The Secret History of Vampires – Part 7

These were the dark times. The evening before had been filled with light, artificial of course, but light nonetheless. In her memories that night would always be filled with sparkling light, laughter and a sensual haze. Katiya had loved every minute of it, the beautiful dress, and the expensive dinner with the attentive waiters, and then the Opera.

Oh how she'd loved the Opera!

The beautiful voices lifted in song with such pure sweet notes had been a revelation. Leaving the redhead stunned and breathless, leaning forward in her chair for every note. She'd never heard music like that before. Music itself was not something that had
often entered her world. Rough lyrics sung in a drunken slur behind the bar and a few times she had heard the cathedral choir sing.

Nothing could compare to the sopranos, altos, and baritones she'd heard last night all off set with the magnificent orchestra. Alexei had laughed a rare thing in itself, at her wide-eyed stunned look as the first act began. The vampire hadn't made fun of her though; instead she'd sat next to her, even offering a handkerchief when the redhead had burst into tears at the death of a character.

Now though, there was only darkness and silence. Shiro's music was silent in the manor and Katiya missed it and her dearly.

Alexei's wordless howl of grief and anger had stunned everyone. Katiya had stood, rooted in place, at the entrance to the hall as Alexei had brushed past her, leaving Shiro's body behind. That had been the last she'd seen of the vampire that night, and the next.

This was the third night after Shiro's death and she sat in the room she'd taken after finding Alexei's door locked. No one had been able to get the vampire to come out; even Fiona had been forced to give up.

Darkness ruled the house again.

It was almost dawn outside; Katiya could see the dawn light starting to brighten the smog filled sky outside the window. She'd kept watch from here all night, her dreams when she slept fitfully, filled with Shiro's lovely face covered in blood. Today was the third day after that awful night and she could wait no longer she told herself. It was time to see Tereza and find out if she'd gotten an answer from Mr. Gorsjki.

Tonight maybe she would be able to see Alexei again, but a part of her feared that she'd never see the vampire again.

That the dark silence, had swallowed her whole.


It was just after sunrise when Katiya arrived at the front of the bank building that was Tereza's temporary home, Vidar trailing along behind her. As before she banged hard on the door, waited a few seconds and then did it again.

There was a string of words spoken angrily in Hungarian, and then the door was opened. "I paid the fucking rent to your lazy cow of a wife..." Tereza blinked her sleep-encrusted eyes opening. "Oh, uh, Katiya. Come in."

"Good morning to you too Tereza." Katiya had to grin at the sleep-tousled look. "Rough night?"

"No a long boring one, all the vampires I've been hunting have disappeared." She said in a clipped tone. "Oh by the way you really need to get your own place some no-necks came by to see you yesterday."

"But I like yours so much." She followed along behind the hunter, trying to sound like everything was as normal as possible. "Did they leave something for me?" If she could get whatever they had left quickly and leave maybe she could get away with it.

"Maybe. I heard the mysterious Alexei Petrova was seen out on a date, and even more scandalous it was another woman with red hair and a sinful green dress."

"It was a very nice dress." Katiya agreed, swallowing a little at the thought of how nice that dinner had been. "She even took me to the Opera." The way up the stairs to Tereza's rooms seemed longer than before.

"Some of the more interesting rumors are that she and her date disappeared from view in her private box at the opera and probably scandalously had sex in the theater." Tereza's voice was light but there was a hint of anger behind it.

"Only if you believe rumors of course." Katiya eyed the other woman as they entered her rooms. "Which you wouldn't of course."

"Me? Never." But she looked a little relieved. "So she's your puppet master, huh?" Now she had a name and face to put to the vampire she needed to kill.

Katiya's eyes narrowed slightly. "I'm not a puppet." This wasn't going as planned. "Just give me whatever the men left here for me."

"Whatever, maybe I'm wrong and she gives you freewill to do as you please." She went over to the bookshelf and retrieved a piece of paper.

The way the other woman phrased that set Katiya's teeth on edge, coupled with the sleepless nights eroded her already thin control. Behind her Vidar huffed as he lay down, watching. "I do whatever I want to do, get it in your thick hunter skull. What I'm doing, I'm doing because I want to do it. Not because she makes me."

“Then stay here with me.”

Vidar's ears pricked up at that.

Katiya stopped, blinking and turned towards Tereza, hesitating. "I can't."

The hunter gave her a triumphant look. "What were you saying about freewill."

The redhead made an annoyed sound. "That's not it!" Well it was part of it. "I have to go see Mr. Gorsjki if he sent me that note."

Tereza frowned; she was hoping if Katiya stayed, the hunter could use the redhead to lure Alexei into her own territory.

"Go, but remember I still think you're wrong about vampires."

She held out her hand for the paper Tereza was still holding. "I know you think that." Katiya smiled tiredly.

Tereza handed over the paper. "I'm consistent."

"True." Katiya smiled and looked quickly at the paper. It was, as she'd hoped, an invitation to meet with Gorsjki. "I'll leave you to your rest. Be careful in your hunting."

"I will. You be careful too, sooner or later she'll get bored with you."

"Maybe." Shiro's face flashed in front of her mind. "But not today." Katiya waved and turned to leave, Vidar coming to his feet to follow her out.

Tereza watched her go, always seemed to be watching her go. So far Katiya came back, but she was still worried for the woman. She didn't like her being with that thing, and Katiya was seriously misguided about vampires. "She can't love you. Vampires are incapable of that emotion; she'll never give you security or a relationship. She'll just use you up until you're a dried up husk." She said bitterly to the woman's retreating back.

She turned and then kept walking. "I'll let you know what I find!" Katiya called back.

"Can't wait." The hunter stared at the doorway, angry that she'd just let Katiya walk out again.


The notary looked just as innocuous during the daylight as it had during the night. Katiya was pretty sure there was no way Gorsjki could know it was her and Alexei that had broken in, at least she hoped so. She and Vidar were shown down the hallway towards his office. There was no sign of the guardian in the hallway, no left over pieces of leaves or stray dirt left. It was as if it never happened.

"Good morning Mr. Gorsjki." The man was, as usual, behind the desk.

The portly man looked up at her, one hand nervously played with his mustache. "And good afternoon to you Ms, eh, Katiya." He did not get up but he did stop fiddling with the ends of his mustache to gesture for her to take a seat.

"Thank you." She took the offered seat, looking at him expectantly.

"After seeing you out with Ms. Petrova the other night my employer is impressed and feels that he can meet your requirement of a face to face meeting. If you still desire one?"

Katiya kept her expression schooled. "Yes, I do. When do I get this meeting?"

"When you get the Cup. Once you have the Cup you may deliver it to my employer yourself. Merely send me a message that you have it and I will set up a meeting place and time. Is that acceptable?" He watched her closely.

That wasn't what she had been hoping for but she hoped her expression didn't reveal that. "If that's the only way, then yes, I'll take it." Now how was she going to get Alexei to give her the cup?

Vidar watched the man intently, waiting to see if he would try anything. He did not smell magic so he doubted Gorsjki was the creator of the Golem and the Hex, which meant another player. But as far as he could tell they were the only ones in the room.

"Very good. I hope you prove more reliable than Fenix." He said in a quiet warning.

Her eyes narrowed slightly. "What happened to Fenix?"

"I have no idea, but I'm sure it’s unpleasant. My client doesn't like failure. Trust me when I say Katiya, I hope you are successful for both our sakes."

The portly man was quite aware this slip of a girl was more than likely his last chance.

"I don't fail when I set my mind to it." She rose from her seat. "I'll be in touch Mr. Gorsjki."

He watched her leave his office and only then did he get up and move to the window. Opening the blinds he gave the signal to the two men across the way that she had just left.

"We're almost there Vidar. Just a little more and we'll have a name and face of this person." She started walking quickly down the street away from the business. "Not sure how we are going to talk Alexei into this, but it's going to work out I think." Far better to focus on this then what had happened to Shiro.

Vidar didn't know how they were going to talk to Alexei either. He was surprised the vampire had taken Shiro's death as hard as she had. Maybe he should have Katiya pick the lock before Alexei went without food for too much longer.

The hound noticed first they were being followed again. He whined softly not liking the looks of the creepy thin man and the large giant they stared too intently at Katiya.

"She's really upset isn't she Vidar?" She sighed, knowing she wasn't going to be able to keep from thinking about it no matter how hard she tried.

"Hmm?" The redhead looked around, not sure what had Vidar whining.

His hackles raised but kept them moving, prevented Katiya from taking risky shortcuts and kept them in crowded city blocks.

The storm had left large snowdrifts, which were now dirty and gray from pollution, which made it hard to maneuver down the streets.

"What is it... oh." She stumbled a little, catching sight of the large man towering over the rest of the crowded street "Boris." That meant Ivan wasn't far behind. She nearly tripped over the snow bank, recovered, and tried to move faster.

Vidar didn't like the sound of Katiya's voice, when she said the man's name. He wasn't certain where to take them, they didn't have much of the weak winter light left, and the two men didn't seem to want to stop following.

Licking dry lips, Katiya tried to force herself to think past the fear. "Crap." She couldn't very well lead them back to the Manor. There weren't many other places to go. "We're going back to Tereza's, Vidar."

The hound whined but knew they were out of options right now. Those men had an aura of menace around them and it was too far to the manor.

"Tereza's going to be thrilled." Katiya mumbled, changing direction and heading back towards the vampire hunters house. She lost sight of Boris and Ivan about halfway there, but judging by Vidar's low growl, they were still trailing them.

She moved up the steps to the old bank well into the afternoon, frowning. Depending how long they were going to skulk around she might break her promise to Alexei. Not that the vampire was likely to notice, she thought darkly.

So once again she found herself banging on the front door to the old bank, hoping the vampire hunter was home.


Alexei awoke groggy a sense of panic. It wasn't her panic, someone else’s... Katiya's. She'd been feeding almost exclusively from Katiya so they were more in tune sensing extreme emotions that was the connection of the blood. Had to find Katiya she thought, but the daylight lighting the hazy winter sky made her thoughts slow and getting up hard.

Tereza opened the door her expression changing to a smirk. "Missed me already?"

"Desperately." Katiya pushed past Tereza, looking down the street to make sure that she couldn't see any sign of Boris and Ivan. "Just have to lose some friends."

"You are a trouble magnet." She looked outside. "Oh him again. Want me to shoot them?"

"Yes?" Katiya sighed. "No. He's my problem. I guess." One she'd enjoy avoiding forever if she could. "Where are they?" Curious, the redhead moved behind Tereza peering around her shoulder.

"Watching. They're pretending to choose a pub to drink at."

"Where?" Pressing closer, Katiya spotted them. "Oh. Who knew Boris could fit in that well. I hope they won't stick around long. Ivan gets bored easily so hopefully he'll go away."

"Hopefully. You know you're problems never go away if you hide from them. You have to face them head on."

"One of those problems can crush my head with one abnormally large muscular hand." Katiya knew she sounded annoyed but Tereza seemed to bring out the best in her. Pushing away from her Katiya turned to go upstairs towards Tereza's rooms.

"Come on in." Tereza said with a sigh.

Tereza followed inside shutting the door. "I made some oatmeal if you want some she gestured to the simple kitchen.

Her stomach reminded Katiya that she hadn't eaten since the morning. "Hmmm, oatmeal." Katiya felt better once the doors were closed. "I'll try to leave before nightfall."

"I think you should stay its already late go back to your master in the morning. It will be safer then." Tereza said sitting down.

Taking a bowl of the offered oatmeal Katiya took a spoonful. She sighed in appreciation. "If I stay I'd break my promise to Alexei. Besides, aren't you going out hunting or whatever it is you do every night?"

"Yeah, but you can stay here its safe with your pet dog. At least until sunrise. Vampires can't enter I've sealed it against them."

She didn't have to look over at the white hound to know that his lips had curled up over his canines. "He really doesn't like it when people think he's my pet." She took another mouthful. "Or a dog."

The hunter shrugged. "He looks like a dog and he acts like a pet following you around."

Vidar was growing less and less fond of the woman. She made a lot of assumptions and lived her world through stereotypes, it was a wonder she was a good hunter at all.

He looked up at Katiya pleading to be allowed to bite the arrogant woman.

"No hurting her." Was the response, although Katiya's lips twitched in the beginning of a smile. She wasn't sure why, but Tereza always seemed to make her grin at her.

"He's definitely not a pet." She said louder, stretching out in the chair with a sigh of pleasure.

Tereza just shrugged and moved to an old worn desk and started taking apart one of her guns to clean it. She would make Katiya stay. She had thought about that a lot recently, because the thought of that monster putting her hands on Katiya made her see red. But she hadn’t forcibly detained Katiya because of that dog. She had no idea what kind it was, but it was huge and fiercely protective of Katiya. She wondered if it was some sort of vamp hound, perhaps given vamp blood to make it scarier but that would imply a sort of caring on the part of Katiya's master and Tereza couldn’t' believe that.

"So what kind of dog is he?" She asked casually.

"The special kind." Was the teasing answer as Katiya watched Tereza work curiously. She wasn't about to tell a Vampire Hunter that Vidar could change shape into a man that probably wouldn't go over very well.

Tereza huffed; she sort of expected that answer. Smoothly she disassembled the gun and began to clean and oil its parts. "Was he a gift from your Master?" That would make it easier on her to kill it.

Katiya sighed and stood up. "Do you think of anything other than hunting? Is that all you are, a zealot that hunts from city to city?"

"No. I work at the Monastery of my order sometimes. I like to garden and I think about you." Tereza said not looking up from her work.

"What Monastery?" Katiya leaned against the wall, watching the dark skinned woman clean the gun, ignoring the last part of her statement.

"It’s in the Austrian mountains, the Monastery of St. Thomas. It’s so green there and you can see the stars at night, unlike here where the pollution is so bad."

"The stars..." Katiya said wistfully. They were almost a dim memory; the sky here was always covered with manmade clouds. "So is that where they train future vampire hunters?"

"Some do follow that calling, others become friars with the order following passive calling to God. Women who do not become Hunters are sent to a Nunnery. They make good mead there and sell it to make money for repairs and other good works." The hunter was feeling almost homesick she had only returned for a few days before being sent out here.

"So you’re not this solo madwoman bent on fanatically hunting down vampires all by yourself." That was interesting. "Someone trained you to do what you do." Whatever it took to take talk away from Vidar, who thankfully wasn't looking as annoyed as he had before.

"No and my offer to steal you away from that undead, blood sucking fiend still stands. Father Thomas will know what to do to help you, besides Vampires can't enter holy ground."

"Just like they don't like garlic?" Moving a little closer, Katiya watched curiously as Tereza did something to the inner workings of the gun. "Who's Father Thomas?"

Tereza made a face, "Garlic doesn't bother them at all. He's in charge of the Monistary; he taught me everything I know."

The redhead made a face. "Am I the only one who thought they hated garlic?"

"No probably most of the normal people you use to work with in that factory probably think that as well."

Moving over to one of the windows, Katiya peered down into the street beyond, grimacing as she spotted the large man lurking nearby. "Boris's still outside. I guess I'm staying a while." The sun was setting fast. "I'm going to break my promise to Alexei."

"My offer still stands." Tereza said as she smoothly put the gun back together. "You're nothing but a possession to that thing; it is not capable of caring about you or loving you."

"Would you stop saying that?" Katiya whirled angrily. "You don't know that." She realized how insane that sounded. "She cares. She worries about me."

"No she doesn't. She's worried about losing face and losing a possession." Tereza stood up and yelled back. "Monsters can't love."

"She's not a monster!" Katiya snarled back.

Tereza wanted to throttle the woman, God how could she love that thing, when she was here flesh and blood, human? Capable of the things that monster wasn't, yet Katiya couldn't see the truth. "When the truth hits you I'll be here for you Katiya, and I'll try to save you." The hunter turned walking quickly into the bedroom to change into clothes more suited for hunting. She needed to leave and hunt before she did something stupid.

"I don't need saving." Even to her own ears, Katiya's words sounded a little uncertain.


It was well past nightfall by the time Boris and Ivan gave up on watching Tereza's place. The hunter was long gone, taking her weapons with her. Leaving Katiya and Vidar to lock the door behind them as they left.

"Alexei's going to be upset." The redhead said, looking around before starting to a part of the city where they could get a coach to take them to the manor. "If she realizes I'm gone."

The hound whined in sympathy and butted his head against her thigh in understanding.

"Stupid of me, I know, Tereza's right, I'm just a servant." She patted his head though.

The shadowy figure followed her around the city, seething with hate. She had changed everything; their world had started to unravel the moment Alexei had spotted her from the window in her office. He clearly remembered her feigned disinterest in the woman.

He'd lost his place in the factories and in the household because of her, it was easier to make it her fault, she was just a pet a human, and how he hated humans. Hated that Alexei loved them, looked out for them, instead of treating them like the food source they were. The factories gave him an outlet for his hatred, by treating them poorly and cruelly it fed some of that dark need in him.  Now it was gone and he had no outlet.

He would have just jumped her and ripped her apart and left her on the cobbled drive to the manor house for Alexei to find, but there was the hound to consider. It had taken him a while in a lot of dark places. Places of witches, gypsies, and magic users; to get what he needed. Now he followed and waited. Waited for her to take herself someplace unsafe, it shouldn't be too much longer now.

The moment she ducked down an alley to take a short cut he grinned cruelly and followed. He brought the blowgun to his lips and took aim with a quick exhale the dart silently sailed out and embedded into skin hidden beneath white fur. 

Vidar gave a whine and turned biting and nipping at the patch of skin that currently stung. 

His smile larger now, Sergei stepped out of the shadows and made himself known.  "You cannot ever take the safe path for long can you?"

He didn't wait for an answer just kept moving forward.

Vidar growled and took a step to block his path only to find his legs would no longer keep himself upright. 

"Do you know how much chaos and ruin you have sowed in your brief time with us?  You've changed our world and we do not thank you for it."

The hound willed Katiya to run even as his jaws feebly snapped at the madman. This wasn't good; Alexei should have followed up on Sergei instead of assuming the vampire had left the city.

"Vidar?" Katiya, eyes wide in the darkness, backed away from the advancing vampire. She reached into her dress, palming the dagger that she had carried ever since her father had given it to her. "What did you do to Vidar?"

"Made sure he didn't get in the way of our little moment." He said with a sneer. "You're going to be my little message to Alexei that she's not as powerful as she'd like us all to think. Life was good before you. She slept the nights away in front of the fire and left us alone. You woke her up and made her stick her nose into my business at the factories."

"Oh poor Sergei can't even be master of the factories he oversaw." Katiya kept backing up even though she refused to back down verbally. "You probably enjoyed watching the machines hurt the workers didn't you?" Her palm was damp as she held the dagger in her waistband.

"Of course, it’s no different than leading cattle to slaughter houses. Only you do a little more work before becoming food. I saw her interest in you that night, and you're lucky because if she hadn't taken you then I had plans to follow you home and make sure you had a nasty accident." He chuckled. "A little delayed but now I get to finally follow through on that. I might even leave a little note on your body so Alexei knows how much time you were spending with that bitch hunter. I'll definitely tell Karl, he'll love to know how traitorous one of Alexei's pets was. I'll be a hero for killing you."

"Karl." Every moment that Katiya kept him talking, the longer she stayed alive. "You work for him don't you? No wonder Alexei thinks you're useless." She didn't know that, but it was a good guess. "I bet you helped him hurt Shiro, you bastard." Fear was battling with anger for dominance as a primordial part of her mind screamed at her to run as the Vampire approached.

"The Asian girl was a nothing but a trained animal that could do tricks, but no, I didn't hurt her. But yes, I threw my lot in with Karl he's promised me Alexei's place as head of this town, and poor Alexei will be staked and buried for centuries."

He stalked her savoring her fear, inhaling it made him nearly swoon. Alexei may enjoy desire from her food but he had a darker appetite.

Fear was making it hard to move as she backed away, knowing she was running out of space behind her. He was taunting her; she could tell he was enjoying the fear and almost numbing terror that was filling her. "Alexei's going to kill you. She'll hunt you down to the ends of the world."

"She may try but I have powerful allies now. I will chain her in the basement of her own house. I will have this city and Karl will have his war." He growled out surging forward in a blur of movement.

Katiya had a second to picture the metal door in the basement before Sergei did that blur movement trick that she'd scene vampires do. It confused the eyes, nothing should move that fast, and she desperately tried to toss herself sideways already knowing she wasn't fast enough and slashing wildly with her dagger.

He ignored the stinging slice of the blade; he slammed her back into the icy brick of the building. One hand tore open her shirt while the other pushed her head back. He tore into the long column of flesh now exposed with no kindness.

Those fingers were like bands of iron around her and no matter how much she thrashed, Katiya couldn't even loosen his hold on her. Then his teeth were at her neck and her scream turned into a gasp as she felt the blood welling and leaving her.

Streaking across the rooftops Alexei ran, cold night air blowing by her, unfelt. She was looking for Katiya. She had felt her distress but that was it, frustrated she couldn't pinpoint her pet any further than that she was in the city.

Skidding to a stop in the black snow on top of a bank building she felt mind-numbing fear and pain. Taking a deep breath she tried to push it away so she could think and act. This was why she shouldn't feed so exclusively off of just one pet. It bonded them too close; it was overwhelming in times of extreme emotional outbursts. Getting control she looked around and leapt to another building running across she didn't stop merely made the leap to yet another building then when she reached the end of that one she let herself fall from the roof to the alley below. Catching Sergei with his fangs in Katiya made her vision coat red in rage.

With a roar that made people shift nervously in their sleep, she was on him tearing him away. She pummeled him with her fists. Blow after blow rained down on him. The young vampire was shocked she had found them; he thought he'd planned this out so well. With the Asian pet's death Alexei was holed up in her room with grief.

Katiya's vision was starting to blur and darken. She'd beat her fist against Sergei's shoulder at first, now she was down to what felt like slowly taping it. Her strength was flowing out of her, so fast she knew she would die soon if he kept drinking. Her eyes fluttered and lethargy settled on her limbs, now Sergei had to hold her up to keep her from collapsing.

Then suddenly he was gone and Katiya collapsed like a puppet without its strings.

Coughing up blood Sergei gasped out not for mercy, for that wouldn't do him any good, but a warning. "You're pet's dying."

Eyes flashing she turned her head looking at Katiya's slumped body in the cold snow of the alley, and she dropped Sergei letting him crawl away as she rushed to the young woman's side.

The wound on her neck was bad. No delicate lovers bite. "Ah, Katiya." She whispered, as she gently raised the woman up into her arms.

Dark blood pooled around the area where Katiya lay in the snow bank, her breathing shallow and her eyes fluttered open as strong arms picked her up again.

"Alexei?" She whispered, not daring to hope.

The vampire began to lick the wound but already she could tell her saliva wouldn't be enough to start the healing of the torn flesh.

She pulled back. "I'm here. It's going to be okay." She spoke quietly before turning her attention back to the still bleeding wound. Blood covered her and the snow. Biting her tongue so it now bled she went back to licking the wound now with her saliva and blood perhaps it would heal.

Katiya's eyes rolled back in her head and her body went limp in Alexei's arms as she passed out.

There was a soft click that reached Alexei's ears and she pulled away from Katiya just in time to reach out and catch the crossbow bolt.

Quiet cursing came from the mouth of the alleyway and Tereza tossed aside the empty crossbow and pulled out the gun. "Get away from her you monster!" She raised the specially modified rifle to her shoulder, hesitating since Alexei was still holding Katiya.

Alexei bared her fangs and growled. She was in a bad position with Katiya being so badly hurt; she needed at least one hand to hold Katiya.

"Now monster!" The dark skinned hunter slid her finger until it touched the trigger. "I warned her you'd hurt her."

This all seemed very familiar to Alexei. Then it came to her, "You!" She roared. "You shot me in that blood bar." She snarled, "Fucking hunter you're in the wrong place at the wrong time again. Jumping to conclusions you do more harm than good. Keep this up your god will forsake you as well."

"I'll see you in hell before I let you hurt her again. I'm just sorry I didn't shoot you in the head and then stake you." Tereza took a slow step forward, trying to angle so that she could get a clear shot at the vampire without hitting the human woman she was holding.

Alexei started to get up, hauling Katiya up, easily with her. She needed to move this stand off was getting dangerous for Katiya. As she moved Katiya moaned in pain and Alexei's eyes shifted from the Hunter to her pet.

It wasn't much of an opening, but the Hunter had used slimmer one's before. The angle was bad, and it wasn't a killing headshot that she wanted, but she took it. The rifle bucked at her shoulder as she pulled the trigger, sending the solid black iron stake hurtling through the air between them.

The iron stake hit the vampire in the shoulder and the velocity made her stagger back Katiya slipping from her hands. For a moment she stood stunned and then the pain hit roaring from the point of impact through her body.

Holy water blazed through her system and she screamed dropping to her hands and knees as her arteries and veins bulged and writhed like electricity under her skin.

There wasn't enough time to save Katiya and try to kill the monster. It was a tough decision and one that Tereza knew Father Robert would have disapproved of, but the hunter sprinted towards the bleeding human. Time to get Katiya away from the monster once and for all.

Convulsing in the snow Alexei was unable to do anything but watch the hunter take Katiya away.

"I'll be back for you later vampire!" Tereza yelled, struggling to hold up Katiya. There was still blood sluggishly pulsing from the wound at her neck, but it didn't look as bad as she'd feared from the amount of blood everywhere.

Decades, years, months, days, minutes, she was unsure of the time frame as the last of the poison worked its way out of her system. Blood and spittle frothed from Alexei’s lips as she finished vomiting again. She had pulled the stake from her arm and it laid smoking in the snow, one arm hung useless at her side. She sniffed the ground. The hunter would not best her, and take her prize.

Finding the scent she set out following it.


Everything hurt, her head, her neck, even her toes ached. But since it all hurt that probably meant she wasn't dead, since everyone kept on saying the dead couldn't feel pain. Someone nearby moaned. Then they did it again and she realized it was her. Swallowing against a mouth that tasted like she'd gargled in sand, Katiya eyes opened into slit. The last thing she remembered was thinking she was dying. "Hello?" She tried to say, but it came out more like a wheezy gasp.

"Hey don't move." Tereza said from where she was washing out the cloth she had torn into strips for bandages. "That vamp did a lot of damage. It’s taken me forever to get the bleeding to stop altogether."

She was confused, why was Tereza there, where was Alexei? She had a dim memory of the beautiful blonde vampire in the alleyway. "Water?" She croaked, desperately thirsty.

"Right." Tereza dropped the bandages into the small ceramic tub and frantically looked for a clean glass. Finding one, she filled it with water and took it to Katiya.

"Easy, just sip it."

She ran her fingers through Katiya's hair. "I told you she'd hurt you. Why didn't you listen?" She said mostly to herself.

The water was the most delicious thing the redhead had ever tasted. She greedily drank what she could, then sagged back against the bundle of clothes on Tereza's bed that served as a pillow. "She didn't." Katiya's voice sounded a little better.

"I saw her Katiya. She was covered in blood and feasting on your neck."

Tiredly the redhead shook her head. "No. It was Sergei. He wanted to send a message."


Alexei sniffed around the building, it was in a shitty part of town. Human trash littered this place, a feeding ground for the desperate and the out of luck. Daylight wasn't too far off and she had to be sure this was the right building she would not get another chance.


"Katiya, there was no guy there only a female vamp, she had blonde hair and her fangs in you neck."

Just like the last time they had met, Katiya found herself glaring at Tereza. The hunter always seemed to be pushing her. "I know what happened, I was there after all." Grimacing she reached up to touch the bandage on her neck. "He..." She shuddered remembering the cold embrace "bit me. Not Alexei."

"I think you need to rest more, you're confused. You've lost a lot of blood. Once the sun rises I'll go into the market and try and find you some liver to eat. You're going to be weak and vulnerable to sickness for a while."

Tereza was annoyed that Katiya was still protecting that vampire; the hunter knew what she had seen.

"Liver?" Katiya looked dubious about that. Trying to get up resulted in a wave of dizziness and she collapsed back down on the bed, sweating and had to wait for the room to stop spinning. "I need to go back to the manor." She gasped, when the room stopped doing wave like motions around her.

Alexei was as positive as she was ever going to be this was where Katiya had been taken too. Lifting her foot she brought it crashing down on the door shattering the lock.

"You're not going back...” Tereza was cut off by the sound of smashing wood. "Fuck." She grumbled running for a weapon.

The vampire growled in annoyance as a barrier prevented her from entering. She should have expected it.

Eyes wide, Katiya managed to sit up. The room even stayed put this time, except for around the edges. "What if it's Sergei?" The redhead went another shade paler, which considering how pale she normally was.

Biting her lip the vampire spat blood on to the barrier and started to recite the counterspell; it helped that Katiya was inside, blood of her blood, and all that.

Tereza didn't say anything, but she doubted it was this Sergei person. "This close to sunrise, it’s probably a very human predator. A vampire wouldn't risk getting caught in the sun, besides I have a spell up so vampires can only enter if invited." She hefted her gun and silently walked out into the hallway.

Alexei pressed her hand against the barrier pushing until it gave way and her hand slid through followed by her arm, and then the rest of her body.

"Wait..." Katiya tried to get up, shivering, not wanting to be left alone.

Alexei ducked as the wood over the doorjamb exploded as a bullet slammed into it.

"Stay put." The vampire hunter growled back at the redhead, not taking her eyes off the door below. She aimed the pistol down at the door, watching closely. "Come on scum, give me a shot." She whispered.

Alexei growled out. "I want my pet, Hunter. So either give her to me or I'll take her over your dead body." Her eyes searched the rundown flat for a weapon; she needed something to give her an edge now that she had only one good arm.

"And here I thought you were just some stupid human. This is great; the prey is coming to me now!" Behind her Katiya called out Alexei's name. "Stop it." Tereza sighed, reaching behind her and slamming the door shut, just for good measure she barred it from the outside. "This is for your own good Katiya."

Inching along the landing she kept an eye on the floor below with a feral smile. "Glad you came Alexei, we've got unfinished business."

Tensing her legs the vampire surged forward running into the kitchen.

From her vantage point Tereza pulled the trigger in rapid succession, swearing as she missed.

"You took what's mine; I'm not going to ignore that." Her eyebrows rose at the repeating gun, she was going to have to look into that. A weapon she didn't need to pause to reload after every shot would come in handy. She growled out her eyes scanning the rusted pots and pans. "Not one for cooking I see.”

"She's better off without you. You're just going to end up killing her, monster." Breaking open the revolver the copper cartridges rained down onto the ground. Quickly she thumbed more into the empty holes and snapped it closed again. "It's almost light outside vampire, you have no where to run now!" Carefully she edged to the stairs, aiming at the kitchen doorway.

Alexei ignored that, because it was true and she had no answer for why she had put herself in a stupid dangerous position, only that it seemed to happen a lot since she'd brought Katiya into her life. She studied the cast iron stove for a moment, and then bent down.

"What's wrong vampire? You know it's true, you're just going to get her killed or kill her yourself." The second step from the top squeaked, she eased over it, switching pistol hands so that she could hold a stake in her other hand. "I won't let you hurt her again."

"I find that trouble finds Katiya regardless if I'm in the equation or not?" Alexei said in response.

There was a crash from inside the kitchen. "But you're not being honest. I could say the same for you. You'll get her killed, put her in danger. You're a hunter; you probably have a league of demons and monsters wanting your blood. But the truth is you want her and it pisses you off that I'm what she wants."

"She just thinks she wants you." The hunter stepped onto the landing of the stairs. "I can take her somewhere safe." A few more steps and she was on the ground floor, focused entirely on the hunt.

"Katiya, I find is quiet stubborn about having her own mind, despite my tries to influence what she does." Alexei said grinning in anticipation.

"She is stubborn." Grudgingly Tereza agreed. Above them Katiya's yelling could barely be heard followed by the slam of something against the door. "And feisty." Eyes narrowing she took a step towards the door, considering her options and trying to judge how far away the vampire was by her voice.

She heard her now, down on her level. She took a breath and slowly let it out and then charged out of the kitchen, straight at the hunter.

With a yell, the hunter emptied her pistol, firing as quickly as she could pull the trigger at the moving blur. Even as she shot she moved sideways, thrusting out with the stake in her other hand, trying to use the vampire's momentum against her.

Each bullet slammed into the cast iron door she had removed from the stove. Her eyes never left the hunter adjusting her make shift shield, she slammed it into the hunter.

Clever vampire, Tereza thought, flying sideways into a wall. The old plaster exploded in a cloud of dust and the dark skinned woman bared her teeth, coming up into a crouch. "I'm going to enjoy staking you." No time to reload so she tossed the gun aside.

Alexei gritted her teeth and tried to follow up with another body slam, this had to end quickly she wouldn't last long once the sun rose.

There was no way that she was going to last long against a vampire this had to end fast. Twisting she grabbed at the glass vial at her belt and smashed it on Alexei's shoulder. She'd aimed for the vampire's face, but she was damned fast.

"Eat holy water, vampire!" She snarled.

Alexei howled as the holy water saturated her shirt and down on to her skin. She slammed the hunter again and let go of the heavy iron door.

Plaster once again exploded as Tereza slammed into it and slid down the wall, coughing. It felt like being kicked in the chest by a horse.

With her one good arm she hit the hunter again and again, until a good leg sweep had her on her back and had her struggling on her back. Her one good arm was trying too slow the decent of a stake to her heart.

"Why won't you just die, again?" Tereza pushed down with her entire being on the stake, willing it to sink into the vampire's chest.

She hissed as the wood pressed into her flesh and the skin parted. Miles away Stepan, the twins and even closer Sergei clutched at their own chests as pain burned there.

Upstairs Katiya screamed, loud and on and on and filled with pain. Tereza frowned, hesitating for a split second and glancing upwards at the bared doorway.

That pause was all Alexei needed she brought her legs up scissoring around Tereza and pulling the hunter down and Alexei up. Wrestling, her people had always been big on wrestling, she was thankful now. Now upright she punched Tereza soundly in the temple.

Something vaguely resembling a sledgehammer hit her in the side of the head and the world went black. The hunter slumped over Alexei's lap, unconscious.

Shakily she got up and staggered up the steps. She found the barred door and removed the board. "Katiya?" She croaked.

"Alexei?" Katiya's called, thin and tired, but alive. "You came for me."

The vampire just nodded tired. "Does she have shackles, chains, or rope? I need to make sure if she wakes up once the sun rises she won't kill me."

"Rope on the chair." The redhead tried to get up, but swayed and didn't make it very far up. "I told her it wasn't you. I swear I tried."

"Doesn't matter she wants me to be guilty." She grabbed the rope then sighed, "Damnit." She muttered, it was going to be very near impossible to tie the woman up with one hand.

“You’re not going to hurt her?” Katiya asked.

Alexei shot Katiya a dirty look, "She tried to kill me and you don't want me to hurt her?" She hadn't been planning on it but now, now she wanted to.

"But she was just trying to save me." Katiya smiled wanly. "From you, but she was trying to save me."

Alexei didn't say anything she just stormed out and down the stairs. The hunter was still unconscious as she looped the rope around the woman’s hands and using her teeth to help tighten it into a knot. Then she strung the rope down to the woman’s ankles and repeated the process. Her body ached as she tried to barricade the door, before heading back up stairs.

The human was still in the bed, looking worried and trying to figure out how to stop saying the wrong thing as the vampire came back up the stairs. For a second she didn't know what to say then winced remembering the sharp pain in her chest. "Are you all right?"

Alexei just looked at Katiya for a moment.

"I've been shot with an iron bolt coated in holy water, had said holy water infect my whole system nearly killing me, I feel like my veins have been scrubbed out with tiny bubbles. Then, I've been shot at, had holy water smashed on me again, and nearly staked through the heart, and now I'm trapped in a house with a hunter until night falls again. I've been better." She grumbled out as she inspected the small room. There was thankfully one small window and she took her jacket off and nailed it over the window with a couple of stakes she found lying around the room.

"And there's only one bed." Katiya smiled wanly. "Thank you for saving me from Sergei."

"You're welcome." She sighed looking at the bed and kicked off her boots. She sat on the edge of the bed and with her good hand reached over and brushed hair out of Katiya's face. "I'd never let anything happen to you and I wish I wasn't so hurt or I'd give you more blood to help you heal."

"You gave me blood?" Katiya blinked, the last moments in that alley were fuzzy. "Sergei, he really hates you I think." She shifted closer to the beautiful blonde and when nothing happened she leaned against her.

"Yes, I'd say he does. I should have done something sooner about him, but I assumed he'd come back. Can't spy on me for Karl if he's not near me." She leaned over slightly and kissed the top of Katiya's head. "Scoot over, sun rise is coming I'm not long for consciousness. I trust you to protect me from the big bad hunter." She smiled into the red hair and kissed it once more; happy she had been in time.

"I get to protect you this time huh?" Katiya scooted and yawned, resting her head on Alexei's shoulder. She was going to take a little nap while the hunter was out. This was going to be a long day.

"I'd appreciate that, very much." It was hard to move around and get comfortable with only the use of one hand but finally she managed. She was hungry and she'd have to go feed soon but tomorrow would have to be soon enough. As the sun climbed higher into the sky Alexei's eyelids drooped lower and lower until they closed.

Feeling the vampire go still, Katiya leaned up to give her a light kiss. "I'll protect you my vicious vampire." Then she leaned her head down and closed her eyes.


Tereza awoke feeling like a train had parked on her skull, then when she tried to move and found herself trussed like a fatted calf for dinner she lost it.

"God Damnit! Where are you... you... vile, unholy, virgin defiling piece of filth!" She howled out, struggling in her bonds.

The noise woke up Katiya. Groggily she pulled away from the vampire she'd been using as a pillow. "Ugh." Rubbing at grimy eyes she sighed. "That time I guess." Fantastic. Trying not to disturb Alexei she crawled over the vampire and started down the stairs.

"Stop it; you're just cutting yourself up on the rope."

"Katiya?" Tereza went still. "Is that you?"

"Unfortunately." She grumbled, taking the steps one at a time and stopping to keep the room from spinning at every other one. At least she'd managed to get out of bed though. "Stop hurting yourself."

Tereza mumbled a quick prayer. "Help me get untied."

The other woman made it to the ground floor and pulled over a dust covered chair to sit in before she fell over. "Sorry about the ropes."

Tereza looked at Katiya. "Sorry, you're sorry and I sense a but in there."

"I can't untie you. You'd try to stake Alexei, or cut off her head, probably both actually."

"She's a vampire of course I will!" She just stared in shock at the young woman. "You can't leave me defenseless; she'll kill me when she wakes up." Tereza tried to play on Katiya's sympathies.

"No she won't." Katiya leaned forward. "I promise, I won't let her do that." That was a big promise, but she'd find a way.

The hunter growled in frustration. "Why choose them over you're own kind? She attacked you, she doesn't care about you."

But even the Hunter was having a hard time believing her words to risk being caught in daylight that was more than she would ever expect from a vampire to risk for a human.

"Stop saying she attacked me! She saved me, why won't you believe that?" Angrily Katiya got up again. "I'm going to find you some water." Once again Tereza was getting her upset.

The hunter let her head thump against the wall. "I have some money go to the market and get a goat or a couple of chicken's she's going to need blood when she wakes up and I rather it wasn't mine or yours. She'd kill us."

Katiya knew she couldn't give blood again so soon, she was still too weak, but she didn't like the idea of leaving. "You just want me to leave you here alone with Alexei."

Tereza raised an eyebrow, "Do I look like I'm going anywhere?"

"You’re a vampire hunter! You probably have knives hidden all over the place to cut yourself free with."

"True, but your lover," She spat the word lover. "Found them all and removed them." She jutted her chin to a corner of the room where several weapons were piled up out of reach.

"Oh." Katiya blinked. "That's an impressive pile."

Tereza just made a face. "Thanks, be more impressive if she hadn't found them all.”

"And of course you'd tell me if she'd missed one or two. Right?" Katiya smiled.

"Of course." She gave an innocent grin.

"Of course." Katiya laughed, shifting to get comfortable in the chair. She didn't trust Tereza not to get herself into trouble.

The grin dropped. "I don't understand something. Why didn't she kill me?"

"Hmmm..." Katiya pretended to think. "I guess it's because she isn't as much of a monster as you think she is."

The hunter snorted, "She is a monster. She's not natural to the order of the world; her and her kind don't belong. And it’s my job to kill them and bring order."

The redhead studied her. With a sigh she got up and found a clean glass to fetch water for her. "Here." Kneeling besides her she held the glass up to her lips. "There are all sorts of monsters in the world. I think there have always been."

She drank the water. "Thank you." She let her head lean back as she again tested the ropes.

"Stop doing that. You'll hurt yourself." Pulling the chair closer she sat down again, drinking for herself.

"If you were in my place would you stop testing your bonds?"

"Probably not." Blue eyes studied her. "I'm sorry. Are you hurt?"

"Not really, just a headache. Look, the sun is going to be setting soon, will you please go get your Mistress some food, I promise I won't attack her."

"Do you swear you won't?" Katiya was torn. Alexei would need blood, but to leave Tereza here alone?

"May God strike me down." Tereza said earnestly.

"I'm not kidding here Tereza, if you hurt her I'll..." She struggled to find a threat. "I'll never forgive you."

"Whoa, I promise. I won't hurt her."

"All right." Tugging up her dress collar the other woman frowned. "Does this hide the wound?"

Tereza nodded.

"All right." Katiya eyed the door, nervously. "I hope Vidar is all right." She hadn't seen any sign of the hound. "Did you see him when you came to rescue me?"

"I don't remember, I was pretty focused on getting rid of that thing attached to your neck."

"Thanks." Katiya smiled. "For trying to save me that is, not for trying to kill Alexei." She was nervous to leave without Vidar she realized. "I'll be back soon."

"I'll be here."

As soon as the door shut she gritted her teeth and fell over to her side and started inching towards the pile of weapons. She would keep her word, she convinced herself she was just going to cut herself loose and make a run for it.

Alexei sat down on the top step of the stairs, staring at the struggling woman. Her eyes were large and hungry and the only thing that stopped her was a beam of weak sunlight that slashed through the room.

Tereza tensed as she heard a board creak.

"Please keep going, food is so much better when it’s recently had the blood pumping through its veins." Her fangs were exposed as she spoke. She was so very hungry.

“How the fuck are you awake? The sun hasn't even set yet." This was very very, bad.


It was just after sundown by the time that Katiya made her way back to the hunter's place. She hurried as quickly as she could, but the animal she was tugging along with her wasn't too amused to be dragged along. "Oh god, please let them both still be alive, or at least in one piece!"

Shoving the door opened she had to pull the stubborn animal inside with her. "Alexei? Tereza?"

Tereza was afraid to move a muscle she'd lost count of the minutes but she was well aware of the moment the sunlight had faded. The vampire had seemed to forget about her, although she wasn't certain and she wasn't about to remind her.

"Katiya thank god."

That was Tereza's voice; well at least she was still alive. "Is Alexei there?" She struggled with the stupid animal, trying to get further inside.

"I'm here." The vampire said from where she was perched on the step in the dark.

Good, nobody had staked or bitten anyone else. That was a success. "I have something for you." She really hoped Alexei wasn't about to be insulted as she finally managed to get the goat into the main room. It was the largest animal she'd been able to find.

"It’s a goat." She said getting up. She could hear all the little human heart beats around her. Struggling to pump blood through their frail little bodies.

"Um. Yes a goat. I couldn't find anyone to donate." She grimaced as soon as she'd said it.

"Katiya, I think maybe you should come over here near me." Tereza said quietly. The vampire was unnerving her.

"Tereza, you probably shouldn't talk right now. Or move." Katiya was staring up the stairs, shivering a little as she met Alexei's eyes.

Alexei made her way down the steps, she hurt, the holy water still burned her skin, and hunger gnawed at her belly. She smiled slightly as Katiya didn't flinch when she stopped toe to toe with her. "Such a brave mouse."

"You told me to be brave." Katiya looked up into her eyes. The hunger in the vampire’s eyes drew her in. "Do you need human blood?" Standing there, she realized she would offer it if Alexei needed it, no matter what.

"It’s preferable." She leaned in nibbling at those pale lips, tempting them to open as her tongue sought entry.

Forgetting about the hunter laying on the floor nearby tensing against her bonds, Katiya opened her mouth enjoying the kiss.

Katiya's skin was cool and her pulse weak telling her a lot about the woman's health. Katiya needed her too much for her to be a monster, despite how her hunger weakened her. Pulling back she took the rope from Katiya and dragged the animal into the kitchen. "Give me a moment, and I'll make you some roasted goat."

"You cook?" She didn't know why but that astounded the human woman.

"How hard can it be to roast a goat?" Came the quiet response from the kitchen.

Katiya sat down again and shook her head in amusement and looked at the hunter. "Stop glaring at me."

"Did you fucking have to suck her face off? I'm right here. And how in the hell is she able to move around before the sunsets?"

"It was just a kiss." Katiya licked her lips she liked those kisses. "She's special." The grin turned mischievous. "Jealous?"

“Of a monster? Untie me and I’ll show you how jealous I am.” The hunter promised, baring her teeth.

Alexei dragged the stubborn animal into the kitchen, away from curious and prying human eyes. She was almost so hungry she wasn't insulted by the gesture. Although the deepest, darkest part of herself was horrified especially when there was a trussed up hunter and a pet out there to give her blood.  But, Katiya was still too weak and then there was Katiya's disappointment if she hurt the hunter, and there was another part of her that didn't want Katiya's disappointment. 

And that right there was why her empire was crumbling around her, because she cared too much what one human girl thought, than being a proper vampire. The whole purpose of having a pet was to be food and the hunter should die. Of course, when had she ever been a proper vampire? The council had to force her into her role and educate her on the world of the vampires. She had never had a Sire, a teacher; she had made her own rules since the moment she woke up changed. 

With a sardonic smile gracing her lips she patted the goats hard head and then in a blur of motion snapped its neck and hefted it to her mouth biting through the fur and skin.  The blood was gamy and not the best, but it fed her. After a few moments the animal was drained and she flopped it down to the counter staring around the kitchen. Katiya needed food and rest she wasn't happy about the young woman going off to get her food.  She stretched her arms happy that she now had mobility in both of them, wincing as the shoulder joint gave a loud crack as the bone and ligaments resettled back into the socket. Grabbing a knife she skinned the poor animal and set about gutting it and removing the head and other body parts so it would fit into the cast iron stove. Dropping the mostly bloodless organs into a bucket on the floor and scavenging around the kitchen she found some scrawny greens and herbs that she chopped up and stuffed inside the open cavity. 

Turning she frowned remembering how she had used the door as a makeshift shield.  Looking around she found a small box with a blue diamond on the outside she grabbed it and soon had a lit match in her hand and was starting the stove heating. Now too find the door.

Katiya and the Hunter seemed to be hard at work ignoring each other. "Trouble in Paradise?" She asked coming up behind where Katiya sat and slowly began to rub her shoulders and neck. 

Alexei was very conscious of the damage done to the young woman's neck and shoulder. The vampire could feel the heat coming off the skin where the damaged flesh fought off infection and tried to heal.  Bending over she kissed the scarred and scabbed over skin not liking Sergei's scent there; overriding hers. 

Katiya winced a little at the touch, more an anticipation of pain than actual hurt. The kiss felt nice though and her shoulders relaxed, humming a little with pleasure at the touch. “It’s healing faster than it should, is that because of you?”

Tereza was upset, that was obvious. She could feel the hunter’s glare from nearby.

"Yes, vampire saliva and blood can heal.  This was what I was trying to do before I was rudely interrupted by an iron bolt coated with holy water." She murmured against Katiya's skin. "That's why it’s so rare to find a victim of a vampire bite; we lick the wound to hide the evidence."

Part of her wanted to gloat at the hunter but she ignored that, instead kissing the wound once more, and then licked the hurt skin and muscle for a moment before she remembered she had come out here looking for the door to the stove. With one last kiss to the back of Katiya's neck she shifted her gaze around the room until with a smile she found the door. She went over and picked it chuckling at the bullet holes. "No matter how I feel about you hunter, you're a good shot." With that she went back to the kitchen.

“Not good enough.” Tereza struggled again against her bonds, snarling with frustration when they, again, didn’t budge. “You should have let me stake her while she was sleeping. Are you sure this is what you want? To be a pet for that thing?”

The unbound woman slid her shirt up to cover the still healing wound on her neck and eyed Tereza, considering how truthful to be. “I know you won’t understand this, but she makes me feel safe.” Katiya grinned, knowing how insane that was. “Yes, I know, she’s a vampire, before you tell me again. She uses humans for food. You know what Tereza? I’m not sure I care very much anymore. She could have just let me die in that alleyway. She doesn’t need me.”

The hunter shook her head. “You’re being controlled by her mind. I’ve encountered it before with human slaves who think they owe their masters something. You don’t owe her anything.”

Laughing came from the kitchen. "I don't have any mind control skills.  If I did Katiya wouldn't get into all the trouble that she does. She'd just stay in my bed naked and willing."

Alexei could just imagine the blushing going on in the other room. She frowned at the door, she'd broken one of the bolts and it hung crooked, but it was on and the goat was cooking. 

Indeed, Katiya was blushing and blushing hard. “I don’t get into trouble.” The human mumbled, looking anywhere but at the expression on the hunter’s face.

“I don’t believe you!” Tereza yelled back at the kitchen door, frowning. “Fucking vampires and their hearing.” She had to remember not to underestimate a vampire’s ability to hear.

“Why not, she hasn’t lied to you yet has she?” Katiya asked, feeling the blush fade at least a little as she looked at the bound woman.

“I don’t know, have you lied to me, vampire?”

Alexei came out wiping her hands on her pants. "I don't think I've had time to lie to you. Besides if I could do mind control, the last place Katiya would be spending anytime is here with you. And when you kissed her I would have forced her to show me where you lived so I could rip your spine out through your ass." She growled the last statement feeling a little possessive. 

"I think I'm being very good considering I am a vampire, and I don't like to have the things I value coveted by another.  Besides isn't coveting a sin?"

"Murder is a sin also." Tereza growled, twisting this way and that in the ropes.

Katiya was watching them both, surprised with herself as she realized she found their bickering amusing. "Alexei..." she shook her head. "Stop baiting the vampire hunter. She was only trying to keep me safe from you. The kiss didn't mean anything."

Alexei's eyes narrowed but she didn't say anything else. She turned her attention to Katiya crouching down at her side. "How are you feeling?" She asked resting her hands on Katiya's lap enjoying the warmth radiating up into them. 

“Tired. My neck hurts, but not as much as I thought it would.” Leaning sideways, Katiya smiled as she rested her head against the blonde woman’s shoulder. The faint scent of burning wood still lingered from her time in the kitchen, mixing with Alexei’s personal scent. “Are you all right?” She asked quietly, remembering Alexei’s anguish as she held Shiro’s body.

Alexei knew what Katiya was referring too.  "I'm sorry I didn't mean shut you out.  But it felt like... Shiro had been my pet for so long, to have her suddenly gone was like a hole ripping open in my chest. Then it hurt more because she chose to die, I could have helped her, but she rejected that help."  Embarrassed about her feelings she buried her face in Katiya's lap hiding her face from view.

Shooting the hunter a look, daring her to respond, Katiya ran her fingers through Alexei’s hair. She loved the feel of those long strands sliding through her fingers. Gently she scratched her nails over the other woman’s scalp, smiling as the motion got a sigh. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know she would… I didn’t think…” Words wouldn’t help so the human gave up on them and instead pressed a kiss to the top of the vampire’s head.

Tereza felt like she was intruding, she'd never seen a vampire be so caring, so… human. It had to be a trick, some game the monster was playing. She swallowed really wanting to be some place else, instead of here, this was challenging everything she had been taught.

Alexei sighed enjoying the attention.  Looking up her eyes were moist but she didn't hide it. "Its okay, nobody thought she would. Nobody realized Karl's attack had hurt her that bad. We thought she'd work through it."

"I knew she was hurt." Katiya said quietly. "I should have known she was really hurt. We could have done something, helped somehow." Even as she said it she wasn't sure what she could have done though. "Is Fiona all right?"

Alexei looked away guilty, she hadn't checked with anyone else to see how they were doing after Shiro's death.

"It's all right." Katiya ran her fingers through that beautiful blonde hair. She looked over at Tereza, meeting the hunter's curious gaze squarely. "We could just go back to the manor."

"But I'm making you goat." She looked up with grin.

Katiya laughed. "It's starting to smell good." Then she sobered, still watching Tereza. "What about her?"

Alexei for a brief moment had forgotten about the hunter. "Nothing. She's more than capable of getting loose. She was squirming her way over to her weapons when I woke up this afternoon. I'm sure she'll get loose in an hour or so."

It was another in a line of surreal moments as Katiya ate the goat that Alexei had cooked. It was surprisingly quite good, although she wasn't sure when the last time the vampire had ever cooked anything. She'd even torn pieces of the meat to offer to the bound woman. "It's good, you sure you don't want any?"

Alexei just tried really hard to hide her smirk at the hunter.

The bound woman just stared at Katiya. "You're all just insane. A vampire cooked dinner in my house and you're trying to feed me."

"You look hungry." She offered Tereza another piece of meat, stubbornly trying to get the hunter to at least eat something.

Alexei smirked again. "Alright maybe we should go. I admit I'm getting a small joy out of tormenting her." She got up walking over to the woman and picked her up and set her none too gently next to her pile of weapons.

She walked back to Katiya and held out her arm. "Ready to go? I'm sure everyone is worried. I never stay out during the day."

Leaving a large pile of meat where it was, Katiya got up, feeling better than she thought possible. The wound hardly hurt anymore and a full stomach of food certainly helped. Taking the offered arm she gave a wave to the furious looking hunter. "Bye Tereza. I'm sure I'll see you later."

Loud cursing could be heard as they left.

"You're such a heart breaker Ms. Katiya." Alexei teased.


"Gorsjki agreed to my terms. I can meet his employer, but only when I bring them the cup. They wouldn't agree to anything else." Katiya watched Alexei prowling around the library room, pausing every circuit to stare at the fire, and then the pacing would resume.

"Only we can't get the cup without the key. But I don't want them to know they have the key, because they'll just kill you because they won't need you anymore."

"But they don't know they have the key." Katiya frowned. "And it wasn't in Gorsjki's place." She tilted her head. "Fenix never sent the things he promised. Could it still be there?" It was a long shot.

"Perhaps, but not tonight, and you're not going by yourself. We'll go tomorrow night and go through his things." Alexei bit her bottom lip for a moment. "I'm serious, no going by yourself tomorrow."

The image of Sergei, fangs bared, coming towards her in the alley made Katiya shiver and she agreed quickly. "No going alone." There was another option though, the signet ring was something that Ivan might have enjoyed keeping, in memory of a heist.

Alexei started to pace again. She paced because she wanted to have sex, she wanted to have sex because it was a kneejerk reaction to having lost and almost lost things that are important to her. To remind her she's alive, a human response, and she's not human. "Fiona says Vidar is going to be fine. Warren and Gregori found him early in the morning." It was inane conversation.

She stopped pacing. "I'm going to go bathe. I stink of holy water, goat, and that hunter." She murmured. Part of her knew she wasn’t making a lot of sense.

Blue eyes studied her from where Katiya sat by the fire, considering the tense set of the vampire's shoulders, the stiff way she moved compared to her normal liquid grace. "Do you want company?"

"Yes, but I don't think I'm good company right now." The vampire said as she fled the room.

She had heard Katiya's words about feeling safe with her, but she'd almost gotten her killed.

Katiya watched her go, torn between following and staying where she was. Standing she took a step towards the door, and then paused, hesitating. Should she follow? This was another of those moments where things could forever change.

A second opinion, that's what she needed, another opinion other than the ideas in her head. Downstairs she found Fiona enjoying a cup of tea. "I need advice." She said by way of greeting, taking the seat opposite her.

Fiona raised an eyebrow and looked at Katiya. "I take it you're fine after you're ordeal?"

"Mostly." Rubbing the side of her neck. "Thanks to Alexei, and Tereza, but mostly Alexei." Remembering herself she winced, ashamed. "I'm sorry. Are you all right?"

"We're fine, there's some strong emotions going on in the house but..." She waved off her concerns. "So what do you need my advice on?"

"Alexei." Katiya smiled wryly. "But are you sure you're all right? Shiro..." She trailed off.

"Shiro lived four lifetimes. She chose a bad way to go, but she made that choice. I was there and she wouldn't change her mind for any of us." She reached over and patted Katiya's hand. "Now what has Alexei done now?"

"Nothing. I mean, everything." Katiya frowned; this wasn't coming out like she'd hoped. "She was fine earlier but when we got back here she suddenly got all tense. She went to take a bath, I was going to follow, but she said she wasn't very good company."

Fiona sighed. "Are you asking me permission to go jump Alexei in the bath?" She drummed her fingers on her teacup, wondering if she understood the question correctly.

The blush was only to be expected so Katiya did her best not to look sheepish. "Not permission, I guess. I just don't know if it's a good idea or not and I'm not thinking straight."

"Did she tell you no, she didn't want company?" Fiona fished for information.

"She said she was bad company and then I think she fled. Does that mean she wants company?"

"Means she’s having a crisis of conscious. It happens when she thinks too much. Go jump her in the bath. Unless she growls and snaps at you or says no, you're normally safe to take advantage of the big bad vampire."

Katiya laughed. "I can take advantage of her?" It had a certain appeal though. "So is that what you think I should do?"

Fiona muttered something that could have been a prayer. "I think you should do whatever it is you want to do."

Katiya studied the tabletop, running her fingers along the wood grain. "I think I need to take a bath." She stood up and smiled, red faced. "Thank you Fiona."

"Don't thank me. You two are the ones horny for each other." The older woman said with a laugh, maybe she should go wake Warren up.

Katiya's laughter followed her out of the room and as she raced up the stairs. She burst through the doors of Alexei's rooms and slid to a stop on the tiled floor of the bathroom, a little out of breath.

Alexei looked up from where she sat sulking in the bath. "Are we under attack?"

"No." Katiya smiled, starting to undo her dress. She really wished she could go out during the day wearing pants and get away with it like Alexei did. "But I decided I didn't care if you were bad company, I need a bath too."

Alexei blinked and then opened her mouth and then shut it. Trying again she parroted. "You don't care?"

"I don't care." Katiya's voice was muffled as she pulled the dress up over her head and tossed it aside. Now for the corset, god curse whoever came up with that thing.

"Katiya. I'm a vampire, a master vampire I think you should care a little bit about my moods." She stood up getting angry.

"All right." Katiya said, not taking her eyes off the stupid straps that held it together. "I do care, but just because your bad company that doesn't mean you don't want company, right?"

Alexei's forehead crinkled as she tried to follow Katiya's question.

"There." She tossed aside the corset, smiling up at Alexei. Only then did she realize the other woman was standing and her eyes wandered south while her smile grew.

"You know you're incredibly frustrating, and I'm not certain why that stupid hunter could ever conceive the idea I was controlling you're mind."

"She obviously doesn't know me as well as she thinks." The rest of her clothing slid off her with a little wiggle of her hips. "Do I get to take a bath?"

"I guess since you're naked and everything." Alexei smiled and sat back down in the warm water. "It would be a shame to make you get dressed again."

"See, you did want company, even if you're bad company." The hot water felt amazing and Katiya suddenly realized she wanted to scrub away any memory of Sergei's attack.

Alexei reached out and pulled her into her body making the water slosh. Her hands stayed tight around her for a moment. Making sure she was real, and safe, that rescue hadn't been a pleasant dream.

"I thought you were bad company?" Katiya gasped.

"I am, because I want to do bad things to you." She mumbled into the skin of Katiya's back. Finally she eased her grip after a moment of searching started washing her back.

"What sort of bad things?" Katiya smiled, she arched her back up into the washing, enjoying it.

"Things that shouldn't make you feel safe with me." Alexei responded. She lifted up the red hair and squeezed the soaked cloth, letting the water run down her neck over the healing wound.

That got a moan of pleasure. "What sort of things?" She pressed, turning around so that she could see Alexei's face.

"Things that reassure me that you're alright, that I did get there in time to save you." She didn't stop her washing of Katiya's body merely started on her front. "You're right I did want company."

"Actually I wasn't sure; I had to double check with Fiona." Katiya purred as Alexei took her time with the washcloth. "You seemed upset."

Could a vampire be needy? She didn't know, couldn't remember needing anyone or anything other than her family, her tribe.  Through trial and error she had made her way in the world, learned what she was. The council hated her because she was not one of them, only gave the minimum of service to their world, but even she wasn't foolish to think she could take on the councils army.  So she did their tasks, went to their meetings, and for the most part bent to their wills, and they left her alone. They made her Karl's problem really. 

She continued to wash the woman in front of her, serious in her task. Katiya looked okay, solid, real. Her skin was flush and pink, Sergei's bite had verged on deadly but she had been there in time. Bruises had faded and so would the bite mark on that pale neck. 

"The reason most vampires don't have pets or have them for very long is that this bond we create through the sharing of blood, is just that a bond." She stopped her washing, setting the water soaked wet cloth on the marble behind her. She pulled Katiya forward until they were intimately locked together, groin and breast. As Katiya straddled her hips, Alexei studied guiless blue eyes that shone brightly with arousal and curiosity. 

"I felt your fear, it woke me from sleep.  I had to wait until the sunset enough for me to get into the city to find you. I'm not use to feeling fear. I needed you to be okay. I'm not use to needing things." She probably wasn't making herself clear.

Reaching a hand up she smoothed the red hair out of Katiya's face and kissed her, and then kissed her again. Hungry, wet, open kisses. "I need sex, to physically reassure myself you're here and okay. I don't... shouldn't need that, because that is a human thing." She said between kisses, still not sure she was making any sense. With a growl of frustration she lifted Katiya up and turned setting her on the marble lip, while she stayed kneeling in the tub, that made them unequal, a shift in power.

Leaning forward her hands rested on either side of slim hips as her head came forward capturing a nipple between warm lips. She kissed down and then back up in a V to the other breast giving it some attention as well, before she kissed her way down Katiya's belly. She spread legs covered in goose flesh inserting her body between them. Grinning in delight she lifted one leg and kissed along its length until she could get no further and then set it on her shoulder. Reaching one arm around to support Katiya's back she eased the woman down onto the steam warmed tile before lifting the other leg and repeating the kisses and then put it on her other shoulder. 

This was another thing vampires didn't do.  

They didn't give up control, although it could be argued that she was still taking it, but such a position even sexually, was seen in her culture as giving mastery of another over her, and she didn't care. She could smell Katiya's desire; feel the way the muscle trembled under the gliding touch of her fingers. As she leaned down she took time to kiss and nip at the legs on either side. A long time she mused since she had been intimate with anyone like this. With one hand she spread Katiya open enjoying the tangible evidence of her desire wet on her lips and upper thighs. Gently at first she licked and nibbled at Katiya's most intimate of places before letting her lips surround the pulsing bundle of need as she let her fingers dwell inside, seeking and retreating against those silky walls. 

Only when Katiya gave her release with almost startled cry did Alexei feel at ease.

“Please…” Katiya whispered, once she could think again, something she didn’t want to do. Thoughts would just get in the way. Remind her of what she really was to this beautiful woman who had just strummed her nerves with knowing fingers.

Instead she let the moment wash away those thoughts. The steam rising around them gave the scene an otherworldly feel to it. She clung to that feel as she climbed up, urging Alexei backwards.

How could anyone be that perfect? She was a goddess, pale and hot water warmed. Wet hair spread out in disarray on the tiled floor. Katiya paused, drinking in the sight, memorizing it for the cold winter days when she wouldn’t have this in front of her.

The blonde tensed as she reached down for her, and Katiya paused, lightly trailing fingertips down a flexing thigh.

“Please…” She whispered again, watching those ancient eyes as Alexei struggled with some internal dilemma.

It passed though and those eyes darkened with passion and the vampire nodded, ever so slightly. Katiya moved, slowly at first, feeling strangely protective of this predator in front of her. The predator trembled though as Katiya pressed herself up against her, arching up into her as their bodies pressed skin to skin.


Katiya wasn’t sure who said it, didn’t care either as she moved down, worshiping that perfect body. Seeking out every spot she could find that elicited a sigh or moan. Every sound was a victory.

Then she was between those strong thighs, fingers swirling through wetness, tongue-tasting sweetness that drew her back again and again. Fingers grabbed her hair, not hard, but there, tensing and flexing as Katiya sought out more sounds, using teeth, tongue, lips and fingers.

Alexei didn’t scream when she finally came, but her entire body arched up off the floor, tensing as a low growl was wrung from her.

The vampire laid there on the tile feeling warm and sated, almost like she was lying on a hill in the tall grass in the sun. That was her last memory of the sun, and she cherished it.

The silence was comforting; Katiya laid her head on Alexei's thigh, resting her hand on her abdomen, content to stay there.

Internal stillness was hard to come by and Alexei enjoyed the moment while it lasted but finally she grew restless. Sitting up she stared down at Katiya and started running her fingers through the wet red locks.

The human smiled, sleepily, enjoying the touch and stretched like a cat. "I really like taking baths with you."

"I've always enjoyed baths, and not just for the sex parts. The warm, wet heat raises my internal temperature almost as if I've drunk blood. Not that the sex parts’ aren't good in the bath." She said with a grin.

"Was that all right?" Katiya asked a little worriedly, watching Alexei's eyes, aware that had been different then the last few times.

Alexei raised an eyebrow someday perhaps Katiya would know, understand what Alexei had done. Made her a human queen to her inhuman vampire heart. "It was wonderful Katiya." She eased out from under Katiya and got to her feet picking up the young woman with her.

Walking out of the bath, through her office, she asked. "Are you okay? Not too much with your wound?"

Leaning her head against Alexei's chest, Katiya closed her eyes savoring the sensations. "Yes. Just sleepy now." What time was it? What day was it? She should have been scared to realize she didn't know.

"Need to work on your stamina; I plan on having you for centuries yet to come." Alexei said kissing the top of Katiya's head before laying her down on the bed.

The idea of living that long was so far beyond anything she knew that Katiya could only shake her head in amusement at it. "Tomorrow we find your key then?" Sleep was calling and her exhausted body wouldn't let her stay awake much longer now.

"Tomorrow." Alexei agreed. She looked at Katiya and then got up on the bed straddling Katiya. Hands on either side of red hair she lowered her mouth. Kissing the wound a few times before biting down reopening it, she took only a mouthful or two of blood before she bit deep into her own tongue and started licking the wound, erasing Sergei.

The move surprised Katiya whose eyes opened wide and then closed just as quickly as she felt the vampire's fangs slide into her flesh. The sharp bite of pain faded quickly though and she shivered in sudden arousal, the sleep from a moment before burned out of her system.

"You're still naked."

"Mmmmhmmm." Was all Alexei said, concentrating on her task.

Katiya pressed her hips upwards, grinning as she did so, squirming under the gentle assault on her neck.

Pulling back Alexei looked down in question. "I thought you were tired? I'm trying to help your body heal. Or are you implying you'd like a different type of healing method?"

Blue eyes sparkled as Katiya smiled up at her unrepentantly. "It's hard to stay tired when you do this." Using her hands to grip Alexei's hips.

"Ah, but when I did that I wasn't attending for this." She sat back letting Katiya have her way.

"I know." She let her hands rest where they were though; wondering if that meant Alexei wanted her to stop.

The vampire read her expression. "Its up to you mouse. We can go again if you want?" She leaned her body to the left and let gravity do the rest rolling her over and Katiya was now on top.

"So what do you want to do, Mouse?" She teased.

"If I’m the Mouse, then what does that make you?" The redhead leaned forward, splaying her fingers across the blonde woman's chest, smiling as she brushed her hair across Alexei's still hard nipples.

Alexei shrugged. “Cheese.”

"Cheese?" Katiya laughed, shifting over so that she could slide a thigh between Alexei's and intertwine their legs. "There are so many bad jokes I could make." She hungrily kissed the other woman, pricking her tongue on a sharp fang so it bled just a little.

Alexei growled a bit at that move her hands pulling Katiya down into her body so she could grind into her. "Mine." The vampire said between kisses, as she let her hands gently and roughly in some places explore Katiya's flesh.

The friction was very nice, Katiya though as she slid up and down the length of Alexei's thigh. "Mine." She echoed, nipping at an elegant exposed neck.

Alexei’s nostrils flared at that and she quickly inserted her hand between their bodies and slipped inside of Katiya, she teased for a moment looking for that certain place. She smiled when she found the spot she was searching for and Katiya gasped and shuddered, holding tightly to the body that couldn't decide if it wanted more or to retreat.

"It’s okay." She whispered over. "It’s worth all the intensity." She promised as well.

Katiya gave a wordless cry, shuddering as her body jerked. Determination to return at least some of the favor made her shift, sliding her own hand down next to Alexei's and cupping the vampire's mound. "More." The redhead whimpered.

The vampire threw her head back into the pillows and laughed, the action made her feel light as if the stress of her life were gone. That was ridiculous and she laughed even harder. "As much as you want my beautiful Katiya."

"Less laughing, more thrusting." Katiya smiled, happy to hear Alexei's laugh, it was a nice laugh. It did good things to her and she hoped she could hear it again.

"Your wish is my command." Alexei said rolling them over. Katiya's legs wrapped around her and she started thrusting as commanded.


"It's not here." Katiya sat in the middle of Fenix's room, staring at the pile of stolen goods that they had dumped out onto the floor. Everything from small items that pickpockets had taken, too large pieces of artwork from cat burglars. Fenix had been a prolific fence.

In the hallway outside she could just make out Vidar, the hound had refused to be left behind when they left that evening, although it was obvious he was moving slower.

"Are you sure this is everything. Maybe he had a place to hide more, um, questionable items, he may have been trying to get a bigger piece of profit for?" Alexei asked from where she stood looking through a few boxes.

"This is everything. I already emptied his two 'secret' stashes. The old fool wasn't quite as sneaky as he thought he was." There was no sign of Fenix, but the trail of blood they'd found in the front of the shop told its own story about what had probably happened to the old man. Unhappily, Katiya stood up and looked at Alexei, trying to ignore the pleasant ache as she walked.

"That leaves Ivan. If he doesn't have it then I don't know where else to look." She had no desire to meet Ivan or Boris again, but they were the best chance now.

"Hmmm, I'm not sure I like that. They've left a bloody trail through the city tying up loose ends." Actually she very much wanted to meet this Ivan. She still hadn't forgotten Mr. Morozov and his family.

"If there was another way, any other way, I'd never suggest it." Katiya wrapped her arms around herself, remembering how close Boris had come to her before Tereza had saved her. "They're evil."

Alexei moved silently over to the redhead and set her hands on Katiya's shoulders, trying to give comfort without seeming too overly concerned. Last nights behavior still... well she wasn't certain she was comfortable with how she had acted, not that she regretted it but still it was sort of exposing, not that Katiya had understood.

"Well, then I'll have to be more evil."

She smiled wryly up at Alexei. "I just have to remember that I'm with someone who's worse than Ivan right?" Katiya had to force the smile.

"In my own way, yes." She stared around the warehouse. "I'll send Stepan back to gather my things out of all this junk, the rest we'll sell or donate."

"So I guess we just go find Ivan." Katiya swallowed, this was going to be unpleasant. "I know where to find them. It's not a good place."

"No, you tell me where to find him and what he and his friend look like, and you go home." Alexei said firmly.

"No. They're my problem too. I’ll come with you." She looked back stubbornly.

"Katiya, if you lead me to them then they will know I'm not just defiling you because you caught my attention at the opera. It will kind of give away the fact you belong to me."

"You just had to bring logic into this didn't you?" The human sighed and reluctantly nodded. "Fine, but I'll have to show you where they are, it's hard to find."

Alexei eyed Katiya for a moment. "Okay but after that you and Vidar will go right home?"



Alexei slowed her pace on the icy cobbled streets, for Vidar and Katiya. She did her best not to wrinkle her nose at the horrible stench of this place. "I think my factories are cleaner than this."

"They are." Katiya stepped around something that was better left unseen on the dark street. "Slaughter houses." There were tanners nearby too; the stench was something that kept even the most diligent of inspectors out of the area. She wrinkled her nose against the stench.

"They have a place, in the back row, gambling and other things."

"This is a good place for vampires to hide it already smells of blood and death." She murmured.

Katiya stopped, running her hands along Vidar's fur, glad he was back and apparently all right. "They have tunnels underneath it, part of some old ruin or something. I think that's where Ivan keeps most of his stuff."

"There was an earthquake a small one but enough to destroy the town. We just built on top of it, underneath are still a few old homes made of stone." Alexei said absently as she searched for whatever was causing the prickling feeling on the back of her neck.

"You sure I can't come with you?" She wanted to see Ivan hurt she owed him some pain.

"Yes." She said absently not having to really think about the answer.

She could feel Vidar's fur stand up on end, a low growl starting from him. "Vidar?"

Alexei eased her hand inside her coat gripping the handle of the short sword. The buildings were close together a hazard of fire and disease. When the attack came they fell from the rooftops.

They moved with that deadly silence and swiftness that Katiya had come to associate with vampires. A pack of them moving with deadly intent; as they dropped down from the rooftops landing in crouches around them. "Oh Shit."

Her sword was out in a flash and in the upstroke one was beheaded spraying her with blood as the corpse fell it shriveled in on itself.

One of them growled something in a strangely accented language that Katiya didn't recognize as three of them blurred towards Alexei. Two more came for Katiya and she shrank back, hand on her dagger.

Alexei didn't move letting the one charge her. Twisting she hooked one of its outstretched arms and flipped it over her shoulder and down to the ground impaling it with her sword, then she was rushing forward to attack the other two.

The fight was too fast for Katiya too watch, just a blur of fangs and the glint of light on Alexei's sword. She could only spare a glance though she had other problems. Vidar's form blurred as the vampires attacked. Once again he was a man. A man who was laughing as he charged into battle, relishing it.

Another splash of red and Alexei was down to one last opponent. It was a good fight as she traded blows with her final attacker. He was quick and agile, lithe like a dancer and it was annoying her the way he danced away from her strikes’.

Vidar seemed to relish the fight. Any other place it would have been strange to see a naked Nordic man attacking vampires who were surprised that he was attacking them and not the other way around. Katiya kept her back to the wall, dagger in hand, eyes wide.

A well-placed kick deadened the nerves of Alexei’s hand loosing her grip on the sword and it tumbled to the ground. He grinned at her, feeling superior and Alexei just growled charging. They traded blows Alexei catching him in the thigh with a well placed kick on anything other than another vampire the leg would have shattered, on the vampire however it caused him to loose feeling in that leg and it buckled. Not missing her opening she grabbed his hair and yanked his head as she brought her knee up. The two meeting with a hollow 'thunk'.

"This is more fun." Vidar laughed, ducking a wild swing. "Fine. Take away all my fun!" He grabbed the vampire’s arm, breaking it backwards, then grabbed his head and pulled hard, ripping it free.

"Always having to play with your food." She joked as she placed the sword back under her jacket and bent over picking up her unconscious new friend. "Change of plans." She said turning around and starting back to the manor.

"No visiting Ivan?" Katiya slipped the dagger away, not at all upset to be leaving right now though.

"No I'm afraid I'm going to be busy torturing my new friend for information."

"Oh." Katiya hurried to keep up, Vidar in hound form trailing behind, tail wagging. "Do you know what language that was they were talking in?"

"It’s American, a cultural divergence of English. Which you would be learning if we'd stop having sex all the time and you actually studied."

"I'm sure Matvey isn't too upset I'm not bugging him all the time."

"Actually Matvey is really upset because he has to look after the factories, instead of his library."

"So he doesn't have time anyway." Katiya smiled, giddy with the after math of the attack.

She huffed as they hiked back the way they came. "In fact I think everyone is upset with me. Molly's jealous because I give you all my attention. Stepan is put out over something, and Matvey wants his library. I really need to do more around the house." She muttered.

It was hard to tell, but the human thought that the hound behind them snickered at that.


The trek back was annoying the captured vampire kept regaining consciousness and tried to escape and Alexei would have to knock him out again.

Finally they reached the manor. Lyov as if he'd been watching swung the door open his face as dour as ever. "Early evening Mistress." He remarked and then upon seeing Alexei's new toy said. "I take it you won't be in the bath tonight."

"Depends on how long it takes him to tell me what I want to know."

Katiya made a face, not liking the mental image that popped into her mind at that. "Hi Lyov." Vidar yawned besides them, tongue long and lolling as he stretched.

"Hello Young Miss, doing alright after your altercation?" He asked in his monotone way.

"Better." She smiled, really hoping that the gnarled gnome of a man didn't know what kept happening in the bath.

There were steps on the stairs and a sullen Stepan and Matvey came down and into view an insanely grinning Molly followed behind perched on the landing.

Stepan's gaze cut into Katiya staring at her coldly before looking to his Sire. "We want to talk to you." He demanded.

Vidar stopped his stretching, standing up and watching the male vampire with intent eyes, licking his chops.

Alexei went still tamping down her natural first reaction to rip his head off at such a display. Sure he was her mischievous puck who got away with a lot, but not this disrespect.

She tossed the foreigner on to the floor. "Lyov, take our guest below into one of the holding cells."

The wizened man nodded and the floor creaked, groaned and after a few seconds split open a stone hand grasping the man and taking him below.

"What the hell…" Katiya stared at the floor in surprise as it closed back up.

Alexei didn't move she stood as still as a statue looking at the two men, studying them.

Uncomfortable with the scrutiny two pairs of eyes darted away from Alexei's simmering gray.

At that moment she said. "Take them as well."

Katiya jerked her gaze up at those cold words, watching Matvey's worried look before the stone opened below them. "How does he do that?" The human whispered to Vidar. The hound was thoroughly unimpressed, sitting down on his haunches and watching.

Alexei stepped into the foyer and took off her coat bellowing. "Fiona!"

"Don't yell at me." Came the yelled response. "You're legs work just fine, and I'm in the kitchen."

Alexei sighed and then looked over at Katiya and Vidar. She held out her arm for Katiya.

It took an effort, but Katiya was hopeful that she kept her face neutral as she took that outstretched arm.

Alexei leaned over and gave her a quick kiss to the temple. "I will let you know a secret about Lyov but first you have to promise not to tell anyone."

"I promise." She swore solemnly.

"Very well..." She trailed off looking up at Molly's intent face and then moved them down the hall towards the kitchen and out of earshot.

"Lyov is the house." She said simply.

The redhead looked up at the vampire, not sure she understood. "He is the house?" It didn't make more sense when she said it out loud either.

"Lyov... is... the house." She said slower.

"The house is alive?" That was really disturbing. Katiya had a sudden urge to apologize for stepping on him.

"Well in a manner of speaking. Not alive like you or... me. He might have once actually been a man, who died here on this spot. I'm not really sure if he's a ghost or just magical, and he's not either. So that is how he knows everything that goes on inside. He'll tell me things if I ask but for the most part I like to be surprised."

Katiya stared up at her, mouth opening then closing. "A ghost?" She swallowed and looked behind her a little nervously. Out of everything that she'd come across, this was one of the creepiest. "Or a magical thing." She finished weakly as they entered the kitchen.

"Mmmhmmm, anymore he's basically the house, Lyov is just a physical manifestation that we can comprehend with our minds. Plus he's useful." She stopped and stared at Fiona. "Were you aware that Stepan and Matvey were conspiring against me?"

The woman looked up from her sewing and Warren took an even greater interest in his cooking.

"Evening Fiona." Katiya gave a little wave, still looking a little stunned.

"I know they're not happy. Stepan doesn't like all the attention Katiya's getting he's use to being the favorite, a spoiled puppy and since you've had him you haven't taken any new pets. He doesn't know about the bonding and attention you have to give them so they work well in your household. Matvey is spoiled too, you let him do as he pleased studying his books and now you've made him do something he doesn't want. What did you expect? You never beat anyone anymore; tamper down on their more vile urges. Alexei in the 900 years we've been together you've changed a lot your moods aren't as bloody and violent anymore, I might say you're almost human in your manners. They're still young. They need the constant reminder of who is Alpha so for the love of God show them."

Alexei shut her mouth and stood very quietly mulling over Fiona's words.

Vidar gave a low bark, agreeing as he lay down on his stomach, watching the scene. This was the most interesting that he'd seen in a long time.

Beside her, Katiya stood still, reminded again of the bloody beating she'd given Sergei when she'd first come to the manor. She had an idea that was going to happen again.

Alexei finally sighed and started rolling back the sleeves of her shirt. "I hate it that you’re right. What a horrible vampire master I've become." She walked over and kissed the top of Fiona's head the woman looked up and gave her a fond look.

For a moment they shared a mutual understanding before the woman looked to her soon to be husband and Alexei retreated back to Katiya.

"I'd prefer you didn't see me like this but it’s the truth of what it means to be a vampire so you can come down if you want." She said quietly.

"I saw enough blood this evening." Katiya squeezed the blonde woman's hand, seeing the darkness lurking behind those eyes. "Unless you want me there?" She didn't want to see Alexei like that.

"No, I'd rather you didn't come down stairs this time. It’s my fault and I have to fix it." She leaned in close. "You may want to sleep somewhere else blood and violence can have a... ah... effect I may not be gentle when I come to bed."

Katiya smirked ever so slightly as she went up on her tiptoes to press her lips to Alexei's quickly. "I can handle not so gentle."

Alexei kissed her back. "I stand by my word, I won't force anything say no and I'll stop." She murmured into those lips before breaking away avoiding Fiona's smirk. "Come on Vidar you can help if you like." The vampire said walking to the hidden door.

Katiya watched them go, the hound wagging his tail as he did so. She really, really didn't want to know what was about to go on in the basement of the manor. Which, somehow, was also Lyov. She shook her head, red hair bouncing around her head.

"It’s been a strange day Fiona."

The woman looked up from her sewing. "Are you okay?"

That was an interesting question. "Yes." She frowned. "Maybe." She eyed the door to the basement again. "I think I'm just going to go upstairs and wait for her."

"Probably best." The older woman leaned over and patted the tiger under the table it sleepily crawled out from under the table and shook itself. "Kira why don't you go sleep in front of Alexei's door."

The tiger flicked its ears but took off for the stairs.

Fiona looked up. "Molly's been stirring up trouble again. I can feel it. But she'll clear the stairs; she's scared of the tigers. She doesn't like the fact Alexei's not spending any time with her. Only two pets in the house and Alexei would rather drink animal blood than go to Molly. It’s not sitting well with that tart."

"I already didn't trust her." She smiled weakly. "Thank you Fiona. For everything."

"Be safe." Was all the woman said returning to her sewing.


Alexei had spent an hour with the American. Blood and gore washed the walls, and stained her white shirt. He'd stopped screaming 10 minutes ago. Proudly he looked at her, brown eyes shining in the faint light of the torch, thinking himself tough, more than able to withstand what she would dish out. But what he didn't know is that she hadn't even started yet, not really with the torture, this was for the two in the room next to this one. His screams were for them cranking up their fear of what was to come. Tomorrow she would start on the American in earnest. She walked over and wiped her hands on his shirt. 

"Not a bad screamer, we'll see how you do tomorrow, when I really begin the torture."  She grinned as she saw the cracks in his armor, she'd put him off balance. "Oh yes, this was just foreplay, really it was for the other two next door. Now you can listen to their screams, and imagine what awaits you tomorrow."

She left shutting the door.  She looked to Vidar who stood outside the door with Matvey and Stepan. "Why don't you go make our guest comfortable he looks too hot."

The Hellhound nodded trying to hide his grin. "Matvey was easy, Stepan was a pain but I always like to smack his pretty boy ass around." He whispered as they passed each other.

She nodded then fixed a scowl firmly to her features as she opened the door. The room was cold from Vidar's touch and looked at Matvey and Stepan. "I will not house traitors. Either you are loyal without question or I have no use for you."

"I won't stay another moment in this house with that woman. She's wrecking everything, destroying you and this house..."

He was cut off slammed against the wall his chains clinking at the sudden movement.  He'd never seen her move in such a way. 

"You are either loyal or you are not. Which is it?"

"That woman has you thinking with your cunt." He spat out.

"There can only be one master Stepan and you're not it." Alexei casually said as she reached one hand into his mouth grasping the left fang and slowly began to pull. "Am I too soft, maybe? I seem to have forgotten we are monsters and should treat you as such." Blood began to pour out from where the tooth was slowly being ripped out by the root. 

"Please. Please." Matvey chattered over and over as he cowered. "I hate the factories can someone else please take them over. It doesn't have to be right away, I just can't take all those people staring and whispering, they're always needing things, and wanting things." 

He cut off as Alexei backhanded him. "Do you think I care what you want? Do you think either of you matter? I see I have been way too lax."


Later, near dawn she made her way upstairs to the kitchen. Her shirt was now sticky and red. She felt the calling of the blood hunt and she would like nothing better to run through the town killing until the streets ran red. The dark feelings uncoiled through her body craving violence and blood. Hands shaking slightly she dipped them into the tub of water left out by Fiona washing them the best she could. She lifted them out dried them, unbuttoned her shirt peeling it off her body, and dropped it into the tub. It was probably beyond saving. She took a deep breath and exhaled leaning over grabbing the edge of the table and stretched trying to gain control of herself. She would not, could not go upstairs near like this. 

There was the touch of a warm hand on her back. "At a time like this your precious Katiya can't be what you need but I can." Came Molly's seductive purr. "I like your monster, would she still love you if she could see you or what you left down stairs?" Her hands trailed over the taut back enjoying the copper smell of blood.

Alexei's hands gripped deeply into the wood of the table.

"You can hurt me Alexei. I like to be hurt. Can Katiya say the same?"


Katiya stood in Alexei’s bedroom, staring at herself in the single ornate mirror that decorated one wall. She undid her dress, draping it over one of the nearby chairs and smiling as she spotted a nightdress already neatly folded up on it.

“Thank you Lyov.” She’d decided there were too many other problems right now for her to worry about the fact that the wizened old man was the house, or the house was him, she wasn’t really clear on that.

For now though she left the nightdress where it was, turning back to the mirror to study her reflection. She didn’t look that different than she did before meeting Alexei. Certainly she was cleaner, no longer covered in factory grime and she was better fed. Warren saw to that, making sure she ate well.

But other than that, she looked the same, red hair, blue eyes, perky breasts that always seemed a little too large to her, pale skin and rounded hips she’d been told were shapely. Then why, she wondered, did she feel so different then before? Nothing was the same as it had been and she hoped it was for the best. At least she wasn’t starving anymore.

Gingerly she touched the red scab on her neck, studying it intently. Sergei had been killing her, draining her of her blood through that wound only a day before. Now it was almost healed, only red and angry looking.

That was new, she thought wryly. She’d never healed that quickly before. That was Alexei’s doing she bet.

“Alexei.” She whispered, afraid for the vampire. The irony of the fact that she was scared for the tall blonde and not of her wasn’t lost on the human.

“There’s time.” Her reflection didn’t look like it believed her.

“I hope.” She turned, leaving the nightgown where it was and went to the bed. How long would it be before Alexei returned? She had no way to know, but she’d wait for her.


Alexei paced back and forth in front of the door to her rooms. She was feeling something odd, it was like guilt, but she never felt guilt. Guilt was a thing no vampire could have because they spent most of their new lives killing. So to mope around feeling guilty all the time was... well, silly.

Molly had a point she was a pet, and one who fulfilled very specific needs without making her a rapist or sexual predator, and she had been ignoring her like she had with Shiro, that caused a twinge of guilt. Ignoring her like Stepan and Matvey, so in essence she hadn't done anything wrong.

So why did she feel like she had?

A very annoyed tiger looked up from where it was sleeping in front of the doors its tail flicking back and forth.

Finally she decided to sneak into her own rooms, Katiya had to be asleep and in a while she could succumb to the sunlight hours and sleep avoiding any questions. Because the thought of any questions right now was making her... nervous, which was also something she hadn't felt in a long time. Blowing out a breath she opened the door and stepped over the tiger.

"Alexei?" Katiya looked up sleepily from where she'd curled up under the covers on the vampire's bed. She didn't know how long she'd waited before sleep had claimed her.

"Ah... Katiya." The vampire stuttered as she shut the door.

The naked woman shifted up in the bed so that she was sitting, loosely covered by the top sheet and rubbed her eyes to try and wake up a little. "Are you all right?"

"Yes. I'm fine, everything’s fine. Ah, just go back to sleep I'll be there in a bit." Maybe she should wash.

Katiya woke up a little more, studying Alexei curiously. The beautiful blonde was acting strangely, even for a vampire. "You're certain you're all right?"

Alexei hesitantly said. "I'm... fine." As she scurried into the bathroom only to find Lyov had not left her any hot water to wash up in.

That didn't sound fine at all. Worried now, Katiya got up and followed after her. At least there wasn't any blood on the floor. Did the American vampire manage to hurt her?

"Did something happen when you talked with the American vampire?"

"Katiya." Alexei said jumping. "Why aren't you sleeping?" She cleared her throat, "I'm fine. The American hasn't said anything yet that I know of Vidar will spend some time with him during the daylight. That should help speed things up."

The redhead stepped closer, scanning the other woman for any sign of a wound. When she didn't find any she looked up at Alexei, confused. "I was sleeping, but I was waiting to make sure you were all right also." It had been a fitful sleep. "You're acting strange." She wasn't sure what was going on, but something was.

"I'm sorry I don't mean to act strange." She had no reference for what was going on with her. She nibbled unconsciously on her bottom lip as she tried to figure out what to say or do.

The human stared at her, feeling suddenly self-conscious as she realized she was naked and getting cold. "I'm going back to the bed." She decided.

"Okay. Now you're being odd." She padded silently behind following.

"I'm being odd? You just spent the last few minutes staring at an empty bathtub repeatedly telling me nothing was wrong." Shivering, Katiya climbed under the blankets.

"Well, yeah... okay, that was odd. But we were talking and then you suddenly ran away to the bed, so in a sense you were being odd too."

Katiya stared at her, lips curling into a smile. "Are we arguing about which one of us is acting odder? Because if we are, you are definitely the strangest one in this bedroom."

Alexei chuckled at that, and then bent down kissing Katiya's pale red lips. "I really wish you weren't still healing from that bite." Was all she said before she got up moving to the other side of the bed and slipped naked under the covers.

"I'm feeling better though. It's almost healed. That's your doing isn't it?" Katiya shifted closer, yawning and pressing up close. The vampire’s body was warm.

"Yeah, my blood, it makes you stronger and the stuff I did later after he bit you that helped to." She murmured

"Thank you for that then." She leaned up and kissed Alexei, ignoring the scent that she could smell coming off her. Alexei had warned her after all that she was just one of several pets.

"You're welcome."

Alexei was silent staring at the ceiling. "Being human, how do you deal with all the petty little emotions that bog you down?" She asked disturbing the silence.

On the edge of sleep, Katiya pushed a leg over Alexei's, getting herself comfortable. "What kind of feelings?" She asked quietly, enjoying the intimate feeling of sliding her skin across Alexei's.

"Um, guilt. Its useless to vampires because if the person before they were a vampire was any sort of decent human being what they have to do to survive as a vampire and the vampiric culture, guilt, would crush them." She was silent and then added. "In theory."

The human was quiet for a few minutes, tracing idle patterns on Alexei's stomach with her fingertips. "I used to get guilty when I first learned how to break into places. Ivan would always make fun of me for it." She looked up, meeting the other woman's eyes. "I realized I couldn't feel guilty for doing what I had to do to survive."

Alexei nodded, “So you adapt change your philosophy so it doesn't effect you...” She trailed off so what had changed in her philosophy to make her feel guilty about what her and Molly just did?

"You decide what's important to you, I guess." Katiya closed her eyes, spreading her palm on the warm skin beneath her hand.

Normally Katiya's touch was welcomed, encouraged, but now, now it just made her feel even guiltier. She nibbled on her bottom lip for a moment

The stiff set of Alexei's body caused the human to open her eyes once more and she watched the play of emotions play across her face. So that was what a guilty vampire looked like. Katiya thought she vastly preferred the sleek powerful look Alexei usually wore.

"It's all right." She whispered, lips just brushing the blonde's earlobe. "You warned me how it would be." And if she felt upset about it, Katiya kept telling herself it didn't matter.

"You know?" Alexei always suspected she was a bad liar, but then being as old a vampire that she was she rarely needed to lie about anything.

"You're warm." Best to keep the scent to herself for now.

"Ah, well, yes. Molly was downstairs and..." She trailed off not really wanting or needing to finish she realized. Molly had played her, which she knew, manipulated the situation as she always did because Alexei didn't want to be monstrous. She kept trying to convince herself that by her age she no longer needed to be that way much like she didn't need to sleep in a musty basement.

Molly again, Katiya thought to herself, running her fingers through that beautiful blonde hair. Yet another reason to dislike the unstable, but stunningly beautiful pet. Would she end up having to compete for Alexei's attention with Molly now that there were just two of them? The thought caused her stomach to clench.

"You warned me, told me there were other pets." Katiya was proud her voice sounded normal, even reasonable.

"True I did." She sighed in enjoyment as the fingers brushed through her hair. "It’s not healthy for me to feed off of you all the time, you'll grow anemic and eventually die, no matter how much of my blood might strengthen you." She blew out a breath and continued. "Yet I feel guilt over it, that's a new thing." Alexei said taking Katiya's free hand and kissing it before setting it between her breasts. "I don't think that's happened before." She yawned, feeling the sun start to rise, normally she could fight it off but she had exerted herself too much.

"I've been experiencing all sorts of new things. Only fair that you get one or two new things also." Katiya whispered, shifting just a bit closer and letting her eyes close. Sleep now, later she would try to figure out what was going on and why it disturbed her so much.

Part 8

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