Thursday, December 21, 2017

Christmas and a Vampire - Part 21

"Sucks, man," Seth said. "My siblings are gone, my parents. Only family I have are the Hunters and some distant great-nieces and nephews I barely know."
"In a way, it's a blessing that you can't have children," Dirk said sadly. "You'd either have to watch them fight along side you, or grow old and die. I think that it was as well that my wife and children died before the war. That way, they never had to see what I've become." He turned away, unable to meet their eyes. He felt shame for the first time in decades. "I've done horrible things in my time. Remorse isn't something that comes easily to my kind."
Rafaela took his hand. "It's the remorse that separates you from the others. It's what keeps me loving you." She kissed his fingers as she gazed into his eyes.
Seth cleared his throat uncomfortably. "I don't think that it's possible for any of us to live without regrets. We all have more than our share."
The other two nodded. They had killed enemies, seen friends and loved ones die and lived with the consequences and the memories.
Dirk shook himself. "This doesn't get us in there without being killed."
"He's bound to anticipate that we can't resist such a gathering," Seth said. "What I find mind boggling is that he'd sacrifice his coven just to get us."
"Our sire let his children die horribly when I went to kill him. I still don't know how I lived through that."
"Balls and tenacity," Seth replied.
"I was gonna say sheer stupidity," Dirk teased. "But okay."
"If he knows we're coming and he wants us there for his own purposes, it will be easy to get in," Rafaela said. "Getting out presents a problem. If we deliver our special with Dirk in the room, it could kill him. If we fight our way out, delivering our gift is anticlimactic."
"Then he doesn't go in," Seth said. "The Lord wants us as much...."
"Or more," Dirk interrupted.
"Or more, than Dirk. Won't he wonder if we go in without him?"
"I can Houdini out," Dirk suggested.
"He's bound to know you can do that. What if he's figured out a way to keep you in?"
"It's a risk I'm willing to take," Dirk said. "If it kills me too, one less vamp to worry about."
Seth looked away. "That was my attitude yesterday. Then you saved Rafaela's life, risking your own. I may not like you much, Dirk, but that counts for something."
"Warming up to me, huh?" He punched Seth's shoulder.
"Not in a million fucking years."
"In a million years, if we're all still alive, I guarantee we'll be friends," Dirk replied.

They spent the rest of the day planning and arming themselves from the weapon stores from the cabins. Dirk was impressed. He usually relied on his vampire abilities to see him through a fight, but this time, he wasn't averse to arming himself to his fangs. Having been a soldier more than once, he looked through the armories with a discerning eye.
"I'll carry the light bomb," Seth said. "I'm more familiar with it than you two. If they take me out, at least you both know what to do."
"You'll forgive my reluctance to have anything to do with it," Dirk said, shying away. "God forbid anything goes wrong with it, I am, quite literally, toast."
Though he was reluctant to touch it, Dirk learned how to arm and set the timer on the light bomb. He didn't like touching it, but made himself deal with it. Their lives could depend on his ability to set it and he wouldn't let them down.
They ate a light supper before retiring for the night. They planned to head out in the morning. It wasn't a long drive, but they wanted to stop nearby and get some rest before proceeding to the Vampire Lord's mansion. Rafaela was loading the dishwasher. Dirk took Seth aside.
"Man to man, I need to ask a favor."
"I'd already planned to head home for awhile. Gonna catch a nap," he replied, looking somewhat uncomfortable. "I don't begin to understand this relationship you two have, but I know the kind of love you share. If I could get Miri back, even for one night...." He sniffed sharply, shaking his head. "You know what time we're getting on the road. I'll be back. Don't keep her up too late."
"Scout's Honor," Dirk swore.
"You weren't a Boy Scout," Seth remarked with a frown.
"On the contrary, I was a founding member. You just won't find my name on any of the historical documents."
Seth chuckled. "That's just outrageous enough to be true." He called goodbye to Rafaela and left.
Dirk joined Rafaela in the kitchen, helping her clean up. When the dishwasher was going, he took her in his arms, kissing her deeply.
"If this is going to be our last night together, I want to make it count," he murmured. "I love you more than I can possibly tell you."
"I love you too, Dirk. You are the best thing that's ever happened to me."
"The worst, too, I bet," he teased.
"Never. What you said about having a child.... My deepest regret is that I've never been able to have your baby."
© Dellani Oakes 2017


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