. . . UNENDLESS . . .

The only one who doesn't know happiness is the one who couldn't understand its call.
(INNER UNIVERSE - Ghost in the Shell)

. . .

-P r o l o g u e-

Peregrine stood against the window seat in the room. His arms were crossed daintily over his chest, his long braid pulled over his shoulder and resting against his arm. The golden hair glistened in the slight moonlight that shown through a thin winter cloud; his amethyst eyes stared out into the distance unseeing, yet seeing more than anyone else ever would.

"You alright?" a soft male voice asked. The blond vampire focused his gaze towards Lord Euric, the newly appointed First Lord of the eastern area vampires. Peregrine gave him a half-hearted side smile.

"I'm suffering from a few things," he said wistfully, "though nothing you should concern yourself with. You have enough on your plate as it is, what with Aaren being pregnant and now having to control the entire eastern section of America's vampires."

"And your plate isn't as full in the central lands?" Euric asked, eyebrow rising slightly. "After all, the central lands are the largest part of the country."

There was a momentary silence between the two men. Euric didn't move a hair on his head and Peregrine only shifted slightly, the action un-seeable to those not sharp enough to look.

"My second in command isn't as lazy or as uncaring as I am," the blond said quickly. "I left her in charge. I'm going back to Midcreek."

"Midcreek?" Euric asked incredulously. Peregrine shrugged and sent the dark haired vampire a questioning look. Euric shrugged in return and leaned against the table he was near. "I just figured you'd go back to your Sacred Grounds or even back to Michigan."

Peregrine shook his head and looked back out into the growing darkness. The moon was still slowly disappearing behind the winter clouds. "There's something about winter in Midcreek that sets my dead heart at peace. It's not a total waste land like the major cities in Japan. Besides, if I wanted to go back to Japan, I'd have stayed there after my Change."

Peregrine pushed off the seat with his hip and gracefully walked over to the door of the room. He glided past Euric, sending chills down the Vampire Lord's spine. Euric would never admit it to anyone, let alone himself, that he was attracted to the dainty blond. Peregrine was too beautiful to be a male; his androgynous body was confused for a runway star by every human he goes near. People without the sharp sight wouldn't think twice of Peregrine's appearance. No one would care; they'd see an attractive runway model or life drawing subject.

Euric stood up without seeming to move and grabbed Peregrine's arm. To someone without the vampire attributes, the grip would have broken bones, but it was nothing more than a gentile hold on the other vampire's arm. Peregrine stopped in his footsteps but didn't look at Euric. The dark haired vampire hesitated.

"Be careful," he said after a moment. "New vampires are coming up from the southern lands and moving over from Romania. We're doing all we can to place these fledglings, but the local witches and hunters won't like it very much. The confusion of our most recent loss hasn't blown yet, either, and we're all in possible danger. Midcreek might be one of the places that could turn into a hot spot."

Peregrine smiled and turned to face Euric. With his free hand, he gently caressed Euric's cheek, smiling more when he felt the chilled softness. "Don't worry yourself, love. Worry creates wrinkles and Aaren would never forgive me if I allowed anything to mar your perfection."

Euric dropped his eyes and released the blond. He chuckled and brushed his hair away from his eyes. "You scare me to high heaven when you do shit like that," he said.

"I only do it to see your reaction."

"I'm serious about being careful."

"And I'm serious about the wrinkles."

Peregrine leaned over and left a gentle peck on Euric's cheek, acting almost like a rejected woman taking the rejection maturely. He smiled brightly one last time before disappearing through the air as he walked towards the door.

Euric was left alone in the room now. He thought about the future for his blood brother, wondering if his choice would bring him more heartache or if he will finally find happiness or if it would turn around and mark his destruction. He could only hope for the best.