A/N: This work is rated M for a reason. If you have any reservation about reading such material, then please turn back. There will be/are lemons, heavy language, and probably violence. This will be a dark romance/supernatural fic. Please heed the rating.

Now that that is covered, please do read on.

Aridos stood slowly, a black silhouette even in the darkness. Already power was crackling in his veins, a rush of adrenaline that came only with the night. It was a feeling that—even after all these years— he savored, longed for.

Of course, he always possessed power. It was the very essence of his being; it forever lurked, though he could hide it by choice. Sometimes he did, sometimes he didn't. Really, he cared naught for mortals, and cared even less if they saw a demonstration of his power. Perhaps it was taboo, but he didn't care. One could go far enough to say that he was amused by their fear, by the fact that even their weak awareness could scent the danger that seemed to roll off of him in waves.

Something was different this evening, though. At first he took it to be something violent, an urge to raise all hell (he was, after all, excellent at that). He welcomed that thought, claws sharpening. Violence was one of his many skills.

A slow-burning jolt of energy rippled beneath his skin, causing his eyes to roll shut with the strange ecstasy. That wasn't compulsion for violence. What was it?

He walked slowly through the trees, listening to the sounds of the night. He blended perfectly with the darkness, the leather of the boots silencing his steps. Dark blonde hair fell to his shoulders, windswept and attractively unkempt. His ears were of a strange shape, almost like those of elves in those silly children's stories. The strong planes of his face were largely hidden in shadow, but many a woman had been entranced by the sensually masculine features. His arms were smoothly muscled, his entire body of fit form and powerful physique. Eyes the color silver, almost glowing as he broodingly searched the night.

Wryly, he wondered if it was the Acquisition. His smile grew brutal, eyes hard at the ridiculous term. But the thought seemed to play with his mind, bringing it from out of the question to a curious wondering. He had always figured that the Acquisition was a myth; never in his span of four centuries had he heard of such a thing befalling one of the Night Immortals. It seemed a rather ridiculous story.

Supposedly the Acquisition had once been a common-place event amongst all of the mature Immortals. An elder had once told him it was a strictly managed by Fate, a strange happening that took hold and ensured the continuation of their race.

That alone was part of the irony. Their race had long since stopped creating; women were uncommon, and it was laughable to think that a mortal could reproduce with one of the Night. It simply was not done, and many doubted it was even possible. The same elder who had first mentioned the Acquisition vehemently supported such a notion, however, claiming it was entirely possible if the Immortal found his Bride. Everyone had laughed at the man, telling him that the idea was stupid.

But this past century…Aridos shook his head. So many of his comrades had left, forfeiting their natural Immortality. Many did so without explanation. A tragic event, really, but his instinct was insensitive. A waste, really…the world was better off without them, if their weakness was so strong.

Another tremor burst through him, this time making him pause. Delicious.

His senses were on edge, causing him to note even the breath of the smallest forest creature, to feel the slide of the wind over the bare flesh of his neck. His entire body was sensitive, aware.

An unbidden thought came to him, making him wonder what the Acquisition felt like. If he found his Bride, would she immediately accept him? Open her arms to him, take him inside her?

That he tossed off; it wasn't a matter of her accepting him. Females had—many times— proven that his appeal was infinite. Rather, it would be whether or not he found her suitable. It would take the most tempting woman in the world, honestly. He was not easily swayed. Females had once held a thrill for him, in the years as a fledgling. As years went on, he became less randy, not as sexual as many of his comrades. It was an activity he could take or leave; he didn't go out of his way often for it.

Of course, there were always exceptions. Every so often he was overcome by need, and sought out the nearest woman with a slim figure and soft skin. It had been a rare occasion over the past two centuries, but it had resurfaced lately, leaving him with a desperate urge to fuck. He couldn't remember precisely when he had realized that it was becoming more frequent, but it had to be almost three years since he'd made a pattern of it. And it was all too easy.

What pissed him off, though, was that rarely he was left satisfied.

It probably wasn't anything. Maybe it was just the beginning of another pattern. Two centuries of regular lust, a spell of indifference, and back again. It couldn't be all that uncommon. Night Immortals were highly sensual and seductive simply be design. Surely that couldn't be without its effects.

But did that explain this…rush? He threw back his head as yet another hit him, stronger than the last. Oh, God, yes.

He'd been through nights of high lust, sometimes needing two or three mortals to cater to his desire. But this was something much different. Much more powerful. Wonderful.

Power was marvelous.

The words of the elder came back to him, words describing the addiction that came with a Bride. He had claimed that a Bride tamed an Immortal, while at the same time making him more dangerous than ever before. The elder recalled a bloody war that was fought in the earliest century over a Bride; foolish enemies had dared to threaten an Immortal's woman, thinking their own power a match for his anger.

That was never the case. An Immortal, the elder explained with gravity, never lost when it came to the matter of his Bride.

He had to remind himself that that had been regarded as a myth. Why in the world would he equate this with that story?

Even as he thought it, the power rolled across him again. Damn. If it was true, and this was the effect of his Bride, then….

Never before had he seen an Immortal with a Bride, nor had he heard of one. He traveled frequently, as well, and was well-aware of the happenings inside of the supernatural world. The pack he traveled with was small, built and headed by four elite Immortals: Xeridan, Lyrs, Bastien, and himself. He was second oldest, born in the late part of the 17th century. He'd never known his parents, and didn't much care. He was raised by the Order of Nox, one of the many guilds of Immortals. There were many independent ones, and there were the traditional ones. The Order of Nox was a large one, but wasn't one of the originals.

Generally, one's Order didn't matter.

Unless, of course, your Order harbored animosity toward another.

Which was, unfortunately, the case when it came to Nox and Vesper.

Aridos had always tossed off the petty rivalry, not much caring. He was not concerned for the Order's honor—that was the business of the Heads. Who gave a damn?

The only hatred he had toward Vesper was for one of the rogue packs. Headed by Fury, their two packs had faced off before. Sometimes they won, other times they lost. The hatred was more like a deep irritation that escalated into violence, and now they warred every time they crossed paths.

He had walked a long way, and now stood on the rocky slope of a mountain path. Casting a leisurely glance all around, he loped down the slant, keeping his balance regardless. There had been a long pause since the last touch of foreign power, and now all he could feel was the average Night magic.

Stepping onto level land, hands shoved in the pockets of his black jeans, he paused. Nothing. Longer he waited, but nothing else came.

Maybe it was just his imagination.

And now he felt like a dumbass.

God, he really was slipping. Believing in a ridiculous story like that, even for an instant, was deeply embarrassing. Thank God he'd kept his mouth shut. He'd never have heard the end of it from Xerdian, or—God forbid— Lyrs. He tossed back his hair, glad to have gotten it out of his system at least. He turned on his heel, about to launch off into the night.

And it was then that it hit him. Full force, like nothing he'd ever experienced before. A magic took hold of him, gripping his body in an almost painful way. There was a moment of suspension, the power continually hitting at him like a barrage of bullets. And then, before he could even comprehend, there was a jerk, and the forest disappeared.

It was the Acquisition.

He knew it absolutely, every doubt wiped from his mind.

And that meant that she was his Bride.

He didn't know where he was, but it looked to be a school dormitory of some sort. He could barely take his eyes from the sleeping girl long enough to even ascertain that much, but he could figure as much from the roommate sleeping on the other side of the room, buried under a throw-blanket with a large 'C' emblazoned across the threads. His night vision, extremely sensitive suddenly, perceived the colors across it. School colors?

Aridos could barely fathom what to do. Never before had he felt such chaos in his being, and he disliked not having a solid grip on his emotion. The thing in the bed was, after all, simply mortal.

He immediately reached out through the air, tracing an connecting a spell through the air to keep the occupants of the room under a heavy sleep. It would be inconvenient and bothersome for her to awaken while he was examining her.

With slow strides, he brought himself to the bedside of the human. His face was impassive, his lips set in a grim line. Over her form his eyes roamed, and to his dismay, she was not up to his usual tastes. Her body was fuller than what he preferred, her hair a darker than what he liked. Strands of it were everywhere, silk falling over the pillow wildly. His brow rose.

He may have accepted that this was the Acquisition, but that didn't mean he had to be pleased by it.

Her eyelids fluttered, and for a horrified moment, he thought she had counteracted his magic. But she simply tossed her head, her face now turned to him. Aridos supposed she was alright by facial standards. Her hand dangled over the bed, and he had to lean closer to affirm the fact that her nails were chewed and uneven. He straightened. Disgusting habit.

This was the being the universe had chosen for him?

Before he thought better of it, he reached out, strong hand pulling back the covers that covered her. He hadn't been aware of the cold (Immortals were blissfully unaware of air temperature), but immediately saw her reaction to it. She didn't move, though he saw the reaction her body had, and watched with a vulgar fascination as the peaks of her breasts hardened, visible through the thin material of her nightshirt. Without much gentleness, he shoved the offensively orange top upward, baring her to his sight.

He'd seen better. That he could firmly attest to. But there was something about her that kept his eyes glued to her every breath, made him watch with frightening focus as her chest rose and fell in the peace of sleep.

His hand touched the center of her chest, feeling the vibrations of her heart beat. At his touch, however, a peculiar thing happened. Despite her deep, magic-induced slumber, her body reacted. She shifted slightly, and curiously his eyes swung up to her face. Peace covered her features, but her heart lifted a beat.

Knowing it was completely wrong of him, his hand drifted over, smoothing itself over the round flesh of her breast. He sucked in a breath when he felt the nipple harden even more beneath his touch, and had to force himself to drag his hand away. He traveled over her ribs, over the soft stomach. His eyes fixed suddenly on his own hand, marveling at the sight. Something about the sight of this—his hand on her body— pleased him infinitely. A growl of approval thrummed from his throat, and for a second he imagined his child resting within the softness of her full, strong form. The growl grew louder, that of a beast pleased.

Without realizing what he was doing, he had leaned over, pressing his lips to the stomach. Aridos felt her body shiver in response to the burn of his lips, and a fine tremor of excitement ran through him as well. It was then that she made the barest sound, immediately drawing his attention to her face. She was still asleep, but now her brow had puckered slightly, and she moaned. His silver gaze was like that of a predator, watching her with fixed intensity. And then, beneath his hand, she moved. As if waiting for the caress of a lover, her body writhed, a moving softness beneath his palm.

Heat burst through him like he'd never known, immediately tightening his groin with a sort of physical need he had never before experienced. Driven purely by an instinct that roared at him, he grabbed at her loose shorts, feeling the cotton of her undergarments beneath. With a quick yank, he'd rid her of her the pants, removing the final barrier between them.

Knowing he was a depraved son of a bitch didn't help much, but it certainly did not stop his hand from skimming the rest of her form before finally reaching that point, the most heated core of her. She was ready, he realized, already slick with need. For him. Only a second longer, and then he plunged two fingers into her. Ecstasy gripped him, made his breath come out in a hiss as the luxurious heat of her surrounded him.

"Sweet God," he whispered, trying to catch his own breath as pleasure racked him. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he was berating himself for acting like such a randy, bumbling youth. But then he pushed further into her, watching her back arch slightly in sleep as his fingers possessed her. It was as if all those strange incidents of lust had come together in one, creating a phenomenon far beyond him. Energy seemed to fill the air around them.

His fingers continued their play, even as he marveled at how tight she was. That pleased him; she must have been long without a lover to be that tight.

The thought of another lover suddenly stung his brain, making his lips pull back in a silent snarl. White teeth gleamed even through the blackness. Instinct was snapping under the surface, absolutely feral with the thought of another man's body taking hers. The air snapped suddenly with electricity.

"Fuck," he whispered, closing his eyes. He needed to calm down. Instead he concentrated on the feel of her, delving further. She was writhing harder now, her lips parted for quick breaths. Aridos watched her face as he touched her, savagely enjoying it. His own body was taut, his erection getting harder by the second. His eyes once more studied her face, and then he pulled out of her, slowly allowing his hand to slide out. His senses, still on a high, caught the scent of her, the beautiful mix of fragrances that combined with her own sweet scent. And her arousal---

His fingers pushed at the button of his jeans. Aridos stared at her, all the while working on his pants, damned if he wasn't intent on fucking her. It was that simple. An animalistic urge that bade him to take her hard, to take her fully. He'd claim her. His heart was pumping fast now, an oddity when concerning Immortals. That alone showed how far he was falling. He was hard and heavy, fully erect. He moved to straddle her, glad for the spell. Even as his body settled over hers, his shaft jerked with excitement. Dear Heaven, it was perfect. His Bride's form was pliant and accepting beneath him, and never before did the anticipation of sex leave him so jarred. A fine sweat coated his body. He gripped himself, preparing to take her. It would be so easy, just to thrust into her, connect their bodies and---

Something struck him, breaking him of his lust-induced fever. His eyes were wide, blinking as logic came back to him in a rush. Logic and reason. It crowded him.

For a moment, he sat there simply straddling her, appalled at what a sick bastard he was. He was about to fuck an innocent human while she was practically unconscious. Was he that desperate that he needed to spell her before using her? That made him move, getting off her in one fluid movement. He yanked his jeans back to his hips, scowling fiercely. Anger was volcanic, spilling through him.

He had almost raped his Bride.

The Immortal slid his hands over the sides of his jeans, trying to bring back some reason. Then he stepped back and inhaled. For a long moment he stood, concentrating on clearing his face of any emotion. Finally, he succeeded, and with deliberation picked up the mortal's undergarments, roughly shoving them up her legs. Next were her shorts. He kept his hands away from her skin, resisting as black fury spread through him.

No wonder the Acquisition didn't happen anymore. It was damned nightmarish. He didn't want this girl—he couldn't— and he had stood one second away from committing a crime of depravity. Eyes burned as he looked at her once more. Damn mortal.

He took a deliberate step back. Fuck this. What was Fate thinking, setting such a disaster on him?

Loudly, Aridos groaned, pushing hands through his hair. He needed to leave.

No one had ever said anything about just leaving the Bride. She would never know, and he wouldn't care, so what was the problem? He could just leave her here, in her own bed, and forget it ever happened. It wouldn't happen again, either, since the power rush from earlier in the evening was entirely a side-effect of the Acquisition. He wouldn't allow it to happen. It couldn't.

He pictured the house his Order was currently staying in, allowing a magic for teleporting to divide his system. He closed his eyes, spreading his hands, and readied himself for the departure. Just as he vanished, he broke the spell surrounding the two humans. He felt it crack, then split smoothly. Then, the room was gone.

Aridos stood before the cottage where his pack was staying. He could sense that Bastien was nearby, and Lyrs was lounging in the house. With quick strides, he went to the door, bursting into the house without a thought. His being was pulsing, and there was a quick boiling of ire in his gut. Why he was so angry, he couldn't say. And he certainly couldn't explain the numbing, hollow feeling that was overtaking him.

A cold air stirred through the halls of Caldwell Academy.

And, with a gasp, sixteen-year-old Sophie Paul of room 118 sat up in bed, spine straight. Her entire body was on fire, clashing completely with the icy wind of the night. Her blankets were pushed back completely. For a long moment, she was completely disoriented, taken off-guard by the strange pulsing that had overcome her. Her brow furrowed, and she hastily pulled her blankets up.

The hairs on the back of her neck were on end, and she could swear that something was strange about the room. It was an odd feeling—similar to when a room full of guests suddenly clears, and only the host is left behind. The lingering presence of someone was everywhere, brushing over her being…

Her head turned to the right, glancing over at Noreen. Her roommate was completely swamped by blankets, obscured from her vision. But there was a rhythmic rise and fall, and the breathing of the girl was audible. So Nor was still around. Then what--?

A shiver passed up her flesh, and she realized that a part of her was still very much sensitive. A blush heated her face, and she turned over with embarrassment. Oh well. She shifted slightly, adjusting her pillow.

It was more than an hour later when she finally drifted off.

A/N: Oh my gosh. So this is my first original fic. And this is the first chapter. I know it was a lot of information in the first part, but I wanted to try and give a bit of a sense of Aridos's character before anything good happens. Also, that was my first try at even beginning a lemon, so I hope it wasn't too bad. Hopefully things will improve. And no, Aridos is not done with Sophie yet. Not in the least.

I will be posting the second chapter, just to give a bit more insight into the character of the heroine. Please leave feedback, with an comments/etc. that you can think of.