Roof

Thursday night, 10 March 2016, AM

Celia: Celia runs. She leaps.

Her mother’s body falls heavily into her outstretched hands. Celia feels the snap of her mother’s spine as it breaks. Smells the blood that begins to pool in her lungs, that trickles out her nose, the corners of her eyes. When she goes to set her mother down there’s a vacant look to her eye, a loose, squishy feeling to her body that is decidedly not normal.

Panic overtakes her. Her mother’s eyes are on her, mouth open in a silent scream—but the woman isn’t screaming. She isn’t making a sound. More blood drips from the corner of her mouth.

No.

Not her mom.

Not like this.

She’d broken her with her own arms, broken her because she’d thought to catch her, to cradle her with her own body. She had come down hard on the concrete top of the roof… and her mother had paid for it. She clutches her mother to her, rocking back and forth, lips parted in a low, keening wail. Watery red tears stream down her face.

“Mom, Momma, please, stay with me, stay—”

Her fangs sink into her wrist, biting through her own flesh so she can give her mother the vitae that will keep her alive. But Pete’s words from years ago come back to her—can’t fix them, it’s not a miracle, just an accelerant.

Her eyes find her sire’s.

“Please. Please, help me—please, sire, Donovan, please—anything, anything else, not her, please—!”

His gaze is impassive. He will not help her. Her display of emotion for the broken kine does not curl his lip in disgust, but she can feel it, feel the disdain he has for her, for her mother, for her outpour of emotion. She hates him. In this moment, holding her mother’s body in her arms, she hates him. She presses the bloody wrist to her mother’s lips—

And suddenly finds herself on the opposite side of the roof, her sire’s arms around her. Crushing her to him. She struggles, screams, kicks at him, sinks her claws into his chest, his arms. It is like attacking marble for all the good it does her. He does not flinch. Does not hiss in pain. Does not lose control of himself because she is incapable of actually damaging him. He is made of stone. A god among mortals, a paragon among Kindred; nothing can hurt him. He holds her while she screams, rages, while her Beast slips its leash and takes over, when her eyes see nothing but the red haze. And after, when her Beast has fled, when it’s just the girl again, he holds her still. Her knees buckle and she sinks against him, her eyes on the lifeless form across the roof. No heartbeat. No rise and fall of her chest. Nothing.

She’s gone.

Her mother is gone.

Celia’s shoulders do not heave with breath that she can scarcely draw. She does not hiccup with sobs. But her very form trembles, and red leaks like a fountain from the corners of her eyes, red that stains his jacket when she turns to her sire and presses her face against him because she can’t look at the fallen form. It hadn’t been enough. She hadn’t been enough.

There’s no comfort in the circle of his arms. Nothing but cool disdain. It sets her teeth to chattering, sends shivers down her spine, stiffens her nipples behind her crimson dress. She needs him. Needs him to say something, to make her feel better, to take away the pain. Needs him to explain why he wouldn’t let her save her mom. But he offers nothing. Says nothing. He does not even rub his hand up and down her back like she so desperately wants.

Until he does.

Until, moments later, he touches a hand to her chin to lift her face towards his. She stares into his eyes, those dark, stormy things that she’d once gotten lost in, that she’d have once given anything to get lost in again. His mind is a steel trap around hers. He presses into her head and the rest of the world fades away. No rain. No blood. No pain. Just him. His lips touch down upon hers and she knows. Knows, with a certainty she can’t explain, why he’d done it.

He doesn’t want to lose her.

Celia would have given her blood to her dying mother and brought her into this life. Someone would have found out that Diana is Kindred. They’d have both been dragged before the throne, and her sire would have had to be the one to swing the sword to take off their heads. He can’t show favoritism. He can’t spare her the same sort of crime that others would be executed for. He’d have had to do it, and destroy himself in the process.

She means that much to him.

He will never be warm. He will never tell her the words that she longs to hear from him. He will never publicly acknowledge her. But she doesn’t need him to because he’s doing it here, now. She loves him. He knows. He has for years. That’s why he took her that night, because she loves him, will do anything for him. Even seeing the horror inside of his head she loves him, wouldn’t turn her back on him, went as far as she could before her mind threatened to buckle beneath the darkness and corruption inside of him.

Even now, with her mother’s body cooling across the roof, she knows that she’s his. That he had to, or she would have made an even bigger mistake.

He doesn’t ask permission to lower her to the roof. He simply does it, falling upon her with hand and fang, and she gives herself to him.

Roof

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