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The Blue Rose
It was there, right their within her grasp. She reached for it, feeling like her gloved hands were going in slow-motion. She picked up one of the coveted Count Deion’s blue rose from the delicate porcelain vase they were always in.
“What have we here?” said a dark, deep voice from behind her. She froze, not even needing to turn around to know who said it. Count Deion had a voice that no one could mistake. She clutched the rose to her chest and bolted for the window.
“Oh that won’t do, we can’t have you leaving. All the windows are locked and besides we are two stories off the ground.” She could hear the mocking tone in Count Deion’s voice. But she still tried to pry open the window, despite the Count’s words. But it was locked, she contemplated jumping through the glass but he was right about the height of the window as well
“Alright now that we’ve gotten that out of the way tell me, who are you? What are you doing here and why are you taking one of my blue roses? Those are only given to maiden’s I find…suitable.” He chuckled for some reason.
“But, I suggest you return that and tell me who you are, young man.” He continued. Figuring she should salvage what dignity she had left the intruder turned around to face the Count. She threw back her black hood to reveal her face. The girl looked into the Count’s face, realizing he wasn’t much older than her, and abnormally handsome. He had a long faces with sharp angles. He looked stern but not harsh. Count Deion noticed then the â€˜young man’ was actually a beautiful young woman with dark auburn hair and hazel eyes. But she looked like she might have a fever, with her rosy cheeks and sallow complexion. He was intrigued then,
“My apologies, milady but your clothing isn’t very…well lady like.” His eyes looked over her black pants and baggy black jacket. “You know there are easier ways to get one of my blue roses and attention.” He chuckled again but was growing agitated.
“Alright, enough with the silence what is your name?” He was serious now.
“Kurena” she said.
“Kurena? Hmm, that is an odd name.” He said.
“That is my name.” Her voice had an edge to it, she didn’t like how he implied that it wasn’t.
“Alright, alright, far be it from me to say it isn’t.” he still sounded as if he didn’t believe her. “Tell me, Kurena, why are you in my house?”
“Why do you think?” she held the rose slightly out to him, before her eyes softened as she looked at it. She brought it to her nose and breathed in.
“Their smell is one of a kind.” Kurena looked up as he said this to see his eyes had softened as well.
“Listen, if you send me to jail can you vouch for the death penalty?” Kurena asked him her voice still soft and serious.
Taken aback he asked her, “Don’t you mean you don’t want the death penalty?”
“No, I’ll be dead in a week and I’d rather die by the swift justice of the law than by what would inevitably happen anyway.” She sounded so calm it unnerved Count Deion.
“Oh and is that why you came here? To die?” his voice had a new edge.
“No, I came to live.” She sounded tranquil. Recognition dawned on his face.
“Oh I get it, you came here to find the elusive Count Deion, and find out whether or not the rumors are true if I am a vampire. Then you planned on having me turn you into a vampire as well. I am right?” Kurena knew of the rumors that flooded the town.
“As if I would give in to such ludicrous rumors. I came here for the rose.” She said, stroking the soft petals.
“Oh, and now that that’s all cleared up.” He said sarcastically.
“I was sent by someone, he said he’d marry me if I brought him a blue rose.”
“So, you just want to marry the rich man. Or is he going to kill you if you don’t marry him?” It seemed odd that this idea would make him angry.
“No he’s not going to kill me, no the fever will over come me within the next few days that will kill me. It’ll be a slow death, and I need…” Kurena could feel her fever rising, her knees buckled under her and she fell to the carpet. Count Deion rushed over to her.
“Kurena, what’s wrong.”
“Few days, few minutes. Again, death penalty, please.” And then everything went black.
Kurena awoke later, but not where she expected she would be. She wasn’t on a hard bed in a gray room. Her fever was still raging but she knew she wasn’t delirious. She wasn’t giving up the theory of delusion because, instead being in jail she was in a cozy bed, covered in thick fluffy sheets. The room was white, and the curtains were lacy and were pulled over the wide windows with a window seat below it. Looking at all the lace throughout the room Kurena groaned.
“What is it? Are you in pain?” asked a concerned voice from near the door of the room. It was Count Deion; Kurena couldn’t understand why he looked so anxious, why it looked like he actually cared if she was in pain.
“No, no, I’m fine.” Kurena started to push the covers off of her to get up.
“What are you doing?” he asked appalled.
“Leaving” she replied.
“In your condition?”
“You haven’t sent me to jail yet, and I don’t intend to stay and wait for you to change your mind.” As she sat up, Kurena felt like a huge weight was pushing her down. The fever was raging but she tried to fight it.
“Please lie down and listen,” The Count placed his hand lightly on her shoulder and gently, but firmly, pushed her back down. Kurena frowned as she gave in and laid her head on the soft pillow.
“Now, I’m not going to notify the authorities about your…visit. I have had the doctor come to look at you. He gave me some medicine and his word that you would be over your cold within a week. Until then you will be staying here.” He gave her a sly smile.
“No, that won’t do. I should go.” Summoning her strength, Kurena pushed off the covers and slid off the bed. But she started to sway and cough uncontrollably, her whole head was burning with the fever. Count Deion caught her before she actually hit the ground. He helped her back to bed, though her ragged breathing didn’t subside.
“Alright, now stay in bed. You are in no condition to go anywhere at the moment and if I have to I’m willing to call the doctor so you can be sedated.” A devilish smile played on his lips and he chuckled.
“But…I…need to….” She stammered, trying to find a good excuse but her brain came up empty
“Sleep or be sedated. Either way you will rest.” The smile was getting on Kurena’s nerves. She sighed and said,
“Fine” She was past trying to fight against her eyelids. Her breathing slowed and Count Deion watched her as she slipped into sleep. Lying there she looked even more beautiful. What am I doing? He thought. Count Deion knew what he should do but the thought tore him up inside. NO! He pushed the other ideas away as they threatened to take root. As soon as she’s better I’ll let her go. He promised himself. He let out a sigh and started to leave but couldn’t help casting a last glance at Kurena’s sleeping form. Before he knew what he was doing, his lips were brushed against hers in a kiss. He softly, but swiftly, pulled away and left her to sleep.
When Kurena awoke again it was about midday. Though what day it was she had no idea. She was feeling better but the fever was still pulsating through her head. Though it wasn’t so bad as to leave her in an unsteady state.
She glanced around the room to realize that she really was in a white and pink room that was filled with lace and fluff, this time she couldn’t blame it on the fever. Kurena grimaced.
“What’s wrong now?” Kurena looked over at Count Deion who was standing in the doorway. He was trying to look annoyed but the amusement was slipping though, but an underlying emotion was there that Kurena couldn’t identify.
“It’s too pink and frilly. Oh, and I really hope you are not the one who changed my clothes.”
“No my one of my maids did that. Do you really think so little of me?” He really looked insulted now.
“It’s always good to check. Especially when you’re in a strange, single man’s house and incapacitated.”
“You’re sick, I hardly think any man would take advantage of you then.” He shook his head. “Oh and what, may I ask is wrong with the room’s décor?”
“Pink I hate it. Pink, frills, anything too girly.” She shuddered. Count Alucard raised an eyebrow.
“Well that would explain your original clothing.” He chuckled. “Now, I would like to get your story straight. You came to my home to steal one of my precious blue roses because a man said he’d marry you if you gave it to him. That part is clear, but now tell me do you know the man well?”
“But you must really like him to be willing to break into a house to win his hand.”
“I don’t know him well and but don’t dislike him. I wouldn’t say I hate him though. But he’s Bartello Mevidue.”
“A Mevidue? One of richest families in this part of the country. Impressive.” He was seething, Kurena could hear it in his voice.
“And what’s wrong with wealth? You, yourself are extremely wealthy.”
“But I didn’t marry someone I didn’t even know to get it.”
“Alright, you want to know why I’m marrying him? It’s because I’m a dirt poor orphaned girl with no job or home. I’m not that pretty and not that smart. To top it all off I’m a very sickly person. My immune system is so bad I get colds like this on a regular basis. I’ve pretty much run out of any scarce amounts of money I had so now I’ll either die of sickness or starvation.
“So instead of that I’ve decided to at least to make one person happy, he even seems to like me, and I won’t die. It’s a win-win situation.” Kurena gave a hard laugh which turned into a cough.
“But will you be happy?” He looked at her with his dark eyes, his black hair lining his gorgeous face. Kurena mentally shook her head to clear it.
“Happiness, I’m past trying to find that. A handsome, kind man is willing to overlook the fact that I’m plain, poor and without a family or dowry, and still want to marry me is a miracle. I’m pretty good with that.” Kurena didn’t look at him when she said this. She felt shallow and weak, not to mention telling her sob story to a stranger was not helping her feel better.
Count Deion was getting annoyed, with all her answers, and saying how she gave up on trying to be happy. But especially how she kept saying how she was plain! Count Deion was having trouble controlling his temper.
“The maid will be up in a minute with your medicine. Good day.” Count Deion’s eyes had taken on a darker shade and his voice an edge. Kurena couldn’t figure out why he was so upset. But he left the room with a regal flourish of his coat.
Kurena couldn’t explain the shiver of fear that ran down her spine when she thought of the look in the Count’s eyes. She brushed the feeling off as side effects of fever.
Just as Count Deion said, the maid came and gave Kurena a brown liquid that tasted worse than it smelled, and it smelled horrid to begin with. The maid was a plump woman with a kind smile.
The maid put her hand on Kurena’s forehead and said, “Good, good your fever is down. I really will never understand my lord. He is such an odd one, taking you in like this. You are a sweet girl but it really isn’t like him. I worry sometimes.”
“Why is something wrong?” Kurena asked her.
“Oh no, but my lord never shows any interest in finding a wife, like any other young man. Not only that but he’s a man of a highly marriageable age. Yet he never attends parties or even shows an interest in a woman. Well, at least he wasn’t until a few days ago.” She gave Kurena an accusing look.
“Are you suggesting he’s shows an interest in me? I’m sorry but that isn’t any where near his feelings for me. Pity is there, and maybe annoyance at my inability to recover as fast as he would like but not interest.” She shook her head.
“Well my lord certainly isn’t one to wear his heart on his sleeve, but I’ve been in this house long enough to tell if he fancies a girl. The fact that he let you stay and recover instead of sending you away is proof enough.”
“But-” Kurena started to say but was cut off by the maid,
“Now, now settle down. We don’t want to aggravate your cold. I’m sure sooner or later we will find out who is right.” She smiled and walked to the door, only to stop and turn back to Kurena with a concerned look.
“Oh and for your own safety don’t go out of the room after midnight, especially on the night of a new moon. Dear me, that starts tonight. Stay in your room alright?” The maid looked worried.
“Alright.” Kurena agreed, not knowing the significance.
“Promise, me. Promise you will not leave this room after midnight.” Her seriousness took Kurena off guard.
“Okay I promise.” She said nonetheless. The maid nodded and left the room. Kurena was perplexed but determined not to leave the room after midnight. But Kurena’s fever was still draining her strength, making her have to rest longer. Luckily, sleep came quickly and deeply.
“DAMN IT!” Count Deion shouted. He punched the wall in frustration. He looked at the hole he left in the wall. His hand didn’t even sting. “God dammit” he mumbled to himself. How could I do this to her? Count Deion thought. He glanced at the clock cursing himself as the hands reached towards 11:30. “DAMN IT ALL!” he shouted again as he stalked out of the room down the stairs to a room in the basement of the mansion. It was where he would spend the rest of the night, at least he hoped.
“Well, honey I guess I was right.” said the maid the next day to Kurena.
“About what?” asked Kurena as she swallowed a bite of soup.
“My lord Count Deion’s feelings for you.” She replied sounding smug.
“What do you mean?” Kurena sounded skeptical.
“Honey, tell me, did you hear any strange noises last night?”
“Strange noises? Like what?”
“Oh… well…” It looked like the maid was thinking then her eyes brightened and said, “Some say the mansion is haunted and every new moon, strange noises can be heard from deep within the mansion.”
“Have you ever heard anything?”
“Of course, honey. I’ve lived here since I was only a couple years older than you. I’ve heard the noises almost every new moon. Well, except for last night.” The maid gave Kurena a knowing look.
“What does that have to do with Count Deion’s feelings for me?”
“Honey, it’s obvious, my lord-” but the maid was cut off by a voice from near the door.
“I think that’s enough Ellen.” Kurena turned to see Count Deion standing in the door way, a venomous look on his face.
“Yes my lord.” She took Kurena’s empty bowl and walked out of the room, looking annoyed. Count Deion turned his gaze on Kurena.
“She has an overactive imagination. I would suggest you not listen to her.” he was still fuming.
“Well, it shouldn’t matter soon anyway. I’m almost well, so I should be able to leave soon.” She said, unable to meet his dark eyes.
“And who said I would allow you to leave?”
“But, why wouldn’t you let me leave?” Kurena asked, flabbergasted. She looked at Count Deion to see if he was joking. He kept his face blank but his eyes still shone with anger.
“You do owe me for the medicine and the doctor. To repay your dept I think you should stay here for a while until you’ve paid it off.”
“I guess that is fair. But what do I have to do?”
“Hmm, how about a bet? If your…fiancée, the Mevidue, if he comes to get you then you may go with him. But if he leaves you here then here is where you shall stay, until I let you leave.”
“Okay you have a deal” she said.
“Good.” But he sounded undecided.
“But tell me, why are you so angry? Was it something I said yesterday?” Kurena searched her memory trying to see if something she said could have upset him. Count Deion sighed, put his hand over his eyes, and said,
“No, no, but I do wish you’d be more concerned of your happiness. But that really isn’t any of my business is it?” he gave her a hard smile, that made Kurena’s heart ache with its bitter loneliness.
“If you’re worried about me then it’s very kind of you but not necessary. I’m nothing special, nothing worth worrying over. I mean I’m happy enough to be alive. For now that’s all I’m asking for. I’m not about to start hoping just to have those hopes come crashing down and bury me.” Count Deion felt a new flare of anger wash through him.
“You really believe you aren’t worth having a happy life?!” His voice was loud and harsh. “You have a chance at living! You could be more than just happy! But you insist that you don’t deserve it! If you don’t deserve it then who does? I’m the last person who deserves it yet it’s still thrust upon me. If I get a little glimmer of it than you should get a life-time!”
“And why wouldn’t you deserve it?”
“I deserve nothing! I am horrible, a MONSTER!” his voice seemed to shake the room, and Kurena along with it. A furry of coughs ripped through her. The furious look was replaced by a worried one on Count Deion’s face. He reached towards her, but dropped his hands in anguish and turned to walk out the door, slamming it on his way out. Count Deion found the maid, Ellen, and told her to assist Kurena.
“Oh Dear!” Ellen said as she walked into Kurena’s room. She put her hand on Kurena’s forehead, only to pull it away abruptly. “You poor thing! Your fever is back and just as worse as it was before. Lay down and I’ll be back in a minute with your medicine.” She bustled out of the room. Kurena’s breath came in long rasps, feeling like her head was about to split in half.
Kurena vaguely remembered the maid coming back and giving her the medicine. The rest of the day was filled with fitful sleep. In her dreams a shadow was stalking her and a man with dark eyes.
It was that night that Kurena heard the screaming. The gonging of the clock rang through the house as cries from what could never be mistaken for human, clashed with the bells. A cold sweat ran down her neck as the cries became roars. Kurena threw the covers over her head. She knew it wouldn’t hinder whatever was out there from harming her but it helped her nerves. And then it was silent, only the autumn wind could be heard. Yet, Kurena felt even more uneasy, like a darkness had descended upon the house.
Kurena was too afraid to fall asleep but her fever was draining what little energy she had, forcing her to sleep. Only to have nightmares relentlessly haunt her.
The next morning Ellen was fussing over Kurena, saying,
“Honey, you look horrible!” Kurena didn’t even want to think about what she looked like, how her tiredness was bound to leave her with huge purple shadows under her eyes. Not to mention the fever was bound to leave her with a horrible complexion.
“I didn’t sleep well.” Kurena sighed.
“I heard the screaming you were talking about.”
“Yes, my lord dismisses any servant who wishes to leave at night. But I always stay.”
“Did you get used to it?”
“Oh dear no, I don’t think it is something you get used to, but I do my best to ignore it.”
“But is it really the ghost making the noise?”
“Of course, dear.” But she said it with uncertainty.
“Didn’t you say that the ghost’s silence proved Count Deion’s feelings for me? And last night it was anything but silent so it looks like I was right, he doesn’t have feelings for me. Though I don’t see how the two are related.” But the latter thought was leaving Kurena depressed, yet she couldn’t figure out why. Her fever was not helping her clarity of thought though.
“I believe it’s my lord who is the one quieting the ghost, something must have upset him yesterday and he couldn’t attend to the ghost.” She gave Kurena a warm smile.
“No, I don’t think it’s because of me.” Her little strength was waning so her words came out like huff.
“No use in arguing, dear, you’re just exasperating your cold.” Kurena didn’t say anything to that, the tiredness and fever combined had put her in a bad mood. “Alright dear, I’ll be off now but if you need anything give a holler.” She smiled and left, leaving Kurena to her thoughts. The last thing Kurena wanted was time to think.
Count Deion had been standing near the door for a while, listening to Kurena’s unsteady breathing. He couldn’t face her, but wanted so badly to see her face. As Ellen walked by him she said in a loud voice,
“Good morning my lord.” She smiled mischievously as he glared at her. Kurena’s head perked up at the sound of his name. Count Deion gave a sigh and walked into her room. He bit back a gasp, she looked terrible. Her face was an ashen white yet her cheeks softened in a blush. The bags under her eyes were worse than he feared. Yet through it all she still looked beautiful.
Kurena looked at him then the blush on her face deepened just as she turned her face away from his gaze. Puzzled, Count Deion asked,
“What is it?” Kurena gave a hard laugh and replied,
“I must look awful.” For some reason Kurena didn’t want him to see her like that.
“You silly girl, you’re allowed to look less than perfect when your sick.” He laughed lightly.
“I’m so tired of this, of being sick.”
“You’ll be better in a few days then you can go back to your usual happy self.”
“If I get better.”
“What are you talking about? Of course you’ll recover.” He replied sternly, but slightly taken aback
“I don’t have the strength left for that.”
“Don’t talk like that! Fight back! You must’ve beaten so many more colds that were much worse than this.”
“Yeah but I was never alone with the really bad ones.” Her sadness leaked through her words.
“Alone? I’m right here, and if you want me to stay, well than I won’t go anywhere.” Kurena was surprised by the uncharacteristic warmth in his voice. She looked at him to see his eyes were as soft as his voice.
“I’d like that.” She smiled. He returned her smile and walked over to the bed, seating himself on the edge. Hesitantly, he put his hand on her cheek, pushing stray hair back. Her eyes widened and Count Deion started to pull his hand back. But Kurena grabbed his hand before it left her face and held it there.
“Your hand is so cool, it feels good.” She said closing her eyes, but still keeping his hand in hers. He laughed softly and asked,
“Wouldn’t you prefer a cold towel?” though he dearly didn’t want to remove his hand.
“No” it came out as a sigh.
“Alright then, now sleep.”
“Promise you won’t leave?”
“I promise, not until it is time for me to retire for the evening.” She seemed to except that and let her mind drift. Count Deion heard her breathing slow and knew she was asleep. Yet her hands still held his.
He didn’t know how long he stayed there but the sun had set when the maid walked in.
“She finally fell asleep, did she?” Ellen said.
“Yes, I might’ve left before now if I hadn’t promised, or if she had let go of my hand.” He looked at her sleeping form, who hadn’t once loosened her soft grip on his hand.
“Dear me, she must have very strong feelings for you.”
“Feelings? I sincerely doubt that. She just needs me for a place to rest.”
“Why is it that neither of you are willing to admit the other has feelings for you?”
“You told her I had feelings for her?” he was angry, that was clear to Ellen .
“You’re both so dense, someone has to give you a push in the right direction.” She was not so easily intimidated by his sudden flares of anger.
“I would appreciate it if you’d stop telling her things like that.” He was still angry but his voice stayed low, so he wouldn’t wake Kurena up.
“Why my lord? I am right, you do have feelings for her.” It wasn’t a question.
“Yes, I think…I think that I love her.” His voice was just a whisper.
“I told her, but she wouldn’t listen.” She sounded smug.
“Good, that’s for the best. I forbid you to tell her anything more.”
“Oh, I see, you want to tell her yourself.” Ellen brightened at the idea.
“No, she will never hear about my feelings for her, ever. It will be better this way.”
“Better? How is letting her stay ignorant to your feelings better?”
“Ellen, she is about to marry a wealthy, normal man who will take care of her. With him she’ll get the best care she can and…and I’ll never be able to hurt her. That’s all I want, for her to be safe.” But it was a lie, he wanted so much more, he wanted her.
“My lord, I believe she would accept you and your dark side.”
“NO!” he yelled, then held his breath as he watched Kurena, to see if he had wakened her. She stirred but didn’t awaken, or release his hand. He let out his held breath and said more quietly,
“I will not put her through that. Besides, I know my feelings are one-sided. I am nothing more than a friend to her. She expects nothing from me but a safe haven. Therefore, I refuse to even consider bringing her into this.”
“And what my lord, will you do if she does return your affections?”
“It’s a mute point. Now,” he glanced at the clock and grimaced, “I will need to be preparing for the long night I have ahead.” He looked at Kurena, hoping her face would give him strength.
“My lord-” she started in a patronizing voice but was cut off my Count Alucard.
“Even if she did start to develop feelings for me, what kind of life would she live? In love with a monster like me, she would never be able to live a normal life. You know I have a terrible temper, what if I hurt her? Besides you saw her this morning, if she stayed here then every time she got sick it would be my fault she is so tired she considers letting herself die.” He was getting angry again, Count Deion took a deep breath trying to calm himself.
“Okay, there is no use in arguing we’ll just wake up Miss Kurena. I’ll see you in the morning, my lord.” Ellen smiled and left the room. The Count gave a sigh and returned his gaze to Kurena. Her complexion was back to almost normal and the bags under her eyes looked less purple. He sighed again and gently extracted his hand from her grasp. His hand felt cold and empty, he clenched it into a fist. His heart did a leap, though when Kurena gave a small cry of sadness when he took his hand away. She looked so distraught that Count Deion leaned in and kissed her cheek as he pulled his lips away he whispered,
“Don’t worry, I’ll be back in the morning.” Count Deion almost thought she had woken up because a small smile spread across her face and she looked content again. It took all he had not to put his hand back on her cheek and stay there the whole night, he sat up and swiftly left the room. He walked down the stairs to the last room he would see until morning.
“Did you sleep well, honey?” asked Ellen.
“Much better than yesterday, thank you.” replied Kurena
“You look better to. I’d say you’re finally getting over this cold.”
“I think so as well, about time to. Hey Ellen?”
“Could you do me a favor? Open up that window over there? I really want to go outside, I’ve been sitting here
in this bed for too long, but I know that is out of the question.” Kurena gave a huff.
“Oh course Dear.” She smiled and walked over to the long window and grasped the handles, rattled them a bit and turned back to Kurena with a defeated look.
“Sorry honey, but it looks like my lord has them locked.”
“Probably to keep me from sneaking out.”
“If you had your strength back earlier, I wouldn’t have been surprised if you attempted it.” Ellen chuckled and Kurena joined her, knowing full well she would have tried it. “I’ll go ask my lord for the key.” She walked out of the room leaving Kurena to contemplate her chances of sneaking out for a minute. Ellen had said that most of the servants weren’t here. She smiled and slipped out of bed. Kurena stepped out of the room and slowly closed the door behind her, hoping the lack of noise would not alert anyone to her escape.
“Where are you going?” said a voice from behind her. Kurena froze, the voice sounded angry, amused and a hint of hurt. She turned around to see Count Deion glaring at her. He was trying to look amused but the hurt was plainer in his eyes.
“I figured I’d sneak around until I could find the front door.” the pain intensified in his eyes though he raised an eyebrow, still trying to look amused, so she continued quickly, “I was not trying to escape mind you, I just wanted to get some air and the ulterior motive of getting a look at the reclusive Count Deion’s house unsupervised was a highly intriguing idea.” She gave him a mischievous smile. He gave her a disbelieving look. “You don’t believe do you?” she asked appalled.
“You are notorious for sneaking around people’s houses and trying to leave.”
“Hey, I sneak into houses not out of them.” He raised the eyebrow further, the pain still in his eyes. “I promise,” she said more seriously, “I was not trying to run away, we had a deal and I don’t plan on backing out. I really hate being cooped up in that room, I just wanted to go outside. But if you really don’t like it I’ll just go back to my room.” She turned around to go back into her room, but a hand grabbed her wrist. Kurena looked at Count Deion, a questioning look on her face. The pained look in his eyes was gone, that or he had managed to hide it.
“Would like to go outside?” he asked sounding defeated.
“Yes, very much so.”
“Alright then.” He gave her his own mischievous smile and before she even realized what he was doing he had one arm around her shoulders while the other swept her feet from under her.
“Wha-? What are you doing?!” she asked him, appalled. Count Deion held her in his arms off the ground.
“Taking you outside. You are still recovering, I refuse you to let you do anything that could aggravate it.”
“I can walk on my own.” She objected, flustered. Yet a part of her pointed out that she was enjoying it.
“I’m sure you can, for an extent. But the last thing I want is for you to strain yourself and end up sick again.” He never wanted to see her like that, not if he could help it.
“Oh, alright.” She gave in. He smiled, while his entire being glowed. Count Deion started walking down the hall, and into a wide area with the master staircase. Kurena bit back a gasp, it was magnificent. The room looked like it was meant for a grand ball, and probably was. Tapestries hung on the walls and long windows let light into the room. All the cloth was gold and a redder shade of maroon. Count Deion looked at her expression and said,
“Do you like it?” he almost sounded smug.
“It’s beautiful.” She replied still in awe. He laughed and started to descend the stairs. Kurena wrapped her arms around Count Deion’s neck, clinging to him, feeling uncomfortable with the idea of falling down the stairs to a hard marble floor. Count Deion took in Kurena’s scent hungrily, she smelled sweet, like honey. Her closeness was lovely, he resisted putting his cheek on her head. When they reached the bottom of the steps he turned right, away from the large front door.
“Where are we going?” Kurena asked puzzled.
“It’s a surprise.” Count Deion replied. He carried her down a wide hallway, and at the very end stood a thick oak door. Count Deion set Kurena down on her feet and opened the door. Kurena gasped, behind the door was a courtyard, covered in flowers of every color. The smile on her lips sent a wave of joy through Count Deion’s body. Kurena walked into the courtyard, taking in the scents of the multitude of flowers. But then something caught her eye, in the corner, right up against the wall, were three rose bushes. She walked over to them and sat down, she reached towards one of the roses and stroked the petals.
“Can I have one?” Kurena asked Count Deion. He smiled at her and nodded. Kurena took hold of one of the rose stems,
“Ow!” she said. He was there next to her in an instant.
“What did you do now?”
“It’s nothing, I just pricked my finger on one of the thorns. It’s just a flesh wound.” She held it up him to see. He took her hand in his and inspected the small cut. Keeping her hand in one of his, he used his other to reach into his pocket. He took out a small black handkerchief and tore it in half with his teeth and tied it around her finger.
“There, now let me get the rose.” He reached into the bush and expertly plucked a rose. He proceeded to snap off all the thorns. Count Deion then handed her the flower.
“Really, I don’t think that was necessary.” She said.
“Maybe not, but I don’t want to risk you passing out from blood loss.”
“I’m not that fragile.” Kurena protested. Count Deion raised an eyebrow.
“I may get sick a lot but I’m not going to faint from a thorn prick.” Count Deion gave a short laugh and Kurena scowled at him. Her eyes drifted towards the rose in her hand. She smiled and inhaled the sent of it. The smell had a nostalgic effect on her.
“You really love roses.” It wasn’t a question.
“Yes, my…my mother used to have a rose garden. She would always tell me the story of a girl who made the roses bloom, and a demon who loved her.”
“Hmm, I believe I’ve heard this story, but I would like to hear your version.” He sounded slightly interested but his eyes held something else.
“Okay, my mom would always start, â€˜Once there was a girl named Rosa,’” Kurena noticed Count Deion flinched at the name, “There was a barren land where nothing would grow. Rosa tirelessly worked on the land until finally roses bloomed. A demon fell in love with Rosa and her dedication. The demon proposed to Rosa, she told him that she would marry him but only if he could find her a blue rose.
“The demon searched for the blue rose for many years. Rosa eventually grew old and died. The demon was so distraught he cried for the first time, his tears soaked the earth and blue roses bloomed. And the demon died.” She finished. “I’ve always loved the story, but when I was little I would come up with different endings.” Count Deion looked slightly annoyed. “What?” she asked him.
“Well, the version I was told was similar but it was a little different.” He said casually.
“Oh? And what were you told.”
“Well for one thing, doesn’t it seem odd that Rosa would send the demon for a blue rose? Before the demon cried there was no such thing, yet Rosa sent him away to find one. Your story doesn’t say what Rosa did all those years while the demon searched. Well, Rosa didn’t wait patiently for him to return, no, she married and had children. She all but forgot about the demon who had sworn his love to her.
“The demon, on his search he found a sorceress. The demon truly loved Rosa and wished to be human so she would love him as well. The sorceress allowed him to appear human but only until midnight then he would revert to his demon form until the sun rose again. When the demon returned to find Rosa had betrayed him and died, he did cry. But he lived on, searching for the woman that would love him.” Kurena took in Count Alucard’s words, looking at the story she grew up on anew.
“You don’t have to believe me but…” he trailed off looking torn. He looked at her face, Kurena was quiet. It unnerved him. “Come on let’s get you back to bed. We’ll leave the window open this time.” Kurena nodded. Count Deion stood up and scooped her off the ground, Kurena clutched the rose to her chest. He carried her to her room. Count Deion pulled out a key and unlocked her windows.
“Thank you.” Kurena said.
“Okay, but you’d better not try escaping.” He laughed.
“I really don’t think you need to worry about that.” She gave him a small smile. Count Deion left the room. Kurena’s quietness had left him disconcerted. He couldn’t understand why when he told her the story she didn’t say anything. Was she angry at him for ruining the story she had known since childhood. Or worse, did she put two and two together? Did she know about him?! He almost ran back into the room and confronted her. He reasoned with himself that wouldn’t help, he tore himself away and went to the kitchen, an idea brewing in his head.
A few hours later Ellen walked into Kurena’s room.
“Well come on let’s get you presentable.” Ellen said.
“Why?” Kurena asked.
“Dear, you’re having dinner tonight with my lord.”
“I am?” Kurena said taken a back.
“Of course dear, by the master’s request. But only if you think you’re up to it.”
“No, I’ll go.” For the next half hour Ellen had Kurena bathe, she did her hair and had her put on a dress that didn’t lack frills. Ellen then led her down the grand staircase to another large hall with a long table in the center of it. Count Deion was sitting at the opposite end of the table, and right next to his seat was another place setting, her place.
Kurena stared at the ground as she walked towards the Count. She couldn’t look at him, not in the dress she was wearing.
“What is it?” he asked concerned.
“Did you have to make me wear this?” She asked, fluffing her dress.
“I’d have to say you look lovely.” His voice was soft. Kurena blushed. “Come sit next to me.” He pulled out her chair and pushed Kurena in when she sat down. In a grand procession the servants came out carrying trays of food, most Kurena didn’t even recognize. The food all looked so decadent she just gaped at it, her mind couldn’t even comprehend what it all must taste like. Count Deion swept a hand above the spread and said,
“Dig in.” Kurena just continued to stare, not knowing where to begin. The, Count pursed his lips. After a few seconds he said,
“Alright then I’ll start.” He grinned and reached over to a plate with some sort of crackers with some white meat on top, maybe fish or even chicken, she couldn’t tell, he popped it into his mouth, chewed and swallowed. “Well, it’s not poisonous. I’d say it’s quite delicious. Here,” he handed her one. Kurena took it, looked at it then put it in her mouth. It was amazing, absolutely melting on her tough.
“It so…good!” she said.
“I’m glad you like it. Have as much as you want.” Kurena took a bit of everything onto her plate. Count Deion smiled and put various delicacies on his plate. After a they had been eating for a little while Count Deion cleared his throat and said,
“I apologize if earlier I upset you with the story I told you.” She looked taken a back.
“No, my lord you didn’t upset me. I was just lost in thought. Taking in your story. I just feel so bad for the demon.”
“Excuse me?” Count Deion did not expect those words to come out of her mouth. Though he was annoyed at how she called him, â€˜my lord’.
“I mean, Rosa could have just told the demon she didn’t love him. But instead she sent him away, and all those years the demon thought she might have had feelings for him, especially if he brought back the rose. I always adored Rosa, I thought she was this kind girl that would love the demon. But no, she was just some shallow girl who couldn’t see past the demon’s appearance and give him a chance.” She looked genuinely sad.
“But I wonder if a demon pronounced his love to you would you give him a chance?” he asked, his voice reflecting his seriousness.
“Of course. Though, I’m sure it won’t matter soon because I’ll be married to Bartello.” Count Deion stiffened. “You don’t like him do you?” she said.
“No, I have no problem with him, I only worry about why he’d propose to you so suddenly and send you into a strangers house to prove…well I don’t know why he sent you here.”
“Well he didn’t actually say I had to steal one of your roses just a blue rose. And you happened to be the first person who I thought of who owned one.”
“That’s slightly cliché.” He chuckled.
“Yeah, just a bit.” She smiled. A maid, she was a young girl, walked in then and said,
“I apologize my lord, to disturb you, but a gentleman has come calling.”
“Oh?” said Count Alucard.
“Yes, he said his name was Bartello Mevidue.” The maid said. Both Count Deion and Kurena froze in shock. Kurena stood up, followed by the count. They followed the maid to the entry. There stood an extremely handsome man. He had short blond hair and wore clothes that flaunted his wealth. He looked at Kurena and his brown eyes lit up, he ran to her and embraced her.
“Kurena! Thank god you’re alright! I’ve looked for you everywhere. What were you thinking?” he looked at her, giving her a stern look, “When I said I’d like a blue rose instead of a ring, I didn’t mean for you to go out and try to steal one. I’m flattered at your dedication though.
“Count Deion I’m eternally grateful for your kindness to my Kurena.” She flinched at the inflection.
“No, it was my pleasure.” Count Deion replied, his voice had a monotone like quality to it. Kurena looked over to him, his face was blank. For some reason her heart sank.
“Yes, thank you.” Kurena said, her voice matching his.
“Come, come Kurena we have wedding plans to make. Oh and please forget about the blue rose. I have you and that’s all I need.” He smiled and pulled her towards the door.
“Good bye then.” She called back to Count Deion.
“I wish you happiness.” He said. Kurena’s eyes widened, she gave a weak smile and followed after Bartello. When the door shut Count Deion continued to stare at the door.
“So that’s it? You just let her go?” Ellen said from atop the stairs.
“Yes. He’ll take care off her.”
“But she even said-” Count Deion cut her off
“If she really was put in that situation I doubt she would do as she said she would. I want all the servants left dismissed, until the moon has returned. Now leave me.” His voice quavered.
“But my lord-”
“LEAVE ME!” he bellowed. Ellen flinched, but hurried away. Count Deion walked down to the basement, into the room made for him. He locked the door behind him, closed his eyes and let the darkness have him.
One of Bartello’s maids led Kurena to her room. It was huge, with a canopy bed and a walk-in closet. The closet had only a few dresses in it but the maid assured her that they’d be going to a dress shop to have some custom made. But that was not something Kurena was looked forward to that.
Kurena looked around the extravagant room, it all looked very expensive, and sighed. She didn’t want the wealth she wanted…she wanted…she knew what she wanted but it shocked her. How selfish could she get? She had all this yet she wanted something else. A knock came from the door, interrupting Kurena’s fretting.
“Come in.” she called. Bartello walked into her room, wearing a smile that looked a little strained.
“Listen Kurena I’m sorry but business calls so I’ll be away for a few months. We’ll have the wedding sometime then.”
“Where are you going?” Kurena asked.
“That’s nothing for you to worry your pretty little head about.” He pat her on the head.
“I could go with you.” Kurena suggested.
“Love, if we’re going to be married than you’d better get a couple things straight. I go on business trips a lot and you stay here. That’s how it will work.” He sounded as if he thought she was mentally challenged.
“Alright, I understand.” But really she didn’t, Kurena bowed her head so he wouldn’t be insulted by her outburst.
“It’s okay love, you’ll get used to how I run things.” He lifted her chin and kissed her. To Kurena it felt wrong. Bartello pulled away and smiled, he left the room leaving Kurena in a daze. She didn’t want this, but it was the best she would ever get. A tear trickled down her face, she wished for someone, someone who didn’t love her back.
Kurena looked up at Count Alucard’s mansion the next night. Bartello was already away and the maids wouldn’t be up in either his mansion or Count Alucard’s, being a few hours past midnight. No one would know she was here, neither Bartello or Count Deion.
Kurena found the window to her room, wearing her black pants and sweatshirt that the maid and returned to her earlier that day. She scaled the wall, she had done it once before, and opened the window. Kurena chose her room because it was probably the only window unlocked. Luckily, it was. She climbed in and headed for the door, pressing her ear to it to make sure it was quiet outside of it.
She slunk out of the room and down the hall, slipped down the stairs and turned right. Kurena walked down the familiar hall to a large oak door. She opened the door to the courtyard she loved. It was dark but that didn’t stop Kurena, she went straight for the roses. Kurena knew living with Bartello would leave her unhappy for the rest of her life. She wanted one last thing to give her joy, the rose. She leaned over and plucked one from the bush, holding it close to her chest.
A shadow seemed to descend upon Kurena, she looked behind her and her entire being froze. A dark figure loomed near the wall, something about it made her skin crawl.
“Why are you here?” the dark figure hissed, but somehow it sounded familiar.
“I’m sorry, I just wanted a rose.” She said, her voice almost a whisper. The figure chuckled darkly and said,
“Well, well, well, I feel as if we’ve done this before.” The figure walked out of the shadows and Kurena’s breath caught in her throat. It had skin that was pitch black and even under the hood the figure wore, Kurena could see horns the length of fingers curled towards each other. Its actual fingers were long and slender that ended in slightly curled talons. But on the figures back were huge closed, black wings. But the figures face,
“Count Deion?” his face still looked very similar.
“Yes, I’m surprised you could tell.” His voice had taken on a mocking tone.
“But…how?” she stammered.
“How? I’m a demon,” he smiled and Kurena saw his eye teeth were long and sharp. He continued, “My grandfather was the demon who fell in love with Rosa.”
“Then the story…”
“Yes, the story was true. You’d think I would have learned from it. My father did, he married another demon girl. But me, I did the same as my grandfather. I had to fall in love with a human.” Kurena blinked, shocked by his words.
“Are you…are you saying you…love me?” she looked into his eyes and felt immediately calmed. Deion’s face shone with anguish until he turned his face away from her, so she could not see it.
“Yes,” his voice came out in a whisper, “I do.” Kurena felt a smile on her lips. She knew she should be scared out of her mind, and running away screaming but she couldn’t see a reason why. She was frightened, a little, but she didn’t want to run, away at least.
“Why are you smiling? Let me guess, you’ve come up a clever idea to get rid of me? What is it this time? A purple rose? Or maybe polka dot?” he sneered. Kurena flinched at his harsh tone. She looked at the rose in her hands and said,
“No, this one will be fine.”
“I don’t need anything.”
“Oh? And what about Bartello?” his took on a mocking tone.
“I can’t marry him, because I don’t love him. I thought I could reconcile my happiness, to save my life. But I can’t do it. Up until about a week ago my life pretty much was pointless, I didn’t have a reason to live. But then I got a taste of real happiness and I fell in love. But I thought my feelings were one sided. So I left.” Deion stared at her aghast.
“Now I know your lying. Maybe you did have feelings for me but there is no way you still can. Not after you’ve found out what I am.”
“I don’t care what you are.” She said lifting her chin defiantly.
“You really expect me to believe that?” he almost shouted. Kurena reflexively flinched,
“Ow!” she looked at the rose still in hand. Numerous little drops of blood started to bead on her hand. Kurena reached into her pocket and retrieved a white handkerchief that Bartello had given her. She tried to tie it around her hand but with one hand and holding a rose it was impossible. Count Deion sighed and said,
“You’re hopeless.” He shook his head and reached for the handkerchief. Kurena flinched slightly as he did. But he grabbed the cloth and swiftly tied it around her hand. He then took the rose from her other hand and broke off all the thorns. Kurena laughed and said,
“Thank you.” She reached out to take it but he held up his hand to stop her. Kurena gave him a curious look, wondering if he planned on sending her back to Bartello’s without it. He carefully slipped the rose behind her ear. He started to draw his hand away, but Kurena held it to her cheek.
“This always calmed me.” She breathed. Count Deion was torn, he wanted so much to believe her, but he didn’t want to give in only to have her turn around and say she didn’t really care for him.
“I don’t understand, how can you stand there and say you love me when I look like this?”
“Because it wasn’t just your looks that I love, and you really don’t look that horrible now,” and he didn’t, to Kurena, after she got over the initial shock of seeing him. He was still handsome, in a gothic sort of way, “Though it certainly didn’t hinder my feelings, but I fell in love with this,” she put her hand where his heart was. Count Deion flinched at her touch. But she just smiled. He slipped his other hand around her waist and pulled her into his chest. She sighed in content and put her arms under his.
Kurena looked up at Deion’s face. She reached up her hands and pushed back his hood. He still had his dark hair and even darker eyes. They still held apprehension, she could tell he wanted to believe her though. She tried to think how she could make him see that she wasn’t lying.
And so she pressed her lips to his, wrapping her arms around his neck, holding him there. At that moment she didn’t care if he was demon, human, vampire, or an elf. Deion’s mind went blank, he thought he was pushing it when he held her, that that would frighten her enough. But Kurena had kissed him. She was kissing him, even though he looked like something that belonged in a nightmare. But all rational thought seemed to fly out of his head and he kissed her back.
Suddenly Deion felt his body shudder and convulse. He pulled away from Kurena as his vision swam. Just as suddenly, it stopped he looked at his now human hands. He was in his human form. He didn’t understand how, the sun was still down and would be for many more hours.
“Well it’s about time!” said a voice from the doorway to the courtyard. Both Kurena and Deion turned to see Ellen standing there.
“Ellen?” said Alucard.
“Of course? Who else would I be? And didn’t I tell you that Deion loved you?”
“You did.” She smiled at looked at Deion who smiled in return. But then something occurred to her. “But I still don’t understand the connection between the noises during the new moon and his feelings for me.” Kurena questioned.
“When I change into my true form, my demon form, it’s a little more violent during a new moon. I’m sorry if I scared you.” He said contrite.
“That was you?” Kurena asked him.
“Yes, I’m sorry.” He apologized, giving her look that made her heart brake.
“It’s all right, really.” said Kurena, she gave him a smile that made him forget what they were talking about.
“Though speaking of changing, you wouldn’t happen to know why I’ve changed into my human form?” Deion asked Ellen.
“Of course I do. I am the reason you can appear human at all.”
“What?” he asked confused.
“The sorceress, who gave your grandfather the ability to transform into a human until midnight and let the spell pass on to his children, that was me. I’m not powerful enough to let you appear human after midnight, that’s when a demon’s at its strongest.” Ellen said.
“That doesn’t explain why I’m human now.”
“You aren’t human, dear, but the only thing allowing you to overcome your demonic strength and amplify my magic is that girl in your arms.” Deion’s eyes grew wide.
“Me?” Kurena was astounded.
“Who else would it be? Part of my spell was that if the demon in question could find a girl to love with all his heart and truly love him back then he could remain in his human form whenever he wanted to. You can change back into your true form whenever you want, of course.
“But you aren’t human, that is beyond my power. I doubt anyone can accomplish that except for an extremely powerful demon, one that can wield magic.”
“Kurena,” Deion turned to her, “I’m not human, and I doubt I ever will be. Unless, you wish for me to be, than I will seek out a being powerful enough to make it so.”
“NO! I forbid you to leave me in search for something that doesn’t even matter to me!” Kurena snapped, “I finally have you, I’m not letting you go so easily.” Deion smiled at her, feeling so happy he could burst. Instead he pressed his lips to hers. Reveling in the feeling of loving and being loved in return. Alucard pulled away, only to press his lips to her forehead.
“Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere.” He reassured her.
“I promise.” He smiled and turned to where Ellen was, “Thank yo-” but he stopped when he saw Ellen was no longer there. “She’ll turn up soon enough.” Deion turned back to her and said,
“I want to give you something.” He whispered in her ear.
“Okay.” She replied.
“I’ll have to change into my demon form though, is that okay?”
“Of course.” Deion smiled and stepped away from Kurena and unlocked the magic that held him in a strange form. A rippling sensation went through him and he felt his form shift and twist until he was his version of normal. Deion looked over at Kurena to see she had a worried look on her face.
“What’s wrong?” he asked her, anxious that she decided he was too monstrous for her to love.
“You said it hurt when you change,” she reached for his arm, holding it close to her, “Are you okay?” Deion laughed lightly.
“I’m alright, I don’t think it’ll be as painful any more.”
“I’ll be right back.” He said, but she didn’t release his arm.
“Can I come with you?” she asked. “Please?” she added after he gave her an apprehensive look.
“Okay but I hope you’re alright with flying.” He spread out his wings to show what he meant. Kurena’s face lit up as she thought of it. “Come on.” He scooped her up onto his arms and jumped off the ground into the air. Kurena clung to Deion, the smile still on her face.
He flew over the top of the mansion until he came to another courtyard. But this one was different, it was overgrown and only one color, blue. He landed in a spot where the flowers hadn’t taken over. He set her on the ground and transformed back into his human form. Kurena had walked over to one of the vines,
“Blue roses” she breathed.
“The same ones my grandfather created by crying for the death of the woman he loved. We had to fly because there is no door, the mansion was built around it.” He reached over and took one. Deion snapped off all the thorns and turned to her.
“Kurena, will you marry me?” he asked, his voice soft. Shocked, Kurena froze, a blush coated her cheeks.
“Yes,” she whispered, “Yes! Of course I’ll marry you.” The smile he gave her was breathtaking. He slipped the red rose out from behind her ear and put the blue rose in its stead. He pressed his lips to hers, and Kurena wrapped her arms around his neck.
“I love you.” She said.
“Do you think you can give happiness a chance?”
“Happiness? I expect much more than that.” She smiled.
“Good, because we’ll have much more than just that. Want to go for another fly?” Kurena nodded eagerly. Deion’s change was swifter this time, he leapt into the air with Kurena in his arms. His wings carried him and Kurena towards the new moon. She was smiling, the rose still in her hair. The symbol of his love and her returning it. She pressed her lips to his. He was overjoyed, no matter what form he took she would love him, and he would always love her.