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Valen looked out of the plane window as another feeling of foreboding dread, independent from her fear of heights, washed over her. Her brother Nikolas sat next to her, immersing himself in his work as he typed away on his laptop, but she wasn’t so easily swept away in her thoughts or her book. Nikolas turned away from the laptop for a few seconds to look at her with worry.
“Are you alright, Valen?” Valen turned to her brother and gave him a reassuring smile as she took in his appearance. Nikolas had jet black hair with equally dark eyes and a quite attractive appearance, common with all vampires. He was wearing a black trench coat with a black t-shirt and black blazer pants that matched Valen’s attire.
“Yeah, I’m okay,” Valen lied, fidgeting with her shirt nervously. Nikolas nodded his head and turned back to his work, accepting her answer.
“You should rest. You haven’t fully recovered from that little incident.” Nikolas turned back to her and brushed her hair back affectionately with a smile.
“I’m fine,” Valen shot back defensively, not willing to admit her weakness that allowed her to be attacked and nearly killed. She had been walking to their temporary home from her school in Japan and had been careless enough to be attacked by vampire slayers who had been tracking her and her brother for years now. The slayers would have killed her if Nikolas hadn’t showed up. She had watched with delirium and awe as he practically tore through the slayers, snapping their necks and using their own weapons against them, before she passed out. It had taken their doctor every potion he possessed to heal her wounds and save her from death. While Valen was grateful for her brother’s interjection, it had scared her to see him so angry and to have allowed herself to be so vulnerable.
“You almost passed out walking on the plane,” Nikolas said calmly, his attention still on his laptop. Valen was going to say something, but bit her lip to hold her back. While she loved her brother, she didn’t like to argue with him, and even though she didn’t want to admit it, he was right. She was surprised that he hadn’t berated her for allowing herself to get nearly killed and thus force their move to America. She had always noticed her brother’s softness towards her, but that usually never stopped him from getting annoyed with her or berating her for something stupid she had done. A moment of silence passed between them before Nikolas stopped typing and looked up at her.
“I just sent a message to your new principal saying you’ll be joining the school on Monday,” He said as he took a sip from his glass of Merlot. Valen merely nodded, uninterested in the news and reached over to take a drink from the glass. Though under human law she was under the drinking age, her brother always allowed her sips from his cup because as a vampire, it was nearly impossible for her to get drunk.
“Where are we going to be living?” Valen asked.
“I’ve arranged for a brownstone in Brooklyn. Some members of our coven are fixing it up for us. It’s not what we’re used to, but it will do. Besides, we’ll probably have to move again,” Nikolas said bitterly, clenching his fist tightly. Valen turned to look out of the window again as depression washed over her.
“I’m sorry, I’m not a little ray of sunshine am I?” Nikolas said, nudging her shoulder affectionately. Valen smiled up at her brother shook her head before resting it against his shoulder. She tried to think optimistically as she closed her eyes slowly.
“Maybe it won’t be so bad.” Valen thought to herself as she started to drift off to sleep.
Valen walked down the hallway nervously, her calf length black books clicking loudly with each step she took. She had been banking on the fact that there would be angsty teenagers dressed in black to blend in with but there seemed to be no such luck. As she walked down the hallway, all she saw were pretty blonde and brunet girls dressed as though there was a required uniform for their group, jock-like guys talking about a football game, punk looking kids who looked ready to tear down the walls of the “establishment” and normal looking people. She tried to ignore the stares as she walked down the hall and walked into the door labeled the ‘Main Office’. She walked up to a pudgy looking woman sitting at a desk and handed her a small slip. After reading the note the woman looked up at her as if she recognized her.
“Oh, you’re the new girl,” She said with a beam. “Welcome, welcome, I hope you’re doing well. Anyway, here’s your schedule and-oh wait, Luke come here a minute.” The woman beckoned a tall light-skinned boy with dark hair. He looked back at the woman in surprise before turning and walking back to the woman’s desk.
“Yes Mrs. Kretchberg?”
“Can you show-I’m sorry dear, what’s your name?”
“Yes, can you show Valen around the school a little bit. She’s new here.” Luke turned to Valen and flashed a smile, causing her to blush nervously. Valen took her schedule and walked over to Luke.
“Hi. I’m Luke. Welcome to the school. I think you’re going to like it here a lot,” Luke said as Valen bit back her skepticism and nodded her head with a smile. School was hell, no matter where she went. Granted some schools were higher up the latter of the inferno than others, she doubted she would like this school in comparison to the many she’d been to.
“So let’s see what class you have now…ooh physics. I have that class now too, the teacher is annoying,” Luke commented as they walked up the stairs to the physics class. He scanned the rest of Valen’s schedule before handing it back to her with a smile.
“Well, we have English, History, Physics math and music together, so I can take you to those classes. For the others, you might have to ask around.” Luke said to Valen as they reached the fourth floor. Luke walked Valen to the class door and pushed it open for her.
“Thank you.” Valen said with a smile that she hope implied that she was trying to be nice as she stepped through the door.
A month later Valen sat in her history class, so bored she nearly fell asleep. Despite the fact that she was a vampire, she was able to fall asleep-albeit for only a short amount of time- and decided to take that chance now, especially since Luke wasn’t there to keep her company by making jokes behind the teacher’s back. Over the course of the month, they had become good friends and Valen couldn’t help but miss his presence. She noticed he seemed to be absent a lot but as a wave of sleep washed over her, she pushed her thoughts out of the way lay her head down, closed her eyes and-
“Valen Kyuketsuka?” Valen’s eyes snapped open and she sat up immediately to look at the person who had walked into the room. The woman looked around the class before noticing Valen’s hand in the air.
“Yes, that’s me,” Valen said standing up nervously. The foreboding feeling was back in her stomach, making her feel sick and worried simultaneously. She didn’t even remember walking down stairs and into the main office. Valen only left her gloomy daze when he caught sight of her brother who looked just as worried. She ran to him, the worry and fear building with each step.
“Nikolas-” Valen started to say.
“We have to go. I signed you out and everything.” Nikolas said grimly with a quick look around the office. It was clearly not the right place to talk about what ever was going on. They had walked quickly from the office to the school exit and out of the doors when Nikolas spoke again.
“Several members of a nearby coven were killed.”
“What?!” Valen half shouted, half hissed.
“Keep your voice down!” Nikolas warned. “Nicola Benamqua and Giren Hikyr were killed last night and the night before. It looks like it was a slayer.” Valen felt as if she had been punched in the stomach as she and her brother walked up to the limousine waiting for them. It was a good thing she didn’t need to breathe. There was a moment of silence between them as they entered the car during which Valen bid some the other vampires in the car-including her long time friend, Xander. She and Xander exchanged looks across from each other causing Valen to blush again. They had always like each other but weren’t willing to tell the other the truth. Valen let her brother and the others talk while she slipped safely into her thoughts. In between thinking about Xander and what had happened, she found her thoughts drifting to Luke…
“He wasn’t in school today…” Valen thought to her self suddenly.
“No... he isn’t a slayer, he can’t be-”
“Don’t be stupid. He hasn’t been in school for a while andsome vampires are dead. That’s too much of a coincidence…”
“What do we do now?” Valen asked quietly to keep from thinking about the possibility of what she had stumbled onto. The other vampires turned to her before turning to Nikolas. He looked down before looking back at her.
“We cover ourselves, and if one of those slayers tries anything, we kill them.”
Valen walked with her designated bodyguard Kai later that week as she wondered if her brain would burst from all the thinking she was doing. She hadn’t had blood in a few days, and was tired of the refrigerated blood back home. Even though her brother had warned her and others of hunting at such a perilous time, there was part of her that wanted to find out if Luke was a slayer or not. It had been burning on her mind for every minute she didn’t know, growing with the foreboding that circled her like a vulture.
She quickly found a male human using her vampire senses, stalked him and captured him quite easily. She had sunk her fangs into his neck and drained him of most of his blood when she heard Kai hiss at something. She dropped the human and turned around only to see Luke. He looked up at her in horror before he fired his gun at her. Valen felt herself being pushed out of the way to the ground and realized that Kai had taken the bullet for her. She watched as the last of him disintegrated to ashes before turning to Luke angrily. She pulled out her gun and aimed it at him before he could reload.
“Luke, you don’t have to do this. I don’t want to hurt you,” Valen said, the gun in her hand shaking. She had shot so many slayers before Luke, but this particular time, it seemed nearly impossible to conceive of.
“You don’t want to hurt me but you’re willing to kill and innocent human-”
“I didn’t choose to be a vampire!” Valen shot back as tears started to fall from her face in anger and sadness. “Besides, you’ve killed as well. Those vampires, Kai,”
Luke shook his head bitterly held his gun firmly in his hands, clearly prepared to shoot her.
“I’m sorry, Valen. As much as I like you, you’re a demonic being. You all are and you all need to be destroyed,” Luke said as he started to fire off several rounds at Valen. Before the bullets were a foot away from him, Valen dodged the path of the bullets and fired her gun at Luke a sole tear running down her face. She had killed her friend…her only human friend.
Xander and Nikolas teleported into the alley way seconds later, as Valen fell to her knees and dropped the gun, paralyzed from the pain she felt. Nikolas examined the body as Xander walked over to Valen and wrapped his arms around her, kissing her on her forehead to console her. Xander picked her up, cradling her easily as if she were a small child before teleporting out of the area and back into the safety of their coven.
A page from Valen’s diary…
October 31, 2006
I’m glad to say, we aren’t leaving like I feared we might. After we found the slayer’s nest and killed them all, we sent a warning signal from their system to other slaying groups in France, Germany and Sweden telling them to look for us in those respective places. I’m still mourning the death of Luke but I’m dealing with it as best I can. I mourn more those that we lost to stay where we are living. Nikolas has adapted well and has even become the CEO of the company he was working for. Best of all Xander and I, after years of flirting and claiming to be just friends have entered into a serious relationship. We’re taking things slowly, which is nice, because it gives us time to sort out exactly what we want. Anyway, one of our neighbors on our block is holding a Halloween party. I think I’ll go as myself-a vampire. Nikolas would like that.