It startled me when the pounding jarred the doors of my home. It was raining, water sheeting down glass made ink-black by the night outside, and I ran down the spiral center ramp in my new home, knowing the mental touch of the one outside, but such chaos in his thoughts...I threw the door open and the towering figure staggered inside, water pouring from his clothes.
He stared at me wildly, and then said softly, "Boo."
I blinked. I said hello to the massive vampire before me, and he growled.
"KILLLL!" he screamed, the echoes taking some time to die down as I winced. His arms bled from claw marks...curved suspiciously like his talons.
"Sorry," he said. "I meant...hey."
"Er, hi," I said again. "And...kill whom?"
He looked plaintively at me, pinprick blue eyes glowing like stars in the shadows. "Me?" he whispered.
His hands flew to his ears as he staggered, as if to block out some horrific sound, but I heard nothing, my neko ears swiveling to catch any noise that might mean danger at this point.
"I hate them," he muttered. "I feel her thoughts, her feelings..."
And the penny dropped. He'd been gone from his Clan's lands for quite some time, victim of a spell that went awry that tossed him slightly beyond the reach of this world. It had been weeks, mayhap even months, between contacts. I wasn't in his Clan; but I was protected by his House, so I was connected, in some wise.
I reached out to him, succeeding as always in only reaching his waist, laying my small hands just above his belt buckle, looking up and up.
"I know, I know," I told him. "She treated you shabbily, and she didn't even break the bond between you. But how can I help you? I don't....I don't think I can kill someone else I care for..."
He fell to his knees, then, this mighty vampire, my protector for months, my shield...his head pressed to the floor, his wings hanging limp on the cold stones.
"Why?" he whispered. "What did I do to deserve such torment?"
As if I would magically have this answer...I knelt, sighing, stroking his hair.
"Women can be fickle. Even those who should know better, who have such hearts in their care."
He began banging his head against the stones. "Not enough that she left, no," he moaned between strikes. "But I have to be tormented over it, it is wrong...She says she still loves me, she wishes to take her words back..." He looked up, eyes wild. "I don't want her!"
I tried to stop him, but he was strong, so strong. He was always so strong...I knelt beside him, sighing.
"Women," I said softly, "rarely appreciate the harm we do until we've done it..."
He lunged at me, sudden and unexpected, pinning me to the floor, his body heavy, pressing against mine. "You'd think," he growled, "someone that is over a thousand years old would know better, wouldn't you?"
I shrugged, a movement made more complicated by being pinned between an angry vampire and the cold stones. "Love is love. You don't always choose who you love, you don't always make wise choices."
I watched his eyes; the blue was slowly leaching away in favor of whirling pinprick red. For the first time I felt fear. He growled again, his face contorted in rage and anguish, and my eyes slowly went wide. I didn't exactly want nearly a half-ton of very large vampire going crazy on me...and currently, I did mean that literally.
I said his name softly, hoping to snap him out of it. I was beginning to have difficulty breathing.
With a gasp, he seemed to come to, comprehension flooding his features again, and threw himself off of me, wings flapping with a leathery sound, pressing into a rounded corner, rocking himself. Watery moonlight patterned his face in odd wavering stripes. "Sorry...so sorry..." he mumbled, over and over.
I rose, stretching, rubbing the back of my neck, and sighed again as I crawled into the corner. I said his name again. He didn't seem to hear me.
"Please," I said, more than a touch worried now. "Tell me what to do. I'll...I'll do it. Please..."
"I don't know, I don't know," he mumbled. "Cage me!" Then he shook his head. "No, that won't work..." He sat there, legs drawn up, rocking back and forth like an injured child. It hurt to see.
I shook my head. "I can't cage you anyway..." I looked down, knowing even the cages I'd bought 'just in case' I'd gotten rid of, because my cheetah feared all cages so. I looked down, looked around, shrugging.
"Should I...call someone? Is there...?"
He shook his head, mumbling something about bunnies and colors I didn't quite catch. I put a hand out, worried, and stopped it dead in midair as he whispered he had no one, no one to call, no one to come, no one to care. I watched, panic rising now, as his taloned hands curved around his upper arms, the claws digging in deeply, runnels of warm blood curling over his pale flesh, spattering on the dark stone floor.
"I have no one, I know nothing, I question, now, what I do think..."
I couldn't stop now, reaching out, touching his hands.
"You are in pain. It is natural. It will pass."
He quickly glanced my way, his expression dark. "Will it? I know breaking up hurt; I have done that. But this?...This is driving me mad!"
I nodded slowly, staring into his eyes. "If you cannot break the bond with her, you will go mad. Why have you not broken the bond? You've left your clan, you've left their lands. Why not sever your connection to her?"
His face grew sad, his voice and eyes grew soft, with sorrow, or perhaps regret.
"I can't," he nearly whispered. "She sired me..."
I blinked. I was stunned. His Sire left him for someone else. His Sire. By all that was holy...
I couldn't help it, I was worried, and I was angry. I watched the reflection of my eyes in his as they flashed silver, actinic glow in the shadows, as I answered. "Ah, gods...she'll drag you down...."
He nodded, slowly, eyes seeing...whatever it was, it wasn't in my home, and it scared him, it looked like. "To undo this bond to her..." He raised haunted eyes to mine. "It would mean my own death. I will go mad and nothing short of killing me will stop that, or save anyone. I can't be shackled or caged. I am too strong, and I have magic."
Gad, I'd forgotten. And he was alone with me.
"I fear I must leave and never return," he said. He dropped his head. I bowed my head, shaking.
"I hear the abyss is nice this time of year..." He snarled after he said it, though, and his eyes flashed nearly solid red as he punched the wall, crumbling some of the carved stone support. I heard the crunch of bone and flinched, eyes flaring wide, whiskers splayed out.
He signed, hanging his head again. "Sorry about your wall..."
I shook my head. "I can repair it. Or, i was thinking of changing houses, anyway....going back to a certain tree..."
I watched as he curled up on his side, mumbling, his wings wrapped around him. Something about time and clocks winding down, nothing to stop then, nothing to tend...I stroked his wings, the other hand carding through his hair, and worried as I watched him.
"Wish I was a human," he said. "Easy to kill...easy to heal..."
I shook my head slowly. "No spell I know can do that." I sighed, stroking his hair gently. "Even shifter blood wouldn't help you, or I'd offer...you know I would."
"Bad idea to have been turned," he mumbles. "Turn back time, slap the bitch, fix the world."
I shrugged. "Can't go back, just forward, and sideways."
He rolled back into a sitting rocking position, movement fluid, even now in extreme distress graceful, which one never expects to see on a man, a vampire, of his size. He turned to face me, eyes earnest.
"Shove me off, then, like a disobedient pet," he said.
I looked sternly at him. "You were never a pet."
He laughed, a sound devoid of all humor. "I may as well be one..."
I raised an eyebrow. "How would that help?"
He sighed. "I am useless now. I have no desires that don't involve killing. I am to seem a pet, a toy merely, for the Clan's...use."
I felt my eyes narrowing, my own anger rising. "No," I said. "NO. They will NOT treat you so!"
My vampiric friend, my protector, let his head fall back against the columned wall with a loud thud. He slowly turned his gaze to mine.
"It matters not to me, anymore. I am empty. She was all I had, and I gave her my soul, my all, my heart and breath. I am empty..."
I nodded, expression sober. "Then what do you will of me?" I asked quietly.
"I don't know!" he yelled, his fists clenching, the claws digging into his palms. "If I knew, I would do it!"
I looked up, power in the room palpable, pricking across my fur. Thunder briefly clapped, and I looked down. My voice was a whisper, a thread, when I finally spoke.
"I know your anger. I know your fear. I know this feeling of emptiness. I know it gets better, but for me, I live, I breathe, each day that goes by is a day farther away from it. You..." I sighed. "I've noticed vampires tend to hold on to....everything."
He turned, whirling, up on his knees, his right hand raising. I reared back but his talons traced a line of heat across my neck, and I knew I'd been cut. Before I could find out how badly, his hands tightened around my throat and he growled.
"I will go mad before I get better...The fact she turned from me guarantees that. If I kill her, I kill myself. I wish to live, I wish to get over her but I don't have that option..."
He gasped, then, and slowly released my neck, his hands shaking. Fear of what he nearly did? Fear of hurting me? Fear of the distant echoes of voices not his through the bond with his Sire?
I had no idea. I shuddered, a bit, but leaned in, swallowing, tilting my neck back, blood vivid against my fur. He groaned, not watching me, sinking his claws deep into his upper arms again.
I closed my eyes. I had a worse idea. I slowed my breathing, raising one hand to my throat, wetting my fingertips along the claw marks. Eyes still closed, I reached out, and placed my fingertips on his lips, blooding them.
He rocked back and forth, unknowing, uncaring.
I turned my hand, cupping his cheek. My eyes were still closed, but I could hear him, feel the power from him, unstable and unnerving. "You kill her, you die," I whispered. I opened my eyes in time to see him lower his head to his knees, sobbing as if his heart had broken anew.
I pulled him awkwardly into my lap, watching as he fell asleep, the stress and fatigue of carrying this finally overwhelming him. I stared down, petting his hair, stroking down his spine, and sighed.
Now what the hell do I do? Other than the strong temptation to track down and really hurt his mate, in ways she might actually not heal well from...I have no clue how to solve his problem. I truly fear he'll go mad...or find a way to undo his hundreds of years of unlife.
Neither seems a good idea, frankly. But I have no idea what to tell him.