A decade after moving to the royal court it was now the night of Claire’s forty-fifth birthday. Over her ten years there, she and Sean had had very few chances to interact with each other at all. After all, she only was even in the same part of the palace as him when there were large gala type events, and during those, Sean would be entertaining rather than having any real time to spend with her. Though, the less the two did spend time together, the less likely it was for anyone to link Sean, Aidan, and herself together, therefore linking them all back to Griffyn.
Of course, these facts left her with not much in the way of friendships at all. There were the servants who barely even spoke when coming in or out of her quarters, and of course, Aidan. Due to this fact, she and Aidan had obviously grown quite close over that decade, though this made it that much easier for those around them to believe in the truthfulness of their relationship.
As the two had grown so close, it was not that surprising when Aidan chose to spend the evening of Claire’s birthday alone in his quarters with her. The two had just undressed each other and had begun the prelude to their lovemaking when there was a loud knock at the door of their quarters, despite it already being well after nine o’clock.
Aidan sighed in a combination of disbelief and annoyance after moving his mouth from her breasts, “I’m very tempted to stay here, but I do believe the person knocking at my door needs more than a slight lesson in etiquette.” Aidan complained, while still forcing a soft tone to his voice as he addressed Claire in a breathy whisper, considering his own state prior to the interruption.
Claire swallowed a bit, glancing at the door herself before managing to pull the covers up over herself and sit up awkwardly before speaking, “It’s Sean.” she informed Aidan in her own whisper.
Aidan looked quickly back her way with a raise of the eyebrow, “And how do you know that?”
Claire looked down slightly, “I always know when he’s near.” she admitted quietly.
Aidan shook his head slightly, forcing back more of his awe at yet another ability these Kindred seemed to possess, “And might you also know why he is knocking at my door, at this hour, unannounced?” he asked, trying to keep his voice gentle, despite the annoyance at the fact of the interruption at all.
“It is my birthday, I suppose.” she offered quietly as she pulled the cover more tightly around her body and moved to sit up completely.
“And did you invite him, without letting me know, beforehand?” he had to add.
“And when could I have done that?” she scoffed slightly, “I can’t even remember the last time I got to do more than nod hello to him.” she admitted softly.
Aidan took another long breath as he grudgingly moved from the bed to slide his trousers back on. He tossed one more look back her way before taking another breath and moving toward the door, “I don’t recall offering you an invitation to my quarters, tonight.” was Aidan’s greeting as he opened the door ever so slightly to their more than impatient visitor.
Scowling a bit at Aidan’s greeting, Sean bypassed his immediate response to instead continue with the reason of his visit, “I contacted Griffyn earlier this evening. He wants us to go and see him.”
“Wait, go back.” Aidan furrowed his brow, “You sent a messenger to him in the last…” he glanced at the clock, “two hours, and have already received a response? All messages to Griffyn are to be delivered to and from me, not you.”
“It wasn’t a messenger. I have a slightly quicker method for getting in touch with another of my kind.” he pointedly stressed the difference between himself and Aidan once more, while forcing himself not to try and peer through the slightly open door behind Aidan.
Aidan swallowed hard before speaking, “You can communicate with him, without need of a messenger, at all?” he asked with a slight tremor to his voice.
“It’s one of many tricks that I was told about long ago, and just recently perfected. After all, my role here does require quite a different ‘skill set’ than you possess, does it not?” he told him smartly, his conversation also causing Claire to move from the bed to quickly slide back into her nightgown, though she was still mostly out of Sean’s direct line of sight despite her hearing easily allowing her to follow along with the interaction from inside the room.
Aidan took another breath before continuing, “And why did you feel the need to contact Griffyn on your own?”
“You should know by now how much Griffyn dislikes being kept waiting.” Sean responded plainly, “So perhaps the two of you need to get dressed so you can procure us transportation to his home, don’t you agree?” he finished with his own tone more than a bit cool, as it always seemed to be when speaking with Aidan.
Aidan scowled slightly at Sean’s obvious condescension, which also caused Claire a bit of discomfort at the thought of having to spend an evening with both of these men at the same instance, as the relationship between the two of them was more than a bit antagonistic, to say the least, and it was obvious that she, herself, was the main cause for that fact.
The trip to Griffyn’s home was silent and tense, as expected. Sean seemed unwilling to say much along the journey anyway, even if his companions hadn’t been a bit too uncomfortable to ask, as it was. Upon their arrival, the servants at the entrance simply nodded, already having expected their visit, apparently.
When they made their way to the throne room where Griffyn waited with his own impatience, he spoke up quickly, having no time for pretense, “So, what is this important matter, Sean?” the eldest of them asked with a slight scowl.
Sean stepped forward and squared his shoulders before answering, “I know when we first came to your shores, and you were convinced we knew nothing about how to survive this new life. But it has now been ten years, and the methods we all need to implement in order to survive become clearer with each passing night.” he began, Claire and Aidan both looking on with their own wary curiosity to find out why Sean had so suddenly brought this meeting about, as well.
“Your point?” Griffyn prodded him along mirroring Sean’s own interaction with Aidan on the night that he was asked to cement Aidan’s presence at court, as he obviously had done, since.
“There was one lesson I have finally learned while living here and looking back on my sire’s life as well as my own in recent years. Something Haven always tried to get through to me: Never get too comfortable in any one place, the longer you stay, the less safe you are. Wouldn’t you agree with those statements?” Sean asked Griffyn pointedly.
Griffyn sighed a moment, “Does that mean there is a reason to worry about such a factor at this point in time then?”
“There’s been suspicions whispered that I’ve managed to overhear in passing.”
“Suspicions?” Griffyn guided him along.
“When one person seems to age very well, it is a blessing. When two fail to age badly, it is odd. When three never seem to show any wear over a decade, it causes those whispers, which I have overheard in recent nights. It’s been a decade, and it’s becoming quite apparent that that is too long to live amongst the same group of mortals.” Sean continued, “Am I wrong on any of these counts?”
Claire and Aidan both looked down in response to Sean’s statements, Aidan’s worry more than clear, as Sean had a valid point and Aidan had still not achieved his wish to become like them. Griffyn simply seemed to be mulling over the words, himself.
After another moment, Griffyn spoke again, “I suppose having all three of you continue to stay at court would only add to such suspicions, but I still need at least one member of my clan to remain there.” he stated simply as he looked between Sean and Claire, “So, it looks like the two of you have a decision to make, don’t you?” he stated pointedly, causing Sean to narrow his eyes and Claire to quickly turn her eyes to Griffyn in a moment of panic. Aidan himself just looked downwards, seeming to sink into a deep melancholy at the very thought of being pulled away from his only purpose in the human world, before ever having achieved the ends he wished for in the Kindred world, either.
After another long moment and a look toward Claire’s sad demeanor, Sean forced himself to speak, “I suppose it would make more sense for me to be the one who remained, rather than Claire.” he stated the obvious, though sadly. Which only caused further cracks to widen in both Aidan’s and Claire’s composures.
Griffyn simply allowed a slight nod of affirmation before moving onward, “Very well, you will go back to court tonight, alone, Sean. The two of you will remain behind. You are dismissed.” he stated simply, with no further thought to the matter as he began to turn away.
“I may have a better solution.” Claire forced herself to speak up, causing both her lovers to look quickly back her way.
“A better solution?” Griffyn smirked, his tone and expression almost amused at the very idea that Claire would be the one able to find a better solution, not to mention voicing the idea that she could ever be better at problem solving than any man, let alone her own husband.
“Yes.” she spoke shakily, “Though Sean does have more access to the king and his advisors than I do, Aidan is the one who has the most access out of all three of us.” she reminded them, their eyes narrowing a bit as they tried to guess at what her point truly would ultimately be.
Finally, Griffyn was the one to speak up, “True as that is, in case you missed it earlier, I said that I need a member of my clan at court. Aidan was not even one of the two choices, my dear.” their Prince told her, speaking with that same overwhelming condescension of his.
Claire was the one who steeled her shoulders then before continuing, “But he could be.” was her simple explanation, designed to solve the all three of the problems of having a vampiric spy at court, giving Aidan his own dream of becoming like them, and allowing her and Sean the chance to be together again, for real, this time. Of course, her solution caused both Aidan and Sean to look up with more than a bit of surprise at it.
“You’re honestly suggesting he be turned?” Griffyn returned, though oddly, his tone was unreadable, for the most part.
“It would solve all of the problems before us.” she stated, whilst not specifically listing all three of those that she actually had in mind, “And, as your law requires, I am asking permission, before I embrace him.” she allowed herself to add pointedly.
“And you want to be the one to do this, as well?” Griffyn continued, though his tone still gave nothing of his own opinion away.
Forcing the conviction to remain in her tone, as odd as that ever had been for her to display in all her forty-five years on earth, “I assumed that I would be the one that you would want to do it.”
Griffyn raised his brow slightly at her statement before replying, in the continued emotionless tone, “And how did you come to that assumption?”
“Because, you would never want to make him your childe, and give him the power that your blood possesses. I am the weakest of all three of us Kindred here. If I were his sire, he would still be a member of your clan, though still even easier for you to control then either I or Sean even. And I’m sure control is something very important to you, is it not?” she stated the facts plainly, despite how the words might affect Aidan. After all, even if he were a vampiric generation below herself, he would still be one of them, and that was what he claimed to have always wanted from her, anyway.
Griffyn thought over her arguments for another moment, almost seeming equal parts shocked as well as even impressed by her accurate logic, “Very well, permission granted. Bring him to me only when, and if, you get him under control, and we will discuss further plans at that point. Again, you are all dismissed.” and with that he turned and left the room, all three of them displaying different levels of amazement at having gained Griffyn’s approval for anything at all, let alone something such as this.
Aidan looked to be in the most shock of all as Claire just tried to regain her composure after having faced off with Griffyn, and actually having won. Sean just looked completely thrown by not only Claire’s suggestion at all, but with the way she had plotted it out so quickly and so carefully, that their Prince had actually agreed to it at all.
Claire then began to lead Aidan from the room, as he still seemed floored by the idea of his dream of a new existence actually being about to come to fruition. Sean simply followed them in his own moment of continued silence and another shake of his long blonde locks, before speaking up once they had exited the throne room, “You honestly want to change him?”
“All of us seem to agree that it is our best solution.” was Claire’s quiet reply as she and Aidan continued moving back toward the room she and Sean had stayed in upon their first night in Griffyn’s home.
“But Claire, all other factors aside, you know what happens after the change. He’ll be nearly feral.” he warned, the words causing another crack in Aidan’s composure, as most humans were never aware of the pain that all new Kindred awoke with upon the night of their rebirth.
“I’ll just have to try and help him through it.” were her only shakily spoken words as they reached the room at last.
“You can’t just ‘try.’ You have to be strong enough to both control him and then teach him, as well. Otherwise he could…” though Sean didn’t finish the sentence, knowing Claire’s own mind allowed her to complete it on her own, most likely before he even reached the end of the sentence, himself.
“I could what?” Aidan stammered a bit as he looked between the two of them as Claire closed the door behind them, her own discomfort at Sean’s previous words easily clear.
Claire allowed a long sigh before managing to answer, “When you first change, you awaken again with a terrible hunger. You can’t think of anything but getting to the nearest source of blood and taking all you can.” a slight pause, “You could very easily murder someone on that first night without even realizing you had done it, until it was too late.” she finished, her own voice breaking a bit as she mentally relived those first moments of her own new existence once more.
“But you, you’ll stop me?” Aidan swallowed again, his breath more than a bit ragged as he spoke.
“It took Haven to control me, and he’s even stronger than you or I, Claire.” Sean interjected before Claire’s own response made it past her lips.
Claire turned back to look up at him, “And I am stronger than Aidan, am I not?” she said with the slightest bite to her tone, even if it were only for the sake of hiding her own fear of what controlling a new childe might actually entail, “Do you really have so little confidence in me, Sean?” she had to add in a hurt whisper.
Sean was a bit caught by that obvious hurt in her tone, causing him to take a moment before attempting to explain his fears, “I’m just…when I changed, I tried to kill the first person I saw, without even thinking, and that person was my sire.” another sad sigh, “You will be his first target, Claire. Can you not see why I am so afraid of that scenario? I’ve barely been able to be near you at all in the last decade, and now, you want to put yourself in this kind of very real danger? Am I not allowed to be upset by that very idea?”
Claire simply cast her eyes downwards as she took in Sean’s plainly obvious fear, when fear was something that he had went above and beyond to never display in front of her once, since her change. Aidan swallowed again as he took in both sides of their conversation before managing to add to it, “I’ve wanted her to change me ever since I first laid eyes on her. I have no intention of hurting her, Sean.”
Sean just scoffed and shook his head, “You just really don't fathom this at all, Aidan. You will have absolutely no control once you change, no matter how much you think you have now.” he told him firmly, then allowed himself to look back at where Claire still did not pull her eyes from the floor, then he turned his words back to Aidan again, “But that won’t matter to me: If you do hurt her…I promise that you will not see even one full night of that eternity that she is trying to give you. I will end you, period.”