Death lays heavy on her shoulders. She knows it's near, crushing her very existence. Yet, very clearly she sees a light at the end of the dark, narrow tunnel. The light is new, never before seen. Horrified to die she avoids the light. The further she gets, the worse she feels. As she flees, death draws nearer. Then the light gets close; she feels warmth, emotion, feelings that had not been active in centuries.

A voice, mesmerizing and undeniable, calls to her. She cannot resist it. Anya, fight your demons and come back to the land of man. That dark place is not where you belong. You belong here with your love, Chérie. The voice flows into her mind, her blocks are not powerful enough to prevent that. She knows who he is. She recognizes his voice. She knows it is Damien, the monster from her nightmares. The darkness is pulled away, letting in more light. Blistering light rakes across her delicate flesh. Her skin is almost translucent. Anya Nicholias come back to this world, those in the dark do not deserve you. You are too good for them, as am I. Without you here to anchor me, I too will fall victim to the darkness. Damien's voice echoes in her head, causing it to pound.

"You're hurting me Damien; I can not maintain the bond between this world and the next. The darkness wants me and there I shall go." Anya whispers to him. She knows he will hear her. He always does.

In her mind she hears his words. They are sweet and gentle, all the things she knows him not to be. It cannot be that way Love. You know that. Our people change in the dark. They become animals that kill mindlessly—

"And WHAT DO WE DO?" she forces from her throat, each of the words crack. A tear runs down her cheek from the pain. " I know our kind very well. You may be older but I am not ill taught. I will turn because my lifemate has yet to prove himself." She turns her back to him and heads away from the light deeper into the darkness.

Why do you refuse me Anya? You know we are meant to be together. Just let me prove it to you. Damien pleas in her head. You consider coming back, but fear the law of our people. You fear having to give up control. You fear being controlled and forced into submission. I will not do that to you though. I would allow you freedom, but you must come back before it is too late Anya.

"You cannot disregard the laws of Carpathians. The laws are an ancient manuscript that has never been disobeyed without extreme punishment. It can not be done." The darkness made Anya uneasy. The beast within her starts to growl and flex its claws.

A searing white pain shoots through Anya's body. She falls to the ground unconscience. Damien walks around her body watching it. "You are my life Anya, whether you admit it or not. I cannot permit you to force both of our lives into darkness, when I can finally see the color. "

When a male Carpathian ages, he loses emotions and colored sight. Everything becomes boring shades of gray instead of vibrant colors that a male should see when he is a youth.

The body remains motionless, almost lifeless, except for the small rise and fall of her breasts as she breathes. Damien performs a mind sweep, there is nothing there; it is blank. She will need to feed when she rises. He understands this. Damien opens the large marble door and is gone in a flash.

Anya awakes, groggy and unfamiliar with her surroundings. She sees glowing torches along the walls of cold stone. "This must be Damien's newest lair." She thinks. She feels a soft surface underneath her, a silky cover on top of her. The bed, as she could see was an old ornate French canopy bed. Slowly her blurry vision clears.

"Damien?" she calls out hoarsely. There is no answer, just her own echo. "DAMMIT!" She tries to rise but can't. Her body is too heavy and she is too drained. Anya shakes her head as thoughts creating a mind link to Damien wash over her. "I won't do it, I won't let him win." She fights herself over this for a while. Finally, her better judgement wins. She knows she needs food, and Damien is her only option. Damien? Her voice sounds strained even when not spoken. I need to feed.

A voice fills her head. I know I'm almost home Chérie. Have you tried to rise yet? His voice holds a sarcastic undertone. Anya refuses to give him the pleasure of an answer.

Damien returns with a dazed woman. "Here, she should be enough for you." The woman walks toward Anya completely entranced.

"Where did you find her?" Anya asks worried for the woman's family, if she has any.

"Around town. She was wandering alone in the streets, near the upper West Side. That's where all the 'Richie Riches' are." He says smugly.

"Oh, okay. I guess that makes it a little better. One less upper class woman in the job field competing with big strong men." Anya is annoyed but it was her turn to be sarcastic.

"Watch your tone, Anya. I will take no insolence from you."

"You don't control me Damien. Don't try to convince yourself that you own me. You never will not as long as I have the ability to think for myself."

"Anya Nicholias, you are walking a very fine line. Soon you will realize your place with me as my lifemate. You will realize that I am in control. Anya you will realize that your body knows no other way than to obey me."

"You're a monster Damien. Why couldn't you just let me die? I would have been free from all my pain and misery." Anya wipes tears from her eyes. Her emotions are filling the room.

"You'll learn to appreciate your life by my side. There was no need for you to seek the sun. You found your lifemate—"

"Yes I found him! It's you and I can't bear being with you. When I met you I despised you. Nothing has changed. Centuries could not change the way I feel about you. Meet the sunrise with me if you must, just let me die in peace. Let what little amount of life I had be happy." Her face is stripped with tears of blood.

Damien approaches her slowly casting the stray woman aside. Damien is large compared to Anya's miniature figure. He takes her hands and places his lips on her knuckles. She ignores him. Damien tries to read her thoughts but is blocked by a barrier. He knows he can break it down, but that would only make things worse for him.

"Ma Chérie, please, you are ghastly pale. You need to feed." She looks up at his golden eyes, filled with defiance.

"If I do will you let me be for another day?" her eyes were deep blue and full of shame. She felt as if she shames herself by allowing him to manipulate her this way. No man should have this kind of power over her and she knew it.

"I will not pressure you this night if you will take what sustinence you need. But you must do it soon so I can take her."

"Agreed." The woman creeps toward Anya slowly, compelled by Damien, presenting her tan fleshy neck. Anya can see her veins pulsing and hear her heart beating. Her fangs lengthen in her mouth. Grasping the woman's hair, she pulls the woman towards her. Fangs scrape the skin, finally puncturing deep. The blood is warm and sweet, addicting. The woman's heartbeat slows; Anya stops drinking and heals the gashes with a swipe of her tongue.

Anya's color is better, she thinks she could fly if she wanted.

"You can fly Chérie, all you need do is visualize yourself flying."

"You said you would not pressure me Damien." She says in a threatening tone. "I do not feel like wasting my energy on arguing with you."

"I'm sorry you think I was pressuring you. I was only trying to remind you that you have but two limitations, yourself and the sun. You can beat the sun, if you wish. It will just take time. You must become tolerant to it again after years of being underground.

"It was you who forced me underground Damien."

"I know it was my fault. You do not have to remind me of my wrongs. I remember them all too well."

"You may remember them but do you regret the choices you made that caused those wrongs Damien?"

"I felt nothing then, so how can you ask if I regretted those choices? If I had feelings when I forced you to hide then yes I would have regretted them. I do regret now that it is because of me that you could not continue doing the things you loved." His voice lowers as he speaks. He truly feels remorse.

"I don't remember the smell of the ocean Damien, yet I lived by it for so long. I don't remember the sounds of the waves or the beauty of nature anymore. It's all because of you Damien. All because you scared me and I didn't know what to do. I didn't think I was ready to be claimed by any man, and still I feel like no one should lay a claim on me but here you are marking my very soul as yours. Branding my skin with an invisible brand telling all of our kind that you have made me yours. You are just a hunter Damien, you think like a hunter. You even speak like a hunter, clouding your prey's mind and judgement. You don't know, nor do you want to now any other way to live." She leans back into the headboard, obviously distressed with their argument and her ruined plans to end her own suffering.

"You are right Chérie. I am a hunter. I have been a hunter for many centuries. I am not sure if I'm saying this correctly but you cannot teach an old man new tricks."

"Dog, it's you can't teach an old dog new tricks, not man."

"Well either way you know what I meant and I will stand by that. I cannot be taught another way of life."

"Only because you do not want to be taught a new way. As you said, we have but two limitations; the sun and ourselves." Anya climbs out of bed and looks around. "Where is a shower?"

"I'll show you. You, my dear, do not need to wander in my house without supervision. There are many traps and safeguards." Anya shows signs of annoyance. She is beginning to feel very trapped and very childish.

After her shower, Anya feels much better, although she knows she is trapped in this house. I can't believe you are keeping me here Damien. She says to him softly to him through their mental channel. Slowly she dresses herself; aware that he is on the other side of the very door she is leaning on. She knows he can see her if he wants, all he needs do is look through her eyes.

"I'm not keeping you anywhere love. It is you keeps yourself here. Once you are strong enough to not seek the sun, I will show you everything here and you can roam free." He says from the opposite side of the door. And Anya, I am a man but I know when I should not look at things that are unprotected. I will wait until you are ready. Damien grins at the thought he sent her, of herself asleep in his arms.

Anya smiles, feeling comforted that he has stayed there, comforted by his want to protector. She blushes. Did he also hear her singing in the shower?

"Yes I heard you and it was lovely." He imitates a light clapping that would be seen at a golf tournament.

She opens the door and she sees him smiling at her. His perfectly white teeth gleaming. She smiles back. He has missed her and she can feel it radiating off of him. The short time she was in the shower, he had missed her. Or maybe it was that he missed the Anya from the past and wanted that Anya and not the one in front of him.

No matter how hard Anya fights with herself she finds herself falling in love with him again.

"I feel your distress Chérie. It is pointless to feel that you can control your emotions, and even more pointless to think you can control love." Damien takes her hand in his and holds it to his heart. "If your soul wants to love me let it please. That is all I ask of you… for now."

Anya feels tears come to her eyes. His words are full of love and compassion. He had scared her into hiding, haunted her dreams and turned them into nightmares but now she feels like her heart has already decided to be his. There is nothing she can do to change her heart, she knows it, but that does not mean she cannot deny it.