Author's Note- Sorry, another filler chapter, but there's some bonding here too.
Mikaine stretched out, his eyes still unfocused. "The spell itself is a blur. I talked to the others, they don't remember it either. All I recall is this intense feeling of power surrounding me. We woke up the next morning burning alive. Twelve of us made it to shelter."
"The other… burned alive?" Jessica asked remembering her fear as she couldn't wake up and the fire kept getting closer.
"I can still hear her screams. I can't imagine going that way. Later, when the sun went down we, weak and starving stumbled out. Akull was already under the influence of his blood, he attacked and drained one of our remaining sheep and drained it. Seeing how much we followed suit. We stayed together learning to control our powers until Akull…" He came back to himself and looked at Jessica who was watching him completely entranced by his story. "Endaires, Vaultine, Alaza, and I were the first to leave."
"You knew her? You and Vaultine were close?"
Mikaine couldn't help but chuckle. "Knew her? Yeah, you might say I knew her, in the biblical sense." Jessica blushed. "As for being close, we spent over a thousand years together. She was the love of my life. What do you think?"
"Then why are you helping me?"
"Notice my wording, darlin': spent, was. She cheated on me. We're as over as possible. With that being said I should warn you that I'm using you."
"To get back at her. She wants you dead so I'm keeping you alive."
"I guess I can deal with that," Jessica reasoned that it could always be worse. "How many lines are there?"
"Ten now. Akull's, Alaza's, Endaires', Tarin's, Favret's, Kazaka's, Serine's, Luway's, Vaultine's, and mine."
"Gabriel mentioned that every line has their own abilities. What's yours?"
"Telekinesis, mind control, and strength."
"I thought all vampires can use mind control."
"They can. Just as we're all strong. I'm just better at it. I can control other vampires as well as humans." He saw the apprehension on her face and smiled. "I don't use it often though. Having people obey your every wish sounds good but in reality it's boring."
"You said there were only ten?"
"What happened to the other two?" he guessed.
"One went sort of crazy. He killed every time he fed. But unlike Akull he was in control, he just liked to kill. We were forced to take him out. The other, Lawset… no one knows what happened to him. Some believe that he is still alive. It's been a long time since anyone has seen him though."
"You mentioned Akull a couple times now. He seems important to you."
Mikaine grinned arching an eyebrow. "You were studying to be a journalist, weren't you?"
"And you are changing the subject."
"Not really. I'm just directing conversation away from subjects that I don't feel that you're truly ready to hear." She crossed her arms over her chest and leveled a glare at him that would probably worry a lesser man. Mikaine just smirked at her. "You're cute when you're angry." If anything the cliché only made her even angrier. "Moving on..."
She deflated figuring that she owed him big. "Gabriel didn't mention anything about the rules of hunting. How do we do that? Do we have to feed every day? Do we have to kill? Do we have to feed from humans or will animals do? Oh, and-"
"Easy there, darlin'. I had no idea the human mouth could move that fast. I'll teach you to hunt. It's mostly instinct. Usually every two or three days will do. The only kill you have to make is the first and Gabriel took care of that for you. I personally recommend feeding from animals whenever possible, although human blood tastes better. I'll teach you how to do both, though." He smiled. "Anything else?"
"So I never have to kill?"
"I wouldn't say that. There comes a time when every vampire has to make the decision to kill or die."
"Hunters?" she guessed.
"Usually. Or other vampires. You never know for sure who to trust. Someday someone will betray you and you may have to choose their life or yours."
She blinked at him. "Wow. That is incredibly bleak."
He gave a wan smile. "I know. I'm probably not the best person to talk to you about things like this. I'm really quite a pessimist."
"And really untrusting."
"Comes with the territory. When you're as old as I am you just don't trust easily. I trust two people. That's it."
"I understand," she said surprising him again. She didn't strike him as the type who would actually know what he was talking about. Then again, he was old enough to know better than to judge a person by their appearance.
"Well, I've told you about my past. What about you?"
"My life is nowhere near as interesting as yours."
"It interests me," he argued. "You were studying journalism? What made you choose that?"
"It's what my dad did," she shrugged. "I remember how supportive he always was of my writing… I won an award the night he k- died. I came home so happy and saw the ambulance pulling away." She frowned looking at him closely. "I didn't mean to tell you all that."
He smiled faintly, knowing what she was implying. "I wouldn't take away your free will, sweetheart, it's too precious."
Strangely, she found that she believed him. His annoying habit of calling her by endearments rather than her name had to go though. "I have a name, you know that, right?"
"And it's a beautiful name," he smiled.
"So why don't you use it?"
"Does it bother you for me to call you sweetheart?"
"Hmm… how about sweetums?" She arched an eyebrow at him. "No? Okay… pookie?" She bit her lip on the smile that wanted to emerge as she glared at him. "That doesn't work? Hmm…"
"What's wrong with Jessica? Or even Jess?"
He waved a hand dismissively. "Too ordinary. Everyone will be calling you that."
Jessica rolled her eyes. "Wow, people calling me by my name. What a concept." A sudden thought occurred to her. "Are you afraid you'll forget it?"
"Well, some people use pet names if they have trouble remembering someone's name. My grandfather called my honey my whole life. I only realized a year before he passed away that he couldn't remember what my name was."
"I am not senile," Mikaine growled.
"That's not quite what I meant."
"Okay, I'd love to hear this," he said wryly. "Go ahead."
"It's just that you probably have a lot of information in your head. My name isn't all that important."
Mikaine's brows furrowed in confusion. "Jessica," he purred her name. "We're going to be together for fifty years, lass. I'll have no trouble remembering your name."
"I guess I thought… I mean, fifty years is a long time. Won't you be sick of me by then?"
All of the sudden he didn't look simply uninterested and friendly. His look was all predator as his eyes swept over her hungrily. "Oh, I really doubt that."