tagNonHumanMy Little Ventrue Pt. 02 Ch. 12

My Little Ventrue Pt. 02 Ch. 12

byNovusAnimus©

~Julias~

There were robes and ashes everywhere.

Julias just stood there, eyes wide, and his gaze panned over the room of dead silence so profound, he could hear the rubbing of fabric from Beatrice as she stepped behind him. Damien -- he presumed based on Beatrice's description - was kneeling, crying, sobbing, and holding a unique robe to his chest. Daniel was standing over him, ready to execute him before the lake of ash-ridden robes.

Antoinette looked like hell had chewed her up and discarded the bones.

He could see Natasha in the back of the lobby, hands tied behind her, and Jack, standing on his own despite a nasty gash across his torso. Thank god the kid was still alive.

"Julias," Jack said. His voice was labored, like he was running on fumes. "Awesome. If you don't mind, could you... yeah." And then he collapsed like a sack of heavy sand. Even Beatrice winced when they all heard the loud crunch of what was probably the kid's nose.

"Mister Mire." The sheriff gave him a nod. "If you don't mind, could you help Madame Vola?"

He quirked a brow. This wasn't exactly what he was expecting to find. Though, looking at the remains of what was clearly a slaughter, he managed to piece together what happened. Or at least, that Lucus had lost and that Jack was still alive.

He walked past Damien, Beatrice still beside him, and kept his eye on the Bishop as he did so. The young vampire was pretty beat up himself, but the sheer noises of the destroyed Kindred was what shocked Julias to the bone. He'd never seen a Kindred look so broken.

"Natasha," he said once he reached her. He looked down at Jack, knelt down to roll him over, and grinned down at his childe. The kid was in torpor; he'd be fine once he got some blood in him.

"Julias," Natasha said. "I guess you came t-to save Jack?"

"Yeah, but I guess the sheriff handled it?"

"Uh... no, n-not really. No it... it was Jack."

He raised his head back to Natasha, eyes wide. "What?"

"He, umm -- thank you... Miss D-damor." Natasha gave Beatrice a thankful nod; the Nosferatu had stepped behind her to tear the binding off her wrists. "I didn't get t-to see the fight between the group and Antoinette, downstairs, b-but Damien came out dragging the Prince, and we all thought-t-t-t... he had won. But... Jack was... c-controlling him. And used him to k-kill Lucus."

Holy. Fucking. Shit. Julias just shook his head in utter disbelief. God damn it Jack, that's three Elders now. What was it with Jack and Elders? Of all the problems a fledgling -- not even a Neonate -- could have, killing off the city's Elders should not have been one of them.

Laughing, Julias scooped the kid up into his arms, and shook his head some more.

"Um, sensitive info?" Beatrice said.

"You came with Julias," Natasha said, and she smiled her little smile at Beatrice. "I trust his j-judgment."

She may have thought differently when she found out Beatrice was a witch now. Natasha's words had Beatrice blinking in her own surprise though, which earned another chuckle from Julias. Everything was coming up better than he could have hoped for. Part of him was waiting for the hammer to drop, but fuck that, the hammer could wait, wherever it was.

Damien, on the other hand, was a harsh contrast to the rest of them. The Mehket Sanctified, a bit small and lean looking man, hadn't moved from his spot. His cries and wails were starting to fade, but they were replaced with quiet sobs and a practicality petrified pose. If Jack had dominated him and forced him to kill his sire, that was indeed something he could imagine breaking someone's mind.

Why hadn't the sheriff killed him yet?

"I uh... I asked the sheriff to spare him." Natasha started walking with him as Julias made his way to the front door of the lobby. "I think... I d-don't think... he deserves to die. He was just... he...." She turned the words around; Julias could see her struggle with thoughts through her eyes as she considered how to explain. "He was....." Whatever it was, she couldn't articulate it, and she eventually lowered her head and shrugged.

He nodded, but he couldn't understand. He had thought he knew Natasha, but he missed her sire being the sheriff, and he certainly didn't expect her to ask Daniel to spare their assailant, after what he did. The whole situation was making Julias feel like a fifth wheel.

"The fuck you letting him live for? He attacked, you guys won."

God damn it Beatrice, smooth as sand paper.

Natasha frowned at his lover with a strange determination on her face Julias had never really seen before. "Lucus manipulated him. He... he deserves a second chance! I saw it! I saw it in his...."

Beatrice put her hands up in surrender. "Your choice, your funeral."

The group of them reached Damien and Daniel. The man was just sitting there, clearly with no intention of moving, and the sheriff looked ready to cut his head off if he tried anyway.

The Prince was still next to him. Christ, she was missing a leg, an arm, and a lot of her was torn up, split open, ripped and shredded with what looked like a million bullet wounds. But she was still alive; she'd heal once she got some fresh blood in her. A lot of blood in her.

"Mistress!" a duet screeched.

Julias almost dropped Jack at the sound of two girls screaming up into a high octave. Ashley and Julee, the Prince's two ghouls, came running out from the back stairway, and they fell to their knees by her body.

"She's still alive. Still alive!"

"Mistress, oh god. We'll-"

Daniel took a step toward them while putting his sword away in a smooth motion behind his back. "Ashley. Julee. A moment, please." Adjusting his glasses, he looked to his childe. "If you could take the Prince to her chambers, Vola? Ashley and Julee will guide you. Girls, you will have to fed her yourselves."

Daniel and Natasha looked at each other for a little while, like some sort of opaque wall was blocking their view of each other. They glanced at each other's toes, then each other, then their toes again.

The barrier between Natasha and her sire was all too familiar to Julias. When was the last time Viktor had called him by his first name? Had he ever? It was a barrier he fought to make sure never rose between him and the unconscious kid in his arms.

"Julias?" Natasha said.

"Go ahead. You can report to me tomorrow." He let his gaze linger on her, with some extra eye contact to get across his meaning. Let him deal with Maria, Natasha. No doubt the girl was smart enough to have put together Maria's involvement herself, and he didn't want his friend getting herself killed by saying something she shouldn't.

Natasha lowered her head, and nodded. The little girl was only the same size as the Prince's two ballerina ghouls, but she scooped up the tall woman's battered and broken body without issue. Even a Mehket had some strength to them, and she used it to hold Antoinette to her. It was a strange sight indeed, how the small Natasha wasn't tall enough to stop Antoinette's hair from reaching the floor with how her head drooped, but it was more than telling that Daniel had asked her to help the Prince. The sheriff really trusted her.

Then she turned, and left, with Ashley and Julee guiding her. They were panicked; they had never seen Antoinette injured like this, or injured at all, Julias was sure. But she'd be fine with a couple days rest and a lot of blood. More blood than the Prince's ghouls could provide themselves, but the sheriff could handle that.

Julias frowned at the weeping man on his knees, and looked to Daniel. "What about him?"

The sheriff reached down and grabbed Damien's wrist. The young fool didn't fight him, didn't struggle, he just dragged like dead weight.

"We have cells more than capable of holding him. Madame Vola insists we spare him."

"Sheriff... we all know. About Natasha."

Daniel raised a brow at Julias, adjusted his glasses with his free hand, and looked past him to offer Beatrice the tiniest frown. The Nosferatu almost squeaked, and again stepped behind Julias to keep him between the two of them. He couldn't blame her.

"I was a fool to hope it... never mind. I will handle things here. Take care of your childe, Mister Mire." With just the faintest smile, he turned and walked off. Julias wasn't sure if he was seeing things; he had always assumed the sheriff's face was carved from stone.

From the back, he just looked like a plain guy wearing a trench coat, dragging some punk kid by the hand across the floor. For just a moment, Julias swore he could see the weight of centuries on the man's shoulders, something that shined through his quiet demeanor.

Then the sheriff stopped, and looked over his shoulder to him. He really was smiling. "Mire? Your childe... thank him, for me."

And then he walked off.

Julias and Beatrice just blinked at each other, like someone had slapped them both with a hand buzzer.

"So, um... holy shit, right?" she said.

"Yeah. Definitely, yeah. I uh, I'm going to take Jack back to my place."

He turned and walked out of the lobby. The last thing he wanted to do was try and explain the mess behind him to the authorities. Despite the gunfire he'd heard on the way, there wasn't a single police officer in sight though. Of course not, but who was to blame, Maria or something the Prince had done? He'd find out later.

"Beatrice."

"Yeah man?"

"You, you um...." It was just the two of them in the Elysium garden. No young Kindred fledglings or Neonates were around, and the sound of gunfire had probably scared off nearby kine. The night sky was open, cool, and the silence was golden.

If it wasn't for the unconscious, cut open kid in his arms, it'd be a really romantic moment. But as least Kindred didn't make any noise when in torpor; Jack was as quiet as a corpse.

Julias stepped out a little further into the Elysium garden, stared at the sky for few moments, and closed his his eyes. "Thanks for coming with me, and... and I wanted you to know.... I wanted to tell you-"

But Beatrice took a step in closer to him, and reached out to put a clawed hand on his chest. "You don't have to, Superman. The Prince spoiled it for me."

"... what? Spoiled?"

"Total spoilers." She stepped around Jack, leaned up, and gave Julias the most girlish peck on the cheek he never thought her capable of. "So we can bypass the awkward first time 'I love yous' and jump straight to the good stuff. I'll see you in a couple nights, k? Take care of the kid in the meantime." She winked, gave a wave with a little curl of her clawed fingers, and walked off by herself. One moment she was there, the next, her cloak of night hid her from his view.

And he was dumbfounded. Spoiled? What? What had the Prince said to Beatrice?

He frowned down at the kid in his arms. "Your girlfriend is too damn smart. And she ruined my moment."

But, as he left the garden and started down the street, with humans giving him a wide birth with confused looks on their faces, he smiled. Beatrice loved him too. She loved him. The damn psycho he loved so much loved him back.

His Nosferatu lover had never been in love, and for that he was jealous. It'd been a century of loneliness for him, and he wore it on his face despite his best efforts. She saw through it, called him out on it, and she was the first to do so.

He laughed. People were already looking at him like he was weird, carrying a boy in his arms, but now they openly stared at him as he called for an Invictus taxi with more laughter. Damn he was really looking forward to her next visit.

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

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

~Jack~

He woke up with blood on his tongue. More than just on his tongue, it was in his mouth and going down his throat. Warm, fresh, and whatever sense of taste he'd developed from becoming a vampire ached for the taste of that blood. Hell, he could tell he was drinking it down as part of his waking reflex, no conscious effort necessary.

Memories slammed into him like a truck. Antoinette! And that idiot Damien. He looked around in a panic, expecting to see the chaos of the Prince's tower, but there was only a giant bed, curtained walls, and Julias.

"Julias! Christ I... yeah, I remember. You came, but... shit, is Antoinette alright?"

"She'll be fine. Most Kindred would have died from that much damage, but she is an Elder."

His sire was sitting next to him, his suit jacket undone, leaning forward with elbows on the bed, and his fingers netted together to brace his chin. There was a subtle smile there, a smile Jack rarely saw on his sire, a weird and kind of young looking one.

Beside him was a kine Jack had never seen before, some man also in a suit.

"Uh, who's that?"

"Just lunch for you. You were pretty beat up. That Damien sliced you open."

Jack chuckled, and winced with the pain of it. "Heh, not nearly as bad as Viktor had."

"Viktor. Yeah, so that's three now, Jack. You've killed three Elders."

"Um, the kine wi-"

"I'll wipe his memory later, don't worry about him." Julias dismissed worry about the man beside with a simple flick of the wrist. The kine just nodded. Total drone mode. "You killed Viktor and Tony with some quick thinking and a lot of luck. But Lucus? How did that happen?"

Jack's smile faded, his head lowered, and he put his hand on the huge gash on his stomach. The wound was closed, but his clothes were still cut open, just like that time he woke up in Antoinette's office after Viktor.

"It was... Antoinette was fighting Damien and his mob, down in Ashley and Julee's bedroom. We were hiding in their bathroom. We could hear the slaughter...."

And just like that time when he'd awoken from a frenzy, on that rooftop alone with Mrs. Pavala's body, nausea flooded him. He pulled his knees up to his chest and hugged them to his body. Every time it came, he never saw it coming, but just a bad thought, a bad memory, and the nausea of murder ripped into his guts and made him want to vomit.

Julias called it humanity, something Kindred lost with ages, but to Jack it was just ache. Screams, the sound of gunfire, and the sickening crunch of bones. Him and the two ghouls, they were hugging each other and hiding in the corner of that bathroom, listening to the mayhem.

Flashes of memory hit him, and he hugged his knees closer. PTSD maybe, but to a Kindred, what was that? His family, Jessica stabbing him, Jack decapitating Mrs. Pavala, and worst of all, the way Viktor's face changed when Jack had defied him.

Where was all this coming from? He'd go days, weeks without thinking about this, and now it was hitting him in the gut. Again.

It sucked more because, for that split moment when Julias told him Antoinette was safe, he was so damn happy. And he still was. But now that the battle was over, and the beast inside him was calm, he did not like the black thoughts that crept up onto the edge of his consciousness. His eyes in Damien's eyes. His mind in his mind. His hands, Damien's sword, cutting through robes and Kindred. Seeing through Damien's eyes Lucus's head falling off of his neck.

It wasn't like in the movies, where a quick cut meant the head sat there on the neck before rolling off. And Lucus didn't stand there for a few seconds, like a headless chicken either. The man just fell apart, with Kindred blood splattering over the-

"Hey, you ok?" Julias said, and he put a hand on Jack's shoulder.

Jack shook his head, and hid his face in his knees. "Just... remembering things." He shrugged. Don't dwell on it, Jack, don't worry about it, just... don't.

"Jack, come on." Julias reached out, took his wrist, and pried it away from his knee to force him to look at him. "I know kid, I know. The beast in your guts keeps that shit down, but just a moment of vulnerability and it hits you so hard you want to puke."

He knew what it was like? Jack coughed on a half-sob. "I have a hard time picturing you feeling like this, Julias."

But his sire just rolled his eyes. "Jack, I didn't have anyone when I was turned. Viktor didn't care about things as 'trite' as empathy. I lost my wife, and I lost my life, same as you. You don't think I hid in dark corners of the city and just cried for days? You don't think I accidentally killed a human or two in my youth?"

The idea of Julias, tall, confident, and classic mobster, crying in a dark corner emo style was too much for Jack. He started laughing, but tried to hide it as best he could with his other hand. It was the sort of laughter that gently broke through quiet sobs, and turned them into more chuckles.

"Laugh it up," Julias said, but he chuckled too. "But I'm not going to put you through what Viktor put me through. Talk to me, later tonight. Right now though, I need to know what happened."

"Ok, yeah." He lowered his knees, took a deep, unneeded breath, and thought back. "The sounds eventually stopped, and I heard Damien and Antoinette arguing. He was going to kill her, and... and I ran out to stop it."

"Fucking hell, Jack. How many of Damien's friends were left?"

"I don't know... fifteen? I didn't care, man. I just... I just had to save her," he said. Julias groaned with obvious frustration, but Jack could only shrug. "So I stood over her broken body, and got in Damien's face. He slashed me, and then he...."

"He what?"

"He... he was cracked, Julias." Jack put his fingers on his chest, and pointed where the slash had ruined his suit jacket. "I could see it when he slashed me, when he stabbed me, when he argued with me. He didn't want to be doing what he was doing. He had 'torn and unsure' written on his face. So I... broke him."

Julias tilted his head to the side. "You dominated him?"

"Yeah. I saw the crack in his gaze, and I took it." Pride rose up in him, Ventrue pride that was well deserved, he felt. "I grabbed his mind and controlled him and used his body to... kill the others." And the nausea returned. "I saw it through his eyes, but I just focused on taking advantage of their surprise. It was... yeah, you saw the aftermath." Despite the sickness in his gut, he could feel the beast in him stand proud for his accomplishment, and he straightened his back up to mirror that. "Then I tricked Lucus, made him think Damien had defeated Antoinette and was taking her unconscious body to him. I got him."

He lowered his head again, and choked on another half-sob half-chuckle. "I... got him. He won't threaten her anymore. He...."

Julias nodded, but let out a long sigh to go with it. "On one hand, I am both very impressed with you, and very sad that you had to go through that. Full dominating anyone is difficult, and a thousand times more difficult on a Kindred much older than you. And you had to kill... you even killed Lucus." Then, much to Jack's surprise, Julias frowned at him. "On the other hand, that was a mistake."

"... eh?"

"You killed an Elder, but this time more than just the Prince knows about it. I know, the sheriff knows, Beatrice knows, Natasha knows, and the Bishop Damien.... Worst of all, if any of them tell Maria...."

Shit. Shit shit he forgot about Maria. "Oh fuck, fucking god I... oh no." He put his hands on his face and clawed at his cheeks. "Even after Garry told us about those two! I... I had to save Antoinette! I had to, and... shit!" He reached out, grabbed his sire's jacket, and started to shake the much larger man. "If she finds out, she'll kill me! She'll do more than kill me!"

There were no lack for stories among the other young Kindred who worked for the Invictus, and many of them spoke of what Maria did to her enemies. She had, apparently, the grandest mastery of the nightmare discipline of any Nosferatu in the city, including Jacob. She could make you live your worst nightmare, make you think it was real, make your brain tear itself apart.

Now he was really panicking.

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