New Kingdom: American Court Ch. 05byMicKay©
Alena woke in Gabriel's bed confused and alone. Feeling as though she had been drugged, she vigorously rubbed her face and tried to focus on her last memory. As she remembered the attack, her heart started beating faster and her breath became short and shallow. Instantly, Gabriel was through the door and gathering her in his arms.
"Alena," he consoled her. "You're safe in my room. Try to not think about it. No one will ever hurt you again."
As Gabriel rocked her in his lap, Alena's fears subsided and she regained control of her emotions. "I'm sorry."
"I told you to stop saying that."
"I can't. I don't understand what's happening but I feel like I'm causing all of these problems."
"Alena," she said softly, "When you're ready, I want you to tell me everything that happened. But for now, we need to take care of you."
"Gabe," she started shyly, "I'm very hungry."
"I haven't taken very good care of you so far, have I?" he confessed in a question. "Come; let me redeem myself for the neglect."
"You've hardly neglected me."
"You think?" he asked helping her from the bed.
When Alena realized that she was naked, she pulled away from him and reached for the sheet. Before she could grab the cover, Gabriel pulled her into his arms and held her against his body. She was torn between running for cover and feeling his touch.
Gently stroking her face with his finger tips, Gabriel held her close roaming his hand up and down her body. As he stroked down her back, he continued down to slide his hand over her firm, shapely bottom. Pulling her closer to him, he lifted her up against his hard erection and sighed against her face.
"Never be shy with me," he whispered in her ear. "Very soon, we will bring this torment to an end."
Setting her back from him, Gabriel quickly produced a red, silk robe and covered her. "The Council meets in two days. During the meeting, I will request permission to change you," he informed her watching her face for any expression. "Eight years ago, you agreed to become my life mate."
"But then everything fell apart," she reminded him with a gentle quiver to her voice.
"We didn't," he declared. "Other people separated us. Could you allow that again?" he asked with apparent trepidation.
"No," Alena vowed and sealed her promise by standing on her toes to reach her arms around his neck and pull his mouth down to hers.
Accepting her invitation, Gabriel pulled into his arms, relishing the feeling of knowing that, once again, they were planning to be together. This time, no one could separate them. Hoping he would never be forced to make a choice, he knew that his loyalty to Edward and the New Kingdom would never again separate him from Alena. He could only wish that she would never choose her sister over him.
"Now, let's get you some food," Gabriel said guiding her from the bedroom to the kitchen. "I've had the refrigerator and pantry stocked with food, which is a new experience for this room."
"I appreciate the consideration."
"I'll have room made in the closet for your clothes too, for as long as we are here."
"Where else would we be?" she asked surveying the contents of the refrigerator then deciding on scrambled eggs and toast.
"Obviously, we will move to another house," he carefully explained, "for privacy."
Realizing the need for their privacy, Alena blushed but smiled at him. Grabbing the necessary ingredients and utensils, she focused on making her meal. As she moved around the kitchen, Gabriel studied each motion and gesture she made. Finally deciding on the one task in which he could assist, he walked to the coffee machine and reached for the beans to grind and brew.
At the small kitchen table, Alena placed her plate before her seat as Gabriel followed with the steaming cups of coffee. She smiled at him before digging in to the first food she had eaten since the sandwich on her first night in the mansion. Savoring scrambled eggs seemed a bit over exaggerated, but she was sure that this food was the best she had ever eaten.
Gabriel watched her with interest as she speared the repulsive looking clump of eggs onto her fork and rolled her eyes in appreciation. How anyone could enjoy the mutilated, congealed embryos was beyond his understanding but the movement of her mouth enclosing around the fork and the moans of pleasure were enough proof for him to note the recipe to memory. He would certainly provide anything that provided her that much happiness.
While Alena enjoyed her meal, she was very aware of Gabriel's interest in her actions. Cautioning herself to slow down so she did not look like a wild beast tearing apart its prey, she tried for daintier bites but gave in to the hunger that demanded more. Looking back at Gabriel, she wondered which she craved more, the food or him. He had told her that their torment would end in two days and while she could understand his desire to be away from the mansion during her change, she could not understand why they had to wait any longer for sex.
"Because we need to take this slow," he answered her thoughts.
Blushing again, Alena dropped her eyes to her empty plate and asked quietly, "Haven't we been taking it slow?" Then bringing her eyes to his, she asked "Are we trying to set a new, world record?"
"As I said," he answered pulling onto his lap, "Torment." He then kissed her brow and explained, "We need a considerable amount of time alone."
"So why not now?" she offered quietly, "We're alone right now," she stated simply while wrapping her arms around his neck.
Narrowing his eyes as he looked towards the door, Gabriel said, "No, actually we are not."
Suddenly Edward was walking into the kitchen staring at Alena. "I need to talk to her," he said to Gabriel but continue to bore his eyes into hers.
"Do I get to talk to your mate?" Gabriel countered in an unfriendly tone.
"Damn it, Gabriel!" Edward roared, "Every fucking thing in my life is falling apart and you need to act like a bastard."
Holding Alena close to his chest to shield her eyes from Edward, Gabriel replied, "She is the only thing in my life. I lost her once for king and duty. I will not make that mistake again," he said with explained dryly. "She was an innocent victim last night. If you want answers, let us talk with your mate."
"Why do you hate her so much?" Edward asked in desperation. "What makes you so sure that Iona is involved in this?"
"I told you," Gabriel said, as though repeating his account to a child, "When I heard Alena call me for help, I leaped down the stairwell. I found Iona pressed against the door to the gym, laughing as though she were enjoying that fact that her sister was being attacked."
"Surely, you misunderstood what you saw."
"Edward," Gabriel said placing his hand on the man's forearm, "Even you saw her trying to fight me from entering that room."
Alena had heard this exchange with her face pressed against Gabriel's chest. Trusting his words, she knew that her fears had just been confirmed. The girl barely favored her sister, and although they had shared a few laughs, Iona was indeed not Lia.
"Gabriel," Edward finally pleaded, "Please let your girl tell us everything so we can know how this treachery occurred."
Silently contemplating Edward's request, Gabriel stroked Alena's hair as both a gently gesture of comfort but also for his assurance that she was indeed unharmed from last night's events.
"I'll tell you everything," Alena offered turning in Gabriel's arms, "But first, you both must promise that you won't hurt her."
Looking at each other in confusion and then to Alena, the men said in harmony, "Are you serious?"
"Baby, she tried to stop me from getting to you."
"I know," she answered, "And while she may be different and not care for me, I can't help it. She's my sister and I love her." Braving eye contact with Edward, she asked, "Will you please promise to not hurt her? She said that you would be angry."
"I promise," Edward quickly answered ignoring his friend's raised brow. Gabriel knew him too well. If angered enough, Edward would immediately find a loophole to his promise and serve adequate justice. "My dear," he responded, "tell us what happened."
When Alena continued to be quiet, Gabriel turned her face back to his chest and laid her head against his heart. Years ago, she had told him how the preternatural rhythm of his heart was soothing as a lullaby. Now, he hoped that the sound of his heart and the feeling of his arms around her would assure her that she was safe. He hated to ask her to relive last night's attack, but Edward was right, they needed to know how the events occurred.
"My love," Gabriel said to her, "We need to know exactly what happened. And the best way to tell us is for you to remember every detail. You do not need to speak. Just hold onto me while you think about everything from the beginning."
Slowly nodding, Alena tightened her grip around his back. Starting from the exit of Gabriel's apartment, she remembered the elevator ride, struggled through the memory of Iona's anger when she had called her by the wrong name, the visit to Cassian and finally the scene in the fitness room. Once a comforting sound to her, Gabe's heartbeat accelerated and alarmed Alena. Finally concluding with her memory of Gabriel finding her in the shower, she took a deep breath and refused to remember any more.
Hearing Edward groan loudly, Alena slowly turned to face him afraid of his wrath. Expecting him to be red faced in anger, she was surprised to see his despair and agony. Edward, vampire king of America, was heartbroken.
"Edward," Gabriel said, "It's not Cassian she wants but the blood he's giving her."
"I'll fucking kill him!" Edward yelled slamming his fist into the table.
Setting Alena in another chair, Gabriel caught his friend as he stood to leave the apartment. "Edward, I know you are angry. Just stop and think through this for one minute."
"I don't need to think about anything," her roared, pushing Gabriel away from him. "I gave that fucker access to my home and he repays me by destroying my mate!"
"Damn it, Edward, stop and listen to me for one minute." When Edward paused, Gabriel hurriedly continued, "Obviously Cassian was placed here to breach our defense. He's chosen your mate to be his weapon against you. Apparently, he influences Iona through the blood he gives her so something must be in the blood."
"Go on," Edward said quietly.
"The revolution taking place is not the result of infected blood," Gabriel reasoned to his friend. "It's only a method of attack used by the rebellion. Let us remove this contamination from the mansion, test a sample and then see what our adversaries try to do."
"What about Iona?" Alena asked.
"It seems that she continuously seeks the infected stock," Gabe reasoned, "so apparently she's not infected but just addicted."
"Suddenly, you don't sound like quite the son of bitch where my mate is concerned," Edward said.
"What can I say?" Gabriel asked with a smile, "She may not be the one I would have chosen for you, but you love her," he said to Edward while pulling Alena closer to him, "And that's good enough for me to fight for her."
"What do we do?" Alena asked.
"Quarantine her first," Gabriel said, cataloguing the necessary events in his mind, "Then, we'll need to gather the guards to clean house."
"How will we avoid suspicion?" Edward inquired.
"Let's start with Cassian's supply," Gabriel offered. "We'll counter the resistance first by announcing out discovery of the contamination and that all guests are potential victims so we are ensuring their safety as priority. Remove the blood and set up a supply service in the main kitchen. No private stock allowed."
"Ok," Edward said apparently thinking it through in his mind. "What about Iona?"
"You know what it will take," Gabriel answered. "Quarantine, interrogation and transfusion. You take care of her and I will take care of the supply." With a sincere smile to his friend, Gabriel added, "She will be fine. Be glad that we finally have the knowledge to help her."
"Gabriel," Edward said hesitantly, "You know that I can't do this."
"Then choose someone to do it for you."
"I choose you."
Gabriel stared at his best friend for several seconds before continuing, "Edward, you know what is required," purposely avoiding Alena's gaze, "Would you really stand by and let me interrogate your mate?"
"What do you do?" Alena asked feeling the panic rise in her voice.
Silence dominated the room as the men looked at Alena and then back to each other. She began to wonder if they would ever answer her when suddenly Edward took a seat at the table and reached for her hand. Looking to Gabriel for direction, she accepted his nod as encouragement to let Edward explain.
"Alena," Edward started, "the system we use is comparable to an interaction of tough love combined with drug rehab but approximately a thousand times more intense," he paused as his eyes revealed the pain of his explanation. Taking a deep breath, he continued, "The quarantine is essentially placing Iona is a white room with no visual stimulation," he looked at her, "and no blood."
"During this time, Iona will enter a stage of blood lust and probably resort to anything to feed," Edward said and then looked at Gabriel. "At that point, Gabriel will begin interrogating her and use any means to get the truth from her by either kindness or cruelty."
"Cruelty?" Alena asked in a panic withdrawing her hand from Edward's grasp. "Gabe, no! She's my sister."
"Trust me," he stroked her face, "When blood lust strikes, she will not be your sister." Turning to Edward, Gabriel repeated, "Choose someone else."
"Alena," Edward implored, "Do you think I want him to hurt her? Gabriel knows that I will feel any pain he inflicts on her."
"Then why ask him to do it?" She demanded.
"Because of that very reason," Edward answered honestly. "He has sacrificed his life for mine. He would never intentionally hurt me; therefore, he would not hurt her."
"After she is broken," Gabriel stopped and looked at Alena, quickly regretting his words, "After she has become agreeable, then we will do a complete transfusion, removing all tainted blood, even that of her sire."
"That's a good thing, right?"
"Unfortunately, for us, it's the most painful part," Gabriel confessed, realizing that all cards were now on the table. "Everything we are can be defined by blood. The most precious relationship a changeling has it that with their sire. We will remove everything important to her," he stated adamantly, "and hope Iona survives."
"She could die?" Alena asked, feeling lightheaded.
"No," Edward said, "but she could be altered again. As she changed from Lia into Iona, she could change from Iona to another."
"Would you be her sire?" Alena asked Edward.
"Is this the only solution?"
"When does this start?" she asked in a quietly trying to hide her emotions.
"Now," Edward answered and then looked at Gabriel. "I will have her moved to the white room now." Standing to leave, he hesitated before walking away. Turning to Alena, he wrapped his arms around her and whispered in her ear, "I know the woman that you love. When my plane crashed, I was held prisoner with no hope for escape. She was brought to me, but I couldn't harm her. After only a few words, she gave me hope to live when the odds were against me. Iona is not that woman. She is the one that I miss," he paused to kiss each of Alena cheeks. "And by the way, I'm beginning to see why they both need you." Then pulling back to look in her eyes, "Help me help her."
Barely able to nod, Alena responded with the slight movement of her head and then Edward was gone. She stood staring at the seat he had vacated trying to decide what she should do or say. Finally bad timing or not, she decided that it was time for answers.
"Gabe," she asked, finding the inner strength that had evaded her for the last eight years, "I need to know some things."
Before he could respond, she sat at the table and held up her hands to stop him from interrupting. "Eight years ago, I called you a vampire. Because you didn't deny it, I thought you confirmed it," she said becoming more confident. "Last night, Cassian got pissed when I called him a vampire and said something about being the third creation. What did he mean?"
Watching her face, Gabriel knew that she was not going to grant him a reprieve on this line of questioning, even with Edward waiting for him right now. Deciding that she needed the truth, he sat back in his chair and tried to find the beginning of his story.
"Alena," he finally said, "Do you believe in God?"
"Wha..."she stated, "Gabe, what are you talking about?"
"Tell me how you humans came to this existence."
"God created Adam and Eve and the rest was a natural process."
"And your Adam and Eve hold the exclusive rights to being created?" he asked with an arrogant grin.
Watching his face and getting a little perturbed with his questions in response to her questions, she spat out, "Yes."
"Do you believe in angels?"
With a quick intake of breath, she asked, "You're an angel?"
"No. Now answer the question."
"Yes, I believe in angels."
"So they were not created?"
"Ah, damn it Gabe! My sister needs you and I just want a quick explanation!"
"Do you believe angels were created?" he patiently continued.
Realizing that she would only get answers by answering his questions, Alena answered, "Yes, angels were created."
"Ah, so we have created angels and created humans. What happened to them?"
"Angels rebelled and God kicked some out of heaven. Adam and Eve disobeyed so God kicked them out of the Garden of Eden," frustrated she starting losing her patience. "What does this have to do with anything?"
"The first creation failed, they were condemned to serve the second creation. Then the second failed and were ordered serve the third," he looked at her as though she were daft for not catching the implication. "Guardian angels have lost their freedom to protect teenagers who speed in cars while not wearing seatbelts," he explained, "that's hardly a promotion."
"When the humans failed, a third creation was made that incorporated all of the desired qualities of the first two: immortality, power, life, and passion," he added with a meaningful glance down her body. "Just as the first two creations, we were given rules to follow. But just as the first two, some of my kind believes that the rules keep us from achieving more power."
"Over the centuries, we have been called many things, vampires being the most popular," he explained. "Most of us don't mind, since our existence depends on the willingness of humans to feed us, we have allowed them to romanticize the issue."
"Ok, so there are some from the third creation that want to revolt as Lucifer and Adam did?" Alena carefully asked.
"Yes," Gabriel answered obviously pleased with her ability to follow his account. "But there are some significant differences in our creation," he added. "Most importantly, the creation consisted of seven immortals, or vampires as you called me. Six of these were called kings and one was designated as the great general, who would lead the armies of all six kings in order to ensure unity."
"Let me guess," Alena said with a smile, "You're the general?"
"Right again," he said, "And together, we seven are the third creation. Other members of the New Kingdom are only possible by a human changing. It's one last chance for a condemned species to be reunited with their creator."
"This is a joke!" Alena declared standing up so quickly her chair fell back.