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Vampire Week

Chapter Text

"Cyrus?"

Not in his room, not in the kitchen, or the living room.

"Cyrus!"

Not in the basement, either, which was odd.

She bit her lip worriedly.

After shouldering on her coat, she opened the door, wincing at the sudden onslaught of cold air. It was dark, mostly, but barely beginning to grey as dawn approached.

He wasn't sitting on the beach, which didn't surprise her at all.

Somewhere out in the waves she thought she could barely see Anso, catching "all the fishes".

"Cyrus, are you on the roof?" she called.

The silence was oppressive, in a way that made her assume an affirmative answer. She turned and headed for the shed. She flung the door open loudly, not bothering to hide her irritation. For all that she was constantly lectured about running away, hiding on the roof was exactly that. She banged around in the shed, wrestling the ladder out with no care for how much noise she was making.

"Go back to bed," a monotone voice cut through the chill air.

She dropped the ladder, halfway out of the shed, with a resounding crash, and stomped over to the side of the house to glare up at the eaves. "Only if you come inside."

There was a heavy sigh. "Must I." The question was flat, not a question at all. He was well-aware she would insist.

She decided not to answer, instead crossing her arms and scowling harder. He leapt clear off the roof and landed in a crouch on the sand several feet from her. She suppressed a flinch at the sudden movement only by sheer force of will to remain impassive. She had seen him jump off the roof before, but only into the ocean, not to actually land on the ground. "Vampire" flashed unwillingly through her mind before she pushed the thought away with some annoyance. He straightened up, and the two of them stood motionless on the beach. "How picturesque," she thought sarcastically.

"You look pale," he said finally."

"So do you," she shot back, immediately combative. She was in no mood for this, for more of the world going absolutely insane.

"You should go back to bed."

"I can't sleep. Not that that's any different than usual, but now I've even more to worry about than usual."

"Only if you insist on it."

"And how am I supposed to help it, when you're skulking around on the roof pretending nothing is wrong?"

A sigh. "I will go to the basement, then, if you go back to bed. You have class tomorrow."

"Only if you promise you're not going to lock yourself in again."

He paused, weighing the worth of continuing to argue with her. "Alright."

She relaxed, shoulders falling. "Fine. Let's go inside."

"After you."

There was a moment of hesitation, involuntary on her part, an brief internal fear of turning her back on him. Well, that was new, and entirely unwelcome. She shivered, blaming it on the cold, and not fear, and headed for the door. She glanced over her shoulder to make sure he was following.

"Hikari," he sighed from just more than an arm's length away.

She accepted the admonition silently. At the bottom of the stairs, she stopped and turned. "Good night, Cyrus."

"Good night."

 

In the morning, she bolted out of bed, late. After hopping down the stairs, pulling on her coat and gloves, she snatched her bag from the table in the front hall, and raced out the door. She made it to class on time, but paid no attention as her professor droned his way through the lecture. She had two more classes on Tuesday, which she sat through just as impatiently, unable to stop her foot tapping against the chair leg. It was a strain on Lucius to travel between continents so frequently, but she was determined to get back to Sunyshore.

She couldn't explain it. Cyrus was perfectly capable of taking care of himself, but she couldn't shake off this foreboding, this nagging worry. Hikari was a worrier, so she was used to it, but there was something about the tug of /this/ worry that made it impossible to ignore. The sense of urgency was very strange. It disallowed her compartmentalizing it. It insisted on her focus.

If Cyrus really was a vampire... The thought had somehow become less impossible in the fog of sleep deprivation. Of course, Cyrus was not the only one acting strangely, but he was the one on whom her attention was fixed. Because she had gone to Sunyshore last night. Because it was the place she now considered home. Because Cyrus was part of that.

Cyrus was most of that.

Chapter Text

Two nights with her sleep interrupted was wearing on Hikari. This was not even mentioning the trouble she was having suppressing her worry. She was quite sure she would have permanent wrinkles by the time this whole situation was solved. If, in fact, it was ever solved.

She tossed and turned, plagued by the thought. Tears lingered in the corners of her eyes in her sleep-deprived doze. If this never went away...

She would be forever plagued by Anton. Her own brother would be unable to spend any time in her presence without a breathing aid. The house would be overrun by Anso's fish. And she might never again have that easy companionship with Cyrus that she had fought so hard for.

The thought cut into her like a blade, and she bit into her pillow to suppress a sob. It was not to discount any of her friends or family, but the very idea of losing him...it was too hard to bear. It was only with him she felt she could say what was truly on her mind - that she always did, bu she thought she /could/. It was only with him that she had conversations, often, that changed the way she saw the world. Only this one man had affected her in such a way. To lose him...

She practically heaved herself out of the bed, and crossed to the window. Without a thought to the danger, she flung the window open, gasping at the sting of the cold, salty air on her face. The tracks of tears were suddenly even more apparent as she could feel the skin tighten. She sniffed, absently rubbing her face with the heel of her hand.

"Why are you crying."

She gasped, reeling back against the wall next to the window. Now she was imagining things! As if life for the past three days hadn't been absolutely ridiculous enough...!

"Well?"

Cautiously, still more than halfway convinced this was all happening in her imagination, Hikari stuck her head back out the window. Her room was on the second floor of the house, the window closest her bed near to the edge of the roof. On the other side of the house, Cyrus's room was the same, which was how, she supposed, he got onto the roof when he decided to leave the basement.

Could she?

Holding onto the window frame, she pulled herself up, so she was standing on the sill. The eave was within reach. It was a stretch, but...

Steeling herself, Hikari reached up. She gripped the eave tightly, and pulled, hoisting herself up as far as she could. She could make it, just a few more inches...and then her hand slipped.

She grabbed for the roof, overbalanced, hands closed around air as she began to fall back. There was a terrifying moment that seemed to stretch on forever. She could hear her heart thudding in her ears, but she had stopped breathing. Her eyes darted up at the sky, before she closed them. At least it would be fast, the fall.

A cold steel grip wrapped around her wrist. Her breath caught in her throat as time began to move again. Eyes popped open, and met his. Because, of course, he was there. Of course, he had caught her.

She couldn't breathe.

He pulled her up, grunting with the strain as she tried to get her feet on something solid. She stumbled, overbalanced again, but at least in the direction away from open air this time.

They landed on the roof, Cyrus unable to remain upright with all of Hikari's weight suddenly against him. She let out a choking sob, unable to remain impassive in the aftermath of nearly dying. Forehead solid against his shoulder, she hated herself for it, but she couldn't let go.

He was motionless. Because he understood? No, she thought, certainly because he was frozen in abject horror at being touched, being cried on, being sought for comfort. How horrible. She was awful for forcing it on him, and yet, she'd not let go. Her hands were still gripping his. It occurred to her that his skin was warm.

She lifted her head, meeting his eyes again. "You..."

"Yes."

She frowned. His eyes were still dark, hardly reflective in the moonlight. "It wasn't enough."

He paused before answering. "Enough for now."

Without thinking, she tossed her hair to the side and tipped her head, baring her neck. If she had stopped to think, she certainly wouldn't have done it. She would have considered the impossible position she was placing him in, the danger she was stepping into. He had just saved her, yes, but who knew what being a vampire did to one's thought process? He could be overwhelmed, and she had placed herself quite solidly in his way.

"No." His voice was strained. It hurt, to hear him like that, after so long of expecting no affect to accompany his words.

She shook her head. "You have to."

"No." It was hardly a word, more of a groan, but as he said it, he drew closer, then stopped, as if he'd caught himself.

She could see the thoughts racing. They were too close, she was too close, she was torturing him, this was absolute torment, to offer such a thing, knowing that he could not possibly accept, that he couldn't, it was impossible, and she knew, she knew he couldn't refuse, she was breaking his resolve, how dare she...!

She reached for him, letting his wrists go at last. Immediately, he lifted his hands, as if about to push her away, but she threw her arms around his shoulders. She felt his moan more than heard it, guessed at the un-Cyrus-like string of epithets running through his head, cursing her.

"Yes," she whispered, and then she felt him give in. The resistance was broken.

The next moment passed in a flash. When it was over, her eyes were closed in a wince, although the pain had already passed. She was still holding onto him, though she didn't feel the oppression of his resent for it anymore. He'd threaded one hand through her hair - it was closer than they had ever been, even on those occasions when she'd forced her kiss on him. Even then, when she knew there was no going back, no disengaging, it was his hands, one wrapped in her hair, one on her waist, arm around her back to hold her up. It was not his mouth on her neck that made her loathe her own insistence. It was too much, it was so much more than he would ever have wanted to share with anyone. But she couldn't go back now. It was done. She closed her eyes again.

She had no idea how much time had passed when his grip finally relaxed, but did not let her go.

She didn't want to open her eyes. She knew it was over, it had been enough. But was she unwilling to open her eyes, or unable? She didn't know.

"Hikari."

He was worried. Why would he be? Even if it was too much, even if he'd drained her to the point of death, it was her own fault! She'd practically forced him to!

"Hikari, you have to open your eyes."

It was a struggle, but she did. "I-I don't think I can get back to my room," she said. Each word had to be formed deliberately, spoken slowly to make sure it came out right.

Was that relief she saw? Surely not. A trick of the moonlight. She wanted to close her eyes again.

"I'll take you." His voice was gentle. It was a tone she had never heard before.

In her delirium, she felt the corners of her mouth tug, a smile at that one little show. She'd done the right thing after all, and at least for now, he didn't hate her for it. She began to slip, as her eyes dragged closed again. Was she being carried? She could feel another heartbeat, close against her ear, its pulse stronger than hers. Listening to the steady thump, she gave in at last, and fell asleep.

 

"Mommy." Bump. "Mommy wake up." Bump. "Wake up." Bump bump. "Mommy."

"Anso. Leave her be."

Hikari lifted one heavy hand to rub her head, but before she could, a cold form bumped her hand away. She grumbled as Anso curled up next to her.

"Mommy I brought you a fish."

She suddenly felt the wet flop next to her. "Oh god," she groaned.

"Anso, how did you sneak that..." That had to be Cyrus. She was surprised he was there. Had he been keeping watch on her while she slept? She heard him cross to the bed and lift the fish.

Anso jumped up. "That is for Mommy!" he protested.

"As much as I am sure she appreciates the thought, I don't think she wants any fish right now."

"I just want to go back to sleep," Hikari replied, voice muffled, as she refused to lift her head from the pillow. It occurred to her, somewhere in her foggy brain, that the pillow smelled different. It felt different. She opened one eye. No purple sheets. Not her bed? Groaning with the effort, she forced herself to sit up. Cyrus's room. He was standing next to the bed, watching her with one eyebrow up, and holding the fish just out of Anso's reach. Anso was sitting up, giving Cyrus the grumpiest face a Giratina could manage.

"You should eat something."

She made a face and fell back against the pillow. "Nn," she responded, turning over and pulling the covers up over her head.

"That wasn't a suggestion."

"Fine. Just not fish."

Chapter Text

Hikari set her Poketch aside with a relieved sigh. Because of the ridiculous events this week, Unova University, at the behest of Alder, had declared a state of emergency, and called all classes until further notice. Which was just as well, because Mars was determined that she not leave the house until it was safe. Which at this rate looked like Hikari would be locked in until Cyrus succeeded in rebuilding the world, or Anso finally grew large enough to defeat the planet itself.

The young woman stopped in front of her dresser to brush her hair, then headed downstairs. She was feeling much better today, though probably not at full capacity, so to speak. At the very least, she was capable of walking down the stairs and into the kitchen without any dangerous swaying, which was a definite improvement.

The curtains were drawn when she stepped in, and the room filled with the smell of cooking. She blinked in surprise.

"Good morning," Cyrus said from the stove.

"Good morning," she replied as she slid into one of the chairs. Immediately, something tackled her foot. She looked down, unsurprised to see Anso, who had appeared seemingly out of nowhere to pounce her.

"Hello Mommy! Hello!" he exclaimed as he attempted to scramble into her lap.

She reached down to lift him, and he settled comfortably against her, head resting on one of her arms. He was cold. She suppressed a shiver. "Hello, Anso," she said calmly.

"Are you feeling better? Anton said you were sick and Daddy and I were worried so we decided to make you breakfast and now you are awake and you feel very warm."

Hikari smiled. He didn't sound any different than normal - perhaps a little more energetic - but it was still a relief. "I'm sorry to have worried you. I'm feeling much better this morning."

"I am glad. Pets."

She obliged, wincing as her eyes met her "son"'s. They were red. Of course they were red. She had heard from Mars about the "gifts" Anso had been leaving around the house, though supposedly they had all been removed over the night, and he had been convinced not to bring anymore in. It was still clear from the Giratina's energy level, however, that he was quite well-fed indeed. She chanced a glance at Cyrus, but his back was to her. At the least, his movements seemed sure, and without hesitation.

"Classes are canceled," she said. "So I suppose I needn't worry about that, at least."

"Ah."

"I can just worry instead about being murdered by vampires. I suppose I should see this as an improvement on some level."

Chapter Text

Hikari awoke with a start. At the end of her bed, Anso had suddenly moved. His eyes glowed red in the dark.

"What is it?" she asked, rubbing her eyes.

"Daddy is back." Anso jumped off the bed and landed without a sound.

"Wh-wait a second." Hikari stumbled out of bed and after him, hand reaching the doorknob just as the ghost-dragon faded through the bottom of the door.

She caught up in a few steps, and scooped the Pokemon into her arms. He settled down, resting his head against her chest. "I can hear your heartbeat."

She suppressed a shiver. "I know."

"Can you hear mine?"

She frowned. "No, I can't, Anso. My senses aren't...attuned the same way yours are."

"Oh."

"I can."

"Hello."

Anso turned over in Hikari's arms and looked towards the door. "Hello Daddy. You are back and now Mommy does not have to worry anymore and maybe we can play."

"Not now, Anso," Cyrus replied. "Perhaps later."

Hikari bit her lip. "Are you...?"

"In one piece."

She followed him into the kitchen, where he sank into a chair with an uncharacteristic weight to his movement. "I'll make some tea." She set Anso down and flipped the light on. She stumbled back with a gasp of surprise. "Oh my god, Cyrus!"

Nearly head to toe, he was spattered with blood. His usual impassive expression did not change a bit even in the face of Hikari's shock. "It's not my own, Hikari."

"A-are you hurt?" she squeaked. "What happened, should I get..." She trailed off. He had made it to Jubilife on his own, and while he looked tired, he didn't look hurt, or seem especially weak. "I...I'll just make that tea."

"Please."

Three cabinets and two drawers later, Hikari had finally found the cups and some peppermint tea. She filled the kettle and set it on the stove, trying very hard not to look over her shoulder to make sure Cyrus was still conscious.

"I-I'm glad you found the house all right."

"Simple enough."

"Oh."

Anso was batting at Cyrus's pants leg, but sat back to look up at them. "Probably because it is easy to find Mommy."

"What?"

"Mommy is easy to find because she smells good and is always warm."

Hikari covered her face with one hand, and Cyrus snorted. "If I had a nickel for every awkward thing that has been said about me this week..." she grumbled.

"You could buy all of the books." He was smirking, ever so faintly. As a vampire, he seemed to have trouble maintaining his usual level of detachment. It was just as disorienting now as it had been for Hikari at first, when she was still adjusting to his lack of outward emotion to begin with.

"So I could."

The kettle began to whistle, and she flipped the burner off before it might wake anyone else. She poured the hot water into the mugs, trying to ignore her hands trembling.

"Hikari."

"Um, I brought you a change of clothes, they're in my bag upstairs," she said, ignoring the unasked question. "I know you won't be fond of the idea of me going through your dresser, but I wanted to make sure you'd have some of your own things..."

In an instant, he rose from the chair and had crossed the several steps to her. He took her hand, the cup she was holding in her unsteady fingers clattering to the ground. She flinched at the noise. "You're shaking."

"It's nothing. Certainly not anything to worry about," she whispered. "I, the cup..."

"Hikari. I told you to rest."

Chapter Text

Back home. Hikari sighed as she sank onto the bed. Classes had resumed today, and she should have been back in Unova, but she was still exhausted. She'd go back tomorrow, she promised herself. She flopped back onto her pillows, closed her eyes, and shot back up again as something tackled her feet.

"Anso!" she choked in surprise.

The little Giratina had entered the room silently. He looked up at her now. "Hello Mommy."

"Hello, Anso," she sighed as she laid back again.

He jumped up onto the bed next to her, and curled up against her arm. She reached out and hugged him. He was warm, and she smiled, comforted by the return to normalcy.

"Mommy needs to sleep, Anso."

He shifted, pressing harder against her. "Then I will sleep also."

"If you want."

"Yes." He relaxed. "And when we wake up we will go swimming and then we will eat gumdrops and then we will find Daddy and watch Spongebob."

"Maybe this weekend."

She felt him move restlessly. "Why? Why not today?"

"Mommy has to go back to school tomorrow."

"No." He stomped all six feet.

"Yes, Anso, it's not optional."

"No," he said again.

"I am not going to argue with you."

"I do not wish for you to go away."

"Nor do I, but sometimes these things have to happen."

"No. You can stay and you should stay and you have to take care of me and Daddy and you cannot go away or I will continue stomping my feet and be very unhappy."

She sat up again. "Anso, do not throw a fit, or I will make you go downstairs. Moreover, I do not need to stay to take care of you and Daddy, he is perfectly capable of caring for you, and himself."

"It is not the same."

Hikari rubbed the bridge of her nose. "There is nothing I can do about that, Anso, I'm sorry."

He leapt from the bed, landing with a thud to show his irritation - usually he made no noise at all. "I am leaving," he declared.

"Anso..."

"It is easy for you to leave so now it will be easy for me to leave also."

She stood, but in an instant, he was gone, through the floor to the first story. Groaning with exhaustion and frustration, she went to follow him, only to nearly walk face-first into a figure in the doorway.

"No," Cyrus said. "You sleep." He held out a mug of tea, which she accepted. "I will handle it."

She began to protest, but he shook his head. "Fine."

 

"I am sulking."

Cyrus glanced over his shoulder at the small Giratina curled up in a chair behind him. "Usually, one does not announce sulking."

Anso got up and stomped in a circle in the chair, then curled back up again. "Well I am. I am sulking," he repeated.

"As you wish."

Moments passed in mutual silence, as they often did in the basement. Anso flopped around in the chair intermittently, making grumpy noises, which Cyrus did not acknowledge. Being part ghost-type, Anso did not often make noise while moving, unless he deliberately chose to.

After long minutes, the ghost-dragon spoke. "She said she will be back for the weekend."

"And so she will."

"But then she will have to leave again."

"Yes. And then she will be back the next weekend."

Roll, roll, roll. Anso ended on his back with his feet in the air. He kicked them absently as if pawing at the far-off ceiling. "And then she will leave again," he repeated.

"And then she will return. This is her home, Anso. She has not left it, she is just going to school."

Anso rolled off the chair. He padded over to Cyrus and placed his feet on the man's knee. "Why," he demanded flatly. It was not a question, it was an argument.

"To continue her education."

"Why."

"So that she can get a degree to teach."

"Why."

Cyrus looked down, breaking eye contact with his computer screen. "Anso."

His "son" knew well that meant to stop whatever he was doing. Usually he obeyed immediately. This time, he stared up at Cyrus, debating. If he could have scowled, he would have been. "I am angry."

"Are you enjoying it?"

A long pause passed, during which they continued to stare each other down. "No," Anso said finally.

"Then what purpose does it serve to be angry?"

There was another pause. Anso stepped down, and sat. "I do not know but I am. I am angry because Mommy has left me and even after she comes back she will continue to leave."

"It does not mean she loves you any less." There was an edge to Cyrus's voice at /that/ word, not that Anso noticed.

"But I want her to stay."

"I am aware."

Anso backed up, and then ran forward to leap into Cyrus's lap. He nearly missed, scrambling up up, and brushing his head against the underside of the desk. "Pets," he demanded once he was sitting solidly.

"Alright." Cyrus obliged, stroking Anso's head absently.

The Pokemon closed his eyes. "I miss her. She is not here to read me stories at night."

"I'm sure she misses you as well."

"I do not like missing people. It is unpleasant."

"It is."

Long minutes ticked by. Cyrus went back to the computer, leaving one hand on Anso's head to continue petting him.

"She left because of me."

"She left because she must, Anso. Do not read anymore into it than that."

"Was it because of the fish?"

"She was not fond of the fish, but she would have had to leave even without them. She will be back."

"Alright." A pause. "Promise?"

"Yes."

Chapter Text

"Hikari."

I spun around, turning away from the window I'd been staring out. "I'm not going to sleep," I snapped before he could tell me to. "I won't go to sleep until he gets back and I know he's safe, Anton, so don't ask it of me."

He sat next to me, and I tried not to shy away. "Nnh...I do not see why you are so insistent on wasting your energy on him," he growled. "It's clear he does not feel the same. It's clear he does not...nn. He does not love you."

I flinched. His words were a blow worse than a physical one. I looked at him with a dead calm on my face. These were words I had said in my head over and over again, and I did not need to be reminded, especially when Cyrus was out there, fighting for the region, fighting for our safety, all because I had asked it of him. "What he feels is none of your concern," I hissed. "And who I love is not, and never will be, any of your concern, either." I knew I was being unkind. I could not help it. This had reached a level of ridiculousness I could no longer put up with. "I do not feel that way about you, Anton, and however much you complain about Cyrus will not change that simple fact."

"Nngh..." He grabbed my arm and yanked me away from the window. I yelped despite myself. "If you cannot love me, you can at least cease forcing me to watch you waste another second on /him/!"

"I am not forcing you to watch a thing!" I snapped back.

"You say that as if I've any choice but to sit here and--"

"You /could/ go upstairs and leave me be!"

With a growl that was more beast than man, he grabbed my other arm as well, and shoved me against the back of the couch. My head knocked against the window with the force of it, and I swore. "You say that as if it is so easy," he whispered, baring his fangs at me. "As if I can just walk away from damnable intoxicating scent, and your eyes." His face was up against mine, our noses were nearly touching. I was terrified, because I could not shake him off. He had such an unnatural strength. "They haunt me," he said, each word punctuated with a mixture equal parts loathing and adoration. "I close my eyes and I see you in the dark, as much as I would love to just force you out and be done with it. I cannot. Hh..." He was choking on the words, the words that should have been touching, but were delivered with such spite that they did not want to allow themselves to be said. "You...you...Get out of my head!"

And as I stared at him in silent horror, the unthinkable happened, and he had pressed his mouth to mine. I was frozen, unable to push him away, to run out of the house and away from him. And even if I had been able to move, he was pressing against me on the couch, and I realized, just how easily he could overpower me if he so chose. I wanted to cry, but I would not allow him to see me do so.

"Anton," I said, voice as steady as I could make it. "Anton, you need to let me go, please."

His eyes were flashing in anger as he scowled at me, and he placed one hand on the side of my face, so gently at first, but then he gripped with those steel fingers. "No," he said.

The fear was still with me, but instead of panic, it was settling into my chest as a kind of serene resolve. No. He would let go. I would make him let go. "Please," I said gently.

"No."

He was glaring at me, and I could see the war being waged in his head. Oh, god, please, Anton, let your better sense win out over whatever urges are making you hold onto me, I thought. Still, he did not move.

"Anton..."

He leaned in, his face against my neck. I could feel his heart beating as our chests met, and he paused, his mouth just barely grazing my neck, and I could not bite back a sigh despite myself. Immediately, I knew this was going to end badly.

He yanked my skirt up, forced my legs apart. I was not strong enough to stop him, though the fight came to me then. No, no, no, so many times, racing through my head. I could not see, I would not see, as he pulled aside my panties, and he was panting against my neck, and I wanted so much just to be anywhere but there, and then--

"No!"

He was inside, and I found the strength suddenly to slap him, to try to push him away, but it was too late. The blow made him hiss, hold me tighter against the couch. I wished so desperately to not be able to feel a thing, to be outside of my own body and not a part of this.

He leaned into my neck again, the other side this time, and my breath caught in my throat as he stopped, hips heavy against mine. I knew what he had seen. Those marks from a few nights ago when Cyrus... I sobbed aloud.

"You...let him..." Anton's voice was thick with rage. "You--pretend to be so untouchable, so--and yet, you let /him/...and his disgusting mouth anywhere near...Hnn..."

"Yes, because I love him, and he needed it!" Immediately, I wondered what demon had compelled me to say it, and oh, how I regretted that I had.

"He does not need /you/!" Anton shouted. "He does not /deserve/ you!"

I gasped when he leaned in, and placed his mouth over that spot, the twin marks that were still not healed. Fangs bit, and it was worse than what he had already done, and I was crying, and trying to fight him off, but to no avail.

"I will make you mine," I heard him say in my head. "If this is what it takes to gain your love, to be so weak that I must give in to the temptation of your flesh, then I will, and I will make you love me."

I was sobbing, a soft chorus of "no" over and over again, but my strength was going by the second. And then, in the haze, I heard another voice.

"How dare you!"

I opened my eyes enough to see, there was Cyrus, but surely this was just my imagination that brought him here to pull Anton off and throw him to the side of the room.

Wait.

Slowly, it dawned on me that I was not being held down any longer. I forced my eyelids to open the rest of the way. Cyrus was there, he was really there, towering over Anton, his face contorted with a rage more intense than I had ever seen. He would kill him.

I leapt to my feet, stumbled because of the blood loss, but he caught me. "Please," I sobbed. "Please don't hurt him, I don't want you hurting anyone for my sake!"

He was torn, between the rage that had overtaken him, and my tear-streaked face. He glared over his shoulder at Anton, who was shakily pulling himself up. There was a confused moment, but then it passed. He pulled me to him, and I could hear his heartbeat, steady, rhythmic despite the heat of the moment.

"I want to go home," I said.

"Alright." He slid his arm under my knees, the other behind my back, and lifted me up with practically no effort. He sent one last glance at poor Anton, but turned from him without a word. He carried me into the hall, and glanced down it. "Anso."

He appeared, head peeking out of a doorway. "Hello Daddy you are back."

"Yes, and we are going home. Can you take us?"

"Yes I have gotten very good at using portals."

"Take us, then."

I closed my eyes, but could not shut out the actual pull of using one of Anso's portals. My head ached from the window.

But we were there, standing in that familiar front hall, and I let out a relieved sob, because this was home, and this was where I belonged, and where I was safe, and he would not let anything hurt me.

I wanted to sleep. I wanted to slip away into sleep for as long as it would consume me, and not have to think or keep my eyes open anymore.

"Promise me," I managed. "Promise me you will not go back there."

He said nothing.

"Promise you'll stay with me." I just wanted to be close to him. Always, I wanted to be close to him, and while we were like this, while he was a vampire and while I was so weak from blood loss, I could force an answer, and, god, that was an awful way to think, wasn't it? Was it so terrible, to want to be close to the one you loved?

He sat down, I suppose on the couch in the living room, and cradled my body against him. "I will."