tagNonHumanMy Little Ventrue Pt. 02 Ch. 11

My Little Ventrue Pt. 02 Ch. 11

byNovusAnimus©

~Julias~

"Natasha is here! Lucus has her held hostage! Everything is-"

More gunfire, and the line went dead after a single, static snap.

"Shit shit shit shit shit."

He wasted no time. He jumped out of bed and got dressed while he walked toward his office. Office was a strong word, it was just a room with a computer, and all the weapons he preferred up on the walls. A pistol, a small shotgun, another pistol, a large knife, a small sword, all slipped into various places on his body once he started putting on his belt, vest holster, and suit jacket over top the small armory.

Hold on Jack, I'm coming.

He started dialing his phone when Beatrice grabbed it from him.

"The fuck are you doing?" she said.

He almost echoed the words. "Summoning the Invictus! I'm going to save my childe."

Beatrice kept the phone at bay when he reached for it. "Fuck man, you're a fucking Invictus triumvirate! If you get between the Ordo Dracul and the Lancea et Sanctum, shit is going to get ugly."

"Ugly? You have got t-"

"Lucus is there for the Prince, and no one's going to agree to fight a war because of the death of one young Neonate."

The urge to smash her face into the wall hit him with enough force to surprise him. He had to blink a few times and shake his head to dislodge the compulsion.

"Natasha is there too! She might die as well. And since when did you care about any of this?"

Her eyes dropped, and she handed him back the phone. "I don't want a war. I wasn't here for the last one but I bet a lot of Kindred will die if there's another. Just let those two fight each other and the strongest one will come out on top."

Was she serious? He glared hard enough to crucify her, and she looked away like a guilty child. He didn't buy it. Beatrice enjoyed violence; maybe not to the level of a war, but she was always one of the first ready to throw a fist.

"And if Jack gets killed in the process?"

She winced. "Hey I don't want the kid to die either."

His grinded his teeth down inside his mouth until he could practically feel them falling apart. "I have to do something. How the fuck are they even managing an attack? The sheriff is there."

Beatrice tilted her head to the side and started to pick her teeth with her claws. She leaned against the wall, wearing absolutely nothing, and let her eyes roll upward in thought.

"I..."

"I what?" he said. Bitterness was in his voice, and he didn't care. She was the one stopping him from interfering, and that meant his childe could die. Worse, she was right. If Jack did die, it was doubtful the Invictus would go to war with the judges over it, even if he was a childe of one of the triumvirate.

"I... guess it might be because of Natasha."

"What, Natasha? Why? Why is she even at the tower?"

She was hesitating, he could see it all over her. Why didn't she want to tell him. Even with him staring at her, she started to walk back into the master bedroom. He followed after her, and glared at her while she got dressed. She was stalling.

"Look, this is exactly what I was worried about. Shit is-"

"The fuck. About. Natasha?"

Enough games. He tried to keep calm, to be polite, kind, to try and understand it from her perspective, but his patience was tightened to nothing but a wire strand. Jack was in danger. Right the fuck now, Jack was in danger and everything was between him and doing something about it.

"Maria and Lucus are old flames, yeah? And Natasha works for Maria."

"Mhmm." He folded his arms across his chest and leaned against the door frame. There was that little kernel of Ventrue inside him that wanted to reach out and force her to tell him everything, force her to obey. He wouldn't do that, he wasn't Viktor, and he loved her. But holy fuck every bit of him was being torn in half.

"Natasha is the sheriff's childe."

Glass shattered in his mind. "Natasha..."

Tiny, skinny, little Natasha. She was fast, and she had great Mehket eyes. Secrets and shadows were her world, and Julias knew she was always a step above the typical Mehket her age in that regard. But in a fight, she was only as useful as the gun she was carrying. Her stuttering, her shy demeanor, her inability to even look someone in the eye, it always threw him.

But then, there was the sheriff, the most quiet man Julias had ever known. It fit so well, it made him nauseous that he never pieced it together. It hurt that she never told him; they'd worked together for decades. Questions and questions and more damn questions ate at him.

And then, how did Beatrice know? He'd have to ask her, later, when everything stopped burning to cinders around him.

"You... you think..."

"Yeah, I do," Beatrice said. "I haven't seen Daniel much, but he... he had that somber look in his eyes, you know? Like you do, all the time." She walked up to him, wearing the dress she was last night, and poked him in the forehead with a claw. "In that sad way that just begs for someone to come along and fill it. Someone who could have their heart strings tugged at easily, if you knew where to tug."

That stung, but she was right, and he knew it. Just like that, he was the one getting a lecture.

Then she put her hand on his. "So I'm thinking Lucus is holding her hostage and forcing the sheriff to stand down while he deals with the Prince."

"I can't believe he has her! He can't just take an Invictus hostage, not unless he wanted to risk war with the Invict-"

Maria. That bitch. The fucking stupid, vain, twisted bitch. She gave Lucus permission to use Natasha, she must have!

He turned around and headed down the main stairs.

"Julias? Hey! Where you going?"

"I am going to the Elysium tower. Alone."

"Without the Invictus? Are you fucking insane?" The Nosferatu jumped straight over him and landed between him and the door of his mansion. "You could get killed!"

He tried to push past her, but the damn Nosferatu put her claws against his chest and pushed him back. He was bigger than her, tougher, but she was much stronger, and pushing him back was easy for the little monster.

"Get out of my way Beatrice."

"No." She backed herself against the huge door, and put herself dead center between its two sides. "Lucus is there to kill the Prince. You heard the gunfire! Jack could already be dead!"

"Get out of my way." He approached her and tried to push her aside, with strength this time, but the Nosferatu twisted his grip away and pushed him back like he weighed nothing.

"Come on Julias! You're going to get killed, and I don't want that!"

He tried again, grabbed her wrist, put one hand against her shoulder, and put his weight into a throw. She struggled against him, lighter than him, but she got a foot behind his and pushed him backward hard enough that he flew backward ten feet. The monster wasn't going anywhere.

"Damn it Beatrice, I have to help him!" He yelled at her from the floor, but didn't bother to get up. She'd just knock him down again.

"What about me? Huh? What the fuck about me? You're going to get killed and I'll be alone..."

"I-"

She stomped forward and slammed a clawed foot into the floor in front of him. "No! No you don't just throw yourself into the middle of shit like you have a death wish." Then she kicked him in the boot, hard, hard enough to send him back a bit and send a spike of pain up his limb. "I thought... you wouldn't... cause I'm..."

He was down on his ass, glaring up at the Nosferatu trying to stop him from dying. If a Ventrue's weakness was hubris, a Nosferatu's was loneliness. The look in her eyes was heartbreaking, gut wrenching, and every part of him wanted to get up and hold her. God he wanted to hold her, stroke her hair and promise her he wouldn't leave her like it was some sixties movie.

But he had to save Jack.

"...Ok."

"Ok?"

"Yes, ok. I won't Rambo in there." He held out a hand to her.

"Fucking good." She reached down and plucked him up with enough force to almost yank the shoulder from his socket.

He looked at her, looked down, looked at her some more, and he could feel his face range from sorrow to fury, back and forth as he struggled with it. He could feel Jack pulling at him, like some invisible thread that caught his throat and was pulling him toward his childe. It was as mindless and powerful as a mother's idiot urge to sacrifice herself to save her child even when it was hopeless.

But Beatrice was glaring up at him, and when she put her claws on his shoulders, her snake eyes penetrated him like knives. Her expressions mirrored his own, half angry and half terrified.

"I have to do something though, anything," he said.

"Then just ask."

He blinked. "What?"

"Just. Ask." She stepped in closer, lowered her hands to his sides, and hugged him. Actually hugged him, complete with her face pressed against his chest and her body close to his. "I can help, you stupid fucking cunt fuckhead."

"I di-"

"Yeah I know what you didn't want to do, fuckwad. But fuck you and your white knight bullshit." Even as she tore into him, she kept her face buried into the jacket of his suit, like a little girl holding her teddy.

He really was fucking stupid. It was only a year ago when he was alone, with no childe and no love, and that's how it had been for decades. Now this woman was hugging him, holding him, squeezing him like he'd vanish in a puff of smoke if she loosened her grip. He didn't know what to do, all he could think to do was protect the new things he'd been given.

"Hey," he said, and he raised his arms to hug the creature buried against his chest. "You're right."

"Yeah."

He laughed. "Yeah. It's just been me for a while since I've had anyone. And now..."

She pulled her head away, looked up at him, and clicked her teeth side to side. "And now you've got a girl and a kid. Yeah, I get it. But do I look like a fucking trophy wife?"

"No, no you most definitely do not."

"Hey! Calling me ugly?" He should have seen that coming. One moment she was frowning at him, the next she was punching him, but then she smiled. "So, you going to ask?"

"... will you help me save Jack?"

"Of course I'll help you save your childe you stupid god damn fuckhead."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~Jack~

"Julias! Get help, get fucking help! Here! Now!"

"What's going on?"

"Natasha is here! Lucus has her held hostage! Everything is-"

The phone exploded in his hand.

He didn't see who shot the smartphone, but whoever they were they were was one fucking crack shot. And worse still, the other Kindred started unloading bullets upon bullets upon bullets toward Antoinette at the same time. He wanted to jump in there and do something, but dozens of robed Kindred swarmed across the lobby toward them both.

The mob started to march forward, and with them came more and more bullets. The marble pillars of the lobby chipped and tore apart, and the walls around Jack showered him in chipped rock and metal. The gunfire was no longer just pointed at Antoinette, but him as well. He'd survived getting his body nearly cut in half once, but it was a very close call. He wouldn't be able to survive what Antoinette could, what Viktor could. So he did the only thing he could do as more robed Kindred approached him: he backed away, down the stairway and out of the lobby.

Below him was the underground network of the Prince's facilities. Black marble walls, a stairway, multiple floors, and deep rooms filled with all sorts of luxuries. But there was no escape from down there. Secure to a fault. Still, it was either that, or deal with the two Kindred who were now at the top of the stairs. They wouldn't kill him, like they wouldn't kill Natasha, unless they had to.

But that didn't mean they wouldn't put twenty bullets into his feet just to make sure he didn't interfere. And he really wanted to interfere. He could hear the gunfire, he could hear the odd sound of bullets colliding with ash with his vampire ears, and he could hear the screams of terror of Kindred. He'd only seen Antoinette kill two of them before he was forced back into the stairway, but the sheer speed and brutal strength of it was sickening.

This time, he got a clear view of the brutality when his lover attacked the two approaching Kindred from behind. It was almost comical when both her hands appeared through the Kindred's robes, out through the chest straight through the center. Her hands were flat; she used the tips of her fingers like some sort of blade so she could jam her hands through their bodies.

That wasn't enough to kill a Kindred though, and Jack had to look away when the Prince swung her hands outward to either side of her with such force, the two Kindred ripped in half.

It only took a couple seconds, but both Kindred had just enough time to start screaming before their bodies fell to ash. One of them didn't fully turn to ash, but instead turned into a husk of withered skin and bone. A young Kindred, like him.

"Jack!" Antoinette said. "You must-"

A bullet tore through her face. One moment, Antoinette was standing at the top of the stairs, looking down at him, and the next she was missing a large chunk of her cheek and some teeth. The flesh ripped open, and her teeth provided just enough impact resistance that the bullet continued forward and ripped one half-side of her lips to bits. The pieces of her flesh splattered outward, and turned into tiny flashes of cinder, then ash in a single second.

Before Jack could even say anything, she was diving forward and out of the line of fire. She scooped him up with enough force that he could feel a rib break, but he was too shocked to even react. All he could do was blink as she carted them down the stairway and into the first level of her underground facilities.

"If only I had listened to Tony," she said. Her voice was quiet hisses between clenched teeth. "His network had many escape routes. Mine has none; I did not think them worth the risk of invasion." She got around a corner and put her back to it, Jack still held to her chest. "I never thought someone would risk a kamikaze assault through my front door."

He tried to speak, but instead he just gazed at the sight of her shredded face. It was healing before his very eyes, pale flesh reaching out with the thick, dark blood of Kindred and weaving strands of skin and bone. He could actually see her teeth reforming - not regrowing, reforming - in her mouth.

She set him down, and pushed him further behind the wall with her hand to his chest. "Stay down."

"I-" As if they were waiting for him to speak, gunfire started tearing into the wall corner they were hiding behind. Bits of black marble chipped away in small explosions of impact again and again and again until the air was filled with dust and rock.

He looked around, panic creeping up his legs. Hiding wasn't an option, not really. They'd find them eventually and there was no escape route. They could hide until the police showed up? That would only lead to a mountain of dead police. They could fight? But then he was useless, and whatever that lightning did to Antoinette had gutted her ability to enchant.

Fuck he really wished he had a gun.

"Prince," a voice called out. "Come out and die with honor."

Antoinette scoffed. "There is no honor in death, worthless boy. Daniel should never have spared a zealot such as you."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~Damien~

He grit his teeth until his jaw cracked. "Spare me? I was just one of many fledglings, innocent and weak. I had assumed I simply escaped your notice as you slaughtered the priests we looked up to!"

He crept further along the wall, sword in his right hand, pistol in his left. The ridiculous weapon combination worked well for a Kindred who could handle the recoil with one hand, and he had spent fifty-years mastering it. All for this moment.

The Prince stuck her head out from around the wall, just enough to take a peak, and he wasted no time taking a shot. He was fast, faster than any Mehket his age should be; fifty-years of constant vigilance saw to that.

But she still managed to dodge it. She was an ancient creature, filled with oceans of vitae, and with far more experience than he and the entire mob he brought with him combined.

It was a good thing the mob were going to be his shield, to give him the moment to strike when it presented itself. With a low sigh, he sneaked a peak at his fellow Kindred. Some were still with Lucus in the building's lobby, but many had joined him down the stairway into the snake's tunnels. Thirty robed vampires.

Thirty meat shields.

He went silent, absolutely silent, like only a Mehket or Nosferatu could, and approached the corner of the wall. The others though, he motioned for them to approach with no such subtlety, but out in the middle of the hallway the stair had opened up into. He could drink in the strange sights of the Ordo Dracul architecture later; the long, coiling dragons carved into the black marble with white streaks could wait.

Three of his mob jumped around the corner, all with pistols at the ready, but they did not fire.

Damien frowned and stuck his head around the corner. Nothing. Just a long, empty hallway that went on for some distance, with several doors along its sides.

He could keep going down the stairway, or turn around and go in the other direction of the hallway, but it was a fool's hope that they would connect behind the hallway the Prince had fled down. He stepped into the only option left and walked down the hallway with slow, testing steps. His army did the same.

"I see where Tony learned to love tunnels," he said.

"Tony learned much from me." Her voice carried in the hallway, and despite his ears he could not pinpoint it. There were vents, no doubt for the ghouls the Prince pampered to breathe. Perhaps she was using those to send her voice? That meant the snake was hiding in one of the rooms. He grinned. The hell he would unleash upon her once he found her would be all the sweeter if she was trapped like a rat.

The first door, he had one of his Nosferatu kick it open, but inside laid only ornamental things. Paintings, drawings, and old, occult objects he did not understand. He grunted, and moved on.

"Tony was a vile snake," he said to the air.

"Agreed." Again her voice echoed off the walls. It had to be coming from down the hallway, but beyond that he could not tell.

"Don't act like you're so above him. He was your childe, and like you said, he learned much from you."

The robes around him nodded and hummed agreement. He could see the fear and worry in their eyes, but also that powerful righteousness of a child of the Lancea et Sanctum. He tried to take pride in that, but found only bile.

"Tony is dead, and I have only regret for his actions."

"Bullshit! Do you regret when he killed priest Marken? Or Bishop Vance?"

Silence.

"That's right, your anarchist childe killed Sanctified! But his acts pale in comparison to what you, your sheriff, and that fool Garry Tones did."

More silence. His anger was starting to creep up into his fingers now, up into his skull until it blinded him. He was very much aware he was letting his fury force him to speak, instead of controlling his tongue, but he no longer cared.

"Speak, demon! You killed so many of us! Servants of God!"

The mob at his side hollered and grunted and cheered, but instead of joining them, Damien only managed a quiet groan. They hadn't been there, none of the Kindred at his side were old enough to have been present for the purge, and their enthusiasm for this snake hunt saddened him. A lust for violence was in them just as much as any belief in their God, but they had no reason to be so enraptured in the hunt, not like him. They were just thugs following Lucus's orders, and an ache to fill their cravings for brutality.

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