Chapter 3.

I woke up to his touch. His arm was wrapped around my waist, his leg draped over my thigh. My hair had blended with his, a pool of dark strands on the pillow between us. I could barely tell where I ended and he started and the thought occurred to me that perhaps we would melt together and become one. I didn't like that thought, it seemed awfully lonely to become one when we were two now. I arched closer to him, just to feel that breath of his on my lips, warm and enticing. His eyes parted slightly and a small hint of surprise played over his face. After all, I was very close to him and must have startled him a little. He smiled lazily and kissed my lips softly. "Morning." I couldn't help but chuckle. "It's evening." "Oh." His most common word, if you could call it a word, 'oh'. He said it softly, not even attempting to feign surprise, I sometimes wondered if anything could surprise him. And now, stretching out next to me, lazy slitted eyes giving me a sidelong glance he didn't look upset or surprised at all. "What do we do now?" I couldn't resist kissing him again. "We could. repeat last night's events." My suggestion brought his lips into a smile. "You taste good." He mumbled. "But I'm afraid I've drank too much already. Doesn't it hurt?"

"Does it hurt when I drink from you?"

A coy smile and a suggestive look in his eyes was all the answer I needed, luckily, for he didn't reply. "I drank as much from you as you from me, it doesn't shift the balance too badly." I grinned. "Oh." "Fillinor." My voice was strained in jest. "Yes?"

"If you don't stop doing that -oh- thing, I will have to put something in your mouth to close that damn seductive hole." For a moment I feared I had offended him, but then he snuggled against me, his leg wrapping more tightly around my hip. "I'm sorry if I'm causing you discomfort." There was enough mockery in his voice to shame the vampire cliques and it didn't 'become him. "I'm sorry if I offended you."

"You didn't." "Then what?"

"I'm not used to. this." "I know. I'm sorry." He pulled back enough to look at me and muttered. "Are you?" I probably looked as confused as I was. "Yes.?" "What for? I thought. I thought this was nice, but if it is, then why are you sorry?" "You're confusing me." I sighed and nuzzled closer to him. "I don't know how to answer you." He laughed softly and held me until I managed to clear my head a little. "Awfully mean of you to confuse me when I just woke up." I finally mumbled against his neck. "I know." "I'm not sorry, I guess I should be, for. for making you what you are without asking, and for all I did to you on stage, well, I am sorry for what I did to you on stage but I'm not sorry."

He stopped me then, with another soft kiss and a murmur. "Telgas. Stop now." I blinked at him and put up a small pout. "Telgas. You don't have to be sorry, alright? Unless this was some grand scheme to trick me, you defied them for me. You spared my life and broke the rules. Nobody's ever done anything like that for me. Now hush." And how could I disobey that?

A soft tap on the door and my father entered my room. He really had to stop doing that now that I had a lover again. His entering without permission was becoming annoying. "Telgas, will you and your fledgling join us in the great hall? The brethren is curious to meet him." As he spoke, he closed the door behind him and stepped into the room. I could feel Fillinor curl up shyly next to me and wondered if my father could sense his discomfort. "Fillinor." I said softly, turning my attention back to the wide-eyed creature that was trying to hide behind me. "This is my father, Zaahel. Father, will you acknowledge him?" My father arched a brow, slowly as he always did when he disapproved or was uncomfortable with something. "Fillinor, is it?" He nodded timidly, slender fingers tracing my back nervously. My father inclined his head at him and then looked at me. "It is bad enough to make one without permission without denying your brethren to see him as well. I expect you to attend tonight." "Will you not answer my question, father?" I inquired sternly and he gave me a piercing look. "Don't try my nerves, Telgas. I will acknowledge him when and if I'm good and ready." I could feel Fillinor shrink against my back as my father spun around and left our quarters. "He hates me." He muttered softly when the door slammed shut. "He's just jealous." I replied and smiled at him. "Did he make you?"

"Yes."

"I see." He furrowed his brows and a small smile curled his lips. "You don't expect me to call you. father, do you?" I couldn't help but laugh. "No, I don't. Zaahel is my real father. He gave me life, took it from me and gave me a new one." Fillinor looked mildly upset at that. "But, the blood, the drinking. it's so intimate." I smiled and drew him near, nuzzling his neck. I wasn't about to tell him that everything he had shared with me, I had shared with my father at some point. I somehow suspected it wouldn't sit well with him. But that also meant he wouldn't know why my father would most likely continue brushing him off and treating him coldly. Like he had all of my other lovers. How could I explain his jealousy to someone who could never understand what we had shared. "It is intimate, with some." I whispered instead, nibbling lovingly on his earlobe. "But, why is he jealous?" Fillinor pressed on. "I haven't stolen that much of your time." He sighed softly against my neck. "He's just the jealous type." I mumbled. "He likes to have people to himself."

"And I have to meet your brethren?" "Our brethren. You're one of us now."

"They're not the same people. vampires. as were around the stage, are they?" I hugged him tighter. "I wish I could tell you they weren't, but most of them were there, yes." He didn't reply to that but squirmed closer to me. "I don't want to go." He finally mumbled. "They wanted me to die. They probably still do." "Fillinor, you were human then. You're not human anymore, remember that. You are one of us and no vampire inflicts death on another without facing dire consequences. Do you understand?" "They saw me naked." He mumbled almost inaudibly. "They watched me while you. I don't want to go." I growled softly, it wasn't that I couldn't understand his anguish, but what could I say. "You don't have a choice and neither do I." "You will be by my side. the whole time?" "Of course."

I dressed him in the finest robes I could find, combed his hair and lent him some of my own jewellery. On our way to the grand hall, he seemed to forget some of his fear as he looked around curiously. "What is this place?" He mumbled, his eyes roaming the windowless walls curiously. "I've never seen a place like this before." "It used to be a shelter belonging to the army." I replied softly. "My brethren changed it all, even the entrances and exits. The old entrance has been shut off and tunnels have been dug."

"We're underground?" He asked in amazement, wide eyes fixed on me in question. I laughed softly and nodded. "The safest place to be." He ran his fingers over the rough surface of the walls. "What do vampires need to be kept safe from? It's not like the sun is a big threat within the city." He seemed sullen and I wondered if he needed reminding that he was now a vampire as well. "Is there anything else that can. hurt you? .us?" "You never know, love." I muttered softly and pulled him close to me again. "We're almost there, listen." I could hear muffled sounds of music and voices, but Fillinor looked at me blankly. "Listen to what?" I smiled at him and shook my head. Never you mind, love." A good walk later, we entered the grand hall. Most of my brethren was already inside, some human pets and servants blending in with the crowd and I wondered if Fillinor, being as new as he was, could tell the difference. My eyes roamed over the small groups and stopped, sadly, on the vampire that always caught my attention, one way or the other. Zyath. Falling in love with mortals and not changing them can be quite heartbreaking as they grow old and die. But, it has its benefits. A human changes, grows older. Even just the subtle things such as a change of hairstyle are within the power of humans. They can use any means to change. Vampires remain the same and should your heart be broken by one, you will forevermore look upon the exactly same person as held you close, whispered endearments in your ear and shared blood with you. There I was, watching Zyath, the same man, with another in his arms and a cold sneer as he laid eyes on me. And fuck knew it wouldn't hurt this bad if he had at least changed a little bit. If he looked older, if his hair wasn't still a brilliant shade of auburn, if his eyes didn't still sparkle inhumanly green. The only thing different about him was that the smile he used to grant me was gone, replaced by a sneer. His words of endearment morphed into snide comments about me and the fledgling by my side. My feelings of passion, turned to bitter taste in my mouth and a cold burning hate within my chest.

"Oh, look here. Telgas has arrived with his newly acquired pet! Isn't that lovely." He sure knew how to get our attention, speaking loudly enough for even the elders on the other end of the room to look curiously our way. "They say pets often look like their owners and behold! It is true. They look alike, don't you think? Did you finally take my advice, Telgas, and go fuck yourself?" He laughed, a pretentious strained laugh and his little clique laughed with him. I looked at him as if I were looking at a stain on my sleeve and moved away. Fillinor pressed against me, a small sign of comfort or perhaps he was only seeking shelter. "Your brethren?" He asked quietly in a bitter tone and I shook my head. "Jealous fools. I was hoping they wouldn't be here." "Why is everyone jealous?" He whispered but before I was forced to come up with an answer, Renith approached us. "Congratulations on winning the high council over, yet again." He muttered with a grin, giving Fillinor, or to be precise, Fillinor's body, an appreciate glance. "Fillinor won them over, not me." I offered softly, pulling my fledgling closer to me in a possessive manner. "I see." Renith arched a brow and took a small step back, a sign that he had understood and respected my sign of possession. Fillinor looked confused and huddled closer to me, glancing at the people around him nervously. Filia, one of the younger vampires gave him a court smile, as close to a warm gesture as he would probably get that evening. It was then I noticed my father, glaring at us from across the room, even neglecting a conversation with one of the elders to do so. I looked away in dismay. How many decades did I have to put up with this? "Telgas!" A booming voice from across the hall, it was the old rite master, Solrail. I was in trouble now. Slowly I turned to face the greater kindred, probably looking as bothered as I felt. "Solrail." I mumbled as he came closer. "The honour is mine." But before I could continue, I felt a chill sweep across my face, stinging the inside of my cheeks, cold burn on my teeth. A mental slap - literally. I glared up at him and he glared back.

"Never, since my making, have I seen anyone mock my work in such a manner." He hissed at me. "You were to be my successor and you chose to not only deny that honour, but to shame it as well. How dare you even show your face in my presence?"

"I did you wrong, Solrail." I replied dryly. "I regret that. But I do not regret my actions." I pulled Fillinor visibly closer, keeping my gaze on Solrail. 'Keeping my ground without being rude', I never succeeded without crossing one line or the other. Solrail shook his head and looked at Fillinor, Whom I was certain would squirm out of my grip and run for the nearest entrance within moments. "Ancestors." He growled quietly. "I represent you." His eyes fixed on me again, cold and searching. "And which ancestor chose to defy the law for 'this', hmm? Which ancestor were you representing, Telgas?" "Tashe." I replied calmly and that made him pull back, his anger momentarily exchanged with confusion. Tashe was an ancient vampire who had broken all the rules of his time and had a hand in bringing my kind out into the open. He was murdered by a pack of low life vampires and there wasn't a kindred that didn't celebrate his name. Solrail furrowed his brows, but then he grinned, a wry, malicious grin. "So you embraced this human in the name of Tashe? Nice save, boy." Then he leaned back against me and hissed in my ear. "You will never gain rank, Telgas. Not while I'm in this clan, you won't. You'll remain lowly, faceless, rankless, do you understand that? A nobody amongst your clan." "I will prove you wrong." I replied shortly and led Fillinor away from the old rite master. The old fool didn't scare me, he had tried to on countless occasions when I was practising for the rituals, but never succeeded. Fillinor looked at me with worry in his eyes as we stalked to the seats across the hall, but he remained quiet and sat down where I wanted to sit. Zyath was watching us from afar with a malicious grin on his lips. It was amazing how an angelic face could become so ugly with a simple sneer. "Maybe you should have killed me." Fillinor whispered, his hand clenching my robes. "I've caused you so much trouble." His voice was choked, his eyes lowered. "Fillinor, I caused myself this trouble. Don't let them get to you, they're not all this bad." I drew him close again, kissing his temple. "I don't regret you, I love you." I nodded softly as he looked up in question. "You're my fledgling, my love and I'll never let you go." I could hear my father's words echoed in this and all of a sudden I understood how he felt. 'I made you. You belong to me. You are mine, Telgas.' "Are you alright?" A soft whisper against my ear and I wrapped my arms around him. "Yes." 'One day you'll leave me and I'll be the bitter one, glaring at you from afar.' "You seem sad, Telgas." He kissed me softly on the neck and I buried my face against his.

"I will be better." "Telgas, won't you introduce us to your fledgling?" I pulled away from him and looked up to meet a pair of friendly smiles. A small wave of relief washed over me and I smiled back. "My fledgling, Fillinor. Fillinor these are Tyvin and Amaia, they are equal to me in status. Fillinor gave them a small smile and curled up against me. "Nice to meet you." Was his whispered reply, as he seemed to have lost his voice somewhere. "We thought you'd lost your mind, Telgas." Tyvin grinned and inclined his head towards Amaia. "But she convinced me that you just wanted to remain the same status as your friends." I couldn't help but laugh, but nodded at that. "That was probably my unconscious reason." "Zyath has been saying awful things about you, Telgas." Amaia whispered softly. "He is quite furious about this whole thing, I'd watch your fledgling if I were you." She then added as an afterthought, pointing her words to Fillinor. "Don't go wandering around without Telgas, this place isn't safe for vampires as young as yourself." "Thank you for your advice." he mumbled shyly. "I don't think I'd dare to go anywhere without him anyway." I couldn't help but smile at his honesty and it seemed to affect my friends as well as they both gave small grins. "You're getting soft, Telgas." Tyvin remarked. "Be careful not to go too soft."

All humans thought it was a big event to become a vampire. Fillinor was probably no exception, but the mortals were wrong. Becoming a vampire was trivial. You didn't get saluted by other vampires or respected and feared by the mortals among us. You didn't get a welcoming committee into the society of my kindred. That didn't happen until you'd reached your first status. Fillinor was just a childe, just another new vampire. New vampires usually didn't last, they had no powers, no friends but the one who made them, if they even had that at all, so us older vampires tended to pay them little attention. Why get close to someone who might parish within months? And what miserable existence the newly created had. All their former friends feared them after their change and their new kindred ignored them. I didn't want it to be so for Fillinor, so in a way he was one of the lucky ones. He at least had his sire.

So, there was no opening ceremony, no 'welcome to your new family' crap and we really had no business in the grand hall other than to show ourselves and let our kindred know we were not hiding. It's always bad news when a vampire and its childe go into hiding, it means something is up and the high council will burn and ask questions later if they have an inkling of suspicion there is treason amongst us. So we remained out in the open long enough for all curious eyes to fall upon us, anyone who had anything to say to me about my mistake was free to do so. It was a tedious, depressing night that is best forgotten. Fillinor was weary as the night was reaching its end. He clung more desperately to me, his eyes half-lidded and sad. "Telgas. When can we leave this place?" He finally whispered and I had to admire how long he waited with the question. "Soon, love." I whispered back, kissing his temple affectionately.

"It really is quite pathetic how they cling to each other." Zyath, from a safe distance and surrounded by his fools, had decided to fire at will and now fixed his green eyes on me, wrinkling his nose. "I don't remember being this needy as a childe, did you mess up, Telgas? Create a halfling?" He laughed and shook his head before spinning on his heel, pointing his crew elsewhere with a sneered: "Pathetic." I was too familiar with this game, although I had thought it over. He didn't want me to answer his questions and I indulged him. He wanted to fire freely and stroll off when he was done. It was easier to just let him. The game had gone on for years, although prior to me embracing Fillinor, it had ended. Or so I had thought. But Zyath couldn't stand to see me with another, it seemed. "Halfling?" Fillinor asked wryly, glaring after Zyath. "What does he mean? How can I defend myself if I don't know what he means?" "It has nothing to do with you, love. Zyath hates me, not you. Don't listen to him." "But what is a halfling? How can you create a 'halfling'?" "Half vampire. Failed vampire. They are insane, ghoul-like. Pathetic creatures. I don't see how he could mistake you for one, he needs to do his homework." Fillinor frowned, pressing his face against my robes. "I want. To go. Now." He mumbled. If I had been alone I would have stayed until Zyath left. Until all those I had argued with, left. Just to prove my indifference, my ability to ignore them and stay and 'enjoy myself'. That is how stubborn I could be. But Fillinor looked like he was about to break from the pressure and I couldn't torment him any longer so I wrapped my arm tightly around him and led him out of the room. "We will feed." I commented softly. "And rest." He leaned heavily against me and drew a shuddered breath - a sob, and I realised then, he was crying.