A/N: Hurray! I have gotten one out! I am so sorry this took so long! I'm really focusing on school because I want to graduate with good grades and stuff like that. But! It's break and I have gotten a chapter done! Yay! Hope you like it! Oh, and thank you to sunshine-lover64 for giving me a funny review, it made me laugh :)
Alicia woke up to sharp pain that radiated throughout her whole body. She felt it throb, moving from sharp intense pains to duller aches. She struggled to remember what had happened, but all her brain could focus on was the fact that the pain was so harsh that she felt like screaming. It was like every cell in her body was protesting against her. Her breath came in short gasps that burned her lungs and caused her sides to ache. Her heart thudded uncomfortably against her rib cage, giving off the sensation of trying to escape the body that was causing it to strain. Each beat seemed to be more trying on the delicate organ than the last, and Alicia wondered how much longer it could possibly go.
"You need to relax; your body can't handle much more stress."
The voice barely broke through the fog that was in her brain. It was familiar and calm, the tone gentle and with every intention of trying to get her to relax evident. She tried to remember where she had heard the voice first, why it was familiar, but the pain was too much for her. She whimpered; it was the only form of protest she could manage to get out.
"I know it hurts, but the medicine shouldn't take too much longer to take effect. Please try to relax; this is difficult enough without you straining yourself."
Alicia didn't know what the man was talking about, and nor did she care at the moment. She could feel a fog settling over her brain and she welcomed it with wide arms, for it separated her from the pain and it made it all vanish as she fell into a medicine induced sleep.
Ayden watched the small girl lying immobile in the huge canopy bed that he had placed her in. It had been almost 4 days since he rescued her from the abusive drunken man. She had been slipping in and out of consciousness the whole time and Ayden reluctantly admitted to himself that he was worried. When he had first picked her up, he could tell she was beaten pretty badly, but he hadn't realized exactly how badly she was until he had laid her down and took a closer look. He knew she had several skull fractures, but none were serious enough for real concern. The bone just needed time to heal and she would be fine afterwards. Her wrist in her left hand also had a fracture, but he had put a cast on it and it should heal without complications. What he was really worried about was all the bruises she had received from the drunk. They colored all up and down her back, making her skin a sick kaleidoscope of color; dark purples, blues, greens, yellows, and black. Her abdomen wasn't much better than her back, featuring a wonderful display of bruises that could be caused by a foot or fist. He was worried about internal bleeding, but he was almost positive there wasn't any. Her only color was the bruises; her skin was a pale white color. He couldn't remember if it had been that way when he first met her; although that wouldn't have been a good time to check because she had been so scared anyways, she probably was pale white then too.
The girl moaned lightly and her body shifted, only causing her to moan a little louder at the pain that the movement caused. Her breathing sped up a little but then settled down again as she went back to the world of dreams. Ayden turned to leave only to hear her move and moan again. He turned back towards her and saw her chest rising and falling faster than he had ever seen it, and he could hear her heart speeding up to a dangerous pace. He walked quickly over towards her to see what was wrong and noticed she had woken up and was looking around in confusion. He sat down in the chair that he had placed besides the bed; one that he had occupied often in the last 4 days. He gently grabbed her hand and she inhaled sharply and held her breath.
"Relax, you're alright, just a little beaten up," he whispered in hopes of calming her.
"Wh… who…" she tried to look at him but stopped when her head began to pound at the movement, "Who are you?"
He moved so that she could see him and smiled gently, "Don't you remember me?"
She stared intently at him for as long as she could, but lost it only after a few seconds because her head was still pounded, even if it was less noticeable, "Th… The man who… rescued me from… something."
She was having a hard time breathing and that scared her terribly. She remembered him only vaguely, and then she remembered almost nothing except for fragments. He chuckled, pulling her attention back to him.
"Yes, I did save you from something. Do you know what it was that I saved you from?"
Alicia tried to concentrate on the question, but she couldn't. She was fading quickly from the world of consciousness. As she realized this, she began to panic, her heart racing faster, her breath coming even more unevenly.
"Breathe, relax, you're ok," he whispered again. Alicia clung to his voice, his hand; she was afraid that if she let go she wouldn't come back in a safe place. She made a very small sound of distress which Ayden heard easily and gently squeezed her hand in hopes that it comforted her a little more.
"I promise I'll keep you safe until you wake up again."
She relaxed minutely from the promise and in that moment she fell back into the world of unconsciousness. Ayden sat with her a while longer, holding her hand and studying her beaten and bruised face. Her breathing was steady even if it was shallow. He supposed that the bruises on her back and chest made it difficult to breath. When he was sure she wasn't going to wake up anytime soon, he left her side to take care of some business that he had neglected since he brought her here. It was mainly paperwork that needed special attention and he brought it into her room, turning on the light on the nightstand next to the bed. He'd given her his word that he would keep her safe and he felt obligated to not leave her side. The last time he did, she had been beaten and almost killed by a crazy drunk. Even though they were in his house and he would know the instant someone who was not welcome entered his house, he wasn't taking any chances. He wouldn't even let his servants tend to her because he wanted to be sure that she got the best care he could provide her with.
He worked on his papers for a while before he was interrupted by a quiet knock on the door. "Enter," he commanded softly but firmly and Nicola walked in.
"Master," she bowed, "there is a woman standing in your front hall demanding to see you about something that you have not contacted her about. She says it's very important."
Ayden looked at Nicola for a minute. Her dark brown hair was pulled back into a small bun at the base of her next. Her clothes were casual; light jeans, black tang top. She was the main servant in his castle, and Ayden hated uniforms so he let his servants dress as they liked within reason. She kept her eyes down, head bowed, showing respect for him and his authority. He did not personally like the behavior, they had been trained by much stricter vampires and it was habit for them now. He wasn't a trainer of servants and couldn't guarantee that they would be safe if they acted the way he liked when he had visitors so he normally just bought his servants from others who had trained them previously.
"Nicola, how many times must I tell you not to call me 'Master'?" he stood up, put the papers he was working with on top of his chair, and walked towards her, reaching under her chin to lift her head so that he could look in her eyes. The pretty hazel color looked back at him with no fear, "Its Ayden. Don't bow unless it's for one of my guests or in front of them. You know how much I hate those formalities. Now, do you know who's in the front hall?"
She shook her head, "I'm sorry Ayden. I've never seen her before, but she claims you know her and that you've been expecting her."
Ayden nodded and glanced back at the unconscious girl. He felt Nicola gently take hold of his hand. He looked back at her to find her smiling gently up at him, "You need to go Ayden. I'll watch over her with my life. I promise you that."
Ayden gave her a grateful smile and left the girl in her care. He grabbed the papers he was working on and left the room only to materialize in the front hall.
"Ayden! Where the hell have you been?! You said you'd get in touch with me days ago and yet I still haven't heard from you so I had to come hunt you down!"
Ayden was thrown backwards as he was tackled by a hundred and fifty pound vampire. He landed roughly on the floor with the wind knocked out of him, the vampire sitting perfectly content on his chest. She was a five foot six red head with lips that pouted temptingly and really large breast. Her bright green eyes sparkled with laughter and obvious pleasure.
"Karen, get off."
She laughed prettily and leaned down so that her mouth was just centimeters from his.
"Say the magic words," she whispered, her mouth moving against his.
She jumped off when he began to push her, pouting more.
"You're so rude, Ayden! I was just playing around."
He got up and leveled her with a glare, "And I am not, I'm very busy right now, and I'm sorry that I haven't been able to get in touch with you, things have come up."
She looked at him questioningly, "Like what? You're hardly ever too busy to see me."
He looked her right in the eye, "Nyoka is missing."
Karen's eyes got big and fright was clear in her eyes, "Oh no, not Nyoka. When? How?!"
Ayden started to wipe off the dirt that had collected on his black pants, "Not sure, he didn't return from his hunting trip a few days ago and no one has seen him since, or if they have they aren't telling."
Karen's eyes turned from fear to hatred and determination, "Who ever is responsible will die a slow and painful death. That is for sure. You must be absolutely swamped with extra work from him."
"One thing is for sure, Jade and David won't leave me alone and I have so much work to do, my house will pretty much go to ruin before I will be able to even glance at any other room except my study."
"Well I'm sorry that you get all of the work Nyoka would have to do, I just hope you finish it sooner than you predict, we have to celebrate! It was your four hundredth birthday a few days ago and you need to get out!"
He smiled at her as she bounced up and down excitedly. Karen always did love a party. She stopped suddenly and sniffed the air.
"Do you smell that? It smells like… human. And not just dead human or human blood but live human," she made a disgusted face, "Those things smell so nasty. They only smell good when they're bleeding or dead."
Ayden looked at her, "I don't smell anything. Maybe it's you."
Karen looked absolutely horrified at the thought, "Gross! I need a shower NOW!"
She dematerialized from his front room and Ayden let out a sigh of relief. The papers were scattered all over the floor and he bent to pick them up only to find that another of his servants held them out for him all nicely stacked.
The servant smiled and left the room to take care of the rest of his chores and Ayden stood there contemplating his predicament. There wasn't much he could do to help this situation, only send the girl back to her own world when she was healthy enough and move on with his life. Maybe then he could get something done. He glanced down at the papers and towards his study which was to the left of him. He glanced up at the ceiling, as if he could send the girl his thoughts and help her heal faster, then went into his study to get some work done.