When Haven reentered his home that night after his more than upsetting conversation with Sean, he received a modicum of relief from the fact that no one was there in living room right then, including the childe who was the very troubling recent subject of discussion.
Upon entering the house, he leaned back upon the door as it closed behind him, attempting to gather his own wits about him, all things considered. It was true that he had walked the earth since 1446, and in those 254 years, he made many a claim that he accepted the fact that his end would eventually come. Despite all of that though, his proclamations of intending to just accept whatever fate had in store for him, those were all beginning to waver now that he was once more under the same roof as the very creature that may bring that end.
For several long moments, Haven tried to predict all the infinite paths of action that could either lead to or hopefully prevent Awsha’s predicted patricidal tendencies being fulfilled at some unknown point in the future. After wrestling with all of those possibilities and the question of whether or not one even could change the future that a Malkavian already saw, he came to two simple courses of action he would be left with.
The most obvious and impulsive course before him was to obviously ‘kill or be killed.’ And he knew he could easily end the life of any Kindred who was less powerful than himself. But to end the life of the very childe he had given that life and power to? The very childe who he had brought back from mortal death nearly thirty years earlier? That, his need to preserve his own humanity would never allow. He knew that he could never bring himself to kill one he had made just for the sake of allowing his own life to continue in their place. He swallowed hard, wondering if that made him weak, but it didn’t change the fact that he could never bring himself to carry out such an action.
Therefore he was left with only one other choice: To do everything in his power to convince Awsha that she would never want or need to murder her own sire, for any reason. And the only way to do that was to make sure she wanted and needed him, loved him even, at least as much as she loved herself and her own desires, whatever those truly were. Now he only had to find the strength and skill to be able to treat her in a way that would result in her love, all the while knowing that she was very possibly the one who was going to end his own long life. And managing that would be the most difficult act of his entire existence.
After another long moment, Haven finally forced his feet to move him toward Awsha’s room. Inside, she was lying across the bed in a thin nightgown as she skimmed the pages of one of the books that had arrived on a recent shipment “Haven?” she greeted him as he entered the room, closing the door behind him, which only added to her surprise at his presence.
“So, Minna’s had an interesting prophecy” he attempted to begin with his plan to force as much truth as possible into the act he was undertaking, as the best lies always contained truths.
“Really?” she asked as she sat up, looking only slightly wary before assuming her guise of apathy again “this should be amusing, if nothing else.”
“I’m sure the details would bore you, but suffice it to say, according to our little seer, you’re going to be a very important part of my life, after all” he stated, telling no lie, but not revealing the terrible truth of Minna’s visions, either.
That got Awsha’s attention “she saw that?” she asked, a bit of hope breaking through her previous skepticism.
“And why wait for a fate you already have been told will come to pass?” he stated, forcing a sultry tone as he began moving toward the bed, his hands pulling away his light coat as he did.
“Must’ve been a hell of a vision” Awsha returned as she watched him drop the coat as he reached the bed, her interest in this new behavior of his more than obvious.
“If you only knew” Haven whispered back as he pulled himself free of his shirt and shoes too, before crawling across the bed to where she still sat watching his every move, slight traces of hope touching the corner of her beautiful mouth.
Not allowing her time to pose any further questions, Haven moved to pull her easily toward him, his mouth covering hers with every bit of passion he could muster by reminding himself that she was indeed stunningly beautiful, if nothing else. When he felt her reaching for his belt through their kiss, he forced another smile as he moved her hands away and went on to remove the belt himself, holding her there with that smile which she easily returned as she saw his intention to do the deed for her.
In another moment, he had pulled the belt loose and used his other hand to push her to her back, kissing her again as he raised her hands above her head and moved to secure them to her headboard with that belt.
“This is interesting” Awsha allowed a giggle as she felt him tightly bind her there.
“This is just the beginning” Haven returned, forcing that same sultry tone once more.
She allowed another laugh up at where he then moved to tightly grip the bodice of her nightgown in his hands before easily ripping it away from her body in one smooth motion, while continuing to hold her with that same smile.
“Remind me to thank the crazy little Malk” she chuckled again, though her words fell short as Haven moved to spread seemingly urgent kisses over her ample breasts as his hand moved to easily slide fingers inside her, causing more than a bit of a gasp to pass her lips.
Haven continued spreading those kisses over her breasts while his fingers continued to work until the slightest tremors began in the bound beauty below him. Only then did he pull himself free of his remaining clothing and push her legs apart before allowing himself to enter her in one deep thrust that caused another moan in each of them.
Not stopping his task for even a moment, at the risk of allowing any more of his dark thoughts to break the surface of his consciousness; Haven simply continued to thrust himself deeply into her over and over until their mutual pleasure finally managed to shut down all of his thoughts and fears, however temporarily.
That very same night, Sean and Claire also found themselves wrapped in each other’s arms upon their own bed. However, they were merely holding each other in silence as they both tried to find any more words after Sean had shared Minna’s more than foreboding words with Claire.
“You’re being remarkably calm” Sean finally allowed as the clock struck four a.m.
“I don’t know how me breaking down could help anything. Now, if Haven does die, and you do become Prince, then we’ll see how well I can still hold it together” she attempted to make light of her own emotions, but the sadness belied the words.
“You haven’t even mentioned the fact of who it sounds like might be the one to try and… kill him” Sean managed the last bit, though shakily.
“I’m pretty sure my opinion on her is already quite well known” Claire admitted, she then seemed to have another sudden thought, “the beginning, what about the beginning of the prophecy?”
“Thought that’s the part we were talking about” Sean returned as he looked down at where her emerald eyes had now turned to meet him.
“No the very beginning” she corrected.
“’After the serpent corrupts the daughter?’” Sean offered.
“Yes, according to that, that’s the first thing that needs to happen… before any of the rest does” she stated thoughtfully.
“Yeah, but it’s probably just some biblical nonsense, meaning that Awsha will turn evil… eviler” he added, as he remembered who he was talking to.
“And why would any Kindred ever give a damn about biblical imagery? We all know better, don’t we?” she asked softly.
Sean was quiet a moment too before continuing “but what else could it mean then?”
“What if it’s almost literal?” Claire offered,
“How could it be?” Sean attempted with a dismissive tone, but then seemed to think upon the words again.
“I think we need to ask Haven what possible meaning that serpents… and snakes” Claire had to add “actually have in our world.”
“Think he may be just a little preoccupied right now” Sean stated softly.
“But if we can stop this so-called serpent from corrupting Awsha, whatever that means, then maybe we could stop the rest from happening too” Claire hoped aloud.
“Are we even sure we can stop it?” Sean had to allow that question to pass his lips, as it had never been fully explained if the future Minna saw is set or if it even could be averted.
“Well, if we just assume that we can’t stop it. Haven may as well be dead already. And I don’t think either of us wanna try living in that world just yet” Claire whispered as she cuddled closer to him, hoping upon hope that they could actually change what sounded like an undeniably dark future for at least the one of them who would still have a future at all.
Claire entered Haven’s home with a singular purpose the next evening. Mustering all of her bravery, she was determined to find any way to try and battle fate, if such a thing were even possible. Though terrified of discovering even more terrible truths, she couldn’t just sit idly by and wait for Minna’s dark visions to come to pass. She made her way through the living room of their Prince’s home, receiving a few surprised looks from the Kindred and servants present, but did not slow her steps down the hall toward Minna’s room.
Trying to force away her fear, she finally brought her fingers up to lightly knock at the woman’s bedroom door. Receiving no apparent response after another moment, Claire finally slowly moved to open the door. Inside, she found Minna there rocking back and forth on the floor looking about the room as though hearing a hundred voices no one else could hear. However, as troubling as that was, it was Minna’s usual state more nights than not.
“Hi Minna” Claire spoke gently to her in much the same way she spoke to Erica “mind some company?” she attempted a smile. Receiving no real acknowledgment of her presence, Claire sighed slightly as she gently shut the door behind her and took a few slow steps into the room. After another moment, she managed to find her voice again “Minna, can you tell me about the serpent; who he even is?” she asked gently.
Though her words did then cause Minna to immediately look up at her, fear flashing through her eyes, which did nothing to quell Claire’s own fears “The serpent?” she whispered back, almost as though afraid that this serpent would hear her.
“Yes, who is the serpent that corrupts the daughter?” Claire asked, forcing a bravery she didn’t quite feel.
“The serpent…” Minna whispered again, pressing her hand to her forehead in agitation “he’ll take so much. He’ll take your brother’s love, then take his love again, but you will find your second love then” she added with a small smile before being distracted by those voices only she heard again.
“Wait? What?” Claire pressed, “my brother? I don’t… what do you mean Minna. My second love?” she asked more worriedly, “Sean is my only love… I won’t have a second love….” She continued, too afraid to ask then if Minna was trying to tell her she would lose Sean, which made little or no sense since the last prophecy had insinuated that some dark fate would be coming to Claire rather than Sean “I don’t understand what you’re trying to tell me, Minna. Please, explain it” she pleaded, despite knowing how little use there would be to trying to reason with one so afflicted.
Not getting much further with Minna, Claire finally sighed and headed back to her own home. Her visit did nothing to give her any answers and only seemed to provide more questions, which left her with more than a bit of hopelessness at that point.
“So what horrible thing did she say this time?” Sean asked once Claire came back to the house, offering a small smile over at where Erica sat playing in the corner of their living room as it was still just barely eight o’clock.
“Apparently, along with a daughter and a father, there’s now a brother too” she sighed as she took a seat next to him on the couch.
“What now?” Sean asked with a raised brow.
“I asked her about the serpent, and then somehow a brother got into the equation” she shrugged, knowing that her words would make no sense to Sean either.
“Exactly what did she say?” he had to know.
“You really want more of her visions rolling around in your head?” Claire asked.
“May as well share the burden with you, right?” he stated quietly.
“She said that the serpent will take my brother’s love and then take his love again” she sighed impatiently, the words still not making much sense, not to mention how disturbing the second part of Minna’s words had been.
“Your brother?” Sean repeated with another raise of the brow.
“Exactly. So much logic there, considering my parents have most likely been dead for a century or so. Oh, and the fact my mother couldn’t even have any more children. So yeah, makes perfect sense” she stated with defeat.
“But we’re assuming the father and daughter refer to Haven and Awsha, who aren’t actually father and daughter; only in the vampiric sense” Sean allowed, “so she most likely means the same thing now.”
“So she’s talking about some male that you have yet to embrace?” she asked with her own skepticism.
“Sounds like it” Sean admitted thoughtfully.
“From what I understand, you’re not really keen on either of us embracing anybody. You know, with the way the one childe I made nearly killed me in frenzy and all” Claire argued, though weakly.
“I don’t know. I mean, I don’t think Haven planned on embracing me. But Chantarell begged him to; just to save me” a slight shrug “I suppose if it was some kind of situation like that, where it meant saving the life of someone important to one of us. Then… maybe?” he offered.
Claire just rubbed her eyes in frustration “still, none of this helps us try to save Haven or figure out who the friggin serpent is” she sighed, forgetting to keep her volume as low as it had been for the rest of their conversation.
It was then that the two of them just seemed to remember Erica’s presence as the little girl spoke “does serpent mean snake?” she asked with a bit of fear.
“Yes honey” Claire forced a smile “but we’re not talking about a real snake” she attempted to comfort her.
“They call the bad man a snake” Erica informed as she clutched her doll more tightly against her, causing a more than worried look to pass across both of Sean’s and Claire’s faces.