That first year of the new century was now slowly but surely drawing to a close, though despite the winter that most of the rest of the country endured, it was still quite warm there in their new home in the southern portion of what would be California. On that particular night, Haven stepped out of his home when the hour was nearing eleven p.m. As he did so, he glanced down to the beach where he caught sight of Erica offering Sean a long, warm hug, before running off to follow Claire back into their home for the night.
Sean was moving to gather a few wooden toys the girl had left behind on the beach as Haven made his way across the still warm sand toward his childe “From what I understand, most of the settlers we’re surrounded by here usually put their offspring to bed much earlier” was his greeting.
Sean allowed a small smile to Haven as he placed the last of the toys into the nearby basket that had held them earlier “Considering Claire and I don’t even wake up ‘til somewhere between six and nine p.m., I guess we’re a little more lenient” he offered with a wry smile, which Haven returned.
As Haven smiled back he moved to take a seat in the sand next to Sean, both sets of pale blue eyes moving out over the ocean “so, how is family life?” Haven couldn’t help adding a moment later.
Sean allowed his own small chuckle as he looked down “challenging, but we’re making it work, so far anyway” he admitted.
Haven took a moment before continuing “Did she grow since I saw her last?”
“I hear they do that from time to time” Sean returned with another smile.
“How rare, at least in this family” Haven returned. He then turned back, “You know, you never told me if you ever found out if Claire actually did know about that other child” he dared, which did do well to cause Sean’s expression to darken as he looked down.
“It’s been over a century. Isn’t it time to let that subject rest?” Sean offered, though quietly.
“I can’t help thinking that having Erica around has done anything at all to rest your mind about that subject” he replied knowingly.
“I think both Claire and I are trying very hard to just concentrate on the present, and the child who is still here” he replied, though the words were a whisper as he seemed to be forcing back even more emotion before finding his voice again, a few moments later “Should I ask you how the rest of our wonderful family is doing since I moved out? I’m sure she couldn’t have been happy about that” Sean offered, so desperate for a subject change, he even allowed that one.
“Oh your little sister? Nothing short of a terror” Haven replied, allowing Sean his subject change.
Sean did allow another wry smile, “and here I thought that Claire was the only one who referred to her as such.”
“Well, fortunately Claire is no longer sharing a roof with her” Haven returned, his eyes still on the waves before them.
“Just a roof?” Sean couldn’t stop himself from broaching that situation.
“Pardon?” Haven returned, his eyes finally turning back to Sean.
“Last I heard, you two were sharing a little more than just a roof” Sean skirted the subject, watching his sire closely for his reaction.
Haven just scoffed, “Just like you said, she is beautiful. If she keeps taking her clothes off and crawling on top of me, those things will tend to happen on occasion” Haven admitted.
Sean allowed his own chuckle then, “sounds very romantic.”
“I’m sure the one time you let it happen was just as romantic. Or should I ask the hundred or so people who were in the audience that night?” Haven reminded.
“Touché” Sean allowed before continuing “so you and her aren’t…?” though Sean wasn’t sure what word he wanted to end that sentence with anyway.
“In love?” Haven offered “God no” he shook his head before continuing “most nights I’m just trying to decide if I like her” Haven stated bluntly.
“But you do trust her now?” Sean dared.
“God no” Haven repeated without hesitation “I’m just trying to figure out what the hell it is that she even wants from one night to the next.”
“I thought you could always tell what people wanted” Sean replied as he looked back at him questioningly.
“That’s the thing, with her it keeps changing. I can’t decide if she wants to be my lover, my heir, your lover, your heir… any combination of these?” Haven just shrugged.
“I think we’re a few steps behind me ever even having an heir” Sean returned, “and we all know that it would not be Awsha anyway.”
“Well, that’s one thing we both agree on” Haven stated with another sigh “And I think it’s all of the above that she wants, honestly” Haven decided on.
“So, she has modest goals then?” Sean allowed with a touch of sarcasm, then added “but seriously, if it’s just power she’s after, I don’t know why she keeps coming after me. I’m not the Prince, after all” he restated.
That was when Haven gave him a doubting look “you don’t know?” Haven asked with a bit of disbelief.
“Know what? All I do is try to be civil to her. That’s hardly like I’m leading her on or anything” Sean defended.
“You honestly don’t know” Haven repeated.
“Know what?” Sean asked again.
“She’s totally in love with you Sean” Haven stated plainly.
Sean was caught and just scoffed “Lust maybe” he attempted, though quietly.
“Women don’t cry when it’s just lust” Haven replied though softly.
“Like Awsha has ever cried in her life” Sean scoffed again, though his eyes were averted.
“I hear her crying most every night, Sean” Haven told him softly “why do you think I endure her flirtations more often than not. I know it’s the only time that she’ll ever have her mind on something other than you.”
Sean was quiet a long time “what exactly am I supposed to do with this information, Haven? Am I supposed to feel bad and let Awsha crawl into bed with me or what?”
“I wouldn’t recommend that” Haven admitted.
“Then why tell me this at all?” Sean returned, finally looking back.
“So you understand.”
“Understand what?” Sean asked with more impatience.
“That it’s not just some passing fancy for her. She really does believe she loves you Sean. And when people are in love…. When Kindred are in love….” He corrected “it makes them one of the most dangerous things on the planet. Don’t ever let your guard down with her, Sean. You’re not just some passing obsession for her. After all, only Kindred can love someone forever. You should know the truth of that every time you look at Claire, after all” he added the warning, though gently.
Haven had just risen to move away when Sean quickly got to his feet as well, calling after Haven as he did “the daughter will murder the father” he blurted out, which did cause Haven to turn back questioningly.
“Pardon?” Haven returned.
“That’s one of the things Minna told me. She said ‘the daughter will murder the father, and then you will be Prince’” Sean whispered, his own tears rising to his eyes then as the possible meaning of at least part of Minna’s warnings occurred to him.
“I see” Haven said, the words obviously shaking him as well.
“You tell me not to trust her, but… if that’s what Minna meant. How can you continue to keep her here? You’re the one who warned me never to ignore a Malkavian’s prophecies, aren’t you?”
“Prophecies are very tricky. Maybe what makes it come true is me knowing and believing it’s true, and that’s what leads to its fulfillment. Now that I’ve heard the prophecy, how can that not change the way I act around her or treat her?” Haven somehow managed to logically assess.
Sean closed his eyes tightly “so now it’s my fault too, if Awsha does… that” he settled on “you have to send her away Haven, if there’s even the chance that’s what Minna was telling me.”
“And maybe sending her away is what leads to her lashing out… Like I said, prophecies are…” Haven just shook his head.
“You can’t just ignore it though.” Sean continued to plead for Haven to take some kind of action to hopefully ensure his own safety.
“And this is our dilemma. If we even interpreted it correctly, at all, anything we do could be the thing that leads to our own downfall. We’re paralyzed by the knowledge” he then looked down again “is it any wonder the Malkavians minds all break?” he added wryly, but with a clear sadness to his tone as well.
“So what can we do?” Sean asked as he forced back another tear at the thought of losing his sire to the woman who had already very nearly cost him his love.
“Hope that what’s meant to happen will happen” Haven offered with a helpless shrug.
But Sean refused to accept that answer “but according to Minna, what’s supposed to happen is that she kills you and I become Prince!”
“Then maybe that’s what’s supposed to happen” Haven returned, biting back emotion of his own as he moved back toward that house, and his very possible end, once again.
When Sean returned to his house that evening, he was obviously distraught, which Claire noticed immediately. As he stepped through the door she looked up at him and worry creased her brow as she saw the remnants of a red streak upon his alabaster cheek.
“What happened?” was her first response.
Sean just shook his head, as he tried to gather the strength to even try to share his new worries with her, not even sure if he should. Instead, he tried to buy himself another moment as he took a seat next to her on the couch, running his fingers through his golden locks again, as he always did when upset.
“Please tell me before I start jumping to conclusions, Sean” she pressed, though gently.
Another pause before he spoke “the night I met Minna she rushed up to the deck and started telling me all these things” he shook his head again.
“Things?” Claire asked shakily as she laid a hand on his shoulder gently “like a prophecy or vision of some kind?” she asked in the same small worried voice.
“It all sounded like nonsense at the time…” he attempted, though his voice trailed off again.
“What did she tell you Sean?” she asked more loudly, her own worry strengthening her voice now.
“I think, she was trying to warn me about… well about a lot of things, really, but like I said, it all sounded like nonsense” he attempted to talk himself out of his own fears again.
“Tell me what she said, please Sean” Claire pressed.
“It was over a year ago, Claire” he tried another argument to have to keep from bringing her into him and Haven’s new world of worry and fear. As she already thought the worst of Awsha, he somehow doubted that hearing this now too would be good for her either.
“Yes, I totally don’t know about your ability to reproduce perfectly anything you’ve ever seen or heard” she told him with mild sarcasm.
“I guess you do know me as well as I know myself” he attempted a smile, but it died before reaching his lips.
“What was the prophecy, Sean?” she stated with more force to her words then.
One more attempt, “A lot of times, people think they wanna know something…”
“Sean” she cut him off with a pointed look.
“All we can do is guess at what it actually meant, but… if the one part we think we figured out is actually what we think it means… it’s not good, Claire.”
“Tell me” she repeated one more time.
Sean sighed with defeat, knowing Claire well enough that he knew that hearing Minna’s words would eat at her, like so many other things already did. But he also knew that refusing to tell her would put a wedge between them that he could not bear, especially in light of the possibility of losing his sire now as well.
“What she said was ‘After the serpent corrupts the daughter, and the daughter murders the father” he couldn’t help his voice faltering at that point, “’Then you will be Prince, and then the snakes will come to devour love, trying to eat it all away. And after the siren calls; the bullets and the blood, and then death comes, and only the dead will live. You must save them, all of them.’” he finished repeating Minna’s strange words to the letter, his voice breaking as he did.
Then he looked back at Claire, not even sure what reaction he was expecting to see on her pretty face just then. She finally found her words, “I don’t know why you waited so long to tell me all of this at all” a small pause “But now, I guess all I can do is hope that I’m one of the ones you save.”
“Well, apparently Haven is going to die” she allowed in a sad whisper, “And that will make you Prince. And after you become Prince, that’s when ‘the snakes will come to devour love’…. Wouldn’t that mean me?” she asked as her own tears escaped from her sad eyes then too.
“Claire” he almost choked on her name as he moved to wrap his arms around her. He had been so caught up in deciphering the first part of Minna’s words that he had not even let himself move on to the rest. And now he found himself faced with the very real possibility of losing both his sire and his heart. And that he was not sure he would ever be able to bear.