Contain your excitement—this fanfic is finally getting updated. As I've been saying in my other stories I'm truly sorry about the scarcity of my updates. My senior year just started and I've been working almost all weekend which is when I like to write, so that leaves me with little time to actually get something written.

Thanks a million to everyone who has continued to read and review my fanfics despite how rarely I've been updating. I appreciate everyone who has been nagging me to update, and this update(Hopefully followed relatively quickly by either an update for The Art of Seduction or Love Can Be Found in the Most Unusual Place, not sure which), it means a lot to me that people still take an interest in my writing.

One quick note—Nicole, I know that you're my beta, so sorry that this didn't get emailed to you(My old email account got closed). Can you please email me at the address in my profile? I promise that I'll email the next chapter to you when I get around to writing it. And keep me posted if your email changes as it may take me awhile to get this next chapter up.

Everyone's thoughts are in italics—sa'right?

All grammar errors and awkward sentences are my fault. Also the myriad of misplaced commas that I always seem to have in every chapter. I have a difficult time with commas, sorry. I proofread this and I always miss something.

And finally---the next chapter!

Dark Curse

Chapter Five: Regrouping/Kurt Awakens

Nicole stood outside Nathaniel's house, her dark hair glowing in the moon's light. Her face, pale from lack of feeding was as white as a ghost, and her eyes were red from crying. Jhessail, still tired and hurt from her injuries limped over to her friend and touched Nicole's shoulder soothingly.

"We'll find where my father is keeping Michael. I promise." Jhessail whispered her gray eyes locked on the older Vampire's.

Nicole couldn't speak, her throat closed off from suppressed tears. She wrapped her arms around Jhessail, resting her head against the young Vampire's shoulder, her body wracked with sobs. Jhessail didn't try to speak again, she simply held Nicole, understanding to some extent Nicole's pain and wishing that she could take it away.

I promise that my father will pay for taking Michael, Nicole. He will suffer for causing you such pain. You're a good friend, Nicole, and it kills me that this happened because of me. You've always been so kind---I hate that this is happening to you…Jhessail thought, her gray eyes narrowing in anger.

We'll find Michael soon, Nicole. And when we do, there's nowhere on earth that my father can hide. Kurt and Mark will exact revenge, and Michael too, if he's up to it.

Kurt woke, his head aching and eyes blurred from the sleep clinging to them. The Vampire groaned and rolled over, his nose smashing into Erick's shirt, the young man still not waking, though his chest rose and fell sporadically. Kurt managed to pull his unresponsive body to his knees; it felt as if stones were weighing him down.

I need blood; Kurt thought groggily his mind refusing to cooperate, lack of sustenance making it difficult to hold a coherent thought.

Kurt managed to lift one of his hands and press it to Erick's neck slightly above the young man's pulse. Relief raced through Kurt's weary body when he felt Erick's pulse beating, albeit weakly.

It appears that Erick's body accepted the change and he is a Vampire. I do not understand why Erick is not waking—perhaps he needs another rising to fully recover. I had better put him back into the healing sleep.

"Kurt!" Jhessail cried as she entered the basement where Kurt and Erick had been resting. Nicole was close behind the young Vampire her arms resting at her sides, her face pale yet composed. "You're awake."

Kurt grunted, too weak to form a complete sentence, let alone speak. Nicole didn't say anything, either; simply kneeling next to Kurt and offering her wrist to him. Jhessail moved behind Nicole, watching her friend's every move, relief apparent on her face. Though she frowned when she caught sight of Erick's motionless body.

Kurt fed hungrily, his depleted body eagerly soaking up the ancient blood. Nicole leaned back, gently tugging her wrist from Kurt, the fang marks disappearing from her pale skin within seconds.

"Is Erick…dead?" Jhessail whimpered, her eyes tearing. Erick had remained a close friend, remaining by her side as much as physically possible. She loved Erick like a brother and it would kill her to loose him because of his wounds…Combinded with Michael's disappearance…Jhessail was uncertain she could handle more bad news.

Kurt shook his head, his mouth forming the word 'no'. Jhessail clasped her hands in relief, nearly collapsing beside Nicole.

"Thank God!" Jhessail breathed, watching Kurt inhale deeply. "Erick's going to be okay, and Kurt's finally awake…Now we just need to find Michael and than everything's going to be dandy!"

"You realize that's not going to be so easy--- right?" Nicole asked incredulously, amazed at Jhessail's naivety. "Slayers have been at war with our people for as long as anyone can remember. Longer than, I believe, Mark's been King. It's a childish to believe your father is going to give up just because we get my Mate back."

Jhessail's mouth opened in shock, both surprised and hurt by Nicole's reproof. "I wasn't trying to belittle our actions, Nicole…It's just…I'm sure that I can dissuade my father from harming your…our people further."

Kurt snorted and the Vampire managed to croak, "He freakin' blew up our house, Jhessail. I doubt that he's going to stop there."

Jhessail shook her head not wanting to believe her friends. "No, I'm sure that he'll stop once I talk to him."

"You're so stupid, Jhessail! With that attitude Michael will be killed! Jhessail, what your father did wasn't just a random attack! He means to start a war with our people and I'll be damned if Michael is the first casualty! When we rescue Michael, and we will save him, do you really believe this is going to be over? If you really think that, Jhessail, than you have your head up your ass! Your father is insane and he means to eradicate us! Get that through your head, Jhessail!" Nicole raged, stomping from the room and leaving Jhessail behind, stunned.

"Kurt…" Jhessail said, looking at Kurt, but the Vampire had his eyes closed, his face creased with thought.

"A war…" Kurt whispered, his voice tired and mixed with fear, "This could be the end of us all."

Jhessail's head slumped in defeat. If what Nicole said was true, and deep down inside her Jhessail knew it was, than she needed to shape up fast. Her father was threatening her new life, not to mention her friends and unborn child, and she needed to figure out where her loyalties lied. And they didn't rest with her father, that's for sure. He had nearly killed them all and kidnapped her friend's mate…Her father could go to hell.

Jhessail stood up, straightening her hair and setting her face. She needed to find Nicole and apologize for acting like a spoiled brat. She cast a glance at Kurt and Erick before she exited the room, smiling when she found Kurt facing Erick with his back against the wall sitting vigilant over Erick.

Erick would be okay.

Jhessail found Nicole sitting in the living room, Nathaniel and Mark beside the Vampiress all in deep conversation. Jhessail smiled as she sat beside her Mate, her mind merging fully with Mark's, a sigh of relief escaping her lips.

Mark had never fully left her mind, both needing the connection, yet she had not been monitoring Mark's actions or thoughts, or vise versa, so the stronger connection was welcome. It was nice to know what Mark was thinking and to offer her Mate silent support.

"For the life of me I cannot figure out where my father could be holding Michael," Nathaniel was saying, his voice frustrated. Jhessail smiled at her brother in silent support. "But than again, after you turned my sister, Mark, my father became somewhat of a recluse and stopped confiding in me. So it's more than likely he rented or bought some other house for his use."

Nicole sighed in frustration, her eyes steely. "So in essence what you're saying is that the cottage your father was renting was our last bet."

Nathaniel sighed in defeat, his shoulders slumping. "….Yes…" Nicole slammed her fist down on the floor, her knuckles turning white.

"Nicole…" Mark started, trying to offer his friend comfort. Nicole shook her head furiously.

"I won't accept it!"

"Nicole," Nathaniel said hesitantly, unsure what to say to ease the Vampire's pain. "We'll find something, I know it. You just need to be patient."

Nicole whipped her face towards Nathaniel, her eyes blazing with fury. "Michael doesn't have time! I cannot connect with my Mate, and I'm going crazy without the connection. And, to make matters worse, I know that Michael is in pain as well, and he's suffering just as badly as I am, if not worse!"

"Jhessail," Mark said, his voice tight with suppressed emotion. "You were the predominate Slayer in your family. Can you think of any place your father could be holding Michael? Any conversations or hints, however vague, that could hold some clue to Michael's whereabouts?"

Jhessail closed her eyes and thought as hard as she could of anything her father could have said that would help Nicole. Nothing came to mind. She hadn't talked about her Slaying with her father more than once or twice in the last couple of years—most of the advice she received came from Nathaniel.

And never once, to her knowledge, had her father said anything about staying anywhere else, of renting an apartment, or a condo…nothing.

Jhessail's eyes snapped open in frustration her eyes dancing away from Nicole's hopeful gaze. "I'm sorry…" She whispered, eyes falling closed at the sight of Nicole's face crumpling.

"We'll go back to Father's house, or rather what remains of it," Nathaniel stated, jumping to his feet. "And we'll search through the rubbish for something, anything that could offer some hint as to where he's keeping Michael."

"I guess…" Nicole whispered, her voice devoid of emotion.

"I think I might know where Michael's being held." Erick's voice, slurred and almost non-existent, floated into the room, and the Vampires turned around surprised, their eyes widening in shock at the sight of Erick staggering into the living room with Kurt's help.

Kurt shrugged his shoulders and grinned. "Erick insisted on coming in here. You know a fledging Vampire's hearing---they can't control the volume, and naturally Erick heard what you guys were talking about."

"Erick's a Vampire?" Jhessail asked, shocked. She hadn't known someone turned her friend.

Nicole nodded impatiently. "Yes, Erick was badly injured. We stumbled across Kurt slumped over Erick, and we smelled Kurt's blood on him. Now, you were saying something about my Mate?"

Erick coughed and sagged against Kurt's sturdy body, his eyes drifting shut. "Yes. Before I gave up Slaying Jhessail's father talked non-stop of a laboratory he had built. Something about wanting to kidnap a live specimen and turning himself immortal. He mentioned something about it being in the mountains…but that's as specific as I can get."

All eyes turned to Jhessail when she gasped, jumping to her feet. "Of course! Why didn't I think of it?! The mountain behind our house, Nathaniel! There's a cave up there, we used to play there!"

Nathaniel hugged his sister. "Jhessail, I don't think like a lunatic. I never would have though he would have built something up there. Our dad's so fat, it's a wonder he could drag Michael there. Uh, no offense, Nicole," Nathaniel said, embarrassed that he had talked about Michael so callously.

Nicole didn't appear to have heard. She faced her King and Queen, her face determined. "Let's rescue my Mate!"

End of Chapter: Regrouping/Kurt Awakens

Next Chapter: Perilous Heights

I know that this wasn't the longest chapter in all existence, but I did get both Erick and Kurt conscious, not to mention Nicole finally knowing where Michael is being held. But nothing is ever easy, now is it?

I'm still unsure of whether or not I want Erick and Kurt together. I am thinking of bringing in a female character that Erick could become involved with, but that's for later chapters, and not for awhile if it is going to even happen.

I don't know--- maybe it's because it's really late, and had to get up early for school, but Jhessail was acting like a biotch, and it just seemed right for Nicole to put her in place. Bah, poor Jhessail, but she was being insensitive, and it seemed to fit, so it stays.

One last thing. Before I update anything I am going to revise some of my stories that I think are poor examples of writing on my part. More specifically: The last chapter of To Love A Vampire, and I'm told chapter five of Darkness Turns Into Light is illegible. And there are a couple of others. Look for more information on revisions in the author's note for my next update!

Until the next chapter---

StarryFIF2