Falling Into Darkness Ch. 16byElianna©
Alexander awoke with a frustrated growl. It was late afternoon, he was sweating, and he was pissed as hell.
How could she deny him? Even if she didn't have her memories, couldn't she feel the pull? Didn't she feel the emptiness?
"Damn it, Anna!" he snarled angrily, wishing she could hear and feel his rage.
He imagined grabbing her struggling body, throwing her over his knee and pounding her cute backside until it showed red marks from his hand. The fantasy played out in his mind; her sweet voice mewled pleading. Gasping, she begged him to stop and promised not to disobey him again. His strange eyes glowed at the thought of holding her soft body close and safe in his arms. God he ached for her!
The thought made him growl with even more irritation. He was a fucking Ancient One! He'd just reclaimed his kingdom, and most of the vampire world was walking on egg shells around him. Despite that, HIS fucking little one, the only vampire he'd ever made, completely defies him. He decided he was going to do much more than just paddle her ass when he finally got her home!
The sound of his door opening startled him out of his reverie. He bared his fangs and made ready to blow something up in the proximity of the hapless intruder. The rational part in his mind told him he was being childish and throwing a temper tantrum like a two-year-old, but he stubbornly decided to ignore reason. He was pissed and he wanted to make someone squirm, even if it was just one of his servants.
"Don't you fucking dare," Darian's voice called from behind the door.
DAMN IT! Was fate out to torture him?
"Learn to knock, dumbass," Alexander grumbled. He really just needed to destroy something. He'd feel much better.
"I see things didn't go well," Darian commented mildly as he walked in without an invitation.
"I see you still don't have manners."
His friend chuckled and did a ridiculous, sweeping bow swishing his hand with all the pomp and circumstance of a frilly seventeenth century courtier.
"And does this suit you more, Ancient One?" he laughed.
Alexander barely held his tongue. Darian had no sense of appropriate timing, or perhaps he just didn't give a shit. After knowing him for nearly 1200 years, Alexander figured it was the latter.
"So," Darian said flopping on one of the plush chairs in front of an elegant fireplace, "what did our little Anna have to say?"
"What didn't she say?" he said as he began to pace once again. "First she came into the dream sobbing. Then she didn't want me to touch her. Then she looked at me in fear like I might hurt her!"
"Fancy that," Darian mused, "she really doesn't remember you at all."
He rolled his eyes in annoyance. "You came up with that hypothesis all by yourself? I'm impressed."
"Testy aren't we?"
"I mean really," Darian continued brightly, his voice taking on that irritating mocking tone that was usually amusing.
There were times when the flippant ways of his best friend drove him insane, and this was definitely one of them. He'd pissed off and irritated more people and Alexander and Kieran had stood by chuckling hysterically at his antics. Alexander wasn't chuckling today, since he wasn't sure if he wanted to strangle him, laugh, or blow the house up.
"If I was a newly made Little One who'd woken up abandoned and covered in blood in a deserted mansion, I'd trust vampires. Then as I just begin to understand that I was dream walking, and meet a really pissed off, powerful Ancient One in my dreams, I'd want him all over me. Fuck. I'd want to believe everything the aforementioned, irritable stick in the mud told me, and then do EXACTLY what he said." He smiled brightly, his silver eyes glinting with laughter.
"Do you have any clue how absolutely annoying you are?" Alexander snapped peevishly.
"It's part of my charm," he replied with an outrageous wink.
He sighed and sat across from his friend in the other chair wearily burying his head in his hands feeling as though the weight of the world was on his shoulders. For a moment, he felt every single day of his twenty-five centuries. He'd never struggled so much to keep his emotions contained.
"She chose that scoundrel, Mara over me," he said his voice thick with emotion. "She said that Mara had been her life, and she couldn't abandon her." He buried his head back in his hands. "And I was an idiot. I didn't realize how much she'd bonded with the woman and I just said that she'd have to go to trial for her actions with Paola."
"If it's any consolation, we don't usually act our best when we're in our dreams," Darian said comfortingly.
"Well, I was definitely an idiot. I forced her to make a choice and she chose Mara."
He stifled the rage and the pain as he thought about her words again. She'd chosen Mara over him.
"She didn't choose Mara over you," Darian said. "She chose to remain loyal to a friend in need. I would think that was a concept you'd find easy to understand. It's something I think you'd do in her place." The silver-haired vampire's eyes glinted like platinum reflecting the sunlight.
Alexander could feel him reaching out with his elusive power, seeking answers in the subconscious thoughts of the world around him, sensing the shadowy claws of the future reaching back towards him. He couldn't understand the power of a dream walker. It wasn't his gift. Over the years, he'd grown attuned to how it felt when Darian used his magic; with his telekinetic abilities he could feel the vibrations in the air of power. Yet in all his years he'd found that the magic of the dream walker was the one power he couldn't contain.
"You know," Darian went on to say. "There is a reason why I'm out of my bed in the afternoon and bugging you."
"I thought you just loved my company," he replied.
"Not this afternoon. You're being a total prick actually."
Darian shrugged. "I had a dream. I can't be sure because Anna is extremely difficult for me to read, but I think she's in danger, as is her friend."
Darian threw his hands up in the air in frustration. "Some days I wonder why I bother with you, Alexander."
"Countess Maria Ann?" he replied smiling a little teasingly.
Darian grinned. "Yeah, she was worth it. There's always a woman, isn't there?"
"I'll give anything for this one; anything and everything if I have to, Darian."
He sighed. "Fine."
Alexander watched as his silver eyes grew distant and the vibration of his power unsettled the air. For a long time, Darian was silent. His brow broke out in a sweat, and he began to breathe deeply. Alexander knew that he was getting to the edges of his range. Dream walking had limits; and even someone as powerful as Darian usually couldn't do much over long distances. If that had been the case, they would have been able to find him in that vault, and he would have never met his Anna. Finally, Darian came back, his chest heaving and his face slicked with sweat. Wordlessly, Alexander rose and poured him a glass of ice water and a glass of brandy.
He smiled as Darian downed the brandy in one chug and then sipped the water.
"I still can't get anything," he admitted. "It's much better in my dreams than my conscious efforts. All I get from Anna is feelings anyway. I can tell you she's upset, and determined to do something. Paola..." he shuddered and held his glass out for more brandy.
Wordlessly, Alexander filled the glass again.
"Paola is close. Maybe only a few hours behind them," he mused. "His presence is like a black hole and is much easier to sense than the girls'."
"So once again I'm helpless? I can't get to her fast enough to save her life?"
Alexander rose and began to pace in agitation once again. Just like the last time. His Anna was close and yet just out of his reach. He could mentally feel her pain, her fear, her sadness, but he was powerless to help her. The most powerful vampire in the world, but distance castrated his power. It was more than he could bear.
"God damn it!" he screamed in frustration shattering the mirror, vases and priceless trinkets on his expensive mantle in a fit of rage.
"Easy, brother," said Moiree soothingly. "We'll find her."
"That's what you said last time," Alexander lamented. "I was seconds too late. I was too late."
Darain smiled grimly. "No. You weren't. You just thought you were too late."
"Your powers are useless when it comes to her," he ranted. "The most powerful dream walker I know and you can't sense my Anna. The one time I desperately need your power...," he growled again in anger.
"You're going to be pissed at yourself for being so destructive," Darian chided. "That vase was at least 500 years old and priceless."
Alexander nodded. He was losing it. He was finally going off the deep end. It had only taken 2500 years. No big deal. Let Kieran run the country, lock him in some padded vault, feed him some blood occasionally...
"Oh shut the fuck up," Darian growled at his thoughts. "Since when have you quit being the mature one among us? Since when have you turned into a useless whelp? Two centuries ago, you would have been on your horse using your mind and your power to hunt her and NOTHING would have stopped you! Get over the guilt, get over the grief and get off your ass, Alexander. Let's go! We WILL find her."
Alexander stared at his friend. He was right. He'd never been like this before. It was time to act. It was time to find Anna.
"I am starting to feel her presence on the edges of my perception," he said. "She's coming here, or at least she's coming to the city. If you're right, and Paola is just behind her, we've got to get to her tonight."
Darian grinned. "There's my old friend."
Alexander grinned back darkly baring his fangs. "It's time to join the hunt."
"So how did your dream walking go yesterday?" Mara asked.
Angel stared out the window watching the blur of the trees as the car raced by. "I saw Paola."
Mara nodded and Angel could see the slight shudder, though her friend tried to hide it.
"He's still after us?"
She nodded. "But that's not what I saw. I saw what he did to a family. I saw..." she broke off finding her eyes filling with tears as she relived that horrible moment.
"Angel," Mara began to say, "you haven't seen what wicked vampires are like. Some of our people are just sick, you know? We live forever, we feed on blood and the lives of humans seem pointless and short. Paola lost his regard for life long ago. I think the only thing that makes him happy is to see others suffer as much as he does."
"I don't feel any pity for him," she sniffed.
"Nor do I," Mara agreed. "But you need to understand it and you need to keep away from it– if you have any intention of lasting long, that is."
"You saw a lot of shit, didn't you?"
Mara was silent for a long time. "Yeah," she finally said in a low voice. "And I see it every night in my dreams."
They drove for a while in silence as Angel stared out the window again. They'd make it to New York tonight and part of her ached to seek out the blonde vampire who claimed to be her lover and her creator. She felt an undeniable pull towards him, as though a part of her soul was missing, and the closer they drove towards the city, the stronger it got. She sighed heavily.
"You okay?" Mara asked.
"I guess so," she admitted. "I saw the blonde vampire again, and I talked to him."
"No tales of steamy sex to entertain me with tonight?"
Angel shook her head.
"What did he say to you?"
"He told me that he was my creator."
"Yeah? So why did he abandon you in that prison cell then?"
"He said he thought I was dead. He thought he'd tried to turn me too late. He said we were lovers," she blushed as she recalled the intense dreams she'd been having before she really knew what was happening.
She shuddered as she imagined his sensual mouth devouring her flesh, wrapped around one of her pink nipples and suckling. His strong hands splayed across her stomach, stroking her thighs, running through her dark hair. For a moment, she lost herself to fantasy. His golden head was working its way down her chest, his tongue lapping teasingly at her navel causing her body to shudder. His hands stroked that tender spot right above her hip making her jump as his mouth caressed its way down to her folds. God! She could lose it just looking at him; his jade eyes shining with the fire of arousal, his lips inches away from her sex, his strong hands holding her down as she moaned and begged him to do something, anything. She shuddered as she imagined his mouth latching onto her, his tongue licking her folds, feasting expertly upon her, driving her insane.
Oh God! How could she have said no to that?
"Angel?" Mara interrupted.
She squirmed, uncomfortably aroused now.
"You should have fucked first, then asked questions," her friend teased.
"Yeah," Angel agreed, "stupid me."
"So I was right," Mara mused. "Not bad for a twenty-year-old vampire vagabond."
She looked over at her friend again, catching that strange shrewd glance she'd been starting to notice.
"You know," she said, "there are times when I don't believe the vagabond shit. I don't think you were always like this. I think you were something pretty smart, resourceful and important before you were turned."
"Who we were before we turned is worthless, Angel," Mara spat. "You will find that in our world, it means nothing. You could have been the wealthiest woman in the world, but as a new vampire you're simply a toy for the older ones; something to hurt, control and use."
"So what? Maybe Paola used you, hurt you, and made you do things with his power, but you have a choice now. You can choose to make something of yourself again. You weren't like this before you were a vampire, I can tell. I think you were someone who was used to being in charge, someone who had special talents."
"That person is dead."
"Only because you choose it," Angel retorted.
"Well, it's my choice."
Angel was quiet. It was the closest to an argument she'd ever gotten with Mara. She knew there was something more to her friend. Her ability to break into places that would daunt most experienced thieves was a unique talent. Then there was the fact that she knew the street value and had the connections in the Black Market to unload most of the high profile contraband she'd stolen from the mansion. All those skills seemed to indicate that she wasn't just some homeless street rat. She wanted to growl in frustration. The moment anyone mentioned Paola, Mara turned into some whimpering wretch, but when it was just them, on the run, she was something much different. How she wished Mara could become the person she'd lost.
Angel turned to look at her thoughtfully. She was so much more beautiful than she'd originally thought when they'd met. The first time she'd seen her, she was filthy, her hair unwashed, her face had the look of a bum; weathered and drawn. But since Mara had pulled her from the darkness, she'd begun to change. She'd gotten her hair cut and styled in the "hip" layered look that was in. Angel had forced her to put on some makeup, too, and with the improvement of clothes, the change in her physical appearance was shocking. Mara was gorgeous. A man could lose his mind in her large puppy dog eyes. Her sleek body was athletic, strong, and those shoulders that had seemed too broad before were incredibly sexy in the stylish tops she'd bought.
Then there was the change in personality. Where she was once timid, indecisive and wary, Mara was getting bolder. A couple of times, Angel had stumbled into some tough situations as was normal for a newly changed Little One. Mara had backed her up and had stood her ground when Angel knew only a month or two ago, she would have chosen to flee. Now she walked with the slinky stride of something bold and dangerous, and it got her wondering exactly what Mara had been before she was turned.
It was as though helping her had begun a second metamorphosis of the almost shattered woman. In her mind, Angel saw a cocoon and inside the writhing Mara, struggling against the binds to change and re-emerge into a beautiful and powerful creature. Part of the cocoon had fallen away to reveal glimpses of the creature's potential, but she wasn't ready to emerge yet. It was as though all the torture and evil of Paola's wickedness was still holding her chained in a prison of her own fear. They didn't have much time, though. Mara needed to stop fighting the change and soon; Paola was coming, and she couldn't hide anymore.
"So what else did your creator have to say?" Mara asked after a while.
Angel shrugged. "He told his name, but it didn't help me get my memory back. I think I must have known his true name at one point. I don't ever remember calling him Alexander."
Mara slammed on the brakes sending the tires squealing and the SUV fishtailing once again.
"Damn it!" Angel screamed half in terror and half in anger. "Will you fucking quit it with the slamming on the brakes crap every time you're surprised? Even though vampires are a little tougher to kill, I really don't want to get crunched in a car tonight!"
Mara stared over at her, those liquid brown eyes wide in amazement. "Blond hair, jade eyes, seemed pretty rich and his name is Alexander?"
"Yeah," Angel replied rubbing her elbow that had jammed in the door.
"Wavy blond hair, right?"
"Built like a runner, not too bulky, nose looks a little Grecian?"
"What now?" She was getting exasperated. She hated not knowing what the hell was going on.
"Angel, I think your creator is the Ancient One."
She froze. He seemed wealthy, and used to being in control and in power. His house was more than opulent... could he really be the Ancient One?
"It all makes sense," Mara continued. "You were in his mansion. He'd been missing for some time; rumor was he put down a coup. Even though you were bloody, you were in designer clothes, and you're unbelievably powerful for one so young." Mara shook her head. "Fuck. We're in trouble kiddo. We need to take you to him. I'm not keeping the Ancient One's Little One away from him."
Angel didn't say anything, and Mara pulled the car back on the highway.
"The Ancient One lives outside of New York in one of those billion dollar estates. That's one of the reasons I wanted to come to the city; I figured Paola wouldn't want to show his sorry ass around in the city right under the Ancient One's nose. We'll drop you off at his house and see if you are his Little One." Mara nodded to herself. "Yeah. That would probably be best. We'll inquire where he is when we get to town and take you there before the sun rises."
"We can't," Angel whispered.
"Shit. I'm in so much fucking trouble," Mara mused. "Maybe this will buy me a little grace."
"Mara, we can't go there," Angel said a little louder.
"Oh yes we can," Mara replied. "I'm not going to defy the Ancient One."
"It's too late," Angel replied. "I already did."
Mara slammed on the brakes again sending the car skidding once again to the side of the road.
"GOD DAMN IT!" Angel screamed. "If you can't control your foot, get the fuck out from behind the wheel," she snapped.
Mara stared at Angel. "What do you mean you already defied the Ancient One?"
"He already asked me to go to him, but I told him I wouldn't."
"Why not? He's your creator. He's in love with you. He might be able to restore your memory."
"I know. He told me he could." She sighed and looked away for a moment. "I'm not going to him. At least not now. I have something I need to do."
"Oh yeah? What's that?"
"I'm going to help you kill Paola."
For a moment, Mara just stared at her in open mouthed amazement. The she started to laugh hysterically. "That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. We're taking you to him. It might buy me the reprieve I'm looking for."