Chapter Two

Tao walked into the morgue, carefully, as though afraid she would spring some sort of trap or set off some kind of alarm by her very presence and motion.

She was nervous.

She had cleared security with her forged identifications, and fake paperwork that would keep them busy for a while, but she did not need a lot of time.

By the time they realized that something was not quite right about her being there, she would have gotten what she needed, and left. No harm done. It only made things difficult if she ever planned on going back to that morgue at some point in the future. First time was always the easiest. After that she needed to get creative.

She just needed to examine the body, while sensing the aura about it, before too much time had passed or his body was disposed of and her evidence lost.

"It," she told herself. It was not a "he" or a "him" or a "Mr. Daniels." So long as she thought of the body as just that, a body, she could do it: she could touch it, examine it.

She never thought of herself as "squeamish" but knowing too much about a dead person before she poked at it made her feel guilty and slightly perverted.

She just wanted to get out of there after one quick peek at it, at the body.

Counting the doors, and then the carts, Tao found her body as the last on the left in the frigid room. There were only five bodies in there. Three were uncovered, all elderly. Their town was too small to have more than one room for its dead. Five bodies were probably the most it saw.

"Okay," Tao said to herself, reading the toe-tag, and clenching her hands into fists over the body, readying herself for the unveiling.

Closing her eyes she grabbed the top of the white sheet that covered everything but the feet and folded it down to expose the head, neck, and shoulders. She did not need to see more than that, nor did she want to.

Looking down at the dead man nude under his sheet, and focusing on the neck, not the face, Tao did what she had driven all the way out there to do. Opening up her senses, she tried to feel the body's last moments before it died. She could sense all the classic signs of murder. She could sense Confusion, panic, and fear. The violence was thick as was the trauma. Tao knew, Vampire or no, there was a murderer out there somewhere, because the man's…no, the body's death had not been accidental.

"Crap," she said with a sigh. She had to examine the wound, something she had hoped she would not have to do. She had hoped she could just use her senses, see that it was nothing more than a tragic accident, and leave without having to dirty her hands, and leave the nightmares for another time.

"Forgive me," she said, touching the dry wound on his neck. It had been cleaned of blood already, the body clearly already having been photographed and documented by police, seen a medical examiner and had its opinions stated. The freshly sewn skin of the upper torso -a Y incision going from shoulder to shoulder and down the middle- showed the body had already had its autopsy.

It was a small town. Things got done fast because otherwise there was nothing else to do, no waiting lists.

The neck wound looked like a clean cut, no tearing, which was a good sign when it came to ruling out Vampires, but, there was bruising around the wound, and throat. There were faint round indentations, Tao recognized as teeth marks, but teeth that had not broken the skin like a Vampire's or a Lycan's would have.

"What the…" she said, focusing again, making sure she saw and what she felt were conflicting. "This, isn't right," she said before looking up when she heard a door down the hall open. She knew she had overstayed her welcome but she was far from certain of what to think of the body.

Havoc sat in the living room, flipping through the television channels as Raine came down the stairs. It was midday, and she usually was not up.

"Raine? What are you doing up? I had expected you to sleep for another few hours at least," he said as Raine looked at him, her eyes filled with tears. "Raine?" Havoc asked, leaning forward from the couch, taking his feet off the table and setting the clicker down.

"I'm bleeding," Raine sobbed. Havoc frowned his brow at her as she gripped her stomach and whimpered in pain.

"Raine, what's wrong? Where are you bleeding?" he asked, feeling the starts of panic. Raine sobbed and indicated her lower body vaguely, and Havoc knew where it was she was talking about and not knowing but assuming just how bad that was for a pregnant woman.

"Havoc," Raine cried, scared more than even Havoc.

Within a few minutes and much hurried running about in circles on Havoc's part they were on their way to the hospital. Tao had taken her car, but Havoc still had his, low on gas, but it ran. Raine sat in the passenger seat, crying heavy sobs, holding her stomach. She was not in continual pain, but every few minutes she whimpered. Her tears were more from her fear than anything.

"Don't worry Raine. Just stay calm and breathe. Just breathe." He said, his words rushed and scared. He was angry with himself that Tao was not there. Being left in charge of Raine sounded simple enough when he figured she would be sleeping all afternoon, but he could not handle the emergency they seemed to have on their hands. If something happened, something he did not even want to think about, he would never forgive himself for bullying Tao into leaving that morning.

"Havoc, I'm scared. What if there is something wrong with-"

"No, don't say that. Don't even think it." He said, glad he could say that out loud, for his own benefit as well as hers.

Driving quickly, unable to keep his foot off the gas, they arrived at the hospital within ten minutes, and found a spot to park not far from the emergency room. Havoc got out quickly, running around to the other side of the car he opened up Raine's door and helped her out. Raine leaned against the car for a moment, eyes closed tight and head turned away from the bright afternoon sun as she breathed deeply.

"Come on Raine, I have you," Havoc said, allowing her to latch onto his arm as he slowly walked towards the wide and open emergency room. Entering, there was a woman behind a counter, a window of glass between her and them on the far wall directly across from them. There were several people there, but not many. They all lifted their heads from their tedium to look at them. Raine was visibly pregnant, so most of them went back to their boring magazines, or resting their heads on the backs of their uncomfortable chairs.

The woman behind the glass slid open the large window as she stood quickly.

"Is she in labor?" the woman asked, nurses already coming in through the swinging doors to the left of the counter, to aid Raine.

"I don't know," Havoc said helplessly. "She's bleeding, and the baby is not due for another two months or so," he said, easing his arm out of Raine's tight grasp so she could be turned and sat in a wheelchair that was brought out for her.

"Don't worry, we will take care of her." The lady behind the glass said. Raine was carted off and Havoc made to follow, but the woman stopped him. "You will have to stay here. And there is some paperwork that needs to be filled out," she said. Havoc looked at Raine through the gap in the swinging doors as they swished back and forth slowing to a closed halt. He wanted to go with her, to make sure she would be okay, but nodded to the woman, walking over to her window where she then sat and handed him a clipboard with a thick slab of paperwork on it to keep him busy for a while.

Raine sobbed as she was rolled at a serious pace towards a room where she could be examined. She sobbed hysterically, blabbing on about how she was not due yet, how scared she was, about the babies due date, and how much it hurt. A nurse was pushing her, as another walked beside her, letting Raine hold her hand tight.

"In here," the one said to the other. It took them a few hectic moments to get Raine up and out of the chair, out of her clothing, into a hospital gown, and up onto the table. A doctor came in just about that time, while Raine was being hoisted up onto the cold table, and started talking quickly to one of the nurses, their voices low so Raine could not hear them

"Alright, thank you," the doctor said louder, stepping over to Raine while pulling on her gloves and raising her green facemask over her mouth and nose.

"Hey there sweetheart," she said, trying to be comforting to Raine as she pulled metal stirrups out from under the table's edge, locking them in place. "I need you to relax and breathe for a moment," she said firmly to Raine who was in near hysterics and a lot of awkward pain.

"It hurts, and I'm scared," she said. "What if my baby,"

"Do not worry about your baby right now sweetheart. Lets focus on you. Take deep breaths through your nose and let them out through your mouth" she couched. Raine tried to do what the doctor told her, but she was having trouble not thinking about her baby and what might be wrong.

"What is happening? Why am I bleeding?" Raine asked, continuing her breathing exercises.

"You may have gone into premature labor, and that could have caused a tear in your un-dilated cervix." She explained. "I will have to examine you to know for sure, so, let's raise your legs and place your feet here in the stirrups. I will need you to relax and let your legs fall apart." She instructed, helping Raine lift her legs and place them properly with much guidance from the doctor's hands.

Raine sobbed in pain as a few nurses came in and out of the room. She was examined, and she was hooked up to an IV. A large, black, belt-like strap was wrapped around her tummy, and that was hooked up to a machine that beeped a lot and monitored her -as the doctor had explained- contractions. Raine closed her eyes and felt tears slide down from the corners towards her eats.

She was in a Human hospital.

She was among people that would not understand or know how to take care of her or her baby.

She wished that Tao were there with her, to help her.

Tao was driving on her way home when her cell phone rang. She ignored it at first, thinking she would get a voicemail she would be able to check later, but it did not stop ringing. She glanced down at her passenger seat, then to the road again, fishing with her hand through her purse, feeling for her phone. Finding it she answered it with a flip of her short black hair out of her eyes.

"Yes hello?" she asked.

"Tao!" It was Havoc. "Tao, I'm at the hospital with Raine. We need you here right away." He said, his words fast and panicked.

"What?" Tao asked, nearly slamming on her breaks. The car behind her honked and swerved around her. "What do you mean? What has happened?" she asked, looking for the next street she could turn down to turn her around and take her back towards the way she had come, towards the hospital once again.

Havoc was sitting in the emergency waiting room, his knees bouncing up and down rapidly in his anxiety when Tao walked in. She looked around quickly, before hurrying over to him.

"Havoc! What happened, is she okay? Is it the baby? Is the baby-"

"I don't know how she is right now. No one has come and talked to me yet." He said, dropping his voice, glancing over at the swinging doors where Raine had been taken.

"What happened?" Tao asked, sitting down on one of the uncomfortable chairs beside where Havoc had been waiting.

"I don't know. I was in the living room, and Raine came down. I hadn't expected her to be awake. I asked her if everything was alright, you know, not knowing why she was awake or anything, and she started crying. Said she was bleeding while holding her stomach." He said and Tao's eyes widened.

"She was bleeding?" she asked, her voice getting a little high.


"Like, from-"

"Yeah," Havoc said, not wanting to have to say it.

"Oh my god," Tao said, covering her mouth.

"What does that mean? I mean, I understand bleeding is not good, but-"

"She could be having a miscarriage," Tao said, her voice high and quivering. Havoc's eyes grew wide, then his chest tight. He wrapped his strong dark arms around Tao and held her tight.

It seemed like hours they had to wait to find out anything. While waiting, Tao and Havoc had time to quietly discuss the reason behind why Tao had not been home to help Raine.

"So, the man's death was not an accident, but there were no Vampire bites?" Havoc asked.

"That could mean the killer was just a Human, and not a Vampire, and this is just a murder, nothing supernatural."

"But you said there was a faint Vampire aura lingering, and teeth shaped bruising," Havoc said.

"Yes," Tao said heavily. "It could just be a copycat. Someone who thinks they are a Vampire." Tao said, shrugging and looking away.

"Is that what you think?" Havoc pressed.

"I don't know what to think. I can't think right now," she said, running her hands over her face and up through her hair. Havoc understood that at least.

Finally, after much waiting and talking, a doctor in dark green scrubs came out and spoke to them.

"She's fine." She said, and Tao and Havoc both let out a breath they had been holding for a long while. "I'm Dr. Stanton and I treated her."

"What, what happened?" Tao asked.

"Well, she went into premature labor, and that did cause a small rupture, but we were able to stop the bleeding and give her some medication to slow and eventually hope to stop her contractions." She said and Tao smiled in relief.

"Thank you," she said with a bow.

"Why did she go into labor so soon?" Havoc asked as he was offered the doctor's hand to shake.

"Well, she is a young mother for one. Young first-time mothers are more likely to give birth prematurely and with more complications than an older woman, but I believe that this bout was brought on by stress. She had worked herself into quite a hysterical mess back there, we were tempted to give her something to calm her, if that wouldn't have effected the baby's heart rate." She said with a half smile. "Are you her friends, family?" she asked.

"Um, I'm her cousin," Tao said.

"And she is living with us," Havoc explained.

"So you two are in charge of her and her care taking?"

"Yes," they said together.

"Well, then, I will leave it to you two then to make sure she stays in bed and doesn't stress too much about anything if you can help that. I have labeled her as a "high risk" pregnancy, given the nature of this situation, her age, and the results of the ultrasound we took. She will need to stay on bed rest until her due-date, to prevent any more complications of this nature." She said. "Her cervix has ruptured once, and it will be weaker now, so she will be prone to more bleeding if she even just moves around too much." She said mater-of-factly. "Keep her rested and calm."

"Alright," Havoc said, nodding and squeezing Tao's hand tight.

"You did an ultrasound?" Tao asked.

"Yes, while she was sleeping, to check on the baby, the position of the placenta, and to make sure everything was okay." She said. "The good news is the baby has not turned yet so the chances of her giving birth just yet is slightly lessoned lest the baby tries in breech, and the placenta is not blocking the cervix, so really, everything seems right-as-rain for the moment."

"You know the sex of the baby?" Tao asked.

"We do not tell the mother, or anyone, the sex of the baby, without permission of the mother." The doctor said with a smile. "Would you like to go see her now? She's a bit groggy," she warned.

Tao and Havoc walked into Raine's room with smiles on their faces, but they were not happy smiles, but forced nervous smiles. They saw Raine lying in the hospital bed, the head tilted up so she could lean at a comfortable angle over her swollen tummy.

"Hey," Tao said, holding her arms out as she moved over to her cousin, hugging her. "How are you feeling?" she asked, Raine leaning into her, Tao rubbing her back vigorously.

"The doctor talk to you?" Raine asked, pulling away, clear plastic tubing draping down from the back of her left hand.

"Yes," Havoc said, eyeing Raine and the tubing. "She says you are to be on,"

"Bed rest," Raine said with a pout. "Isn't that just peachy," she said bitterly, before gripping her stomach again in sharp pain. "Ow," she said.

"Raine, what is it?" Tao asked.

"Damn Human medicine. It doesn't work on me. The contractions slowed, but they haven't stopped." She said through her teeth. Tao smiled sadly and moved to the side of the bed, Havoc pressing the button so that Raine was suddenly leaning back.

"Let me see what I can do," Tao said, resting her hands on Raine's tummy.

"I hated that book you got for me from the library," Raine said suddenly, looking up at the ceiling while Tao opened up her senses.

"Which one?" she asked distractedly while she worked.

"The "Max" one." Raine said, flatly.

"I thought you would like that one. About the boy raising his baby son-"

"I liked it until the end. Then it broke my heart." Raine said, frowning her brow. She promised herself she would not cry over the stupid book anymore.

"Oh, it is one of those books," Tao said. "I'm sorry. I thought you would have liked it. I did not know how it ended, however it ended."

"I did like it, a lot, but I would have liked it a lot more if I had stopped reading before the last three chapters." Raine said and Tao smiled, drawing power up through her legs from the earth.

Christian sat in his living room, Wynter, his one-hundred-and-seventy-pound white Siberian tiger on the couch beside him, resting his head on Christian's lap, Christian absentmindedly scratching his ears. He was not alone in his apartment. An Albino Vampire stood before him, exasperated and annoyed.

"Chris, come-on," The albino said, crossing his arms and leaning against the wall. "It has been five months." He pressed, frowning his pale brow at his friend. His soft white hair had grown out since that past winter so it was now past his cheekbones, impossibly straight and shiny. His eyes were pale lavender in colour, almost a shade of pink. They were lovely but unnerving to stare into. Vampires were often pale, pale as the dead and someone who never saw sunlight, but few could compare to the pure whiteness of this Vampire. He glowed, even in the dim light of the apartment.

"I know how long it has been Marianus," Christian said flatly, not looking away from the television screen. The screen was the only source of light in the room.

"Then you know it has been way too long for you to have been cooped up in this apartment." He forced.

"I am fine, thank you," Christian said, still staring at the television. Marianus sighed and ran his hand though his hair causing it to fall in his face. He did not bother to shake it away. The strands fell past his pale eyes and he held in his anger, trying to keep calm, so Christian would agree to go out.

"I can tell you are angry Marianus," Christian pointed out. And Marianus cursed under his breath at Christian's newer, stronger abilities now that he was a Master.

"Well, then you probably also know why I'm angry." he said, folding his arms up again.

"I am not going out tonight Marianus, so do not try."

"Why not?"

"I want to be here." Christian said simply and Marianus threw his arms up in the air while turning away to collect himself. After a few moments her turned back to Christian sharply.

"Chris, she is dead alright? Raine is not going to show up suddenly, and you are not going to -just so happen- not be here and miss her." He said and Christian finally looked away from the television to glare at his friend.

"How dare-"

"Chris, you're my friend, and I can't stand watching you destroy yourself like this." He said, no longer angry but begging, his worry plain and clear.

"Get out of my apartment Marry," Christian warned.

"Marianus." He corrected forcefully, not liking to be called by his other half's name.

"Get out." Christian said again, his eyes harsh as his words.

"Chris, we know you miss Raine. Hey, I miss her too," he said and Christian snorted skeptical at him. "No, I really do." he urged.

"Yes Marry. You miss her. That is why you tried to kill her all those times correct?"

"Damn it Chris!" Marianus shouted. Christian knew that he had no control over the things Marry did and Christian knew more than anyone how much he hated being blamed or held accountable for his other mind's actions. Christian was just being cruel, to chase him off. "Fine. Stay here. Stay in your little apartment with you tiger and wolf and fucking waste away to nothing for all I care. I'm through worrying about you." Marianus said, walking away.

"I was through with you long before now Marry," Christian said harshly, causing Marianus to tense in the shoulders. Christian was being beyond vindictive and cruel at that point.

Marianus vanished and left Christian alone to dwell on his words. Marianus hoped bitterly that Christian would feel like a dick for what he had said and rightfully so because Christian had been a dick.

Christian leaned back on his couch, and Wynter head-butted his hand, to get him to scratch him some more.

As Christian sat in the relative silence of his living room, twirling the engagement ring he had bought for Raine and now had back in his possession thanks to Gabriel and Dorcas around his finger, he thought about where she could be right then.

Everyone else thought he was crazy…thought he was trying to kill himself, all the while they tried to convince him Raine was dead. They did not understand that knowing she was alive was all that kept him going anymore.

Raine tossed and turned in her sleep for a while before waking up with a gasp, her hands instinctively touching her stomach as she shook out her head, ridding herself of her nightmares. She could still hear the screaming distantly, though it was in the back of her mind, not her ears.

It was nearly midnight again and Raine cursed, lying back down.

Her nightmares were bad, but she did not know how to stop them but for just avoiding sleep. But, she needed rest but whenever she did sleep, Gabriel haunted her. Christmas for her had come with little cheer and much pain and trauma, fighting and death.

Laying back down, Raine closed her eyes, remembering back to a better memory than the circumstances she had gone into hiding, hoping that it would effect her dreams and she could possibly not have a nightmare for once.

"Tao, I don't want to be here," Raine complained as they walked slowly down an aisle in the local mall, at the JC Penny. They were surrounded in jewelry in large glass cases and counters and Tao sighed.

"Raine you said you wanted to get out of the house, now that we have, all you have done is complain."

"When I said "go out" I meant to see a movie, get a bite to eat, not go shopping. I can't stand how everyone is looking at me, like I have a second, evil head or something." She said hugging her stomach insecurely while hunching her shoulders. There was an older woman, probably older than her mother had been, looking at her while her two young children danced around her legs.

"We still have some things we have to get for the baby." Tao said as they reached the escalator. "And they wouldn't stare so much if you weren't dressed as you are." She pointed out. Raine looked down at herself in stubborn indignation. She had thought she had dressed rather well. She wore nice modest clothing. She had changed out of her ice cream stained muumuu of a dress she wore around the house and to bed to keep cool in the unexpectedly warm spring days, into something Tao would not be embarrassed by. Raine was wearing black comfy pants, sort of like pajama bottoms, only stretchy, and a black t-shirt that said "Don't piss me off. I'm running out of places to hide the bodies." across her chest.

Thinking about it, she was dressed like a teenager -which she was- but dressing like a high school girl when six months pregnant and swollen up like a Macy's day balloon was almost asking for people to stare.

Raine looked like a pregnant teenager, and people loved to stare at those, and whisper behind their hands to one another about how it may have come about.

Raine hated it.

She hated more that she herself had done the very same thing to other girls, and not give it a second thought at the time.

"I just want to get what we need and go. I would rather be watching Passions." She said as she awkwardly stepped off the escalator and onto the floor where they would find baby stuff, bedding, cribs, strollers, clothing, feeding supplies, and things that had no real use but looked cute so people got them for the baby's room.

"Aw, look," Tao said moving away and towards the baby clothing. Raine followed slower and watched as Tao looked through the tiny clothing on the racks, all in pastels blues and pinks. Raine decided she did not want her baby, boy or girl, to be dressed in blue or pink fuzzy bunny rabbit pajamas. Much to Tao's great disappointment, Raine had gone to Hot Topic and bought some of the "Hot Topic Baby" line of clothing. Her baby, whether it be a boy or girl, would be cruising around in "style" wearing band mini t-shirts, and miniature Converse sneakers for when it got a little older.

"We need other things first," Raine said walking past the baby clothes. "We need pacifiers, bedding and a mattress for the crib, stuff for the baby's baths, I think we have enough diapers for now, but there are so many things, like a car seat, we have nothing to put my baby in on the ride home from the hospital." Raine said chewing her nail. She had been growing steadily more nervous as she neared her due date. Having bypassed her first month, it would be like being pregnant for eight months rather than nine. Raine did not mind that part, tired of being pregnant already, but that just meant she had that much less time to get ready.

"And bottles, we'll need those." Raine added.

"With bottles we need a breast pump," Tao said heading off with Raine towards the other baby stuff.

"Breast pump? What the hell for?"

"So you have something to put in the bottles." Tao said as the obvious answer.

"Isn't that what formula is for?"

"No, no, no, babies are healthier if they drink their mother's milk. If you don't plan to breastfeed then you have to get the pump."

"Breast feeding causes saggy tits." Raine said, pouting and sounding annoyed.

"For some women yes, but defiantly not for you, you wont have saggy breasts, you will be young and perky forever remember? You heal fast, that extends to all aspects of your life including your body's ability to get back to normal after having a baby, you lucky thing you." Tao teased at the last.

"This is gunna be a lot of work." Raine sighed rubbing her face with both her hands while looking at all the different breast pumps and accessories.

"What did you expect?" Tao said sharply.

"I didn't expect to get pregnant!" Raine snapped causing a happy nearby couple to look up at her and glare. The man had his arm around the woman, his left hand resting on her stomach, his gold wedding band clearly visible. The expecting couple shot Raine the dirtiest look and Raine used her mind to knock the display of plastic baby bottles beside them over causing them to jump as bottles fell to the floor, bouncing and rolling everywhere. A store clerk hurried over and the couple apologized over and over, assuming it had been their fault.

"Raine," Tao said flatly, getting Raine's attention back on her. "I know this is hard, and it will only get harder, but you have to be willing to do it right. If you are not willing to do it properly and give your baby what it needs without complaining or doing a half-ass job, then maybe we should consider giving the baby away."

Raine stared open mouthed at Tao; shocked she would even consider such an option. It had never been a thought or even an idea to give up her baby.

"There is no way I am giving away my baby. This may be the only child I, or Christian, could ever have." She said her heart pounding quickly as though someone were about to take her unborn child from her that very second. That had already come too close to happening twice already. Gabriel had tried, and death had certainly attempted to too, and Raine was now holding onto her child with everything she had.

"Then, lets get what you need and head home to rest." Tao said as they started gathering their baby's essentials. Raine was quiet for the rest of the outing, keeping objections and complaints to herself. She was going to prove to Tao that she could be a good mother. She was going to do everything right. She was not going to be like her mother had been to her.

Raine rolled in her sleep, remembering that promise she had made herself about being the best mother she could possibly be.

Tao woke to the sound of something crashing downstairs. She stirred without sitting up, and looked around her dark room for a moment, trying to decide weather or not the sound had been part of her dream. The second noise, not as loud as the one that had woken her, confirmed that it had been no dream. Havoc slept on being a heavy sleeper, and Tao slid out of their bed, pulling on her violet bathrobe over her pale pink camisole, and tiptoed out of her bedroom and down the hall.

There was another crash but this time it was closer, upstairs now.

Tao's breathing was fast.

She looked around but saw nothing. Her senses were wide open as she checked her barriers. She had guarded the house from Witches, Vampires, Ghouls, and any other big-bad of the night, but she had not thought about burglars. She felt silly for not having thought about burglars.

At the top of the stairs Tao saw, on the walls, bloody handprints and smears, as though someone had rushed past in some hurry, and steadied themselves against the wall.

Tao's breath caught in her throat. She had cleaned up the little bit of blood Raine had left behind earlier already. This blood was new since then, and there was a lot more of it.

Creeping towards the blood like it would suddenly rise and attack her if she were not careful, she examined it closely. It was fresh, it was wet, and there was a lot of it. The idea of a burglar far from Tao's mind then, she swallowed her heart.

"Raine?" she asked, her voice high and panicked, not what she had strived for. Swallowing hard and trying to sound supportive, she asked again. "Raine? Are you in there?" she asked, inches from the bathroom door. There was sobbing from within and Tao's stomach plummeted. "Raine, babe," she said as softly as she could, opening the door and stepping in, fearing the worst for Raine and the baby and ready to comfort her.

What she stumbled upon, what she saw, she was not expecting and it stopped her dead in her tracks, her words of comfort abruptly interrupted by her shock.

Raine was hunched over the toilet, vomiting violently, her hands covered in blood, smearing it on the toilet's white porcelain. Her hair was down, which meant it was past her shoulders but not grown to reach her mid-back yet, was sticky with blood and tangled from what looked like a struggle, blocking her face from view.

Tao gasped when she saw Raine, not sure what to make of it but horrified nonetheless.

Raine heaved into the toilet bowl, apparently too distracted to have noticed Tao come in or call. After taking a shuddering breath while still face deep in the toilet, Raine looked up at Tao, fear in her eyes when she locked them with her cousin.

"Tao," she said, her shoulders shaking, her face beaded with clammy sweat. Tao looked ready to be ill herself. Raine's face was covered in gore. There was blood all down her chin, and a smear on her cheek. There was also what looked disturbingly like human nail scratches on the other side of her face and neck, like someone had clawed at her blindly. Raine's eyes were blood-red, like they got when she used her magic, but Tao knew that that was not the reason for their change this time.

"Tao, please," Raine said, tears leaking from her eyes, "What's happening to me?" she asked, holding her hands up like she was offering them to Tao, then looking at them, Raine seemingly registered the blood on them for the first time and started to shake violently all over, her mouth quivering as she gasped for air between her sobs.

"Raine," Tao finally managed to say. Raine's eyes snapped up immediately, and she stood just as quickly, despite her condition. Tao gasped as Raine rushed her, and fell into her arms, covered in blood and crying. "Raine, what happened?" Tao asked, her arms out at her sides for a moment, unsure what to do with them, before she started reluctantly stroking Raine's sticky hair.

"I don't know," Raine sobbed unbelievably hard. "I, I was in my room, in bed like I was told, and I was sleeping, dreaming about shopping last week, then I woke up down the street. I was, I was wet, wet with, with," she sobbed, unable to even say the word blood. "I found my way back here, but along the way I felt sick, really, really sick. I ran back as best I could, and got to the bathroom." She sobbed. Tao glanced over at the toilet and had to close her eyes and look away almost as quickly. There was no vomit in it, but blood. Just a lot of blood.

"Raine," Tao said, pulling her cousin away from her so she could look her in the eyes. "I need you to calm down alright? Think of the baby. Take some deep breaths, and sit down here with me." She said, easing Raine down onto the cool bathroom floor. Raine hiccupped back tears, and nodded while she was sat down. Havoc could be heard down the hall, waking, and Tao closed the bathroom door.

"Raine, are you alright? You are not hurt are you?" she asked, looking at the scratches more closely while Raine struggled to steady her breathing while she continued to shake all over.

"No, I'm, I'm not hurt." She said though not possibly sure, "This, this isn't my, my blood." She said, looking at her hands, too horrified to look away.

"Raine, I don't want you thinking about that right now," Tao said, knowing full well what had happened, and was not sure how the news would impact Raine, or how it would effect the baby. "Raine,"

"Oh my god," Raine sobbed, burring her face in her bloody hands. "I killed someone," she cried. Havoc knocked on the door.

"What's going on?" he asked.

"Bring me some towels we can ruin, and some witch-hazel," Tao said, pulling Raine's hair back from her face. She lowered her voice then to talk to Raine. "Raine, don't worry…Raine," she said, trying to get Raine's attention.

"I…I killed someone Tao! I mean, I remember being hungry. I dreamt I was at the gas station. I…I don't think I was dreaming though." She said, looking to Tao horrified wide red-eyes. "I attacked him," Raine said, her eyes full of tears trembling and ready to fall. Tao took a deep breath and nodded, knowing she needed to explain this to Raine before she drove herself crazy.

"Raine, it's the baby." She said and Raine blinked. "The baby is a Vampire, and it has a bloodlust that is manifesting through you. You have already mentioned to me about your food cravings being insatiable. I had thought it was just the usual at first, but I realized, as time progressed, that your baby in this last trimester would desire blood. You are feeling that. You have steadily been taking on more and more Vampire-like qualities in the last few weeks. Your reflection vanishing, your sensitivity to light and sound, and now this," she said, indicating the blood on Raine's hands. "It's normal," she said. Raine looked at her for a moment, her skin white as paper.

"This is normal?" she said, Tao flinching, knowing the onset of Raine's temper well at that point. "This is not normal Tao!" Raine shouted.


"No, no!" Raine said, shaking her head and pushing Tao away. "This is not normal, this is not right. Why is this happening? I did not ask for this!" she said, her anger not lifting, not even when she started to cry. "I'm eighteen years old! I'm not ready, or fit to be a mother! Especially to this, this," Raine said, waving her hands about, unable to think of something to call her own baby. "Vampire!" she finally blurted out. Havoc appeared in the doorway with an armful of towels, his eyes wide and curious as to what he was overhearing, but not wanting to interrupt. "I can't deal with this!" Raine sobbed, sitting on the edge of the tub and crying with her bloody fingers locked in the roots of her hair, her knuckles white.

"Raine, I know this is hard, but it will be over soon. You will have a baby, and we will find a way to get to Chris and tell him, find away around the Witches that are watching him, and you two can be together. He will be a great help in this. He, a Vampire, will be a great help." Tao reassured, taking a towel from Havoc and wetting it in the sink with hot water, in hopes she could get to Raine and clean her up some.

"Vampire?" Raine sobbed. "Perfect. A Vampire." She said bitterly, angry again now that her tears had ebbed slightly. "My boyfriend is a Vampire, my baby is something like a Vampire, my father is a Witch and refuses to even look at me let alone talk to me. I'm hiding from Witches that tried to kill me and may -or may not- think I'm dead, while unable to even tell my baby's father he is going to be a father, because he is being watched like a hawk by the same Witches that wanted he and I both dead!" she sobbed, her feeling of frustration and helplessness clear.

Tao and Havoc looked at each other, both unable to think of anything to say to Raine that could help or reassure her, that would not be a flat-out and blatant lie.

All Raine had said was true and it was a harsh truth.

After a moment of their silence, Raine looked over at them. Seeing them unable to comfort her, making it painfully obvious that things really were that bad, Raine whined, a high long sob before breaking down again. Tao rushed to her side.

"Raine, Raine look at me. Things are rough right now; it is hard for all of us. But we are risking everything for you, for Chris, and for this baby. Things will turn around, you'll see," she said.

"Or they can get one-hundred times worse," Raine sobbed, and Tao and Havoc were once again, unable to say anything to the otherwise.

"This sucks,"

"Why? It's not like you are doing any work," Havoc said as Tao pulled her coat tight around herself as if she were cold in the warm spring air.

"This is so disgusting, I just want to get out of here." She said, not looking over at the bloody body.

"I can't believe how squeamish you are around the dead," Havoc said, completely at ease with the dead man.

"Easy for you, you can raise the dead, nothing grosses you out." She said, not looking at Havoc either.

"Not true, I happen to be very squeamish around torture." He said huffily. "And my abilities certainly have their uses. It's nice that our victim can drive himself out to a remote location and dig his own shallow grave. Saves us the trouble and the back ache." He said casually, his arms crossed as he leaned against a dark tree, watching his zombie dig his grave. They had gone to the gas station where Raine had said she came from and Havoc had raised the man before anyone had found him.

They had used the zombie to clean up the crime scene, clean up his own blood, so that his would be the only fingerprints in the area. They were serious about not having the crime discovered and if the man's disappearance were to be investigated, nothing to be left to indicate he left of anything but his own free will.

The dead man having cleaned up all evidence of Raine having been there he took his truck and with Tao and Havoc following in their car closely, he drove way out of town.

Now he dug. Zombies could not get tired, so he started digging and did not slow in the hour and a half they had been out there in the dark.

"I guess it is only luck that he had been alone at the station and there were no cameras, so no worries about her being caught on film attacking this, um, man." She said tentatively, "But I still feel horrible about this." Tao said hugging herself as the man silently dug.

"Well, I'm not exactly having my shits and giggles either, but what's done is done and we have to do something with this guy here."

"Why can't we just let the police deal with him, like they did with that boy I had to visit?"

"Because we know now that it was Raine that killed that boy, and now this man, and the last thing we need is for the cops to have more motive against Raine. She doesn't need people thinking she is a serial killer. That fact alone has got her all upset. And besides, she probably already left a trail of gore home that we still have to deal with." He pointed out.

"Oh god, destroying police evidence, we are going to be in so much trouble."

"It isn't police evidence until they have collected it, until then it's just evidence, and as Witches it has been our job for centuries to keep things like this -Werewolf attacks and such- under wraps so that the Humans do not find out about us. We are not doing anything wrong, we are following Council law."

"The only difference is the Council does not know about this," Tao pointed out, daring a glance over at the animated body that was digging himself down in a hole already knee-deep in the dark.

"What the Council doesn't know can't hurt us." Havoc said flatly, the headlights of the dead man's truck their only light, shinning across his stony face.

Raine laid in bed for a long while. Tao had done some magic on her so that she would not work herself up over the evening's "events" so that the baby would be safe. She was to stay in bed, and not get stressed out. That was hard with two deaths of two innocent men on her conscience. She could sob, she could cry, she could moan in utter despair, but she could not get overly worked up, which she understood as good, but it still bothered her that she could not feel worse (thanks to Tao) about what she had done.

Raine was also angry but could not get worked up over it, and that only frustrated her and made her madder, in an endless cycle.

Tao had not told her of any such side effects to her pregnancy. Everything she had been going through, the loss of a mirror's reflection, sudden nocturnal habits, strange compulsive habits, were only explained to her after they happened. Tao had told her they were normal, but never alluded to the fact that there would be much more serious complications as the pregnancy progressed into it's final stretch.

Holding her stomach Raine felt her stomach gurgle unpleasantly. She was hungry, yet she had no appetite. Havoc and Tao had been gone for nearly two hours by then and they were showing no sign of coming back any time soon. She wanted something to eat, real food, but she was not to get out of bed.

"Damn it," Raine cursed softly, looking at her clock. It was early morning, still dark out, and she was dying for something to eat.

What was a little tip to the kitchen? If she could walk to a gas station and kill a man, she could walk down to the kitchen and make herself a snack.

Deciding on that Raine heaved herself out of bed.

It took much rolling and heaving, and huffing and puffing but she got herself to the edge of the mattress and standing.

Walking slowly and taking the stairs one at a time like a small child, Raine made her way down the stairs. She came out in the dinning room and turned right into the kitchen, not able to see into the living room from the bottom of the stairs because of the wall that divided the living room and dining room. Shuffling her feet Raine walked down the long narrow galley kitchen, picking up the milk from the fridge as she passed and getting cereal out as she passed the cupboards. Count Chocula was her recent favorite, and not simply because there was a Vampire on the box.

Poring herself a heaping bowl and dousing it in skim milk Raine jabbed in her spoon and waddled to the table at the far end of the narrow kitchen where things widened out a little more, more as in just enough for a small table to be squeezed in.

Sitting and stuffing her face Raine tried not to think of her night or what Tao and Havoc were doing right then but instead grabbed her baby names book and looked over the marked pages again. She was not sure what sort of name she wanted. She was trying to think of Christian and what he would like his child…son or daughter…to be named, but she found that more than a little hard. Would he want a Russian name? Would he want a bible name? Would he not care either way? She knew he was Jewish -or had been- and knowing he had had a brother named Perchek, she had though of a whole bunch of Jewish Russian names, but she was not crazy about them since, to her, they all were too hard to spell and pronounce.

Girl names, boy names, Raine felt overwhelmed by the task. Naming a baby was hard, harder than she ever gave it credit. She wanted to give her child a name they would not resent her for. Having grown up with the name Raine Storm, she knew just how cruel kids could be.

Edward had struck her from early on, but so had Ezekiel. She liked E names, but she was not sure if Christian would. What if he knew someone named Edward and hated him? She had several names that were ruined for her because of people she did not like having them. Chris, as in Christopher, was one of them, as was Jason, Philip, Gabriel…and names like Stacy, Britney, and Karen had been all ruined for her too. She had known too many Jessica's in her life, and honestly, she had not liked any of them

"Damn it." Raine said, snapping the book closed. She was not sure what she was going to do without Christian. She could not name his son or daughter without him.

She wanted to go see him. She hated Tao and Havoc at that moment for not letting her go to him.

Raine jumped when she heard someone knock at the front door.

"What the hell?" she asked herself, setting her baby names book down beside her bowl of chocolaty milk and standing slowly from the table.

Augustus, Kevin, and Marianus all sat side by side at the bar of Carnage. They each, at the same time, took a sip of their own respective drinks and set them in unison back atop the smooth lacquered top of the bar. They sat in silence long enough to get Sarah, the Wereleopard bar tender to ask them what was wrong.

"Nothing," Augustus said simply. Marianus looked disgruntled and Kevin looked forlorn, but Sarah did not press, she just slipped a coaster under Marianus' bottle and went back to cleaning glasses and serving drinks to other patrons of the club.

"So, what is Christian doing?" Augustus finally asked one of the two boys that sat on either side of him.

"Sitting at home, watching the Princess Bride on the couch last I left him." Kevin said flatly, his long bangs hanging in his deep chocolate eyes. The bangs had been blue not so long ago, but the colour had faded to the point where they were now basically white with an odd blue hue to them, standing out against the rest of his short and spiked blackish-brown hair. He was lanky and tall, over six-foot since he was thirteen, and had a scruff on his chin. His lip, nose, and ear piercings not withstanding, he was dressed down. A plain black t-shirt, jeans, and boots were all he wore. Being out of school meant her had lost a great deal of interest in going all out with the leather studded wristbands and collars and chains. It was a lot of effort for no one to notice.

Marianus, to Augustus' right, sat with his hair pulled into a tight ponytail, but only the back part could reach the band that held it, the section staring above his ears and forward was loose and hanging straight and shinny, reflecting in the white strobe light of the club as it flashed at random intervals like lightning. His clothing was white; making him look so pale that it was startling. He had always had an eye-catching appearance, but never quite so traffic stopping as when he wore white. He was slender and tall, his high sharp cheekbones making his long face look very masculine but not rugged by any means.

Augustus had raked some hair gel through his own hair with his fingers while it had been damp and got it to twist and fluff up a bit in the front. He had also grown some sideburns and a goatee that made him look much less like a roman coin and more like a modern college student. His casual relax-fit jeans and dark t-shirt helped that illusion in believability.

His and Marianus' eyes glowed white like mirrors in the club's lighting, like an animals when light is shinned into their faces in the dark, but Kevin's, like Sarah's, only had that odd glow when they turned their heads just right and it only lasted for a moment. It was clear the lighting affected the Lycan differently than the Vampires, and the Humans and Witches not at all.

"He needs to get out of the house," Marianus said, speaking to his bottle that sat atop the bar.

"And to stop watching such girly-ass movies." Augustus added, making his point sound so much more important. "Do you know the last time he has fed?"

"I brought him someone to eat a few days ago," Marianus offered.

"I haven't seen him take a taste of blood in so many days," Kevin said, not looking over at the other guys either. It seemed to be a guy thing. Some how worrying about their friend and talking about him was too effeminate of a gesture to also share worried glances or even a reassuring pat on the shoulder. They remained carefully spaced apart, hands on their laps, eyes on their drinks as they spoke to each other, sarcasm heavy to keep things from sounding too heavy.

"Do you think it's about time for another attempt at an intervention?" Augustus asked.

"What, about the not eating or the chick flicks?" Kevin asked, being ignored.

"Maybe, but not tonight, I have a date," Marianus said, standing from the bar and tilting his head until his neck cracked. Augustus and Kevin finally looked over at him and smiled.

"And here I had thought you had dressed up so snappily for us," Kevin said in his usual unflappable tone.

"Don't flatter yourselves gentlemen." He said with a roll of his shoulders.

"What gentleman is worth the extra effort?" Augustus asked while smiling and pulling his lips up to his bottle he held lazily in his right hand.

"None of your business," Marianus' said, cheeks flushed in embarrassment despite the flashing white lights.

"I know who it is," Kevin said with a smile teasing.

"Shut up," Marianus said more fiercely.

"You do know Sam is a girl right?" Kevin said, laughing slightly.

"Shut up," Marianus said, blushing more noticeably now.

"I guess our little Marry here isn't as gay as we thought." Augustus teased.

"I am not gay, Marry is, and I am not Marry." Marianus said defiantly, crossing his arms.

"Wow, that's really gotta suck for you mate, to wake up in control after Marry has had his way to find yourself lying next to a chap in bed." Kevin laughed.

"Isn't it also true that you are aware but not in control while Marry is at the helm?" Augustus laughed. Marianus blushed deeply, Augustus pointing out a great discomfort of his.

"Oh god," Kevin said with a smirk, not having thought of that before just then.

"I hate both of you," Marianus said before downing the last of his bottle, setting it on the wood and leaving the club without a word in his own defense as Augusts and Kevin jarred at him as he left. Sarah appeared instantly to pick up his bottle from the wood looking annoyed and taking to coaster away as well.

"We should really stop teasing him about that," Kevin said with a smile as he sipped his drink, resting both his elbows on the bar's top.

"Why? It's a riot."

"Yeah, but one of these days he is just doing to go nuts and kill us." Kevin said matter-of-factly.

"True," Augustus said with a shrug. He had enjoyed teasing Marianus about how his other mindset (who incidentally did not know he was one of two in that body) was a gay masochist.

"You still up to forcing Christian out of the house before dawn so he will eat?" Augustus asked, turning to Kevin.

"You mean forcing Christian into hollering at us and storming off to his bedroom to pout until dawn, then sure." Kevin said, finishing his own drink and standing with Augustus.

Raine walked carefully out of the kitchen, across the dining room and stood at the bottom of the stairs, waiting by the wide archway that connected the dining room to the living room. Raine waited by that wall, not wanting to enter the other room, let alone answer the door. She did not know who would be making a house call at that hour but knew if it had been Havoc or Tao they would have come right in or at least called to warn her that they would need her help getting inside. Raine licked her lips nervously and held her stomach.

"Who is it?" She called, forcing her voice lower than it was naturally, hoping she could fake anyone who was at the door into believing she was either a man, or simply not who she really was. The thought that the police could be looking for her –again- that night crossed her mind, and it was all the more incentive to not be Raine Storm right then. She did not think the Witches would recognize her voice really, but she also did not think they would have knocked.

She was not sure what to think, but somehow pretending to be anyone but herself at that moment sounded like a good idea.

"It's Malachi, Tao, is that you? You called and left a message on my machine mentioning something about Raine? What is going on? Please, invite me in, I know you told me not to come until this evening, but I was worried." He said. Raine's eyes widened in surprise and shock when the voice coming from behind the front door was in fact Malachi's. She did not know what to think right then but "hide!"

Tao must have called him after she had helped her clean up. She must have finally caved and done what she had been threatening to do for months, call Malachi and ask him -a Vampire Child- to come and help Raine. Raine had not jumped at the idea, not liking the thought of telling Malachi about the baby before Christian, but she understood, now more than ever, just how useful having someone that knew more about Vampire Children come and help.

Malachi certainly would know. His mother had been a Human, his daddy had been a Vampire.

"Havoc? Is that you? Please invite me in," Malachi tried again, clearly unsure of who had spoken but knowing they were right there, on the other side of the door. Raine stood in the archway, looking at the door, holding her stomach, not sure of what to do. The front door burst open and she cursed, rolling to her left against the wall, hiding herself from view from the front door. Raine cursed under her breath again. She knew Malachi could not enter without an invitation, but she had forgotten that he could still open the front door. She also cursed because she knew he had seen her. Maybe not her belly, but he had gotten a decent view of her back as she spun around and leapt behind the wall.

"Raine?" Malachi called, sounding shocked and disbelieving. Raine held her breath, like if she remained silent and still he would eventually just leave. "Raine, oh my word, Raine! Please, invite me in, I will not hurt you." Malachi said, his words full of pleading and need. Raine groaned, knowing Malachi would not just leave, and leaned around the wall, just so her head could be seen with a spill of hair, and looked at him.

Malachi stood in the front door, just outside the threshold, complete blackness to his back, the light from the lamp in the living room revealing his snappy red suit. He always dressed in red. He was always so eye-catching that if it were not for his long black hair slicked back into a smooth shinning ponytail low in the back that curled elegantly and caught on his crisp white shirt collar, and his stunning turquoise eyes, he would have been in danger of looking tacky. Instead however, he almost looked like a 1920s or 30s gangster, or a devil. The only thing that saved him from coming across as being too harsh was the often kind smile he wore, and his smooth slow southern accent that made him sound so much more warm and welcoming than his outward appearance and first impression did.

"Hey Malachi," Raine said lightly, sounding as casual as she could manage, like she did not just suddenly appear to him after being dead for five months.

"My word, Raine, I thought you were dead. The Witches certainly made it sound that way. Tao told me herself that you were declared dead." He said.

"Well, you know the saying, the rumors of my demise were greatly exaggerated, or something like that," Raine said, not able to recall the actual quote with Malachi's penetrating stare boring into her as she leaned around the wall.

"Please Raine, invite me in," Malachi asked, holding his hands out, but not past the door's threshold, as if wishing for an embrace, but probably more than anything, just showing he was unarmed, not that that mattered when it came to Vampires. Vampires could rip a person limb from limb without breaking a sweat though that was much too violent and messy for most their taste and sense of propriety.

"No," Raine said guiltily. Malachi's face looked hurt.


"No, no, go away, I can't see you right now," Raine said, pulling her head back around the wall and sliding down it so she was sitting with her back pressed flat against the plaster.

"Raine, please, I have missed you so much. I cried to know you were dead. I took my anger out on Gabriel." He said and that got Raine to peek around the wall again. Malachi adjusted his gaze so he was looking at her again now that she was much lower and locked eyes.

"Is he dead?" Raine asked, hoping the answer to be yes. She had lived in constant terror that he would come for her in the middle of the night for months. To know he was dead would make her feel safe, even if it were only slight.

"No. I'm not permitted to kill him. He is on Council and I cannot hold a Council seat given what I am," he said, not having to say "a Vampire Child" to have Raine understand what he meant. "He lives, but he lives in shame. He has been shunned for his actions in taking a Council seat without having killed for it. Master Pike refuses the seat so it is vacant right now. Master Pike has agreed at least to sit in, but he has made it clear that he is not its permanent place holder." Malachi explained.

"So Gabriel is not dead," Raine said sounding disappointed, ducking behind the wall again as though hiding.

"Christian wants him dead," Malachi said and Raine's ears perked at the mention of her love.

"Christian? Do you have news of him?" Raine asked, leaning once again around the wall.

"You have not been in contact with him?" Malachi asked in surprise.

"I have not been in contact with anyone since that night," Raine said, not having to explain what night she meant. "Tao and Havoc have kept me here, in secret, so I could be safe. The only other person to ever visit is my father Seth and those are hardly pleasant visits." She said sadly, looking down.

"Christian has made it no secret that he wants Gabriel dead." Malachi said.

"Well, I should hope not." Raine said flatly, her own desire for the Vampire's death strong and prominent.

"Do you know of Christian's condition?" Malachi asked delicately. Raine just shook her head while she looked down. "He, well, he is a Master now in Carthage, but he is hardly living up to all that that entails. I have not personally seen him in as long a time as you, but from what I hear," he said, looking left then right, considering his words carefully, "I hear he is doing well," he lied. He had considered telling Raine he was miserable, not eating, and worrying some, but decided better of it. Raine to him looked upset enough as it was without adding worry about her Vampire lover.

"Is that the truth?" Raine asked eyeing Malachi closely with narrowed slanted eyes. Malachi said nothing but looked right back at her. "Oh god, he's not fine at all is he?" she asked, sounding ready to cry.

"Raine, I did not say that," Malachi comforted.

"You lied. He is not alright. God, I want to go see him, why wont Tao let me go see him?" she asked, more out loud to herself than Malachi, but he answered from the doorway anyways.

"I'm sure Tao has good reason. You should trust her," he said.

"Oh, I know the reason, but it is not fair." Raine sobbed.

"Raine, please, let me enter," he said.

"What does it matter now?" she cried.

"Raine," Malachi said flatly. Raine sat for a moment, considering, eyes darting side to side rapidly.

Seemingly making up her mind she stood while still behind the wall and held her tummy. She took a deep breath and rounded the wall, standing before Malachi while still yards across the room and Malachi was left standing on the dark front steps, open mouthed and shocked into silence.

Raine stood before him, large -but not yet fully-grown- pregnant belly very noticeable in her pajama bottoms and tank top that left a large band of bare pregnant tummy showing.

"Raine," Malachi whispered, stunning eyes stunned and unblinking.

"You can come in Malachi," Raine said, her voice hallow of emotion, like she was hiding it all away and shielding herself for his reaction.

Malachi stepped inside slowly, then finally blinking, turned quickly and closed the door behind him as though we were expecting someone to be out on the dark street, looking past him to see Raine. Pressing his palms flat against the door like he was barricading it closed Malachi looked over his shoulder slowly at Raine as she moved heavily over to the couch and sat, her legs apart so her belly could ease between them.

"Your response was what I was half expecting. I like it better than anger. My Dad was angry." Raine said quietly. Malachi finally stopped leaning on the door to turn and look at Raine full on while she sat.

"Raine…" he said, looking her up and down, "Raine, Raine…" he kept repeating.

"Yes, Malachi, Malachi, Malachi, that is my name Malachi, you can stop repeating it over and over again Malachi," Raine said, shoving her back into the couch more, sounding and looking a little annoyed.

"I'm, I'm sorry. I'm just surprised. I, I had no idea you were, were,"

"Knocked up?" Raine offered.

"With child," Malachi amended in a much kinder tone than the one Raine had used.

"Well, no one does, and it's going to stay that way, got it? I have not spent the last five months cooped up in this house, hiding from the Witches to have it all blown now." Raine said angrily, her emotions so much fiercer now that she was pregnant.

"No one, not even Christian knows?" Malachi asked. Raine looked away guiltily. "Not that I'm blaming him for this, but you didn't tell him you were expecting when you two started dating? Wouldn't you think that would be something he would liked to have known before committing to any sort of relationship?" he asked and Raine looked at him, her head snapping in his direction while her arms remained crossed under her breasts but above her tummy.

"Excuse me?"

"Well, you and Christian have only been together since just after Halloween right? Correct me if I'm wrong, but you are at least seven months along now." He said.

"I'm due in mid-July, so yes," Raine said looking at him.

"Which means, just -mathematically speaking- you had to have been pregnant since at least mid-October, before you met Chris," Malachi said, clearly grasping the numbers better than most would despite his shocked state.

"Very observant of you." Raine said flatly. "I know how it all looks, with the numbers and dates and all that, but you have to hear me out." Raine said. Malachi looked at Raine and frowned.

"Do you think telling me that you got pregnant while with Christian is going to make me feel any better about it Raine?" He asked, clearly -and with just cause- not considering Christian a possibility as the father.

"If Christian were the father I think it might, in one way," Raine said, not sure after saying it out loud, telling him that she was having a Vampire Child would make him feel better. In fact, it likely would make him feel worse, if in fact he even believed her.

"Raine," Malachi said, sounding almost disappointed in her story. "I know you must feel guilty about being pregnant, but really, it's okay if you were pregnant when you met Christian. You didn't do anything wrong if that is the case. Not as far as Christian is concerned that is." He said and Raine shook her head.

"Malachi, I know you are all surprised and shocked to see me alive, and I know you are even more surprised to see me pregnant, but honestly, just open up your senses a little and see for yourself that this baby is not the product of some stupid teenage fling I had with a Human boy before I met Christian." She said, arching her back slightly (more than it already naturally was because of her pregnancy) so that her tummy stuck out more.

The gesture was not needed for Malachi to sense it, but it was an indication that she was being serious.

Malachi sighed loudly through his nose while looking at her, clearly debating on whether or not he should humor her or not but Raine just glared at him.

"What do you have to lose by trying Malachi?" Raine pressed stubbornly. Malachi looked at her, shook his head, and then focused his attention on her tummy and the child with in her. Raine opened herself to him, letting him feel her sureness and sincerity at the same time he would feel the baby's aura and all that made the baby clearly Vampiric, and clearly no one's but Christian's.

Malachi's eyes widened as his aura clashed with the tiny child within Raine. He could feel it curl up and roll with in her as if annoyed at being disturbed and with its back to Malachi he felt it lash out with its natural power, chasing his aura out, snapping at his heels. Malachi withdrew and Raine pressed her eyes closed, her breath caught up in her throat as he baby's aura slowly seeped back into her tummy area, her baby's annoyance clear and overpowering to her own emotions. She needed to let herself regain control before she spoke or she too would be as annoyed as her baby.

"My word," he said, rubbing his arms through his red jacket as though he were cold. "My word," he said again, his eyes moving side to side as though unsure of where he wanted to look. Raine wanted to say something but Malachi was talking quietly to himself. "It makes sense now, why Tao would call me. It makes sense now why she would try so hard to hide you, to keep the Witches and even the Vampires from knowing you were alive. Somehow she was able to hide you, hide this aura about you from those that would look for you. She called me, trusting me with this secret. Somehow she's planned on delivering this child in secret. I should have known, I should have known something was up when she came to me months ago. I didn't make the connection," he said, rambling under his breath to himself.

"Malachi," Raine asked,

"How?" he asked, barely raising his voice above the whisper he had been muttering to himself in. "How did you manage to…how was it possible for Christian to do this?" Malachi asked. Raine blushed slightly, not really wanting to tell Malachi about how it had happened, embarrassed that he now knew for certain that she and Christian had been doing more than just fooling around, not that she would need to admit to that though while sitting there pregnant.

But some part of her thought of Malachi as a father, and having your father know about your sex life, let alone having to talk to him about it, was hard.

She was embarrassed.

OMG, I updated again. Aren't I a peach? HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

UPDATE-This is the SECOND time I had to update this chapterm because, not reading the chapter over AFTER I posted it, I did not realize that this fucking retarded-ass douche of a website only posted HALF of my chapter! No wonder I was not getting and excited reviews, ya'll didn't get to read the cliffy ending! Easily said, I'm fucking pissed, but I fixed this sites FUCK UP, and I hope you can all forgive my oversight. It will not happen again. God, I didn't think I had to BABYSIT this retarded site. Damn it. Well, anyways, thank you for reading this chapter over and reviewing!

I got reviews for the first chapter and I was so excited, you put a smile on this author's face. :) Please keep reviewing, for this one and the first! I LOVE reviews! They also motivated the author to get off her lazy ass and do some research…so today I went to the library and took out some massive volumes on the world's mythology. That is very important to this sequel given the new characters that I cannot discuss with you at the moment. ;)

Enough teasing.

I was posed a lot of questions in my first chapter and I hope more are to come. Since there are so many, I will not reply to them individually on here (Fictionpress) since that is frowned upon anyways. I will reply to them on my website LeaveMeHere .com (link on my author page if you have not been.) I will report on my forum called "Ask the Author." You all posed some fun ideas, possibilities, and some good questions, and I will do my best to answer what ones I can without spoiling the plot or revealing too much. But I'm a blabber-mouth and like to say too much.

I hope you all had a happy and safe Halloween, I know Raine and Christian and The Baby did. :D