Ravyn's Nights - Book 1

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Chapter 49

It was decided that Aidan would be turned after the next evening’s sunset, therefore allowing a full night to try and stop his frenzy, as well as teach him how to feed without killing. Of course, this decision was almost entirely left up to Claire, herself. Griffyn easily washed his hands of the matter until after it would be determined if Aidan would even make it through those lessons, and Sean obviously supported the decision in no way, as his statements the previous night had made abundantly clear. Normally, having been bound to Sean, Claire could never have gone against his wishes in such matters of life and death, however due to the extended time away from each other for almost all of the entire last decade, the only bond that still remained between the two at that point in time, was that bond from their mortal lives together, and that bond was a completely different kind, indeed.

When the sun did set, Claire slowly rose from her slumber to find that Sean was already leaving the bed, himself. Though they had shared that bed during the day, Sean did not even return to it until dawn was nearly upon them, leaving no time to further discuss the matter of Aidan’s embrace, or their own current lack of a bond to each other, before the sun forced both of them into that deathlike state once again.

“Sean…” she called after him as he quickly moved from the bed and headed toward the door of the bedroom.

“Expecting a delivery, of sorts.” he wrote off her call after him as he found the door handle, “And you have other matters to attend to tonight, don’t you?” he couldn’t help adding a bit coolly before leaving the room, the door falling shut with a loud bang behind him.

Claire swallowed sadly at his quick departure, more than a bit hurt by the fact that he was quite eager to leave her side, despite the fears he had voiced that this night could bring a very tragic end to her life, permanently, this time. Before having much more time to dwell on that hurt though, there was a knock at the bedroom door. Even without the supernatural connection she had to her own sire, she also guessed at her other visitor that night, considering the night’s plans.

“Come in.” she called out, just barely loud enough for Aidan to make out her words at all, “Where was Sean heading so quickly?” he greeted her, his voice trembling ever so slightly at the prospect of his life ending and his new life beginning, and what that fact would bring with it.

“He didn’t tell me. Just said something about a delivery.” she admitted quietly with a sad shrug as she moved to pull a robe over her nightgown, her eyes not yet meeting Aidan’s, despite the obvious worry in his voice that night.

It took Claire several more silent moments of attempting to steel herself for the night ahead, when she had lost that bond to Sean, and nearly all of what little emotional strength she still had, due to that relationship she had always had with Sean.

“Are you all right?” Aidan asked with concern after her extended silence as she still faced away from him, absently running her fingers over one of Sean’s jackets that had been left upon the back of the chair nearest the bed at some point the night before.

She allowed a shaky sigh at his words, when she should have been the one comforting him that night, “Sorry, it’s just…” she simply let her voice trail off.

“Just…what?” he asked worriedly, then couldn’t help moving closer to her, a hand touching her hair gently, “Are you having second thoughts about embracing me?” he worried aloud.

Another sigh, “It’s not so much that as…” she began, though failed to complete the sentence once more, trying to remind herself that the positions should be reversed that night, and she should be the one providing the assurances, not the other way around.

Though, he continued to try and get to the root of her own upset, “What is it then, Claire?”

She shook her head once more, forcing back the drop of red that had begun forming at the corner of her emerald eyes, as she knew she would need every bit of her own blood store to get through this night at all. She finally gave in to answering his continued concern, “It’s just that I’ve barely seen him at all, in ten years, and now that we are together once again, he’s barely even speaking to me.” she whispered shakily.

Aidan’s own eyes turned downwards at her words. It was true that he did care about her after those ten years, but it was also true that she had never even agreed to grant him his wish to become like her, until she was forced to, in order to assure that she would not be torn away from her husband for any longer than she already had been. And now, her decision to embrace Aidan was the very thing that was now driving she and Sean emotionally apart. Prior to that choice, the two were only physically separated, which seemed much, much less painful, for either of them.

Aidan allowed a long sigh before finding a response, “But it’s obvious that the reason he is so upset is because he’s terrified of losing you. That in itself should prove that you have not lost him, shouldn’t it?” he asked quietly.

Claire allowed another ragged sigh, and forced a small smile at the logic behind his words, and the fact that he was even trying to quell her fears at all, when his own had to be overwhelming at that point in time.

Before Claire could move forward with the night’s plans, the door to the bedroom opened once more, “Sean?” she asked in surprise as he had moved through the door, though remained standing in the doorway.

“My ‘delivery’ arrived while we slept.” was Sean’s response.

“Ok…” she answered, obviously not quite sure where Sean was going with that statement, considering it seemed to have nothing to do with the situation at hand.

“During the last ten years, I’ve met several people who were guests at the palace galas at one time or another. Some, I took more note of than others.” he stated calmly, still obstructing the view into the hallway behind where he still stood, “Would you like to meet one of them, Claire?” he added, his tone making it clear that there was so much more to his question.

“Tonight?” she asked, she and Aidan both more than a little puzzled by Sean’s offer, or more precisely, the timing of it.

“Most definitely, tonight.” Sean replied cryptically. Though, before either of the two inside the room could make any further inquiries about Sean’s odd statements, he moved aside, speaking politely to someone who had been waiting in the hall outside the room, “This way, won’t you?” he stated, moving aside to allow a young woman with long light brown waves and sky blue eyes above an unhealthily petite frame to step into the room in front of him.

Those ocean colored eyes of hers then moved immediately to Aidan, looking more than a bit surprised at seeing him at all. Though that was nothing compared to Aidan’s own shock at her presence there in Griffyn’s home that night.

“Fiona…what on earth are you doing here, of all places?” was his greeting as he took only a step toward her while Sean closed the door behind them ominously, an action which halted all of their motions.

“I…I honestly don’t know.” she admitted, her own voice shaking a bit as she looked around at her unfamiliar surroundings, as well as at her current companions, two of which were almost complete strangers to her, though Sean she did remember having met at least once on one of her rare visits to the palace to see her husband, who now spoke to her once again that night.

Pulling his worried eyes away from the door Sean had just closed, Aidan moved them back to her, “What do you mean, you don’t know? You‘ve never even been to this place before.” he asked with more than a bit of confusion at her odd answer.

“I mean just what I said. I don’t know. I just know that, early this morning, right before the sun rose, I suddenly just felt the need to come here, to this place. And believe me, I know how strange that sounds. I traveled all day to get here from our home, and I don’t even know…why.” she shrugged a bit fearfully, causing both Aidan’s and Claire’s eyes to turn to Sean with a million silent questions in them. Though Sean himself paid no heed to those questioning glances as he continued to simply watch the scene unfold in front of him.

That was when Aidan spoke up again, directing his words to Sean, “What did you do to her?” was his only spoken question.

Sean simply allowed a slight smirk, but Fiona was the one who spoke up, “Mr. Beringer? I only met him once, ages ago. Why would you think he had done something to me, Aidan?”

Aidan simply narrowed his eyes again, “What did you do?” he repeated the question to Sean once again, despite his wife’s meekly stated defense of the older man.

Sean simply scoffed at Aidan’s suddenly developed concern for his practically abandoned wife, “Just used part of that ‘skill set’ of mine again.” he stated with his own steady tone.

“You didn’t…” Aidan searched for the proper words, “make her like me, did you?” he settled on, only causing Fiona to narrow her eyes at the strange statement.

Another scoff from Sean, “Please, you heard her. I’ve only met your lovely wife once, ages ago.”

“And what did you do, that you somehow could do, after only that one meeting with her?” Aidan continued, ignoring his wife’s confusion as he pressed for some explanation.

“Oh, you will learn how to perform all of our little tricks sometime after tonight, now won’t you?” Sean stated coolly, “I simply thought it would be the ‘proper’ thing to do to at least allow you the chance to bid farewell to the last tie that you still had to your current life. Some never get that chance at all, you know. I almost didn’t, myself.” he added for weight.

“The last tie to this life?” Fiona repeated worriedly as she tossed a fearful look back at Sean before moving closer to Aidan, and lowering her voice, “What does he mean by that?”

Aidan took another deep breath, obviously more than a bit angered by Sean’s actions that night, for many reasons. Claire simply cast her eyes downwards, refusing to allow any of her own reaction to this turn of events to be known just yet. Then, Aidan spoke once again, “I did not ask you to do this, especially without any notice whatsoever of your plans.” he told Sean angrily.

“Hmm, now you know how I’ve felt in nights of late.” Sean returned, his eyes pointedly moving to Claire before returning them to Aidan.

“So you brought her here to get even with me?” Aidan scoffed with disbelief, ignoring the hurt that the words may have caused Fiona on top of all her other confusion of the moment.

That was when Claire finally joined the conversation, “No, not to get even with you, Aidan.” she just looked over at Sean with a shake of her head, “I know that you're angry with me, but how does that justify putting her in this kind of danger? Honestly, Sean?”

“Danger?” Fiona interjected, “What do they mean, Aidan?” she asked him worriedly.

Though, Sean simply moved on, “So you finally admit, now, that it is dangerous? That’s progress.” he told Claire bluntly.

“I never said it wasn’t, Sean. But bringing her into this? There’s no good excuse for that. And we both know you didn’t do it just so he could say goodbye, so don’t try to pass that off as the reason, again, please.” Claire returned, her own voice more sad than anything else at that point.

Sean just scoffed again, “So it’s perfectly all right for my wife to be risking her life, but not for his? How does that work?”

Aidan was obviously still angry at the entire situation, but he said nothing as he looked down, all of them still overlooking the building fear in Fiona as she looked between all of them.

“There’s more than few differences to those two scenarios, Sean.” Claire returned, though her voice was weak.

“One being that I actually love my wife?” Sean bit back, his anger causing him to easily overlook the effect the statement would have on Aidan as he glared back at Sean, and on Fiona, who looked quickly down, despite her current fear of what any of their words really meant.

Claire closed her eyes tightly against the sharpness of Sean’s words, “One being that I am much more able to defend my own self than she ever would be. I would think that’s a pretty important one too, wouldn’t you?”

Sean just shook his head again, “What you think of my actions tonight, aside, you are still overlooking the fact that if you do this, he will need to eat, and someone’s life will have to be at risk, greatly at risk.” he repeated firmly, “And I will tear this world down if that person is you, Claire.”

Claire looked down sadly once more. Despite her disapproval of Sean’s actions that night, he still had a very valid point, but she had to at least try and continue, “You managed to survive the change without murdering your sire. Doesn’t that mean we should believe that it would at least be possible for Aidan to do the same?”

“I still needed to eat Claire, just like you did.“ he reminded, “And just believing it’s possible that he might not kill you, that won’t be enough to assure it.” Sean stated, his own voice finally dropping to a shaky whisper of his own, “And I just don’t understand why you want this, again.”

“Want what again?” she asked with narrowed eyes.

“To risk your own death, again. Especially now that you know what death really is, or should I say, isn’t?” he just shook his head again, “At least before, you had a reason, a reason to want to do that, so you could come back again. But, if you can’t control him, then that will mean you won’t ever be able to come back from that darkness again, Claire. And I just wish I knew why you want, so desperately, to disappear into that darkness instead of staying here with me, like I always believed you wanted to, until now.” he finished sadly as he said nothing more before turning back toward the door to leave the room once again.

That was when her tears did well up as she called after him, “Sean, I’m doing this so I can---” though he was already out the door and retreating down the hall before her words could be fully formed.

Casting one more terrified glance back at where Claire was floored by her own sadness, and Aidan was frozen, not knowing how he could possibly comfort either woman, Fiona quickly darted out the door after Sean.

“Goddammit!” Claire managed through her own tears as the young woman tried to make her escape.

In a flash of speed, Claire moved through the door behind Fiona quickly, surpassing her own mere human limitations of movement and catching her arm in a deadly grip, which only caused the younger woman to break down in uncontrollable sobs as Aidan managed to reach the hall outside the door moments later.

“Don’t do that, please.” Claire attempted to speak softly, despite the strong grip she had on Fiona’s arm, and despite her own overabundance of emotion at that particular moment.

“My, god, what are you?” Fiona cried, moving her tear filled eyes back to Aidan for the slightest moment, “What are any of you?”

“Something you’re really not supposed to know about, Fiona.” Claire told her in what almost sounded like an apologetic manner.

“God you’re going to kill me, aren’t you?” she continued through the sobs still shaking her body.

Claire continued to hold the other woman tightly in place, despite her own sad sigh, “It’s not something I want to do.” a slight pause as she used her other hand to lift the younger woman’s trembling chin and then met Fiona’s tear-filled eyes with her own, “Please, go to sleep now.” she told her in that haunting tone, causing the woman to nearly immediately collapse unconsciously into Claire’s arms.

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