Unknown blood by Chika

Summary: After meeting an old man on the boardwalk, David is startled to realize that the man is his son. He reflects on that time, when he became a vampire.
Categories: David, Original Character
Characters: David, Dwayne, Max, OC: Female, OC: Male, OCs: Multiple
Genres: Character Reflection, Romance
Pairing(s): David/Original Character
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: Origins
Chapters: 7 Completed: Yes Word count: 20679 Read: 12745 Published: 05 Jan 2009 Updated: 14 Feb 2009
Story Notes:
The hotel's name is fictional, as is Emily. Starts in 1986, then flashes back. Also, I suck at summaries. So don't let that deter you.

DISCLAIMER: I do not own The Lost Boys, any related merchandise. This is purely for entertainment purposes, and all trademarks of the Lost Boys are owned by Warner Bros.

1. Disapproved by Chika

2. The match by Chika

3. Lilies and ink by Chika

4. A drink of blood by Chika

5. Brother by Chika

6. The kill by Chika

7. Epilogue: Meeting by Chika


Disapproved by Chika

David stared at the old man sitting before him.

This was his son?!

Physically, the boy-er, man- was older than him, even though David himself had been eighteen when the unknown conception occurred.

“My mother was Emily Willows,” he said, in a creaky voice. “She died about two months ago.”

Emily. David could remember Emily quite well, as a vibrant young woman with red hair, almost like blood, and green eyes. How often in their short time together had she said, “Smile, David! You look so much brighter when you smile. Like this.” And then she would give him her dazzling smile, and he would crack up with laughter.

That had been eighty years ago. They had lost one another in the chaos and confusion on April 18, 1906. The night of the earthquake.

**********

The hotel lobby of the Santa Carla Riolta hotel was bustling that afternoon, the sixteenth of April. A young blond man pushed his hair out of his eyes. He was not platinum blond then, but he was pale blond. His piercing, ice blue eyes scoured the lobby as his mother and father chatted while checking in. The family was looking at a piece of land, close to the hotel. If they chose to buy it, then they would open a small jewelery store there, a chain his father had toiled to make thrive. It would be the third store of Laurent jewelers.

“Room two-twenty-three is yours, Mr. And Mrs. Laurent.” The clerk said, passing over the key.

“Thank you. Now, darling, let’s go up and settle in. Does that sound alright, David?” His mother asked. She didn’t really want his opinion, he knew, but was just saying it because she felt she had to.

“Yes, mother.” David replied. He hadn’t yet looked at his parents since the entered the room, a fact that had mostly escaped their noticed. He was hungrily scanning the lobby still.

His mother sighed. “David, dear, look at your father and I.” When he grudgingly complied, she shook her head mournfully. “I do wish you would shave daily, like your father. That stubble is most unbecoming.”

David ran a hand over his cheeks and chin. He quite liked the fine stubble that had begun appearing on his face two years before. In fact, to keep the stubble, he only shaved once or twice a week to preserve it.

He returned to visually exploring the lobby, and his mother sighed again. His father had been conversing with the clerk about the best restaurants for their dinner. “I’ll be up to the room later, mother.” David said. “I would like to explore a little.”

“Oh, very well.” She said, clearly displeased. She and her husband left, a bellhop behind them with a cart filled with luggage.

David grinned brightly and crossed to the fountain in the middle of the room, which was spouting crystal water in, the droplets twinkling cheerily. He smiled, dipping his hand under one of the water spouts. The water was cool on his hand.

That was when she walked in.

David’s eyes instantly locked onto her. She had a graceful body, and a happy, expressive face. Loose pieces of deep red hair were half out of the bun at the base of her neck, her green eyes wide from some sort of exertion. Her upper half was ever so slightly crumpled inwards, as if she had just run a long distance. The smile on her plump lips was bright and joyous, her cheekbones with just the barest sheen of sweat.

David stood up. She was, in no uncertain terms, the most amazing woman he had ever seen.

One of the clerks on break approached her and kissed the back of her hand with great pomp and respect. “Good afternoon, Miss Willows. Are you back from your fitness run?”

She nodded and replied, to which the clerk nodded and left. David rose as she walked by, reaching for her wrist.

She stopped, and turned to see the boy who had grasped her wrist-but it was very tenderly, as if she was frail or delicate. His eyes drew her in, and she faltered for a second.

“May-may I help you?” she asked.

David just stood with her wrist in his hand, staring for a moment before shaking himself out of his funk and smiling. It wasn’t a smirk, nor was he cocky. At that point, he was your average man. Ever persuasive and charismatic. “Er, yes. I was wondering if you would need help getting dinner.”

She seemed insulted. “Do I look like I’m needy and desperate?”

“No, I was trying to ask you to dinner with my family.”

“Oh.” The frown lines on her face softened into a smile. “I would like that. What time?”

David thought for a moment. “Knowing my parents around six thirty. Will you be available?”

“I can make myself available, Mr…?” she trailed off.

“David. Please, call me David. And your name is?” David asked. He was pretty sure that the clerk had called her ‘Miss Willows,’ but he couldn’t be sure.

“Emily Willows. My room is one-twelve. Will you pick me up at…. say… quarter after six?”

“Sounds perfect.” Emily turned, and, smiling over her shoulder, left to go to her room.

David had no mood for exploring after that. Instead, he hurried up to his family’s room. He had to look perfect, things had to be perfect, for Emily was perfect. His heart felt like it would burst when he thought of her, and she brought a smile to his lips. He even had half a mind to shave off his stubble.

Quarter after six arrived, and he stood outside her room. A wildflower ‘borrowed’ from the hotel’s gardens was behind his back as he waited for the door to be answered.

A tall, burly man did just that. He scanned David’s appearance, grunted and said, “Don’t hurt my daughter” before turning back into the room. Emily came out from behind him, smiling. “Right on time.”

“Well, we did agree on this time.” He reminded her, holding out the wildflower. She reached out for the blossom, making a small, tender smile appear on her lips. “Let’s go, shall we?”

David nodded and linked elbows with her. “Yes. My parents are down in the lobby, waiting for us. So let’s not keep them waiting.”

His parents, at first, seemed impressed at Emily. But as dinner passed, David could almost feel his mother’s eyes on his guest. And by the look on her face, she did not like Emily too much. His father was indifferent, content on his pasta.

“Will you be ready for the check, sir?” the restaurant’s owner asked. He was a very tall gentleman, with glasses and hair with a slight wave to it. They had seen him bringing all the checks around-perhaps he was a little paranoid about being paid.

Mr. Laurent nodded, and the man bustled away to prepare the check. David stood and held Emily’s chair back for her to sit up.

He dropped her back at her room when they returned to the hotel, lingering outside the open door for a few minutes. “Thank you for tonight,” she said. It was almost nine by the time they had returned-his parents were big chatters. Or rather, his mother was.

“No, thank you.” David replied. “You made it bearable-just, please, ignore my mother.”

Emily nodded, but he could see that she, too, had noticed his mother’s looks. Her eyes were melancholy. “I will. Goodnight.” She slipped inside her room and shut the door softly.

David sighed and returned to their room with great distaste. He could picture his mother’s words already: ‘She is not a suitable match…What about the girl back home, Suzanna, that your father and I suggested…don’t see that local girl any more, David.’

He was not surprised, and muttered an excuse about being tired, before slipping inside his bedroom off the hotel room’s main area.

David could tell that if he had a choice, he wanted Emily. She was sweet, beautiful, and was able to be cheery and polite, even with his mother’s secret death glares. And he was pretty sure that she felt the same way. And if she did, then perhaps they could run away, stay here, away from his parents.

David fell fitfully to his mattress, a headache pounding in his temples. His parents might have wanted to open a store branch in Santa Carla, but he wanted Emily.

The match by Chika

Author's Notes:
Thanks again to Python, who reminded me of a few things. Hopefully, I've made the mistakes a little smaller here. This chapter's dedicated to her, with my thanks!
David rose from his bed before his parents and left their hotel room. He only just remembered to change his clothes before leaving, but proceeded to change and went outside and sat on a bench. His eyes were closed, hunched over as his arms rested on his knees. The roar of the distant waves was soothing; relaxing. If he opened his eyes, he could see its beauty. It would make a nice picture. If his parents owned a camera-though they were large and expensive-he’d have taken a picture. The bench squeaked as someone sat beside him. He didn’t have to guess who.

“Good morning,” Emily said.

“Morning.”

“Did you sleep well?”

“Yes.”

Emily frowned. David seemed to have his mind on something important, or he was just unresponsive. “My father was quite impressed by you.”

No response.

Emily sighed. “David, why won’t you talk to me?”

Still nothing.

“Is it your parents?”

“Maybe.”

“Your mother doesn’t like me, does she?”

“No.” The block in David’s mouth opened. He leaned back and said, “She thinks we’ll elope and she doesn’t approve.”

Emily blushed, the pink tinge bright on her fair cheeks. “I guessed as much.”

“I don’t want her to hate you, Emily.” He continued, half in his thoughts and half telling her. “If she gave you a chance, she would love you. Possibly begging for a wedding date. Not that, you know,” he added quickly, when that particular thought escaped his lips, “That we would get married. Or be more than friends. Not that I don’t want to, but-“

David faltered as she took his hand. “I know, David. Maybe she thinks that we’re becoming close a little too quickly?”

That wasn’t how David saw it; he figured that things weren’t moving fast enough. And judging by Emily’s words, he guessed that she felt the same way.

“Maybe if we got our parents to sit down and explain why we were friendly, they would understand a little better.”

“Perhaps.” She said, having pondered for a moment. “My dad is an artistic man, he can sketch beautiful pictures. Maybe bringing one would help calm the tension?”

“Well, my mother is an art lover…” he responded. His hand rose to her chin, and he stroked it. “ You know, our parents might be the answer.”

“What about sports?” she asked, having remembered something. “ Do they like tennis? My dad’s booked one of the hotel’s tennis court for an hour this afternoon.”

“I think my mother was trying to reserve a court for this afternoon.” David replied. “We could just watch, but my mother in particular loves it.”

“Then we’ll see if my father wants to play with them. But David,” Emily cautioned, “This has to work if we want to see each other again.”

“I know.”

-----

Mrs. Laurent rose from her bed. Her husband was already up for the day, and, soon, she would be ready to visit the plot of land. Her husband had already seen it, and seemed pleased. Perhaps this small town would be the next place with a Laurent’s Jewelery store.

It was not long before she had received and eaten her breakfast, and she was soon checking that her clothes were impeccable, as her servant-one that had worked for her loyally since David’s birth- added the finishing touches to her hat’s placement. She regarded herself as high-class, and no one would end that. Not even if her son tried.

Ah, poor David. Mrs. Laurent could tell that the boy liked the girl-Emily, wasn’t it? - that he had brought to dinner the night before. She had been shocked at that, but the girl had seemed nice and polite. It hadn’t been until the main course when she had noticed the girl looked at David the same way he looked at her. Child’s love. She had no business with child’s love; David was growing older and still had no wife. And the girl’s father! Mrs. Laurent clicked her tongue in disapproval when she thought of him. To let his daughter-possibly his only child, from what the girl had said at the table-go without meeting the escort’s parents, and hardly meeting David, for that matter, was incredibly foolish.

Shaking her head, she moved to the writing desk in the corner of the bedroom, and sat to write a letter to her sister.

Arielle, she started, I’m amazed by the gall of the people here in Santa Carla. David has fallen quite obviously for a local girl-but it’s just child’s love, as if for a sister or close friend, I imagine. The girl seems to feel similarly. Gazing into one another’s eyes and whatnot. He invited her to dinner last night, and she didn’t even have her father! The audacity amazes me. Next, David will probably speak of true love and that foolishness. Poor Suzanna, she will be so disappointed to learn of his rudeness.

She continued on, telling her sister of the town and the news. But I will see you soon, Arielle, for we leave in three days-oh, if only the days could fly faster!

Alice


Mrs. Laurent loved writing letters to her sister, for they were close and the gossip between them was a wonderful break from her monotonous husband. It was a delightful part of her week.

The letter was sealed and she left the hotel room. The elevator was manned by a young gentleman, and the gold grille opened in the grand lobby. The hotel, she had to admit, was lovely. Like the one in New York, very modern and rich. The tall pillars gave a touch of London, and the trickling fountain added a youthful touch. She didn’t much like youthfulness, but she quite liked the fountain.

The young man at the front desk was looking at a file under the main counter, but looked up when she approached. Her lip curled in slight disgust. He had black hair, which was in need of a trim. It was a full half-inch too long to be acceptable to her standards. His dark eyes seemed to miss her distaste.

“I would like this mailed to the address in San Francisco, please.” She said, sliding the envelope across the counter with a gloved hand.

His hand picked the envelope up. “Yes, ma’am. It will be my pleasure,” he said. “Will that be all you require?”

“No, I would like to book the tennis court for this afternoon.”

The clerk checked a schedule under the desk. “I’m sorry, ma’am, but the courts are booked for today. Would tomorrow be fine?”

She looked ruffled. “No, it would not be. Good day.”

Turning around, she saw David walk confidently into the lobby, his eyes scanning for someone. When he saw his mother, he hurried over. “Can you believe it, David? Every single tennis court booked for today, how infuriating…”

“Mother, Emily’s invited us to play tennis with her and her father this afternoon.” David replied. “Lucky, isn’t it?”

“Yes, quite.” She had to wonder if that had been done on purpose.

“We’ll meet them at the courts at one o’clock. Will that be fine?”

“I see no problem. And remember: The girl is not your betrothed.”

Mrs. Laurent could almost see her son become irritated. “Yes, mother.”

Mollified, the woman left to take a stroll through the gardens.

David meanwhile, was mentally cheering. The simple fact that his mother agreed was heartening, since she wasn’t prone to do so normally. He gave the desk clerk a small smile, before turning and going up to the family room.

The remainder of the morning and lunch passed without further incident. David was taken by his parents to visit the plot of land, which Mrs. Laurent declared ‘Passable’, and Mr. Laurent said was, ‘Perfect.’ David, on the other, hand, thought something closer to the metropolitan area of the city would be better for business-after all, good necklaces and stones were great, but who wanted to go so far out of the way to get them? He knew that voicing this opinion was not what his mother wanted, so when asked what he thought of the location, he said it was, ‘Nice.’

Lunch was spent in the hotel’s small restaurant. It was small and cozy, and the food was lovely. It was, considering his mother, low-key, and a little relaxed. Then, they had to get ready to meet Emily and her father.

The sun shone brightly on the tennis court as the Laurent trio arrived. David blinked, holding his hand over his eyes to protect them from the strong light. The Willows were already waiting there for them, perched comfortably under an umbrella poking through the middle of a small table. A pair of rackets rested next to the table.

Emily stood up with their approach. She was wearing the same outfit she had when he first saw her, a pale yellow tennis dress with cream coloured touches. Her boot heels were very small, to help her move a little faster on the court. The hem swished around her ankles as she moved.

David raised her hand and kissed the back, making the girl blush. He didn’t have to look behind him to know his mother disapproved of his greeting.

While he and Emily chatted about the day, their parents met for the first time. “A pleasure to meet you both. I am Adam Willows.” Mr. Willows said, giving a small, formal bow.

“A delight. I’m George Laurent, and this is my wife, Alice. You know David, of course.”

Mrs. Laurent listened impatiently as the gentleman discussed business in the town. The pair seemed to get along nicely, which was well enough, but there was something she wanted to know. And if she wanted to know, then she usually knew soon. “Mr. Willows-“ she began.

“Please, call me Adam.”

“Very well then, Adam. Your daughter accompanied us to our dinner last night at David’s invitation. I was surprised that you didn’t come as her father, if not to meet us.”

Mr. Willows gave a deep chuckle. “My dear woman, my understanding was that she would be with the lad’s family, including two responsible parents-Forgive me if I was mistaken.”

Mrs. Laurent’s face flushed. She seemed to be having difficulty coming up with words. “Er-No, you weren’t.”

Sensing an awkward moment, her husband piped up. “Well, shall we start our match?”

David and Emily turned to look at their parents when they heard that. “There’s an odd number of people, so who’ll sit out in the first match?” David asked.

“I will.” His mother said. “I wouldn’t mind a drink while I watch, either.”

Mr. Willows nodded and gestured to the small table. “There’s plenty of iced tea on the table, if you would like it.”

“Thank you, sir.” She responded, moving to sit.

The teams-David and his father, Emily and her father- were fairly evenly matched, but in the end, the Willows won. They played another set with David and his father winning, before taking a break.

“You know,” Mr. Willows began, “I don’t know if David has told you, but I’m quite good at art. Would you like to sit for a group sketch? I shouldn’t take a terribly long time to finish it. And you would look so lovely, madam,” he told Mrs. Laurent.

She gave him a smile and pondered it for a moment. “Perhaps, that does sound like a wonderful memento. “

“Excellent! Why not join Emily and myself at five in our room? We can have some dinner brought up, and get to know one another better.”

“That will be fine,” Mrs. Laurent nodded in response. “George, dear, let’s go to the room and get ourselves ready, shall we?”
As David’s parents left, Emily grasped David’s arm. “Let’s have another match.”

“You and your father have one, I’ll sit out this time,” he responded, with a smile.

With a nod, Emily left his side and went onto the court, her father on the other.

The match continued for quite sometime. He could plainly see that she was good at the game, with a powerful backstroke. She actually beat her father.

It was three-thirty before the game was finished. David stood up, and dusted off his pants legs.

“That was impressive,” he said to both. “You two play very well.”

Emily’s cheeks had a pink tinge from the exertion. “Thank you.” She said, a little breathlessly.

Mr. Willows joined the pair and put his arm over Emily’s shoulders protectively. “Thank you, David,” he said, before looking down at his daughter. “I think its time we go up and get ready for our company, eh, Emily?”

“Yes, father.” She gave David one last smile, and the pair left, leaving David alone on the tennis court. The sun was still high and bright in the sky overhead, and he drank the last glass of the iced tea.

David picked up his racket, giving it a few small swings as he began to follow the Willows back into the hotel.

Lilies and ink by Chika

Author's Notes:
Just to clear one thing up: From my studying, when a young woman wore her hair up in this period, it was because "Loose, uncut hair is seen both as a symbol of virginity and a symbol of promiscuity..... The girl in Edwardian England who put up her hair to signify that she had reached maturity was symbolically offering her virginity in the marriage market."
(Quote from fashion-era.com)
Taptaptap.

The rustle of skirts stopped when Emily opened the door to hotel room 112. She gave the Laurent family a warm smile.

“Welcome! Please, do come in,” she said.

David followed his parents into the room, which he noticed was just a little smaller then their own suite. There were three doors along the wall, which led to the bathroom and the two bedrooms. The main room had a sectioned off area with a delicate table and chairs, with a sitting space nearby. A tea set was on the table.

Emily had her hands clasped in front of her. David couldn’t help but milk in her appearance. Her evening gown was olive green, the curving neck revealing thin blue veins, a popular look. Gold lace created an almost veil-like appearance over the front of her chest. Her red hair, he noted, was piled on her head.

He smirked to himself, knowing what that meant.

She looked at him, moving only her eyes. A small smile made her look all the more pleasant.

Mr. Willows had his sketchbook and pencils laid on the table, and looked up when the family came in. “Ah, you’re here,” he said. Straightening, he adjusted his jacket’s collars. “I just called down for dinner. Should be up in an hour. Would you like to sit down? I can begin the sketch while we chat.”

“Thank you.” Mrs. Laurent said. She sat herself down on one end of the couch, and took up a cup of tea. She loved tea; it was her favourite drink. This cup was lovely, too.

David sat on the other end of the couch, with Emily next to him. He followed his mother’s lead and picked up two cups and saucers, handing one to her. She accepted it with a small nod of her head.

Mrs. Laurent gave her host a rare smile and asked, “May I ask where Mrs. Willows might be? I don’t think we’ve met her since we arrived.”

Emily looked at the woman with a slightly mournful expression. “My mother died when I was born.”

“My sincerest apologies,” She responded, looking not-too sincere. “I cannot fathom how difficult you must find it occasionally, raising your daughter as a widower.”

“It can be difficult, sometimes,” Mr. Willows admitted. “After all, girls need a mother like boys need a father. They often require both to be well-grown.”

Mrs. Laurent sipped her tea. “That is a wise point.”

The conversation continued, even as dinner arrived. Mr. Willows had gone to no expense to ensure that his guests ate well: a five-course meal, the wines complimenting each course beautifully. There was a thick, creamy vegetable soup, followed by chicken breasts in a mushroom sauce. Dessert was pastries, filled with cream.

David’s eyes closed contentedly. That was quite good. The next time they visited Santa Carla, he hoped they would stay in this hotel and order from downstairs.

Mr. Willows had finished with one piece of paper in his pad; he had carefully torn it out and had it face down next to him. He glanced back up, then returned to drawing.

“That was just lovely, Mr. Willows,” Mrs. Laurent said.

Her husband nodded in agreement. “It was delicious.”

“Father knows the owner, so he gets excellent service.” said Emily in response. “And then, we can always ask to have that service extended.” She continued, leaving David to believe that she had requested such for their family.

“Really?” He asked. “That’s surely useful.”

She nodded. “Father used the connection to get dried lilies brought up for my room.”

“You like lilies?”

“Yes. The fragrance is so sweet and gentle, and the blooms are bright and cheery.” She gave him a dreamy little smile. “How could I not like them?”

“Well, I’ve always preferred roses, myself…” he trailed off, his eyebrow raised in jest.

It was not until half past nine had come and gone that Mr. Laurent told his wife that it was beginning to get a little late. They stood, and Mr. Willows looked up, a little despairingly.

“My sketch isn’t done,” he said.

“Then what’s that on the table?” Mrs. Laurent asked, gesturing with a hand to the two pieces of paper on the table, face down.

“Composites. I wasn’t too pleased with them.” He replied, hesitating. “Would you like to see one?”

When she nodded, he picked the top one up and displayed it. The skill was evident; it looked just like the group. He had even drawn himself in, behind the couch where Emily sat. Mr. Laurent was next to him, Emily and David facing each other in conversation. Mrs. Laurent was seated in front of her husband.

“It’s excellent. May I?” Mrs. Laurent asked, holding out a gloved hand. When he obliged and passed it to her, she held it to the window. The sun was set only a short while ago, but the faintest traces of sun still lingered over the water; visible through the window. “It’s very good.” She said. David was mildly surprised; compliments were something rarely doled out. “May we keep this?”

“Of course. Perhaps I can give you the final copy tomorrow?”

David looked at Emily, who gave him a little motion with her fingertips, as if to say, ‘go on, go on.’ Clearing his throat, he said. “If it’s alright with Mr. Willows, mother, I could stay down her a little longer and have a conversation, and then when the sketch is done, I could bring it back up?”

“It’s fine by me,” Mr. Willows stated. “The lad is welcome to stay for a little while longer.”

Mr. Laurent looked at his wife and nodded. “If you’re willing to look after him for a short while, then by all means. But don’t stay too late, now. Don’t want to impede.”

“I’ll get the door for you,” Emily offered, giving her head a tiny shake to the side. David caught on and followed behind her.

“I won’t be too late, I promise.” He told his parents as Emily held open the door and closed it behind them.

She whispered in his ear before they returned to where Mr. Willows sat. “When you leave, wait just outside the door until I come.

And with that, she turned a drifted back to her father.

David stood there for just a second. He was utterly confused about what she was talking about, before a grin slowly spread across his features. Now he got it. And he was looking forwards to it.

Mr. Willows looked up as David approached. “Now that your parents are gone, I can show you the real sketch. I didn’t want them to see it, thought they may not approve.”

He held up the half-finished sketch on his notepad, making David’s jaw drop. Emily seemed shocked as well.

In this one, Emily sat on one end of the couch, facing inwards towards the middle. Her hands were folded demurely in her lap, and there was a pleasant expression on her face as she gazed towards the person on the other side of the couch. David. His legs were crossed at the ankles, with one hand supporting his weight on the couch, the other on his lap haphazardly. He, too, was looking at the person opposite him on the couch, his face free of the frown lines that had dominated his face that evening. Such was the trouble with overbearing parents. Behind the couch was Mr. Willows on Emily’s side, Mr. and Mrs. Laurent on the other behind David. Their parents were slightly lighter, as if faded on the paper.

It looked to David that he and Emily were quite interested in each other, at least through Mr. Willows’ eyes. Which wasn’t all that far from the truth.

“It’s impressive,” breathed David. Emily’s lower half was still mostly lines, and his parents faces bore hardly any resemblances to themselves, because they still had no faces.

“Thank you.” Mr. Willows said. There was an audible hint of pride in his voice. “Emily, dear, would you run and get the pen in your bedroom?” She nodded and moved into the room, closing the door. She was well aware that her father wanted to speak to David alone. “The one your mother and father took was one for them-this one is for you.”

“But why?”

“My boy, I can tell when young people are in love. That’s how I met Emily’s mother. And since your mother dislikes the idea-please don’t give me that surprised expression, I could tell easily-I want to encourage it. If no one does, it will wither and fade.”

David nodded. He was well aware of the fun that occurred when he irritated his mother.

Mr. Willows turned stern. “But even though I have blessings for your relationship, you must go about it properly.”

“Yes, sir.”

Emily returned from her bedroom and gave her father the fountain pen. He nodded in thanks, using it to scribble a note on the back of the sketch.

Mr. Willows didn’t take long after that to finish the sketch, and soon David was led to the door by Emily and her father. “We’ll see you tomorrow, David,” Mr. Willows said, shaking his hand. The now finished sketch was clutched in David’s hand tenderly.

“Thank you, sir. Goodnight.” David said, with a discrete wink at Emily. He passed through the door and beginning to walk down the hall. At the sound of the door closing, he stopped and leaned against the wall. Emily had told him to wait there, but for what, he only hoped he knew. She hadn’t said, but he was fairly certain. In all honesty, he was a little surprised at her coyness. It wasn’t something he expected. Then again, David had only met Emily the previous day. But, it was too scandalous, there was no way that she was thinking of her bed-any self-respecting person would hate the idea, so soon after they met. Like his mother.

He hoped all the more that she was thinking that.

Twenty minutes passed. Then thirty. David’s head was drooping forwards on his chest when the door softly, oh so softly, opened, with Emily peeking out.

“Come in,” she hissed. David obliged before the door was closed. The room was dark, and she was in her nightgown.

David blushed. He wasn’t expecting her to be in her nightgown, even after he had been half-thinking he would. “Why did you-”

“I had to wait for father to fall asleep, it took so long,” Emily moaned. Her voice was low, trying to keep quiet.

“Shhhh, don’t worry about that.” David said, putting a finger to her lips. He gently stroked the side of her face with his hand. “He’s asleep now, right?”

Emily nodded. “Yes.”

“And would I be right in thinking that you told me to stay for, ah, that?”

Emily’s eyes were a mix of surprise at his quick revelation and pleasure. She nodded.

A feeling of great joy and happiness welled up within David.

“Well, then, let’s go into your room, eh?”

A drink of blood by Chika

Emily’s bedroom felt a little small, being dominated by a large canopy bed and matching armoire. The nightstand held a small box, with only a delicate carving of a detailed heart on the top.

“That was my mothers, it’s a music box.” Emily said, lifting the lid. The twinkling melody petered out of the box. The tune was almost melancholy, but childish. The sound made David’s earlier euphoria from just minutes before fade. It was a haunting, disturbing tune.

“It’s beautiful.” He said, unsure of what else to say.

Emily nodded, and turned her head to look at him. “Ah, shall we get comfortable, then?”

Neither of them had any experience in the act. It was one of those things: Parents did not speak to their growing children of it, parents did not explain where younger siblings came from, and, heaven forbid, they did not explain how it was done. It was not to be done before marriage. And as either David nor Emily were married or engaged, they were struck for a few moments on how it worked. Eventually, though, nature provided them in the right direction. Things went rather smoothly from there.

David was pulling his pants back up as Emily lay on the bed, watching his back. She felt wonderful, still on a joyous high from their adventure. She saw the sketch folded neatly inside David’s pants pocket. “Is that father’s drawing?”

David’s hand fell to the picture. “Yes, it is.” He said, He pulled it out, admiring the lines under the moonlight. The bedpost cast a line down the middle of the picture, giving him an idea.

“What are you doing?” Emily hissed. David had carefully folded it down the middle and was now tearing it into two, doing so very slowly.

“I’m dividing it in half.” He responded. “You’ll take the half with me, and I’ll take the half with you. We can even write addresses on the back to write letters.” He turned them over, but to his surprise, the note Mr. Willows had scribbled on the back was their address. “Although your father beat me to yours.”

Emily sat up. “That’s a good idea.”

David passed his side to her. “Keep it on your person at all times, alright?”

“Why?”

He didn’t quite know how to answer that. His instincts were telling him that something big, really big, was going to happen, but what it was, he had no idea.

“I don’t know. But please…will you?”

Emily looked into David’s eyes for a moment, and softened. “I will.”

“Thank you.” Finished fastening his pants, he straightened and looked at her on the bed. He was in the window, leaving only his silhouette visible to her. It was probably very late, and he knew that it was time to get back to his own hotel room. “I should go.”

Emily nodded and climbed off the bed. She led the way to the door. “Will I see you tomorrow?”

David’s instincts flared at that word, telling him it wouldn’t come. But he lied. “Of course.”

Emily gave a nod, and opened the door. “Good night.”

“Good night.”

David sank onto his bed when he returned to his room. It was lucky that he had a key in his pocket; otherwise, his parents could have realized that he didn’t come back. He had the idea that if he had to go down to the lobby and have the night clerk let him in, they could have known. Clerks didn’t get that quiet was important when sneaking in.

Sleep was slowly claiming him, but pulled himself off his bed long enough to put on pyjamas and slip back under the covers. They were so soft, and David hadn’t been able to appreciate them the night before. But now, he had Emily’s address-so he could mail her-and they had somewhat declared themselves to each other in her bed, so he was elated.
He drifted off to sleep, the moonlight reflecting in his face.

A sudden tremor pulled David from slumber, jolting him sitting upright. What in the world was that? It can’t-it can’t be an earthquake! It was followed half a minute later by a shaking even worse than the first. He threw the sheets off of him and ran out of the bedroom. His parents ran out of their room a second later.

Without saying a word, David opened the door and ran out before his parents. Other guests were doing the same thing, filling the air with screams and they stumbled in the shaking. One person fell to the floor and was quickly trampled. Everyone was moving for the golden elevator, but it wasn’t moving and there was no way everyone would get down it.

“THIS WAY!” David roared to his parents, pumping his arm towards the staircase. The family ran down, his mother’s chest heaving hysterically. The shaking stopped, and, for a moment, all was still. But it started again, like a low, dull roar. The window in the stairway revealed a horrifying sight: The view was shifting, becoming lower and lower. The hotel was sinking.

“RUN FASTER!” Mr. Laurent shrieked, pulling his wife as fast as he could. David followed, but stumbled briefly, letting his parents get out of sight. He could hear screams puncture the air through the stairway and floors.

He leaped the last three steps into the lobby, where the guests from all floors were running in their nightclothes, shoeless, looking frantically for friends and family members. The staff was doing similarly.

David was shoved to the side of the room, before the debris started to fall. He stumbled again, falling to the floor as a large rock fell.

A piercing, white-hot pain attacked his limbs and he roared in agony. The rock was crushing and puncturing his legs simultaneously. Blood was beginning to seep out onto the floor.

A red haired figure streaked past, and David reached out his arm, trembling.

“Emily….” He cried. His voice was little more than a whimper. The lights were beginning to dim as black spots spread over his vision.

He lost consciousness, still trapped under the rock.

-----

“Shhhh, don’t make a sound, I’m here.”

A voice was softly speaking to him, a hand patting him gently on the head for a moment. David’s eyes were too weak to open, and he lay there. He was barely awake, the crushing weight ending any possible saving of his legs. If he didn’t die, he’d never walk again, that was certain.

“Now, don’t think like that. Just rest, close your eyes, relax. I’ll get you out of here.” The same voice assured him. The patting of his head stopped, and he realized that he could hear other voices, yells, grunts. The shifting of debris filtered out other noises every few seconds.

There was a grunt, and the insane weight lifted off his legs. “There we are,” the voice said approvingly. “Just remain slack, and I’ll get you fit as a fiddle in no time, my boy.”
A sheet of some sort was swept over him, the softness rough on his skin. He was very carefully turned over under the blanket, and a strong pair of arms lifted him up. His own arms dangled below him.

The arms-his brain dimly wondered if the voice owned the arms- began carrying him. “This one’s gone,” The voice said to another. “I’ll deliver it with the other one.” A second of fear flickered through him. Was he dead?

The arms were lifting him up a steep...something. Feet crunched over gravel and small rubble, before David was carefully laid, sitting up, in a somewhat cushioned seat of some sort. His hand was uncovered by the wind, and he could feel another blanket next to him. There was a very soft moan from the other blanket.

The seat bounced slightly as the voice spoke again. “You two will be stronger than ever soon enough. In fact, you’ll probably never hurt again!” It chuckled, as the sound of an engine started up. The crunching sound started again, and he could feel himself moving, not of his own volition.

The engine stopped a short while later. There was a grunt as the other blanket was removed, followed by the sound of someone walking over wooden planks. There was the whine of a dog close by.

“Thorn, keep guard over our other new guest.”

What was a Thorn? David wondered. He coughed a little. He still couldn’t feel his legs.
The arms returned and lifted him up, and he was carried. The sound of walking on wooden planks was under him now, and stopped after a few second. It was a second or two later that he was gently laid on a soft surface. A bed? A soft bit of grass? He still didn’t know if he was dead or not.

The blanket was removed from his face, and he squinted with a little energy as he could muster. There was a bright light off to the side-was he in Heaven? Was that why he didn’t feel his legs?

And who was that?

A male face, benign and concerned, looked down at him. He recognized the man from somewhere. Somewhere with food, and something that involved money.

“Still awake? Your new brother’s still out.” He said. He was the voice, it seemed.
David couldn’t work his vocal cords. His mouth had been open, slack, since he woke, and it was dry as a bone. He wondered if the man had anything to drink.

“That can wait a moment. But first-do you want to be healed?” the man asked. “Do you want to live forever young? I can give you that. Do you want it?”

He briefly considered it. Anything below his lower stomach was a dull ache, and he felt like needles and pins were stuck all over his body. Yes, he wanted healing. And being young would be nice.

“Very good, then. Drink this, you’ll feel better.”

A glint of metal reflected in his eyes, and a minute later a goblet of some sort was pressed to his lips. The man gently opened his lips wider, tipping the goblet into the opening.

The liquid that streamed from it was thick, warm. It had a funny coppery taste, but he liked it. The goblet’s flow slowed, and his mouth opened and closed a little. Would he get more? It tasted so good, and the pain was just beginning to lessen. His eyelids felt so heavy.

“Now, you should sleep. My name is Max. I’ll be your new father. Sleep today, and tonight, I’ll give you more.”

David’s eyelids flickered, and he wondered why it became so dark when the man-Max? - exterminated the dimly glowing light bulb on the table. He squinted over his head, realizing that heavy, thick blinds covered the windows.

“Sleep.” Max said firmly. He placed a finger over his eyes, closing the lids. His fingers were so cold, like the dead.

“There’s a reason. Now, go to sleep. Things will be clearer this evening. I have to tend to your new brother.”

He could hear the heavy footsteps leave the room. The man’s voice was in the next room, he guessed. Sounded like he was murmuring to his brother? But he was an only child. He didn’t have a brother.

The goblet was on the table next to him. He could smell the faintest traces of the coppery liquid left clinging to the bottom. But he was so weak, too weak to reach over and grab it. After stretching over with his head, he slumped back against the pillow. God, he was tired. Maybe he should sleep. If he was tired, did that mean he wasn’t dead?

His closed eyes were becoming vacant. Sleep did sound nice. Even though the shade covered every inch of the window, he could almost see the sun rise slowly. The very thought made sleep all the more appealing.

Perhaps he would sleep. His last thought was if Emily had survived whatever happened.


David woke with a groan. He was thirsty, unbelievably thirsty. Didn’t the man say he could have more of the liquid that night? It felt like night. What was his name? Max? That sounded right.

With a start, he realized that the pain was lessened a little, and some feeling had returned to his legs. With a lot of effort, he could just feel his toes wiggle slightly, and took great delight in repeating the action.

The gentle sounds of speaking were in the next room. There was a low groan, and Max entered his room. “Ah, an early riser, I see.”

David opened his mouth like a fish. He was too thirsty to speak. He desperately wanted the liquid again.

“Yes, I thought you might. Luckily, I topped up a bottle before I came up.”

Max poured the contents of a wine bottle into the goblet. The scent of the salty, coppery liquid filled the room. He whimpered, wanting it so badly.

“Yes, you can have it. Drink, drink all you want.”

The goblet was pressed once more to David’s lips, and it streamed down his throat.
“M-more.” David whimpered, his voice so quiet it was almost inaudible.

“Drink.” Again, the goblet was pressed to his lips. He drank it eagerly, the taste reminding him of the time he sucked the poison from a snakebite in his knee. It was so much like-

Blood.

It was blood.

He stopped drinking, looking blearily at Max. “B…lood. Blood.”

“Yes, it is.” The man responded. “Is there something wrong with that?”

Of course there was; he couldn’t drink blood. It was disgusting.

“You want it, don’t you?”

He did; but half of him was disgusted.

“That will fade, I assure you. It’s already healing your body, did you notice?”

He had, but he hadn’t attributed it to drinking blood.

Oh, God, was he a vampire?

“No, my boy. You’re a half vampire.”

A what?

“A half vampire. You will become a full vampire when you make your first kill.”

He couldn’t kill someone, that was wrong. But even so, David wanted the blood so badly.

Max patted him on the head. There was another low moan from the room next door.

“Ah, your brother’s waking up.” Max straightened, dusting off his impeccable clothes. “I’ll have to borrow this bottle, though. He will need it terribly. The poor lad’s even worse off than you, and you had a boulder crushing your legs!”

David’s eyes widened as Max left his room. A boulder had crushed his legs? Is that why they had hurt so much? Was that why he had been unable to move or feel his legs?

And as for being a vampire- Right now, it sounded a little okay, if it stopped the hurting in his legs. But he couldn’t see his family if he was one, could he?

The faces of Emily and his parents swirled over his head. His parents irritated him to no end, but he still wanted to see them again.

He closed his eyes. This was complicated.

He could hear Max’s voice next door. The man spoke softly, reminiscent of being in the room of the infirm. Was the person in there very ill? He supposed he was; after all, he had been told that he was better off than this brother. Still couldn’t remember having a brother.

He stared over his head at the ceiling. What was he going to do, lying in this bed while his legs healed? He couldn’t walk, that was for sure. He briefly wondered what had happened at the hotel.

Max re-entered the room again. Was he going to keep moving back and forth, in between the two? Wouldn’t it have been easier to put them in one room?

Max paused. “That is an excellent idea.” He moved over to examine David, checking over his legs intently. “Hopefully, they won’t be too jostled. Nonetheless, I have something to help prevent that…”

He left once more, returning with two pieces of wood and blankets. “We’ll wrap you up and stiffen your legs with the wood.” He explained. A thought dimly registered in David’s brain, acknowledging the idea.

His legs had a piece of wood wrapped in a blanket each under his legs, and then wrapped with the wood in another blanket. By the end, he seemed to have a tail instead of legs.

He was lifted by Max, and maneuvered out the door. His eyelids flickered, the light in the small hallway was brighter than in his room. The room he was brought into was also darker than the hall, and had two beds. One was occupied, but he couldn’t make out any features.

Max carefully laid David on the second bed, in the corner. Then, carefully, his legs were unwrapped. The bottle, on the nightstand between the two beds, was tipped to his lips. He was allowed only a few sips, but it cleared another part of the murk surrounding his mind.

“That was an excellent idea. Now, you know my name, and I am sure of yours, but tell me your name.”

“David.” He croaked. His voice sounded horrible. “David Laurent.”

“No no, not David Laurent. The name ‘Laurent’ is now dead to you.” Max said. It would not do to have sons with different names than his. “From tonight on you are David Walter. Like myself and your brother.” He gestured to the other bed. David turned to look at his ‘new brother’ for the first time.

To his surprise, it was the desk clerk from the previous day. His dark hair was matted and had dust in it, but that wasn’t the worst. A piece of cloth was tied around his head and covered his eyes. There were specks of blood staining it. His nose twitched. He could smell the blood in the boy.

“You see, David, he’s not a half vampire yet.” David turned to look at Max, a little surprised. “He’s still gravely ill. He will be your brother, but it’s best for them to be conscious when they drink. And, of course, it helps them if one gets their approval. Makes things much less complicated. But even so, vampiric blood is good for healing, even on mortals.”
Max pulled down the boy’s blankets, enough for David to see cloths coating his chest. They were deep red. “So, if I put some of my own blood in contact with his skin, it will help him wake sooner.”

The boy groaned, as if he knew they were talking about him.

“He should hopefully wake up tomorrow.”

His mouth opened and closed, while his brain looked to find the words. Max stopped him by putting a finger to his lips. “Hush. You need rest.”

But he wanted to know what had happened. Couldn’t Max tell him while he rested?

“I could.” Max pondered that for a moment, and shrugged. “I’ll tell you what happened, if you so want.”

He sat on the only chair in the room, making himself comfortable before starting in. “There was an earthquake last night.”

That single sentence made his heart stop for a moment. So there had been an earthquake.

“I was flying by the hotel at the time when the San Andreas Fault started rumbling. Almost immediately after the quake, the ground under the hotel crumbled. It sank into the ground, swallowed down its gullet. There were a lot of injuries. By the time an hour had passed, volunteers were beginning to search for survivors….and bodies.” Max paused; he felt no need to explain why he had chosen both boys. He would have to change the story slightly. “When I found your brother, he was trapped under a chandelier and rocks. They broke his ribs, punctured his eyes, and seriously wounded him. He would be long dead by now if I hadn’t decided to make him my son. I pulled one of the sheets over him, and brought him up to my car. If anyone asked, he was dead, too gruesome to remain at the hotel. I went back down. That’s when I saw you, under the rock.”

“Well, you were much easier to get out. There was less debris, for one. And you weren’t injured as badly. I did the same as before; a sheet over you. You were in my car, next to the other. I brought you here, to my home, and there we are. That’s what happened.”

David was silent. Had he been able to say anything above a whisper, he might have cried out. But he couldn’t. To his family, he was probably dead. To Emily, he was probably dead. He would be forgotten, a name left on a memorial; nothing more. Despair welled up within him. He was so distressed, he didn’t even notice that Max had said ‘flying by’.

“Now, don’t think like that.” Max pressed the wine bottle to his lips once more. “You are now my first born son, my childe. That is a weighty place to us.”

He wondered how so. The blood in the bottle felt so smooth down his throat, soothing his voice box and making him feel more energetic, he spoke, quietly. His voice was creaky and weathered. “How is that?”

“First childes usually are a little more powerful than the others.” Max explained. “Their parent vampire, or sire, as we say, often imbues the first drink of their first childe with one of their own gifts-we can develop such gifts over time. But only the first childe can receive this, and if the sire chooses to pass over it, it can happen no more until all his children die.”

“Did I get it?” he asked. He had noticed that speaking in a whisper was much less painful than trying to speak at a normal volume. And Max seemed to be able to hear it.
“Perhaps…” Max responded. “Perhaps not. I’m not going to tell you.”

David frowned. He wanted to know.

He was distracted then by a loud rumble in his abdomen. He was hungry-how had he not noticed before?

“You sound like you’re hungry,” Max said, a smile twitching the corners of his mouth. “I’ll see if I have anything good to eat. I don’t need to eat, so I don’t usually have a full pantry. When the maid comes in, she brings her own meals.”

He watched as Max left with a chuckle. The other boy let out a soft moan.

Brother by Chika

Author's Notes:
DISCLAIMER: Dracula belongs to Bram Stoker. Carmilla belongs to Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu.
Max could not cook many things. That much was simple.

There was no need when you drank blood. It was just one of those things that all fledglings were unwilling to let go of, still clinging to their humanity. He found it almost amusing-they required no food, yet they often continued to eat like mortals. He shook his head with an amused sigh. Perhaps David would learn this quick enough. There was no need.

He found a pot of chicken soup left by the maid. Bless her. She came by each morning and left each night. As far as she knew, he worked all day and was never home. Spent all Sunday at church. She was very good; kept the floors swept and everything clean. She usually left a bowl or pot of food, covered, for him. On the rare occasions their paths crossed, she would comment that ‘sir should eat a little more’. He had a tendency to eat his maids and servants after six months. By that point, they had a habit of being unbearably nosy. She had already lasted a year without that.

Well, Max didn’t need the soup, but he imagined that it would be good for David. Chicken soup good for illness and all that. He chuckled. The boy wouldn’t have to worry about illness soon enough.

The soup was heated up over the fireplace in the living room. Unconventional, yes, but he didn’t use the oven unless he really needed to. He wasn’t too fond of it, in all honesty. Too much smoke and soot. And it took so long to fully warm up. He wasn’t totally sure how it worked, either. The fireplace wasn’t much better, but he found he preferred it. It reminded him more of his life….what? Two, three hundred years ago? How the years pile up after a while.

The soup pot was steaming gently and he ladled it into a bowl. He carried it in on a tray, a spoon gleaming next to it.

David was still lying on the bed, just watching the ceiling. The boy’s thoughts were focused mostly on his human life, his parents, a girl-ah, broke tradition, just the night before, Max noticed. He laid the tray on a chair while he picked up another pillow. It was nearly impossible to eat soup lying down. David didn’t do anything as his new father propped him up. His eyes merely flickered to the steaming soup.

“Mine?”

“Yes, it is.” Max laid the tray on David’s lap, before looking at the other bed for a moment. The boy’s conscious was still submerged under his pain. He still had no idea what his name was, the only thing he got occasionally was flashes of fire-fire everywhere. He checked the bandages. They needed rewetting. What he had told David was true, vampiric blood was good for healing, but only if put directly on the wound. It was a sneaky way of making them into a half vampire, since the blood entered into the blood stream without them realizing. It was very slow, and the transformation was later assisted by drinking sire’s blood. Otherwise, they’d be forever changing. But it did tend to help ensure survival in cases like this.

“David? Please, hold your breath for a minute.”

David complied, and Max pulled out a small knife. The sharp edge was bloodstained, and the sight made David feel weak with desire.

Max pulled one of the bandages off the boy’s arm, revealing a nasty gash at least an inch wide. He frowned at it, as it still had not healed-obviously. His wrist was held over the gash, and with the swoop of the blade, trickles of blood began to drop onto the wound.

David stared, amber beginning to shift into his normally blue eyes.

“No, you can’t have it, drink your soup.” Max said firmly. His back was to David, but he had no trouble in guessing the boy’s thoughts. Any half vampire would be desperate after smelling blood.

The wound in his wrist closed after a few minutes, leaving the gash coating in a sticky covering of blood. Max replaced the bandage, and looked at David. His eyes were fully amber, and his baby fangs were just beginning to sprout from his gums.

“Back to your soup.” Max told him. “If you really want it, I can put a little blood in it. A little.”

David nodded eagerly, and the bottle was tipped into the bowl’s side, giving the broth a slightly red colour.

“Better?”

“Yes.”

The room was overtaken by silence, save for the sound of David drinking. His arms shook just a little as the boy moved. Max shook his head. Poor boy. Well, he would be fine soon enough.

But the silence…the annoying, absolute silence…it needed removing. He didn’t have anything that could make it lift the dreary mood. Perhaps his maid-Anne, that was her name, right? - would find a letter addressed to her that morning for something. Even if it was just a harmonica.

Or maybe his sons would like to read. He assumed they could, since he knew David’s original parents had been well off, and the other had been working in the hotel as a clerk. Or, rather, David might like to read, since his brother’s eyes were still badly injured. Maybe, he thought, a smile forming, he’d read to his brother. He was drawn from his thoughts by a voice.

“I’m done.”

David looked at Max, his bowl now empty of soup. “Excellent, a good appetite. You’ll do well.” He said. The boy was going to be an outstanding blood drinker in a few years. For now, what books should he bring them?

Dracula, of course. Max had a first edition copy, which he had...ah…forcibly made Bram Stoker sign. It was one of his prized possessions. The boys wouldn’t get that one, no, he had a second copy. They could read that. Polidori had a good story, as well. Carmilla. He would get them the best vampire literature; miniature lessons contained within each. There were small things incorrect in each tale, but they made them, to him, all the more enjoyable. Yes, those stories would do nicely.

“I have to leave now, David.” He said. He would have preferred to stay longer, but his restaurant needed his expertise. “The bottle is plenty full. Drink from it, not your brother. If he wakes, which I find unlikely, offer him the choice to be eternally young and healed. Do not say the word ‘vampire’, it can lead to difficulties. I will be back around three.”

David watched as Max left with only slight interest. The man confused him a little. What was the point in keeping so many secrets? And why did he continually refer to him and the other boy as his ‘sons’? Was he one of those lunatics, who wanted to force people into being his family?

He had a feeling that that much was true.

He dozed on and off that night, slumbering through the next day. He was out solidly when Max returned, removing the tray and bowl. He was not interrupted when Max brought home a woman, only to kill her as she screamed. He was interrupted the next night when the boy groaned and spoke.

“Where am I?”

David woke slowly and turned to look at the boy. His head was turning side to side, trying to figure out where he was. Only problem was, Max still had him blindfolded, and there was, of course, his injured eyes. He had a soft voice, but it was raspy. Then again, David didn’t know how he could talk at all, since there had been a chandelier and rock crushing his chest, according to Max.

“You’re with me.”

The boy stopped turning and trying to look when David spoke. Apparently, he thought he was alone.

“Who are you?”

“David. And you are?”

“Dw-Dwayne.”

Max was coming in to check on the boys when he heard Dwayne naming himself. “Ah, good! You’re awake.”

Dwayne stiffened as Max patted the boy softly on the shoulder. “Would you like to feel better?” Max asked him. “I can give you something that would keep you healthy for eternity. You’ll never age, you’ll never hurt. Do you want it?”

David turned away from the pair. He felt they should receive at least a little privacy. If he could, he would have left the room, but his legs were still immobile. Dwayne seemed to agree, since he could hear Max lift the wine bottle and goblet off the nightstand between the beds.

“You won’t regret it….Dwayne, wasn’t it? You won’t regret it, Dwayne.” He said, filling the goblet steadily. David eyed the stream of red blood. It was pressed to Dwayne’s lips. “Drink.”

Dwayne swallowed several mouthfuls of the blood, giving a spastic shiver once the goblet was removed from his lips. David didn’t envy him. He was in for a shock. “Can I have some more, Max?” he asked.

“I suppose it wouldn’t hurt.” Replied Max, pouring some more into the goblet and passing it to David. “If Dwayne wants more, please try to give it to him, eh?” Max asked. “I have to go back to work. Lucky I could close it after the earthquake.”

Dwayne turned to David after Max left. “There was an earthquake?” His quiet voice shook.

“Yeah. Max picked us up after it.” David shook his head. “You shouldn’t talk, you need to rest.” Great, he sounded like Max. “You’ve got enough damage to recover from, so I won’t tell you what Max told me unless you keep quiet.”

Dwayne didn’t respond, but nodded his head.

David recounted the story. “…So now, you and I are, well, half vampires.” Perhaps he shouldn’t have told the poor guy so soon, but he was going to find out eventually, wasn’t he? Better to tell him now than to let him find out on his own, as David had. He was doing him a favour.

Dwayne was silent, which didn’t bother David. He had told him to be quiet, and had been crushed, so it was probably good that he was silent. Then again, was he in shock about the part where he had been told he was a half vampire? He couldn’t decide.

A thought brushed against David’s mind, startling him. Oh, God, what have I done? He realized that he was hearing Dwayne’s thoughts, and grinned. So, that was how Max knew what he was thinking. Made sense. “What you’ve done is drink blood. So, like me, you’re a half vampire.”

What is he talking about? I’ve never drunken blood. Is he going to kill me?

“I’m not going to kill you. Never thought of it. And you did drink blood, that was the stuff Max gave you.” He was half amused by Dwayne’s confusion, but half pitied him at the same time. “You and I, though, we’re ‘brothers’, according to Max.”

There was no response from Dwayne’s thoughts, just a curiosity as to how David knew what he was thinking. David reached for a book on the nightstand, anything to alleviate the boredom setting in. “Max left some stuff for us to read. Want me to read out loud?”

Dwayne nodded, prompting David to look at the cover of the book he picked up. Dracula. He smirked. That was fitting. He opened the book and flipped to the first page. “Chapter one.” He stated. “Jonathon Harker’s journal. The third of May, Bistritz-Left Munich at 8:35 P.M. on the first of May, arriving at Vienna early next morning….”

They progressed quickly through the novel, Dwayne sometimes thinking the meaning of a word or David sometimes explaining one back. The sleep that David had begun associating with sunrise came upon them when Jonathon Harker’s journal was ending.

David stopped when he caught Dwayne’s yawn. “We can continue tomorrow night.” In all honesty, he was quite impressed by what had been revealed of Dracula so far. Could they really fly, crawl down walls and turn into mist? Fascinating.

Dwayne shook his head, thinking, No, continue the story. I can stay awake.

“Oh, no, you can’t.” David said, shaking his head. The closer the day came, the harder hearing the thoughts became. It was like the daylight haze covering their minds closed them, as well. “We seem to be sleepy in the day.” He marked their page in the book with a provided bookmark-had Max thought of everything? It seemed like it- and placed it on the nightstand, his fingers brushing over the wine bottle. The thought of the blood within it was so tempting. David lifted the bottle, pouring a healthy amount into the goblet. He lifted it to his lips, draining it. “Do you want a drink before we sleep?”

Dwayne’s head bowed slightly before he gave an answer. David caught argumentative thoughts, whether it would help, whether he should. I suppose it won’t hurt. It won’t, will it?

“No.” said David, refilling the goblet. He was still unable to stand or walk, but he found that, if he reached over and leaned on the nightstand, he was just able to reach Dwayne’s head to pour the blood into his mouth.

Dwayne’s upper body lifted a little to help him drink, and he fell back onto his pillows after with a small thump.

Dwayne’s mind was quiet, his breathing slow and steady. David slumped back onto his own pillows. The boy seemed to be out for the day. He wasn’t totally surprised; after all, he had fallen asleep quickly the first day. Even now, his eyelids were drooping heavily, and it was just seconds before he followed Dwayne into slumber.

-----

Emily was worried. Her father had broken his arm in the earthquake, and he was checked out of the hospital as quickly as possible to make room for more seriously injured patients. He was sitting upright in his bed, staring vacant holes into the wall across. Occasionally, he’d pick up a pencil and scribble a note or scrawl a drawing onto paper, but mostly he just stared. It was like he was still in shock.

She herself was lucky. She had run from the sinking hotel unharmed. But there had been a moment, running through the lobby, that she had thought she heard David’s voice, crying for her weakly. She hadn’t seen anyone there, but the cry still made her heart feel heavy.

With a sigh, she picked up a cloth and wiped the thin sheen of sweat from her father’s face. Now he was mumbling to himself. The darkness in the room was stifling, she had to leave, just get out, if only for a minute. Her cousin had come to their home in Los Gatos after the earthquake to help them both. Emily left her with her father and went to the front lawn. The sun always rose to the front of their small home, and as her room was in the front, she woke with the sun daily. She loved it.

Emily took a deep breath, the fresh air and sunlight relaxing her a little. They had let their only servant go; with her father unable to work in his current state, there was no money coming in and they had to save it however they could. She could cook a few things, and she was rapidly learning how to cook more. Cleaning the lavatory was one task that she soon detested.

The sun warmed her arms under her puffy sleeves, and she took another deep breath. The light always found a way to relax her, as if warming a dark hole inside of her. She felt better already.

Her hand fell to the pocket of her skirt. A piece of paper, a fold line worn down the middle, was tucked inside. She reached for the paper, unfolding it for the umpteenth time, to stare at the face drawn. David looked so happy and carefree in it, and now, he might be dead. She flipped it over for the address he had added onto the back, the tidy, flowing letters telling her that his mail went to San Francisco. Maybe, if he had lived, he would have gone back to San Francisco-or maybe he was already mouldering in the hotel. Once as many survivors and bodies had been pulled from the wreckage, the council had the police stationed outside, saying that the place of tragedy should be left alone, and the dead in peace. He had already announced that a statue would be placed in the town park.

Tears welled up in Emily’s eyes, not for the first time. She turned and went back into the house, pulling a handkerchief from her bedroom and dabbing at her eyes. The worst part of it was when she had seen Mr. and Mrs. Laurent, frantically looking for their son. She had helped look, and none of them had any luck. His mother’s had dropped to her husband’s shoulder, sobbing in desperate agony over their loss. And now, he was gone.

She stared out the window in her bedroom, placing a hand on her abdomen. Her lower stomach had felt a little funny when she woke up that morning, and she almost felt somewhat nauseous. It was not a good time to become sick, not with having to care for her father. And she had to find a way to bring money in. There were few jobs she could take, fewer jobs that suited her. Even so, there had to be something.

Having taken a few minutes to compose herself, she straightened and returned to her father’s room.

The kill by Chika

The next few weeks passed with several events. Firstly, David had his first levitation; rousing him from sleep to find himself on the ceiling. It was only when Max came in and, after congratulating him, gave him directions on how to stop levitating that he returned to his bed. David didn’t see how it deserved congratulations. It just made him feel even further from his previous life. Now, he rested on his bed with ropes loosely tied over his legs and chest, securing him to the bed. If he floated again, he could only rise a foot over his bed at most.

Secondly, his legs were healed enough for him to walk. It was a pleasant experience to be able to stand up and take his first steps. He felt like a child, discovering its own ability to walk for the first time. Even so, he liked being able to get up and sit on Dwayne’s bed if he so desired. The freedom of movement was a delight.

Thirdly, Dwayne’s chest had healed enough for him to speak. He didn’t do it much, but the cuts and various bruises were gone. Faintly pink scars were all that remained on the surface of his body. And his eyes were recovered-Max didn’t know it, but there was moments when the blindfold was removed and he could see. They would let Max in on the secret. Eventually.

They had finished reading Dracula, and quite enjoyed it. Just the previous night, they had spent perhaps half the night discussing the powers Count Dracula had. Max had decided to tell them that, no, they could not become mist, or turn into wolves or bats. No, they could not walk in the sun as full vampires or crawl down walls. Yes, as David had inadvertedly demonstrated, they could fly. Yes, holy water burned them, no garlic did not. Yes, no, yes no. He seemed to find it amusing, crushing their shared fantasies. They, on the other hand, did not find it so amusing.

He admitted that he wasn’t going to tell them everything about being a vampire, saying that they needed to find it out on their own. That annoyed them both, and agreed that they didn’t have to tell Max everything.

They had eaten very little since the earthquake. Besides one bowl of soup, they had eaten a few pieces of toasted bread and a cracker between them. For the most part, they drank from the wine bottle. It seemed to sustain the hunger of two half vampires, and Max replaced it with another bottle as the last was emptied. They had no idea how many bottles of blood he had, but it was a week before the original bottle returned.

The earthquake had undeniably changed their lives, and they had mostly become accustomed to lying in bed all night and sleeping all day. David read Dracula aloud to Dwayne, and they’d occasionally talk about what would be their new life. Little was said in general about their lives before, but it hung in the back of David’s mind. Sometimes, he wondered why he had been so worried about his parents at first.

They were rereading Dracula when something…strange…happened to Dwayne. They had reached Transylvania on the backs of Van Helsing and the others, when Dwayne’s hands clenched at the sheets and he let of a cry of unadulterated agony. His shoulders rolled inwards as he buckled and thrashed in his bed. It stopped after a moment, but there was a sheen of sweat on his face.

David could only watch as Dwayne sniffed the air, his mouth opening at the smell of David’s blood. Two fangs were nestled in his mouth. He breathed heavily, like a starved animal.

David didn’t know what to do. Max wasn’t home, so he couldn’t tell them what to do. Dwayne’s thoughts were incoherent, but one word kept floating in his brain: Pain. The wine bottle sat between them. It was the only things that he could think of, maybe Dwayne’s chest wasn’t as healed as they thought and he grew fangs as a reaction to pain.

Cautiously, David sat up and reached across to Dwayne. If the blood in the bottle didn’t work, he didn’t know what would. The bottle was half-full, thankfully, and he managed to get close to his mouth without being bitten. Dwayne calmed a little at the smell of blood, and allowed the bottle to be tipped into his mouth.

The blood did the trick, and his fangs receded into his gums. David lay the wine bottle back on the nightstand and lay on his own bed. Dwayne’s thoughts began to trickle back to him.

“What happened?” David asked him.

It was several minutes before Dwayne responded. “I-I don’t know. There was a pain in my stomach. All I know is that I badly wanted blood-human blood.” He hesitated. “But when you gave me the blood in the bottle, it stopped.”

David frowned. He could almost feel the pain racing through Dwayne’s mind, his own hand absently rising to lie on his stomach. Was his reaction caused by the shift to vampirism? He had never seen Max deal with it.

“Maybe we should ask our ‘Father’.”

Dwayne nodded. “Can you find our spot in the book?”

David nodded and picked Dracula off the floor, where it had lain since he dropped it in worry.

Max returned at three, as he usually did. The boys knew the restaurant closed at midnight, but neither knew what he did for three hours. They had hazarded a few guesses; eating a few victims being the top. Could drinking someone’s blood really last three hours? Both agreed it probably didn’t. What he did was something they planned to discover.

Max returned like clockwork, at three almost exactly. He poked his head in their room, his face a little less pale than normal. This, they had come to associate with feeding. There was also a small blood smear above his lip. “Hello, boys.” he said in greeting. “Are you both doing alright?”

“Yes, Max. But something happened while you were out.” David began, looking over at Dwayne briefly before continuing. “Dwayne had a pain in his stomach. Really wanted human blood. Does that mean anything?”

Max’s face lit up. “It’s a positive sign.”

David felt surprise from his brother. “Why?”

“Well, it means that he is reaching the point where he’ll be willing to hunt and make his first kill, of course.”

Was that what it was? Bloodlust as a sign of maturing? He was almost jealous. How come Dwayne-who had been turned after him-became matured as a half vampire faster?

“Easily. His body was more severely injured, so he needs more blood. Thus, the desire rose faster.”

David fumed. Max was reading his thoughts again. “So, it’ll happen to me eventually?”

“Yes. When you can no longer fight the urge subconsciously, the pain will manifest and the bloodlust will rise.” Max’s finger traced the rim of the wine bottle. “And when it does, just drink my blood in the bottle. It will help immensely. In fact, that’s probably why it took this long for it rise. I’m guessing you did that for Dwayne?”

He nodded.

“Good. Now then, boys, I’ll be gone for the rest of the night, so behave.”

“Think he’s lying?” Dwayne asked, once Max’s footsteps were gone.

“No. I mean, drinking from the bottle helped you, didn’t it?”

Dwayne gave a small shrug. “I suppose. Since I don’t feel any worse for it.”

It was silent for a while. David shifted in his bed and said, “I’m going to try floating again. You going to try?”

“I’ll let you try first.” Dwayne gave him a wolfish grin. “That way, if you can’t do it, I know I’ll probably be unable to.”

“Thanks.” David responded sarcastically, before taking a deep breath. He had no idea whatsoever how it worked. It was a surprise when he woke up next to the ceiling. And although Max had told him how to get down, he wanted to learn how to get up. That would be the hard part.

He pulled his legs over the ropes, marveling at their undamaged appearance. Max had said that, at first, they had been covered in cuts, his bones broken, and now, there was only pink scars left. Under the surface, he knew that the muscles were almost done healing, the bones were mended, and recovery was in its end stages. It was obvious already that they recuperated much faster than they did as normal people.

David closed his eyes and focused. Up. He wanted to go up. Thoughts were entirely concentrated upon this point, and he pictured himself rising to meet the ceiling once more. Rising higher, unbound by the ground…

Nothing happened the first time. He was unsuccessful the second time as well. It was only on the third try that he felt the bed disappear underneath. He cracked his eyes open. He was just barely floating, but he was still floating. There was definitely space between him and the blankets.

“Dwayne, I did it!” David cried. The lack of concentration dropped him the tiny distance back to the bed. He was ecstatic. It might have been only a tiny amount, be he was still very pleased with himself. To say that he had managed even a little flight was pleasing.

“Good job.” Dwayne’s voice had become less raspy and creaky than when he first woke up, but it was still not what David guessed to be normal. “Are you trying again tonight?”

“Maybe once more. So I know it wasn’t fluke.”

David took another breath to relax himself. Then he closed his eyes and concentrated again on rising. He knew that this probably wasn’t going to be easy, but he had done it once, hadn’t he? He should be able to do it again.

Slowly, the bed seemed to fade underneath him. He couldn’t feel the blankets that had been pressed to his back and legs. If he dropped his hand, then the bed was still just under him. But it was a start.

David lowered himself as Max had dictated, a grin on his face. “Not bad, huh?” There was a pain in the palms of his hands, and when he opened his clenched fists, realized that his nails had dug into his palms. Funny. He had never grown his nails long. Or to be pointed, for that matter.

He held up one hand in front of him, examining his nails closely. They had definitely grown since their arrival at Max’s, and they had grown sharp and pointy. “Wonder if this is one of Max’s surprises of vampirism,” he muttered. It wouldn’t be unexpected if it was. Their sire had a thing for keeping his secrets.

Actually, David hadn’t shaved since their arrival, and he had grown a beard. He’d ask for a mirror and shaving supplies tomorrow.

He looked over at Dwayne. He had been able to sit up for a week or two now, and no longer faced the ceiling. His hair could have benefited from a trim before, but now, it was downright long. It reached to the tops of his shoulder, maybe even a little longer. If he had a mirror, he’d guess that his own had grown as well. Certainly seemed to fall into his eyes more than ever. Dwayne wore the blindfold, since Max had just left, but David knew what his eyes looked like underneath. They were dark, obsidian spheres. It made him think of the depths of a cave, inky black and full of secrets.

“Did you do it?” Dwayne asked.

“Uh, yeah. Sorry, forgot about the blindfold.” David replied. “Not high up, but, yes, it worked.” It had also left him tired, and he reached for the wine bottle out of reflex. He drank directly from the neck, not bothering with the goblet.


The next night Max agreed to give David a shaving mirror and supplies. He did tell him first, though, that what he saw in the mirror might surprise him. David didn’t believe him, until he noticed that he could see his pillow through his head. He promptly dropped the mirror, staring at it on his lap. “The-the mirror-“ he said haltingly. “I was-see through-”

“Hm? Oh, yes. That’s an unfortunate part of being a vampire.” Max said. His tone was rather casual. “No reflection.”

Thanks for the warning, Max. David though sarcastically, careful to try and hide the thought. “Doesn’t that make shaving difficult?”

“No. Not at all.” Their current father figure shot a mysterious smile. “You’ll discover why soon enough. Now, go ahead and shave. Would you like some mortal food?”

David nodded. He lifted up the mirror again and just watched his transparent image for a few minutes. That had given him a scare. Good God, he could see the crinkles in the pillows behind him.

Had he just used God’s name in vain?

The fact that he had startled him. That was uncouth, that was defamatory, that was blasphemy.

He didn’t really care.

God could visit Satan for all he cared. That was the disturbing part. He was going to live forever, why should he care for religion or the church? And, for that matter, why did he have to care for his former family? For a minute, he didn’t care one speck for them, caring about them only out of obligation. And Emily-was that lust or love? David couldn’t say.

He returned his thought to shaving and lifted the razor to his face, but stopped. He should be doing this in a lavatory, or, at the very least, not on his bed.

The mirror and razor were placed on the nightstand. Soap and brush. How could he get lather if there was no soap or brush? Or water? When Max came back in, he’d have to ask. In the meantime, he examined the razor. It was obvious that it hadn’t been used, since there was no sign of sharpening or lather stain. Maybe Max had a supply, or maybe he frequented a barber’s.

That was when Max returned with sloppily made sandwiches. “Hope you boys like chicken.” He said. He placed one plate on Dwayne’s lap, where he was able to find the sandwich and begin eating. David’s was laid on the nightstand. Max paused when he noticed that David hadn’t started shaving.

“Didn’t you want to shave?” he asked, a small frown forming.

“Yes, but I need a lather brush and soap. Not to mention water.” David replied, reaching for his sandwich.

“Ah, right. I had forgotten that, hadn’t I?” Max chuckled. “Been so long since I last shaved.”

“When did you last shave?”

“Let me think-maybe, two, three hundred years ago?”

David blanched. There was not one hint of stubble on Max’s face. “Then why is your face so smooth?”

Max reflexively ran a hand over his chin. “We don’t grow hair after we turn. Nothing grows.”

“Oh.” There was silence for a minute, before Max spoke. “I’ll get you the soap and brush. Won’t take me an hour-and there’s something I want to get for Thorn.”

David had only heard him mention Thorn once before. He knew little of the dog, save for the fact that he was a Hellhound. And that crossing him would end in a rather painful demise.

“Alright.”

Max was true to his word and was back an hour later. A box with a soap bowl and lather brush was in his hands. Whatever he had gotten for Thorn, he couldn’t see. But David could smell meat, still rare enough to be bloody. Both he and Dwayne had to drink from the bottle to keep from lunging at Max’s neck at the scent.

David admired the small bowl. There was a pattern on the outside, obviously expensive. “Mind you finish before daylight, I borrowed that from a barber’s shop.”

David looked up at Max. “You stole it?”

“Mhm. There’s no such thing as stealing in our race. You want it, you take it.”

“I see. I’ll still need water to make lather.”

“Fine. Just be careful not to spill any.”

There it was again. The suspicion that Max was hiding a part of vampirism from them. David lowered his voice as Max went to the kitchen. “What do you think?”

“Are we allergic to water, now? I hope not, that would make bathing difficult.” Dwayne, David had come to realize, didn’t often speak unless he felt the need.

“Or maybe he just doesn’t want his linens wet.”

“True.”

“I guess we’ll find out, won’t we?”

“You will indeed.” Max announced as he came back in. There was a mug of warm water in his hands.

“Do you mean we’ll be allergic?” David asked.

“No, you’ll find out.”

“Oh.” David sat on the side of his bed and began mixing the lather. There wasn’t any pain that he could feel, tingle or sting. Maybe water wouldn’t hurt them. Shaving only took a few minutes, and he dipped his hand into the water to rinse what remained of the lather off.

“I’ll get some more water to rinse.” Max said. He turned to Dwayne briefly. “Will you also want to shave?”

Dwayne paused for a moment. “I suppose so.” he decided.

With a nod, Max left and returned with more water. “Now, boys, I’m afraid that, after tonight, I’ll be taking the bottle.”

David and Dwayne exchanged matching looks of confusion. “Why?” David asked.

“Because I’ve decided that you’ve both recovered enough to make your first kills. And if I take away the bottle, your thirst will grow until you’re willing to take the final step.” Max paused, letting that much sink in. “So, no bottle or blood until then.”

“Does that mean that this bottle is all we’ll have from tonight until then?” Dwayne asked.

“Correct.”

The mood became subdued as both half vampires realized what losing the bottle and making their first kills entailed. They would fully lose their remaining scraps of humanity, becoming immortal, bloodthirsty killers. What remained of their human families would grow older and die, and they would stay unchanging. Finally, Dwayne gave a nod in response, signifying his understanding. David merely studied Max for a moment, then looked away. Clearly that was all the answer he’d give.

“Well, I’ll leave you two to enjoy your night, and I’m needed at the restaurant, anyways.” Max said, before leaving their shared room one last time for the night.

Neither spoke for a few minutes. Finally, David said, “Well. Looks like he’s finally said it.”

Dwayne nodded, picking up the shaving equipment that David had placed on the nightstand. “Question is, how long will it be before we want to tear out each other’s throats?”

-----

As they soon discovered, it wasn’t long. As the second night drew to a close, both boys were easily angered. Crotchety was putting it mildly. By the third night, David had suffered his first hunger cramps, Dwayne his second. By the fifth, they could barely remain in their beds. And by the seventh, Max had to chain them down with his mind to keep them from biting one another.

That was what Max liked best about being a head vampire: Control over one’s subordinates. Or sons, as it were.

A week had passed without either of the boys ingesting sire’s blood, when Max entered the room. It was always the hardest part, to ensure they stayed down while they fought viciously to hunt. Even so, he had managed to get both of them dressed in decent clothes the night before-it had been more than a little uncomfortable to help them change their bed clothes every few days-which had become a little wrinkled from their writhing and straining, but still better than bedclothes.

His mental control over them became highly focused the moment before he entered the room. They were both in a state of fury, their vampire faces revealed all night as they gnashed at their own wrists to drink. It was almost amusing to watch. Almost.

The smell of sire’s blood didn’t help. With a firm grip on their minds, Max slashed his wrist open, filling the goblet with just a sip of blood. They each received just enough to temporarily calm them. Human features replaced the vampiric ones, as David shook his head in an attempt to clear the haze. Dwayne merely sat silently, his gaze at Max’s neck not unnoticed.

“Follow me. Do not touch or attack anything or anyone.” Max said firmly, leading the boys through his house. The pair obliged, not touching anything. David was pleading with their sire. “Max, can we have blood? Please?”

“That’s where we’re going, boys.” Max replied. He paused just inside the door. “But listen first. I am not going to join you on your first hunt. But I will supervise and ensure it goes well. Here’s how to do it properly…”

They listened impatiently as Max taught them the best way to hunt. “…Now, boys, follow me. Touch nothing, just get in the car and I’ll take you where to go.”

Max led them out the door and over to his car. He was quite proud of it, a Ford Model B. Just two years old, but it had cost him a pretty penny, since he had gone for every available feature. David sat next to Max, Dwayne on his other side. They looked beastly, with their long hair. Ah, well. That would have to do for now. He started the car, moving onto the street and into the night.

The smell of far off mortals was making David and Dwayne fidget. Lucky for them, it wasn’t long before they arrived at their destination: A small group on the beach. Dedicated to those lost in the earthquake. Max thought it hilariously ironic to make it their first kills-dedicated to them and all.

Max stopped the car, walking the two boys to the edge overlooking the beach. They both knew what to do, so he left them and drove off.

The boys watched the mortals eagerly. They looked like pigs, fleshy pigs in clothes, plump, milling about to be devoured. The sound of their beating hearts thumped in their ears, the blood in their veins a roar to their desires. Their fangs descended, their pupils amber. Foreheads became prominent and cheekbones angular as they watched, waiting.

Finally, they could wait no longer. The wind shifted, the cloying scent of blood filled their nostrils. As one, they took to the air without realizing, landing heavily on a pair just outside the main group.

David tore the throat open instinctively and lowered his head to drink the warm blood. The invigorating rush that boiled through his veins made him roar, and the person lost an arm as he flung it at someone else. They became his next victim.

It took only a few minutes for the two to savage the ten people on the beach. The stood, breathing heavily, as they looked at the gore around them. Limbs had flown all about, and the sand underneath was stained crimson. A spastic shiver overtook David momentarily, a migraine joining it. When it faded away, his vision had sharpened and his hearing vastly improved. The darkness was no bother, he could see clearly even though there was no light.

“Well done,” a voice said approvingly. They turned to see Max, hands clasped behind his back, approaching. He kicked a head from his path, before putting a hand on each of their shoulders. “Very good, boys! That was excellent to watch. You’ve become full vampires, and I couldn’t be prouder.”

A body at their feet let out the tiniest groan. David watched as Max picked it up by the scalp and merrily slit the throat. It was dropped back to the ground without another thought. “And now, you learn how to disguise kills.”

Max showed them how to weight the clothed bodies down with beach rocks. Then he gave them flying pointers as they flew out over the waves, tossing the corpses where they wouldn’t be found. “If you become desperate, or aren’t near an ocean or lake, fling them into fire or find a way to totally destroy the evidence,” he said. The stained sand was mixed with the rest throughout the beach.

David was on a euphoric high. When he had first discovered that Max had made him a vampire, he had worried that he would have to kill. And how he had pined for his family! Now, he knew, killing was an exciting part of unlife, and couldn’t care less for his family. In fact, perhaps he would pay a little visit to San Francisco, give them a little message. A rather permanent one.

Max was calling out to him, up by his car. Dwayne was beside him, staring out at the sea. With a smirk, David trotted up to the car.

Epilogue: Meeting by Chika

Author's Notes:
Bump off: To murder
Hooch: Bootleg (illegal) alcohol. Alcohol was prohibited through the early twenties.

Well, this is the end. I hope you all enjoyed it. :3 I've learned a lot writing it-know more than I ever wanted to about health corsets and shaving at the turn of the century and early toasters-but it's definitely been worth it. This is the story that I've had the most fun writing, so it's been the only one I've yet completed. And since you aren't here to listen to my babble, I'll stop talking so you can get on reading!
Six months had passed since the earthquake. Four months since their kills. David adjusted easily to the life of a vampire, leaving all but a few things behind him. One was the sketch of Emily.

He had found it in his second week of his new life, in his original bedroom. Max had explained that he found it in David’s clothes, and had left it on the nightstand. He had insisted it be burned, but David had refused, hiding it instead in his pocket. His clothes, the ones Max had brought him in, were burned in the fireplace with Dwayne’s. The last remnants of former lives turned to smoky ash as they watched solemnly.

Hunting had only become easier in those months, and continued to become easier each night. With three vampires now hunting almost nightly as opposed to one, people had become slightly suspicious, not leaving their homes quite so willingly. Even so, there were more than enough people to keep them heavily sated.

David lounged comfortably with Dwayne in Max’s living room. They had become increasingly comfortable in each other’s presence, and now thought of themselves as truly being brothers. Sometimes, they joked that they were twins. David would always call himself the older, despite the fact that Dwayne had twenty-two years as a human to his eighteen.
He had been turned by Max first, after all.

Dwayne was reading a book or novella of some sort, David hadn’t bothered asking. Their hunt had been completed for the night, and he was content. The fire crackled and snapped enjoyably. His hand drifted down to the sketch hidden in his pocket, removing and unfolding it. Dwayne knew perfectly well that he had kept it, and hardly bothered to look up to see what his brother was doing. Max had no idea that he had kept it, and would not know.

David turned the picture over to the address on the back. It listed a street number in Los Gatos, which wasn’t too far from Santa Carla. Perhaps he’d pay one final visit to Emily, before cutting the last part of his mortal life out.

“I’m going out.” He announced shortly, before going out the front door and rising into the air. Flying had taken them the second longest to master, but they had become adept at it over the four months of vampire life.

He only made one stop along his way to the address, to a small florist’s shop. One last gift for Emily. Then no more.

He arrived over Los Gatos with plenty of time before sunrise. The address was somewhat difficult to find overhead-that was one of the worst parts of flying. Street signs were harder to see. Eventually, though, he found the house, and Emily’s bedroom.

The window overlooked the little street, and he could see her red hair spilling over her pillow inside. She would be asleep, of course, for nights were the time for mortals to sleep. She faced away from the window, her back to him.

David held his long, thin gift in his lips and carefully pried open the window. Small squeaks escaped from it, but they were low enough to avoid rousing her. Once inside, he took a moment to look around before continuing. The small room was mostly devoid of decoration, but it still looked comfortable. Emily lay sleeping, the blankets over her stomach forming an oddly round shape. He disregarded that, instead, placing the gifts on a stand. There was the oddest feeling that something was missing; with a start, David realized what it was. The music box. Obviously, she had lost it in the quake.

His mission done, David exited through the window and flew off, leaving it open in his wake.

The rush of air from his flight blew in Emily’s window, waking her. “Who’s there?” she asked blindly, her vision still cloudy with a sleepy haze. She raised herself a little higher on the bed, the movement awkward by her growing belly. She got off the bed, and closed the window when she saw it open. Turning around, the little stand caught her eye.

Two flowers were crossed, bathed in the moonlight. One was a lily, the other, a rose. “David?” she asked, her voice trembling this time. Even though it had been six months since they had spoken, revealing their favourite flowers, she still recalled that she had said lilies, while he said roses. “Oh, David…”

She clutched the two blooms to her chest. Tears dripped onto the petals.

**********

Life had been non-stop fun after their change.

They had prospered in the twenties. Each night, they had sauntered into speak-easies and danced the Charleston with various flappers, drinking prohibited hooch and bumped off folk, drinking their blood. They didn’t care that alcohol was banned, they drank as much as they liked. It wouldn’t kill them ay time soon.

Max moved them away from Santa Carla in the thirties. Said that it helped prevent people from realizing that they weren’t aging. Return a decade or two later, and they’ll have a harder time recognizing the face.

The forties were not so fun. Pearl Harbour had angered Max more than David or Dwayne. Neither boy had any interest in going overseas, and even if they did, they knew that it would be impossible. They kept low in Oregon, not going near California.

Well, that was a lie. David had taken to visiting his parents’ home in San Francisco once every ten years or so. He had started right on the one-year anniversary. That time, though, had been an accident. They had been in Santa Carla for a dedication ceremony in the park. A statue, in memory, the newspaper had said. David had checked it out, some fancy statue, was all that it was. Nothing terribly special. His parents had been standing along in the darkness, and he made himself comfortable in a tree before clearing his throat loudly. Their wide-eyed gasps had been amusing. He had been surprised to find them there, but it was well worth the looks on their faces.

And every ten years since, he had paid a little visit to their home. He’d just lean against his car-later a motorcycle-across the street, smoking a cigar or cigarette, until they noticed his presence, never aging or changing. It was 1937 before Dwayne joined him. His father was dead before his visit in the fifties, his mother, a few years later. Pity, he had enjoyed torturing them with his visits.

The fifties through eighties had been the most pleasurable. The younger generations had begun to learn how fun driving faster and parties could be. David and Dwayne had fit right in among the greasers and ‘bad boys’ of those years, even though they were always just a little wilder, a lot more daring.

They spent the greater part of the sixties and seventies in New York before returning once more to their base in Santa Carla. Both boys had refused to live with Max again, preferring to live on their own. Living in a house wasn’t for them, though, and they settled first in a ruined house, before making a discovery on what was now known as Hudson’s Bluff.

David blew a large quantity of cigarette smoke between his lips, staring out over the cliffs of the bluff. Much had changed there in almost seventy years. The Riolta had sunk into the ground, taking what was once a steep hill into the sea. A natural cave had enveloped the lobby, and the hole inside was treacherous enough to give mortals plenty of difficulty to enter. Sea spray was thrown onto the rocks, making it less than desirable for a vampire. Salt water was one of the few things that injured them, they had learned. It stung, but it took a lot to burn.

“Is it even big enough to be comfortable?”

Dwayne nodded. “Checked it out yesterday. Didn’t get to the lobby, but it’s been undisturbed all this time. A local legend, it would seem.”

David exhaled again. “Even better, we’re already familiar with it.”

Dwayne shook his mane of hair from his face. They had both cut their hair in their first week, seventy years ago, only for it to be grow long again the next night. Dwayne was the first to have become sick of re-cutting it each night, and instead pulled it back with a ribbon and tucked it under his collar. It was surprisingly effective. David later discovered by accident that cutting his hair and dunking his head in salt water slowed the regrowth quite a bit. It still regrew, but even slower than a mortal’s. “Want to check it out?”

The lobby of the hotel still bore the faintest scent of decomposition. Boulders were strewn throughout the once noble room, dust littered everything. The chandelier had fallen into the fountain, and the elevator shaft formed a cave in the back. Tunnels led to rooms on different floors, now next to and fused together.

They decided to make it home. The elevator shaft led to what was now their sleeping chamber, and they brought in old oil drums and candles for light. In time, the cave became homier than Max’s ever had.

Paul joined them scarcely a year after they moved into the cave, and Marko wasn’t long after. The boardwalk was their turf, their favourite hunting grounds. The patrons were the main course.

And that was where David had first seen the old man. His scalp gleamed in the neon lights, and, at first, he was going to be the nightly special. But when David saw his icy-blue eyes, and caught his scent, he couldn’t. Because he realized that this man bore the smell of not only Emily, but David himself.

It had been easy to lure the man to a small coffee shop to talk. There, over coffee, David managed to steer the conversation to the man’s parents. He made sure that Dwayne, Paul, and Marko were off elsewhere.

“Never knew my father.” he said. “My mother said he died before I was born. Said he died in that quake in 1906, just before I was born.”

It couldn’t be true; Emily couldn’t have been pregnant with his child. David was silent for a moment. “Emily Willows, she was born 1888? Father Adam?”

The man-he said his name was Vincent-nodded. “Yes, that’s right.”

So it was his Emily. And she had a son by him. He had a son.

“Tell me about her.”

Vincent told David that she had found work as a maid after he was born. His grandfather had died back in the twenties. His mother had moved them to Watsonville after the war. If anyone asked where her husband was, or why she didn’t have one, she said he’d died in the war. She had cried at his wedding back in ’33.

She’d been there for the births of all her grandkids, seven of them in total. All but one had moved away now, with kids of their own. The youngest was actually living in Santa Carla, owned a shop on the boardwalk. She had married a hippie, had kids. He was staying with them.

Emily had lived a full life, been there to see what she wanted to see. She’d caught pneumonia at the age of ninety-eight, died a few weeks later in the hospital. He had been going through her things when he found the journals.

The journal described a man her age-said his name was David- and that he joined her in bed the night before the earthquake. That was the last time she had seen him. But there was the feeling of him being there around six months later, and he found a dried lily and rose tucked into the pages. They had crumbled when he touched them. So, he had come to Santa Carla to find the grave of this David fellow, whom he guessed was his father.

David was silent for another moment. “Did you find an old sketch in this journal?”

“Why, yes, I did. How did you know?” Vincent responded.

David merely shrugged in response. “I want to see it.”

“Don’t have it on me right now, but I can show it to you tomorrow afternoon.”

“Days aren’t good for me.”

“Then how’s tomorrow night?”

“Fine. Ten o’clock?”

“Good with me.”

They met the next night at the same little coffee shop. David had been unable to ditch the boys that night, but they agreed to sit in another booth. Once they had their coffee, Vincent produced the small, leather-bound journal. “This is it. She recorded everything up to when I was a year old. There’s a few others, but I think you’re the most interested in this one, my boy.”

David held the journal carefully, opening to one of the first entries. It was marked February 7, 1907. Just after her son was born, all right. He read the words slowly. I’m going to record the details of Vincent’s birth and his father. I don’t want to forget David, even though he will be dead a year in two months’ time. I’m going to leave my son with Ella, my cousin, while I go to Santa Carla for the dedication of a statue. I’ll go nowhere near the site of his demise.

Charming; she had added a surprisingly accurate description of him. And yet, the man had no idea who sat before him.

And there indeed was a folded, faded piece of paper. With slightly trembling hands-something he hadn’t felt in many a decade-David opened it, looking at himself as a human. That night had been so long ago. His parent’s address was still on the back, the ink faded to be only just visible.

“I dunno who the man is, but he actually looks a little like you,” Vincent said, peering at David.

Of course he looked like him, the man was him. The tear line he had made was relatively smooth, and David pulled an equally old piece of paper out of his pocket. Why he had carried it for so long, he didn’t even know. But he had. The two pieces still matched perfectly.

“Well, I’ll be. What’s that you have there?”

David looked up at Vincent for the first time in several minutes. “That’s Emily,” he responded. “She gave this piece to m-to David, and kept the one of him.”

Vincent took a sip of his coffee and looked at David curiously. “You seem to know a lot about the man.”

A lie wouldn’t hurt much. He definitely couldn’t not say that he himself was Vincent’s father. After all, even though he was- ninety-eight, by his count- he looked eighteen. His son was somewhere around eighty and looked it.

“That’s because he didn’t die that night.” Vincent’s eyebrows raised as David leaned in over the table. “He survived- barely. Nursed back to health by a local. I know him pretty well.”

“Could I meet him?” Vincent’s eyes glittered. His blue eyes looked so much like David’s own.

“He’s very old….”

“He’s still my father, supposedly, and I would really appreciate it.”

David sighed, while a plan formed in his head. He sent the thought to Dwayne, who sat just a little straighter when he received it. “I suppose I could. However, I have to go to…work tonight, so my friends can take you.” He nodded to the other three on the other side of the shop. “They should be able to take you now, they’ll be free tonight. I’ll ask.”

David stood up and moved to stand before his three friends. Dwayne had a partial idea what was going on. They had known each other for so many years as companions and brothers that it was easy to slip thoughts and have silent discussions in the blink of an eye.

“Take him to Max’s place.” He said in a low voice. “To the small bedroom off the main hall. Dwayne’ll fill you two in. I’ll meet you there. And boys,” he said, a note of authority in his voice. “Drive slow enough for him to keep up. Not all of us are eighty.”

“Biologically,” Marko smirked, making Paul laugh.

David growled and returned to Vincent’s table. “They’re ready whenever you are.” He said matter-of-factly, sipping his cooled coffee without sitting down.

“Well, I’m ready then.” Vincent replied, putting the journal and sketch into a bag he had brought. David nodded to Dwayne, Paul, and Marko, who stood and walked over.

“Meet the boys. Boys, this is Vincent. They’ll drive for you to follow.” He informed Vincent. “I’ll see you later.”

He left the coffee shop and took off on his motorcycle, driving fast enough to break every speed limit posted. The boys knew the plan, he wasn’t worried. Not much, at least.

He arrived at Max’s with plenty of time before they arrived. It was the same house Max had owned eighty years before; the only changes were modernization and redecoration. This time, it was full of neon. David disliked it.

He pulled the decorated bottle of blood out of the fridge, taking a deep drink. There were two of these bottles; one here, one in the cave. Max had disposed of most of the ones he and Dwayne had drunken from, keeping only these two.

And now, to put the plan into action.

David moved into the bedroom he had mentioned to the Boys, making himself comfortable in the wicker chair. With a deep breath, he used one of the vampiric gifts he rarely thought of.

He and Dwayne had learned long ago how to manipulate illusions. The first childe’s gift that Max had mentioned never appeared, which, after all this time, didn’t surprise him in the least. Max didn’t seem to want to give his childes anything extra. This time, he had to age himself without a mirror. For Vincent, he would have to change his face, his clothes, and his hair. Dwayne would help with that, while he focused mainly on the voice. Complicated stuff. Illusions could be difficult, especially larger ones. Smaller ones took only a little concentration, and were much easier.

The illusion was up and running when David heard the rumble of motorcycles outside the house. He rocked slowly in the chair, waiting for Dwayne’s mental probe. It came after a minute.
Ready?

Yes. Bring him in, and help me maintain this.

Dwayne held open the door as Vincent hobbled into the room. The old man gasped, seeing what he thought was a ninety-eight year old man before him. His father. “Are-are you David?”

Now for the audible illusion. David bobbed his head in response, feeling ridiculous. “That’s me, who’s askin’?” The phoney accent even sounded like the weathered voice of an old man. He could see Dwayne in the corner, his face a blank mask.

“Me. My name is Vincent. I believe you knew my mother-Emily Willows?”

“Yes, yes, Emily. Lovely girl. Wonder what happened to her, all them years ago?”

“Well, after you and her-ah, met in her room-she gave birth. To me. I’m your son.”

“Really now?” David put his hand to his face, the illusion making it look to Vincent like he was adjusting a pair of spectacles. “That’s interestin’. How do you know that?”

“My mother left journals-the only man mentioned in them is you, and it was nine months before my birth.”

“That would do it, s’pose.” David replied. “Can I see them journals?”

Vincent passed them to David. He opened one, reading the first few pages. “Yep, that sounds like me. Looks like I’m your papa.”

Vincent dropped to the bed, his back making a tiny creak in protest. “I’ve never had a father. Could we go out to eat, or-“

“I’m too darn old to go much anywhere,” David interrupted. “But we can talk for a while.”

Vincent nodded, a smile lighting up his face.

David let Vincent do most of the talking. He kind of liked it, being able to talk to a mortal without thinking of their blood. He could just talk to him, his son, and learn about the mortal family he had never known. Never would know.

Vincent finally mentioned Emily’s timely demise, and David adjusted himself in the wicker chair. “Tell me where the grave is, I might try to visit it sometime.”

“Ah, of course. Los Gatos Cemetery…” Vincent rattled off a description of the path to take. “…There’s a funny little carving on the top, like an angel coming out of a flower. Pretty, but odd.”

David nodded, and held out a hand to shake Vincent’s. “Thank you, Vincent. I’ll try to see it before I croak.” With a gesture to Dwayne and a chuckle from David, Vincent left the room with the brunette.

David sank back into the chair with a sigh of release as the illusion faded. Maintaining it could be hard work. He knew Dwayne would be feeling it, too. They’d hunt again tonight. In the meantime, while the boys brought Vincent back to the boardwalk, he would check on something at the cave.

He had discovered the little bedroom just weeks after moving in, a little space to get away when he needed to. The boys knew that when he went down the tunnel that led there, he wanted to be alone.

The little bedroom’s canopy bed was faded, the lace yellowed with age. The armoire had long since fallen apart. But what he was concerned with was up on the pillows.

The sheets had been thrown to the floor when she had run from the room eighty years before. He had replaced them upon the bed and made it up, fluffing the pillows. David grasped the pole at the foot of the bed, just looking at the objects.

The little wooden music box had been in one piece when he found it, a small crack running down the heart on the lid, but not splitting it. He had laid it on the pillows, as an honour to her. To Emily. He had added a lily in front of it, which was now dried and withered with age.

He had never considered going to Emily and giving her the gift of being a vampire. She had been a creature of the light; to bring her into eternal darkness would have been wrong. He couldn’t have smothered her brilliance. Maybe that was why it had never occurred to him.

“I never really forgot you, Emily,” he said quietly. “I just…pushed you to the back of my mind. My life wasn’t right for you-never would be. Forgive me.”

David moved to the side of the bed, and gently opened the lid of the music box. The melody still played after all the years passed, a little fainter, perhaps, but still the same haunting melody. It petered out into the lobby, where the remaining three boys were just returning. They stopped when they caught the melody. Paul and Marko started forwards to investigate, but Dwayne put an arm out and shook his head.

The melody finally ended when David silenced the music box with one finger on the lid.
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