When Haven and company finally returned to the home at around two that evening, Sean was more than ready to get out of that house and back to his own “I’m assuming by your look that you haven’t uncovered much information about this serpent yet?” was Sean’s greeting as Haven entered the study.
“Not as of yet. We just know that he has a group of other Kindred, probably those Caitiffs up the coast, carrying out most of the attacks. No one will admit to actually seeing him, not that that’s surprising” Haven sighed. Then upon seeing Sean’s rather dark expression, “I’m assuming your night went well too?” he added with slight sarcasm.
“I would be very wary tonight. I didn’t exactly have a pleasant confrontation with Awsha earlier” Sean admitted.
“Meaning?” Haven asked worriedly.
“She tried to get me to… she made it obvious what she wanted from me tonight. And I couldn’t force myself to pretend. I’m not as good at it as you are” he confessed.
Haven simply looked down, though he didn’t seem surprised, “It’s not a question of me being ‘good at it,’ it’s just simply the fact that me pretending to want Awsha doesn’t hurt anyone else. The same can’t exactly be said of you trying to play that same deception out” he stated with no bitterness or upset, just the same discontent that had been common to all of them since the whole business with that prophecy had started.
“Well, I pressed a lot of her buttons tonight. She was livid when she stormed out of here” Sean delivered the warning again.
“And how long ago was that?”
“Hours” Sean admitted.
“And you’ve been here since she left, I mean, here, in this room?” Haven asked with concern.
“Well, I was hoping to avoid seeing her again. So I just stayed in here ‘til you came back. I wanted to warn you as soon as you got back, before she could confront you first” Sean added.
“I’ve been warned, but I didn’t see Awsha on the way into the house” he informed.
“You’ll be ok here though?” Sean asked once more after taking a few steps toward the door.
“I’ve been dealing with her temper for three decades. But I doubt I’m the one who she’s going to try to take it out on in this case.”
“You don’t think…” Sean asked, his voice faltering.
“Maybe I should come home with you too, just to be sure she hasn’t tried any of her games with the people you care about” Haven returned, trying to gauge what Awsha was truly capable of, even without the corruption they’d been warned about. Sean just swallowed but said no more as he hurried out of the house, Haven trailing behind him, while warily scanning their surroundings, considering Awsha wasn’t the only threat who may be about.
Once they entered Sean’s house it was eerily quiet. Though Sean tried not to place too much weight on that fact, as Claire and Sean were usually the only ones awake at that hour “can you go check on Erica and the servants? I’ll go find Claire” Sean stated, though his feet were already moving toward his bedroom before waiting for a response from Haven.
When Sean entered the bedroom, his eyes immediately moved to the bed where Claire had been reading once more during his absence. However, now the book had slid from her pale fingers and she was lying on her stomach, her cheek pressed against the bed, her eyes open and frozen, as was the rest of her body, almost as though in some state of paralysis or rigor mortis. And a shaft of wood had been plunged through her chest from behind.
All of his senses blurring at once, Sean heard, almost distantly, Awsha’s voice as she leaned forward on the sofa in the darkened corner of the room “Well, that look is priceless. Glad I stayed to see it” she then stood with a wry smile, Sean still frozen, his eyes still glued to Claire “so how long will it take you to put your life back together this time?” she added coldly.
All the pieces finally connecting as the realization of that moment hit him all at once, that was when the frenzy took hold. His mind was no longer his own, just as on the night he was made. All he could think of was unleashing that beast in the most brutal way possible. That’s when his animalistic gaze snapped to Awsha, and in a blur of motion, he was upon her, his fangs already sunk deeply into her neck as she allowed a scream, as this was a very different kind of Kiss indeed. Its aim was not to give pleasure, but only to bring death to its unfortunate victim.
When Awsha’s life had very nearly been completely snuffed out, is when Sean was hauled back to his right mind at last by the feel of Haven’s deadly strong grip pulling him off of Awsha as her body fell unconscious to the floor, two bloody fang marks left behind to mar that beautiful pale skin. Though the frenzy had finally ended, Sean’s pain and grief were still very real as he glared down through red tears at where she lay before them, showing no further signs of life.
“Sean” Haven stated, not sure what else he could say as he looked at the scene before him.
“Is she fucking dead?” were the only words Sean could manage then, his eyes still on Awsha, not sure if he could bear to look back at Claire then.
“I pulled you off of her before she was completely gone” Haven managed.
“Why?” was Sean’s only cool response as he finally looked back at Haven.
“Do you really want to live with her death on your hands? I did it to save you from that, believe it or not” Haven attempted to explain his interference, though he still managed to speak slowly,
“You think I want to live at all now?” Sean returned as his emotions finally broke through his voice, as a new wave of tears escaped his pained blue eyes.
“She’s not dead, Sean” Haven told him with urgency.
“So you fucking said” Sean bit back through his tears.
“Not Awsha; Awsha’s just in torpor. It’s like when humans go into a coma. That’s what happens when one of us no longer has the blood left inside us to keep us functioning, or conscious. She’ll stay that way until someone gives her blood. Then she’ll wake up again, but not any time before that happens” he attempted to explain before moving on to the more important point he was trying to make “But I wasn’t talking about her” he assured as he glanced at Claire’s still paralyzed state.
“What?” Sean nearly choked on the word as he looked back at Haven.
“That’s the other reason I stopped you from truly giving your sister the final death. It would be hard enough to live with that, let alone if you knew that Claire was still alive” he assured him.
“That’s alive?” Sean swallowed again, finally letting himself look back at her stiff and contorted body and then finally, at those beautiful emerald eyes which were now glazed over and lifeless.
“Stakes don’t kill us, regardless of what some severely misinformed humans might believe. Although putting a stake through one of our hearts does make it decidedly easier to kill us, obviously” he informed as he gently urged Sean toward the bed.
“She’s not dead?” Sean repeated, choking on both tears and some glimmer of hope at once “How long will she be like that though?” he had to ask.
Then Haven allowed a smile up at his childe “Until we remove the stake” he told him with a reassuring squeeze to Sean’s shoulder.
“That’s all we have to do, and she’ll be ok? She’ll be the same?”
“Most likely she’ll be pretty shaken up and terrified, but other than that, yes” Haven assured Sean again.
Sean allowed a smile of pure relief, wary though it still was, before he made himself move ever so slowly toward the bed. He paused another moment before placing his shaking hands upon the stake and trying to slowly ease it out of her chest as gently as he possibly could.
Once it was removed, Claire shot up with a gasp, her whole body shaking, and several kinds of shock moving over her features as she quickly looked around the room. As soon as her eyes fell on where Sean was now sitting behind her on the bed, the bloody stake slipping from his hands, she moved to wrap him in her arms in an embrace so tight it would’ve shattered the bones of any mortal man.
Haven couldn’t help another smile at their reunion, though he couldn’t help moving his own pools of light blue back to the floor and his other childe who was in a state so close to death, it was terrifying to even imagine.
“What the….” Claire asked, her eyes finally moving to where Awsha lay on the floor as she still clutched Sean’s hands tightly “what even happened?” she asked in the same weak tone.
“Did Awsha know that the stake wouldn’t actually kill Claire?” Sean had to ask.
“Awsha put a stake through my heart?” Claire interrupted before Haven could offer any answer.
“I pissed her off tonight. A lot” Sean admitted, “and this was her… reaction” he informed, his own voice full of guilt.
“I’ll find a coffin for her” Haven offered as he moved to lift her limp body into his arms and remove her from their sight.
“A coffin?” Claire asked as she looked back at Sean once Haven was gone “Is she… did you…” though she couldn’t manage to finish those questions.
“I thought she had killed you Claire” he confessed with a slight sniffle.
“You killed her?” Claire swallowed hard at the thought.
“I frenzied and went after her.”
“Frenzied? Like what happens when we’re first made?” she asked fearfully, not aware that that could even happen when Kindred were not starved to near insanity, as when they are first made.
“Apparently, it can happen, even if we eat regularly, but if we lose control of our emotions, I guess we lose control of the bloodlust too” Sean admitted, both ashamed and worried by this new knowledge.
“But it’s been over a hundred years. That’s never happened to either of us since our first night” Claire swallowed again, taking in the new knowledge as well.
“It happened to me when I died. It happened to you when you died. It happened to me again tonight when I thought you died, which was basically like me dying all over again” he whispered as he pulled her close once more, as though he was afraid she really would disappear if he let her go.
They held each other until the sun forced them to sleep, and woke the next night still clinging to each other in desperation. There were several moments of silence after they awoke, before Claire finally found her voice “So, you never answered.”
“Answered what?” he whispered back, his fingers wrapping themselves in her long beautiful locks as she lie next to him.
“Did you kill her?” she asked again, though her voice shook as she did. She was honestly afraid of the answer, knowing that it would shake Sean to his core if he had taken another’s life.
“Haven says she’s in something called torpor” he attempted to quell her fears.
“And that means what?”
“He says it’s like a coma; she’s not dead but… she won’t ever wake up… unless someone gives her blood again” he had to add.
Claire thought on that explanation for a long time, not honestly sure how she felt about it “so, he’s getting her a coffin, then what? Is he actually going to bury her?” she asked with a bit of shock at the thought.
“I think that’s a question for him” Sean sighed again, as he pulled her close again.
Claire took another few quiet moments before speaking again “so, if she isn’t dead, but won’t ever wake up without someone actually waking her up” a slight pause “does this mean we finally beat it?” she asked as she looked up at him.
“Fate. The prophecy. If she can’t wake up, she can’t kill Haven, and she can’t keep trying to steal you away either. Did we actually win, here?” she asked with hopefulness she hadn’t felt in a long time.
“Um…maybe?” he offered, the thought just then occurring to him once he heard her verbalize it.
“Guess I should have pissed her off enough to stake me months ago” Claire teased wryly.
“Now, now, let’s not get to careless with that beautiful chest” Sean teased back as he moved to pull the top of her dress downward and place a long kiss over her now completely healed breast.
Claire couldn’t help closing her eyes contently at the feel of his lips moving against her skin “tell me again why it’s been so long since we made love” she whispered as she buried her hands in his hair again.
“Sean! Claire!” Erica’s voice accompanied her footsteps as she ran down the hall to bound into the room just in time for Claire to quickly pull her dress back up over her breast again “It’s time to get up sillies” she giggled up at them.
“Oh, now I remember” Claire answered her own question as she and Sean shared a loving smile before allowing the little girl to take their hands and pull them from the room with another giggle.