Godric looked down at Sierra and he became fully aware of just how small and fragile her petite form was. He was not a large male by any means, but he dwarfed her. The top of her head was below even his chin, and when he held her hand, his palm swallowed hers. Her size served to only make him more fiercely protective of his future child.
Not only was he protective, but he found he adored her. For in that small body he knew laid a fascinating mind, innocence balanced with a strength he thought endearing, and a plethora of mysterious magic that bubbled just below the surface.
He was attracted to her he realized, aroused even. When she touched him or looked into his eyes, the silver of her irises almost hypnotizing him with their exotic allurement, he was shaken. She jolted his sensual beast, roaring it to life from its timeless slumber.
He had found her dozing in a bed of grass, laid out like the sweetest of prizes for any lecherous passerby. And yet, it was his menacing eyes that had fallen lustfully upon her sleeping form. He had leered at her for over an hour, violating her shamelessly with his roving eyes. He cursed himself for it. It concerned him. He was not sure he was suited for that sort of love, or if she would even want him if he was. The last thing he desired was to take advantage of a young and vulnerable progeny.
The call of the maker did not illicit romantic feelings or force physical attraction. It was simply a spark of unconditional love and trust that tugged and pulled inside relentlessly. The call served to merely make the maker and future child aware that they were a perfect match for eternal companionship. It forced the walls down that one often builds around their heart and mind. It shined a gleaming beacon on their compatibility, and the pull drew them to each other through a myriad of complex and deep instincts that lay at the most primal and untapped areas of the brain. It was up to the maker and progeny to fan that spark into an eternal fire of faith. Romantic feelings were not part of the intricate bond that the call of the maker stirred.
He knew well the secrets of the call. He and Eric complimented each other in every way. Their personality, temperament, humor, strengths, and weaknesses were all a perfect balance with each other. They would have been without the call of the maker yanking on Godric’s heart and triggering the fierce maker instincts even before he turned Eric. Its simple function was like a signal, telling him not only were they suited for each other in every way, but the human was also fit mentally, physically, and spiritually for immortality as a vampire. Coupled with this, the fact that the call could only occur under the veil of an impending fate accounted for its rarity.
Godric was in denial of the warm and fuzzy feeling that welled in his heart when Sierra and he looked at each other. He tried to reason it was because she was so small, so young, and so beautiful. He genuinely believed her nature was just making him more protective, more possessive, even more affectionate, and that must be the reason he longed to hold her hand or why fleeting thoughts of more than eternal companionship plagued his mind.
That must be it, he told himself. He was just an overly-protective maker. Due to the call and the implications of being triggered by the approaching death of the human, it tended to cause the first nights of the union to be a shocking and anxious time for both maker and child. Emotions ran high and though he probably knew himself better than any immortal could, he tried to reason that those emotions must be confusing his feelings with romantic desire. He was in denial of the truth, and that truth was he wanted her as much more than a progeny, even much more than carnal needs of the flesh, but he feared pushing himself on her. She was his charge. He was committed to her for eternity. The entire celebration of turning a progeny was based off companionship and trust. Romantic love on his end could cause tension if she didn’t feel the same. It was not worth the risk of losing her should she demand release soon after being turned so he tried desperately to temper those feelings, and yet, he was failing miserably.
Godric and Sierra were strolling along the hiking trail he had found her near. They had been discussing his words for some time and she had hardly spoke. Her silence was a clear indicator of her distress at learning about her fate. He knew it was not easy for her, learning that she was dying, that she was destine to be vampire, but her strength impressed him. There were many humans that would jump at the opportunity to be immortal, no matter the cost. Though she didn’t voice it directly, he was already beginning to understand what lay in her heart; she wanted to be true to who she was, even if it meant her death. Now his job was to help her see this is who she was always meant to be.
“I do not know, minn hjarta,” he said. He gazed into her big eyes. His future child wanted to know why she was dying, and honestly, he did too. It perplexed and worried him. He wanted to know how dire the situation was, so if need be, he could move quickly and prepare her for immortality. He was ready to turn her before dawn, if by the fates, she was willing. “The call of the maker is not evoked unless the injury which will cause death has been delivered or a fatal illness has erupted within the body. One of which cannot be healed or cured.”
He tracked her movements as she looked down and put her hand on her belly, realization flitting across her features.
Halting their stroll, he put his hand on her arm and gently turned her to face him. “What is it, my child?”
“My… I have been ill as of late, especially after I cured you. I believe my energy was drained from healing the curse. I have been tired and my stomach ails me.”
Godric felt like he had just been head butted in the nose and he grimaced. A consuming worry rose deep within him. Was he responsible for the fatal malady that would precipitate her death? Had she become a casualty of the curse that was meant to be his burden, his downfall? If it were so, it would be a cruel cloud that would loom over them as they began their eternal adventure together.
“But sometimes I felt tired and ill before that, just not nearly so profoundly,” she added, sensing his distress. “I have pondered my plight since the pain has intensified and it was present before last we met, but the aches and exhaustion struck in rarer frequency.”
The tension in Godric’s muscles slightly relaxed. Though he was still extremely anxious regarding her health, he was relieved that the removal of his curse was not the root of the problem. He shuddered at the thought that she could possibly be infected by his miserable affliction. He wondered if perhaps the great deal of magic she had used to purify him simply fatigued her, allowing whatever illness already present to escalate.
He sniffed. He smelled no odor of sickness about her and she seemed perfectly healthy.
“Especially when I eat,” she continued. “Earlier today I ate a pomegranate and a few strawberries and I… I hurt after.”
He rubbed his hand up and down her arm soothingly. What he really wanted was to curl her up in his embrace and hold her, make it all better, tell her he would help her.
“Would you allow a healer to examine you?” Godric knew that even Dr. Ludwig would not be able to heal an ailment that could trigger a maker call. However, he desired to know what was wrong with his future child so he would be armed with the information he needed.
Thus, a short time later they were standing in what Sierra said was her home, waiting for Dr. Ludwig’s arrival. It was a dug out cave in the Earth, and despite its humble and meager arrangement, Godric couldn’t help but be both impressed and deeply concerned.
He was worried that his future child was living alone in a public park of all places, under the bathrooms. Any vampire could walk in while she slumbered, following her scent as he had when he found her under the pecan tree. She had very little, and the things she did own she had either made herself or foraged. His child deserved everything and he wanted to give it to her.
On the other hand, her small home was spectacular beyond words. The starscape on the ceiling of her den matched the stars in the heavens almost perfectly and the creative detail and work she must have put into it had him awe-struck. The floor was not dirt, but was covered from wall to wall in a bed of strange flowers that seemed to glow with their own light, a color that resembled the black lights he had seen many times in disco clubs during the 70’s. Strategically placed stepping stones were on the floor so she didn’t tread on her prized flowers. The walls were also covered in leafy vines that dangled to the ground.
The meager furniture she had all seemed carved by her own hand. He ran his fingers along the smooth surface of the table, and though it was plain in design, the craftsmanship was better than any he had ever seen.
“How long have you lived here?” He asked looking from the table to her.
“About six months,” she smiled. “It took me a month before that to construct it and I have dwelled here since.”
He meandered over to some sort of workbench near the opposite wall while he analyzed her words. It was covered in crude containers of assorted sizes that she had collected, probably thrown out by humans. They were filled with dirt and some of them had plants growing out of them. There was even an old guitar hanging from the ceiling beside the table with some strange plant growing vigorously out of the sound hole. It had long tubular flowers with varying shades of orange and red. Godric reached up to touch one of the blooms, which was nearly the size of his hand, and shockingly, it hissed at him.
He looked over at Sierra when he heard her giggle.
“It’s a cross between a trumpet creeper plant I found in the park, a lizard, and a touch of frog. It took me many months to achieve success. I’m not nearly as good as an elder since I don’t have the…” She paused. “It keeps my den free of bugs.”
Godric looked back to the plant and watched as a fly buzzed irregularly towards one of the flowers. Suddenly a long skinny tongue, longer than five lengths of his hand, jetted out and snatched the fly, pulling it inside the hidden lair of its long trumpet. Sierra could manipulate life and nature on a genetic level! He wondered what other sort of creatures she could create.
Finally, he turned back to her. He was determined to find out as much as he could about her current situation, and perhaps, even how she came to live here. “So seven months in the park, six months in this den. And before that?”
She looked away and circled her arms around her waist as if she was trying to protect herself. Clearing her throat and looking back to him, she spoke in a more hushed tone, “I lived in the Fae realm.”
His eyes flicked down to her arms as she shrank smaller and hugged herself. Something was distressing her and it was not lost on him. His fangs ached seeing her pain and the maker in him flared a bit stronger. He looked around at her den and raised a hand to gesture at the surroundings. “I do not understand, my child. Why would you leave your realm and live here alone?”
Her face softened and for a moment he thought she was going to cry, but a strangled laugh softly rung from her throat. Then to his dismay, her brow furrowed and she frowned. Her face became strained, giving her a childlike appearance as she reddened with shame and humiliation. “I prefer this realm.” She shrugged one shoulder and looked away, her voice trailing off. “I have lived alone for many years. It is safer, living alone. I… I…”
She closed her eyes and rubbed one hand nervously on her upper arm. Then she turned and walked away, busying herself with the inspection of her leafy wall.
His vision darkened like black clouds that play about the coming storm. Something was wrong. Something was terribly, terribly wrong. His eyes swept her face, her fragile form as he deciphered her body language, as he absorbed her words, trying to glean the answers he yearned to know. A dark secret lay in her soul, hidden in a great depth below a block of granite. Someone had hurt her. Someone had hurt Sierra. Anyone who has lain hand upon his precious child would find themselves falling to their crimson grave at his feet like wheat falls to the reaper’s sickle.
He wanted to know what tormented her. He could see it dancing deep in her pale eyes as it creeped its way into the hollow places of his heart, slithered in the rivers of his blood, embedded itself in the crevices of his bones. It was almost unseen, but it was there, and it was like a small animal beating about the cruel wires of a cage.
Despite the fact that he desperately wanted to know more, he decided to change the subject. He could see this conversation was hurting her and it would be something they would revisit later, perhaps when she was ready to confide in him.
“I don’t think that you are,” he said standing in the middle of the den, watching her twine her delicate fingers around the vines on the wall, “safe living here alone I mean.”
The noise of the door to the bathroom opening, followed by grumbling and the shuffling of feet along the floor, drifted down the steps and into the den. Godric looked up to the square of light at the top of the earthen stairs where the tile door still lay ajar. He immediately smelled the familiar odor of vinegar scented lotion and chocolate covered corn kernels that often accompanied the small healer he knew as Dr. Ludwig.
No one really knew what species she was. It was a great debate among the supernaturals. Though it had been a very long time since he talked to Eric before last night, Thalia reported to him once that his child even claimed she was a keebler elf like on the cookie commercials. However, Godric suspected the doctor was a cross between a urisk (called a brownie by modern humans) and a grim-reaper, both of which were forms of a demon. The brownie would account for her size and the grim-reaper would account for her uncanny ability to detect afflictions of the body, thus arming her with the knowledge to heal them. Plus, he had killed a grim-reaper once that tried to take his meal before he was finished and it had the same chocolate covered corn kernel smell.
He saw her face peak down the narrow stairs and she cursed under her breath before turning around and stepping on the top step backwards. Godric rushed up to take the doctor’s bag while she huffed and turned around similar to how a penguin might.
“Well this is perfectly normal,” Dr. Ludwig growled as she waddled down the steps, supporting herself with a hand on the earthen wall as she went. “You would think the girl is a Wood Nymph living in a hole in the ground.”
“She is half Earth Fairy,” Godric said giving Sierra a look. “The doctor is discrete. I have known her for many centuries.”
Dr. Ludwig stopped in her tracks. “Oh,” she deadpanned, her voice laced with a bit of shock. “I have been healing for over a millennium. I have never met anyone with more than the smallest streak of Fairy in them. They tend to be quite capable when it comes to injury and illness.”
“My people have many healers,” Sierra tried to explain. “And only elders leave the realm for holiday or business.”
The doctor looked at Godric and grumbled. “Not that I don’t appreciate being called to a dirty hole at midnight by the infamous Death himself,” she bowed sarcastically, “but why am I here? My assistant said he was too nervous to ask when he realized it was you on the phone.”
A low growl, too low for Sierra’s half-human sense of hearing, rumbled from Godric and the doctor flinched away slightly. He was greatly displeased that the doctor had insulted his future child. Satisfied that he had made his point he began to speak. “I have received the call of the maker for Sierra.”
Dr. Ludwig peered over at his future child with a look of knowing. “I see. It is clear she is not mortally injured. So it’s safe to assume you wish to know what illness has afflicted her. You do realize it will be incurable by both medicine or blood?”
Godric nodded, his calm facade giving nothing away of his deep concern for Sierra. “It is vital that we know more about her sickness.” His eyes shifted to his future child and his heart ached. “I do not want to miss the window afforded us.”
The doctor shuffled over to Sierra and held her hand out to the chair beside the table. It was the only place to sit in the entire den. Sierra sat and the doctor looked at her curiously. “Symptoms?” She asked pulling Sierra’s mouth open and looking inside.
“Ey omach urts,” she said with her mouth open. The doctor let go of her jaw and started pushing on her stomach with the tips of her fingers. “And I’m very tired.”
“Have you consumed citrus or been in contact with iron?”
Sierra shook her head and looked up at Godric as he came closer and leaned against the table beside her, half sitting on it, half standing. He was watching the doctors every movement with the eyes of a hawk.
“Hm,” the doctor said curious.
Godric raised his eyebrows and he stiffened slightly. “What?”
“She has no spleen.” Dr. Ludwig pushed on Sierra’s midsection again. “It should be here. Have you had it removed?”
Sierra’s brow creased slightly in confusion and she shook her head.
“Is that a vital organ?” he asked with worry.
“Quite useless actually.” She looked up at Sierra. “If she was a human,” she added. “I once had the unfortunate pleasure of having to operate on a hybrid who was 1/10 fairy. His spleen had ruptured and needed removal. He started falling ill a few months later. We didn’t know it at the time but if you are a fairy the spleen removes trace amounts of iron in certain foods. Rare but not impossible, it would seem you were born without one. How long have you had symptoms?”
Sierra thought for a second. “They started a few months ago but I felt very bad yesterday after I…” She looked up at Godric. “After I used a great deal of magic and even worse after I ate. Although tonight my ailments have subsided since I woke.”
Dr. Ludwig stood up and faced them both. “I am almost positive you are suffering from slow iron poisoning. The reason you feel better tonight is easily explainable.” The doctor held her hand out to Godric to speak.
He knelt down in front of Sierra and took her hand. “The body often fights harder when you are around your future maker. If you were mortally injured it would allow precious minutes for you to be turned. The same applies for afflictions of the body.”
Sierra drew a breath as her chest slowly rose.
“Your poisoning is most likely due to the absence of your spleen. Your body can’t process iron in food. Being born without a spleen is not unheard of. What I don’t understand,” the doctor continued, “is why you have only been suffering for the last few months. You are half Fae. Iron would be much more poisonous to you then say a 1/10th fairy. In reality you should have died as a child. All foods have a little iron in them.”
Godric looked up as he remained in a kneeling position in front of Sierra. “She has only been out of the Fae realm for seven months.”
Dr. Ludwigs mouth formed an ‘o’ as she looked at them. “What sort of food did you usually consume when you lived in the Fae realm?”
“When I lived in the village,” she fidgeted nervously, “until I was twelve, I ate the foods we grew. Most of them were from seeds that our forelders manipulated with their spark from native plants of the realm.” She scratched her nose nervously. “After that… um… It was decided… um… I left the village. I lived in the wilds. There was not much to eat, but there was a nut tree near the den I hollowed and I was proficient with the sling. I was able to hunt creeps.”
She looked up at the doctor who looked both shocked and confused and she gestured to try and explain.
“A creature about the size of a male’s palm.” She held her hand out for emphasis, before tucking it back around her waist. “It sort of looks like a large Earth spider with hard armor. They live under rocks.”
“Sierra,” Godric’s soft voice drew her attention and she looked at him. “Why did you leave your village and live in the wilds at the age of twelve?” His voice was grave and he struggled to contain the miserable worry that welled inside him. He could practically taste her apprehension in the air.
Her big eyes, framed by long lashes, stared at him and he could see her emotions switching off like lights as her eyes became vacant and dead. Godric felt like a silver bullet had just struck him in the heart.
Was her village destroyed? No. That did not seem practical. She said she left the village. He thought for a moment as he looked at her strangled expression. Did she run away? Was she running from something? He sucked in a sharp breath. Was his Sierra outcast from her village? Is that why she was no longer living in the Fae realm? Had they cast her out from the village and eventually from the realm?
The thought haunted him. His face fell somberly and he ground his teeth together. His body felt heavy, every muscle felt like concrete… concrete plummeting to the bottomless depths of an icy ocean.
The doctor cleared her throat, cutting through the silence. “It’s possible the foods she ate in the village were specially designed to lack iron and it would not be impractical given the Earth Fae’s skill with nature and the possibility that food there may lack iron. As for the food in the ‘wilds’… nuts contain large quantities of an enzyme called Phytates that block most iron absorption but still wouldn’t account for her lack of poisoning. The creature she hunted; I have no idea, it may have had something to do with saving her, some sort of enzyme that could have remained in her system for several months after she came here and started eating Earth foods. I would have to examine it to be sure.”
He didn’t take his eyes off of Sierra as he talked. “Doctor, what foods can she eat that will not harm her?”
“There is no food on Earth that is safe for her to eat. Nuts and Grains however, are the best choice. Both contain phytates which will lower her iron absorption,” she answered reaching in her bag to retrieve her stethoscope as Godric began speaking again.
“What is your prognosis?” he asked, dreading the answer for Sierra’s sake.
“Well,” she said putting the stethoscope in her ears. “If she spends most of her time around you and eats low iron foods it should slow the progression of the poisoning. Iron poisoning, even in small amounts, is very serious. Given her lack of a spleen her body has no way to filter iron absorbed into her blood from the foods she eats. My best estimate… a month, if we’re lucky. If she continues as she is, the state her body is in… she could die as early as a few days. It depends on what she eats and how often she sees you. Contact with you will give her body that extra bit of fight she needs to function properly. I can also prescribe high dose calcium pills which will help block iron absorption.”
Sierra’s face fell and her eyes moistened with the impact of what she had just learned. Godric who was still kneeling in front of her, squeezed her hand to reassure her. “My child,” he said softly, reaching up to tuck her hair behind her ear. “I will not let you meet your true death.” He engulfed her small hand in both his larger ones and brought it to his face. Kissing her knuckles and exhaling on her skin, he spoke. “You have my unyielding devotion, minn hjarta, and I will teach you, care for you, protect you for all of eternity if you will have me. If you will walk with me through the ages I will show you life as you have never known.”
Sierra’s lips parted and she drew in a shaky breath, her chest expanding slowly. Her hand still held to Godric’s face, she rubbed her thumb along his chin and tilted her head as she watched him, her face welling with new emotions. She was touched by his words and her heart filled with a softness she had never felt. She believed him and he could see that belief in her eyes.
Their tender moment was interrupted by Dr. Ludwig. She gasped when she went to slide the listening end of her stethoscope down the top of Sierra’s dress on her back. “My gods,” she blurted. “What has happened to your back?”
Sierra whimpered as Godric stood up to look over her shoulder. She quickly teleported out of the chair and to the middle of the room, but not before Godric saw the angry scars on her back when Dr. Ludwig slightly tugged her dress down. He recognized them. He had seen those types of scars during his time in ancient Rome. They were the unmistakable marks that a slave often wore from the lash of a leather whip. He himself had bore fresh wounds that would have turned into scars had his future maker not healed him after every beating.
He swallowed his anger and quickly composed himself before she saw the heated flaring of his nostrils. His fears were just confirmed. Someone had brutally hurt his precious minn hjarta! He looked at her as her eyes darted around the room in panic and he realized she was seconds from fleeing. The situation had gone from a moment of tenderness to suffocating tension in less than a minute. He held his hand up cautiously and slowly stepped towards her as if he was trying to calm a cornered animal. He shoved his feelings aside and focused on her. This was about her well-being, not about his anger and sadness at learning she had endured a terrible injustice.
“Sierra,” he said calmly, his face masked with serenity. “Come to me, my child.”
He couldn’t command her, couldn’t even track her if she masked her scent and fled, but he knew her instincts had already flared to life. The instincts of a progeny were already present within her, and he hoped she would obey him, for her own good.
“I… I do not want to be examined anymore,” she groaned in protest, her face screwed up in dark emotions.
“Doctor,” he said without taking his eyes from Sierra. The healer took that as her queue to leave and began hastily gathering her belongings in her bag. Interfering in the delicate interactions between a vampire who has felt the call and his potential progeny could be a deadly situation for outsiders, and Dr. Ludwig was well aware of this. The only time a vampire was more protective or aggressive to others was the first few months after he turned his child.
“I…” the doctor began as she glanced over at Sierra. Even she, who usually had a snarky remark for everything, was at a loss for words. “I will have the calcium pills sent to you in the morning.” She nodded to Godric as she skirted the wall around him and made her way back up the earthen steps.
After he heard the bathroom door swing open and close, he took another step towards the frightened girl. “The examination is over, Sierra. The healer is gone.” He held both his arms out, beckoning her to his embrace. “Do not be afraid, my child. Come to me.”
She hesitated a moment before her eyes settled on him, a deep pain brewing in those silver-blues. He could see how much she wanted to come to him, to give in to his offer of love and understanding, a genuine and true offer that only a maker could provide. He hoped she would follow the call, the instinct that told her he could provide her the strength she needed if only she would envelope herself in his outstretched arms. He tried to convey what was in his heart as he looked at her with softness, with gentleness, with the strength of the ancient and wise maker that he would be for her.
The tension in his heart abated as she leaped in his arms and pressed herself hard against him with a breathy whimper of relief. She buried her face in his chest as her desolate tears moistened the skin over his heart, their heady perfume intensifying the already pleasing aroma of her scent in the air.
She melted against him and his arms wrapped around her, cocooning her in safety, soothing her as he rubbed her back. They both felt the contentment wash over them as they held each other for the first time. He savored the moment for he knew there were so few firsts in the life of an immortal, but he was hopeful, and he luxuriated in the promise of an everlasting embrace. A soft purr rumbled deep in his throat which was hoarse and rusty because he had not used it in so very long. He drew a sharp breath that momentarily broke his purr, and he closed his eyes in grief as he felt the raised scars under the thin fabric of her tattered dress.
The scars were old.
She had been abused as a child.
He squeezed her tighter against him, and buried his nose in her hair at the top of her head. Her alluring scent calmed him. It reminded him that though she had known nothing but betrayal and abandonment, emotionally scarring her young heart, she was unique. He saw a strength within her that he would help her realize.
She had survived. She had survived it all with her beautiful personality in tact. The abuse. Living alone in the wilds as a child. Coming to a new world she probably knew nothing about, most likely by force. Her strength was there, he saw it, and it was amazing.
She was a fighter. A warrior. A survivor.
He wanted to take her away that very moment and tuck her safely under his wing, never let her go, give her the world in his palm. He wanted to show her love, trust, and faith as she had never known it. He looked at her with tender eyes.
“Oh, Sierra,” he whispered, smoothing both hands in her honey-colored tresses. Her disheveled hair cascaded through his fingers, along with the grass and bits of leaves that clung to it from her earlier sleep along the trail. He wondered if she had ever had a shower in her life, or even knew what one was. She most likely bathed without soap in the lake, and probably had done similar her entire life in an attempt to stay clean. He ran his hands down her back, down the dress that was much to small for her, tattered at the hem in a stringy mess. It barely covered her bottom and it was clear she had no undergarments as he had wolfishly discovered with his trespassing gaze while she slept. Her dress looked years old, squeezing her tiny body and the skirt was even ripped all the way to her waist on one side, exposing her fleshy hip. His heart hurt. He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply as a thought of her trying to stay warm in the winters fleeted across his mind.
“My child,” he said softly, squeezing her tighter against him. His arms circled all the way around her, engulfing her fully in a blanket of his body. “Do you have any idea how special you are to me?”
She shook her head against his chest and he chuckled lightly under his breath.
He looked down at the top of her head curiously as he continued to hold her. “How old are you, minn hjarta?”
“I am well past seventeen Earth cycles,” she said pressing the side of her face against his bare chest as she pulled his shirt open slightly. She seemed to be looking at his Section Black necklace as her fingers caressed the diamond shaped fangs and the ruby shaped drop of blood that fell from one. So his Sierra liked jewels did she? “I will soon be upon my eighteenth year.”
His eyebrows lifted. “When?”
“About a week.”
“A week?” His lips parted. “Your birthday is in a week?”
“Mhmm,” she sighed, and put her palm flat against his sternum experimentally before she moved it along his skin, over his tattoo and towards his throat. He had the feeling she had never been embraced and probably rarely got to experience touching another or being touched herself. It was something he could relate to. Time had hardened his heart but her touch softened him, forcing out a tender side he didn’t know he possessed. He watched her as she seemed lost in the feel of him. He was very aware of everywhere she touched him and he reveled in the feel of her small hands fluttering gently over his skin. “How old are you?” she finally asked.
He laughed as his hands fell to her shoulders. “I am an old man,” he teased. “2764 years.”
She looked up at him, craning her neck and her expression of utter surprise made him smile. “Truly?”
“Truly,” he chuckled. “But I am more interested in your birthday. This is cause for great celebration.” And he wondered if she would be birthed a vampire the same day of the year she was birthed a mortal.
Her brow furrowed in confusion but the corner of her lip lifted into a crooked smile of wonder. “Celebrate my birthday?”
“Yes,” he said smiling, drawing out the s, his lips open as he gave her an eyeful of all of his fangs and teeth. “I shall give you the moon and the stars,” he said slyly, adding the double meaning that he was sure she didn’t understand.
She laughed so happily that her eyes closed in merriment and she fell backwards in his arms, forcing him to fully support her so she didn’t topple to the floor. Her laugh gave him such pleasure and he relished it. His face softened and his eyelids drooped half way closed as he watched her with a mix of contentment and devotion. He inhaled deeply taking in her lovely scent as he gazed down at her.
She straightened back up on her feet and looked him in the eyes. “The moon and the stars are some of my favorite things.”
He smiled widely at that nugget of information. “And the sun?” he asked. “Do the Fae not love to bask in the sun?”
She scoffed. “I love the sun as much as the next person. But you speak of the Sky Fae. I had never seen the moon and stars before I came here. I was so used to the sun in the Fae realm that I was blind in the darkness, but my sight is improving with each passing night as I gaze to the jewels of the sky.” She closed her eyes and smiled. “I imagine that amidst one of those jewels there is a girl like me, peering back, wondering what lies in the beauty beyond.” Her face lifted and she looked up at her star ceiling as her voice turned dreamy. “I fell in love with the stars.”
She looked back to him and they both fell silent for a moment. His hands moved to the small of her back as he held her.
“Your eyes remind me of the stars,” he whispered. “And yet they somehow put the beauty of even the stars to shame.” The corner of his mouth rose as his eyes swept her face. Her imagination was beautiful but he doubted there was any in the universe like her.
She smiled and her gaze shyly fell to his collar, focusing on his tattoo.
“Sierra,” he said putting two fingers under her chin and lifting her gaze to his. His eyes full of tenderness, he began to speak. “It is time we make a decision.”
Special Thank You: Thank you Suzymeinen for your beta magic!