Pam continues to stare at the demon girl in front of her even once she looks away, staring up at the ceiling for a moment before she closes her eyes. Still, Pam’s eyes don’t move away, studying her in much the same way as she just studied her maker, unimpeded by the girl’s gaze and the accusations she’s sure she never meant to aim at her, but Pam saw them all the same.
She stays silent for a moment, searching for the words to say. In the end, she chooses the truth; knowing that if the roles were reversed she would expect nothing less.
“Nothing,” she whispers softly after several minutes have passed in silence. Suddenly those bright green eyes are trained on her again, and she swallows, before she repeats herself, “Nothing.”
“Thanks for the pep talk, Pam,” Diantha sighs, rolling her eyes.
“It’s the truth,” she murmurs, arching an eyebrow when the demon’s gaze settles on her once more. “Do I need to remind you how much that truth sucks for all of us?”
“No,” Diantha responds softly, looking away again, before she seems to collapse in on herself, curling up at the foot of the bed. She rests her head against Eric’s blanket-covered feet, and Pam can’t help but smirk, knowing he would be furious but currently can’t do anything about it.
Her eyes stay on Pam’s until she looks away, turning her attention back on her maker’s peaceful face. The selfish part of her wants to shake him awake, suddenly desperate to see his eyes, wanting nothing more than to soak up every minute possible in his presence, especially considering their current conversation topic. But the more rational and selfless part of her is eager to let him rest, knowing that he needs it, and that no matter how much she wants to spend time with him, any time he spends dead to the world is time that he’s blissfully ignorant of her life slipping away, and the pain she knows it causes him.
She strokes the backs of her fingers against his cheek, clean for the first time in days, concentrating on the way his stubble scratches her soft skin. For a moment she gets lost in her sorrow; knowing that she’ll never again feel the roughness of his cheeks between her thighs, or against her own as he makes love to her. But even still, she’ll settle for this; the soft brush of her skin against hers, infinitely better than the alternative that’s looming too close already.
“It accomplished nothing, in the end,” she whispers, her eyes still trained on Eric as she speaks, studying the way his lashes lie against his cheeks, “But I am grateful. So grateful, Diantha. And I need you to know that.”
Diantha snorts, a sound devoid of all humor. “You’re dying, Pam. Slowly. Painfully. What is there to be grateful for?”
Pam’s gaze is suddenly sharp as it snaps to the demon girl curled up by their feet, her eyes blazing even though they’re sunken and ringed with dark circles, her voice stronger than it has been in days when she speaks. “You kept me from a fate worse than death, Diantha,” she answers sternly. “You kept me from killing my maker, my husband, the only person I have ever loved. Yes, I’m going to die anyway, but…” She trails off, choking on the words, the thought that had been haunting her since the night before when they explained what happened to her. “I would have killed him, with my own hands. And one day, when he had no further use for me, I would have woken up, Di. I would have known what I had done. Maybe you accomplished nothing, but you saved me from that.”
She regards her for a moment as Diantha seems to mull this over, realizing that trading one father’s death for another isn’t enough. She wets her dry lips, turning her gaze back to Eric as she softly whispers, “And you gave me more time to say goodbye. Days…hours…whatever time I have left with him. I’m grateful for it.”
The girl doesn’t respond, simply watches them in silence as Pam continues to touch him, her eyes drinking him in as she touches nearly every part of his face before moving to his neck, ignoring the fatigue that the movement leaves behind. When she starts to speak again, she’s barely aware of it, but yet the words still come in a softly spoken whisper.
“I hated my father,” she murmurs, “He was cruel. He used me. He hurt me, and allowed me to get hurt, much like your father, I assume.” She falls silent for a moment, gathering her strength, before she continues quietly. “I had to escape him, no matter the cost. No matter that I might die trying.” She smirks, suddenly remembering briefly seeing Eric’s earnest expression from across the forest clearing that night a century before. “I suppose I did die trying. But my point is, sometimes there’s no one to save you but yourself, and you have to take matters into your own hands, no matter the consequences.”
Still, she’s met with only silence, and she finally moves her eyes to meet Diantha’s, their gazes matching as they both lie reclined. “If I would have gone back after I was turned, I would have killed him for what he had done. If I would have asked, Eric would have let me. I should have…I should have saved my sisters from him.” She smiles softly at her, regarding her thoughtfully for a moment. “What you did was very brave, Diantha. You created orphans, but you saved them from what he put you through, something I couldn’t have done. You made sure that when I die, I’m myself, and that his blood wasn’t on my hands.” Her gaze returns to Eric, finally letting her hand settle on the curve of his throat, her thumb brushing over where his pulse used to beat, where her fangs have sunk into him thousands upon thousands of times in her long, and yet so short, life. “Perhaps it’s not an accomplishment, but that’s worth something, isn’t it?”
Diantha shrugs as best she can from her position, nestled between their legs, her cheek pressed against the hard outline of Eric’s foot. “I guess,” she whispers, her eyes darting to Eric’s sleeping face. “Though it probably won’t matter to him in the end.”
"If you asked him, he’s say it was worth something," Pam tells her, her voice once again lapsing into a strained softness.
"Should I ask before or after he watches you die?" Diantha murmurs, almost wincing as she realizes how bluntly she delivered her question. But, surprisingly, she hears Pam snort in amusement; both of them knowing it’s inevitable. Diantha allows her eyes to close for a moment, mulling over what Pam has told her. Even though Diantha doubts she truly remembers her human father, most likely pulling from whatever Eric has told her of her life, the thought that she would have done the same is like a balm over the fresh wounds in her heart and mind. "I’m glad we were friends, Pam," she says suddenly, surprising even herself as her eyes fly open, and she pulls herself up on her elbows to meet the vampire’s eyes. This might be the only chance she has to say goodbye. "Even if you lost your mind."
Again, Pam snorts delicately, but her eyes seem more focused than they have been in days; and they seem to have that lost sparkle in them, though Diantha wonders if it’s only a trick of the light. “You’re going to miss me,” Pam whispers in an almost singsong voice, teasing her. Not to be outdone, Diantha rolls her eyes before moving her flattened hand back and forth at the wrist, as if it’s questionable. But she knows it’s not. They are friends. It’s not many people who could be thrown together in a basement for weeks on end and not come out closer.
Before tears can overcome her, Diantha swallows, sliding off the bed to stand beside Pam. “You must be hungry. Sorry…” She’s gone in the next instant, moving quickly down that the stairs and into the small kitchen. It takes her only a matter of minutes to fill both thermoses with warm blood and carry them back upstairs. She sets the Thor stamped one on the bedside table before unscrewing the princess one.
"Down the hatch," she murmurs, holding it up to Pam’s mouth. With her warm hand beneath her clean hair, Diantha helps her to drink. It’s only when Pam has swallowed about half of the contents that Diantha realizes they are not alone, and another pair of eyes is on them. Eric stares at her, murder in his eyes as he comes to the realization that she did not do as he commanded. Still, he remains silent, and Diantha knows it is only so as not to disturb Pam as she drinks. So she waits to speak until there’s only a sip left, her calm voice soft, "Don’t give me that look, jackass. She told me not to wake you up.” Pam has barely swallowed the last mouthful before she turns her head. But Diantha can still hear her breathless giggle with her next words. “I’m not in the business of denying a dying woman’s request; are you?”
When the weak magic that helps Pam cling to life reanimates her, she’s gifted with only a moment of peace before pain begins to radiate through her small frame, causing her to curl in on herself slightly before she can stop herself, a broken sounding moan escaping her lips. The demon’s bite on her shoulder seems to have flared to life the moment she awoke, as if in protest to her continued survival, sending red-hot needles of pain shooting through her as if her skin boils, and with her sudden movement it feels as though her insides are being torn apart from the wounds that Cassius left on her that have no chance to heal.
Blindly, she cries out Eric’s name, but it’s not his voice that answers her.
“It’s okay, Pammy,” she hears the girlish voice come from several feet away, before she hears her tone turn into a hiss. “Eric,” she whispers, “Hey, Eric. Your kid’s awake. Hey. Eric. Hey.”
Pam’s eyes fly open, only to be met with her maker’s face as he lies as close to her as possible. She blinks when she realizes his eyes are closed, her sluggish mind taking a moment to catch up enough to realize that he’s resting.
“No,” she chokes out, her voice rough from disuse and thirst, “Don’t wake him.”
“But he told me to—” the demon begins to argue, but Pam interrupts her.
“I don’t care. Please,” she whispers as she studies his face, so relieved to see it clean and free of tears and at peace that she doesn’t feel above begging for a few more moments of it. Who knows if she’ll be able to see him like this again? “Let him rest, Diantha. He needs it. Just for a little while.”
Her movements when she first woke have left her turned somewhat on her side, and she’s grateful as the position affords her the ability to slide her hand across the sheets separating them by mere inches. She plants the heel of her palm on the bed, and concentrates on lifting her fingers, smiling softly to herself when she manages to conquer the small movement.
She’s aware that the demon’s green eyes are on her, but she couldn’t care less, letting her fingertips trail over the bridge of Eric’s nose, before slowly tracing the curve of his lips, and then letting them drop to touch the cleft of his chin, drinking him in hungrily as if she can take the image of him with her when she goes. For the first time in days he looks peaceful, and centuries younger, almost boyish as the lines stress has creased in his face have smoothed out, his freshly washed hair spilling over his brow.
As she always has, she thinks he’s the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen. Beautiful and ancient and wise and hers…and just as she always has in moments like this, she questions how she could have ever gotten so lucky to have shared even a fraction of the time they had together with him.
“Don’t,” Pam commands softly when she sees Diantha’s fingers clasping around Eric’s foot beneath the fur blanket, shaking it lightly. “He hasn’t rested in days.”
“You’re going to get me in trouble,” Diantha grumbles from the end of the bed, although she lets go immediately, sitting back against the huge bed’s footboard with a huff, crossing her arms over her chest. For a moment, it seems as though Pam won’t be able to pull her eyes away from him, entranced by what surely feels like her first unhindered view of him in days. But although she lacks the strength to turn her head towards the demon girl, suddenly she’s pinned her with her blue eyes, regarding her curiously even as her fingers still rest against Eric’s cheek.
“I don’t think that’s likely,” Pam whispers, taking in a shuddering breath for the strength to elaborate when Diantha arches a brow. “He told me what happened. What you did…what you did for me. For us.” She continues to regard her thoughtfully, a million questions bubbling up inside her, but with her strength next to nothing she only manages one. “Why?”
"I don’t know." The words are out of Diantha’s mouth in an instant, her eyes squeezing shut to stop the onslaught of thoughts that have plagued her from the outskirts of her mind ever since she reached for her iron blade. Even now, it’s wrapped in some shirt of hers, buried at the bottom of her small suitcase. She has not so much as looked at it since it sliced through her father’s neck; since she saw it reappear as his head fell from his shoulders. His eyes had never wavered from hers, his lips curled up in the first proud smile she had ever seen on his face. A smile she realizes she was finally worthy of, and one that she will never see again.
"I killed my father," she finally chokes out, her eyes opening yet she sees nothing in front of her. "I killed him." She never held much love for the man that only deemed her worthy of attention when she took on some of his more deathly attributes. No love for the man who laid his hands on her, who laughed while he tried to beat her into submission. No love for the man who had finally met his end at her hands, like a trained wild animal finally freed from its leash.
"I don’t know why," she says again, but this time softer as her eyes finally focus on Pam’s. "I was just…I knew it was never going to end. No matter what, we couldn’t outrun him. I couldn’t outrun him. We were on borrowed time, Pam. I don’t know how much longer…” She sighs, her head leaning back against the footboard, her eyes aching and heavy with fatigue that seems to consume her. “I didn’t realize until he bit you…I didn’t realize what he was after.”
"Why did he even bother?" Pam rasps, her fingers still trailing over Eric’s sleeping face, as if studying him. "Why bite me when I was already as good as dead?"
A sharp laugh echoes in the bedroom, and it takes Diantha a moment to place it as her own. She shakes her head, her shoulders moving in a shrug. “You were supposed to be a gift,” she says bluntly, meeting Pam’s eyes with her own bright green stare. “I think…I think he was trying to say he was proud of me. He thought I would want you like…like that.” Diantha smirks as the look of utter disgust that graces Pam’s face. “Yeah, well…I wasn’t too crazy about the idea myself. And, like you said, you were as good as dead anyway. We all were. I figured the least I could do was let you die as yourself; not as some fucking zombie.”
Diantha’s eyes glaze over as she lets her gaze fall. “And for what?” she whispers almost to herself. “I killed my sire. I created countless orphans. I went against my own bloodline, my own family. I finally became the traitor he named me for. And for what?” Her eyes slowly move up the fur blanket until the settle on Pam’s gaunt face. She’s still dying. Eric will still die. Diantha will probably die by those stupid enough to believe her father’s death should be avenged. Nothing has changed. She’s only bought them a little more time. But it was all could she could do. A few more days before death. Her small face finally crumbles, giving in to the exhaustion and fear that has her gripped tightly. Her voice, when it finally comes, sounds more like a child’s. “What did it accomplish, Pam?”
Pushing gently on the door, Diantha is surprised when it swings open without much resistance. It seems as if Eric’s decree that he and Pam are the only ones allowed in their bedroom has been put to rest for the time being. The large vampire doesn’t so much as raise his head as she steps into the room, cradling the large basin of water in her small arms. Eric only bothers to glance up at her when some of the water spills over the edge, his arched brow questioning her silently as he reclines beside the resting Pam.
"She has blood in her hair," Diantha explains, realizing how entirely stupid it must sound. She has blood all over her, seeping out of her wounds. What should a little blood in her hair mean? But, surprisingly, Eric gestures for her to come closer, leaning over to take the basin from her. He sets it at the head of the bed, finally speaks as she steps back.
"Her shampoo is in the bathroom. In the pink bottle. The one that smells like—"
"Roses," Diantha finishes for him, already darting away to get what he asks for, "I got it." All remnants of their previous fight, when he all but accused her of gifting her father a quick death, disappear. She returns with the small bottle, only to see that he has already begun the task she meant to do herself. But she does not stop him, knowing it would be useless. Instead, she merely hands over the bottle when he reaches for it, watching in a daze as his hands, ones she has seen close up squeeze the very life out of someone, are impossibly gently as they wash and massage the shampoo through Pam’s long locks.
They work together, in absolute silence. Diantha runs back and forth between the bathroom and bedroom, refreshing the water whenever it becomes too thick with blood. On her last trek, she returns with fresh towels and soap, Eric having already combed out Pam’s hair, letting it dry as it spreads over the pillow. Together, they undress her before gently lathering her frail body, washing away all of the blood that has crusted on her skin during the last few days, replacing it with the scent of roses.
It seems like it’s hours later when her wounds are redressed, and a fresh nightgown covers her as she reclines against the pillows. “Sleeping Beauty,” Diantha murmurs, smiling as she sees Eric nod his head in agreement. But minutes later, he’s pushing her away as she tries to press a mug full of blood into his hands, all of their teamwork lost.
"You promised her you’d drink, Northman," she hisses, not giving up her endeavor.
"She needs the blood more than I do," he says softly, already moving to lie down once more beside her.
"There’s at least five humans worth of blood in that cooler, Eric," she says, growing agitated as her own stomach growls. "She couldn’t drink all that in one sitting even if she could keep her eyes open for more than an hour." He growls, turning his head toward her, but even Diantha can see it’s a fight he’s going to lose. "She wanted you to drink."
Grumbling like an overgrown child, he finally reaches for the mug, draining it in a matter of seconds. He’s already handing it back when Diantha chooses to press her luck, her eyes trained on his. “You should shower, too. And rest. You’re looking a little…well, fucking gross.”
"Look who’s talking," he snaps, not even bothering to look at her.
"Well yeah, but I don’t bleed like a stuck pig if I go without sleep," Diantha huffs, crossing her arms over her chest. She knows it’s low, but she uses the only weapon she has against him. "Think of how happy she’d be, Eric," she tells him softly. "When she wakes up and sees that you’re not bleeding out of off all your stupid orifices. When she sees you not looking like a zombie…" Diantha can see she’s almost all but won. "Better that you sleep while she does, dude. Or else you’ll fall asleep while she’s awake…you wouldn’t want to waste those moments on catching some shut eye."
Eric does not quite agree with her out loud, but his stare pins her in place when he finally leaves the bed, only after pressing a kiss to Pam’s forehead and murmuring words in that language Diantha never could quite get the hang of. He spends all of two minutes in the shower, but when he returns, he’s already looking better. When he crawls back in bed beside Pam, Diantha tosses him the fur blanket that was laid across the edge of the bed. He throws it out over both of them, and he seems to be fighting a losing battle with his fatigue.
"You’ll wake me if she opens her eyes?" he asks softly, pleadingly, and Diantha nods her head quickly.
"Of course…of course I will, Eric," she tells him, a soft smile on her lips.
"And if she doesn’t…wake me at dusk," he commands her, his eyes already closing.
"How am I supposed to wake you up?" Diantha snorts. "You sleep like the dead."
"You’ll find a way," he murmurs, and in the next instant, Diantha knows she’s lost him; that she’s all but alone in the house.
The thought creeps up on her, fear and panic spiraling through her warm blood until another thought follows fast on it’s heels. There’s no one left she fears. No one left who might come after them that she could not beat. Her laughter is almost too loud in the quiet of the house, but she suddenly can’t seem to stop it.
A soft growl brings her back down to earth, and she realizes that she wasn’t alone quite yet. She glares, knowing Eric can’t see her but probably enjoys the fact that he caught her out. She takes up her post on the edge of the bed, her back against the foot board as she sits by Pam’s feet, her eyes narrowed. A few hours. A few hours and then she can perhaps close her own eyes, and figure out if there’s pizza in Sweden.
"Go the fuck to sleep, Northman."
:::Fade to black:::
Though the beautiful, green countryside of Sweden rolls by, a land Diantha never thought she’d see, let alone step on, she stares unseeing at the back of the driver’s seat. Her eyes are heavy, begging for the sweet escape of sleep. But Diantha refuses to even close them, just as she has for the past several hours, knowing what horrors await her in her dreams.
It had been surprisingly easy to get Eric into the travel coffin when it arrived at their hotel. Barely a word was exchanged between them as they both cleaned and bandaged Pam's small, broken body. And then Eric had tucked her into his arms, and lowered them both into the dark confines of the coffin. Diantha herself had shut the lid, silently begging that they would both still be there when she opened it.
Anton had sent humans to clean up the mess that was left behind, and they had barely blinked an eye at the bodies piled by the door as Diantha wheeled the coffin out, unwilling to let anyone else even touch it. She had kept her eyes on the shiny metal lid, merely following the attendant’s instructions. Only once had she lifted her gaze, and that on accident. Her body, weary from the last few hours, had stumbled over the curb, and a warm hand had steadied her at her elbow. She had looked up into the dark eyes of Nathan, barely registering him as he spoke her name. But she had shaken her head, and in doing so spied several people standing on the opposite side of the street. She had known who they were, or rather what they were. Eyes, so much like her own, in every color; red, black, yellow. Each set studying her; and only in hindsight does she realize not a single one save for Nathan had come closer, giving her wide berth as she climbed into the van beside the coffin. She had held her brother’s eyes out the window until the vehicle turned the corner; her last coherent thought of Romania.
"Miss?" the driver’s accented voice breaks through Diantha’s thoughts, and she flinches at the soft sound, her hand automatically reaching out to touch the sleek coffin she’s been beside. "Miss?" he tries again, and it’s only then that she realizes the van has come to a stop and the driver is gesturing toward the house he’s pulled up in front of. Unable to help herself, Diantha leans forward, practically pressing her nose against the glass.
This is the place both of her vampires call home. She had expected a sprawling mansion, like the one they left behind in Shreveport. Instead, it’s almost like a cottage out of a fairytale, wrapped with roses and climbing ivy, framed by the picket white fence. A slow smile comes to her lips as she takes it in; it’s perfect, and she needs almost no other explanation of why Pam wanted to come here. Why she would want to die here. The thought physically jars her as it crosses her mind, and Diantha pulls away from the window as if struck.
"It’s a beautiful house," the driver says, a bit warily, as if he’s only just now realized these are no regular passengers.
"Of course it is," Diantha whispers, finally pulling her eyes away as she lets herself out of the van. The driver seems to remember her instructions, only gathering up the few pieces of luggage Diantha had packed. She pulls down the coffin as gently as possible, placing it on the rolling cart the driver left for her, and begins to push it up the walk. Somewhere, in the back of her mind, Diantha remembers, as if in another lifetime, the house was in her name; for safety. But she had signed it back. She files that away in her head, not knowing if it will even matter in the next day or two.
The driver leaves as soon as she pays him, closing the door and leaving her in the enveloping silence of the house. It’s surprisingly big inside, and open. And though it’s been dark for a few hours now, there is an inner warmth here. A home. That is the only way she can explain it.
With great trepidation, she turns to the coffin, her fingers trembling as she undoes the latches on the side. She hasn’t heard a sound from within since she first closed the lid, and a part of her wonders if there is even anyone in the soft interior anymore. Her heart suddenly clenches in her chest as she raises the lid, and she all but throws it open.
The dim light falls on Pam’s face, her eyes still closed in a dead sleep. And beside her, his entire body curled around hers, is Eric. His eyes are trained on his child’s face, as Diantha knows they must have been the entire time. “Eric,” she calls softly, reaching out to place a hand on his shoulder, unsure if he even knows she’s there. “Eric, we’re here. You’re home.”
The roar that leaves Eric’s mouth nearly tears apart his throat at its intensity; the very foundation of the castle reverberating with the sound. All he can focus on is the small point of silver protruding from Pam’s back, and the sickening scent of her blood, too heavy in the air. “Pamela!” he screams again, fighting against the silver chains as her dress slowly turns from pale lavender to the deepest crimson, stained through with her blood. Too much. Too much blood. It’s spilling, splashing to the floor, pooling at her feet. Though he can no longer feel her in their bond, the magic blocking them, he knows what is happening. Gutted. Her blood painting the floor. A silver dagger inches from her heart. Dying. She’s dying. His child, his progeny, the reason for his very existence; she’s dying. He’s watching his child die.
"Perhaps I’ll keep both of your hearts,” Cassius snarls through the fog in Eric’s brain, his body refusing to give up the futile fight. “Locked in a box together. Won’t that be romantic?” All Eric can hear is the garbled sounds of Pam as she no doubt tries to reply, sarcastic even to her last breath. But she forms no true words, and her attempt only seems to amuse the man who has run her through. “There is one thing I never did get to do,” Cassius smirks, holding Eric’s eyes from over Pam’s shoulder, seeming to relish the sight they must be. Pam, clutching to him, just as she did nearly a year ago at the estate. But this time, Eric knows it not her own will.
"I never did get a taste," Cassius whispers, causing Eric’s roar to once again rip from his mouth. But Cassius only chuckles, releasing the dagger, though it holds fast, imbedded in Pam’s flesh. The silver does not allow her to heal, holding open the fatal wound as her blood continues to splash. Try as he might, Eric cannot tear his eyes away from those of his grandsire as his fangs run down. This is it; the moment that will mark Eric’s final failure. The death of his child at the hand of his worst enemy, her blood on his tongue, without Eric’s arms around her. The death they have been running from for over a year. Eric’s only wish is that he does not live long after bearing witness.
Cassius slowly lowers his fangs, hovering over the spot that Eric himself first bit, over a hundred years ago. The last marks on her body will be his; effectively erasing the mark that made her Eric’s. Eric isn’t aware that he’s sobbing until the scent of his own blood, mixing with hers in the air, falls thickly at his knees. And then, with only an anguished scream from his own lips, Eric watches as Cassius sinks his teeth into Pam’s neck, drawing her blood into his mouth. The ancient vampire pulls away, only to smirk at Eric, showing him how her crimson blood stains his fangs. Her blood will live on in him now; a sin to everything they shared. Eric watches, helpless, as Pam begins to droop in his arms, being drained of life before his eyes.
"This was not part of the agreement, vampire," comes a deep hiss from somewhere behind them. And as the demon Nergal steps forward, Eric can see from the corner of his eye that Diantha has perked up her head, her eyes meeting his for only a second. "The female was supposed to live."
Hope flares within Eric for the briefest of moment. “Yes,” he rasps, though no one pays him the slightest bit of attention, save for the demon girl with auburn hair. “She lives,” he sobs, his shoulders heaving. “She lives.”
"Plans change," Cassius snarls, Pam’s blood flying from his lips as he spits, barely looking back at the demon as he approaches before he sinks his teeth back into her pliant flesh.
It happens so quickly, Eric is almost not sure how it happens. All he sees is Cassius, draining his Pamela; and in the next instant the demon has replaced him, easily holding her up, his free hand raised and casually pointing at the stone wall to the side of him. Eric’s eyes follow his fingers, his eyes widening as he sees Cassius pinned by some invisible force to the wall, frozen except for his eyes, glittering with fury. It is in that moment that he understand exactly why Diantha feared her father so much; he could have taken control of this game at any time he chose. He just happened to choose now.
"I tire of your plans, vampire," the old demon says again, pulling out the silver dagger before he tosses it away, letting it fall between himself and Eric, the clatter it makes echoing in the room. Nergal’s face is impassive as he studies Pam, no longer able to stand on her own two feet, coated in her own blood. The demon’s neck twists, unnaturally so, as he turns his attention back to his daughter, who is staring wide eyed at the scene before her. "She was supposed to be a…gift," the demon spits out the word, making it sound foreign on his lips. "I know of your affinity for her, daughter," he says, his head swiveling back to the blonde vampire in his arms. "Yes…a gift."
As Nergal dips his head, Eric’s scream is echoed by Diantha, and she steps forward, her hands raised as if to throw her father off of Pam. But the moment his teeth tear into her shoulder, Diantha stops, a look of pure horror crossing her face. But Eric doesn’t understand why, especially when the demon pulls away, and Pam seems to stand solidly once more. Saved. He’s saved her. She’s alive. He expects Diantha to look triumphant, or at least pleased. But Eric only sees something acute to pure revulsion on her delicate face.
"Pamela," he calls out, wanting to see her, to know that she will live, even if his own life is in forfeit.
The older demon seems pleased, stepping back toward his daughter with an eerily serene smile. “All for yourself soon, little flower,” he hisses softly before turning back to Pam as she stands, oddly still. It’s an order Eric was expecting, but he still flinches when it falls from Nergal’s lips, “Finish him.”
Eric cannot help but smile as Pam slowly turns toward him; if anything can be salvaged, it’s that she will live. Diantha will keep her safe; she’s promised, and done nothing to prove to him otherwise. His child will live, even if he will not. But when Pam lifts her eyes to his, beginning to take slow steps for the knife that lays on the floor, Eric smile twists into a scream of horror. Worse that seeing her eyes glazed over, filled with hatred for him; her beautiful blue eyes have turns inky black. There is no sight of his child; only the demon who now animates her.
The word is pulled from Eric’s lips before he can stop himself, knowing it will fall on deaf ears, that the woman before him will show no recognition. But the word comes all the same, his last word.
Though she knows her father has turned to face her, Diantha cannot tear her eyes away from the back of Pam’s head, her blonde hair coated with her crimson blood. But all she can see was the glimpse of the pure black of Pam’s eyes, replacing her usually flashing blue. Such a mockery of who the vampire once was, it ices Diantha’s hot blood.
"No," she whispers, taking a small step forward. She knows exactly what a true demon’s bite can do; the magic it possesses. Yes, Pam would live; but it would not be Pam. A shell of herself; possessed.
"No?" Nergal questions her, a dangerous edge to his voice. "I am granting you a gift…and you say no to me?”
"I don’t want her…not…not like this. Father…please," Diantha whispers, her words slipping into an anguished hiss as Pam draws closer to the struggling Eric.
But Nergal only grins, his entire mouth full of razor sharp teeth on display. “The only good vampire is one you can control entirely, sweeting,” he coos, turning his head back to what he has created, ignoring the vampire who struggles against the invisible force against the wall. “You’ll learn…yet another thing I will teach you.”
Diantha can only stare dumbly in front of her, her father’s words beating on her mind. A gift; he sees this as a gift. Something any other child of his would kill for. To be recognized in such a way. “I don’t want her,” she says again, shaking her head as a sob threatens to choke her.
"But you’ll have her none the less," Nergal says smoothly, no longer paying attention to her as he steps forward, urging Pam forward with his grip on her body. "You do not say no to me, daughter."
As if it all fits together, Diantha’s mind clicks into place. It’s true; she never will be able to say no to him. It’s the very reason she’s been running, perhaps just as fast if not more so, beside Eric and Pam. Trying to escape the darkness that chased them both. But she realizes now, perhaps truly for the first time, that she will never be able to escape him. He will always be faster, always be stronger. It will never matter what her own wishes are, what she desires. He will own her, just as surely as he owns Pam’s body now. Diantha will be as much a puppet as her blonde friend, with no hope of release except for death.
The internal loyalty that she has always felt for her father is severed as she gazes at the two vampires who draw ever closer. They showed her the world, whether they knew it or not. She was free with them. Treated as an equal, or as much as an equal as anyone could ever hope to be beside them. Not once had either of them hurt her; unless she had deserved it, unless they knew she could withstand it. She would have died over a year ago if not for the vampire now chained to the pillar. Died here, in this godforsaken land, without having seen the world.
The iron blade that she keeps in her boot is suddenly heavy in her hand, and she blinks down at it, unsure of when she ever retrieved it. She can see her reflection in the metal, her green eyes glittering back at her; the shape matching her father’s, but the color given to her by her mother. The blade falls away from her view as she raises her head, her future clear in her mind. Even if the attempt will mean her own death, and certainly Eric’s, she knows she owes it to Pam. If it is the last thing she can offer the two who have become like family in the past year, she will happily give it. Death; but a true death. Pam will die, but she will die as herself. She will die knowing she was loved. Just as Diantha is prepared to do. No more. This ends, one way or another, now.
"You always were a rarity, daughter," Nergal’s voice filters through her rapidly clearing mind. "A halfling; but so much like myself. It always made me wonder if your mother had demon blood in her before I found her for myself. Still, you are just one of many children; I find it hard to believe I can even remember your name.”
"But they will remember mine,” Diantha says softly, her body moving in a way that only he could have taught her. Just as her father turns to face her, her blade strikes out, easily slicing through his neck, flesh and bone melting away under the metal. Black blood sprays out, hot drops landing on her face as the blade comes out the other end. Nergal’s eyes manage to blink, an expression of surprised pride etched on his face, just before his head falls from his shoulders, his body crumbling to the stone floor.
Diantha’s legs give out beneath her, and an explosion of sound meets her ears. But she does not look up as her hands reach for the head of her father, pulling it into her lap. Her stained fingers slowly close the yellowed eyes, still wide in surprise. And though she speaks, she barely hears her own voice, barely realizes what it conveys.
They may speak a different language, but Diantha’s staring contest with the Romanian flight crew seems to be universal. The small demon stands with her arms crossed over her leather jacket, her glittering emerald eyes daring them to take even one step closer toward the back of the plane. A dare that they, as of yet, have been smart enough not to accept.
The captain, or at least the guy wearing what looks like a captain’s hat, once again tries to plead with Diantha; though it only sounds like gibberish to her ears. She waits, almost politely, until he finishes his speech before she tosses her long ponytail over her shoulder. “And like I told you,” she says, her voice on the cusp of shouting, not missing a beat as if she’s followed his conversation, “We’re not leaving this plane until the sun sets and Fabio and Rapunzel can walk on their own two feet.” Diantha narrows her eyes, setting herself more securely as she blocks access to where the two travel coffins lay behind her.
"Is there a problem here, little sister?" comes an amused voice from the entrance of the plane, causing everyone inside to turn their heads. Nathan steps into view with a smirk on his lips, leaning easily against the inner wall of the small plane, his brow hitched high over his dark eyes.
“Call off the geek squad,” she hisses in her mother tongue, smiling sweetly as the crew steps back in surprise. Though he barks out a laugh, Nathan says a few short words in what must be their own language, because they all merely nod before taking their leave, giving both demons a wide berth as they do. Immediately, Diantha’s shoulders relax, and she unwinds her arms from across her chest. “Thanks,” she sighs, allowing her eyes to close briefly before they fly open at Nathan’s next question.
"Shall we get this show on the road?" he quips, clapping his hands together despite the odd way the human phrase falls from his lips. Yet when he takes a step too close for Diantha’s comfort, she flashes her sharp teeth in front of his confused face. To his credit, he does not step back, merely tilts his head as his eyes fall from her eyes to her razor-like teeth and back again. "Is there a problem, sister?"
Choking on laughter that holds no amusement, Diantha places her hands on her hips, taking a step froward, forcing her brother to move back. “They’re sleeping.”
"Which is the most opportune time to travel with children, or so I’ve heard," Nathan says smoothly, spreading his fingers as if he doesn’t see the completely obvious problem.
"If you think I’m going to let Eric fucking Northman wake up with the knowledge that I hauled his sleeping corpse around a kingdom the three of us were all but sentenced to die in, then you don’t know me at all, big brother,” Diantha hisses, her eyes flashing black in her anger.
Ignoring most of her declaration, Nathan’s eyes narrow as he takes up a post on one of the plane’s seats. “Why would you have died here, little flower? Why would you even step foot in Romania?” he says softly, an expression of contrition on his sharply defined face.
Diantha’s brow furrows, her anger dissipating as she realizes Nathan is truly just inquisitive. Her voice softens, as if she fears their father can hear them even now. “He sold me. He fucking sold me to the last queen of Romania.”
"You were working for the queen of Louisiana," Nathan states bluntly. "Wouldn’t this have been an upgrade?"
"I was no slave in Louisiana,” Diantha sneers, drawing her slight form up. “Father sold me to two vampires for a few fucking acres of land. Vampires he allowed to beat me while he watched. I nearly begged for death countless times; but I didn’t because he wouldn’t have allowed it. Death would have been a mercy,” she breathes, anger flooding through her veins. “He threatened Gladiola. He threatened my husband. And I couldn’t do a fucking thing. I couldn’t protect anyone; except her,” Diantha practically shouts, jabbing a finger behind her to one of the coffins. “Eric traded his life for her, signed it away; and saved me in the process. I’m not stupid enough to think that any of it was sentimental on my part, but he saved me nonetheless. All I have to do is protect her; keep her alive. And that’s the only thing I seem to be doing right, lately.” She grins then, but with no true amusement, “I’m no slave here. Just a willing participant in whatever the fuck happens next.”
There’s a long silence as the light within the plane slowly begins to fade with the setting sun. And when Nathan speaks again, it’s softer than she’s ever hear before, “Stay with me. They’ll leave here with more support than they could ever dream of. They won’t need you,” though the words cause Diantha to flinch, there’s no true malice behind them. “Stay with me; we can outrun Father. You could be happy, Di. Not an employee, not a servant, not a slave. Just Di.” He grins, pride evident in his voice as he stands, drawing her closer with one hand on her hip and the other framing her face, “You and I could forge an empire together, you know we could.”
Diantha says nothing at first, letting his words wash over her. It would be easy to do as he says; to forget everything and everyone. Leave them all behind; never spend another night sleepless in an unfamiliar bed, wondering if she’ll see the dawn again. She knows the two of them together, easily the most powerful and skilled of the many halflings her father has sired, could create something epic. But how long until it crashed down around them; how long until their father caught up and made them pay? She shakes her head, unwilling to think about it anymore. “No…no. I stay with them. I’ll see this through to the end; I’m not leaving until they tell me I’m worthless.”
"Is that all it would take?” comes a deep voice from the recesses of the plane, and both Diantha’s and Nathan’s heads snap to the side. Diantha can’t help but smirk as she studies Eric, looming over the travel coffin as his hands wrap around Pam’s small waist, setting her on her feet beside him.
Nathan’s brow furrows as his eyes dart to the second coffin, untouched and unmoving, before they fall back to the vampire duo, finally coming to the conclusion that only one coffin was in use the entire time. Diantha only shakes her head, muttering under her breath, “Don’t ask.” She presses a soft kiss to his cheek before patting it and hissing kindly, “Go. I’ll see you tomorrow night.”
“Tomorrow?” Nathan repeats, his brow furrowing even deeper. “Why not tonight? The king has rooms ready--“
“Tomorrow,” Diantha says again, her tone brokering no argument. Nathan finally nods, brushing a warm kiss against her lips before he departs down the steps of the plane. Slowly, Diantha turns to face Eric and Pam, wondering how the hell they manage to seem so put together even after sleeping in their clothes; and knowing she looks nowhere near as elegant.
"Romania smells like incest," Eric sneers, turning his head to grin down at Pam, who only rolls her eyes. Diantha is sure he must have been awake to hear most of her conversation with her brother; he must have waited for Pam to awaken before he let them both out of the coffin. But he says nothing, merely turns his bright blue gaze to Diantha’s green one, one brow arched high.
"I-I sent the luggage to the hotel I booked. I thought it would be best if you were awake before we left the airport," Diantha says softly, the realization that they could be in the middle of a giant trap washing over her. "I didn’t let the crew touch you," she continues, almost proudly. "I might be on the no-fly list because of it, but whatever, right? Uh, the king offered to let us stay at the palace, but I figured you wouldn’t want a sleepover. No one attacked us when we landed, so that’s a good sign. I mean unless you count the stale cookie the stewardess tried to feed me. Heh," Diantha trails off, fully aware that she’s rambling. She glances up at Eric, and from the unwavering stare he has on her, she’s positive he heard every single word out of her mouth since they first got on the plane; he never rested. Instead, she turns her eyes toward Pam, knowing she might at least get an answer from her about the plans she’s already made for their evening. "Is…is that what you would have wanted?"
With her legs tucked beneath her body on the extravagant love seat, Diantha’s eyes are glued to Eric’s. Or, rather, they would be; if Eric was actually looking at her. Instead he continues to stare down at the illuminated computer screen, his long legs crossed at the ankle as they rest on the coffee table that Diantha is sure costs more than her entire wardrobe. Tossing her fiery curls over her shoulder, Diantha imitates him; though her legs barely touch the table without scooting the couch a little closer. With no laptop of her own, she merely crosses her arms over her chest, her voice clipped as she grinds out, “It’s nearly dawn, Northman.”
She’s been waiting for his signal for hours. Positive that a fate worse than death is all she would gain if she brought her brother into their midst with out his express permission, Diantha has forced herself to wait. But with dawn fast approaching, and with that the knowledge that the vampire before her will be fast asleep and most likely not interested in furthering their escape plan for another night, the demon is just a bit on edge.
"You’ve learned to tell time," Eric drawls, still without looking up at the demon. "Your mother must be so proud.”
She’s not sure if it’s just her fatigue, at protecting this asshole no less, or if she’s just nervous about the aftermath her brother may bring, but Eric’s words cause something to snap within her. Perhaps it’s the reminder that her actual mother is, thankfully, thousands of miles away; and that Diantha has worked tirelessly to keep her apart from the usual train wreck that is her daughter’s life. But when Diantha speaks, something in her voice causes Eric to look up, perhaps hearing the actual threat behind her otherwise juvenile words, “Don’t you dare talk about my mother.”
With her uncanny ability to detect when an all out brawl is about to take place between her maker and her pet, Pam suddenly waltzes into the room, her bare feet padding across the floor as she comes to a stop beside the chair Eric is lounging in. Diantha watches as Eric’s face changes completely as he turns to look up at Pam. Where there had only been irritation, his features have softened to an almost wonder and awe as he gazes up at the blonde vampire he created. Wondering how they thought they had ever fooled anyone, Diantha rolls her eyes, immediately tattling on the ancient Viking with a whine she’s ashamed of, “He’s been playing solitaire for three hours, Pammy.”
"I have not," Eric immediately retorts, turning his head to now glare at the demon, a threat replacing the softness of his smile for Pam, daring the demon to rat him out further. Which, of course, she does without hesitation.
"There’s a mirror behind you, dumbass," Diantha says innocently, causing Eric to slowly turn his neck until he sees his informant.
Even though he’s caught out, he doesn’t seem to care in the least, merely turning his glare back to Diantha. But before he can speak, Pam perches beside him, sitting on the arm of the chair. Diantha watches with a slight smirk on her face as Eric immediately closes the laptop, tossing it to the table before him as his arm encircles her slim waist, holding her closer. Pam smiles knowingly, lowering her lips to his ear, whispering so low that not even Diantha can hear. But she can see how Eric reacts, leaning into her touch like a man starved. And when they pull away, Diantha watches quietly as they have an entire conversation through a simple glance. Perhaps she’s getting used to it after being around them for months, or it might be because she knows Pam is more for this than her maker, but Diantha can see the exact moment Pam wins, and Eric sighs in defeat; like a child finally having to clean his room before he can go out and play. Leaning back in his chair as he sets his boots firmly on the polished floor, Eric’s arm tightens even more around Pam’s waist when she tries to rise, holding her down to remain beside him.
Diantha’s struck by how regal they suddenly, effortlessly look. Even with Pam’s bare feet and Eric’s simple black tank top. He sits in the hotel chair as if it were a throne, elevating Pam beside him as if to broadcast the only woman who can control him. She realizes she’s been staring too long when they both raise their brows, mirror images of the other. At least this time it’s Pam who speaks to her, smirking as if she knows exactly what is running through the demon’s mind. And with her words, she twists the scenario so that it’s suddenly Diantha’s fault that they are running behind, though Diantha can see the smile tugging at her lips, and the amusement behind her softly spoken words, “It’s nearly dawn, Diantha. Don’t you have something to do?”
Pam blinks at Eric in surprise for a moment before a smile begins to grow, spreading across her face at the thought that she could bring happiness to someone as stoic as Godric sounds to have been. But as quickly as her smile grows, she suddenly becomes bashful, her eyes dropping as she ducks her head.
“You’re just saying that because I don’t know any better,” she whispers.
Her eyes widen when he grips her chin, jerking her gaze back up to his, his eyebrow arched high in challenge. His voice is gruff, but she can feel the amusement in his blood as he growls at her, “Are you calling me a liar, Pamela?”
“Maybe,” she answers him teasingly.
He bares his fangs at her, a sight that has been many creatures last, but she merely giggles, reaching up to flick one of his sensitive teeth with her finger, before dissolving into a fit of giggles at the look of pure shock on his face.
After a moment, he barks out a laugh, his hand rising to sink his fingers into her hair to pull her closer so that their foreheads rest together. His hand curves around to cup her cheek, his thumb tracing her bottom lip, his smile still in place as he whispers, “This is what made him smile.”
“What?” she asks dumbly, blinking at him.
“Your smile,” he replies, “Your laughter. We had fun, Godric and I, but your laughter, all your giggling. It was new. For both of us.”
“Was it contagious?” she asks sweetly, her own hands rising to cup his cheeks, “Did I make you giggle?”
“I do not giggle, Pamela,” he growls, spitting out the word with contempt.
“Yes you do,” she answers matter-of-factly, pulling away to nod her head. “Like a schoolgirl. Usually at me.”
“With you,” he tries to correct her, but she shakes her head, her smile still in place.
“No, at me.” She tilts her head to the side, regarding him curiously as she asks him softly, “Is that why Godric smiled? He was making fun of me too, wasn’t he?”
Again, he laughs, and Pam’s brows furrow, thinking for sure that her assumption must be correct. But once Eric regains control of himself, he shakes his head, his smile still in place. “No, Pamela, he wasn’t laughing at you, per se,” he answers, and she stares down at him with interest as he leans back, propping himself up on his hands in the leaves behind him. “Most of the time, he was laughing with you, at me.”
Her mouth falls into a perfect circle for the briefest of moments before her head falls back with a laugh, the tinkling sound of her giggles ringing out in the small clearing they reside in. She’s biting her lip when her head rolls to look down at him again, a playful gleam in her eye as she leans closer, resting her hands on his chest.
“He liked me because I picked on you,” she whispers, arching a brow high, part question and part statement.
“He did enjoy that, it seems,” Eric answers with a warm chuckle.
“He liked seeing you get put in your place,” she goes on, her uncertainty still lifting her tone until he confirms her beliefs.
“He did,” he answers, this time punctuating his words with a soft growl.
“You like it when I put you in your place, too,” she murmurs as she lowers her lips to his, his growl becoming louder and more choppy in response.
“From time to time I do,” he breathes against her lips, and she giggles as she shoves him backwards, hovering over him as he falls flat on his back in the leaves.
She pounces on him, her lips meeting his in a rough kiss, her hands sinking into his hair, wrenching his head up off the ground so that their kiss can deepen. His hands automatically settle on her waist, before they slide up her arms, tugging the straps of her sundress down her shoulders as he returns her kiss greedily.
His growl fades into a moan as she grinds herself down onto his lap, her tongue dragging across his extended fangs as one of his large hands delves into the top of her sundress, but Pam suddenly freezes as she hears air moving around them, and then panting breaths and the familiar scent she knows all too well.
She sits straight up, tugging her dress back up over her breasts, clutching it to her chest as her eyes fall on Diantha, who stands wide-eyed at the edge of the woods, panic clearly written across her features.
Pam rolls her eyes, knowing that she’s being hypocritical considering her fear moments before, but since Diantha doesn’t need to know that she, too, got scared, she speaks all the same.
“Why, Diantha,” she purrs, turning her head to grin down at Eric as he once again begins tugging down her top, “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“Not a ghost,” Diantha breathes out as she strides closer to where Eric and Pam lay on the ground. “Ghosts aren’t real. This is,” she all but mouths, leaning down to wrap a warm hand around Pam’s arm, wrenching her to her feet. Eric follows suit, though his growl dies on his lips as Diantha’s eyes flash dangerously black. She’s aware the exact moment the scent hits him; the stench of sulfur. His eyes find hers before they flicker toward the dock where the boat is moored, and then toward the sky as his hands fall to Pam’s small waist. But Diantha dashes both plans in a hissed whisper, shaking her head quickly from side to side, “Not quick enough. They already know.”
Eric opens his mouth, his fangs bared as if he would argue. Diantha flashes her own sharp teeth, and all fear that had been in her voice when they first arrived had evaporated; her focus already turned toward walking off this island in one piece. “You keep your mouth shut, Northman. You have to trust me.”
Diantha doesn’t give him a chance to answer her, hoping that for once the overgrown Viking will keep his lips locked as she turns away from them, striding to stand a few feet in front of them, facing the dilapidated building she just ran through. It had all come together so quickly. Her unease, the fires that Eric described, panic and chaos; breeding grounds for her own kind. Of course there’s a portal here. An entrance to the darker side of Faery. And of course someone would decide to come through; because they were unprepared and sitting fucking ducks, the three of them.
She can hear Pam and Eric whispering in what she’s come to recognize is Swedish; but they talk so low that even she cannot differentiate the few words she knows. She’s just about to remind them to kindly shut the fuck up when her entire body tenses. Her blood begins to throb in her veins, growing warmer by the second. Another demon is near, and quickly approaching. Almost on instinct, Diantha’s body relaxes, her demeanor calm; why should she fear one of her own kind?
The demon who suddenly appears in front of them looks as surprised to see the trio as they are to see her. She’s tall, for a demon at least. And with her long blonde hair and deep blue eyes, it’s unnerving when she smiles at Diantha. Her face is all sharp angles, her teeth lethal in her mouth. The demon’s bright eyes glance behind Diantha’s shoulder, where Diantha can only hope her two blonde vampires remain.
“Halfing,” the female demon greets her, almost seeming friendly, though her eyes continue to dart unnaturally fast between Diantha and the vampires. “What have you got there, little one?”
“Just wanted some Italian food,” Diantha grins, even throwing in a wink. “Spaghetti and meatballs weren’t cuttin’ it, ya know?” she smirks, taking a chance to glance over her shoulder, her green eyes meeting Eric’s narrowed blue. Never take your eyes off the biggest threat. The ghost of her father’s words snap her eyes back to the other demon; and though even the thought of him makes her grimace, she knows the biggest enemy at the moment is directly in front of her. No matter how many times Eric has tried to choke her, throw her out, and even bite her head off, he’s not the enemy. He’ll also have the fend for himself if this doesn’t work. And while he may sometimes get the upper hand during their little fights, she doubts he would last long against a full blooded demon.
“Human food,” the blonde demon spits out, though Diantha can see her eyes linger on Eric; at least she assumes it’s Eric, judging from the tilt of her chin. “How did you manage to get them here?”
“Oh you know,” Diantha shrugs easily, before reaching up to tap the side of her head. “They get some new space in their heads, and I get dinner. Win win.”
“Yes,” the she demon purrs, taking another step closer. “But surely you don’t need both of them,” she reasons. “You can have the woman. Let me have him.”
“They’re both mine,” Diantha’s voice rings out with the finality of her claim, though the demon doesn’t seem bothered in the least.
“You wouldn’t even know what to do with him, child,” she says in a soft tone, and Diantha watches as her eyes drift downward. “He could be a very fun toy. I won’t even kill him; you can keep your deal.”
“Nah,” Diantha says levelly, her eyes flashing, mirroring every step that the other demon takes. “No deal.”
“I wasn’t really asking, Halfling,” the demon hisses now, her own eyes flashing a dangerous black.
“Answer is still the same,” Diantha grins, though there is no amusement in her tone. “No means no.”
It happens so quickly that even Diantha doesn’t see the demon until she’s launched herself across the open space, tackling the red headed demon to the hard ground. You won’t be faster; but you will be smarter. Again her father’s words are hissed from the recesses of her mind; lessons she was taught at a young age, too young for fighting. But they spur her to move, and her elbow wrenches back to find its target on the demon’s jaw. Her head snaps back, but she’s back on her feet in no time, teeth bared as Diantha does the same. This time it’s Diantha who moves first, slamming into her and throwing her back a few feet, their hair tangling in a blur of red and gold as they fight in the moonlight.
It’s a trade from then on, with Diantha parrying and sidestepping every attack; her teeth sinking into whatever pieces of flesh she can reach. Only once does Diantha look away, in time to see Eric reaching out to keep Pam in place; he’s caught on quickly that they stand a chance if Diantha knows where to block the other demon from. One slip up, and they’d never get away quick enough.
The second Diantha’s eyes tear away, her mouth pulls back in a howl as the demon’s teeth slash against her throat, and she can feel her warm blood spill down her shirt. It doesn’t slow her down, but the blood makes her grasp slip from where it was wrenched around the demon’s hair. Diantha stumbles, hissing in anger as she turns swiftly. But the demon seems to think she’s down for the count, and makes the mistake of stopping to stare down her two prizes. They will underestimate you. Let them. Use it as a weapon. They won’t make the same mistake twice, one way or another. It’s all Diantha needs to reach her, her fingers easily sliding the iron blade from her boot in a practiced mood. And when she plunges it through the demon’s neck, it’s Eric’s eyes she holds as the severed head blinks in surprise before the body crumbles to dirt.
“Do you want me to blindfold him, too, Eric? Fuck me on a stick,” Diantha breathes incredulously. Her green eyes dart up to his ancient blue stare as he stands a few feet from her in the small interior room of the villa. He’s already cleared it of any furniture; leaving no hints or clues to where they actually are in world. Even the walls are bare, and if a human had been in their midst Diantha doubts that they would be able to see their hands in front of their face.
“This is on my terms, demon,” Eric says quietly, and Diantha can see how he speaks with a clenched jaw; clearly on edge at the fact that another demon is about to be close by.
“He’s my brother,” she reminds him, though she knows she doesn’t exactly have the best family history with Eric.
“Which is exactly why my trust and expectations are already lowered,” Eric growls. He seems on the verge of saying more, but Pam’s fingers wrapping around his upper arm silences him. Diantha shoots her a thankful smile, which she returns quickly before pulling Eric around to face her. Diantha’s not sure what she says to soothe her butt hurt maker, but when Eric turns back around, he gives Diantha a quick nod; her signal that he’s ready.
Diantha steps into the middle of the small room, very aware that both sets of blue eyes are riveted on her own. She closes her eyes slowly, retreating into that inner point in her mind; the same place she can feel the fire burning, the same place she has put up her own walls of defense. Gently, cautiously, she seeks out her brother across the black chasm, all the while hiding from her own father. It’s tricky enough, but it doesn’t help when she can hear Eric growing more and more irritable by the second. She’s just about to hiss at him to cool his jets when she connects with a mind just like her own. Her lips pull back in strange smile as she hauls her brother through the vortex, rapidly closing the walls behind him as he follows her.
She unsurprised to see him standing bodily beside her, hand in hand as she opens her eyes. Nathan’s eyes, so much like her own, are sparkling with mirth; and for a moment neither demon seems to even acknowledge the two vampires in the room.
“Sister,” Nathan greets her in the hissed tongue of demons, his smile sincere as he steps forward, his fingers brushing her cheek affectionately.
“Brother,” she answers in the same way, though her smile drops from her lips as she gets a good look at him. His eyes are glittering, in an almost unnerving way. And the blood…she can smell the fresh blood that he must have consumed recently; more recently than their little excursion. “Do you have a fucking death wish?” she hisses, grateful that the two vampires cannot understand their language.
“How was I supposed to know you would call?” Nathan answers coolly, grinning from her to ear. “Besides, my baby sister will protect me from the big bad dead man, won’t she?”
Diantha doesn’t bother to answer, only glaring at him before the big dead man in question forces a cough from his mouth, drawing her attention. She turns her head, almost amused to see how differently Eric presents himself now than just a few minutes before, as if this is just another business meeting. Gone is the tension on his face, his clenched fists. He stands almost casually, hands clasped in front of him as he stares at the two demons with an arched brow. But Diantha notices what she’s become all too accustomed to seeing. How he’s a step in front of Pam, blocking her with his massive frame so that she has to peer around him to be seen. To be honest, Diantha had been surprised when he had agreed to let Pam in the same room as her brother; but the only alternative was her being in a room by herself, and that had been out of the question. In fact, Diantha would be surprised now if he ever lets her out of his sight again. But for now, Diantha shakes her head, pasting a bright smile on her face as she stands between Eric and Nathan.
“Nathan, this is my…Eric Northman,” she grimaces, knowing from the way that Eric’s nostrils are flaring that he too can smell the vampire blood on her brother’s breath. For a moment she falters, remembering how her brother spoke of the allure that Eric’s ancient blood must possess. “Eric…this is my brother.”
Nathan, either misreading or ignoring the tension in the room completely, strides quickly across the room, thrusting his hand out as if he expects Eric to take it, “Mr. Northman,” he says with a wide smile, his sharp teeth on full display. “I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure.”
Diantha can’t jump fast enough from the bobbing boat in the canal to the firm stone of the sidewalk. She debates leaning over and kissing the solid ground, but the driver’s grunt reminds her she has yet to pay. With a roll of her eyes, she shoves the last few bills she has on her into his waiting hands before turning on her heel and striding toward the villa. Grumbling as she realizes she doesn’t have a key to let herself in, she raises her fist to knock, hoping that Eric and Pam will hear her over the sounds of their loud fucking.
But it’s only when the door falls open as soon as her hand hits it that she realizes the entire villa is silent. She blinks, confusion washing over her as she slowly steps inside. The scent of blood is the first thing to hit her senses, and for the first time she can recall, it makes her nauseous. It’s theirs, that much is evident, and her eyes widen as she sees it trailing up the stairs, splattered on the walls. It’s dried, a day old at the very least. She follows the path up the stairs, not noticing that her hands are shaking until she reaches out to touch one of the crimson stains.
The upper floor has fared no better, the blood only seeming to have been spilled in greater quantities. It’s dripped along the hallway, and the small couch she had been using as a bed is all but drenched. Swallowing back her fear, she knows she won’t be able to stop searching for the two puddles of goo that will be the final nail in the proverbial coffin. The puddles that used to be her vampires.
Even Diantha, who has seen more blood and violence than even the most vicious of humans has to will herself not to gag when she opens the door to their bedroom. The sheets, once blinding white, are pure crimson as they lay ripped from the mattress. Feathers stir in the light breeze afforded by the open balcony doors, the pillows torn to shreds. Too much blood. Far too much blood. A glance in the bathroom tells her that the attack must have started there, with the tub still filled with red tinted water.
So much blood, but no messy pile that all vampires are reduced to in the end. Diantha takes a deep breath to steady herself, allowing her mind to sift through all that she knows. Not dead; or at least they didn’t die here. Taken, maybe. But to where? If it was her father, surely he would have waited around to drag her into it, or gloat. Or both. Cassius, perhaps. Though it seems unlikely that he would be in Italy. Or that he would have taken them somewhere else. He’d want to end them somewhere Eric felt safe…it would make for a sweeter victory. But just as she begins to realize the list of Eric’s enemies that she plans to hunt down could be longer than even she can know, her eyes flash black as the front door is slammed open.
She’s already at the top of the stairs when the next sound, Pam’s laughter, hits her ears. Diantha makes it halfway down the stairs before her brain recognizes what her eyes are seeing. Eric and Pam, walking through the entrance way, with Eric’s arms laden down with shopping bags. They both glance up; though Pam’s genuine pleasure at seeing her ends with the look of utter annoyance that Eric shoots her.
Before she can stop herself, she’s hurled herself at Eric, her small arms wrapping around his waist as she buries her face against his shirt. Relief floods through her, causing her voice to crack as she all but shouts into the cotton of his shirt, “I thought you were fucking dead, you assholes!”
Figures. At night, alone in an unfamiliar country, with only a shitty hostel to run to for cover after delivering Eric's money to the blonde human and her ramshackle home. And she’s being followed. If it was a human, or a vampire, or really any other member of the supernatural population, Diantha wouldn’t give two shits. They would be dead before their brains even computed the fact. But of course the person following her carries the familiar spicy scent so much like her own. Demon. One of her own.
The only thing she can tell about the person following her every move as she weaves in and out of the streets of London is that, though the scent is oddly familiar, it’s not her father. The constant throbbing in her head is a reminder that she’s managed to block him out, effectively erasing her from his mental grid. A feat which he seems to view as a game, always choosing random times to poke and prod to test for any weakness in her resolve. But this is not her father following her down a deserted alley; even he would not be that stupid. It’s not her sister, or her uncle; they would have no reason to hide from her. That’s all that matters, Diantha thinks to herself as, in a motion so smooth and graceful it’s as if it’s a practiced dance, she pulls the iron blade from her boot and slams the warm body against the brick wall.
The tip of her knife is already digging into the flesh of her stalker as she meets his dark green eyes, so like her own. Though while hers are narrowed with an intent to slaughter, his are wide with a mirth that seems unfitting in the current situation.
"Nathan?" Diantha snarls, his name coming slow to her tongue. Though she knows they share the blood of their father, this is only their second meeting. And names and pleasantries had hardly been exchanged during the first; imminent death can kind of put a damper on those things. But even as the realization that it’s her own half-brother beneath her blade, she only digs it deeper, causing a deep red crimson to trickle down his neck. She has not forgotten that he had been ordered to kill Eric and Pam. And while they had both threatened the duke of Luxembourg, it had only been Diantha staking her claim on them that had allowed them to escape.
"Sister," he’s just able to gasp out, craning his head away from her knife. He grimaces as she’s unrelenting, and she can see the exact moment he realizes that she may end him. He begins to laugh, his throat bobbing as he tries to suppress his chuckle. "Now I truly do see why you’re father’s favorite."
"His favorite little fuck up, you mean," Diantha snarls, finally lowering her blade. If there was anyone else with him, they would have attacked by now. And she’s already quite sure she could handle him if he decides to attack. Besides, Eric and Pam are practically a thousand miles away; safe. “His favorite little blood traitor as I recall; or at least that’s what he said while his fist was introduced to my jaw.” It’s a testament to the fact that cruelty by their father is no foreign thing to either of them from the lack of response from Diantha’s half brother. However, his eyes seem to soften as he makes to reach for her, checking himself when she steps back with her eyes narrowed. “What are you doing here? How did he know where I was?” she asks, wondering what she did wrong, and how she can prevent it from happening again. If she can prevent it from happening again.
"He didn’t send me," Nathan states simply, shrugging one shoulder; the single action seeming to allow them both to slip into a more comfortable stance. "And I doubt I rank high enough on his radar that he bothers to keep track if I stay where I’m put. After all, I’m not his favorite,” he grins, and Diantha rolls her eyes even as a smile tugs at her lips. She’s not sure if it’s some demon trait or if it’s simply that their dark blood recognizes its sibling, but Diantha knows Nathan isn’t lying.
"Well then, why are you here? And how did you find me?” Diantha asks, her eyes searching his, wanting to know where her weakness lies.
"Ah, little sister," he chuckles, wrapping his arm around her shoulder as he tries to steer her out of the alley. But Diantha stands firm, shrugging out of his too friendly embrace. He sighs, holding up his hands as if in surrender, knowing she won’t move until he explains. "Father gifted all of us, did he not? Well…most of us, I suppose. We’re all very quick, we’re all very bright, and we’re all able to at least sink our teeth into a vampire and leave a lasting, if not deadly, mark,” Nathan speaks conversationally, as if he’s telling her something she doesn’t already know. “You of course, are most like him. The flames, the speed, yada yada yada,” he grins, circling his wrist as if to wave it away. “I, on the other hand, can move through the shadows just like daddy.” He turns to face her, a brilliant smile on his face that slowly falls away when he sees her less than impressed expression.
"Cool story, bro," she says in monotone. So he can appear in a cloud of sulfur and smoke just as her father does. It would be impressive…if she hadn’t seen the magicians on Bourbon Street do that same trick. "Does it have a point? Preferably the one I asked for? Like, I don’t know, how you knew where I was so you could pretend to be Houdini?”
"You’ve been hiding for months," Nathan all but whines. "I couldn’t find you. All I could establish was that you had left New Orleans with the two overgrown children you babysit," he smirks. "I’ve been trying nearly every day but your defense was always up." He’s quiet for a moment, regarding her with true respect. "You must be exhausted."
Diantha scoffs, taking another step closer despite herself. She can’t seem to help it; it’s been months without another warm body like her own. Months since she’s looked upon her own family. Months since someone seems to actually understand how hard she’s been working. This time when he reaches for her, she doesn’t shove him away. Her eyes close briefly as his fingers touch her cheek, relishing in the warmth of their contact. But her eyes open, trained on his own, close enough to see her reflection in them, “Why were you looking for me, if not for daddy-dearest?”
Nathan smiles softly, “My owner has a request.”
"You can tell that fucking duke to take his request and shove it up his ancient anus," Diantha spits out, moving to take a step back before Nathan’s hands tighten around her arms, keeping her close.
"I was removed from Luxembourg the same night we met. I have been stationed somewhere new." He shrugs when Diantha arches a brow, "Romania." Diantha knows he can’t possibly tell how her warm blood runs ice cold at the mere mention of the place she has no doubt was meant to be her final resting place. She betrays nothing with her expression, causing him to continue speaking. "I believe there are several of us stationed in different parts of the world. Romania, Germany, Russia…" Diantha only swallows as he rattles off a few more names, knowing without a doubt that they are all of the places in which Cassius must have some influence. And knowing that they are probably the places Eric is intent to steer clear of. She listens intently, holding her breath as she realizes exactly how surrounded they are, and she only releases it when he fails to name Italy. They’re safe. "But, forgive me, you asked why I was looking for you," Nathan breaks through her revere, and she can only nod her head for him to continue. "My new owner’s request; he would like to meet with your master."
"Abso-fucking-lutely not," Diantha hisses, bodily shoving Nathan to the side as she begins to stalk past him. Her heart has let into her throat; a trick, a ploy, a threat. None of them would fare well in Romania.
"I didn’t realize servants could answer for their masters, dear sister," Nathan calls to her, causing her to whirl back around and appear just in front of his face, her bare hands reaching up to wrap around his throat.
"He is not my master,” she hisses. “And in this exact question, our answers would be one and the same. Tell your master to go fuck himself.”
Nathan regards her curiously, and Diantha can see that he does not know how the name of Romania makes her see red. He lowers his voice, speaking calmly despite the fact that her sharp nails are at his throat, “The new king in Romania is no friend to Cassius and it is clear that he is not at all pleased with his influence there. And from the few words between them, it was enough to understand that your Mr. Northman may feel exactly the same way.”
Diantha snorts, lowering her hands, “Eric’s not going to Romania so that your master can bitch about Cassius having influence where he shouldn’t. They’re not going to be best friends for life. We, I mean Eric, doesn’t need friends.” Swallowing, knowing how dramatic it may sound but not caring in the least, she whispers, for some reason trusting her brother, “We need allies.”
Nathan simply nods his head, his fingers tucking a stray auburn lock of hair behind her ear. “May I tell him that?”
"If your new king hasn’t figured that out for himself he has no business being a king," Diantha responds, shrugging her shoulders.
Again, Nathan nods his head. “You’re very loyal to him, aren’t you? I suspect they must not be anywhere close, if your guard is down. You only have to worry about yourself this evening at least.” When she doesn’t respond, he only grins. “How much does he pay you? It must be enough to buy the silence of a demon.”
Diantha smirks, the tally in her head running with the homes Eric has signed over to her for safekeeping, the wardrobes he both knowingly and unknowingly filled, and the world he has shown her; more she’s seen in her entire life. “Enough. He pays me enough.”
Nathan chuckles, his thumb brushing over her bottom lip, “I’m sure the blood alone would be worth it. An ancient creature like that? Nearly makes my mouth water.”
Diantha pulls away, more offended than she has any right to be, given her own past, “I do not drink Eric’s blood.” Seething, she bats his hand away when he reaches for her again, trying to ignore the own craving the mere thought ignites. “He’d throttle me for even breathing too close to him.”
Nathan’s dark laughter rings out in the dark alley, but he cuts off when Diantha growls, shoving against his chest lightly. “Well…there are plenty of other vampires here in…” He stops with a frown, glancing around them enough that Diantha realizes he doesn’t even know where he’s followed her to. “…this place. Now,” he says kindly, tugging her arm through his as he begins to lead her from the alley. “Since the kids are put to bed, can the babysitter have a bit of fun with her older, good looking, and incredibly clever brother?”
Snorting, Diantha feels relief flooding her at his touch, and she’s soon holding him closer as they walk back to the brightly lit streets of London. No harm done. Eric and Pam are still safe and hidden; if anything she’s probably thrown the hounds off their tracks. No harm done at all. “I guess so…but I would have just settled for you, you know.”
:::Fade to black:::
Pam hesitates for a moment before her fingers begin to move again, staring down at the way her natural yet unnaturally red hair slips through her fingers as she continues braiding her hair in an intricate pattern, her fingers moving almost on their own accord in practiced movements that she remembers perfecting on her sisters over a century before.
“It’s okay,” she murmurs after a moment, not truly seeing what the problem is, nor why Eric has such a grudge against her because of it. She shrugs one slender shoulder as she continues to braid the demon’s hair, a small smile curving her lips as she adds quietly, “I suppose I have no room to judge someone for craving blood, now do I?”
Her smile grows when she hears the girl giggle, and with no extra gentleness, she straightens her head when Diantha tilts it to the side, attempting to look at her. Diantha snorts, before she settles back against the couch. “No,” she answers, her smile audible in her voice, “You’ve drank a lot more blood than me.”
This time, it’s Pam that snorts, nodding her head as she finishes her braid. “You’d have to have drank a lot of blood to have drank more than I did just last night.”
“So that’s what was up with you two yesterday,” Diantha answers, and Pam can practically hear her roll her eyes. “Y’all were gross.”
“And yet, you couldn’t look away,” Pam replies, reaching up to pull the hair band from her own ponytail, before wrapping it carefully around the end of Diantha’s perfectly plaited hair.
They lapse into silence again as Pam’s hands fall back into her lap, both of them going back to watch the program on the television, until her peacefulness is interrupted by Marilyn when he decides to join her. She lifts her hand, letting the fluffy kitten settle in her lap, before she begins to idly stroke his fur, his purring erupting around them, sounding much too loud to be coming from such a tiny creature.
Her eyes stay on his bright blue orbs as she speaks, watching as they close into happy slits under her affections. “I…I know what happened there,” she whispers, wetting her lips as she can sense Diantha tense in front of her. “I mean…I don’t remember it. But he…he told me. He told me about…him.”
Diantha doesn’t turn to face her, but she sees her nod her head ever so slightly, just a quick jerk of her chin. Her fingers begin to fiddle with Marilyn’s collar, staring down at the rhinestones set in pink leather as she continues even more quietly, suddenly afraid Eric will appear and force her to stop; to abandon the past as she promised him she would.
“It doesn’t match what I remember…not at all,” she starts, “But I believe him. And…I believe you.”
Diantha suddenly twists to look up at her, and she smiles softly as she’s pierced with the demon’s green eyes, before she looks away shyly, lowering her eyes back to her kitten’s content face. “You helped me when Cassius had us. It’s not hard to imagine you would have helped me when Alfred…” She trails off, her words choking in her throat, the weight of her memories not quite allowing her to speak the words out loud. She forces a smile to her lips before she raises her head, meeting Diantha’s eyes once more. “I trust him. And I trust you. I trust both of you to tell me the truth about the things I can’t remember myself.”
Diantha seems truly shocked at this revelation, and she slowly turns, facing the television once more. Pam’s fingers continue to trail through the kitten’s fur, feeling his small body rumble beneath her fingers, before she breaks the silence once more, knowing her question will seem to come completely out of nowhere.
“You’d tell me the truth if I asked you a question, wouldn’t you?” she asks, and moments later she finds herself under the cat-like gaze of the demon once more, but she doesn’t falter, raising her chin, wordlessly demanding an answer.
“Pr…probably,” Diantha answers hesitantly, but she tilts her head to the side, a gesture Pam takes as an invitation.
Pam knows she’s going out on a limb, pretending to know more about the subject than she truly does. It has been niggling at the back of her mind for the past few days, ever since the night she swore to Eric she would no longer dig into her past, for fear of what she uncovers. But twice now, in passing, and seemingly completely by accident, in the heat of the moment he’s mentioned that she’s his child, twice over. Two times, just like his wife.
Even now, something causes her to phrase her question in a particular way; knowing how crazy it sounds, and half expecting Diantha to look at her like she’s lost her mind before returning her attention to the TV. But that strange feeling forces her to speak, to ask the question that some part of her mind whispers to her to ask, no matter how strange it seems even to her.
“Tell me,” she whispers, holding the demons’ gaze, before letting her words leave her in a rush, fully prepared for the girl to laugh at her stupidity, her curiosity outweighing her promise to him. “Tell me about when I died.”
Diantha holds Pam’s gaze for a long moment, her own green eyes wide in surprise at the question. She’s not sure exactly what she had been expecting, or inviting when Pam had asked her about telling the truth; but it certainly wasn’t this question. Diantha bites her lip as she turns on her knees, resting her elbows on the couch. She tilts her head, causing the braid that Pam worked on to swing to the side, over her shoulder. For some unknown reason, Diantha lowers her voice, “You mean…what I saw of it?”
Pam’s eyes seem to widen in surprise, but only for a second before she controls herself. The action causes Diantha to raise her brows, but Pam nods her head enthusiastically, “Yes. Yes, what you saw.”
Diantha sits back on her heels, lowering her eyes thoughtfully to her hands. A burst of anger wells inside her at the memory of the witch who also stole her husband’s sanity, as well as Pam’s immortality; even though both were returned in the end. When she raises her gaze, Pam seems to scoot backwards, no doubt at the demon’s suddenly darkening eyes.
"I don’t think I’ve ever seen him that scared, Pam," she whispers, her tongue darting out to lick her lips. "Or that unsure. Not even when he poisoned. He’s usually…he’s usually the voice of reason. But he was terrified that night. He wasn’t even crying…he was just…lost.”
Pam is suddenly leaning closer, their faces mere inches from each other; blue meeting green as neither of them seem bothered to blink. A small smirk comes to Diantha’s lips, a cruel imitation of a smile, “He made my husband go first, you know? I guess it made sense at the time; Amin wasn’t as…serious as you were. But I can’t imagine the pain, Pam. He was screaming his head off…and he was a vampire.” She shrugs, cutting herself off, “But it worked…whatever the magic was; it worked.”
She takes a deep breath, smiling a bit easier now, “And then it was your turn. It was almost funny, y’know? Eric wanted you…better. But he didn’t seem to want to let you go. You were the one who convinced him; you walked into the middle of the circle on your own.” Diantha glances down, peering at Pam from beneath her lashes. “It was fucking brave. I don’t think…I don’t think I could have done it. Especially after watching how it affected Amin.”
Diantha takes another deep, shuddering breath; as if she’s suddenly cold. But she perks up, smiling a bit wider. “But it worked. I mean, you went down like a ton of bricks. I didn’t hear what you said when Eric was beside you, but it was good enough for him. And then…yeah…you know,” she shifts uncomfortably. “You guys did the vampire shit.”
Pam seems to be on the brink of saying something else, but she sinks back into the couch cushions, silent. Diantha shrugs, not sure what else she’s supposed to say. “No offense, but I was bit more concerned about my vampire,” she says with a grin. But it stiffens, and she reaches out to touch Pam’s cool hand. “I was there though, when you came back. I don’t think Eric realized anyone else was even around when you opened your eyes. But I saw him. He was…speechless.” As if on cue, a string of curses erupts from the vampire’s impromptu office, showcasing exactly the opposite of speechless. But again, Diantha grins, shrugging her shoulders, “And then you two fucked right there by your grave. So romantic. You guys should write a book.”
Her smile falters a bit when Pam raises her eyes, her lips working before she breathes out in a whisper, “My grave.”
Diantha bops her head, “Yeah. Right there in your own backyard. Well…your old backyard. At your old house.”
Again, Pam only blinks, repeating herself, “My…grave.”
Diantha swallows, her eyes darting to the doorway and then back again. She had overheard enough in the past weeks to know that Pam sometimes relapsed, or couldn’t remember details even after they were told to her. And she had always heard Eric remind her, in a gentle way of course. Smiling softly, Diantha touches Pam’s hand gently, nodding her head again as she speaks in a kind voice, “Yes, your grave. How else do you expect to make a human into a vampire, silly?”
With her ass on the floor and her back against the couch, Diantha raises the volume on the television, trying to drown out the sound of Eric yelling at some poor soul on the phone. She’s grateful when it switches to a commercial, and her hand automatically steals into the bowl of popcorn she made a few minutes ago. She tosses an un-popped kernel towards the kitten who lounges at her feet, though the animal only watches as it bounces away, not bothering to get up and chase after it.
But both of their heads turn as one when Pam suddenly turns the corner, bouncing on the balls of her feet as if she fears she’s intruding. Her blue eyes dart between the demon on the floor and the soft glow of the television before she smiles softly, “Can I join you?”
Diantha narrows her eyes, still feeling a bit awkward after what Eric revealed about her just the other night. But she nods her head, watching with thinly veiled interest as Pam crosses in front of her, wearing only her silk robe, before dropping onto the couch behind her.
"Eric not interesting enough for you tonight?" Diantha asks just as the televisions fades back into her show.
"He’s…occupied," Pam snorts just as his raised voice filters into the room. "I don’t think I helped…I suggested buying those little paper umbrellas for the bar."
Diantha barks out a laugh, craning her neck back to look up at Pam’s proud smile. “You did that once, maybe a few years ago now,” she says easily. “Didn’t order any drink stirrers. Just the umbrellas. I saw them when I came to give Eric a summons from the queen. And then every night for a month when I showed up to demand drinks with them.”
Pam’s surprised laughter rings out, and she touches Diantha’s shoulder, “Did I really? Was he mad?”
"Nah, he was just grumpy until they were gone. Took a few weeks; but from what I understand you never ever had to do the ordering again," Diantha says as she flashes her a grin.
They both settle into silence, watching the television as it illuminates the darkened room, only breaking it when Diantha answers Pam’s softly spoken questions about the show.
"Is it really like that? Is there really a king of Hell; like Crowley?" Pam whispers, her voice soft as they lapse into a commercial once more.
Diantha chuckles, shaking her head in the negative, “No…we’re nowhere near that civilized. It’s more of a power struggle, really. None of us answer to a single demon. It’s more like…I don’t know…you ever watch Game of Thrones?” When Pam shakes her head, Diantha shrugs. “It doesn’t matter that no one stays on top for very long; everyone else is willing to sacrifice everyone else for a chance at it. Makes family reunions a little difficult.”
Both women giggle, and Diantha sits up a bit straighter, stretching her back as the show returns. Mere minutes later, seemingly having no interest in the program, Diantha feels cool fingers trail through her hair, and she stiffens at the touch. Pam immediately pulls away, muttering an apology, “Sorry…I didn’t mean…”
"It’s ‘kay," Diantha whispers as she relaxes, shivering only slightly when Pam’s fingers return to her fiery locks. She can feel her twisting them around her fingers, before the familiar pull lets her know that Pam is braiding her long curls. "My sister usually braids my hair for me…or, well…she used to."
"Your sister is still in New Orleans? At the royal estate?" Pam questions, lowering her voice.
Diantha nods her head, not quite understanding why she’s whispering, too. “Yeah. The only royal messenger for the queen now. She must be loving it.” Snorting delicately, Diantha allows Pam to turn her head, relaxing into the vampire’s cool touch. She can sense Pam’s hesitation before she speaks again, and notes that the vampire waits until Eric’s voice rises again in the other room.
"What Eric said the other night…about how you helped me when…when I was there. I…thank you," Pam says softly, her touch turning soft on the demon’s hair.
"Don’t mention it," Diantha murmurs, squirming a bit as she remembers the other bit of what Eric said about her. Suddenly, it seems very important that she speak up, that she explain herself to this woman who hardly knows anything about her. She doesn’t turn her head, but her voice turns more earnest, and she drops it to a soft whisper.
"I just want you to know, that I never…I never took your blood from you. I mean yeah, I licked your face. But that was it, I swear,” Diantha breathes, her eyes darting downwards in shame. “I…I had a problem. And I know we weren’t friends…but I respected you. Not to mention Eric would have had my head on his wall if I ever touched you,” she snorts. “But I never took your blood. I would never do that…to you at least.” With a sigh, Diantha’s eyes fall closed, realizing Pam’s touch on her hair has stilled. “I’m sorry, though. I’m sorry I wasn’t a better help. And I’m sorry I licked your face. Even if you did taste really fucking good.”
Apparently, pillows do not block out sound as well as they appear to in the movies. Something which Diantha is only just now figuring out. Eric and Pam had returned to the hotel, giddier than usual, and had proceeded to carry on in their bedroom…and the bathroom…and the living room…and back to their bedroom again. They hadn’t even seemed to really care that Diantha had been sitting on the couch at the time; and neither had she if she was being honest.
But now it’s hours later, and Diantha is pretty sure the sun has been up for some time. Still, she presses the pillow over her head, desperate for some sleep. Something the two immortal creatures across the hall don’t seem to have time for. Mercifully, a hush falls over the hotel suite, and cautiously, Diantha peeks out from beneath the pillow. She slowly counts to ten, just as she has been doing, knowing that the noise will most likely pick up again by the time she gets to five. Yet, it stays quiet; and she allows herself to relax without the danger of suffocating herself with the pillow.
Three loud bangs echo on her door, causing Diantha to sit straight up, hissing through her clenched teeth. She all but tumbles to the floor, striding across the room as she shouts angrily, “No fucking way, assholes! This is my room! If anyone is having sex in my room, it’s going to be me. Go bone each other somewhere else!”
She flings the door open, her words cut off when she sees only Eric standing there, his hands behind his back with an arched brow. She glances down, somewhat saddened by the fact that he’s wearing sweatpants. But she shakes her head, her hand flying to her hip in a perfect imitation of Pam. “What do you want? Some of us are trying to sleep.”
"I know," Eric says, looking none too caring while he glances over his shoulder to his own bedroom, "Pam is doing just that. I seem to have…tired her out."
"She’s a vampire, asshole. She doesn’t get tired." Diantha hisses, already making to slam the door, wondering if he only came in to gloat. But he stops it just in time with his foot, shoving his way into her room. She backs up, her arms crossed over her chest and sitting when her thighs hit the edge of her bed. With the look of a magician pulling a rabbit out of his ass, Eric reveals his cell phone which he had been hiding behind his back. Diantha’s eyes dart down to it, before back up to his unreadable face. "The fuck is that?"
"It’s a cellphone," Eric answers, enunciating each word as if she’s been struck dumb. "You use it to call people."
"I know what it is, shit brick. I used to have one. Until someone crushed it when we were boarding a motherfucking plane,” Diantha hisses, recalling how ever since they had left Louisiana, Eric had taken it upon himself to ensure that they were untraceable. And while Pam’s phone had the liberty to merely be turned off and kept on his desk at home, he had clearly not trusted Diantha’s enough to do the same. Since then, she had been reminded weekly not to call from any of their locations, because apparently Eric thought she was five and didn’t understand what “flying below the radar” meant. Even his laptop was untraceable, only allowing emails to come through, which Diantha sorted when she was feeling particularly bored. “I was on a super hard level of Candy Crush, too.”
Eric merely snorts before tossing the phone to her, and her hands reach out to pluck it out of the air. She glares at him quizzically, “Am I supposed to toss it back? Is it a game?”
"You have five minutes," is his only response, and he holds up a finger when her mouth drops open. "You do not tell him where you are. You do not tell him where you have been. And you do not tell him where we are going."
"But I don’t know where we’re going,” Diantha breathes out, her eyes never leaving his face. She keeps waiting for the catch to drop, for him to snatch the phone back. “Who…who am I calling?” she whispers, not truly believing he’s being this nice.
"Five minutes," Eric says again, before turning and striding back out the door, closing it softly behind him before he treads down the hall.
Not wasting any time, Diantha hurriedly dials the number she knows from memory, holding the phone up to her ear before glancing at the time. He’ll still be asleep; and she realizes too late that that was part of Eric’s plan. But she doesn’t care, can’t allow herself to when she has only minutes.
Even as the phone goes to voicemail, Diantha’s heart soars when she hears his voice telling her to leave a message, the sound warming her already fiery blood. She sucks in her breath when the beep sounds, causing her voice to come out broken. “Amin….it’s me. Di.” She takes a shuddering breath, all of the words flying from her mind. “I…I’m sorry this is a message. I only have a few minutes.” She smiles as she feels warm tears begin to stream down her face, “But hey, I’m alive. So that’s good news, right? And not possessed so…you know, better than usual.” She chokes on a sob, dragging her sleeve messily under her nose.
The five minutes seem to disappear in seconds, and Eric is soon back at her door, his gaze telling her her time is up. “I have to go, Amin. But…but call this number back…it’s okay…it’s untraceable. Leave a message if you have to,” Diantha’s eyes flicker to Eric when she hears his growl, but it doesn’t stop her. “Eric will deliver it to me.” She swallows, whispering her last words, “I love you, Amin. I’m so sorry that I must be the worst wife ever. But I love you.”
She presses the button to terminate the call as quick as she can, not sure she would be able to if she waited another second. Wordlessly, with her tears still falling down her cheeks, she holds it out, waiting for Eric to take it. She drops her hand the moment he does, and when she looks up again it’s only to see his back as he strides to the door.
"Eric," she calls out softly, but in full knowledge that he can hear her. He doesn’t exactly look back, just turns his head enough to show that he’s waiting. Despite the tears that still slip from her eyes, she manages to smile, amusement filtering through her tone. She knows exactly why she was allowed her phone call; exactly what he was trying to say by giving it to her. And just to make sure he knows that she knows, she speaks in a sure voice, knowing it will bother him all the more.
:::Fade to black:::
For what seems like the hundredth time, Diantha sighs; loud enough to make several people in front of her turn and glare over their shoulders. But she barely sees them, too lost in her thoughts that she is surely going to die while in line at a government building. In a yellow sundress. What a way to go.
Tapping her foot on the cool marble floor of the lobby, she crosses her arms over her chest, recalling what made her step into this quiet, stuck up, hell. She had just been on the verge of sleep when Eric and Pam had returned. And while her questions about why they were both covered in dirt had gone unanswered, she had been unceremoniously dragged from her bed by the bigger, blonder, asshole. Scrawling out an address on a piece of the hotel’s letterhead, he had commanded her to find out its history, specifically who laid claim to it now. Her eyes had flickered to the tinier asshole, prepared to argue; but the look on Pam’s face had stalled her, and Diantha had recognized the silent plea behind her blue eyes.
And that was how she had come to this; dressed ‘inconspicuously’ as Eric had requested, waiting in line with only a scrap of paper in her hand, her backpack slung over her shoulder. She shuffles her feet as the line slowly moves up, blowing her auburn curls out of her face. “The things I do for these fuckers, huh?” she questions the woman standing just behind her, who only smiles a bit nervously, nodding in the hopes that this strange girl will turn away again.
"Fuck this shit," she shoves her way out of line, whirling on the man in front of her who coughs in disgust, "And fuck you, too!" Diantha makes her way down the hallway, following the signs for the loo (the word still making her giggle) at the back of the building. The bathroom is thankfully empty, and she wastes no time in locking herself in the largest stall. She climbs up onto the seat of the toilet, and stretches her hand up the ceiling, directly over the smoke detector she sees there. "The roof…the roof…the roof is on fiyah,” she sings to herself, calling forth the flames that reside in her blood. A small flicker soon engulfs her palm, and she stretches, leaning closer to the detector. Within seconds, the wailing scream of the alarm fills the building, muffling her triumphant laughter as she lands on her feet, running from the bathroom.
The quiet she left behind is now full thrown chaos, with people sprinting up and down the halls. Diantha waits patiently, her back to the wall, scouring the crowds for anyone who looks official. Finally, a rotund man rounds the corner, huffing and puffing in his haste to escape. Diantha reaches out, snatching his arm and turning him around before he can even process it. He stares down at her in surprise, sweat pouring from his face as he gasps, “Fire…there’s a fire!”
"Oh, that?" Diantha points to the flashing alarms as she drags him to the stairwell; and the man is too exasperated to notice how strong she is for such a small girl. "Someone is probably just smoking weed in the bathroom." She halts, turning her head toward him with a quizzical expression, "Do y’all have weed here? Like, do you know where I can get some?" The man only stares, horrified as she shoves him up the stairs. Diantha shrugs, "No? Okay, maybe later." They fall into a hallway on the second floor, almost all of the office deserted with her impromptu fire drill. "Where’s yours?" The man points down the hall, still trying to catch his breath as he realizes he’s not about to die a fiery death.
Diantha finally shoves the poor man into his chair behind his polished desk, and she sinks gracefully into the chair on the opposite side. The man sputters as she pushed her paper across to his, leaning up on her elbows, “My mast— my client would like some information regarding this property. Preferably today. Before nightfall. He’s sort of on a schedule.”
The human raises his brows, not looking at the paper but at her, “Your…client? You…you have a legal background?”
Diantha arches a brow, knowing exactly how she looks in her borrowed sundress, white flip-flops, and her unruly red curls. She has no doubt that she has learned more at her uncle’s knee than this man could ever hope to know. But she smiles, letting just the tips of her sharp teeth show over her lips. “Yes. Yes I do.”
The man grumbles, before shoving the paper back at her, “It’s a very old property.”
Undeterred, Diantha hands it right back, “No shit. You should see my client.”
Again, the man slides the paper back, “Just as well, there is a waiting list for this kind of information. Several weeks in fact. Your client can schedule a meeting then.”
Diantha’s smile only grows, and she leaves the paper with the mysterious address in the middle of the desk. “See, that won’t work for him.” She leans back in her chair, reaching for her backpack. “The thing you need to know about my client is that, first and foremost, he’s a fucking asshole. He tends to think that the world revolves around him.” Snorting, she begins to unzip the bag, pinning the human with her emerald green stare. “Except, the only difference with him is, he’s not wrong about that fact in most cases.” Diantha smiles serenely, keeping the bag’s contents to herself. “But the most important thing about my client is that while he’s an asshole,” she very carefully turns the bag toward the human, revealing the stacks of bills that Eric himself placed there, dropping her voice into a triumphant whisper as the man’s eyes grow wide, “He’s a very rich asshole.”
:::Fade to black:::