"Prodigious birth of love it is to me, that I should love a loathed enemy"
~ William Shakespeare, "Romeo & Juliet", act I, scene V
The black-haired boy stopped walking, and looked at his female companion.
"I reeeaaaally need something to eat," Lucy complained.
She looked towards a dark alleyway.
"That looks promising."
Lucy ran into the alley, Justin slowly following. Lucy crouched on the side of a few trashcans, sniffing deeply. With a swift, cat-like motion, her arm shot out into the space between the cans. Lucy stood up, grinning. In her hand she held a large, struggling rat.
"Sorry, little buddy. You're out of luck tonight."
Justin turned away with a disgusted grimace as she sank her teeth into the animal.
"Yuch," he said. "I'll never get used to that."
"A girl's gotta eat," Lucy laughed, completely unembarrassed, and dropped the dead rat into one of the garbage cans.
Justin looked at the her. She looked like she was just in her early twenties, when in reality, she was much older. Long, flowing blonde hair, laughing eyes and an infectious smile.
"Awfully cheerful for a vampire," Justin thought.
"Shall we go?"
"Is that enough?"
"A little blood goes a long way. I'll have a little more when we get home." She held out her hand. "Let's go."
A sudden noise made them both turn around. Further back into the alley, the could see two figures; one tall woman and a slightly shorter man. They approached, and Lucy positioned herself in front of Justin.
"What are you doing?" the tall woman asked, her voice very stern and authoritative.
The two came into the light, allowing Lucy and Justin to see them more clearly. The woman was very beautiful, and dressed in an impeccable black pant-suit. She had long, curly red hair, and her expression reminded Justin of a proffessional poker player -- completely unreadable.
The young man resembled the woman, except his hair was more brownish-red, and his finely-chiseled face wasn't quite so cold. As Justin met his dark gaze, he felt his heart start to pound and his face flush. When their eyes met, the young man's eyes widened and a soft gasp escaped his lips. If the woman noticed, it didn't show. She fixed her eyes on Lucy.
"I don't know who you are, and I don't like to cause trouble with one of our own kind," she said, "but if you're intending to hurt that boy, I assure you we will stop you. We will not permit a human to be hurt by another vampire, if we can help it."
Lucy looked at Justin.
"You have the wrong idea," she said to the woman. She quickly glanced around the alley. A couple more vampires were perched on a fire escape. Lucy narrowed her eyes.
"Maybe your intention is to trick me into letting my guard down, and then take my friend." Lucy sneered. "We are not unprotected, lady."
Lucy put her fingers to her lips, and a shrill whistle echoed in the alley. Seconds later, three new vampires appeared.
"Lucy, Justin, are you all right?" one of them, Damon, asked. He looked at the woman and the young man, and his whole body jerked in surprise. His eyes narrowed and he bared his fangs.
"Tenumago!" he growled.
Lucy gasped. Justin looked confusedly at the red-headed pair and saw that the woman's poker face was gone. Instead, her expression was one of dark hatred.
"Petulac," she hissed.
"We didn't know you were here, Codie," Damon said to the woman. "We were under the impression that you were in France."
"We were. But now we've returned. As have you, apparently."
"Believe me, we would have picked another place if we'd known you'd be here," Damon spat. "It's always unfortunate to run into you Tenumago scum."
The vampires on the fire escape jumped down, hissing angrily. The ones that came with Damon moved forward, baring their fangs in bloodthirsty grins, eager to fight. Damon smiled crookedly.
"You're no match for us, Codie."
"We don't intend to be. Not tonight, at least," she replied indifferently.
Codie's companions looked at her, stunned.
"Codie, we can take 'em... They're just Petulac creeps."
"True... but they have a human with them." She glanced at Justin. "We cannot risk him getting hurt."
Damon looked at Justin as well, scratching his head.
"That's right, I almost forgot... Armand would have our heads on pikes if anything happened to Justin. Very well, Codie. We'll let you go in peace... for now."
Codie smiled wickedly.
"I was just going to say the same thing." She turned to the young man at her side. "Ean, let's go."
He stood still, as if he hadn't heard, his eyes fixed on Justin.
"Ean!" she repeated, raising her voice a little.
Ean tore his eyes away from the human boy and started walking down the alley, Codie at his side. Their companions followed, throwing back suspicious glances. When they reached the end of the alley, Codie looked back at the group behind them.
"Give my best to Armand!" she shouted, and with a gust of wind, she was gone, along with Ean and their companions.
"Tenumago..." Armand growled. "Are you sure?"
"Completely sure," Damon said, expecting Armand to start throwing things any minute. "We saw Codie and Ean, along with a couple of their followers."
"Codie!" Armand hissed, curling his lip in disgust. "The queen bitch!"
"Mmm, I wish I could get my hands on her," Adele, Armand's mistress purred, licking her lips. "Her eyeballs would make great earrings."
The leader of the vampire clan called Petulac paced the room in his office, running his hands through long and straight light brown hair, his golden eyes sparkling with anger. The Petulac clan and the Tenumago clan had been enemies for almost two hundred years now, but it had been quite a while since their paths had crossed. Armand took a deep breath, as if trying to control his temper.
"Okay... I don't want Justin getting caught in the middle, so I'll keep the peace for now. As long as they stay out of our way, we'll stay out of theirs. But if they try to pick a fight, they're dead. Is that clear?"
"Crystal clear," Damon said.
"Good, then tell everyone else."
Damon left Armand's office. Armand turned to Lucy.
"You did a good job keeping Justin safe. Well done."
"Thank you, sir."
"Maybe next time the two of you will be ready to go out together alone, with no bodyguards. Just make sure you stay in places where there are people around, and you'll be safe."
"You may go."
Lucy gladly left the office. She was always uncomfortable around Armand, and Adele was even worse. Sometimes she regretted having joined the Petulac. If it wasn't for the wonderful friendship she had with Justin, she might have gone off on her own, or joined another clan.
Lucy walked through a corridor of the large mansion. Turning a corner, she reached Justin's door. Knocking gently, she entered and found Justin sitting on a chair by the window, staring outside.
"Hey," Lucy said, taking a chair by the window as well.
"So what was all that about?" Justin asked. "Who were they?"
"Tenumago, another vampire clan. They have been enemies with our clan for a long time now."
"No idea," Lucy shrugged. "It's been less than thirty years since I joined the Petulac. In all that time, we've never encountered the Tenumago, so I never really thought to ask. All I know is that there was some form of disagreement between the former Petulac and Tenumago leaders, and they were both killed. Ever since then, there's been bloody fights whenever the two clans meet. The woman, Codie, is the Tenumago leader. The guy who was with her is her son, Ean."
As she mentioned Ean's name, Lucy glanced discreetly at Justin who was blushing slightly as he remembered the other boy.
"A mother and son who are both vampires?"
"Yeah. It's not so common, but it happens sometimes that people from the same family get turned." Lucy smiled at Justin. "You like him, don't you? Ean."
"Please...!" Justin said turning away, blushing even more. "I only saw him for a moment, and I didn't even speak to him."
"Sometimes one moment is all it takes."
"Give me a break!"
"Hey..." Lucy took Justin's hand, dropping her teasing tone of voice. "You can tell me anything. You know that, right?"
"Yeah, I know."
Justin had been ten years old when he'd been taken in by the Petulac clan. He was an orphan with no knowledge of who his parents were, and at the time he'd been in a foster home with the worst kind of people. One night he'd been beaten so bad that he lost conciousness, and when he woke up he was in a strange place, with Armand was sitting by his side. Armand had explained to Justin who and what they were, and that they had happened by when he'd been beaten and saved him, and decided to take care of him.
He could never explain why, but Justin was never really afraid of his strange saviors, even when he gradually began to understand that they were telling the truth about what they were. Perhaps, starved for affection as he was, being suddenly treated like a prince was enough to banish any fear. Even of vampires. Not once did they try to hurt him, like the people at his foster home and so many other people he'd known. Lucy was assigned to be a sort of nanny for him, and she completely stole his heart. They had been inseparable friends ever since. That was eight years ago.
Justin looked at Lucy and, as usual, he couldn't help smiling; her presence always made everything better.
"Actually... I do think I like him. When I saw him... I've never felt anything that strong before. But it's so confusing that a person you saw for about three or four minutes can have this weird effect on you. It was just a moment, and I can't stop thinking about him!"
"Hmm... I felt that way once, too," Lucy said, and a rare tone of sadness crept into her voice. It only took one second however, for her to perk up again.
"Anyway," Justin sighed. "I guess it's useless to be thinking about him. If he's an enemy, Armand would never let me near him."
"There's nothing wrong with a little daydreaming," Lucy grinned. "If it's just a crush, it'll go away soon enough."
Justin looked out the window. The moon was full.
"What if it's not a crush? What if it's the real thing?"
Lucy didn't answer. For a long time, they silently watched as the moon turned whisps of clouds into gold and silver.
Ean was stretched out on the bed in his room, staring absent-mindedly into the ceiling. For the first time in decades, his thoughts were not in order. A face was haunting them; a face with adorably messy black hair that fell over a pale forehead, and large eyes that were so light, yet so deep. And a name... Justin.
A knock on the door interrupted his thoughts.
"Come in," he said without getting up.
Codie entered; as always when she was alone with her son, she dropped her stern mask, and allowed her mouth to curve into a warm smile. She rolled his computer chair up next to the bed and sat down.
"I've explained to everybody that we are to avoid getting into fights with the Petulac."
She looked at her son, forever twenty years old. She knew exactly what he was thinking. She hadn't shown it, but she'd seen him staring at Justin.
"I wonder who that human boy was that they had with them. It didn't seem like he was their prey. It's very strange... the Petulac don't like humans for anything other than food. Those barbarians..."
"Don't start that again. I really don't want to think about the Petulac right now."
"Because your mind is more pleasantly engaged?"
Ean sat up.
"How did you know that?"
"I'm your mother. I can see right through you. Besides, it wasn't that hard to tell. You couldn't stop staring."
"Yeah, I guess so," Ean laughed.
Codie sat next to Ean on the bed and hugged him, feeling a lump forming in her throat. It had been so long since she'd seen a genuine smile on his face.
"As your mother, I really should tell you to stay out of trouble... and the Petulac definitely are trouble.
"However... since those murderers have a human in their midst maybe we should find out why... for his protection. Maybe we should even try to talk to him personally." Codie smiled mischievously at her son. "Want the job?"
"You're willing to let me do that?"
"If anyone can sneak onto Petulac territory unnoticed, it's you. I have complete confidence in you."
Ean put his arm around his mother.
"My pleasure, sweetie."
She left, quietly closing the door behind her.
Ean began to undress; as the last piece of clothing was removed, he laid down on the bed with a sigh. His hand lightly drifted over his chest and stomach, unchanged since he was turned a vampire so many years ago. As he closed his eyes, Justin's face once again filled his mind. Ean smiled. No one had ever had such an impact on him. It was frightening, but he felt alive.
His member hardened as his thoughts about Justin started including revealed skin and wet kisses. Grabbing his swollen shaft he slowly moved his hand, but he was too aroused to properly savour the fantasy and jerked himself faster and faster as he imagined himself being inside Justin, their bodies moving rhythmically together as moans filled the air and fingers entwined.
Ean orgasmed before he'd even felt it approaching. Gritting his teeth he groaned deeply as his spurting cock covered his hand with semen.
As he opened his eyes, Ean looked at his hand with a satisfied smile. Licking away his release from it, he rose and walked over to the window, checking that it was completely covered and wouldn't let any light in. He returned to the bed and stretched out with a deep breath, closing his eyes and immediately drifting off into a deep, relaxed sleep.
Adele stood by the bed in Armand's room, looking down at him stretched out naked on the bed as she dressed herself. Her expression was calm but she was raging on the inside, and Armand knew it.
"This is getting really tiresome," Adele said, her voice icy. "Why do you have to think about him when you're with me? I felt your thoughts. Don't do it again, or..."
"Quiet," Armand said disinterestedly, not bothering to look at her. "What makes you think you can order me around? You're not my wife, you're my mistress. If you don't like my thoughts, then quit tasting my blood. Or quit sharing my bed, I don't care which. I'll have no problem replacing you."
Without a word, Adele left the room, just barely being able to resist slamming the door. She wanted to hate Armand, but she couldn't. Instead, all her hate was directed at him -- the little black haired piece of filth that Armand had forced upon them. She hated the child with a passion.
"One day," she said to herself as she slowly walked back to her own room, "I won't be able to resist tearing him to pieces."
The bell above the door jingled loudly as Ean entered "Lawrence's Books". To the outsider, it looked like a typical new age-bookstore, filled with books about feng-shui and astrology, decks of tarot cards, incense and dream catchers. But all of that was just for show - the real store was in a back room, for customers who wanted things like silver bullets, antique spellbooks, unusual custom-made weapons... and information. The Tenumago were old custumers of the store, which had been owned by the Lawrence family for ages.
Ben Lawrence looked up as Ean entered, and grinned. Ben was a pleasant-looking man in his-mid thirties, the type of person which is impossible not to like.
"Ean!" he exclaimed happily as he came to meet him. "Welcome, kid. Long time no see. Why..." he surveyed Ean with mock astonishment. "You don't look a day older!"
"I'm not as old as that joke."
"Ouch! Direct hit. Jane!" Ben shouted to his assistant. "Mind things out here, I'll be in the back with a customer."
"So..." Ben said, leading Ean into the back room. "What'll it be today?"
"I need some information."
"I see." Ben sat down in an old leather armchair, motioning for Ean to sit as well. "This wouldn't have anything to do with the Petulac, would it?"
"How did you guess?"
"Both your clans recently came back here. It was only a matter of time before you met. And now you have, right?"
"Yeah, but thing is... they had a human with them. And it didn't seem like he was their prey, instead they were protective of him."
"Hmm... Yes, I've heard of him. He's supposed to be this orphaned kid that Armand took in about eight years ago. He's stayed with the Petulac ever since."
"Don't tell me you seriously think that Armand took an orphaned human under his wing out of the goodness of his heart?"
Ben lit a cigarette and blew some smoke out of his nose.
"No. I don't think that's why he did it. But when it comes to his real motives your guess is as good as mine."
Ean thoughtfully tapped his fingers against the arm of his chair, then rose.
"Well, I guess I'll have to find out for myself, then."
"What, you're actually going there?" Ben said, also rising from his chair. "They'll see you, and then they'll tear you apart and have your head on display on the mantelpiece."
Ean turned to Ben, smiling.
"They won't see me."
Ben blinked. Suddenly, Ean was gone. Then a voice behind him spoke, making him jump several feet into the air:
"Have you forgotten who you're talking to?"
"Yaaah!" Ben collapsed back down onto his chair, clutching his chest. "Don't scare me like that, man!"
Ean picked up the cigarette that Ben had dropped, and handed it to him.
"Sheesh!" Ben said, taking a deep drag. "I really had forgotten how fast and quiet you can be."
"Right. So you understand it's not going to be a problem. Now, if you would be so kind as to give me the address to the Petulac, you'll be generously rewarded."
Ben held up his hand.
"Actually, could I have a couple of your hairs instead?"
"There's this witch who needs vampire hair for a particular spell..."
Ean raised an eyebrow.
"What kind of spell, exactly?"
"Don't worry, it won't fall back on you. It's some sort of 'eternal beauty' spell. There's not a chance in hell it'll work, but she offered me an incredible price."
Sighing, Ean pulled out a couple of hairs and held them out to Ben.
"Give me the address."
With a deep sigh of relief, Justin left the mansion and headed for his favorite place in the garden: a secluded little spot that had a comfortable bench, hidden from view by wide bushes. Whenever Justin felt like being alone he would go there to read, and no one would bother him.
Currently, all the vampires were in a meeting discussing the Tenumago and what precautions to take if the fights flared up again. Although, Justin had passed by the room they were in on his way out, and it seemed to him as though all they were doing in there was calling the Tenumago all sorts of names.
With a smile of contentment, Justin stretched out on the bench. He treasured these moments he could have to himself. The vampires might treat him kindly, but he felt they were overly protective, and it would often get on his nerves. He felt a little guilty for thinking like that; he probably owed Armand his life, and he was grateful towards him, but he could still never really feel at ease around Armand. Most of the time he wished it was just him and Lucy.
Justin sighed and that face drifted into his thoughts again. For days now, he had barely been able to think about anything else but that face and those dark eyes.
"Ean..." Justin whispered, enjoying the fluttering feeling in his stomach that came every time he said that name to himself.
He opened his eyes, and his mouth fell open in surprise. He could still see that face. Ean was in the tree above him, perched on a tree limb, looking down at him. As Ean jumped down and landed smoothly next to him, he sat up with a start.