From the dark nothingness, Lucy started to regain her awareness. Her sense of balance first told her that she was standing up. Then she could feel her head resting against something firm, but not hard, that was gently rising and falling underneath her, and she could feel something firm and strong around her upper back, supporting it while it wrapped around behind her. While she became more aware, she started to notice more details. From her left ear she could hear the faintest sound of a heartbeat, and she could feel something holding each of her arms with a gentle grasp, while she felt her right arm resting on a firm, strong support.

What she noticed the most, though, was a strong feeling surrounding her that made her feel safe and protected. The feeling was stronger than she'd ever heard about when someone is in the arms of a loved one, and they feel safe in the embrace. What Lucy was feeling at that moment was not psychological, but it seemed more like it was the very air around her. She found herself comforted by it so much that she started to become afraid that if she opened her eyes, it would go away. However, she knew she had to open her eyes and remind herself where she was and what she was doing.

She cracked open her eyes and lifted her head to look around. Her focus was blurry, so she blinked them to try to clear her sight. Her awareness took another step, and she realized that the support around her was someone's arms, and the heartbeat she heard must have meant that her head had been resting on someone's chest, which was all the more affirmed by how she realized she could feel them breathing, their chest gently rising and falling with inhales and exhales.

She turned her head upward and to the left to see the face of this person who had her in a comforting embrace. Her vision cleared as she looked up, and her eyes locked onto another pair.

She found that she had instantly become so intrigued with the eyes that she couldn't break her gaze from them, and her sense of awareness was forgotten for the moment. The irises were dark chocolate brown, though she could see the lighter traces of a shade of orange in them, but strangely, the traces of orange were fading away until they were gone completely. The expression in the eyes was soft, and she could read a tender concern in them, but also what appeared to be worry. She found herself wondering what was causing the worry in those captivating eyes.

"Aw, how cute," came a cold, dark voice, sarcasm lacing each word it spoke. Startled from the unexpected noise, Lucy's sense of awareness snapped back, and she broke her gaze from the eyes to look at where the voice came from. She got a sense of familiarity about the man she saw with black hair and cold blue eyes staring back at her in a sinister expression that set off her inner alarms.

'It's so cute, that I may be sick," the man continued, this time without sarcasm. He appeared to look between her and the person next to her. She turned her head again to look at the person who had been supporting her while she was unconscious, and she saw another familiar face of a man with black hair. Something caught her eye on his face, and she glanced down to his lips, and saw two white tips.

Everything came crashing back into Lucy's memory like a tidal wave. She had witnessed two vampires killing a woman. She had been chased by them, running for her very life, and now she was in the house that belonged to this man, who also was a vampire. Remembering her situation, she became afraid for her life again, and she hastily backed out of the arms that were holding her, backing up about four steps off to the side between the single vampire and the other two men, as she looked at the vampire with fear.

"Oh, don't worry, kitten," the cold voice told her. She turned to look at the blue-eyed man again. He had a small, malicious smile on his face, and his eyes shone with amusement.

'Hector doesn't bite…not like I do." With that, he gave her a wicked grin that showed off his teeth. Inside his grin, however, Lucy could see that his top two canines were longer than normal, and ended in sharp points. She recognized him then as one of the two vampires that was chasing her, along with the other man with dark blonde hair standing on the other side of him, and who was also staring at her.

Her eyes widened as her terror came back to her, and it was all she could do to keep herself together. His words finally registered in her mind while she thought about to do. She looked back at the other black-haired vampire, the one she had backed away from. He wasn't meeting her in the eyes, and she noticed that his facial expression had dampened into what could only be described as a hurt one, as if he had taken offense from the blue-eyed vampire's words. He then seemed to notice that she was looking at him, and met her eyes with his brown ones that seemed to relay emotional pain and conflict to her. She felt something inside of her from his hurt expression, and she identified it as pity from how it seemed as though he wasn't liked by the other two vampires. She also found herself becoming less afraid of him because of her pity.

'Now, you have a price to pay, girl," the blue-eyed vampire told her. She looked back at him in time to see his grin fading down to a smirk, and his eyes narrowing slightly in a dark expression as he took a slow, menacing step towards her.

Lucy's mind raced as she tried to decide what to do. She looked back at the other black-haired vampire, who was watching her anxiously, as if waiting for her to do something, while appearing, for some reason, like he was preventing himself from taking action. She turned back to the blue-eyed vampire, who'd taken another menacing step closer to her. Finally an impulsive decision was made in her mind, and she turned back to the other vampire. She hastily stepped towards him and thrust herself against him, barely acknowledging how the force knocked some wind out of him in the form of a grunt, and that he had to take a step back to keep his balance. She slid her arms between his own arms and torso, wrapping them behind him, sensing that as she did so, he raised his arms reactively, and she felt him tense up a little as she tightened up her embrace. She cringed in her fright with her head sideways against his chest.

It was then that Lucy stopped to think about what she'd just done. She had clung herself to a strange man, a vampire, desperate for a sense of safety, without thinking how he'd react. She suddenly became worried, and turned her head to face upwards to see his facial expression. To her surprise, she saw no anger, irritation, nor anything else that would suggest that he'd punish her for her stunt. She only saw a lot of surprise; it was apparent he had not expected her to cling to him like she did, but he didn't seem to be rejecting her, either. Her worry faded into relief that she had made a good choice. She noticed his eyes relax and soften a little, gaining a look in them that might have been relief, while the rest of him relaxed, having accustomed to the contact, and his arms lowered back down. Lucy sensed that this meant he had gotten over his surprise, and from how he still wasn't pushing her away, he didn't really mind her gesture. She decided to follow through with her choice, hoping it would get her through her situation alive.

"Please help me," she whimpered in a most timid voice as she turned her head back to rest sideways against his chest and closing her eyes as if to make her situation disappear. However, before the vampire could respond, the cold voice of the blue-eyed one came again.

"Now I think I am going to be sick. Just hand her over to us, Hector, and we'll be on our way."

The mild-mannered vampire didn't say anything, but Lucy sensed him slowly move his arms. Soon enough, she felt them rest against her back, with his right arm wrapping around the top of her back, angled across the line of her shoulder blades, with his right hand taking a gentle hold of her right side a little below the arm pit. His left arm wrapped down at an angle, the elbow about where his right hand was, while his left hand took hold of her left side about in the middle.

Above all her other observations, though, Lucy found that she was surrounded by the same comforting feeling that she had awoken to. She realized that she hadn't even noticed that she had stopped feeling it until she was surrounded by it again. After some thought, she figured that she had stopped feeling it when she had backed out of the mild vampire's arms, and since she was in their embrace again, she could feel it. She knew then that the mild vampire was the source of the feeling; it was coming from him.

"Hector…?" the blue-eyed vampire inquired in a displeased tone that demanded an explanation for the response he got.

"Why are you after her?" the mild vampire, Hector, asked in return. His voice was deep, and unlike the blue-eyed one, his voice had a feeling of warmth to it that Lucy couldn't help but notice, and become interested by it. There was a brief moment of silence before the cold voice replied.

"She saw something she wasn't supposed to, and so she must pay for it."

"Now that I'm involved in this, she won't." The instant, resolved reply shocked Lucy. It seemed that Hector, a vampire, cared about her life; whether she lived or died, even though he didn't know her. Subsequently, she felt more assured that she had made the right choice by asking for his help, and she relaxed from her cringe. She didn't know whether to believe if his compassion was really true or not, though. She tried to sort out her mixed feelings about it while silence fell upon the house again, this one a little longer than the last.

"I see," the blue-eyed vampire stated flatly, in a strangely calm tone. "I can see we're not going to get our prey tonight, so we will go. However…" Lucy's breath caught; she had just begun to feel relieved from her nightmare when he signaled an afterthought, causing her to suddenly become worried again.

'I will return first thing tomorrow night. If she's not dead when I do, Hector, I will drain her myself."

"You can't expect me-!" Hector started to say, his tone showing how shocked he was at the turn of the events.

"Kill her before tomorrow evening, Hector," the blue-eyed vampire cut him off, his voice having become more assertive. "Better your pathetic mercy than the ferocious cruelty I have in mind. You know what I'm capable of, Hector. Will you make her suffer it?"

Lucy then heard slow footsteps, and then the sound of the door opening and closing. Even though she knew that her pursuers were gone, she wasn't ready to leave the comforting embrace she was still in, in case they came back.

Outside, Damien and Ivan marched up the stone path and through the metal gate. Damien was still in a calm state, in contrast to the shocked one Ivan was in.

"What was that all about, my lord?" Ivan asked Damien. "Why did you threaten him, when instead we could have just torn the girl from him?" Damien turned to the house, leering at it in great focus.

"Because Hector has shown signs of a power even I haven't figured out yet."

"What do you mean, my lord?"

"The way the girl clung to him like a magnet reminded me of something Nimalise told me once."

"Nimalise? You mean…"

"The root source of my power, and subsequently, the origin of our entire group? Yes. You, Derek, and Marcus all know the story. She once told me that our kind emanate a feeling from ourselves that affects basic parts of the human psyche. She called it Aura, and that only those with a certain kind of strength can develop it. She said that a true vampire of the bargain, in addition to being a master of all they are, will have very powerful Aura."

"And you think Hector has developed his own Aura?"

"I'm sure of it, and I'm sure that the girl has become hooked on it." I wonder if I could learn to capture the mind of a human like that, Damien thought in a neutral yet very serious tone, but then twisted amusement entered his thoughts, and a smirk pulled at one corner of his mouth. It'd certainly make hunting more interesting if the prey was all too willing to wander close…

"What do you think he'll do, my lord?" Ivan's voice brought Damien out of his thoughts.

"I know he's not going to kill her willingly. He could hide her from us, but sooner or later, he'll need to feed again, and he'll know where he can get an easy meal." The smirk grew a little as he pictured the scene in his head.

"You don't think he'll…well, you know?" Ivan asked, uncertain, his voice showing a curiosity about what his superior thought in regards to what he was asking.

"The sentimental that he is, he thinks of the gift I gave him as a curse, and he's not going to want to make another suffer it, but if he does, he still has to cope with the Thirst when it arises in the process. He's still not as self-controlled as you or I, so he might end up killing her. His regret and sorrow will be a pleasure to witness, and it might make him yield to me and finally join our ways."

'No, I think his best option is to release her. I've underestimated him once, and never will I do so again, and he'd be unbelievably foolish to release her tonight, but just in case, we shall wait in the shadows for her, until we absolutely have to find a place to sleep come dawn. Should he release her tomorrow, then we shall scour the town for her, and make sure she never finds safety again. The way I see it, Ivan, no matter what, I win," Damien finished, a small malicious smile growing from the smirk he had.

"I'm sorry for questioning you, my lord."