The night was thick - it pressed against the flesh of her body on all sides. The breeze slid past her graceful neck as if it were the breath of a lover. She sighed, watching the leaves slide across the ground. Nothing ever changed here. She was a senior, it was a Friday night, and she was still alone. Still wandering through the woods in the middle of the night. In that moment, life seemed too heavy a burden.

Perhaps on a different night, her mood would have gone unnoticed. Perhaps she would have done as she had before, and eventually have gone home without incident or notice.

But this night was different from all the others. This night, this place, came together and allowed something to see her.

She stopped in her tracks, her raven-haired head twisting to look around. The night sighed around her, and she felt... something...stir. She brushed her hair behind her ears, listening with total concentration.

"Do you always wander so alone in this forest, during the middle of the night, amante?"

She spun, her face startled. He was standing there, watching her as if she was all that existed. It was intoxicating, disturbing, and tempting all at once. She shrugged. "What I choose to do or not t do is absolutely none of your business." She turned, and ran straight into him.

She stared, knowing no one could move that fast.

He was intoxicating, and she needed to get away. She could feel her blood singing at being so close to him, feel a need to touch him aching in her fingers. His hair was a pure white, a moon-silver glow, and his eyes were a burning jade. She looked down, backpedaling as fast as she could. And found herself backed against a hard, warm chest. She turned, her fist flying towards his perfectly shaped nose.

He caught her wrist, spinning her until her back was once more against his chest, the muscles in his arm velvet covered steel and he pulled her inexorably to him. She could feel his lips brush the tips of her ear as he leaned down, whispering. "You should answer the question, mon ami."

She shivered, feeling his mind brush at hers, a tide of compulsion nearly overwhelming her. And she answered, despite herself. "Yes. Always."

He released her suddenly, allowing her head to clear. A wave of bright-red anger flared through her as she looked at him. "How dare you!"

A rueful smirk crossed his lips. "I dare many things. But it was you who woke me. You whose soul cried out across the abyss. And I have come. Do not fight me, Dawn." He offered a hand, watching with his lips in that strange smirk as she backed so slowly away from him. As if he was a dangerous animal who could scent fear. The idea made him smile. "Do not be afraid."

"How do you know my name?"

"You called me." He took a step towards her, and she felt her legs freeze. But she wasn't afraid. She knew she should be, she could feel the dangerous aura around him, yet it was more attractive than fearful. That scared her more than anything else.

She blinked as he came forward, his fingers reaching every so gently to her face...