A Family MatterMature

I flashed my palm at the scanner but didn’t slow; that was fine. It was used to catching things on the flyby. The gate shot open and I flashed in. A few human grunts met me at the doors and snatched the blood. I led the donors to their rooms, and then collected Alan. “Come on, we had better go talk to the master. Try to avoid anyone recognizing you.” I said, and he fluffed up his hair. That would be all he needed; if there was one thing he loved, it was his hair well-groomed.

I led the way to Father’s office, and shoved Alan in before me. Father leaped to his feet, and I took on a harmless posture. He sat down with a huff. “Where’s the paperwork.” He said frankly, and I handed it to him. He signed it after a glance. I was shocked. “It’s going to happen eventually anyway, so why not get it out of the way?” He said, and then waved a hand at me dismissively. “Thanks. I owe you.” I said, and he looked up in surprise. “You do?” He said stupidly, and I laughed on my way out. “Sure, Father.” I said, and he smiled. When he smiled I could like him; his eyes crinkled, and he was genuinely pleased. He really was a nice man- just a little life challenged. “Thank god that was easy. You can fix your hair now, Alan.” He did, gratefully. “Well, you didn’t have to kill anyone!” He said happily, and I sighed dramatically. “Will a challenge ever present itself to me?” I said jokingly, and he laughed with me on the way to my rooms. Leo was there too, and I let out a wordless noise of annoyance. “Oh, now who’s the new guy?” He said, and hopped up with a charismatic smile. “Well, this is one of my old friends-and now he’s another personal donor of mine. Play nice with Alan?” I asked, and he grinned. “Of course! I figured you would get one eventually. I’m Leo.” He offered a huge grin and a hand, and Alan was swept into the whirlwind that was Leo. I crept out of the room before they could notice, and marched to the grand hall again. “All right, pay up!” I yelled, and a few people grumbled with confusion- and then a black haired vamp shambled forward to hand me the fifty he owed me. “Thanks, friend.” I said, and swaggered out again.

I moved to the back of the estate-the place I practiced my own weapons. I jumped up to the trees, and grabbed my moon blade. I jumped back down, and held it at rest for a moment while I steadied myself for an attack. I threw my weight forward and whirled, twisting the blade in a deadly arc before doing a back-flip into my original position. It was another five hours of similar moves before anyone found me, and frankly I was surprised they could find me at all. This was the place no one knew I went. “What?” I snapped without looking who it was, and a cough told me it was Rarzic. “Don’t just stand there. Get a weapon.” I said, and he pulled a sword. I watched as he tried a few passes, and a more complicated combination. I did a twist-whirl-spin that ended in a vicious, whistling strike. He stood and gaped as I advanced on it, doing all the moves I could think of in rapid succession. I finally ended, and stood panting but pleased with myself. I threw the moon blade back in the tree with an off hand throw, and I heard it stick in wood. “All right, Rarzic. What did you need?” I asked more gently, and he sheathed his sword. “Um…I was just going to talk with you.” He said, and I smiled. “All right. Let’s go somewhere else though. The trees have ears.” I said, and he cast a wary glance around. I winked at him, and pulled a throwing knife. I tossed it into the trees, and an indignant yelp followed by running feet followed it. “Shall we?” I asked pleasantly, and he nodded. “I know of a place that we can speak.” I said, and led him farther into the woods, and then took to the trees. He looked unsure, and I beckoned him. “It’s just up this tree.” I said, and he followed me.

I entered into the hollow spot in the wood, where an old rug was laid out. It was about the size of a small living room, give or take, and he squeezed in the door. “This is strange.” He commented, and I shrugged. “Yes, but it’s private.” I said, and he nodded faintly. “What did you want to talk about?” I prompted, and he turned his blue-gray eyes on me. “That man you sent to death.” He said frankly, and I blinked, waiting. “How do you know he hadn’t changed his mind?” He asked in a rush, and I answered robotically. “I am not to take chances. If there is a chance they will hurt the vampires, I get rid of them without question.” I said, remembering that my mentor had said much the same thing. “But don’t you ever wonder?” He pressed, and I shook my head curtly. “I don’t think about those things. It only makes it harder to carry out my orders.” I said, and he pressed his lips together slightly. “So if they ordered you to kill me-” He started, but I winced. He stopped, curious of my reaction. “I would not.” I said, and he blinked in surprise. “You…wouldn’t?” He said, and I shook my head. “No.” I said simply, and he let it go. “And…never mind.” He said, and I cocked my head slowly, inviting him to continue. “I still do not understand your loyalty to the vampires.” He admitted, and I looked away. “They treated me like I was a person instead of the creature in the upstairs room.” I said, and he cocked his head in confusion. “Mother kept me locked up except to go to school. It was to keep my satanic blood from tainting the world, as she so charmingly told me.” I said, and he winced. “My mother loved me; she accepted me, even though I wasn’t like her.” He muttered, and I smiled. “Then you are truly fortunate.” I said, and he said nothing. I had a fair mind to say he disagreed. “Did you have a family?” I asked curiously, and he paused. “My mother had two other children; twins, two girls. They were kidnapped, which is why I wanted this gig. I wanted to find them that took my baby sisters from their cradle and swept them away. I didn’t think it would take long, a silly assumption I suppose. I’ve been trying to think of a way to-”He was cut off by a deep, resounding rumble. It was a dark growl. “They stole youth?” I snarled, and his eyes widened as he nodded. “Show me where they were taken.” I ordered, and he took a step back- I must have looked terrifying. “Okay, we can run there from here-” He started, and I gave a curt nod. He leapt out of the tree in a great hurry, and I nearly jumped on top of him. He started, but I put a hand to his chest. “If I am to track, I will need to get some practice in.” I said, and took a concentrated dose of his scent from his hair. I picked up on the fainter traces immediately. This was the way he had come in two days ago.

I followed his trail, faintly winding, and finally ended up at a house with the windows boarded and the door decorated with the remnants of crime scene tape. I kicked in said door, and was presented with the decomposing smell of old blood. It splattered the floor, and it seemed as if it had rained down. “She wounded whoever was here; the females blood is mixed with that of a drug altered persons. I can smell something is very much like hers, but not quite- your sisters. They were taken through here. I need a better concentration of the scent. Where did they sleep?” I demanded, and he pointed upstairs. I knelt at the dusty cradle; they both must have slept in it. I pressed my face into it, taking in the rosy smell mixed with lilac. “I can find them.” I informed him, and his eyes sparked with joy and rage simultaneously. “I trust you did not come unarmed?” I asked gruffly, and he showed me a set of throwing knives and my Sais. “Good. Follow. We will hunt fresh blood tonight.” I grinned homicidally, and he took an involuntary step back.

At the end of a long, winding trail that crossed often enough that I could understand how he couldn’t track them, we found a very pretty little house. I circled around it to make sure that it didn’t come out the other side, but it ended here. I put a finger to my lips, indicating Rarzic should be silent, as I jumped and grabbed onto the roof, flipping myself up. I peered into a window, and there was a gruff, scruffy drugged up man guarding two seven year olds. They were seated meekly on a rickety old mattress. I drew steel, and I felt the vibrations as Rarzic leapt beside me. “Them?” I asked, and he nodded curtly. “Good. You get them out…I get to have some fun tonight. And I think you’ll find they’re willing donors, if you think about it.” I hissed, and he paused for a shocked moment. “The blood of the evil is so much better.” I said thoughtfully, and then I busted in the window. The man jumped up, flailing his arms out as if he were hitting some invisible foe. He must be having hallucinations. “Get them out!” I shouted as he went for the man. He froze, and then his little sisters ran to him and he had no choice but to drag them through the window. I wasted no time on theatrics- I went for his throat and dug in. His blood was acid on my tongue, and the drugs burned. I hissed and realized his blood was very nearly pure alcohol- it hurt to consume it straight like that. I remembered my sword at the same time he did- and it was at his feet. He picked it up with fumbling hands and lofted it, and made like he was chopping firewood. Unfortunately, even with a horrible form, if you whack hard enough it will hurt when it hits; and so it did. It bit into my arm, and very luckily he got it stuck there. I kicked him off of it and dragged it free, yelling with pain. I lobbed his head off just for that. Oh, hell, I would have lobbed his head off anyway. But I did it with more vigor than absolutely necessary.

When I came back down, the girls were shuddering with sobs, and Rarzic was hovering over them helplessly, fluttering his hands. “Oh, for-” I muttered, and the girl’s heads shot up. “Come here, girls. It’s fine.” I crouched and opened my arms, and they threw themselves into my arms with enough force to make me stumble. I shushed them and they sobbed harder. I shot a glance at Rarzic that said, plainly, “It’s not that hard.” They’re heads shot up in tandem, and I looked into their eyes. “He didn’t know, don’t be harsh.” One said, and I looked up at Rarzic with a suspicious look. “There may be something I forgot to mention…” He said, and I very pointedly looked at the girls again, thinking strongly, you should shield your minds better. It will do you no good to hear my thoughts. They gasped squealed, and I shushed them urgently, aware that we were in a populated area. Come. I ordered, and they followed obediently. I had worked hard to forget that female dhampir could read minds. Hell, I could if I wanted to. I shielded my mind most of the time- it was much like a hive of bees was swarming in your head if you didn’t. I heard a tiny chime of a mind voice in my head. blood-sister? It asked, and I shook my head. “No. Clan sister.” I said, and their mouths made an O. Dhampir. “Bingo.” I said, and they smiled a watery smirk at my old fashioned word. I found it amusing that they mirrored each other in every feature, every expression. It was like looking at a doppelganger pair. Rarzic’s eyes flicked back and forth between us. “Uh…” he said, and I set my eyes on him along with his sisters. He shifted uncomfortably. “I’ve missed something.” he said frankly, and my eyes turned cynacle. “No, really?” I said sarcastically, and his sisters turned on me with furious expressions. “Don’t you start, girlies. I’m his mentor and he’s never going to get sharp without his ass nailed to a wall every chance available. Don’t make me start in on you.” I said warningly, and though their eyes blazed they said nothing. I would have to sleep lightly the next few nights to avoid retaliation, though. If I slept at all.

“Let’s get you all home. It’s been quite a day, and I am sure that you need feeding.” I said gently, and just like that I was forgiven. They were half starved, the poor youngsters. “What do you want to eat?” I asked, crouching again. They came closer so that their brother wouldn’t overhear. “We really want some blood, but he never let us eat it.” They whispered, and I rolled my eyes. “Silly boys. They don’t get anything do they.” I said teasingly, and they grinned. “Not one thing.” I was very fond of children, so I liked and understood their logic. “Well, you can have some today, okay?” They nodded greedily. “Now then…I think it would be safest if you took if first from me, instead of someone else. Is that all right with you?” I asked, and they nodded slowly, unsure now. “It’s just instinct. You have fangs; use them.” I said, guessing their hesitation. They looked only slightly less uneasy. Rarzic still hadn’t gotten what was going on, and was franticly switching his gaze from them to me and back again. I bared my throat, taking them into my arms softly, and they bit after a moment. Rarzic finally got it when he smelled the blood. He surged forward, and I pushed him back. “They need this.” I croaked in his direction. It was a simple fact that female and male dhampir were not the same. Females could read minds, and they needed a small dose of blood to really be dhampir instead of a fang baring, super strong human. Males could, if they focused hard enough, project their thoughts, and they needed a dose of solid, human food.

He tried again, and I held him at bay. “Stop them! They’ll kill you!” He screamed, and I rolled my eyes at him without moving my head. “Nonsense.” I said simply, and he stopped in his tracks. The girls detached from my neck, wiping their mouths delicately. I took my shirt and wiped a little off that the one on the right had missed. “What are your names?” I asked, and the one on the left said. “I’m Erina, and that’s Vena.” She flicked a hand at her sister to indicate who “that” was. “I’m Lillian, but you can call me Lily.” I smiled softly, and Vena sniffed. “What’s wrong?” I asked, and she sniffed again. “Our mother.” She said simply, and I hugged her to me. “She died strong.” I said, and though they were too young to understand how important that was they still got that it was a good thing. Come, we must get back. Stay quiet and don’t let anyone talk to you. I told them, and they nodded, darting glances at each other. I kept them firmly under the circle of my arms, and they seemed to take comfort from that, as if I were their only protection. Or perhaps it was that I could do what they could, and they felt anxious when I left their side. I could only guess without delving into their minds. Rarzic stayed close too, and I am sure that if anyone saw us it must have looked very strange. I was relying on the fact that most of the city was sleeping.

When we approached, I put my palm flat against the scanner. It seemed to whir gratefully and take a little longer to examine my hand than when I flashed by. After a muttered curse, the gate finally popped open. I rushed through. I knew how fast that thing shut- if it caught you it was going to hurt.

I kicked in the door, and snarled when the doorman started to yell a warning. His yowl caught in his throat, and I flew past him. I took the girls up in my arms, putting them on my back so I could move faster. I went first to the master. He would be pissed if he heard about this from anyone but me. I flashed a look at his secretary, and she hit the button with awe on her face. “Your daughter is here to see you, and she has-” She paused at my look, and Father barked into the microphone. “Let her in.” I shoved the door open, and he frowned at me without noticing the children. “We’re sure seeing a lot of each other- what in the bloody blue blazes is going on?” He yelped when I put the girls down. “They are dhampir, Rarzic’s sisters. They are mine.” I said simply, and he shot out of his chair. “Is that not my decision?” He snarled, and I shoved them behind me, into Rarzic. “Not this one, father. These are mine. If you want to see who wins this fight I suggest you look on who will kill whom first.” I said, my nails turning into claws and my fangs lengthening. He took a step back. “You will fight me on this?” He said, shocked, and I nodded curtly. “I won’t let you take away another set of young.” I said, and he sat back down, rubbing his forehead. “They are not your daughters, Lily.” He said softly, and I was abruptly seated across from him. “You don’t think I know that?” I snarled, and he sat up straight. “I think you want to replace them, and these two look very alike.” He said quietly, and I snorted. “Nothing could replace my girls. I know that. But I will not allow you to do what you did to them ever again. Never. You may as well have killed them yourself, you old bat. So these are mine, and you can either let me and them be on our way, or I’ll send you on yours.” I said realistically, and he waved a hand at me. “Threats are not required. You’ve made your point. Get out and don’t let in interfere with his training.” He said, jerking a thumb at Rarzic. I bowed with a smug grin, and he glared at me. “Don’t gloat.” He snarled, and I snickered as I herded the group out the door.

I herded them into my rooms, and the two humans that were waiting there bided their time until the children were fast asleep. And then the fur flew. “You haven’t eaten in a week!” Leo shouted, and I put a hand on my hip. “You haven’t slept in two!” Alan said, and I wondered how he had known. Must have been Leo. I shot a murderous glance at him, and he met it with a pissed off look. “You need blood, and then you need to sleep. Good god, Lily, you’re not a machine! You can’t run on pure grit!” Leo said logically, and I hissed in annoyance. “I seem to be doing pretty damn well with that, I think!” I snarled, and Alan threw out his bear arm. I could hear the blood singing through his veins, and I lurched forward without thinking. “Sure you are. Humor me, Lily.” Alan pleaded softly, and I sighed. “All right, fine. Sit down then.” I deflated, and he smiled like I had made his night. Hell, I might’ve; you never knew with Alan.

He sat down in my old rocking chair, the one I had gotten so long ago when I was trying to be a mother. I sat at his feet like a child, my legs under me and my eyes widened with concentration. It was that or kill him; a lapse in thought for a moment and I could drain him. He gave me his wrist, solemn, and I smiled reassuringly as I took it solidly on my hands. I bit into the flesh, letting my instincts guide my teeth to the correct place. I heard him groan in the background, but most of my attention was on how much blood I was taking. More than two pints was too much; I only took around one. I detached, and he drew his arm away. “Now…You go to sleep.” He breathed, and I nodded as I wiped my mouth. “Yes, sleep.” I muttered, and I knew then that my thoughts were muddled. He must have done it on purpose, to make sure I slept. I didn’t truly care, but I’d have to give him hell about it later. I guessed, just before he slept, that he must have spiked his blood alcohol level just enough to buzz me. “Alan, you’ll pay for this…” I muttered, and I fell into blackness amongst a ghostly chuckle.

The End

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