Sam came to the front of the clinic when she was called to do so. They had used the code that told her someone was here to see her – non-patient. She had not expected the Tasker, whom she had told to get the hell out not overly long ago. She had rounded the corner into the waiting area with a smile, but dropped it with a quickness, her chin tipped up once she had the man in her sights.
“Mr. Raudine, what a non-pleasure! What can I do for you that’d see you out the door most quickly?”
Senias sighed. Yep. He should’ve waited on Devon or Derek. Someone she didn’t immediately want to slap, maybe? How much had Sebastian told her?
“Uhhh… well, with a bedside manner like that, I’m sure I’m not the only one ready to leave, eh?” He smirked, trying to figure out what to say.
“You have put someone I care about into some bad places more than once, sir.”
“I also saved his ass. So…” He was going to say more, but the young doctor didn’t seem to care.
Sam’s glare was a very unimpressed expression.
“Okay, look… I need to speak to your lord-charming. And I don’t want to intrude on him using my mental call. I’ve got about…” He looked at his wristwatch and then back at her, “Four hours to waste. I’d prefer not to waste them. Could you please get in touch with him for me?”
“Why would I do that? He’s probably resting right now, anyway.” She turned to leave the man.
“It’s important. To me. It’s possibly important to him.”
“And you can’t tell me what this is about?” Sam turned to him again and crossed her arms over her chest.
“Em Reeves?” the nurse called from the side door that Samantha was standing in. One of the patients got up and walked to the nurse. Things continued on around them despite this conversation.
“I could. Or I could let him tell you his story. I feel it’s more respectful if I leave that to him,” Raudine replied. “Even the part of his story I’m in… it’s his business, his story, and up to him. But this thing that I need to talk to him about? It might help with more closure than he ever got before. And that might be something that could help the both of you, yes?”
Sam walked up to the much taller Tasker and gave him a very stern look. They stood there for almost a full minute. “He calls me his sunshine. I’ve never felt what I feel for him. Do NOT make me regret this. I know how to put you to sleep and remove your testicles. Just… remember that.”
Jean-Michel pursed his lips and his eyes looked down at his own body before moving back up to face her strong, steady gaze. “Got it.”
Sam took a step back and concentrated on Sebastian. She had been practicing what he had taught her. They had even been able to speak with their minds. She was working on it. She sometimes sent images she didn’t mean to. She just kept her eyes open so he would see who she was speaking with, should he look.
~ Hello sunshine. ~ Even his mental voice sounded groggy and half asleep. ~Is everything alright?~
~ Everything is fine where I’m concerned. I’m so sorry for waking you, Bastian. But this annoying Tasker is looking for you. He said he doesn’t want to be disrespectful and contact you himself. So… he’s at the clinic looking pathetic. It must be important. He didn’t flinch too much when I mentioned castration… ~ she let a bit of humor slip into her mental voice. She hoped he got all of that. She was really concentrating hard this time.
Staring at the ceiling he listened to her and made his decision. ~ I’ll be outside the clinic in ten minutes. ~ He had history with Sen nothing would change that, but the pain could be lessened. Did he want to let Sen back in? No, especially not with what he’d recently learned. But with the sudden changes at the Chamber Sebastian knew he’d be seeing alot more of the Tasker. He needed to get past this irritation he still felt for the dragon.
~ I’ll let him know. ~
True to his word Sebastian had shadowed to the clinic and was standing within the shade of a nearby tree. Garbed in a blue shirt and jeans with his hair loose down his back, he looked comfortable – which was a change for the vampire who usually dressed up for meetings.
The draconic man had walked out the clinic’s back door to the place the staff used as their break area. He made his way over to the vampire and then past to step up on the picnic table bench and then turn to use the tabletop as his seat. He took a deep breath and looked over at the vampire.
“What is this about Raudine, I’m tired and the sun is still high.”
“Fuck the name. We’re alone. And the sun shouldn’t bother you. The day is partly cloudy – to your advantage. You must’ve not gotten good sleep recently if it bothers you.” It was conversation – something they’d not had a good go at for a couple of centuries. It was also the Tasker pointing out that he still knew the vampire lord well enough.
Bastian had his shades on so it made him appear tired to the other man, who knew him well enough to make that call. Vampires could stand the sun and enjoyed it – in limited doses, of course. So, wearing sunglasses meant he’d not gotten enough sleep and was struggling with the glare or he was being a bit self-conscious of his looks.
“I’m not that sleep deprived Senias. I spent too long in my lab.” Sebastian didn’t mention Sam’s visit, but then again why would he?
“She’s in love with you and you’re in love with her.” It had taken very little time. But he just needed to say it out loud. Made the fact concrete to hear his own voice say it.
“What we are is none of your business.” Sebastian’s jaw tensed with sudden irritation.
“You call her your sunshine. You’ve only called one other person by that name.” Senias licked his lips before leaning forward, his elbows on his knees. “That’s not why I came here, I just felt the need to point it out. In case you, as your normal self used to do – hadn’t actually realized it.”
He remembered well the other that had been like pure rays of soft light in his life. He also remembered the pungent smell of her charred remains along with that of their five children.
“By all means poke and prod to your hearts delight. I would hate to ruin your enjoyment.” There was a deep bone weary sigh from the vampire, “Senias what have you called me out here for?”
“I didn’t say it to cause you hurt, Bastian. I said it because I’m happy that you’ve found someone like her. I know she could never replace, but she can soothe. You need that.”
“The reason I came here is – I just found out what happened in the Council Chamber while I was busy. I just found out about something everybody else has known… that my son, who despises me, happily let perfect strangers know how to find me.” Sen watched Sebastian. “They told me you were there.”
Crossing his arms over his chest Sebastian sighed but then reached with one hand to pull his shades off so that he could look at Sen with his ruby colored gaze. “Yes, I was there to hear about your offspring, but why should that bring you to me?”
“I never told you about him. I had my reasons, and then time passed and you weren’t an ever-present part of my life. Nor was he.” Senias hated to admit that. As much as he had adored his first kitling, he had barely wanted to be around his son. “I was wrong.” His jaw popped he was grinding it so hard. In the grimace, he continued trying to explain. “I let my mating come between us and then I let what had been between us come between he and I. I’m having to face these things now. I’m having to face a lot of things lately that I’ve preferred hiding from.” He wished he had something to do with his hands suddenly. Dammit, he’d stopped smoking…
Sebastian’s head tilted to the side as he looked Senias over. There was something different about him. He’d known the dragon for a long time and just as Sen could see things about him, he too could see things about Sen that others were oblivious to. With his hands clasped over the shades he cleared his throat. “Facing one’s self is a trial I agree, but it isn’t everything is it?”
“Also, I just wanted to be sure you no longer held onto your venom against me and redirected it at him.” Senias had seen what Sebastian was capable of just as clearly as he had seen what Mira was capable of. “Since that night – the night of the emergency Council Meeting, I’ve seen a change in you. Or I hope I have. I think your pretty doctor has much to do with it. But I remember how petty and horrid both of us can be. Especially when we’re not in a clear state of mind…”
“Do you fear what I’ll do to him?”
“I don’t want to…” Senias sighed. “At one time I would have been fearful. I was. That’s why I didn’t tell you as soon as you were released.”
Sebastian huffed a rough chuckle, “Why would I do anything to him? You made it quite clear, even painfully so, that you do not belong to me and never have. I was a passing fling to kill time. How could your son make that any more painful than it already was?”
“I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t free. I was pretending. I was pretending who and what I was. I wasn’t pretending…” Senias pushed his fingers through his hair. Why was he suddenly defending himself for a slight from so very long ago? It was another life! He swallowed. “I had nothing to do with his drakka because of losing you. I was angry with her and her timing. Because I had nothing to do with her, I had very little to do with him and he resented it. On the other hand, when you first got out of the cells, you weren’t exactly able to be anywhere near me without being ready to kill me, so I wasn’t going to tell you about him. You didn’t need more secrets on your shoulders with Crimson sniffing around.”
Last thing that Sebastian wanted was to be reminded of their parting, what caused it or how he was when he was freed from the cell. “Look is there a point to this? I faced my self a long time ago and I don’t need to do that again.”
“You know what?” He looked up at the vampire again, “I just came here to make sure you were okay with knowing and not looking for the little asshole yourself before I go find him. I wanted to be sure that you knew that I had the best of intentions in not letting you know about Starrfire or letting him know about you.”
Starr? Sebastian turned his back to Senias a moment as he took in who the dragon was referring to. Could it really be the same person? He already knew the boy?
“I… I guess I’m here to admit I was wrong for once. I was wrong for keeping him a secret for so very long. I was wrong for a lot of things, but that is why I’m here. Seems like my secrets have just caught up to me and so… here I am.” Senias got up from the table and touched Sebastian’s shoulder. “Does anything I’ve said make sense to you, or am I just doomed to keep explaining my tempestuous rationalizations for mistakes I’ve made in the past forever with no one giving a damn?”
Swallowing hard Sebastian turned to look at Sen, “You’ve nothing to worry about with your son. I would never do to yours what was done to mine. I may be a ruthless, blood thirsty monster at times, but no parent should have to watch the slow, painful death of their children.”
“I never thought you’d kill him. Not now. Not at this point, after so much has changed. But I also couldn’t help but seek you out and talk to you about it. Things have changed between us. We have changed.” He was quiet when he spoke.
“Not at this point..” Sebastian shook his head, “I never would have. The sins of the drakkar are not the sons to pay for. He had no choice in who created him.” There was a breath taken, “ Tell me, Senias have you ever seen your son? Ever looked into his eyes and acknowledged him as your heir? ” The Starr the vampire knew of had spoken very little about his family, but looking at Sen.. he should have seen and should have known exactly who he belonged to.
“I’ve not been in his life for a century.” Senias looked down at the ground, sadness in his eyes. “I’ve made deals with the devil on the behalf of those who could never be saints. I couldn’t risk his life. I couldn’t let his existence be used to further someone else’s agendas.” He chuckled, but there was very little humor in the sound. “There I go with my good intentions again. That’s my talent. I can rationalize anything.”
“Then my suggestion to you Senias is that you find Starr and let him know that his drakkar loves him before you truly do end up losing him. Good intentions be damned, they never bring anything but pain in my experience.” He needed to find Raven and Starr. He needed to know if the boy was Sen’s or not.
“Or they could protect…” He stared at Sebastian for a very long time. When he blinked he took a deep breath and whispered, “Skinner knows what I am, Sebastian. I never should have come back here.” For once, the dragon had come to the point that he realized he needed help. Had that been the real reason he’d come to this place? Had that been why so many truths were coming out, now? He knew Sebastian would understand the gravity of where the dragon now found himself. “If things get pieced together before I have everything under control… I’m just putting him in danger, too.”
“You just don’t get it do you?” Sebastian became animated, almost driven in his movement while facing Senias and driving his point. “You didn’t back then and even with that human you still don’t…” Sebastian gave a harsh little laugh as he looked at Sen. “If you live the rest of your long life fearing the danger that comes to those close to you then you’ll be lonely the rest of your days.”
“How can I protect them if they’re all around me? If it’s obvious who they are to me? That’s what I’m saying.” he began to pace. “I feel like since I was called back here to revive my life the chain around my neck just got tighter and tighter. People are coming back into my life that I’ve purposely held at a distance for their own safety, you included. What good am I if I can’t protect you all?”
“All of us that are in your life? We are all in danger no matter what you do, Senias. Just like you and Samantha and my daughter are in danger no matter what I do.” Sebastian shrugged, “Remove the threat, live your life. Otherwise go live in misery alone.”
“I want to remove the threat. It’s all I’ve ever wanted. I’ve tried. He’s more powerful than you think. Sometimes I feel like he’s known for a long time. Why else would I end up back here?” Sen rubbed the knot of tension in the back of his neck.
“You came back not because Skinner ordered you to and not because of the damned shifters.”
Senias looked over at Sebastian. The vampire stepped closer to the dragon.
“You say I love Samantha, you’re right I adore her. Now, you need to admit the real reason you came back to this place. Admit what the damned Councilor means to you and take back your life from Skinner. Then you get to enjoy life with Gabriel and Starr having no fear of what is coming for them.” That wasn’t what Sen came for but it was obvious it was what he needed to hear.
Faster than Senias could comprehend, Sebastian grabbed him by the upper arms and spun to push the man against the brick wall of the clinic. The draconic man growled and started forward, only to stop against the strength the vampire held over his human form.
His gaze narrowed as he looked into his former lover’s eyes and they actually glittered with his irritation.
“Stop playing by his rules!” There was a rumbling snarl from the coven master, “It’s obvious that you feel for Kennedy and it won’t stay a secret from Skinner long! So either sit by and cower as he wants you to while he kills the human line that gave you that human body or be what you are.”
The dragon’s eyes searched those of the vampire lord. He was shocked, but he was listening.
“I didn’t roam these lands by your side with Crimson after us for our evil deeds to watch you come to this. I didn’t spend centuries in a hole freeing you of that hunt – only to see you like this!” His voice was angry but also pleading in his ferocity. He stepped even closer as he spoke the next words; his voice a strong whisper. “I spent centuries hating you, Sen – for what you did and how it hurt. But I never wanted you groveling and enslaved. If I had, I wouldn’t have taken that sentence all upon myself.” Sebastian shoved away, “So stop pretending you are human before it’s too late to make a difference.”
Senias was shoved backward against the wall again but he didn’t come forward ready to fight – like he normally would have. Instead he was looking down at himself and thinking over what had just been said. Sebastian had turned himself in to take the blame for both of their crimes. He’d given Senias a chance at a new life – one in which he was no longer a wanted supernatural. And this was how he repaid the favor?
Over and over again he had cowered to the whims of humans. The religiously enraged people who had killed his child; the bad apples from the Kennedy family tree; Crimson and the Council as they threatened the both of them; now Skinner. What had he become? He stood very still for a few minutes, memories flashing in his mind. Realizations.
His gaze lifted to Sebastian. “Thank you.” With that said, the draconic man walked further into the cover of the trees and cast a portal to get himself back to the estate where Gabriel said he would meet him.
Sam stepped out of the doorway at the back of the clinic to walk over to Sebastian. She was still in her scrubs, but she had her bag with her.
Drawing her to him, Sebastian wrapped his arms around her and kissed her. “Running late are we?”
“I had to cover for a while this morning. Normally I’d have been just as asleep as you.” She welcomed his kiss. “I take it there’s no need for a snip-snip, then?” she joked quietly. He could tell she was tired because she wasn’t as boisterous as she normally would be. It was morning, after all, and she had been up and on the go since 3pm the day before.
“No, no need at the moment.” He grinned for Samantha as he breathed in her scent. “Well sunshine you ready to go get some sleep after grabbing a bite to eat?” His fingers brushed her soft hair back behind one ear.
“Mmmm… sleep first. I’ve been a bit nauseated. Dealing with that Tasker of yours only added to that. He just gets on my nerves for some reason.” She smiled sleepily and hugged him tight, her head on his chest. “Whenever you’re ready.”
“Nauseated?” Concern was in that single spoken word. His lips brushed across her forehead. “Are you sick Samantha?” If she were, Sebastian would make sure she was well taken care of.
“Maybe. You told me vampires didn’t get things from humans like this, so I thought it’d still be okay to be near you. Besides, I could use some cuddling, if you don’t mind.” She didn’t move. Getting sick when you worked with sick people wasn’t anything new. She’d just need some rest and that’d be the end of it, hopefully.
“You won’t get me sick my dear.” He took her bag away and up on to his shoulder without letting her completely go. “Now to my lair for a healthy dose of cuddling under warm blankets and some of Mary’s good soup.” Sebastian shadowed them to his rooms within the lair. He set her bag down and moved to the door knowing Mary was making her way to them. He’d mentally let her know she was needed.
At the door he explained that Samantha wasn’t feeling well and asked for soup to be brought around once she woke up. Once Mary left he returned to Samantha to help her to bed.
“You know, you spoil me, right?” Sam took off her scrubs in the side room and put them in the plastic bag she had brought with her. Pulling the cotton t-shirt she used as a nighty and fresh underwear, she made her way further into the side restroom. “I’d be down for a bath, but… “ she sighed. When you didn’t feel well, everything felt like a chore. “A quick shower will suffice and then, let the cuddling commence.”
“I like spoiling you sunshine.” Sebastian grinned for her. ““I could draw you a bath and then help you bathe the aches away if that would help you rest better. No work for you at all.”
The offer was too sinful to resist. She smiled sleepily. “Please? Just don’t try to feed me, and we’re good.”
“Here, rest while I work magic.” He scooped her up to carry her the short distance to the bed. Tucking Samantha beneath the blankets, Sebastian went about getting the trusted staff to set the tub up in the center of the room with hot water and soothing oils. By the time Samantha woke from her short nap, the waters had cooled down. Sebastian lifted her from the bed, stripped her shirt away and placed her in it, and the water didn’t burn her. Kneeling at the side of the tub he soaked a sponge and moved it over her skin to watch it glisten. “You are breathtaking, do you know that?”
“No. To me… I’m just the same old Sam with the blonde curls that never behave and the freckles on her nose where she refused to stay out of the sun when she was a kid.” She grinned before saying, “I have no idea why I’m here with you. I haven’t used a love potion or a spell. I don’t know how, nor would I want to know. So…” she shrugged and then closed her eyes and leaned back.
There was a specific knock at the bedroom suite door. Then it came again.
“You gonna go see what they want?” It wasn’t Mary. Mary did this three knock then a rattle knock. This one was different. It amazed Sam sometimes at how such perfected beings still used such simple means to signify themselves.
There was a rustling sound at the door as the third knock got cut off and Mary’s voice could be heard in scolding tones. There was crying.
Sam sat up suddenly. She didn’t like being ignored and she didn’t like the idea that anyone was in pain. It was part of what made her a good doctor. “What’s happening out there, Bastian?”
Rising to his feet, Sebastian pulled the divider up in front of the bath before moving to open the door.
This was very odd. He hadn’t even said anything to her. Sam tried to decide if she should get out and cover up while she listened to what was happening on the other side of the partition. Seemed like things were moving too fast for that, though.
He knew who Mary was scolding and knew the interruptions wouldn’t cease until her presence was acknowledged. “It’s alright Mary, I’ll take over with her thank you.”
Sebastian partially stepped out of the doorway to grasp the upper arm of the one that was crying and carrying on. “Come in then and introduce yourself, then you’ll be on your way and stop with this carrying on outside my door.”
Still in the Master’s grasp, the thin wispy form clothed in a soft green sundress with her long curling blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail was led into the room. Only Samantha’s head was visible at the edge of the divider and the women could see one another. “Samantha let me introduce you to Saysha. She is mother to Raven, the one I claim as daughter. You’ll have to forgive her outlandish behavior but she is not right in the head you see. She believes herself my Chosen though I’ve never claimed her as such. She slinks about the lair and never ventures out of it so you are quite safe above ground. While in the lair though, please stay within my chambers unless I escort you elsewhere.”
So he was telling her that this woman was a danger to her? That had Sam on edge. She was trying to digest everything he was saying to her all at the same time trying to keep herself covered and even considering getting up and leaving. But then again – she couldn’t just leave a vampire lair, could she?
Sam had been told that he had adopted Raven, his daughter. However, she had no idea the girl’s mother was still in the lair or the coven. Sam sat up and then looked back again at the disheveled woman.
“Saysha? I’m Sam. I’d shake a hand or something, but I’m kind of … wet…” This was a bit more than awkward. Why had he done this? Sam really didn’t like this and wanted to leave.
Cold blue eyes focused on the pretty blonde in the tub. There was a whimpering, snarling sound from her as she leered at the human.
“Saysha be polite and introduce yourself.” Sebastian growled softly as he realized she was snarling at Samantha.
“Saysha Erickson… what are you doing here bleeder? You don’t really believe that you can be with him do you?” She gave a cruel laugh, “Perhaps as a meal but you’re human and he will grow bored of you.”
“Thanks for the warning. I get it. Men are pigs. Not to be trusted. And bleeder? That’s a new one. Need to write that one down in my journal of insults,” Sam tried to play off her nervousness as she got herself up out of the water and reached for a towel. “Now if you’ll exc…”
Yanking free of Sebastian’s grasp the wild eyed woman rushed towards the tub and stood right in front of the human. She drew in her scent and reached out as if to touch but knew it would cost her dearly to do so.
Sam gasped. They moved so quickly. Sometimes, she forgot that Sebastian slowed down for her.
“Sweet smell.. I can hear your heart pounding and your blood rushing through your veins. Lovely scents and sounds you have but they will fade as you grow old and die.” She whispered the last as Sebastian pulled her back again to give Sam space.
“Now you’ve met and now you are leaving. Good night Saysha.” Sebastian marched her to the door and out of it. “Go to your rooms and get some sleep, Raven doesn’t need to see you like this now does she.”
“But Sebastian..” Saysha pleaded as the door closed on her.
“Tell me what you’re thinking, sunshine?” Sebastian spoke softly as he locked the door and moved towards her and the bath.
“What am I supposed to think? Other than, she needs to be in an institution somewhere and nowhere near people that she might harm? Why would you introduce her to me?” Sam looked at herself in the mirror and then closed her eyes.
“I want you to know her face so you can avoid her. She needed to know yours to do the same.” Sebastian tried assuring her, “Don’t let her ruin our time Samantha.”
“Oh, I think you already did that,” she whispered, before turning to quickly crouch at the toilet and empty what little was still in her stomach. She spit, while holding back her hair as best she could. Taking a few breaths she added, “Well, you letting her in like that and then me being sick. That’s … a double whammy…” she leaned forward again and dry heaved.
“Sam..” Sebastian moved to help her and held her hair for her. Was it possible? No.. “Sunshine are you.. Are you pregnant?” He whispered it softly as he smoothed his other hand down her spine.
“I’ve not tested myself. I thought it was a stomach bug. But the more it sticks around, the more I’m beginning to wonder if I’m in that 2% of lucky people that birth control doesn’t work for.” She reached over for a towel and wiped the spittle from her mouth. “I don’t have a fever.” She slowly leaned back and then turned to sit on the floor, her back against the cabinet doors.
“Now… tell me what you’re thinking, Sebastian?” she turned the question on him.
Standing up Sebastian rubbed a hand over his face and then crouched back down which showed his uncertainty. “I don’t know what to think Samantha.” It scared him a little because he hadn’t been a father in a very long time. “I think, if you are… you’ll be a wonderful mother.”
“And you know that because…?” Sam raised a brow. Her heartbeat was going wild. She was scared, and what had just happened scared her, and his response scared her. She needed to be sure and then consider her options.
Moving closer Sebastian carefully drew Samantha to him like she was made of glass and would shatter at any moment. He brushed hair from her face and kissed her forehead, “I know because you are a good person. Everything will be okay sunshine I promise.” Lifting her from the floor her carried her to the bed to tuck her back in again.
“Will you be a good father?” she asked before moving against him. Samantha wanted to smell him and feel him. She wasn’t sure how this might happen considering they were so different, but if she were pregnant, she didn’t want to be pregnant alone.
“Sam.. I’m not going anywhere beautiful, you are stuck with me no matter what.” Sebastian held her close and breathed in her scent as her warmth spread over him. “There’s nothing to be afraid of.”
Turning into him, she closed her eyes and believing him, fell fast asleep.