Message from the author: Just to let you guys know, I have oodles of background stuff for all my characters, other detailed vampires and slayers, etc., etc. I will add more chapters, depending on feedback and such, whether this story goes over well, whether people like it, you know what I mean. Just thought I'd drop that in there.
All I know is when I first saw him, I wanted him.
I did not want him like I usually want humans, as the bloodthirst, but in a different way.
It was as if I desired him, not his life.
I stood thoroughly confused, though my fangs had shown themselves with the extent of my excitement.
He turned to me slowly, decisively, cautiously, every movement calculated. I knew he thought I had come to kill him, despite the fact I knew he had come to kill me. His dark eyes sparked through the night air. My skin tingled.
I was instantly annoyed, as though his pride were pricking me in the arm. He was very strong. I knew everything about Winter Tremaine– when he had been born, his family history, his favorite type of underwear. It is a vampire's business to know every detail about their most feared enemies.
And I did fear him. Perhaps that is why I was so damned annoyed.
I smiled at him through the gloom, and realized suddenly that he must have had some excellent skill to know where I was. Small pubs in outer Germany are difficult to track down.
I was very hungry. I knew when I smiled my white, white teeth blared garishly in the diluted light of the moon. I hoped he was frightened, too.
His eyebrows bent down in the most peculiar way, an expression unknown to me, neither of fear, nor anger, nor disgust. The closest I could come to was confusion.
He held one sharp, silver katana in each hand. They were coated with the purest form of the metal, and I shivered at the sight. His clothing was plain, but made for slaughter. Slaughter of me. Slaughter of my kind, my sisters, my brothers, my leaders. I pressed the tip of my forefinger against the keen edge of my finger claw. I did not want to kill him. I wanted to fuck him, and it disturbed me.
He was not moving, though a full five seconds had passed from the moment I had seen him, standing solemnly against the pub wall, watching, waiting. All had left, and I had been last. Miles of black forest lay before us– miles to run, to fly, to fight, to bite. I needed blood, but not his, not his.
I pulled my cloak around me, and he jumped at my movement. The silver blades were held in a defensive position, crossed before him. He let out a small breath that slid across my eardrums.
I liked him very much, this Winter Tremaine, this bane of vampires across our darkened globe, this slayer. I liked him very much. His dirty black duster was thrown back, revealing simple dark breeches and a long-sleeved insulated shirt. On his belt was a line of stakes, glistening like the eyes of adders in the nightlight. He wore a hat reminiscent of an old scarecrow, though it did bring out the deadly darkness of his eyes, which I found particularly captivating. His build was no larger than my own, so that we were basically the same size. But he was wound tight as hell and ready to spring– ready to kill me.
I took a step forward.
He moved the blades again, the movements so swift I could barely detect them.
Very good, I thought, very good. He tries to move like we do. The most excellent way to hunt is to become the prey.
"I assume you are Winter Tremaine," I said steadily, trying to conceal the mild fear that began choking its way through my lungs.
Nothing moved but his lips and tongue.
"You assume correctly," he said, his voice also steady. I wondered how he could help but look at my teeth, they were so threateningly beautiful, but his eyes were focused on my hands, which lay still beneath my cloak.
"I am Arden," I said proudly.
"I know who you are," he said, though his tone was not insolent. I smiled again.
"Of course you do, slayer. I knew you were Winter, because I have studied you and your brother for many mortal years now, as I'm sure you have me. Even now you anticipate my next movement, guessing, hoping, wondering what it will be, trusting you have followed me long enough to estimate my gestures."
He said nothing. The blades were still.
I caught a glint of my teeth out of the corner of my eye. I turned my head to the side, studying his taut muscles and high-strung nerves.
"Your brother is not so fair as you," I said softly. "Birch is so much more slaughter than slayer. But you, Winter, are thought and action, emotion and motion, lover and fighter."
I wanted him desperately. I wanted to sweep him up into the sky and show him things he had only heard tell of. I wanted to take him down on the forest floor and love as only the dead can love. I wanted to drink from him only to feel the electric stream of life flowing through his blue veins. I wanted to take him in the midst of his anger and glory and veiled desire.
"Speak to me, Winter Tremaine. You overly entice me with your silence."
He swallowed. I watched the throat rise and fall. I heard the blood pumping.
"I have come to kill you, Arden of Rome, born in 1570, bitten at the age of nineteen by Giovanni the elder vampire, whom you later killed in 1734. I have come to destroy the living dead created in the year of our Lord 1589, and erase the five hundred years of massacre that ensued. I have come to end your years of killing and never-ending hunger and ageless death. I have come to kill the beauty of cruelty in so noble a being."
"You speak lovely, Winter," I said, thoroughly seduced, "and I desire you."
He drew the blades ready, and their points were inches from my cold heart.
"That you will never have," he said.
"Not your blood," I corrected quickly, drawing up closer to him so that the tips brushed against my clothing. I gathered myself up, straightened my shoulders, and stared into his black eyes. He met my gaze with a blaze of anger and defiance, thinking I wanted his death. "You," I whispered, and I meant every word of it. "I desire you."
He let out a breath that gleamed misty in the cold air. His eyes ignited in a singular burst, as though the wavering flickers that had preceded had been no display at all. I marveled at the sudden and strong vibes of anger that hit me in my chest as though they were material gusts of wind. It seemed the more exquisite his ferocity became, the most intense my craving grew.
Swallowing hard, my throat ached for want of nourishment. I would be weaker for the fight.
His body prepared itself for the assault. The muscles strained and tightened and tensed. His heart pounded in great pulsating waves toward me. He had no reply for my lustful words but to ignore them and continue with his errand.
Then, like that fragile medium between a point's pressure and the breaking of the skin, it began.

His katanas were a blur in the night, glistening like the wings of a metallic moth singed by flame.
Suddenly I was no longer an erotic vampire; I was the savage, brutal phantom that lived inside me. He backed me into the woods, chased face-to-face with those whirling blades.
The darkness of the forest closed in on us. I hissed wildly at him, my mouth wide and garish. His lips were drawn back in an intensely strained expression. He wielded the swords with deadly accuracy, but yet I was a vampire, and I parried his blows with a dagger. He was a good match for my inhuman swiftness.
I began to grow nervous he backed me farther and farther into the deep depths of the woods; my cloak flapping and flowing freakishly around me as I moved, backwards, backwards, and always backwards, stepping in a deadly waltz amongst the trees.
Hissing again, I began to grow weak. I had not drunk for the night, and my veins began to throb against the fragile barrier of my white skin.
He was not slowing in the least, his stamina obviously far beyond the normal level of humans. I marveled– something about him was not quite mortal. I had fought and killed many, many slayers before him, and never had I faced this many problems. Something about him was different– and then abruptly I remembered. Five years ago I had read the old prophecies, and discovered there would be two final receivers of Tristan the Slayer's blood. I had never made the connection between Winter and Birch and Tristan the Slayer. Like a lightning bolt it flashed into my brain. Now everything made sense.
Winter Tremaine was divine. His blood held the nectar of angels.
Cold fear, more real than pain, stabbed into my heart.
I wailed and rose into the trees, the wind blowing me slightly off-course. Seizing onto the nearest branch, I swung up into the arms of the leaves. I heard his blade whirr angrily near me a split-second too late. Far up in the bosom of the tree, I shivered. And yet, through my fear, I admired him, and my affection was beyond desire.
I still remembered his eyes– angry, confused, fierce, deadly.
"Come down!" he shouted, his voice raspy. The sound echoed up to my ears, and I peered down. He still paced madly below, brandishing his katanas nervously. "Come down, or are you afraid?"
"I am quite afraid of you, sir," I whispered. He heard it, far away as he was. (Vampires can do that).
"I have challenged you! You cannot run! Even if you hide from me, I will track you down, Arden, and I will kill you. Think about that."
He stood still.
Something squeaked innocently beside me on the branches. My bright eyes caught it, and then my hands followed. Piercing it with my eyeteeth, I drank swiftly. It was a black squirrel, and it wasn't much, but it would help.
I took a deep breath of the ancient air. Summoning my strength, I dropped down from the heights of the tree. Landing smoothly on my feet before him, my cloak and dress swirled around me like liquid blackness. I stood six inches from his face.
He slashed with one silver blade.
I moved, but the gleaming metal sliced open my upper arm.
"Bestemmiare-sta!" I spat at him in Italian. Dark black blood oozed from the cut, which was healing slower than it should from my lack of nourishment. My lips and teeth were stained a dark red from the squirrel's meager blood. He took a step back. His eyes seemed to search me as I glared up at him, clutching the wide gash showing brightly through my severed clothing. My heart beat fast because my blood was too black. If I did not drink and rejuvenate myself, I could possibly bleed to death, slowly, pitifully, on the dark floor of the forest.
I saw my death before me. A death more horrible than the living death. A Hell, waiting before me. I moaned and slipped to my knees. Defeated.
He stepped towards me, his boots light and graceful on the ground. I stared up at him, eyes narrowed and grim. His face was expressionless. He swung the katana again. The silver slit through the thin white skin of my other arm, then my right leg, then my left. The leaves around me began to turn a slippery sable. I winced only once, but the silver was poisoning me fast.
"Congratulations, Winter Tremaine, you have killed one of the best. Record it among your high and mighty deeds. I still would have liked to fuck you before the end, but, ah well. I wouldn't have wanted to be done in by any other but the greatest. Had you been any other mortal I would have killed you and eaten your heart. Best of luck." The forest was starting to grow darker and darker. I kept his eyes with my own as I weakly dropped to the ground, my face to the canopy.
I watched him move to my side and kneel. He cocked his head at me, as if wondering about some unknown fact.
"You would have liked to what?" he said.
I smiled bleakly.
"I didn't stutter when I spoke, Winter." I laughed, and my chest hurt. "I really don't want to die." I dropped my smile. "Especially when I have just met you. We could have been magnificent rivals. The vampire from Italy and the Divine Winter Tremaine."
I coughed dark blood and spat it on the ground. My speech was beginning to ramble.
He was silent.
I lay my head back on the ground and stared blankly up at the nighttime sky.
Then, the strangest thing happened.
He touched me, warily and coldly at first, but he touched me. He lay his long, strong hand against my face.
My nerves thrilled– he was so warm, almost hot, like a fire lived inside his skin. Goosebumps rose on my skin. I closed my eyes and quivered subconsciously. The breath I let out was brief and loud, like a forceful sigh. The caress was rough, but it was a caress. I smiled, a struggle, but well worth it.
"Before I saw you step out of that tavern, the foremost thought in my mind was to kill you," he whispered. His voice was still steady, but now it was softer than feather-down. "For years my sole goal was taking you down. That's how we work, you know– we pick one at a time to exterminate. It's methodical. It's tested. It was pretty damn effective." He paused and took a breath. "Do you know how foolish I feel, to know that I spent an entire year of my life studying you . . . only to find out that I can't?"
I looked up at him. His eyes were smouldering again, not burning as they had been.
"You can't what?" I dared to ask.
He laughed sardonically, shaking his head half in amusement, half in bewilderment.
"I can't kill you."
"Ah, Winter, I'm dead already, it's just a matter of time."
I glanced at the ground around me. It was oily and black with blood. The thick, sickly sanguine fluid coated the lower half of Winter's trousers. I was positively drenched in it. Faint and far away, I could sense the sun beginning to throw her golden rays over the latter part of the earth. I shuddered at the thought. My wounds had finally sealed themselves, but the silver was working swiftly through my blood, pounding and pulsing in a toxic rhythm.
His hand slid from off my face. I caught it and enclosed it in my long, white hands. Despite my deteriorating strength, I clutched it firmly.
"No," he said, plainly, solidly. He removed his dirty, blood-slicked duster, revealing his form. His shape was very pleasing to me, and I marveled at his immense allure in my eyes. He pushed his dark green insulated shirt sleeve up to his elbow, exposing his remarkably browned skin for one who originates in the UK.
My senses whirled at the sight and smell of his bulging veins. Something about his aura was incredibly rich and heady. He pressed his wrist to my mouth. My brain switched into overload. At this moment, when I was hungry beyond comprehension and dying of silver poison, the scent of his divinely honeyed blood was nearly too much. I pushed his arm away, fighting harder than you can imagine not to seize his arm and drink him dry. But I couldn't. I couldn't kill him either.
"No," I wheezed, "I would kill you."
"I am stronger than you now, so it's not really your choice. Stop drinking when I tell you, and take care. If you get too carried away, I will still let you bleed to death here." His words were not a threat, but a fact, and I understood.
Once again, he frantically placed his palpitating wrist to my open mouth.
Then I pierced his skin, and drank.
Immediately my mind began reeling. I was instantly intoxicated by the luxuriant depth of his blood. It was sweet and full, and yet had a delightfully bitter edge.
Deep inside I felt the divinity inside of him convert itself to the demon in me, making me stronger and wiser and bolder. I did not have to look at his face to see the expression of ecstasy there– I could feel it flowing like wine through his blood. He moaned and shuddered slightly, and I continued to drink. I was mending. The fresh, living, precious blood was nixing the lethal silver. At once I felt his pain and his joy, his laughter and his tears. I could have cried for the amount of emotion he carried inside of him. Then, abruptly, it stopped.
He pulled away, gasping acutely. His mouth was agape and his muscles were quivering. I was panting. My mouth was stained a deep, deep burgundy, and my eyes were overly bright. I folded in a heap to the ground, letting the strength course through me. He crumpled, and the light in his eyes was quenched.
I screamed, and for a moment feared I had drained too much and he had died there at my side. And now even more I loved him. I pressed my ear to his heart. Yes, there was a faint thumping there, still alluring and alive, so dreadfully and magnificently human. I ripped a long portion off of my dress and tightly bound his wrist. The flow of blood stopped after a few minutes. (Something of his divine ancestors must have given him higher immunity as well).
He lay on the ground as if sleeping. I gathered him up in my arms. I was still afraid of him; afraid he would awake suddenly and stake me with one of his menacing silver stakes, forgetting I was Arden, and that he had just saved me from death. He was solid, though slim. The press of his body against my breast was so sublime I could have been content to just hold him like that for hours.