Never expected for this to make it to Chapter 9. Guess those two brothers have more fans than they realize. I'm thinking about holding a contest of sorts, one where the fans get to write something about the boys! I don't know what the prize would be, but perhaps I could add the best story as a part of one of the upcoming chapters. Interested? Drop me a review and let me know.

There. Now I could see again.

I don't know why Cold ran off like he did, but I thought it had something to do with me. Maybe it was because I blacked out again on the bus? No, he'd already bitten me for that. My hand unconsciously went to the tip if my ear, rubbing the wound slightly. That was going to bruise, I knew it.

I thanked the man behind the counter, strolling out with new glasses half-crooked on the bridge of my nose. Well, it was better than having my brother act as a guide dog. I laughed at the thought, heading towards the nearest smoothie stand and buying something with fruit punch in it. Loved the stuff, never knew why.

For a while I just sat at one of the tables near the middle of the mall, sipping half-heartedly and wondering what the hell my brother was doing. After all, it was no fun to be in the mall without someone to talk to. I felt someone pull my tail, then taken away in a sudden swoop of his mother's embrace. I had to shake my head and smile at that. Kids always seemed to be the same, pulling on my tail to make sure it was real. I didn't really mind it, so long as they didn't pull to hard. The kid distracted me from the girl that sat next to me, giving a growl and grabbing my drink from me.

"Hello, Sith. In another pleasant mood I see?" She was non-human, like me, but she was a cat. Black ears graced her head, and she wasn't bad looking. She kept her blonde hair shore, with red ends along them. She always wore men's clothing, today choosing to sport a men's suit. A light tan-colored tail with deep yellow stripes swished back and forth behind her. Upon each cheek, three pinstripes of some magenta-like color always graced her. Despite all this, her temper and personality was about as comforting as a black mamba.

She flipped me off. "You're lucky I even bothered to sit down, Cruel. Don't start your bullshit with me." She handed me back my drink with a smirk. She had been the cat-girl that had snapped me back to my senses earlier this morning, breaking me and Cold away from each other.

"I don't start, I just participate."

Sith scoffed. "That's gonna get you in trouble someday. So, do you want to know what you missed in class today, hooky-boy?"

"I was not playing hooky!" I sipped my drink again, angered to see that she had taken about half of what was left for herself. "Dammit, I—well—I just had some, some issues to deal with, that's all."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. I've heard it all before. But you still didn't answer my question."

"Sure. Go ahead. What'd I miss?"

She leaned forward, to whisper something like it was poison not to be said in the open. "Listen…prof's not happy with you, not at all. You're the best student, but you keep skipping out and you keep missing important exercises. He's not giving you anymore chances. He still expects you to bring in assignments, even if you weren't told about them." She nodded her head slightly. "That means you got one nude figure to draw, plus those still-life portraits to finish up."

Oh great. "How the hell am I supposed to do that?! I'm already backed up in my literary classes!"

She shrugged again, leaning back in the chair. "Not my problem. I'm just the messenger." Her cell phone rang twice, and she immediately answered it. She never talked long, just a quick greeting and a what-the-hell-are-you-calling-me-for speech. She hung up soon, looking at me afterwards. "Look, I can talk him into extending you some more time, but you just need to get them done by Friday, at least. That gives you a week, alright? I suggest you talk to some really good friends to see if they'll help you out. And my answer to that is already no."


She laughed. "That's only because my boyfriend would kill you. Look, I gotta go pick up my son, so I'll catch up with you later. Get your ass to school, otherwise I'll come back over to your apartment and skin you alive. Got that?"

She sure had a way of talking to her friends. "Yes, Sith. I got it. Have fun now, give Diego a hug for me."

"Right. Later, Cruel." She left with haste, nearly running someone over. Yep, that was Sith, caring about others.

Well, there wasn't anything to do here. Might as well head home.

I didn't take the bus this time, instead choosing to walk home. It wasn't really safe, but no one would bug anyone in daylight. This gave me some time to relax, get a little exercise. It had been hell enough to get rid of the fifteen pounds that had latched onto me when I was a freshman; I didn't want to go through another diet. It was this mindset that pushed me into running part of the way home, a slow, long-legged run that got me breathing.

I got home, almost exhausted. Wow, I was out of shape. Used to be able to run that much…but then again, I didn't eat pizza everyday back then nor did I sit in a chair and draw things all day. Speaking of which…

I hopped on the bed, grabbing the unfinished sketches and reference photos, intent on finishing the goddamned things. Better get the easy part over with, save the hard one for later. They were just simple things around my apartment, photos taken at odd angles to make the objects look like they had emotion, passions. Well, at least I thought so. They probably looked like crap.

But luckily, it didn't matter what objects I drew. I just had to draw, and it came easily. Here was the chair, looking like a giant hovering over one of my shoes. No, that line didn't belong…no, the light wasn't shining from there. Better darken that spot. I occasionally talked to myself as I drew, arguing some things over before choosing what to do. I did this for the next picture, not noticing that it was growing well into the evening, and that my brother had yet to return.

"…where the hell are you?" I looked outside from the window, perhaps hoping to spot his figure making its way to my door. Nothing; the outside was dead at the moment. I frowned. Maybe…maybe he left again. The aspect of that left a feeling of emptiness growing just above my stomach, tingling out into my toes and fingers. Oh well. I could accept that, I guess. I never did expect him to stay very long. I mean, who cared anyways?

I was only his little brother; his only family left.

It was a good thing I had a television. Otherwise, there would have been no way to distract the building sorrow I was beginning to slip into. The only thing I had an interest in was the news, because I just wanted to find out if anyone else's day had been crappier than mine.

"…murder at the mall? Police today found a massive amount of blood just behind our town's local shopping area, along with items of clothing…"

Creepy. We were at the mall today…must have happened after I left.

"…suspects at this point of time are unknown, as there was no body reported near the scene. Local authorities suspect that this might be the work of the area's vampires, perhaps one of the growing gangs of the creatures that intend to 'turn time back and slink into the shadows once again.' We'll have more as the story develops. In other news, our fire chief was involved in yet another sex scandal…"

Vampires? Well, they had been getting out of hand. Donated blood from the blood banks weren't good enough, I guess. But that didn't mean that they had to—

Wait! Didn't Cold go off with…?


As fast as I could, I arrived at the mall, looking everywhere. Police tape closed off the whole building, but it was easy to sneak past where no one really was. Plus, the cover of night easily hid me from human eyes.

The mall was empty and dark, lifeless to all. Who knew it could be so…eerie? All I heard was the own soft thud of my feet against the stone floors, click, click, click. Something told me Cold was still here, or somewhere nearby. Instinct, perhaps?

"Cold?" My voice echoed on the walls, bouncing back at me in a most menacing way. Had I been less determined, I would have left well enough alone and made my way out of there. But no, there was no way I was leaving my brother here.

"Cold?" I called his name again. Something in front of me moved, just a shadow. But, shadows have to be cast by something. "Cold, it's me, Cruel!"

I saw the vampire woman's fangs gleam in the light as she made her way to me. "Your brother can't hear you right now." Her lips seemed an odd red color, and I knew why.

I brought up my fists, knowing a hungry vampire was a dangerous vampire. "What did you do with him?"

She laughed seductively, and I have to admit that I was not immune to it. "I gave him reason to fear my bite. But don't worry, little one. I did not kill him or turn him. He did not suit my…needs, so to speak."

"Tell me where he is, and I'll leave you without a fight." I had to remain within my wits; couldn't give in to desire right now. That meant an almost certain death.

"On one condition. You look young enough, sweet enough to satisfy me. Perhaps if I…had a taste of your blood, I would consider your offer." She eyed me with much bloodlust in her eyes. "What do you say, incubus?"

Again with the incubus thing! I wrinkled my nose in distaste for the name. "I won't. Give me my brother, or else."

"You think to threaten me? I could kill you faster than you expected."

"Then do it, stop bragging about it!"

That got her. She remained silent, smile turning into a frown. "I will not let him leave without having my fill. I do not wish to drain your brother, but I will if there is not some other source. I'm not a killer. I just don't drink cold, dead blood from plastic necks. Unless you are willing to sacrifice an innocent life…you are the only one present who could save him." She began to stroll closer to me, hips swinging to and fro provocatively. Damn.

"How do I know you would not slit my throat and kill me, along with Cold?"

I didn't notice she was too close, not until she ran a finger down my cheek. "Why kill the cow for one glass of milk when I can let it live and it will provide me with another? I am not a fool." Her touch was like lightning, awaking all of my senses into hypersensitivity. It made the hair on the back of my neck bristle, the tingle continuing up my scalp.

"…show me Cold, and then I will decide."

"What a forceful little creature you are!" Her lips were inches from mine, and I didn't mind it if they got a little closer. No! Keep your wits with you Cruel! She's dangerous. "Alright then. Follow me." She waved her hand towards her direction, and I was inclined to follow on urges that I had no idea how to control.

The dull thuds of our shoes on the floor echoed madly from the walls, making it sound as if a legion of people were marching through the building. And in the darkness, it wasn't hard to actually think you saw those people marching alongside you. I said nothing to the vampire woman, and she said nothing to me. But I could see glints of her deadly fangs, and knew she was smiling with malice. Despite this, her features had grown on me. Was this what Cold felt whenever he saw someone he fancied?

A jewelry store was where she was holed up, no doubt with Cold as her captive. The gating had been torn away, making it easy for us to just stroll in without the obstacle to stop us. "There he is my handsome morsel. Go to him if you do not believe he lives." I did, and was relieved to find him with a pulse. Some type of silk handkerchief was wrapped around his neck, perhaps to hide fang marks. There were brutal scratches and deep bite marks all over his body, and they seemed to come from this single woman. He was unconscious, but alive. Thank god.

"You witch…" I turned to glare at her, but she had snuck up behind me when I was busy checking on my brother. Her delicate hand brushed hair from my face, once again bringing my senses to painful limits.

"I have held up my end of the deal. What say you about my offer? I still thirst, and I will do anything to quench it." I could smell the blood on her breath, but I did not think it revolting. I was frozen by her gaze, her touch like icy fire.

I was in a haze, yet I did not know it at the time. "D…do as you please…" She gave me that insidious grin, biting on my lower lip lightly.

"Good puppy."

She began to lull me into this haze even more, wrapping her arms around my neck and deepening her bite into a painful kiss. As much as I wanted to pull away, I found myself accepting the pain and moving closer to her, my hands coming to rest on her sides. It felt good, there was no doubting that. But, I also doubted that she was after anything other than blood.

Her hands snaked up my neck, fingers running through my hair as her tongue ran over my teeth. I opened my mouth without even thinking about it, and she forcefully made her way inside. I could taste that metallic tinge of blood, and I could feel her sharp fangs threatening to rip my own tongue out. I hadn't even noticed she had been pushing me backwards until I found myself supporting both of our weight on a wall. We parted lips, leaving me panting only slightly.

Then, like a snake, she dug her fingertips into my shoulders and bit down on my neck.

I cried out, using whatever strength I could make myself use to try to pry her off. As anyone would suspect, having something pierce your neck and then having the blood sucked from the wound was not a pleasurable experience. At least, not at first. I soon became relaxed, perhaps from the amount she was drinking. I felt my hands go to my sides; my eyes started to become harder and harder to keep open. I only felt the now-familiar pain of her digging her teeth in to get more blood, her lips pulling the flesh upwards with each gulp of blood. Shit…she was going to drain me…

In the darkness I saw a blurred thing rip her away from me, making her hiss as she was flung to the other side of the mall's corridor. My rational senses were beginning to come back to me, making my hand come to my neck as my legs gave way to let me slip to the floor. I didn't know how far down she had bitten, but I didn't want to lose anymore blood than I already had.

This dark creature ran on all fours, yet stood on two legs when the figure of the vampire came close to it. They both gave horrific roars, and for a moment I thought I heard the beating of wings. I heard the crash of tables, the sounds of teeth ripping flesh. Damn my vision! It was beginning to grow dark around the edges, and I could not see who or what it was that had saved me and my brother.

Wait…Cold! I stood on shaky feet, making my way to where I remembered he had been resting. I felt around, but there was nothing there, only emptiness. The handkerchief that had been around his neck laid there now, the only thing that remained. "Cold! C…cold…"

I heard the two beings crash next to me, and it was then that I was able to look at them. The vampire had surprising strength to keep this creature off of her! It was as big as a man, and looked equipped to take such a man down. The creature looked canine in nature, but was equipped with quills, wings, and two large horns that curved outwards slightly. Its muzzle was short, and I could detect human features about it. Its neck and body were stained slightly with blood, probably from the nasty-looking puncture wounds that decorated its body.

They both exchanged growls, and then the canine creature ripped off her head with gruesome teeth.

I didn't want to be next. But I had to find my brother. I stood again, only to fall to my side. My extremities had gone numb, and the world around me felt encased in artic chill. I could only keep my failing eyesight on the creature as it went once again to all four feet, shaking its head with a huff. It turned on me, eyes glowing a icy blue. Wait…I knew those eyes…