CHAPTER 1: A Fateful Meeting

If we accept each other's flaws, can we cross the dangerous barrier one day? I am not making profits off this. The main characters and Settings are the only ones that are mine. I just had the inspiration from my favorite authors- Laurell K Hamilton, Rice, LJ Smith and Stephanie Meyer.

Italics means telepathy thoughts

My name is Krystal Bratford, I'm fifteen plus this year. A.k.a Bianca, my alias for my hawk in shapeshifter state. I made it up because I didn't want anybody to know that me and the hawk are the same and one person. As a beast animal you talk via mind shifting, or telepathy.

I'm a new citizen on Freemandling Island. In case you're looking up a world map atlas, it's not located anywhere on the map. It is an island only for the preternatural (by rumours) and occupied by the Shapeshifters. My parents heard of this place and thought it would be good to spend the vacation here for the experience. Hopefully I don't have to move again. I'm beginning to love this place.

My family is average, I'm the eldest sister and my brother Marcus takes the shape of a serval, an African cat. My mum is a Deer and my father is a Tiger. Spats are unavoidable.

I met Lestat when I was out walking one night. I've been recording this for anyone who would like to read it. I'm proud of this as I am one of the first of my kind to actually be best friends with vampires and remain myself.

I Am not a blood drinker, I am still mortal.

A night when I felt bored. My folks had gone on another business trip, leaving my brother and myself alone again. It's normal to be home alone with my sibling. Still Marcus was in an anti social mood, playing video games, so I went walking alone. It's unadvisable after dark huh? But I was too careless to care. My star sign is Sagittarius, which makes me pretty relaxed and tomboyish, so I didn't think there was anything to truly frighten the piss out of me.

I flew out as a hawk, wanting to see the sights of the nightlife, when I whammed into a wall. I forgot I am a diurnal animal. Dizzy vertigo. Why didn't the place stop fuzzing around?

A man stood near me. I stared up at him. Funny, I didn't see him before? I made out his paleness in the street light, pure red lips. He smiled as if he had too many teeth. Emerald eyes that gleamed brighter than a mortal's.

"Ma chere, I won't hurt you. Shh, don't struggle. You will feel worse. Calm down," he whispered, a finger stroking up a feather.

What's a chere? I thought. Ok, good news is, he's a nature lover so I'm not to be hauled to some poacher's illegal hideout to be shipped out. The bad is…. He doesn't seem to be ordinary Mr Smith next door.

Are you a-------------? --------------I ventured

Yes I am that. A vampire.----------- He replied.

Don't lay a hand on me. Whoever you are. I did inform my friends I am coming here.

The man threw back his head and laughed, picking me up. I felt like puking. He cradled me to his chest, glanced at me and talked to me soothingly. I felt bouncing as he walked, funny was, I could not see how fast he was moving.

I'm not afraid of anybody, little bird. Don't you know who I am?

I stopped shivering and struggled to escape. His grip tightened. "Ah ah ah, it's broken. I'm going to bring you home for treatment."

He was right. My wing hurt. The streetlights illuminated us. Soft fluffy blond hair loose, collar length. He was wearing an old fashioned coat with ruff sleeves.

Little one, my name is Lestat. The way you fight is so human. I like that. I am the notorious, nefarious, reckless and one time famous Child of the Millenia, he told me calmly.

Titles, titles! I was so groggy and sleepy they seemed all slurred together. His embrace was comforting, temptingly. A part of me cried out, do not give in to this! Must escape later. Aloud Lestat kept up the chatter, lovingly caressing my head.

"You shouldn't be out at night. It's dangerous, you're quite badly hurt."

Later, he mentioned he always wanted a pet bird. "Bianca, ahhh, is that your name? Ma cherie, don't worry. If you're not human, there's nothing to fear of me. Sleep." I closed my eyes.

Do not change, do not! I willed myself even as I was unconscious. Lestat's voice, a chuckle. I cracked open an eye to check out my surroundings. I had been laid on a basket with wool, water dish. Brown things were laid out, on closer inspection, dead rats! Yuck! I gagged. Struggled on my stomach.

The lights were dimmed for a drowsy effect. No fluorescents, all chandeliers.

"Hey you've woken. Try to sleep, child. I called a vet. Didn't want to bother him, but yours is an important case," Lestat said, floating to my side very fast. No naked eye can track it for slower shots. I glared as fiercely at him as I could manage. Whoa is he sincere about this?

"I AM sincere love. Don't hurt my feelings. I love animals. Why should I hurt you? Yes please come this way, Mr Robins. It's a hawk, she knocked into a wall. I'll make the lights brighter for you."

He did not move, but suddenly spotlights hurting the eyes changed the big room. Thankfully the vet was human, I was assured by his warm hands.

Fine after an injection…. No! I hate injections. Let me out! Let me out, I spread my wings, ignored the pain on my left one and sprang up. Windows, walls, dammit! All closed up! I shrieked.

Stop stop! You'll be injured more!---------- Lestat yelled into my head.

I collided with a wall, slid down into hands. The needle point pierced into me and I passed out.

The next I awoke to was to the sound of humming, in tune with an oldies song. Piano accompaniment. I stood up on talons, walked awkwardly with a turkey's gait, curling up on knuckles. Hopped off the table. Walked on the floor in the direction of the music.

I tried out my wing which ached. We heal quickly, so actually the medicine is not needed. By day, I would be unbroken again. My situation is SOS, but I can't send any thoughts to any of my folks. Some sort of telepathy- block inside here. How will I survive this? If I accidentally changed back, Lestat would pounce on me as a morsel! Shit, shit, shit.

The house was like an open maze. The humming got louder as I closed in. I cocked my head, half slid on the waxed floor and stopped at the open door. Such a huge mansion! My rescuer had his eyes closed, yes his complexion was alabaster white. Definitely vampiric blood. Soft gold curls about his head, it glowed with perfection, complementing his naturally androgynous looks, he was maybe 20 to 30 years? He was singing to the piano he played, without a music book.

"You're well, cherie? Curious huh?"

Stop that.

"What? Cherie is French for affection, for my love. Don't be angry at me," Lestat said, still playing on and smiling in an offguard manner. I was mad and hovered about the room. No place to land! I settled for the piano end furthest from the vampire. All windows were barred and locked. Shit, forget reconnaissance. I'm doomed!

Outlaw! Won't you let me go? You'll be sorry!

"Outlaw? I'm none of that. Come nearer. Beside me. Do not worry, I like animals. You're a rare beauty, a red tail hawk." I stopped a few feet away, he touched my feathers. Admiration arose in me….

A Piano? It's good you are a musician, I thought vampires don't do classical---- I said cleverly.

Lestat's smile widened, he pointed at me. "So cute. Yes it is mine…." He explained proudly about it, the model and so on, but I don't remember the details as I am not a pianist. I relaxed enough to feel the music underneath and ruffled my feathers to make myself look bigger than I was.

Lestat was so immersed in it so completely, he sang to himself. His English was French- accented and sounded really nice. He stopped after about three hours, stretching his fingers and said, "It's almost dawn. I have to go to bed now. Bye."

He moved so quickly that there was simply no one but me left in this room. Oh darn, I need him to let me out!

Lestat! Lestat, I want to go home. Let me out! ------------I screamed.

The vampire returned, annoyed and sleepy. "Stay here Bianca. I said I'm tired and I need to sleep." He stumbled away. I flew after him, trying to remember which turn was which, but failed to. Lestat entered a bedroom. It was lavishly decorated, heavy draperies and veils covered the bed. He did not go to the bed, but he went instead to a coffin behind it. It had golden trim edges, the vampire opened the lid, climbed in and closed it.

I myself fell asleep again on the bed. I found that I had changed back to human form, feeling a mattress beneath me. I forced myself to leave, noticing the coffin beside the bed, walking through the house. I held no hope of escape because it was much too huge and dark. I bumped into a couple of servants but I cannot speak French so I couldn't communicate with them. Finally a room with a phone, the type that's quaint and a ring-up system. A dial tone yes!

"Hi, Marcus. It is me. I'm in Lestat's house, the one and only. I can't get out, I dunno how to…. You're gonna check him up? Kay, kay, do that. No, no he's not hurting me. I'm fine. He will wake up soon, perhaps seven pm? I'll try to make him release me. I don't know! I was all in the dark. Bye." Ok that done, I morphed back into a bird again. It made him happy and have control of me. Lestat's attracted naturally to blood, but not animal blood so I am safe in this shape.

It was easy to persuade them to feed me simply by squawking for attention. They fed me well with fish and scraps. I filled my stomach.

At dusk, I returned to his bedroom. Haven't seen a vampire waking up before. Curious. The coffin lid moved to the right. Lestat stretched himself, sat up and rose. "Ah, fresh. Yes! Hello Little Bianca!" he greeted me, springing to my side. Excited smile on his face.

How could he be menacing? I thought for a bit and then said hi too.

"You must be curious as to my sleeping habits. Do you understand now?" Lestat said amiably, glancing at the coffin. "Today I don't feel like feeding… do you want to go anywhere?"

I would like to go home.

He sighed, threw up his hands. 'My dear, I Will take you home! I swear upon that, on my account okay? Bianca, keep me company. Make me happy. I haven't got company since I came here. Or I will be mad." The firmness in tone deemed no argument. Don't push anymore.

He led me to a huge drawing room, it had a large table in the centre. He made himself comfortable in a couch. I stood on top of another chair, grasped the rim.

"Lestat De Lioncourt is my full name. Yes, I am French. I moved here because I wanted a change in environment from Paris and New Orleans. It does have American flavour and other cultures as well. It has been like, half a year already. I have been to Europe before, Americas, Miami and New Orleans I am more familiar with."

Why did you not remain in France then? To see the world? -------- I was rapt by his friendly introduction. Lestat smiled, went to a cupboard and slotted out a bottle of Chardonnay red wine.

"Would you like some?" I shook my head no. Clink of the glass rim as he filled his glass with the red liquid. OMG, I'm really talking, talking! To the notorious Vampire Lestat, one of the most powerful immortals to ever walk the earth. I've no idea of him personally, so far, but my parents had awe for the famous personalities of the Night world and Shapeshifters.

He came back and sat again, crossed his legs. Sipped the liquid and I heard him think, metallic, no taste. Not like blood. "Yes I am Parisian. I love touring countries, especially those that have cities. I don't much like the countryside. I am sociable and love to mix. But, this time I felt like staying here. Much more peaceful. You were born here, Bianca?"

I shook my head. Lestat's smile widened, he leaned forward to place the glass upon the small desk in front.

"I am so excited. Louis has always been the one to talk to the reporters, he even got a movie and his book is on the charts. But not me. People fear me more than they want to get to know me. I'm hot tempered, crazy at times! Yes! And, even you fear me," he faltered, saddened. He sniffed blinking quickly.

I was surprised. He asked me once more. I nodded. You're, you're the great and famous Lestat. Whereas I'm just a little bird. You scared the hell out of me.

He nodded and gazed at me tenderly. "Cheers." He toasted me.

Um, I don't mind being your friend. It's sad, that you are alone here. How else could I have a chance of leaving this house in one piece, alive?

Lestat raised his hands like a conductor, me taken aback.

"Friend is so casual a word! I want someone I can open myself to…. Someone closer to me. More, more than a best friend. How about kinsmate? What do you say Bianca?"

I consented, made him laugh. He rose gracefully and rested his hand on my back, rubbing my feathers.

Tell me about your friend----------- I bade him. His voice was just sexy.

"The Night world…. Louis, I made him my kind to keep me company. He's the softest hearted person in the world. I was attracted to him. Still, (harder tone) Louis can be so infuriating! If you approach him on important matters, he will break down! He can't be tough or strong for me. Which I desperately need! My people shun me, because of my seemingly reckless moves. But they forget. They forget I do have feelings, the urges to do something not sit still! I cannot force my impulsive nature somewhere. You're young. You understand don't you?"

Lestat appeared almost human now, lost, forlorn.

I understand you, Lestat. ------------ I replied.

"I've been trapped as a twenty one year old since I was changed back in my homeland. 2oo plus years already have passed…. I love to hear stories too. Bianca, what about your stories? Let us go outside. Did you see the view?"

I followed him out to the third floor balcony. He took a lamp so I could see him. When he played enough with me, perhaps I could be free. The house was derelict, all lights were chandeliers. Hot, orange, dim. Can it still hold? I wondered. It's so ancient.

"I had it made after my old house the Rue Royale. That one got burnt down. It's not that old!" he chuckled, opening a pair of large doors. The balcony. Nightlights lit up the city before the beholder, in the darkness. I landed on a tree, where I felt safe. "Like it? I choose places with the most scenery."

"Cool!" At this I made Lestat laugh out loud----------- American chic.

I can't believe I got won over by the power of the vampire's charisma. He bowled me over from his zealousness, hospitality and cheer, mixed with some sadness here and there. Avians and serpents also abound in the city, I wonder how they are. If they will know whether someone or a life is extinguished. We are so small.

The moon cast its special glow on Lestat's face. He was elegant and tall, the Victorian era clothes out of place, yet fitted him nicely. He chose to talk, not using the mind. "Less frightening. For a first timer, I don't want to scare you. Didn't you think it was dangerous to leave your house at night? Please answer."

Only please didn't sound like please, not the right word. More like commanding. "I love to hear stories. You could make it up," he added to soften this. Really, he could hear me thinking. His tone was almost inaudible, but he knew that as a beast, my hearing is thousands of times stronger and more sensitive than a human's.

I could hear perfectly. Story time. I could talk about myself. I've done it plenty of times in front of people.