Okay guys… another of my stories.  This one was actually started before The Vampire Prince.  Though I haven't written as much on this as that.

Please enjoy the story… let me know what you think.

Summary:  Ahhhh… Alicia and Brennan used to be best friends.  She moved away, and they haven't seen each other in 10 years.  Suddenly she is back, and it is no coincidence that she comes back when they most need her.  Evil forces have been attacking the city and Brennan and his friends have been having increasing trouble trying to keep ahead of the attacks, and prepare themselves for more.  Now that Alicacia is back, will things get any easier?  And who has she brought back with her?  Can they all be trusted?  People are hiding things, even the people Bren trusts most.  {Note:  I realize the female character has the same name as in The Vampire Prince, but she is not the same person, nothing similar.}

Please Enjoy the Story… magical powers and the such will probably appear later on… but remember that this is, after all a romance.

Oh… don't forget to review me… please… comments, constructive assistance, suggestions… all more than welcome!

{{{ Chapter One }}}

{Narrator Point of view}

"Now would someone like to explain exactly what the hell is going on here.  What did you think…" 

Staring down into the eyes of the guy in front of her she faltered in her tirade… his eyes… his deep blue eyes… a feeling of recognition…

"A… Alicia?" he asked tentatively.  "Is it… is it really you?"

^ ^ ^ ^

She'd been gone near on 10 years now, actually it must be pretty close to that date exactly… 'Think about that later'… And 'wow, has she grown up good' he thought with a sly grin, having recovered his composure, just as she lost hers.

"Ah… I… Umm… Brennan?"

'She's cute when she stutters,' he thought with a smile.  "Hey… thanks for the hand by the way.  So how have you been?"  He asked innocently.

The one thing he was not expecting was the look that he got.  The young girl, who left him 10 years ago, had sunshine blond hair, bright blue eyes and a bubbly, carefree personality.  So the heartache, sadness and loss, visible in the haunted look in her eyes as she looked down on him was definitely not what he expected to see.

Why did that look leave him breathless?  The dull, emptiness in her eyes, just slammed into his chest and left him absolutely breathless.  What happened to her?  What was he feeling?  Sad, angry, guilty… why was he guilty?  Because you should have protected her from whatever has hurt her said a little voice inside his head.  Shaking the thought away for the moment, 'I'll think about that later as well,' he growled lightly under his breath.  'Who the hell did this to her… who the hell dared to hurt MY Cia… my poor little Cacia.  I'll kill them… I swear I will.'

Looking back into her eyes, he noticed the slightly confused look in her eyes, and the fear… the fear in the depths of her beautiful eyes.  Over the years her 'beautiful bright blue eyes' had dulled.  No longer were they light and clear.  More of a dull blue-gray.

But her eyes were the least of his worries…

"Ali…" That was all he needed to say, all he was able to say.  In less that a second her tall proud composure had broken, and she had fallen into his arms. 

Sitting on the cold ground, in the middle of a deserted street, near midnight.  With a sad sobbing form of a once beautiful bubbly young girl cradled in his protective embrace as she cried away tears that she had obviously been bottling up for quite some time.  One thought hit him, one thought that changed his life.  'I love her'.  So surprised at this epiphany, he would have fallen had he not already been sitting on the ground.

'I love her, I think I always have.  And I will protect her with all I have, until the day I die.  Never will she have to be so… so… alone.'  He thought to himself with conviction.  Resting his cheek on the top of her hair, he wrapped his arms tighter around her as he whispered quiet, comforting words into her ear.

^ ^ ^ ^

Some time must have gone by, when he finally came out of his thoughts again.  His Cacia had stopped sobbing and she was now simply curled up in his embrace, sniffling occasionally.  At a shuffling sound to his side, his eyes shot open and his head came up quickly and swung towards the sound.  His eyes opened even wider when he took in the sight of Seth sitting on the ground staring at him with curiosity and a little fear, with Ehlana and Willow curled up to his sides.  'I forgot all about them being here, in fact I think I forgot about everything except my angel and me,' he thought to himself.  Tentatively Seth asked quietly, "Bren… you okay?"

{Brennan's Point of View}

"Yeah," came my quiet whispered reply as I turned my head back to the angel in my arms.  I had to get her moving, after all, it probably wasn't entirely safe for us to be sitting here.  "Ali-…" wow, I was choking on my words again.  Clearing my throat, I tried again.  "Alicacia… come on hon…" No response.  "Come on Cacia… please baby, we gotta get up, we've got to go somewhere safer… it's not safe here."  She must have heard me, because she lifted her head slightly to look up at my face.  I was so amazed at what I beheld that I almost forgot what I was trying to tell her.  If it weren't for this new feeling of complete protectiveness I have over her, I might I forgotten.  Her eyes were red, obviously due to the crying, but at the moment, she looked so vulnerable and so beautiful, her eyes twinkling with unshed tears.  I brought one hand up to her face and lightly cupped her cheek, using my thumb to wipe away a few of the tears still sitting on her face, a few that my shirt hadn't soaked up, I thought with a slight smile.  She must have sensed my thoughts as she looked ruefully at my shirt for a moment with an embarrassed smile.  So happy was I to see any smile that my grin widened for a moment before sobering.  "We've got to go somewhere safer."  She just nodded slightly and rested her cheek back on my chest.  Wrapping my arm back around her I looked back to my friends. 

With a slight smile to answer the curious and questioning looks, as now both Willow and Ehlana were watching as well, I answered Seth's earlier fear.  "To my place guys.  Let's get out of here."  All too happy to agree, the three quickly scrambled up.  'Now all I have to do is get up too… without disturbing my angel too much.  Easier said that done.'  Seth, seeing my predicament, walked closer to us.  Looking at me he offered his assistance.

"We have to get up baby, come on," I tried, nudging the girl slightly.  With a small sigh, she curled up, and snuggled into my chest even more, bringing back a few fond memories, causing me to smile again.  'I've smiled more since she got here, than I have for a long time.'

On the same wave length as me, Seth responded slyly, "Do you wanna stop smiling for a few moments, at least until we get home."  Looking around quickly he held his hand towards us in a gesture of assistance.  Putting one arm out to join Seth's, I tightened my grip around Alicacia with my other arm.  She didn't seem to be at all inclined to either get up, or move from my embrace, so with Seth's help, I managed to get us both up.  Quickly realising that she also wasn't inclined to support herself on her own feet, I put one arm behind her knees and smoothly lifted her into my arms.

Standing there, the wind blowing lightly, ruffling my hair, and wrapping her silver locks around my body, it felt like I'd held her like this many times before.  Logically impossible, as I hadn't seen her since I was 16 and her 13.  However, it truly felt like she belonged in my arms like that.  Shaking myself out of my thoughts.  I looked quickly up at the others, nodding slightly before we all started off towards my house.

^ ^ ^ ^

Walking home quickly, I noticed that for once I was subconsciously in the center of the group. The two girls would normally walk between Seth and I, but tonight, I was in the middle with the precious bundle in my arms, with the other three fanned out around us, sticking close and keeping a watchful lookout.  Knowing I could trust their instincts, I switched my eyes between looking forward and looking down at the gorgeous girl… young woman actually… in my arms. 

Arriving home, Seth typed the code into the security system and we all walked inside quickly with a huge sigh of relief.  They say that crying can really tire you out, it must, because Alicia had fallen asleep in my arms on the walk home.  Without a word to the others, I went straight upstairs, to put my angel to bed.  As I tucked her gently into my bed I thought possessively, 'she definitely belongs there.'  With a sigh I thought ruefully, of all the times to get turned on… 'But what I wouldn't give to know she'd wake up there everyday, with me beside her.'  Shaking my head, I got up from where I was sitting on the bed and turned towards the door.  A quiet moan of protest and a whispered "Bren…" stopped me in my tracks.  However, as I turned back to face the angel in my bed I realised she was still asleep.  Continuing my way back downstairs, I shook my head, not sure if I was upset or grateful that she was still asleep.

^ ^ ^ ^

As I walked into the kitchen, I noticed two things.  The first, that my friends had made themselves at home, and were currently making up a pot of hot chocolate, something that had recently become routine when we got home after our late night escapades.  The second, that the moment they realised I was there, they all stopped talking and looked at me.  They weren't going to bother asking, they knew I knew what all their questions would be.  Sighing, I ran a hand through my unruly hair as I walked into the room properly and sat down at the kitchen table.  The others took that as I sign I was ready to talk, well almost.  Coming over to join me at the table, Ehlana passed me a mug of nice hot chocolate as they all sat down.

Stalling a little while I hopelessly tried to order my thoughts, I took a sip of the drink put before me.  "Delicious as always Ehlana" I murmured.  Ehlana was going to be a master chef one-day, I'd bet my last penny on that.  "Guys," I began looking up at them, more than a little nervous, to see three pairs of eyes, all interested and curious but also supportive, "I have no idea where to begin."  With a small chuckle, I continued on, "anyway, well that's Alicacia, technically, or Ali, or Alicia, Cacia, Cia or angel."  I completed the list of names with a tender smile.  "I haven't seen or spoken to her for 10 years, I think…" I stood up surprising them all I as I went over to the far wall to look at the calendar.  'Yep, to the day.'  Walking back to the table and sitting down, I resumed my explanations.  "Ah yeah.  Ten years to the day, today, since I last saw her.  I was 16 and she was only 13."  With a sly grin in Seth's direction I added, "She's grown up good hasn't she."

Laughing quietly, he wholeheartedly agreed, "Oh, yes, from what I could see, it was dark though."  That comment gained him a hit on the arm from Ehlana, his girlfriend.

"Watch it boy," she growled.  Then turning back towards me, she smiled, "go on Brennan."

Looking at Willow I refrained from smiling as she rolled her eyes at the behavior of two of our best friends.  "So, well, she was I guess my best friend.  I don't know what happened, but… she used to be really bright, you know, happy and bubbly, golden hair, a 100-watt smile.  I've never seen her this unhappy… the look in her eyes, they were dull and lifeless… empty.  I don't know who hurt her, but when I find out… I'll kill them… I swear I will."  I finished off my little speech with venom in my voice.  Looking up at my friends I noticed that they were a little shocked at my behavior.  I shrugged and replied, "I love her, and no-one's going to hurt her like that again."

All three of my best friends were smiling at me.  I bet I know what they're thinking…

"So the great Brennan has fallen in love?" – Ehlana of course.

"That's so sweet, you're so protective of her…" – Willow.

"I knew it.  You've always been in love haven't you?  You've always loved her.  That would explain why you've never really gone much for other girls…" – Seth.

Laughing I answered their questions, "Yes, yes, and yeah I guess so."

^ ^ ^ ^

Soon after that we all decided to go to bed, though I received a few jabs after they realised just where my angel was sleeping.

"In the morning I'll call Neve and Meia," mumbled Willow as we parted at the top of the stairs, me heading to my room, the others to the numerous guestrooms.  Times like this I was thankful I had a very large house.

Entering my room I stopped to admire the beauty lying on my bed so innocently.  Suddenly I wasn't anywhere near as tired as I was two seconds ago.  Groaning quietly, I decided to take a shower before going to bed.  I nice relaxing, COLD shower.

Crawling into bed ten minutes later I smiled as I lay down and felt her rollover towards me.  That night I fell asleep with the comforting sensation of having her curled up beside me.

^ ^ ^ ^