Barely had Alivar's feet felt the ground return beneath them then Maverick was trying to claw his way back to the house. Alivar dug his grip into his shoulders, refusing to let the younger fight back through the trees to the still visible place. Rain was beginning to fall as Maverick began crying out.

"You left her!" he accused, fighting with all the strength he had. Alivar gritted his teeth and held firm as the other continued his rampage. "I have to go back! Let me go!"

"Rick, she's gone!" he yelled as his footing slowly began to give way. The ground was getting slick and having a grief-possessed madman trying to throw his life away wasn't helping.

"No! I have to go and get her!" he insisted, hands clawing for a hold on Alivar, ready to rip him apart if the need arose. He needed Allison; she couldn't just stay there.

"She's gone!"

He shook his head, not willing to believe. He could save her. There had to be a way. She wasn't gone. Couldn't be.

But he knew she was. His own hands had held her as he killed her. The blood that she needed to live was now sustaining him. Try as he might, he couldn't forget the moment of pure ecstasy when he tasted it. And because of it, she was gone.

Alivar stumbled forward as Maverick abruptly ceased fighting and sank to the ground, sobbing. "Alivar, how could I do it? Why?"

He sighed and stood beside him, looking down at the broken creature. And, sadly, he didn't have an answer to give him.

"I can't get us away alone," sighed the elder, being uncharacteristically truthful. "I need you to help me get to Atticus or we will both die here." Maverick didn't speak, just shook his head. "I don't want to die here!" yelled Alivar.

"Leave me and go. I don't want to live."

"I don't even think I can get myself away, Rick," sighed Alivar grudgingly. It wasn't like him to admit a weakness, but holding off fifteen plus angry fledglings had taken almost all he had. It had definitely drained his patience, leaving none for someone to wallow in their guilt. "You have to help me."

The younger vampire glanced up and found the truth in his eyes before slowly standing. Glumly, he grasped his wrist and the humid forest drifted away to be replaced by the warm furnishing of Willow Haven, Atticus's estate. Alivar sank into a chair and watched the younger one sway on his feet before falling across the soft couch. When Atticus entered, he gave Maverick a look of deep sympathy as Alivar told the tale.

And Atticus wished he could have warned him of the pain.

.....break.....

Marcus hadn't moved, even as he heard people rushing about downstairs. He had been left alone, still frozen to the same spot, watching the blood on the floor. Slowly, the house became quiet and he began to wonder whether Allison had succeeded in her rescue attempt. He hoped she failed. Hoped she was bleeding to death in some dusty corner. He hoped that no one would care.

But what if she survived? She didn't deserve to. And if she was alive, so was Maverick. Neither deserved to see another day. Not only had they signed off on the deaths of twelve strangers, they had killed Megan. Rising stiffly, he resolved that if either of them still walked, he would take care of that.

.....break.....

Atticus strolled down the hall, wondering what Maverick was doing at the kitchen in the middle of the night. Perhaps a sandwich? Whatever he thought, it was not what greeted his eyes when he flipped on the fluorescents above the counter.

Maverick sat in a ring of discarded bottles and cans of diverse forms of alcohol. It was a sad sight indeed. Slowly, he turned around to face Atticus, a half-empty bottle loosely grasped in one hand and a pair of swollen eyes pleading. "Why can't I get drunk?" he moaned.

Atticus sighed and stepped around the mess to sit beside his grief-stricken friend. "We scorned life; it refuses to allow us its pleasures," he stated sagely as he brushed away some of the refuse.

"You know, I promised to take care of her. But in the end, she would've been better alone," he sighed.

Atticus was tired of this glorified pity-party he had been throwing for the past four days. He had reason to grieve, that he wasn't denying. But this moping, whining, sniveling attitude was more than anyone could stand. "When you came to me before, I asked if this was truly the path you wanted to travel. You said yes, knowing what would happen someday. Now you show me for the liar I am when I said you could handle it."

"I knew it would happen, but I didn't think I would be the one to end it all," he cried, eyes watering as he tried to plead his case.

"That wasn't you, and you know it as well as I. You could never have truly harmed her."

"But I did! There's no way to deny it."

"And I'm not trying to. But the one who killed her wasn't you. No more than if you had killed her while possessed. She knew that, and if you could just accept it, life can go on."

"But maybe I don't want it to go on," sighed Maverick, swirling the contents of the glass bottle and gazing into it as if held all the answers.

"Fine, throw everything away. She would be disgraced, but go ahead." With that, Atticus rose and left. This all evoked far too many memories he couldn't deal with in public. Maverick would come around. It was just going to take time.

In the shadowed darkness, neither of the two noticed a pair of hate-filled eyes watching their exchange. Then, as if they had never truly been there, the eyes vanished into the night.

.......End Renewal......

Well, there it is, a few little things to wrap it all up. Think you know who the eyes are? Think again, because I almost guarantee that no one knows. If you think you do, feel free to offer who you think it is. Well, perhaps Winter shouldn't since I may have told her. I don't really remember. But I hope you liked this. Vendetta should be up soon, but the only thing is, well, I have a youth retreat next weekend, so I'm not sure when I'll get time. I will try very hard to start it, though it may be short.Oh, chapter title comes from Romeo and Juliet. But the Bard, yet again.

And now, I would like to thank all my reviewers. Ivy Majors, Saeger, MB, Winter, Badger250, Secret Sorrows, and justmica. Thank you all very much for all your amazing reviews. Umm....let's see.

Yeah! Winter and I have a website now for everything that goes on in our little world. And the name is going to change because, yes, you can do that. Anyways, if you ever want to look at it, go to Yup. I will probably post character profiles on there if you ever need help with who's who. Once again, thank you everyone for reviewing!!! You make my...umm...days. That sounds weird. Anyways, have fun and stay tuned for Vendetta. The twists start with the first sentence. And the owner of the eyes will be revealed. Until later!

GdlN.

BTW, my deepest sympathy for anyone affected by Katrina. I hope everything gets better soon, since it is beginning to look as if it can't get much worse. This is one of those times I wish I could do so much more. May God be with you all.