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A Chance Encounter

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A Chance Encounter.

By Dascha Lebedev, Atticus Sterling and Kravien

It was several days after the escape of subject 84… The vampire made sure to give hell to those who were responsible in the misfortunate event. It was his prized experiment. The one holding the genes that he had specifically formulated together and yet the project was still unfinished. There was always more to be done, especially since the blood had not been perfected just yet. He had to get out of the house, especially when there was work being done to it. The windows had been blown out because of his rage and any sort of glass and breakable object was caught amidst his tantrum and was shattered which left the old Victorian mansion in shambles. He was not pleased at all about current events and it showed. It was a great loss for 84 to just slip from his hands like that. Losing a valuable subject was never a good experience for anyone. He had almost lost 84’s mother, but due to his desire to seek out the continuation of using and replicating her blood, she was frozen solid in a cryo tank until further technology and knowledge of her condition was brought to his attention. For now, he had the creature’s daughter. How the hell had she slipped in? It was a wonder and he did wish to find out how she was conceived. What was the father? Did he have the creature hiding in one of his herds? The herds were always separated by sex to keep the subjects from reproducing without his acceptance. It was crucial to him to keep children out of his grasp, having a very sentimental hold on him due to what humanity he had left behind those monstrous steely gray eyes. 
As of now, Sterling was outside of the walls of his home, appearing in a rather busy tavern located in a village just a few miles away from the holding facility that 84 had escaped from. He had entered in the usual manner, just a breeze through the doorway and was seated in a lonesome booth that was safely covered in shadows, hidden from any UV lighting and open flames. Humans… He was in the mood to hunt and tonight was a good night to spill some blood. It would allow him to get some of his pent up frustration out on a victim. Hungry eyes scanned the room as he sat with crossed arms, a hand lifted slightly to balance a glass of warm blood to keep his appetite eased up until he found the perfect suitor to his hunger. People came and went, going to and fro without a care in the world for what sat out in the open near them. A monster.. Vampire.. Creature of the night.. They were all like sheep and he was the wolf hidden in their wool. Such a perfect disguise for a damned being such as himself to just waltz around as if he were perfectly human, when in all odds he was the opposite.

It took a great deal of effort on Dascha’s part to coax herself into using the handle rather than simply letting wood disintegrate into tiny shards and splinters but that would hardly be consistent with maintaining a low profile and so, slender fingers curled to tug the door open. She slid her small frame inside the room with as much stealth as she could muster and inched along the wall as she moved, leaning against it for a moment. Her features were concealed in shadow, her identity obscured by the hood that was drawn over her face however one would be able to glimpse the swirling movement of her eyes beneath for they shone with their own light, dancing with shifting colors that replicated an autumn sky barnacled with drifting clouds. A collection of spinning pastel blue, grey and white rolling through pale depths. The collar of the dark coat she wore was pulled up to her neck, covering the thick and bold black lettering of the tattooed number that was branded beneath her left ear. The mark that identified her to those that were surely looking for her by this point however the tiny Russian knew that no amount of camouflage could disguise the scent of her blood. The aroma would be both intoxicating and maddening to those that could detect the powerful and addictive elixir that lay buried within her veins, near perfected by the genetic engineering and the transfusion of so many delectable strands fused together.

The second 84 had entered, his nose flared and blackened eyes flickered over to meet the hooded figure that had strolled in. Was that… It couldn’t be, could it? He did know what she tasted like.. Or at least what part of her tasted like. He hadn’t tested the base blood that had been untainted by his modifications, but he knew exactly what stage her blood was in at the moment and how it tasted since he had consumed a small portion of it that previous night when sampling the small vial. The glass of blood was discarded, set down atop the table to be ignored for the rest of the evening. No.. You can’t scare her away, just wait

 Ignorant to Sterling’s attentions, bathed in shadow as he was, Dascha’s cloudy gaze moved about the room, darting to and fro warily before the echo of her boots signaled her approach towards the bar. A final glance was thrown to the occupants that milled about and though she saw no faces that gave her immediate cause for alarm, the woman remained on edge. “Vodka and lemonade” She said in a low voice as she leaned over the bar, a lilt of an russian accent to be heard. As she waited, the woman clutched at the fabric of her coat, keeping the hood that draped over her features securely in place.

Frowning, he tightened his arms against his chest and watched the young woman as she seated herself at the bar, ordering a liquor. Was it questionable that she had ordered a drink? Sure.. But perhaps she had heard something similar from her mother or someone else in the compound? He mulled over the idea as he watched, steely grey eyes following her movements, studying her body language. 

Dascha gave a nod of thanks when her drink arrived, sliding it close towards her yet she did not lift it to take a sip. The order was merely for show, an example of her keen observation skills and innate ability to mimic those around her. In truth, had she not felt obligated to gingerly sip at the potent liquid in order to blend in with her surroundings, she might have remained ignorant to its taste considering she had spent her entire life as a prisoner. Until now.  A small determined smile flickered, lips curving into an expression of victory. They would never put her in chains again. She would never have to howl in pain as they forced the sharp point of a needle beneath her flesh or have her veins tapped and drained of blood. A crackle of panic interceded on her thoughts then, allowing herself to imagine what might happen if she was found. One hand curled into an angry fist, the edge of her nails carving themselves into her palm. She would rather die than let herself be taken back into captivity. It was true that it was the only life she had ever known but just the memory of the day they tore her mother away from her was enough to remind Dascha why she fought so hard to secure her freedom. That, and the fear of what they might do to her next, how they might alter her in ways that transformed and mutated the power within her leaving her with long lasting and sometimes unpredictable side effects. It was terrifying to not know oneself, a stranger to your own capabilities and there were times when she wondered if the reflection that gazed back at her was one of her own making, or theirs. How much of her was man made, crafted through experimentation, and how much was Dascha?

Sterling would leave the woman to her silent thoughts for a few minutes before deciding that enough time had passed so that it did not seem awkward if he had just come up to her and seated himself abruptly. So, he stood to his feet and traveled over to her with a deafening silence, allowing for the chatter and scrambling of the other guests to drown out any sound that came from his footsteps. A fist brushed its knuckles against his lips when he was just behind her and a light cough came from him to make his presence known to her. 

Dascha did not hear his steps as he approached, so silent and graceful were they. When he coughed, the small sound made her stiffen instantly. She turned in her chair and in the same moment, the fingers of her free hand fluttered towards her hood, tugging at it nervously whilst the other patted at the dark fabric of her coat near her neckline, checking to ensure the inked marking beneath was still obscured. Dascha regarded the stranger in tense silent expectation, the shifting colors of her gaze mirroring soft bands of foggy clouds that were gathering together in slow moving swirls only to separate once more. 
“Yes?” She asked.

“May I sit here? You seem.. lonely. Taverns like this can be quite dangerous for a woman to show up on her own at night, mistress.” He smiled, keeping his lips shut to seal away those extended fangs. Yes.. This vampire was dying to catch a victim, even more so to smell the delicious and savory blood that sat just in front of him but he resisted the urge to sink his teeth into her neck.. 

 His words were met with a clear look of guarded suspicion. She scoffed, raising a brow at his remarks though it was not long before a wry smile appeared. How could she not be amused by his words? Nowhere was safe. Whether it was night or day. Not for her, at least. Danger was lurking around every corner, waiting to tackle her and drag her back into the darkness. But she refused to be consumed by it. 
“I am more than capable of taking care of myself and I have been lonely most of my life” She murmured in a hesitant voice, eyes sweeping to take in every aspect about the male from the brooding shade of his storm coloured eyes, a mesmerizing slate grey, to the tailored suit that adorned his well cut figure before her attention rose to settle on his face and the disarming smile that adorned his well sculpted features. She stared in silence, clearly internally debating the request, glaring as if trying to determine if the stranger was a threat or not 

 “If you wish to drink alone, I get that too. Total stranger randomly wanting to sit next to you..” He said quickly, feigning awkwardness as he reached up and scratched his head, giving a gentle shrug. Take it easy, Sterling.. Just chill. No need to scare away the poor fawn. Give her a reason to trust youHe cleared his throat, glancing meaningfully over his shoulder at the tables that were full of many heavily built men whilst some were scraggly and worn looking. Mean… Dangerous… Foul. These beings were nothing compared to him but how would the woman know that? To her, he would seem like a perfectly well dressed and respectable man just showing some decency by offering up his companionship for the night. 
“I might’ve seen one or two of those guys give you a look over. Don’t want to be taking home one of those odd fellows. Never know what you are getting yourself into with their kind” He added

“Y-You did?” She stammered, the smile she wore becoming frayed as she followed the look he shot over his shoulder and as her vision landed on the cluster of rough looking characters, a pang of shock and sudden panic was set off. Her lips tugged into a tight frown and internally, she cursed herself for the weakness she heard in her voice. But she could not help it. What if one of those men was watching her at this very moment? Staking out the best way to corner her? Paranoia sent alarm bells ringing as her gaze darted between the group and the suave and elegantly presented man before her. It wasn’t as if he looked like the type hired to snatch people from the street, did he?  He held none of the same cruel mannerisms as the guards, or the detached apathy of the doctors that jabbed and prodded her with needles and questions. 
“You may sit. And I guess I owe you a small amount of thanks for the kindness in your warning” She said with a reluctant nod before focusing on her glass of vodka and taking a tiny tentative sip before placing it back down, mostly untouched.

Accepting her words with a nod, Sterling took a seat and crossed one leg over the other in a comfortable manner before glancing at the bartender. 
“Can I get a whiskey?” Ah yes, just a human drink.. Not that he would or could actually drink it. No, it would just sit there for the remainder of the conversation. It was just to use as a distraction for himself to keep a sane mind. Just a tool for fidgeting while being in the woman’s presence while he was both angry and eager to get her back to the facility. Yet, he could not rush this. There is no telling what kind of powers the subject possessed since she had shown several different signs of violence towards the doctor and guards at the compound. A glass was set down for him beside the hooded woman as he offered another glance to the table of men before his eyes refocused on 84.
She was obviously on edge.. Probably nervous about being caught and thrown back to the compound. Well, it wasn’t like he was going to take her directly to the compound when he did succeed in catching her. No, he had other plans. The woman would surely know her way around that building, so it would be best to keep her elsewhere. Probably in some underground location. A bunker? Like one of his cryo facilities? Perhaps that was the best option, keeping her unconscious for most of her diffusions and modifications. Only then would there be little chance for her to escape. That or they could simply perform a lobotomy on her to erase the “idea” of escaping from her.. And possibly even her memories that more than likely fueled this rebellious nature that caused her disappearance. 
“Might I ask your name?” He spoke, twirling the glass of whiskey between his fingers, watching as the amber colored liquid swirled like a whirl pool in its container. 

The simple request of her name had her stomach tightening though she quietly reassured herself there was little risk in gifting it when she had only ever been known as 84 to those that sought her recapture. Besides, it was the very first time anyone had ever asked her such a thing and silently, she marveled at how liberating it might feel to be finally acknowledged as a person. 
“Dascha. My name is Dascha” She said with a smug grin for it almost felt like a small victory. An act of defiance against the system which had controlled her for so long.

“Dascha.. Well, miss Dascha. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. Mine is Sterling..” He bowed his head, a nod given as he raised his glass of whiskey up in a cheers to her. His nostrils flared at the scent of alcohol that drenched the air between them. But alas it was not enough to keep the stench of those sweaty and greasy men from his awareness. It made his throat tighten, feeling much like a large cat had clawed down the insides of it.  Dry.. Starving.. Anxious… These were things that plagued him at the moment and as much as he would have liked to rush this recapture, he was going to take his time and allow the woman to walk into his grasp without any force. That would be the issue. Had he forced his hand upon her, there was no telling what powers she possessed and he wasn’t exactly eager to find out what ran through those fingertips.

Sterling. Dascha frowned at the introduction though she was quick to cover the instinct with a fake and practiced smile. Why did the name seem so familiar? Why did it send a cold wave of nostalgia prickling at her skin, like she had heard it before. But that was impossible.. And it wasn’t as if it sounded like a particularly common name. 
“???????” She whispered to herself, the word slipping out quite by accident as she phased back into the only language her mother had ever spoken, a small revenge to the guards she was free to insult in her native tongue

“What was that? I didn’t quite catch what you said.” He spoke, playing dumb to her words. Russian.. So the subject spoke that language. Well, it wasn’t a shocker really. Her mother had spoken the same thing, hadnt she? He blinked a few times to try and rid the thought of devouring those men from his mind. it would be all too easy for him, but the outcome of the woman finding out what kind of creature he was is at stake, so he must be completely sane and sound minded. Be friendly.. Use that vampiric charisma for good.. 
“You seem nervous.. People who enter this place in the same manner that you do are always hiding something.. Or running away from something. I suppose I could be wrong though and you could just be a normal traveler that dines here. Who knows.. Maybe we just haven’t met due to the timing of our visits.” Steely gray eyes glimmered over to her and his lips pulled into a warm smile. Well.. Not warm, but friendly. He himself was actually quite cold to the touch since of course he was an undead and possessed a body that wasn’t necessarily alive by any means aside from the fact that he could take in sustenance and reproduce with the turning of others with a combination of his venom and blood. Other than that, vampires were just walking corpses that carried no smell to those that weren’t keen on recognizing it.

She dismissed his question quickly for there was little chance of the woman revealing the sixth sense of foreboding she had first encountered on hearing Sterling’s name nor did she wish to answer questions about the native lands of a home she had barely seen. Though Dascha’s forced smile did not last long. Not when his next words seemed far too observant and accurate for comfort. Those moving swirls of azure, grey and ivory suddenly darkened a shade, a trickle of deep indigo seeping into the frenzied dance that was contained within her gaze. She gritted her teeth against the tremble she could feel in one hand, masking it by clutching at the drink and forcing down a rough gulp of alcohol which only had her fighting not to gag and choke. .
“Your right. You do have it wrong.” She snapped in a guarded tone though as she caught sight of that smile, the hardness in her features softened just a small amount. Uncertainty wandered through her eyes. Was it just her paranoia making her so on edge with accuracy of his statement? The man hardly seemed like a monster. If anything, he was quite charming. Perhaps even handsome with those piercing smoke colored eyes and dark hair. Perhaps she was being a tad unfair to the very first person who regarded her as something more than an object. With a heavy sigh, she swallowed the venom that was so close to spilling from her mouth. He’s not one of the guards, she reminded herself. Perhaps he might even be a potential ally? Someone to guide her in the best way to expose the inhumane and barbaric dealings that were proving to be part of a much larger network then she could possibly have imagined. 

It was not just Sterling who took note of the woman with interest. Kravien, pretending to watch a patron exiting the tavern listened from across the room. He took a seductive sip of his blood from the crystal glass and when it touched the tip of his tongue, he closed his eyes, but not fully. This is when he would survey his prey. He slowly walked to the edge of the bar and glanced over at Dascha. He had gotten a droplet of blood on his pinky, so he promptly sucked it dry from his finger while staring at her. Not that she seemed to notice. At least, not at first. He was hungry. And something smelled… especially good tonight.

It seemed as though the woman had frozen for a moment, taking her time to formulate an answer to steer him in the other direction of such a question. The thirst was nagging at him, especially with the woman being in such a close range to him. It caused his fangs to extend, digging into his lower lip and gum line. His tongue traced over each of the identical fangs as if to force them back to the normal less convicting ones. There was no need to make his job harder by allowing her a single glimpse of those monstrosities. No, he would prefer to keep himself looking like any other mortal in the room. Yet.. Tonight there seemed to be more vampires like himself in here and he could feel the piercing gaze of one of them being set on his most prized possession. Steel colored eyes flashed a deep sanguine, showing his irritation with the fact that another blood sucker was in close range, eyeing his own prey. Well.. Not prey “exactly'”. Dascha was his project and she must be kept out of harm’s way. 

“I suppose we are all running from something, are we not?” Dascha finally said, keeping her response vague though her voice had warmed considerably so. She even offered a real smile, small as it might be. 
“It is no surprise we have not met before. This is only my second visit to um.. Red Moon? Wait. No. Blue. That’s right, isn’t it?” She asked. At the last moment, Dascha’s attention wavered. Cloudy eyes danced about the room, her gaze pouring over those that had gathered. The room was far more crowded then it had been the only other time she had visited and her shoulders stiffened. It was a big risk to just simply be out in the open but then were they not looking for someone who was on the run? Someone who was making a solid attempt at hiding? As she glanced from face to face, she found herself thrust into the open stare Kravien offered her. Her heart froze, stopping mid beat as she noted the blood at which he sipped, a stray droplet licked from his flesh. The fingers of her free hand clenched into a small fist, trying to ignore the panic that was building up inside as she quickly glanced away, back to Sterling, as if the sight of such a creature did not disturb her. She knew very well that what bubbled within her veins could be smelt by those who hungered for it and now, she felt as if she was being sized up as prey. 
It was likely a fortunate thing that Dascha’s attention had wavered towards the disturbing and fixated stare of the male that regarded her with that ominous gaze for had she glimpsed the sharp fangs that extended to trace over the lips of her current company, she would have likely bolted for the nearest exit. Though with the amount of sheer rage, resentment and bitterness she held towards creatures of the Undead, she was just as likely to attack and perhaps lose control of the power that lay temporarily dormant, simmering within the intoxicating and euphoric cells of her blood. By the time the shifting colors of her gaze had returned to the man who sat across from her, he seemed just as he had been minutes earlier. A polite and pleasant gentleman who oozed charisma so much so that it was quite disarming for someone who had only ever experienced the very worst humanity had to offer. She rubbed at one eye for a second, confused by the way she was sure she had glimpsed a change of color in those pools of grey but no, it had to have been her imagination.. They were still that rain spattered grey, weren’t they? 

Kravien was about to make his move. He had been debating between charm or terror, and based on the man Dascha had been talking with, he had thought better of the charming approach. But a voice unfortunately broke his concentration, forcing his attention away and into conversation. Leaning on the counter, he tilted his head to the woman, cracking his neck in the process. His eyes narrowed. 
“Do we know each other?” He asked with a flirty smile as he reached for his glass and dragged it noisily, blood splashing on the counter. Something about Willow reminded him of a comrade from the Omen Clan. Agitation was visible on his face as he spoke again. 
“I’m hunting tonight. Don’t get in my way” He said, turning back towards Dascha and Atticus. 
“An interesting challenge” He muttered beneath his breath.

When she had spoken up about everyone having something that they were running from, he arched a brow at her. Was he running from something? No.. The thing that had haunted him was dead. There was nothing now that could cause him great frustration aside from losing subject 84, whom sat just beside him
“Why yes, this is the Blue Moon. A very quaint pla-” His words were frozen on his tongue when he saw Kravien’s eyes on them once again. 
“Miss Dascha.. Do tell me if you are uncomfortable. We can move our conversation elsewhere.” He smiled lightly, doing his best to not lose his temper at the rogue vampire that sat just across the bar. This was his woman.. Not anyone else’s. No one would be allowed to touch his project, not until she was finished, but even then only her blood and the drugs would be produced. Not a single hand would be laid on her aside from the doctors that carried out the procedures to withdraw her blood.

Kravien frowned as the tavern filled. As more creatures like this arrived, the situation looked more and more dull, as he wouldn’t be able to have his fun without unnecessary trouble. Kravien thirsted violence, but loving himself took priority. He would have to wait for now it seems. He took a seat back near the woman again, leaning away from the counter, only staring at Dascha now. He leaned back with his forearms on the surface and winked at her with a nod of his head for good measure. Lastly… he looked over at woman at his side again and smiled briefly. After a few minutes, he finished his glass and got up. Walking slowly to the exit he turned to Atticus and made a gun with his finger, pretending to shoot him – and he smiled wryly for the entire affair.

Dascha frowned at Sterling’s words, fingers fluttering beneath the collar of her coat to scratch at the tattooed numbers resting there. She might have accepted his invitation to move elsewhere. Anywhere would do, as long as it was far from the stranger that gawked at her like she was a slab of meat. 
“Perhaps that is not a terrible idea..” She murmured, her foggy orbs just managing to catch the wink that was cast to her as the vampire began moving towards the doors, a strange gesture offered to the man at her side as he went which only made her skin crawl, eliciting a frown of both confusion and concern. Yet, she was able to breathe a sigh of relief for it seemed as if the stranger was leaving, her shoulders loosening once more as she took one final look at the creature whose face she was sure to memorise for she was not in a hurry to meet with it again. She gulped, swallowing the lump that had risen to her throat with some difficulty though she was remiss to attempt washing it away with the unpleasant burn her drink provided.
 “I’m not sure exactly what that was all about..” She lied in a thick voice as her head shifted back to find Atticus

And that was the end of it. In the same way he had sauntered in, so did Kravien leave. The only motion he offered as he swung the exit door wide open was a puckered kissing like expression though it wasn’t all that clear who it was intended for – That woman, Willow? Dascha? Atticus? Likely all of the above, and no one. After a few moments, he was heard howling outside and laughing. Then he was gone.

Well, he would have moved had they needed a reason to. The vampire that had been googly eyeing her was now on the move, heading towards the exit. Good grief. A sigh seeped through his lips, but whatever oxygen was trapped in his lungs had ceased when the man had paused in his travel to turn around and give him a finger gun and proceeded to “shoot” him. 
“Neither do I, mistress.. It was a bit odd for my taste.” He frowned, keeping his eyes on Kravien as he kissed the air and strode out. What the hell was he up to? Had he somehow pieced together that Sterling was only there for the woman? Had he thought that 84 was his prey? The glass in his hand was twirled once again, spiraling the amber liquid like a whirl pool. 
“I suppose it is safe to say that our current seating arrangement should remain undisturbed.. For now at least.” He tipped his head and peered over at the hooded woman. Did her eyes look the same like her mother’s had in person? Leaning forward slightly, he placed the glass down on the counter and crossed his arms in front of him, trying to draw out the woman’s attention so that he may gaze upon those stormy eyes.

Of course, like Sterling, Dascha knew far more about the unsettling interaction that had just taken place though she kept that look of puzzled confusion on her face for a moment or two longer, just to really sell the dim witless persona she was trying to convey.
 “Yes.. However, It is getting late..” She murmured, chewing on her bottom lip as she eyed the door, already envisioning herself darting out into the night for the brief encounter with that Vampire had left her feeling more then uneasy. How was she to know if he was not just the first of many that frequented this particular tavern? Had she stumbled across a common hangout of the undead? Her drink was still curled in her hand, suspiciously untouched for one who was meant to have come to the bar for exactly that reason; to order what was in her grip. Fumbling the glass towards her lips, she barely let a few drops splatter onto her tongue and had there been a potted plant within her vicinity, she would have promptly dumped some of the liquid out when she was sure that no one was watching. Instead, she had to make do with simply placing the beverage back on the counter however as Sterling leaned forward, disregarding his glass in order to cross his arms, her fingers came to grip and toy with the edges of the fabric that kept her features pooled in darkness. She wondered silently if her attempt to remain elusive was only drawing more attention and suspicion from others and so, with a weary sigh, she pushed back her hood to reveal startling if not captivating features along with silvery blonde hair, cropped short and cut at uneven lengths, resting just above her shoulders. Her eyes glimmered with shifting colors, swirls of dancing blue, grey and white gently rolling to replicate clouds drifting through changing skies though as he pressed her on her origins, a bolt of dark indigo pierced those pastel depths that were so drastically different to the rain colored gaze of her mother which would darken and lighten with her moods in a similar way that Dascha’s did.

 Late.. “Hm, well if I am holding you up, I suppose we may depart.” He frowned, not wanting to move an inch from her. So when she had proceeded to try a few drops of the drink, he averted his eyes to cause no embarrassment for he knew that she would not be able to stomach the harsh liquid too much since she was more than likely only used to the electrolyte infused water that his facilities had supplied for the patients.
“As we were saying.. Where do you reign from, Dascha?” He added, curious to see how she would fumble about for an answer. To make things easier for her, he tapped a single foot against the bars at the bottom of his stool and let a small truth slip from him. “I personally am from England.. Not sure if you would know where that is or not.” 

Dascha knew she should go, her head already starting to bob up and down in silent agreement with his words. He wasn’t exactly holding her up but the longer she stayed in the same place, the more anxious she felt. The itch to run was strong and constant, always resting beneath the surface of her pale skin whch one might notice, if they tilted their head at just the right angle, was rippled with an iridescent gleam though as she began to scoot towards the edge of her seat, his question stopped her. Panic was sending those wispy clouds of mixed hue into a frenzy of motion as she fumbled for an answer, freezing in place.
“..Were we saying that? I don’t recall” She mumbled, clearly trying to buy herself time though there was a noticeable wince as it only just dawned on her his use of the word ‘we’.

 “Yes, we were on that topic, Dascha. Just a friendly conversation, nothing less.” He smiled, still keeping those fangs sealed behind the plush barrier of his lips

 “I.. uh.. I was born…in” She stammered awkwardly. In truth, she did not know exactly what country she had been born into, her accent and native tongue a product of her mother’s heritage and guidance. 
“Russia. But.. I uh.. we moved away when I was young” She said weakly, praying silently there would be no follow up questions for she was just as unfamiliar with the place as she was to most of the world though her next words were uttered with more confidence. “It doesn’t matter. I am never going back” She stated, her tone firm.
“England? Not a place I know. Is it far from here?” She asked, feigning interest in order to steer the conversation away from herself. Of course, had Dascha been fortunate enough to live outside the confines of the complex, she might have already realised her mistake but having lived a life of captivity, she hardly had a concept of what nations made up the world she herself was from and remained ignorant to how her words now seemed paper thin, her lies or at least, half truths, blatantly obvious thanks for her ignorance

“Russia.. What a lovely land. Their candies are quite delightful.. As for England, yes. It is quite far from this place. An entirely different world actually.” His fingers splayed against the counter, tapping each of them one by one in a smooth rhythm. 
“Are you a fan of sweets, miss Dascha?” What a simple way to turn around the conversation. She was getting uneasy, so let her decide the route they should take. It was getting quite late in the evening so he must be cautious about how much time he spends away from the safety of his casket at home. Oh.. That could speed things up, right?

 Dascha had slipped off her seat, the movement causing the seams of her coat to flare open slightly and reveal the dirt stained white fabric beneath, the shapeless frock she had been forced into days earlier still resting baggily against her small frame, edges torn and rustling against her thighs, dangerously revealing for it was not as if maintaining the dignity and privacy of captives had been high priority when they were merely considered possessions with no thought, emotion or free will of their own. Scuffed boots restlessly tapping against wood as the shifting colors of her gaze darted between the door and the inviting smile that was pasted upon Sterling’s face. 
“I don’t have much of a sweet tooth..” She murmured in a distracted voice, issuing a glance over her shoulder to ensure that the men she had spied earlier had already left and were not waiting to follow her out into the night. Of course, like most things that fell from her mouth, the comment was not exactly the truth nor was it a lie. Dascha had never sampled anything sweet and so she could not particularly state with any real confidence her preference on most food. 
“Honestly, I suppose I have yet to really try much of anything to be able base an opinion on my experiences. Why do you ask?” She admitted with a light if not defensive shrug, pulling dancing eyes back to his face.

No? Well, I own a candy shop.. I figured that I could gift you with a few things before we went our separate ways, but it seems that you have no address for me to send a parcel to.” He frowned, knowing that the word may be a bit difficult for her to understand. Steely gray eyes followed her glance towards the door, then to the places where each of those greasy men had been sitting.

Parcels? Gifts? Dascha stared at those words with a clear amount of confusion though she was slightly intrigued. She had never been given anything before. It wasn’t as if her mother had been able to even celebrate a single milestone locked away as they were and in truth, Dascha had no real idea how old she even was. A rough guess maybe, but nothing she could state with clear certainty nor could she say she understood what the word ‘parcel’ meant. Still, she understood that it was yet another unwarranted kindness he was offering, seemingly with no motives of his own. At least, none that she could detect. At the very least, she did seem to be able to grasp the concept of a candy shop for she was completely ignorant. Her mother had managed to describe at least some of what lay just beyond the bars of their cell and yet, she was unable to form a response.

“Um.. Since you don’t seem like you are from around here, I don’t suppose that you have a place to stay?” His brows knit together and a “genuinely” concerned expression overcame his warm features at her silence.
“I have a large home.. One that I am open to sharing to you if you are looking for a safe place, mistress. I know that this tavern-” He gestured around him, then to Harry. 
“Gets rather rowdy at times.. And faces a lot more threats than I think you’d like to encounter.. However, my home is far away from anyone’s grasp that may be a potential threat. Not that you would trust a stranger like myself.” To add a dash of realism to his faked emotions, he let a sigh seep from him and looked away from her as if to hide a tone of bashfulness. No, he was not shy about this. It was all just an act to reel in the big fish. Just a few jostles of the line here and there, a good nibble or two on the bait, and WHAM! The fish is netted and thrown on ice. 

The small woman took a step backwards, her back bumping against the stool she had been seated on moments earlier as her gaze narrowed in clear suspicion for it hardly seemed commonplace to offer a place in one’s home to someone who was barely more than a stranger. She frowned, searching grey eyes for evidence of deceit, scanning those depths for a motive other than kindness. Dascha shook her head slowly, biting down on the bottom tier of her plump and rose dusted lips. 
“No. I don’t have a place to stay” She confided in a low uncertain voice. 
“But I don’t understand. Why would you offer such a thing? You do not know me. I could be dangerous.” Or you could be. She added those words silently in her mind. Oh but the sound of that one word had her inching towards him, a tiny step taken. Safe? She wondered just what exactly that might feel like. To not have to constantly be on guard, waiting for hands to grab and restrain, prick and prod. He did seem concerned, didn’t he? Her thumb wandered to her mouth, chewing on the corner of her nail for a long moment as she weighed up her options. The deal he dangled before her was tempting and her eyes closed for a second as she allowed herself to envision being able to sleep without fear of discovery. Could anywhere really be far enough? Or would they find her no matter how much distance she placed between herself and the complex? The crystal like colors of her gaze soon resurfaced. a mixture of hope and desire floating through endless depths.

And of course here she was questioning his motives and kind offering. Showing discomfort towards her words, he leaned back and crossed his arms.
“I asked because I know how it feels to be somewhere without help, mistress.. And because I can’t leave a woman here alone without a safe ground to stand. Had I left you alone to fend for yourself and you ran into trouble I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself for allowing such a thing to happen. I’m afraid that it would haunt me forever. Maybe even into the afterlife. There’s no telling what some of these crooked people in this place would do to you.” He feigned a shudder and closed his eyes, hiding those gray orbs behind lashes of chocolate that matched those bouncing waves that danced around his shoulders and collar. 

“It is just an offer anyway. No need to feel bad about turning it down. As I said, I get it. Taking refuge with a stranger may seem a bit too dangerous for your taste. but then again, like you said.. Everyone is running from something, so perhaps I can aide you in whatever it is you are running from.. There is no cost to accept my help either. Just a token of my friendship, that is if you choose to accept it and are willing to call me a friend”

Dascha felt a tremor of guilt at his comment though the suspicious side of her nature immediately wondered why a virtual stranger would be so concerned with her welfare. If anything, his show of concern seemed a tad over the top, dramatic even. They barely knew each other, why would he be so distraught if something happened to her? Would it not be her own fault for rejecting his help?
“I.. Thank you, Sterling. But.. I cannot accept. I’d rather not put more people at risk and besides, I’m not even sure if I will stay in this city. As you said, it seems rather.. rough” Dascha said, though it was more the abundance of vampires she had already glimpsed strolling so casually through the streets that gave her cause to worry. How long would it be before one caught whiff of her scent, driven to madness and hunger by the intoxicating aroma of her blood? How long before someone recognised her smell and discovered her identity?
 “But I suppose that does not mean we cannot be friends” She said with a strained smile as she began inching towards the door though the tread of her boots froze for a second as a thought came to her.

 It would be lying if he said that he wasn’t ready to hear her refusal. No… Why the hell not?! He wanted to yell, to reach out and plant his hand against her wrist.. To pull her into an immovable embrace that she would struggle so hard against. It took everything out of him to keep a friendly and disappointed smile on. His lip twitched with irritation, almost drawing upwards enough to show one of his fangs.
 “I see.. But I did offer knowing what is out here, Dascha.” He nearly stated. “Did I not offer you sanctuary out of the fact that there are creatures here far more dangerous than what lay in front of you?” Too pushy, Sterling. Kick it down a notch.. She had moved towards him seconds ago, even in the slightest inch or so, despite her having stepped away from him just seconds  before. But.. Then there she was trying to inch her way towards the main exit in the tavern again.
“Yes.. We can still be friends if that is what you wish.” Oh the damn effort it took for him to not spit those words through his teeth at her, mimicking the seething rage that he felt in that moment. Would he be able to let her go? To just slip so easily from his grasp? After all of that fucking work.. All of the modifications.. Closing his eyes, he lowered his head and released a defeated sigh, one that she may not know the reasons behind. For all she knew it was just out of disappointment in her choice.

“If I am in town long enough to make friends, you will likely be my first” She said, an uncertain smile appearing though it faded at the sight of his disappointed sigh. She was considering apologizing, her feet carrying her back the way she came, towards him but the sudden change in his demeanour stopped her in her tracks. Had she offended him? If he held no secret intentions towards her, why then was he so wounded by her choice to risk the dangers of the cold streets rather then accept his hospitality? Abruptly, it felt as if a thick tension sat bubbling between them and the harshness of his words had her putting more had her redirecting herself back to her original course towards the door, more haste delivered now. She blinked those swirling eyes of hers, frowning at the offense she seemed to have triggered, a small trickle of nervousness sliding down her spine like blades of ice for his words had her stomach churning with anxiety. Again, her thumb rose to find its way into her mouth, teeth pulling at the nail, gnawing as if his remarks had given her pause. Conflicted, her gaze darted between the man before her and the exit. 

“You forget that I don’t know you. You could be just as dangerous, if not more” She said through pursed lips though a second later, her voice softened into a tired sigh, watching his mannerisms carefully. She was imagining things. He was just disappointed. Just a man trying to be nice and do the right thing, like that farmer. She was just being paranoid, imagining things that were not actually there. Was it not true that her fear of being caught was so great that she had begun to see faces that were not there? She would be trailing down the street when suddenly, her heart would stop for she was sure she had glimpsed the glint of a glass eye glaring at her but a blink later, and the features of the stranger she gawked at would be melting back into someone she did not recognise. Get a grip Dascha, she scolded herself.

“Very true, I cannot deny that, miss Dascha. There are a great many things that could be hidden behind these gray eyes, but only I will know my own truth, just as you know your own truth. Anyone can be dangerous.. For all I know you could be as dastardly as that man that was staring you down earlier. Blimey, you could be a murderer.. A coldblooded runaway.. But that is where I took my chance with offering you safety. That is what life is, a bunch of chances. There are no wrong or right turns, only an innumerable amount of possibilities for you to try.”

“It cannot be as bad as the place I came from…” She insisted, though there was a lack of conviction in her softening tone which wavered into doubt. “Can it..?” She added in a whisper, the question asked more to herself then Sterling. It was true, Dascha was ill prepared for what she might face in the outside world, had already found herself overwhelmed and overstimulated several times but the danger she faced out there had to be better than that she faced back at the complex. Otherwise, what hope did she have?

His sensitive ears caught the internal question that had been spoken aloud in such a meek tone. Frowning, he crossed his arms and averted his eyes from her, allowing for her to recollect herself and think over his offer. Yes, he had been a bit pushy and too forward towards her with those last words, but it was rather hard for the vampire to have a calm demeanor especially when he was in a hurry to get the subject back to the compound. Or well.. Back in his control. 
 “Where you came from? I would ask where or what it is.. But I feel like it may be bringing up a touchy subject so I will keep my mouth shut. Though, I may have you fill me in on this “place” in the future when we meet again.” 

“I do not mean to be ungrateful.. Really I don’t. It’s just.. Its probably safer if I am alone. People that have tried to help me have not fared so well in the past. Your kindness is appreciated and perhaps one day, I might take advantage of it but for now…” She explained though by the look on her face, she was not willing to give further details about those who had suffered on her behalf. The memories were enough, she did not need to relive the day of her escape for she already was tormented by it. She had been so desperate, so panicked and baffled as to where she should run. She had found herself in an open field, miles of grassland spread out with just one lonely house set out on a nearby hill. Seeking shelter and refuge, the elderly couple who resided there had been only too happy to open their home to the terrified and barely dressed stranger even though she was quite hysterical, raving and ranting about hospitals and injections. She wondered if the cup of lavender tea Martha had set down in front of her was still sitting there on the kitchen table, if their bodies had been removed or simply left to rot. She doubted that. It would be too much of a waste. They didn’t like to waste things.

Shaking his head, he laughed and looked away from her. His torso twisted and he shifted so that he was only partially facing her. The tip of his tongue continuously ran beneath the thin fangs that dug into his gum line and lower lip, which had caused blood to pool in his mouth. Good thing she couldn’t see those red stains without having to pry apart his lips. “Safer? You speak as if I would be in danger around you..” He wanted to question her, to draw out that truth that he already knew all too well. It was because of his hunters.. They were all sent after her, trying to recapture what was rightfully his.

 “What I really need is to find a way to make my voice heard. I don’t suppose you would know how to accomplish that in a town like this?” She asked.

“To be heard? How so?” Lashes cracked open and he stared over at her, studying her expression and the way that she held herself. What was she planning? 

 “I have been silenced for far too long and there are things I need to tell the world that will hopefully put an end to much suffering.”She did not add that it was revenge she craved as well as justice for he could very well see the fire of vengeance burning in her eyes, their hue quickly darkening as the different hues whipped themselves into a frenzy that replicated the violet spin of a tornado. She breathed through her nose, inhaling deeply in an effort to calm herself for she was well aware that working herself up might lead to another one of those unpredictable seizures she had begun to suffer, waking to find herself surrounded by chaos and mayhem, seemingly caused by her own hands. It was exactly that type of attention she needed to avoid

“Perhaps my candy shop could come of use.. There are lots of customers and civilians that travel there day to day. I do have one set up here in Consequence and many others back on Earth.” He shrugged, twisting on the stool to take a stand as well. His tall form was a tower compared to her meager one. He was dressed in a very finely sewn pinstripe waistcoat as well as a blouse and heavily laced stock tie. Her own clothing was far different from his.. Evidence that she had just come from a hospital of sorts. 

“It’s not a terrible idea.. perhaps I will visit sometime. If I stick around long enough, that is. The people I have so far encountered in this city… Well, I am not sure they will listen to me, and if they do, I am worried they might not care. I might need to take matters into my own hands.” She murmured, glancing down at her palms. Could she really take out every single complex? How would she even discover all of their locations? Did she hold enough power within her to accomplish such a daunting task? Her eyes soon found his once more though now that he stood, she found she had to tilt her head back in order to locate those grey pools of his. . 

A friendly smile appeared on his lips, even more so when she had spoken of the people of Consequence not taking to her words. 
“I do believe that you could be quite convincing. Whatever it is you are hiding or running from would surely be something that the others would be interested in, would it not?” Oh yes, dig a hole for yourself, Sterling. Though you do at least know a bit of what her intentions may be. Of course the woman would want to warn others of what his business is. But what all did she know? Had the scientists or guards truly spoken of any information to her? He would have to go and reprimand those employees, possibly add them to the collection of blood husks for his personal collection
“Are you sure that you don’t need a place to stay? I am sure that you could use a fresh set of clothing and possibly a refreshing bath.. Even if only for just a night, it would give you some place warm and safe to lay your head. No attachments or anything. You could be well off on your way in the morning to whichever destination you are seeking out.”

She almost said yes. There was something pulling her towards him, an unseen force luring her like a magnet and the repeated offer made her question her conviction. Oh, it would be a relief to get out of those tattered and dirt stained rags, to sleep without waking ten times during the night, not having to worry about being snatched the second her eyes closed but how could she forgive herself if she lead death to the man’s doorstep like she had with the others? It was with a wistful and almost sad expression that Dascha slowly shook her head.
“Thank you Sterling but I still have to decline however it was actually was nice to meet you.” She said with a small smirk. “But, I really should go. I hope we do run into each other again but if not, never fear.. There are plenty of damsels in distress out there to keep you busy” She grinned. And with that comment left hanging, Dascha tugged at the handle with one hand whilst the other moved to slip her hood back over her face and before long, she had drifted from sight.

There was a rush of adrenaline as a burst of sanguine flashed over his steely eyes, overtaking the coloration for a few seconds, then disappeared when she had turned around to face him as she grabbed hold of the door handle. 
“It was a pleasure to meet you as well though I think you mistake my intentions Dascha. I am not looking for a damsel in distress. You simply came to me not the other way around. I was only here to dine, just as any other night.” He faked a smile, but kept his bottom lip snug to his teeth so that his fangs did not reveal themselves. When she opened the door, he gave a nod to her and watched as she disappeared from the tavern.

Sterling’s words echoed in her head as Dascha tightened her grip on the dark coat she wore, bracing herself against the cool chill of night. Murderer.. Cold blooded runaway. Is that what she was? It was true that the small Russian had not paused in her escape to check if the men she left gasping on the ground were alive. But they hardly deserved her sympathy and besides, the attack had not been planned. She had hardly known what would happen when she opened her mouth to scream. She had not anticipated glass shattering nor had she expected those within close range to start trickling blood from their orifices. But she felt no guilt, no remorse. Hardly cared whether they lived or died. Did that make her a monster? Had they turned her into something that was just as ruthless as the system that controlled her? The streets were barren at this time, a sickle moon hanging above her and casting thin rays of silver light onto puddles that lined the pavement for it seemed to have rained in the short time she was distracted with Sterling’s company. Her boots skimmed over a pool of stagnant water, skipping past it and glancing over her shoulder as she went. She had not forgotten the hungry glare of that vampire, the way he had picked her out amongst the collection of other patrons. Was it not enough that she had to worry about those that hunted her, intent on dragging her back into captivity? She gritted her teeth, frustrated at the way the exotic scent and taste of her blood put a literal target on her back. They were to blame, those scientists and the Undead that paid coin into their pocket

It was far too soon to see her slip from his hands. Definitely something that caused his heart to flourish to life from its deadly grip.  He would give it a minute or two before his form was shrouded by a dense black fog, only to reappear as a heavily feathered crow. A caw erupted from him as he gnashed his beak, then he flapped his wings and swooped upwards towards an open window. Several flaps here and there and he found himself souring at roof level, keeping an eye on the woman in her travels.

Dascha turned a corner, one hand rising to keep her hood in place as she was assaulted with a gust of icy wind which made her shiver. It was in this moment that she regretted refusing the grey eyed man’s offer for beneath that jacket, the crumpled hospital frock she wore was paper thin, barely affording her any modesty or warmth. With this in mind, she soon came to pause at the entrance of shadow drenched alley. Strung between the two balconies that signalled dwellings above, a line of twine was looped from one side to the other upon which several articles of clothing had been hung out to dry, fabric rustling and blowing in the breeze. The woman took a step closer then, her head turning from left to right to ensure she was not being watched before she quickly darted into the cramped narrow space, plucking several items from the line. She moved with nimble grace and swiftness, tucking her trophy under one arm as she dashed back out onto the street, her steps quickening just incase she was to hear the shout of whoever owned the now stolen clothes that might at least keep her warmer then her threadbare uniform. Against concrete, the tap of her boots reverberated though every now and then, the woman would freeze, cocking her ear to the night as if waiting to hear a second set of footsteps rise into her hearing, glancing about her warily. She moved with purpose, seemingly already having mapped out a temporary shelter to which she now hurried for Sterling’s comments had indeed unsettled her and now she was wondering what else she had to fear that might be lurking around the next corner.
It was several more minutes before Dascha was slowing her tread as she passed the boundary line of the local cemetery and had anyone been watching the woman, they might have thought it rather strange that she was quietly slipping through a gap in the iron fence that encircled those sacred grounds and the bodies buried beneath. There was a rustle of leaves as she emerged on the other side, twigs cracking beneath her weight as she forced her way through bushes and deeper into the labyrinth of graves and tombstones through which she weaved. Shoulders drooped, seemingly more comfortable and relieved now that she had made it back to the shelter she had found for herself, one that ran little risk of being disturbed. She liked the graveyard. It was peaceful, tranquil except for the occasional sob or mournful wail of some grieving loved one come to lament and pine over what once was. She didn’t mind being surrounded by so much death. In fact, it was almost comforting to know that the souls that rested beneath her feet would not suddenly reanimate themselves and attack. This place felt safe, sheltered away from the city. Who would ever think to look for her here? 

Flight feathers softly whapped against the cool breeze, forcing the crow into new heights as he followed the woman overhead, seeking out where she took refuge. There wasn’t much he could do in this form without blowing his cover, so he decided to keep it plain and simple. Just act like a bird.. How hard could that be? When the woman had slipped through the cold iron fence, he swooped down and perched himself on a tree branch, occasionally twisting his head so that he could get a good view through a side eye at anyone that would pass by the place. It was very smart to stay in such a desolate location. Good for keeping a low cover, but at the same time there was no telling what undead or monstrosities could be lurking beneath those grassy graves. Someone could be asleep under there at this very moment, yet it was not his goal to seek out others like himself. No, he was simply here to make sure that his prized possession would be safe without his “presence” with her.

Dascha headed towards the crypt that she had chosen several nights earlier as a makeshift refuge for those thick stone walls provided a more then adequate defense against the harsh wind and declining temperatures. But, she paused. Had she heard the flap of wings beating startlingly close? Why did she suddenly feel as if she was being watched? She frowned, running her fingers through her hair and dislodging her hood, peeking over her shoulder back at the direction she had come and yet the path remained clear, not a flicker of movement to be seen. “Your being paranoid again.” She muttered to herself. 

Beady black eyes narrowed at Dascha as she moved to the stone building, seeking shelter from the chilly rain and the dampened scenery. She may think that she is safe from a vampire. Silly girl. Vampires could smell blood, see heat, and hear the heartbeats of their prey. It was not easy to lose track of a vampire, nor was it easy to hide from them. Any undead would be able to pick up her scent, especially with the passing of rain. Everything was fresh and smelled of dirt, so the smell of a living creature’s blood stuck out like a sore thumb. Once the woman had turned around and searched for him, he stayed where he was for a moment, then gave a brief flap of his wings and took off from the branch, heading skyward only to swirl downwards into the crypt.
 A few hops here and there, planting his pronged talons against the ground to mark his path as he mapped out the crypt that she chose to stay. He gave a quick tip of his head to make sure that he was not going to get swatted at, then moved over to one of the corners and settled down there. Wings unraveled at his sides and feathers stood up on end to be ruffled, shaking any dust that may be scouring his skin. A quick prune to his feathers was probably needed to look “natural”, so his dull blackened beak was stuffed into the mess of feathers, picking and preening the ones that needed to go. Even wiggling some that weren’t loose enough to pull, all in an effort to seem natural.

Dascha gave a heavy sigh, giving her surroundings one last glare but nothing jumped out at her. Nothing moved. The night was getting colder, shadows pressing at her and so she finally turned, tugging the door the the crypt open and sliding her small frame inside. She fumbled in the darkness for a few minutes, cursing as she almost tripped over her own feet. She reached for the box of matches and candle she had found upon first discovering the refuge but as the first match was lit, she gave a sudden gasp of shock and alarm for in the eerie and brief glow of illumination, she found herself staring into beady eyes. Complete blackness followed, the match dropped and spluttering out before it even hit the cold concrete ground.
 “God damnit!” She cursed, her voice high with panic but nothing lunged at her despite the fact that she was bracing herself for some sort of collision. But she heard no breathing, or steps. Quickly, she dived for another match, sparking it and holding it to the wick of the candle she groped, wielding the faint source of illumination as if were some sort of weapon.
 “Who’s there? Show yourself!” She growled, her own voice echoing back to her and sounding far more scared then she had intended.
 “I’m not afrai..” She was saying, turning in a circle though as her vision fell onto the source of that stare, a nervous peal of laughter tumbled from her. 
“Oh. It’s just a bird.. ” She murmured, squinting at the creature to try and determine what kind, though only a selective amount of breeds were lodged in her memory. 

Oh dear.. Matches were lit and she was fumbling around with them in a very dangerous manner. He made sure to hop away from her when she had done so, not wanting to get caught up in the fire by any means even if it were an accident. One slip up and he’d ignite into flames. It was just something that vampires were weak against and he did not appreciate the feeling of his flesh being devoured so quickly by those orange and red tongues of heat. Her voice is what drew his eyes back to meet hers, watching her as she cursed and spoke of him just being a simple bird. Yes.. Just a bird, do believe that lie, young lady. How gullible. Just a lowly raven seeking shelter from the rain. Her questions would have caused a brow to arch, but alas he was a bird.. So a quick turn of his head was given as well as the side view of one eye to see her better.

She shook her head, marvelling at her own stupidity and slightly embarrassed, she inched towards the animal.
“Now how did you manage to get in here? Are you stuck?” She asked, though of course she expected no answer. Dascha slowly shrugged off her coat, tossing it aside in favor of crouching on bent knees. 
“Not exactly the best place for a bird. I bet you wanna be free?” She said in an almost maternal voice as she straightened back up.  

Free? Why would he-… Oh, free as in escape. No, he did not want to be outside, he wanted to be right here to watch over her and make sure that nothing touched his beloved project. He couldn’t exactly shake his head nor bob his head in an answer. The only thing he’d show was that side eye and maybe even another ruffle of his feathers

Strange. The creature did not look overly concerned about its predicament but then, maybe it was trying to flee the weather as well? 
“Course you do. No one likes to be locked up, kept away from the sky, the sun and the stars.” She continued, a ripple of sadness and anger in her voice for those words were uttered from personal experience. As she spoke, she began taking a few steps away as the crow began to casually preen itself, reaching for the door and pulling it open a few inches. 
“Go on then. Off ya go” She said, trying to coax the animal out of the crypt. When it did not move, she frowned, eyebrows knitting together in irritation.”Shoo!” She hissed, putting more aggression into her voice in hopes that she might frighten it away.

The warning and pushing words caused him to recoil away from her. No, he was not going to go outside. Even the roughened tone would not heed him. As if to show his rebellion, he hopped over to her and stretched out his wings before hunkering down and shoving his beak into a chest full of feathers to resume a resting position.

Dascha watched the bird, the door still held open ajar as the creature brandished one beady eye at her. stubbornly ruffling its feathers as if in silent protest. 
“As much as I’d love company, I prefer to sleep alone” She argued though she knew there was little point to her words and apparently, so did the raven, for the creature was now folding its small head into its feathered body as if it had already decided that its place of slumber was chosen.
 “Fine!” She snapped, letting the door fall shut once more with a muted bang. 
“Suit yourself. But don’t go cawing through the night for me to let you out” She grumbled, folding her arms across her chest as she glared at the bird. Rolling cloudy eyes, Dascha was soon following suit, reaching for her abandoned jacket in order to spread it evenly over the concrete ground, the layer of fabric helping to ease the chill though it could not erase it completely. She set out the clothes she had stolen next, eyeing them with quiet approval and yet the garments were still damp, useless until the morning. 
She yawned, rubbing sleepily at her swirling gaze before settling down onto the coat, curling her knees to her chest in much the same way she had slept at the complex, before she had been submerged in those awful tanks. It was a protective position, pale limbs folding into themselves as she shrank into a tight and shivering ball for she had nothing to drape over her bare skin, the torn and shabby shirt she wore rising higher against her thighs which were also streaked with dirt. Dascha sighed softly, sliding the low burning candle closer to her for at least the small flame provided her with a tiny amount of heat. Her eyes slowly closed, and yet instead of the gentle rasp of her breathing, the woman began to croon softly in a voice that was barely more than a melodic whisper. The melody she sang was gentle, the lyrics only heard in snatches. 

“Beneath the moon, the wind does blow.. the clouds will part, the sun hangs low.. ” Her chest hitched, a sob in her voice which was held at bay by the pause she took. “…stars will fall, explode and collide… but I will forever stay your side..” She did not finish, forced back into silence by the tide of her grief. Her mother had sung her to sleep with those words each night, lulling her into a false sense of security which shattered the day that they had taken her to another part of the complex. From then on, it was murmured to her through a fence line, her fingers scraping for more then just a brush of skin against skin. She wanted to be held, rocked to sleep but the song was all her mother could offer. And then, they took her away completely and there was only the sound of her own screams. Dascha sniffed, allowing the hard exterior she portrayed, designed to protect her against the guards, crumble like wet tissue paper now that she was alone. Still, only a few tears came. Not the barrage one might expect for someone who had suffered so much and after a few moments, the melody returned only to be hummed quietly, as if she was attempting to soothe herself in the same way her mother once had and before long, the sound melted into the steady rhythm of her breath. 

The vampire wasn’t one to hold too much company nor host any emotions towards others. Alone.. Yes, he chose to be alone. Sure, he had a vast amount of employees, but that did not mean that he shared any of his own personal thoughts or emotions with them. He had his reasons to keep people at a distance and kept to his old ways that had been forced into his head since he as a young boy. That was a similarity between the two of them.. Sterling had been stolen away from his parents at a very young age by an elderly vampire whom needed an heir. He was thoughtfully chosen and a plan had been crafted for his entanglement. The man seemed to have been a sweetheart, getting under the skin of both him and his parents, creating a very convincing front in which his parents probably never questioned the motives behind. His youth was filled with all sorts of pleasures and divine things. The old man had given him a lot, yet kept a lot from his reach. He was a human for most of his years until he had reached a certain age where the vampire had picked out from the beginning. Sterling was raised up with the rules of a vampire, taught how to be cruel and how to blend in like any normal person. He had looked forward to the day that he would be turned, seeking out revenge for his untimely kidnapping. Once the venom had sunk into his veins and the man’s blood had been infused with his own, he took it upon himself to kill the old geezer, putting him out of his wretched misery so that he was free from the curse. Well, look how well that worked out for him. He knew the rules.. Had the resources and money.. Yet, there was nowhere for him to go. His parents were long gone in some forgotten land and he was left to fend for himself in this new dimly lit life, drowning in the shadows beneath the moonlight. A monster.. Yes, that is what he figured out and had to learn on his own. Many years had passed and his mindset still had not changed. Mortals were to be food and there was no one that could be trustworthy enough to reveal any of his emotions to. 
So, he was a very closed off and cold hearted man, keeping only his business in order for him to sustain himself and veered clear of making any type of relationship. And here he was sitting next to subject 84 in a humiliating manner. A bird.. What a downshift. Hearing the woman’s soft words and sobs made his head twist to the side, pointing his beak at her. That melody was pleasing to hear, but he did not know the meaning behind it. Surely it was something she had learned whilst being in the compounds with her potential family and cell mates. Her stature and voice was evidence that she was both uncomfortable and cold, but there wasn’t much that he could do. Not that he cared.. He just wanted to make sure that “his” blood was safe. A low chirp, then almost a “meow” sound came from him since ravens were the type to mock the sound of other animals and even people at times. 
Slowly, he shuffled his wings to his sides and hopped closer to her, then proceeded to swoop upwards and land on her shoulder where he gave a light peck to her hair, adjusting a few of those strands. He glanced around, making it look as if he were doing what a normal bird would do, then sorta made a nest between her shoulder and neck, gathering her hair and coat around him and sinking down against her skin. If he was in his humanoid form he would have been very cold to the touch, but because he had feathers on he may be of some use to warm her even if it were in a small amount.


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