge to whack him while he was hurtling them along the motorway, ignoring the speed limit. Melissa sighed again but when she saw Lazarus' expression and giggled.

‘Calm down.' She whispered into his ear. He glanced at her sideways and nodded, relaxing again.



The End

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