A/N- Well, here's some randomness that I wrote on a whim...I realize it has the full potential to be turned into some multi-chapter thing, but I'm already grappling with a few of those, so (can I call this a short story? I'm calling this a short story) this is a short story to experiment with writing from a different type of first person- not just male, but much more emotionless and cold than, say, Ara from The Strange Days of Arabella Flannery. Anyway, reviews are always appreciated...

She is shattered- I see this better than she does, but she is. Clinging hopelessly to the fire escape, bare legs pressed against the metal that is surely icy and rough, with its peeling red paint, she looks like some dying breed of ivy in that tattered green dress. The brick building behind her and the fire escape stands silently, and above that are pink-tinted clouds, hanging like some form of deceptive cotton candy.

"It's going to snow soon."

I say it like I care, but she knows I don't. I doubt she cares, either, and she's the one who should be concerned about it. She barely looks up from the dead, withered flower she has in her hands.

I have no idea where she got it- it's the middle of January and everything should be dead by now. But she's been toting the thing around for weeks now, and it was alive when she had it- delicate purple petals surrounding a pale blue center. Now it's brown and dead, and I think she sees some morbid symbolism in it, and I'm not so sure I like it.

"Celia, you're going to freeze to death," I snap, and her head jerks up, normally lifeless dark eyes flashing with momentary anger.

"Does it matter so much at this point?" she shoots back, jumping lightly from her perch on the fire escape anyway. Landing crouched on her feet like a cat, she straightens up and wipes the dirt and flaking rust from her hands.

"Why do you insist on coming here for your outings? Isn't there anywhere…more hygienic?" I demand, glancing around the alley distastefully. A million places to go in the city for her midnight walks, and every single damn day she chooses the epicenter of filth, grime, and left-over drug paraphernalia.

"For you, maybe. Not for me," she says wistfully, like it's possible for her to miss this place.

"Celia, let's remember that I rescued you from…this place," I remind her, reaching forward to grab her bicep.

"Oh, 'this place'. You mean the poor section of town? Where all the druggies live?" she laughs bitterly, wrenching her arm out of my grasp and taking a few shaky steps back.

I can see the hysterics coming- it's been happening much too frequently for my tastes. She'll start ranting and screaming and then dissolve into tears.

If there is anything in the world that totally escapes my understanding- other than the feel of a heartbeat, those things called emotions that she seems to be overrun with, and the other things that are naturally out of the logical range of one such as I- it is tears. I simply don't understand the purpose- leaking salty water from one's eyeballs. How the hell did such a thing become a symbol of emotional distress? Surely, if one actually has emotions- again, something I am not predispositioned to understand- there must be a better way to convey them than dissolving into sobs and yelling and mumbling incoherently.

"Celia, can this wait?" I implore her, stepping nearer to her, backing her up against the wall, the fire escape looming dangerously above our heads.

"For what? What the fuck are we waiting for anymore? You've been keeping me like some kind of demented pet for a year now!" she howls, fist striking forward to collide with my jaw. I barely feel it, of course- it's still odd. Violence was her initial reaction to me, something she quickly found really had no effect, and it bothers me that she's digressing.

"If you would just-"

"I don't know how! I told you before!"

"Oh, for fuck's sakes, stop crying!"

Unsurprisingly, she doesn't. She never stops crying when I ask her to, and it occurs to me sometimes that I might be going the wrong way about it, but at this moment, watching her slide down against the wall, landing crumpled on the ground, all I want is to make her stop.

After a few minutes of flowing tears and curses to my name, she chokes out one last heaving sob and wipes her shoulder across her eyes, and her eyeliner smears slightly. Glancing up at me and swallowing pathetically, she asks softly, "How long as it been since you fed?"

I wonder briefly where her concern is stemming from- does she want to ascertain that I'm not going into a blood rampage and rip out her jugular, or does she care what my state of mind is, or is she just worried that I'm battling painful bloodlust, standing here, listening to her heart beat?

It's a steady thrum, thumping in her chest- but it's something I've grown uncomfortably used to. Sometimes, at night, I can it hear it beating through the wall, from her room, and I pretend that it's mine- that the blood I hear rushing through her veins is mine. I pretend that I am alive.

A foolish notion, I know, but more than five thousand years of cold immortality can do funny things to your mind.

But I've taken too long to answer her, and she just brushes past her question like she didn't ask it. There is a moment of silence, punctuated only by her sniffles, broken only by yet another question. "What's it like not to have to cry? Not to have to feel anything?"

I don't have anything to say to this- it's been so long since I have felt anything, I forget that I ever did. I'm sure that thousands of years ago, back when my heartbeat was just as strong as hers, I could have an answer for that question- but, then again, I wouldn't have been asked that question while I was alive.

"You're luckier than you know," she continues. "If someone had done to you what you've done to me, you would just rip somebody limb from limb and go on with your day. You want me because you think I'm some kind of cure, but if I were you, I wouldn't want a cure. If I were you, I'd kill me. Or turn me into something like you."

My eyes clench shut automatically at the sight of the torturous, hopeful look she is giving me. She doesn't understand- she never has.


"Get up, Celia. We're going home."

"What are you gonna do, Luke? Just hold me captive until one of us figures us how the hell I can cure you? What if you're wrong, even? What if I'm not your cure? What if I'm just some random girl you grabbed off the street in a half-assed attempt to rid yourself of…what? What the hell are you trying to fix, Luke? You're immortal, you're rich as hell, and you don't give a fuck about anything!" She explodes, jumping to her feet and advancing on me dangerously. I know she can't do anything to me, but the look of pure hatred and rage on her face is more than a little disconcerting. "I'm not your cure. Either kill me or make me into you."

"And get rid of his cure? Yeah, not even Luke is that stupid."

The voice, dipped and rolled in honey and still laced with barbwire, is the last thing I need to hear at this moment, because I know what accompanies it.

A cloaked figure appears at the mouth of the alleyway. Celia looks up at me, bewildered and more than a little frightened and I feel the overwhelming need to protect her- not because I particularly care if she dies, but if she dies, my cure dies, and I can't have that.

"Luke, baby, you have been toting that little pet around for a year...When is it gonna end?" the newcomer asks, offering me a sugary smile laced with a thousand fangs.

"Have you found anything?" I ask, ignoring the little barbs- the best course of action when it comes to her. Celia, on the other hand, still not recognizing her, is scrabbling backwards, reaching up to clamber back up the fire escape. "I think you've scared my toy, Cassandra."

"Shut up, Luke," mutters Celia, peering at Cassandra.

"Yeah, shut up, Luke," echoes Cassandra, turning that smile to Celia, who returns it hesitantly with a significantly less terrifying one. "And how are you, little one?"

"He won't kill me," responds Celia softly, and Cassandra clicks her tongue, gliding forward to reach her hand up to Celia, who takes it immediately, letting the older-looking woman help her down.

It bothers me that Celia would douse me with holy water if it would work- not that it does anymore- but she blindly trusts sadistic, blood-thirsty Cassandra.

"Like I said, not even Luke is that stupid," Cassandra says. "Although, I don't know why he wants to be cured. Being a vampire is a fantastic thing."

"He's an idiot," Celia mutters, and Cassandra brushes a comforting hand over the young girl's cheek, a move that I would never be able to get away with, unless I suddenly developed a fondness for a human girl trying to claw my eyes out.

"I am standing right here," I put in, the faint stirring of indignation flickering in my chest. Odd that a human girl, barely out of her teens, can irritate the emotions that have lain dormant for so long- just enough for me to taste them, catch the silhouette of what sadness and anger and affectation must feel like, but never enough to fully feel. Never enough to fully feel.

Cassandra swivels slowly to face me, her face blank and impassive; when it is directed at Celia, it is colored with compassion and empathy. I know full well how much Cassandra dislikes me- and how much she adores the girl.

The first snowflake drifts down, between Cassandra and Celia's face, landing on the filthy pavement, and Cassandra pulls Celia into her arms. Shooting me a reproachful look, she removes her cloak and drops it over Celia's shoulders, the small girl's fragile fingers grasping the edges and tightening it around her lithe body.

Celia accepts Cassandra's cloak without a word- even wrapping it around herself. I cannot even warn her of the coming snow without an argument. How have I become the evil one in all of this? The only thing I want is the cure- the cure the vampire prophets foretold all those millennium ago, to come from a teenage girl. I had put exhaustive research into it before I took Celia, not wanting to take the wrong girl and unnecessarily ruin yet another life, something that no one seems to appreciate.

"I can't believe you let her stay out here this long," scolds Cassandra, arms protectively around Celia.

"She wanted to come…," I begin to protest, but it doesn't matter. Maybe even more than Cassandra, I want no harm to come to Celia, but it is hard to explain that to Cassandra, one of the few vampires who has the ability to still feel, and Celia, who has nothing but loathing for me.

The two move towards the mouth of the alleyway, and I know that, without a doubt, Cassandra will spend yet another night in my mansion, sleeping as best she can on the floor next to Celia's bed. She always refuses to sleep in one of the other guest bedrooms, and I have stopped asking.

I follow behind them quietly, eyes flickering to Celia's face as she turns around to make sure I am coming. I offer her a small, insincere smile, and her eyes harden as she whips her head back around, the sudden movement alerting Cassandra, whose arms tighten around the girl.

What a trio we make, traipsing out of the alleyway- a girl whose life has been stolen, yet she is still forced to live; a vampiress who loves her like a mother would; and me- who cannot feel, and only wishes to.

The snow falls harder now, but it makes no difference to Cassandra and I, and Celia is now shielded by Cassandra's cloak. The night spreads out above us, above the maze of the skyscrapers, and the silence is choking, and Celia and Cassandra both resent me unconditionally, and I feel none of it.

I am the one who is shattered. And I'm putting all my faith into a teenage girl who despises me to put me back together- and I think she will.

The three of us are lost, I think- none of us who we want to be, where we want to be, or what we want to be. But we'll be found someday.

"The snow's coming down harder," remarks Cassandra softly. With a vague grunt, I slide my long jacket off and hand it over to be wrapped around Celia.

"It'll be over soon enough," I say, glancing up at the dusty rose tinted sky.