Author's Note:PLEASE READ Just so you know, Baerien isn't exactly the most educated guy in the world, so switched tenses in the past are all him, not me. Just warning ya. He won't be doing that in later chapters, though, so don't worry. BUT, if it annoys people that much that he decides to have "had said" sometimes and then "said", I'll fix it...I just feel it is better to be in the character's head then watching from afar.

Chapter One: Damn it

~Baerien POV~

Well, this is it. My old home. I almost forgot how fucking big this castle was. I haven't been here since I was a member of the household. And that was a long time ago. I had made an oath never to step one foot back in this place; but here I am.

How did I agree to come back, again?

Oh, yes. Him.

He talked me into this. Funny, how you grow up believing someone is your best friend, your brother, and then when you fall in love, he steals your girl. Then she dies giving birth to that friend betrayer's son. The same son that apparently needs my help. Obviously Jurai failed in raising a child. Go figure.

And now he comes crying to me, asking for a favor. I am not even so sure what the hell he wants me to do with the kid. I have never met him before, and whatever uses I would be to the brat - I could set him on fire, maybe. Nah. Jurai wouldn't be too happy about that; unless he wanted the gremlin dead.

This whole favor started when I walked into his office only a few days ago. I only needed some paper work to finish up my citizenship as a freeman; it seemed living as an adopted son to a vampire noble hadn't exactly counted as a free pyro. Lovely, right?

Anyway, Jurai was working at his desk; hair slicked back and in a ponytail - the fake, round spectacles set on his narrow nose. I never thought of him as a nerd until I saw him like that. "Um, what's with the extra eyes?" I had asked sarcastically, eyebrow raised.

Jurai had nearly jumped out of his seat when he heard my voice. Some vampire. He hadn't even heard me come into his office. Too engrossed in his papers? I never did like politics. Sad, how he was stuck with a hellevalot.

He sat up then, his partly Asian eyes widening in surprise. "Oh, Baerien, you are here early," he had said, smiling thinly. Hell, everything about him was thin. Like a twig. I remembered when we had wrestled at one point when we were little. We never did play it again. "And, uh, you don't like it? I thought it made me look more official…for the humans. They always like a lawyer who looks the part!" Jurai had stuck in while I had been flashbacking. As usual.

"Uh, yeah," I answered, not looking all too interested. "My finished papers?"

He had faltered for a second there, and began ruffling through all the shit on top of his desk. "Ah, yes! Yes, yes…here!" he pulled out the file. "All you have to do is sign the last page and I can deliver it to the council tomorrow - which reminds me!"

That made me flinch for a second, but I pretended his sudden outburst didn't do anything to my already fried nerves. Being around the man who literally ruined most of my future didn't really help me control the fire within. I could already smell a bit of smoke beginning to surface. Jurai seemed oblivious. I snatched the file, still kept my eyebrow raised, and waited for him to continue jabbering off senselessly. What had Amelia seen in him, exactly?

"I want to ask you a bit of a favor," he then said slowly. Jurai watched me carefully, as if expecting me to blow up (literally) in front of him. At least he was smart enough to hold some wariness when around me these days. I only took out the last piece of paper that would allow me to go about my business without vampires riding on my ass about it.

"Pen?" I asked, obviously ignoring his last phrase. I watched him frown and I could only barely hide the smirk on my lips. "Yeah, what is it?" I added with a roll of my eyes. He perked up then and handed me a pen, walking out from behind his desk and leaning against it.

He watched me sign, took the file away from me and carefully placed it on his desk. I watched the vampire fold his twiggy arms across his chest as he seemed to contemplate how he was going to say whatever it was he wanted to say.

I almost decided to walk out on him then, but he quickly spoke up when he saw how impatient I was. "All right. I have to go to the High Council tomorrow. I don't know how long I will be gone. So I was wondering…"

"Out with it, please," I said as casually as I could without sounding like an ass. Didn't work. But I saw the barest smile form on his lips. He knew me too well.

"I wanted to know if you could watch over Reginald while I was gone. I think, well…that the servants are too busy to really pay attention to him, and well…he scared away his last tutor. And…and I know you have been looking for a job-"

"Stop right there," I interrupted.


"Nothing, just wanted to stop you there," I put bluntly.

"Ah…I see. Is that a no, then?"

"How much would you pay me?"

"Well, I…I thought…" Jurai trailed off, possibly disappointed that I wouldn't do this as a favor; for free, that is. "Whatever price you feel acceptable."

And now I'm here, again, to this place of memories I clearly want to forget. And now I am to face the brat that killed my Amelia. Isn't it bad enough that I hear rumors of how much he looks like her? He takes her life, and then steals her looks?

That boy better pray I don't lose my fucking temper.