Interlude Four: The Darkness Thickens

Bridgeport, a few weeks after Alaric’s death


 

The city’s lights faded away in the rearview mirror of the expensive car.

Belisama Donovan sat behind the wheel, her grip on the steering wheel made her knuckles white.  She had thought about ignoring this summons.  Had actually contemplated just ignoring and doing what she wanted.  But right on the heels of that thought was the possible consequences from ignoring the summons.  Though she hated to admit it, those thoughts sent a shiver down her spine.  And so, she found herself following a winding road out of the city.

It looked like nothing more than a small stone shack on the far outskirts of the city.  But looks could be deceiving.  Bridgeport was home to one of the world’s only super, super max security prison facility.  It was the kind of place that was used to house supernaturals.  The only place that could, aside from the Netherworld, anyway.  Belisama looked disdainfully at the shack façade as she climbed out of her car.  She walked through the double doors into the barren interior.  In front of her was an elevator.

She rode it down and instinctively knew that they were several stories below the surface.  The wards, both technological and magical, made her skin crawl.  Hmph, she’s the one locked up like a rat in a cage and she has the nerve to summon me like a wayward child!

She went through the security station.  There were no guards here.  There didn’t need to be.  Those wards were more than enough to keep the inmates in line.  And if by some miracle, they managed to escape, the unseen guards would take care of them.

Another shudder ran over Belisama’s flesh, raising goosebumps along her arms.  She sauntered through the double doors in front of her.

There was almost a sucking sound, as if the next little room was some sort of a vacuum.  Then she was through the last set of double doors, a huge window looking through into a room on the other side.

The woman on the cot had been waiting for this visitor.  She didn’t need to look to know it was her.  Her energy was only too familiar.  Elvira supposed it was better late than never, though the lack of obedience would need to be dealt with.

Belisama looked around, that unmistakable sneer on her face.  “How the mighty have fallen,” she murmured, though not even she was brave enough to say it any louder.  She watched out of the corner of her eye as Elvira levered herself off the dingy cot in the corner of the small cell.

Elvira wanted to wipe the smirk off the arrogant chit’s face, but that would have to wait.  They had much to discuss first.

The elder vampire matriarch went and sat down in the small chair in the cell, steepling her hands in front of her as she rested her elbows on her knees.  “I’m glad you could finally join me,” she murmured.  She had no need to raise her voice.  She would be heard.  Belisama had gone right up to the glass, peering in.

That voice… it sent a chill down Belisama’s spine.  Her mother in law had always been able to do that.  The power seemed to roll off Elvira Slayer in waves.  One could forget it for short periods, but never when they were in her presence.  That thought of defiance, of refusing to sit, flew out of Belisama’s mind.  She took the seat, even as Elvira stood up, her arms crossed over her chest.

“Good girl,” Elvira murmured.  “Now, shall we get down to business?”

“That would be appreciated.”  Belisama managed to inject enough disdain in there to make it clear what she thought of being summoned there, yet Elvira had to admire her pluck.  At least for a short amount of time.

“Word has reached me that you plan on traveling to Monte Vista.  Didn’t I make myself clear already?  Any moves against the Wyverns are to be made only with my express permission.”

Belisama’s eyes narrowed dangerously.  “I see your network is as strong as ever.  There’s no point in lying.  Yes, I plan on going there.  I plan on ripping Luna Wyvern’s heart out of her chest while that traitor watches.”

Elvira sneered.  “Do you even have any idea who you’re dealing with?  The Wyverns are powerful.  More powerful than you can imagine.  And their home is surrounded by wards.  Wards that will turn you to dust before you could attempt to step across the threshold.”

“You’d let them get away with they have!?” Belisama hissed, clenching her hands into fists.  “They killed your son, my husband!”  Fury and what might have been grief colored her pale cheeks.

“I’m well aware of what they’ve done.”  Elvira’s voice was as cold as an Arctic wind and her eyes flashed dangerously.  “They will pay, in due time.  But touching them in their home territory is not only foolish but dangerous.  I gave those orders for a reason.  Don’t you think I would have already taken care of them by now if caution wasn’t needed?”

“I want her dead!” Belisama exploded.  “She deserves to die for what she did!  Alaric tried to protect her and it got him killed!”

She had begun to rise from her chair but then dropped back in shock as the lights all around her went out.  Elvira hadn’t moved.  But all the lights had simply died… Belisama knew fear then.  Elvira could manipulate things in this place?

“Yes, she deserves to die,” Elvira continued, as if nothing untoward had occurred.  “They all do for their interference.  I have already begun to ensure that, but the fact remains that attacking them on their home turf is out of the question.  Disobey me in this at your own peril, Belisama.  My name, nor my power can protect you in Monte Vista.”

Belisama knew a dismissal when she heard it and she was only too happy to make a beeline for the door.  She couldn’t help looking over her shoulder as if something monster was behind her.  But even as she left Elvira’s presence, fury and something akin to shame assailed her.  How dare that woman order her about like some dog.  She had a right to avenge her husband’s death.  So their home was warded.  There were other ways to get to someone.


 

Elvira watched Belisama’s retreat with the same stony expression.  Only once she could feel the girl leave the premises did she allow the malicious smile to cross her lips.  The seeds had been planted.  She knew Belisama better than the girl knew herself.  Even terrified, the girl’s rebellious streak and need to prove that she was her own boss would send her running to Monte Vista.  Elvira very much doubted Belisama would succeed in her mission, though even if the girl managed to do half of what she wanted, it would be worth it.  And Elvira had no doubt that the Wyverns would rid her of the nuisance that Belisama had become.  It was killing two birds with one stone, as far as she saw it.  And if Belisama managed to kill Luna Wyvern?  All the better.

Her eyes glowed red in the absence of light and the abyss seemed to look back.


 

Chapter 36:… Before the Dawn

A/N: Once again, huge shoutout to intl-incident and Notjustabook.  The poses are fantastic and made this chapter possible.  Also, there is certainly implied and a bit of violence in this next chapter.  So be aware of that!

Fully intending to enjoy myself, I found myself back at the penthouse.  I should have known that someone like him would work in one half of the penthouse and live in the other half, plus the next two floors.  He greeted me at the door, ushering me in with a grand gesture, directing me to the kitchen.  I had a seat at the bar, admiring the surroundings.  He smiled at me.  “What can I get ya, lovely lady?”

“I’ll take a Sapphire Samurai, I think,” I decided after a moment, thinking about it.  Getting drunk didn’t sound like an entirely bad idea, truth be told.

He smiled at me.  “Coming right up!”

“Make a tray, would you,” I told him, my voice wry.

He laughed.  “Sure, why not.  You look like you could use it.  Everything ok?  I hope I didn’t cause problems between my brother and you…”

“You weren’t the problem,” I murmured, grabbing my drink.

He frowned.  “Luna, I really didn’t mean to cause problems.”

“It’s ok, Alaric.  Really.”

His phone rang.  “Oh, excuse me.  I’ll take this and then come back, ok?”

He left and I stood up, looking around, my drink in my hand.  I’d already finished half of it just sitting there.

 By the end of my second drink, I was feeling the effects.  The room spun around me as I got up.  I stumbled around and felt a pair of strong hands grab onto my waist.  “Easy now,” Alaric whispered.  “Easy, Luna.  You ok?”

I don’t know what made me do it… one minute he’s steadying me, the next… I’m turning around in his arms and threading mine around his neck, pulling him down for a kiss.  A part of me is screaming to stop.  But it’s being drowned out by the hurt and sorrow.  I really don’t know what I was thinking other than I wanted comfort, a way to forget what happened.  Alaric was there.  And maybe Roark’s warning was running around my head as well.  Was I doing this for spite?  The little voice asking that was drowned out again.  “Kiss me back,” I whispered.  “Please, just kiss me back.”

Alaric did just that.  As we kissed, he picked me up and carried me through the penthouse toward what I found out was his bedroom.  He laid me on the bed and then slid in beside me, holding me.

Something akin to guilt swept over me as a picture of Roark flashed through my mind.  But anger welled in its place and I pulled Alaric to me, kissing him desperately, almost desperate to make it stop, to drown it out completely.  If only he’d been honest with me… It’s what I thought at the time, using my anger and hurt as an excuse.


I only remember hazy bits of that night.  Between the drinks and my mood, I was probably lucky to remember my own name at that point, truth be told.  I’m not proud of what I did that night.  To this day, it still hurts.  Knowing that I could be that spiteful, that cold haunts me.  But what happened next haunts me more…

My head was pounding when I came to.  I was curled up on the ground next to Alaric’s bed.  I could barely think straight, let alone get up.

But it cleared after a little while, cleared enough, at least for me to stumble around and find my clothes.  Once I was dressed, I looked around.  I heard Alaric’s voice outside the bedroom door.  My cheeks colored.  What had I just done?  Had I really just… had I just slept with Roark’s brother?  Mortification warred with something else, something I couldn’t have named at the time.  I think now it was a bitter shame mixed in weak attempt at justification.  Could Roark and I possibly still be a couple after what had been said between us?  But now… what now?  As I stood there, I heard Alaric’s voice again.

Something in his tone sent off glaring warning bells in my head.  Quietly, I crept to the door and listened.

“…really, Belle, do we have to go over this again?”  He sounded exasperated and not a little fed-up.  There was a different cadence to his voice too.  He didn’t sound at all like the man from before.  I frowned, continuing to listen.

“I did what I had to do!” he snarled.  “I made the call to Roark already.  He’ll be at the warehouse soon.  The Treskers are there waiting for him.  He’ll come for her!  No, I’ll keep her here.  I don’t want her to interfere.  My brother will learn he should have been loyal to his family.  Belisama, if you touch the girl, I swear to you, I will divorce you!  She’s not to be harmed!  Is that understood?  Don’t you like living as you do?  Then listen to me!”

My heart was hammering in my chest.  Oh Watcher… what had I done?  Roark… Alaric… it had been a set-up from the first.  I couldn’t breathe.  I’d walked right into a trap, the bait for someone else.  Roark… what would Alaric do to him?  And the Treskers… I knew that name.  I’d seen it often enough when I’d been at the precinct, both here and back in Monte Vista.  Their names were linked to a number of crimes, up to and including murder.  They were hired guns, though it was hard to say whether they were free-lancers or whether they had loyalties.  It was unclear.  And they were waiting for Roark… I knew I had to get out of there, to warn him!

I pulled my phone out of my pocket and dialed his number, but it went straight to voicemail.  “Oh Watcher, no…”  I no longer heard Alaric’s voice.  I eased my way out the door.  My only thought as I ran out the door was that I had to get there… I had to save Roark…


 

The entire trip across town, my heart pounded in my head.  Would I get there in time?  How was I going to get in?  I couldn’t worry about that now.  I just had to get there and hope I wasn’t already too late.  When I got there, the place looked deserted.  In a way, it was good for me.  It allowed me to get in undetected.

I eyed the door.  I didn’t have my brother’s skills with electronics… but I had learned a thing or two during my time as a PI.  After trying a couple tricks, the door opened.

Now I could feel people.  Closing my eyes, I let my shields go down.  Not every criminal in Bridgeport was a vampire and therefor unable to be read.  Many were simple humans.  All I needed was one… Ah!  There we go.  Opening my eyes, I went down a side passageway.  And came to what appeared to be dead-end.

But it wasn’t.  It was a secret entrance to the part of the warehouse where they stored the more illegal items, guns, ammo, or anything else that they smuggled.  Any other time, I’d have been crowing.  All the evidence we needed here… but I didn’t care about that.  As I found the hidden lever that opened the door, it slid into the wall without a sound and I crept in.  The door was hidden behind a large stack of crates.  They were perfect for concealing me.  I crouched down and slowly made my way as close as I dared.  Beyond the crates, the room opened up.  I saw two figures, both big men and I could see one of them had a gun.  Blake Tresker.  I recognized him from several mug shots I’d seen.  His brother Jerome was there too.  But Roark wasn’t there yet.

I crept back a little, making sure I was hidden in the shadows.  These guys weren’t normal Sims, that I knew.  I also knew their senses would be a heck of a lot better than normal, too.  I had to maintain the element of surprise.

Without a weapon of any kind (other than my magic), I was at a disadvantage and I would more than likely be a liability unless I could figure something out.  As thoughts and plans raced through my mind, I heard a ‘swish’ and the door the two men stared at opened.  I had to swallow a cry.  It was Roark!  He’d come!

Part of me wanted to cheer.  That meant something, that he’d come for me.  And part of me wanted to rage.  The fool!  Why would he waste his time on me?  The answer, I knew was that he really did love me.  He marched in, seemingly without a care in the world that he had just entered the lion’s den.  His face was a mask of stone.  “Where is she?” he demanded.  “Where’s Luna?”

I had all I could do not to shout to him.  I cursed the fact that his own mental shields were strong enough to keep me from even “knocking”.  I’d warn him, but I couldn’t.

“Tell me where she is!” Roark snarled.  I could hear how close to snapping he was.

“Roark,” I whispered.

A laugh sounded and seemed to echo.  “Well, well.  If it isn’t my big bad brother, lookin’ to be the White Knight.”  Alaric emerged from the shadows toward the back of the room.  There was a maniacal grin on his face.

“You son of a llama!” Roark shouted.  “What have you done with her, Alaric!  I swear, if you’ve hurt her, I’ll-“  Blake, the one with the gun, brought it out, pointing it at Roark as he took a threatening step forward.

Oh Watcher, he was going to get himself killed because of me!  I didn’t think, I just react.  I crouched and then vaulted over the crates, landing in front of Roark, spreading my arms to the side, yelling, “No!  Don’t you hurt him!”

“Luna!” Roark shouted behind me.

“Luna!” Alaric stepped forward, then he snapped at Blake.  “Put the gun down, fool!  She’s not to be hurt.”  He looked at me and in his eyes, I saw something that stopped me in my tracks.  There was feeling there, almost a pleading.  It gave me a bit of hope.

I looked at him, tried to appeal to him.  “Alaric, please.  Don’t hurt him.  I-I… I love him, Alaric.”

I could hear Roark’s intact of breath and saw Alaric sag.  “Luna,” he murmured, shaking his head.  “Luna, I-“

Blake Tresker let out a bark of laughter.  “Seems Mistress was right!  You’ve gone soft, Vampire!”  He spun the gun toward Alaric.  “Yer weak!  Yer mother would be very disappointed in ya, Alaric!”

“What is this?” Alaric demanded.  “I’m your boss!”

“No, not you.  We follow Lady Elvira, not you!”  I could feel Roark behind me ready to spring.  Everything happened so fast…  He must have seen Roark beginning to move out of the corner of his eye because the gun swung back this way.  I just… reacted, grabbing for the gun, trying to twist it out of his hands.

He threw me back toward Roark and we hit and went down in a pile, then turned the gun just as Alaric growled and leapt for him.  As I tried to disentangle myself from Roark, the explosion of the gunshot echoed in the warehouse.

I saw Alaric stagger back, both hands at his chest.  They came away dark with his blood.  He fell even as Roark went after them.  Jerome and Blake took one look and they ran.  Roark snapped out, “Luna, stay with Alaric.  I’m going after them!”  I watched him go and then turned to Alaric.  He lay where he had fallen.

Blood had soaked the front of his shirt.  When I checked, his pulse was weak and thread.  But as I pulled my phone out to make the call to 911, he opened his eyes.  “L-luna,” he whispered.  “I-I know I shouldn’t ask.”  He had to take a breath, though it was hard for him.  “H-help me s-sit up… would you?  Please?”  Tears stung my eyes.  I remember the way he’d held me just the night before.  And I saw the look in his eyes when he’d seen me in danger.  I couldn’t deny him that.  With the amount of blood there was, I knew he was hurt badly.  The only reason he wasn’t dead outright was because he was a vampire.  So I did what he asked.  I slid beneath him and held onto him.

He stared up at me for a long moment, as if memorizing my face.  Then, his hand trembling, he brought it up to my cheek.  “I-I’ve been a fool,” he whispered to me.  “I-I thought I could things… my way.  S-so angry… blamed Roark.  Wanted to hurt him, wanted to take you from him.  T-then I met you.”  Tears slid down my cheeks.

“Shhh.  Save your strength,” I told him, my voice cracking.  “It’ll be ok.”

 

The door slid open and Roark ran in.  “Help’s on its way, Luna.  They got away, but how’s-“  He stopped when he saw me with Alaric.  By the look on his face, I knew that he knew his brother wouldn’t last that long.

Roark collapsed on his knees next to me, looking down at his brother.  His voice was gruff, “Help’s on its way, little brother.  Hang on, just a little while longer.”

Alaric gave a bark of laughter, the sound turning into a violent cough.  “’Fraid that isn’t gonna happen.  Y-you know it… as well as I.  Roark…”  He had to suck in a breath which was becoming harder to do.  “I’m sorry.  I’ve spent so long… being angry.  I-I just wanted to blame you.”

“Stop, Alaric.  Stop, you don’t have to apologize,” Roark begged.  Tears swam in his eyes too.  The hand he’d put on my shoulder tightened almost painfully, but I didn’t say anything.  “Just hang on a little while.  We’ll figure all this out, ok?”

Alaric shook his head weakly.  “R-roark… Listen.  Too late.  It’s too late for you and I.  B-but not too late… for you and her.  Y-you take care of her, ok?  B-be the man… I never could.”  I was sobbing now, unable to contain it.

“I-I promise,” Roark whispered.  “But you’re wrong.  You’re already that man, Alaric.”  He was crying too.

Alaric smiled at us.  “N-never thought I’d hear ya- say that,” he whispered.  “L-luna.  Don’t-don’t forget me, ok?”  With what seemed to a last sigh, he went limp in my arms.  And I knew he was gone.

“Alaric?  Alaric!” I whispered.  I threw my head back on a howl, Roark looking lost.


Chapter 23: The Dragon’s Heir

A/N:  Hope you guys enjoy this update.  This is done almost entirely with Pose Player.  Now, I don’t plan on using it a ton because I do like letting the gameplay speak for itself.  But since I’m experimenting, I used it a lot here after I had the idea to use this storyline.  So I hope you guys enjoy it.  If you notice anything I can do differently or like something more than another, please, let me know!  Without further ado, here’s Chapter 23!

It’s amazing how time can change.  It’s only been a few hours since we arrived at the hospital in Bridgeport.  Yet it feels like days, months since we boarded the plane.  Jeff and I wait out in the waiting room with walls that are supposed to be a soothing light blue with Luna while Mom is at his bedside.  She hasn’t left since he came out of the last surgery.  I can only look through the little windows since no one is supposed to be in the room.  They made an exception for her.

“Baby, why don’t you go to the hotel, try to get some sleep?” Jeff murmured to me.

“I can’t.  I just… can’t.  I can’t leave.”

“Rora…”  He sighed and just settled back onto the couch in the waiting room.  He knew trying to argue with me was useless.  At least, about this.  I knew he was worried about me.  An empath in a hospital was bad enough, but an empath in a hospital watching her father fight for his life was excruciating.  But I couldn’t leave.

I can’t settle, no matter what I do.  Even as my daughter plays with the little dollhouse in the corner, I get up and pace, then take a seat on the floor.  Poor Jeff doesn’t know what to do.  He tries to comfort and honestly, just his presence is calming, but still…

We’ve had no word from the doctors, not since they told us that dad would need to go for another surgery, except he wasn’t strong enough, not yet.  They didn’t say that time was of the essence- they didn’t have to.  Even if I couldn’t feel it from them, it was written over their faces.  Oh Watcher… what are we going to do?

Jeff squatted down next to me, putting a hand on my shoulder.  “I’m going to run to the vending machines, grab a coffee.  Do you want anything?”

I just shook my head.  The thought of something even as simple as coffee made me ill and that is saying something.  Even as he went to leave, I could feel his gaze lingering over me.


Jeff headed out into the hallway, toward the vending machine, his hands in the pockets of his coat.  He was a doctor himself.  He knew by the snippets he’d been able to glean that it didn’t look good.  Ah Watcher… He ran a hand agitatedly through his hair.  It didn’t seem real.  He dealt with this kinda thing, day in and day out, but it was a lot different when it was one of your own.  Not Draco… Jeff hit the vending machine with the heel of his hand, letting out a curse.  Despite the somewhat rocky start to their relationship, Jeff had gotten quite close to his father-in-law.  Jeff was an orphan, spent most of his time in state run homes.  When he’d moved in with Aurora and her parents, he’d finally had a family.  And now…

His gaze sharpened as a figure in scrubs approached.  “Dr. Blakely!”  The surgeon who had spoken to them jerked and looked at Jeff, blinking.  Jeff recognized exhaustion when he saw it.  He gentled his voice.  “Dr. Blakely, I’m Dr. Jeffrey Dean.  I’m in my residency at Dr. Simano’s Sanatorium in Monte Vista.  Look, that’s my father in law in there.  What can you tell me?”

Dr. Blakely looked toward the end of the hall, into the waiting room, then he sighed.  “Doctor… I shouldn’t be speaking with you, you know that.  But I will, doctor to doctor, alright?”  Jeff swallowed.  “Mr. Wyvern– your father-in-law–  was found at least three hours after he was shot.  The fact that he survived long enough to even make it here is, in itself, a miracle.  We’ve done all we can at this point.  He’s too weak to go for another surgery, but without it… it’s only a matter of time.”

Jeff shut his eyes.  His residency involved trauma situations, and he knew the dangers of a penetrating chest wound.  “Is it a pericardial tamponade?”

The doctor nodded bleakly.  “I’m afraid so.  We tried to perform pericardiocentesis without putting him fully under for a thoracotomy.  We’ve repaired what we could in the first two surgeries, but the bullet did a tremendous amount of damage.  He’s not capable of breathing on his own, which is why he’s on a ventilator.  I’m sorry- but I wish I could give you some kind of hope.  I just… don’t see how.”

“T-thank you, for being honest with me and speaking with me.  N-now I have to find a way to tell my wife… and my daughter.  S-she’s only four.”  Jeff scrubbed his hands over his face, feeling the bite of tears in his eyes.

Dr. Blakely put a hand on his shoulder in sympathy then walked off, holding a cup of coffee.  His own coffee forgotten, Jeff stood there for a moment, feeling lost.  Knowing he had to tell Aurora, he made himself go back in.  His gaze saw his little girl, still playing quietly.  She’d been an angel this whole time.

Then he brought his gaze reluctantly to meet his wife’s.  She couldn’t read him like she could others, but she must have seen it in his eyes, the lack of hope.  She let out one little whimper.  The noise was all Luna needed.  The toddler began to cry, begging for her Pop-pop.

They scooped her up together, holding her between them, trying to comfort her, but it was hard, so very hard when the grief was already beginning to swamp them.

As they held their child to them, a wail rose from the next room.  Jeff took Luna as Aurora ran to the door.  Sophia’s wail fell off, the shrill whine of the EKG machine droning on.  “Daddy!” Aurora sobbed out, falling to her knees, holding her head in her hands.

Luna’s wail joined hers even as the child buried her head in the crook of her father’s neck.  As Jeff reached down, wanting to comfort his wife, something happened.  Aurora threw her head back, a golden glow of light surrounding her.  Her red eyes glowed as well.  Jeff could only stand there, slack-jawed as a wind sprang up around his wife.  Slowly, she rose into the air, that glow intensifying.

Even as she began to glow, Draco did as well.  Sophia raised her head in shock even as the EKG machine seemed to spark and then go utterly blank.

Jeff could only stare in shock and amazement even as the glow vanished from his wife and then she dropped to the ground, still.  Voices shouted as doctors and nurses came running in.  Luna cocked her head uncertainly.  “P-pop-pop.  Mama,” she murmured, her cheek against her father’s.  But she was no longer crying.


Jeff ran his hand through his wife’s hair, his eyes closed.  He, Dr. Blakely and several nurses had been checking on her the last several hours.  She was just sleeping, exhausted from whatever had happened.  Still, he couldn’t help but want to be near her right now, just to reassure himself that there were no ill effects from… whatever that was that she had done.

But the doors from the other room opened and Dr. Blakely stepped out.  He turned and then saw Jeff and Aurora, a small smile forming on his face.

“He’s awake.  You can go in and see him now.”

Jeff stood up, being careful to lay Aurora’s head down gently, and then shook the doctor’s hand.  “Thank you, for everything.”

Dr. Blakely grinned.  “This has been… enlightening.  This is certainly a rotation I won’t soon forget.”  Jeff gave him a half smile and then he walked through the door, into the room.  The sight he saw had him stop for a moment.

“This-this is a sight for sore eyes,” Jeff murmured, his voice cracking just a bit.

Draco, looking a little paler than normal, grinned nonetheless.  “What?  This?”  He shifted and grimaced.  “Guess I scared you guys, didn’t I?  I know Sophia couldn’t look at me without crying.”  He looked guilty at that.  “Why I told her to go and take Luna and get some sleep.”

Jeff stepped closer, just nodding, not sure if he could speak quite yet.  He did try, clearing his throat.  “Yeah, yeah you scared us a bit.  Look-“

But his eyes widened in shock and he managed to shout, “What in the Netherworld do you think you’re doing!?”  Draco had thrown his legs over the side of the bed and, arms shaking, had then stood up!

“What does it look like?” Draco asked sharply.  “Can’t a guy get out of bed?  Need to stretch-“  He let out a grunt as his legs buckled.  Jeff was there in an instant, throwing one arm around his father-in-law’s waist and slinging Draco’s arm across his own shoulders.

“Of all the hard-headed, stubborn, headstrong stunts!” Jeff grumbled as he helped Draco lay back down.

“Easy, lad!” Draco protested.  “You’re acting like I’m on my deathbed here.  Just had a bit of problems with my balance, that’s all.”

“No, that isn’t all!” Jeff exploded.  He had to take a shaky breath.  “Do you remember what happened?  At all?”

Draco frowned as tried to think back.  He lost what little color he had had as his memories solidified.  Then he looked at his son-in-law.  “H-how am I still alive, Jeff?”

“Rora,” Jeff said simply.

“What happened?” Draco asked quietly, looking down.

“I-I don’t even know.  All I know is, you should be dead, Draco.  I’m not exaggerating.  You were too weak to go through the surgery that would save your life.  Y-you flatlined and then-“  He was about to explain more when Dr. Blakely  came back in.

“What’s this now?  The patient anxious to be out of here?”

“I…”  Draco trailed off, looking out the window.

The doctor and Jeff slowly explained the rest of what happened and then Dr. Blakely told them both, “You’re still wounded.  After… we’ll call it the miracle for now, since that’s what it amounted to, but after that, we were able to go in and repair what needed to be repaired.  You’ll still be weak and your body will need time to heal.  In a few more days, I think you’ll actually be well enough to travel back home.  I think you’ll recover better in more familiar surroundings and I’m sure your family will appreciate being home as well.”

He gave Draco a gentle pat on the shoulder and then left.  “Thank you again, Dr. Blakely,” Jeff murmured, shaking his hand.


Jeff and Aurora both trudged up the stairs of the hotel, neither really noticing the lovely décor.

As they reached the landing, Aurora let out a sob and buried her head in her hands.  Jeff had been expecting it for a while and without a word, just pulled her to him and held her closely.  “That’s it now, just let it out,” he murmured, rubbing his hand over her back in gentle circles.

After a good cry, she stepped back.  “I-I thought we-we’d lost him, Jeff.  I-I don’t even know… what happened.”

“I know, baby.  I know.  C’mon, we’re all exhausted.  Your dad is gonna be fine.  Let’s go get some sleep, ok?”  They’d deal with the other thing later.  Right now, he knew they needed sleep.  Maybe a good night’s rest would make things clearer in the morning.  He took her hand and led her into their room where Sophia had already taken Luna.  Somehow, his mother-in-law had already dropped off to sleep.  Then again, she was as exhausted as they all were and as emotionally wrung out as they were, maybe more so.  Her granddaughter had brought her a little bit of comfort after the horrible grief and then the confusion.

Jeff and Aurora stood there together, watching their daughter as she looked back at them.  “/Love you, Mama.  Love you, Papa,/” she murmured sleepily, too tired to actually speak.

“We love you too, sweetheart,” Aurora whispered as she leaned back against Jeff.

She and Jeff changed and then both slid into bed.  So exhausted were they that they were asleep almost before their heads hit the pillow.  Knowing that the nightmare was over, the family slept peacefully.


 

Chapter 22: Shadows

A/N:  Ok, so I want to give a huge shoutout to Trip for all her help.  There are a few images that I’ve manipulated.  It is due to her help and a tutorial using GIMP that I was able to it.  So, Trip, thank you so very much!  You are awesome!

Ok, as I’m sure you guys have noticed, I tend to use screenshots that I’ve gotten from the game itself mainly because I find the Sims interesting enough on their own.  However, I have found the joy of Pose Player and so this chapter and later ones have utilized it quite a bit.  Now, I am an amateur at it, so please bear with me.  If you guys have any comments or tips, please feel free to give them to me.  I love to learn and any tricks or tips are greatly appreciated.  Also, RaiaDraconis was super helpful in helping me find a good majority of the poses I’ve used so far, so there’s another big shout out!

Anyway, here we go!  Enjoy this chapter guys!

I don’t even know where to begin!  I’m feeling so overwhelmed right now, I can barely focus.  Maybe writing it out will help settle me down.  First off, it’s been three days since Dad left.  He didn’t- couldn’t- tell us much, other than he hoped that things would finally be done.  None of us were happy about it, not at all.  But Mom, the unhappiest of us all, said that it was something he had to do.  She was the one who had given us the news; Dad had already left right from the station, apparently.  She had told us of the phone call that had pulled him out of the house and then the subsequent phone call she’d gotten from him a few hours later.

I haven’t been able to shake this horrible feeling that won’t leave me.  I do my best.  Poor Luna can’t figure out where her grandfather has gone.  She’ll sit on the floor and just look around, as if she were waiting for him.

Every time I go to get her from the crib, she looks at me and asks hopefully, “/Pop-pop?/”

It breaks my heart when I have to tell her that, no, he wasn’t home yet.  Though he’s been gone this long before, the fact that we haven’t heard anything yet is very upsetting and it makes this terrible foreboding I have even worse.  Mom won’t admit it, but she has a similar feeling.  She’s been trying to clear her mind using meditation, but I don’t think that’s helping her much.

If that wasn’t bad enough in and of itself, earlier today was just a nightmare.  After Jeff and I got married, Mom and Dad insisted I get my furniture out of storage, start making my mark on the house.  I finally did and with it, we had a fireplace installed in the living room, something I’d always wanted.  Boy am I regretting that now.

Jeff had just lit a fire in it.

I was in the nursery with Luna, trying to get her settled down for her afternoon nap.  Without her grandfather, it was harder to get her to go to sleep.  Jeff had gone back to our room to get dressed.  Suddenly, I heard my mother yelling.  I came running out of the nursery to see what the matter was and this was what I saw:

Jeff and I both ran out to do what we could to help Mom battle the blaze at first.

We had mostly gotten it all out when this happened…

Luckily, he made it into the shower.  He only got a little singed, though his pants were a dead-loss and his nice jacket was damaged.  But that was a small price to pay.  After I and my mother looked him over and made sure he was ok, he went immediately into Luna’s nursery and held her close.

She must have heard the yelling because it had taken quite a while for him to get her settled down again.  As he turned away from her crib, I had come in and I wrapped my arms around him, burying my head against him.

I had been so frightened.  I couldn’t stop the tears that slowly slid down my cheeks.  He held me for a long moment, then put me at arms’ length.

“We’re ok, love.  I’m fine.  A little singed, but I’m ok.”

“I-I know.  Just scared me.”

He pulled me close again.  “It’ll be ok.  C’mon, let’s try and go get some sleep, alright?”  I nodded.  I was exhausted; between the worry about Dad, the terrible feeling of impending doom that wouldn’t leave, and now the fire, I was a wreck.  “Yeah, a nap would be great right about now.”

So Jeff and I headed to our room and slid into bed.  I curled up next to my husband and closed my eyes.  But as I slid into sleep, my dreams were not easy.


Draco waited in the elevator, nonchalantly leaning against the  wall as the too-cheerful music played.  Why did elevator music sound like that?  Whose bright idea was that anyway?  Chuckling to himself, he crossed his legs, watching the floor indicator.  If everything had gone to plan, he’d get into the office, find what they needed, then get out.  And since he hadn’t gotten the abort signal, everything should have gone to plan.

As the little bell dinged to indicate they had made it to the top floor, Draco nodded.  He looked sharp in his tuxedo.  It paid to appear as someone important when needing to get into a building such as this.  He’d been able to steamroll across the receptionist that had tried to stop him on the way up.  As the doors slid open, he stepped out into an elegantly furnished office that spanned the entire half of this floor of the building.  Being the boss must have paid quite well.  He walked in and then stopped abruptly when he saw someone sitting behind the giant mahogany desk.

The images of the dream were distorted, hazy, not very clear.  But even in sleep, Aurora knew them to be real.  She whimpered, wanting to scream for her father to get out of there, to run away.  She could only watch it unfold, however, as if she were the only witness to what would come.

The figure behind the desk smiled at him, showing pointed canine fangs.  “Welcome, Mr. Wyvern.  Do you mind if I call you, Draco?”  The smile fell away in a split second.  “You’ve become a very big problem in the last few years, you know.”

His expression had gone utterly blank, but now he grinned, making it as insolent as he could while his mind raced.  “I’ll take that as a compliment, Slayer.  Or should I call you Elvira?  Since you want to get cozy.”  His voice was calm, almost as insolent as his smile.  His blood was ice and his head was cool as he considered his options.  He knew Elvira to be fairly old by vampire standards and knew she was dangerous.  But he hadn’t gotten to where he was by being stupid, either and he knew what he was doing.

Elvira Slayer continued to glare at him for a long moment, but again, that same vicious smile curled the corners of her mouth upward.  “I applaud your courage, I truly do.  But since I’ve received enough information on you to know that you are far too honorable to work for me, I’m afraid that leaves me with only one option.”  She stood up and looked to her left, to a small alcove that hid something… or someone.  “My dear, if you would come and dispose of our guest, please?”

Draco braced as a figure stepped out into view.  Anger suddenly boiled up within him.  “You!” he snarled, stepping forward.  “Traitor!”

Elvira laughed and William just grinned.  “Oh, poor boy.  William has been mine from the beginning.  It’s very useful to have someone who knows and understands the inner workings of the police force, wouldn’t you say?”

”I won’t let you get away with this!” Draco snarled, that anger sizzling through his blood.  He braced himself for a fight.

Elvira rolled her eyes.  “William?  If you would dear?”  Draco was strong, and smart, and he’d trained for a long time.  But he still hadn’t quite recovered from his last assignment and he was getting older.  Despite his powers, he hadn’t seen this betrayal, probably due to a vampire’s superior mental shields.  He just wasn’t prepared as William seemed to come flying at him, his knee connecting with Draco’s solar plexus.

As if played out, Aurora tossed and turned, tears beginning to slowly slide down her cheeks.
Draco’s breath exploded out even as he was tossed against the reinforced glass of the windows behind him.  When he hit, he just slid down onto the floor, stunned.  It was long enough for William to bring up the gun he held in his hand.  Elvira threw back her head, laughing.  “Kill him, William.”

”S-sophia,” Draco whispered, fighting to get his breath back.  But staring down the barrel of the gun, he knew his luck had run out.

As the sound of a gunshot exploded and then echoed through her brain, Aurora awoke, screaming.  “D-daddy,” she whispered, a burning sensation spreading out from her chest.

Her eyes rolled into her head even as Jeff jerked awake.  As Aurora slid into darkness, she heard her daughter’s piercing cry of anguish.