**A/N: SURPRISE!! I know…I can’t believe it either! But, To Dream Again is on “semi-hiatus” so that means there could be another post next week…or next month…or 6 months from now – it just depends on that damn semi-assy muse AND that consta-ticking clock. I tend to blame the muse since the clock doesn’t really talk to me, though. (Translation: This, like all my stories, is a fic I’m writing for my own enjoyment and that I love sharing with y’all, but, since I don’t really have any time for this particular story, I don’t want to lull any readers into thinking there’ll be lots of updates on any sort of dependable schedule when there just can’t be.) I hope you enjoy!!**
Godric leaned back in the office chair he had permanently “borrowed” from an office down the hall and proceeded to sharpen yet another regular pencil his way – with his thumbnail over a trashcan. Of course he knew that most office personnel used pens, or the mechanical type of pencils when needed, and that was fine, but at least this gave his hands something to do.
After having lived for well over 2,000 years, there was little under the moon that he had yet to do or experience, or learn as far as life lessons were concerned. and one of the lessons he had learned well was to keep himself occupied when possible. Naturally he could still himself as only a vampire of his ilk could, but the need for such times was coming farther and farther apart.
Since vampires were “out” of whatever coffin the silly humans spoke of, most of the ancient survival lessons he had absorbed bone deep were no longer needed, and were sometimes even considered “improper” now. Therefore, these days he was finally able to act like the young man of 18 summers he actually was beneath the strife-hardened exterior he had been forced to cultivate over the passing eons. Few could possibly understand how very freeing it was to finally be able to simply be… himself. Now, he could take a well-deserved break from always having to be vigilant and on guard – now he could… play, a thing he had never truly been able to do before. Survival, even during his human days, had been too uncertain to risk being inattentive to any one of the vast number of things that could end him or his family.
Yes, he was still a beloved and quite responsible Maker to his progeny, and grand-Maker to their own begotten. Since his own despised Maker had met the end of his stake not too long after his rising, he was also responsible for being the head of his line, but thankfully his shoulders no longer creaked so painfully under the weight of ensuring the survival of his line, either.
Indeed, times now truly were indeed physically easier, but stealth, deceit, and extremely long-range planning were more important than ever. There were too many interfering government agencies, nosy reporters, world councils, and any number of groups wishing to delve into vampire business if not straight-up wanting to permanently kill them in a coward’s way to in any way relax his figurative guard.
The battles, though, were much more mental than physical, which suited him fine. He loved figuring out problems, solving puzzles, and the chase. He would always love a good chase. He glanced slyly to the side, and hid his resulting smirk. As much as Sara pretended to be unaffected by his presence, her accelerated heartbeat and the slight blush coloring her cheeks gave her away every time.
He had no actual reason to be in her office, much less seated so close to her warm, deliciously scented body, but… he liked her. She was kind, caring, passionate, and truly saw no difference between humans and all the other species she was coming to know. While she was by no means a shrinking violet, the “boys” in the back lab could attest to that, she did lack confidence in her ability to run The Experiment here at TLC. Unfortunately for not only her vision, but for his desire, things did not seem to be going as smoothly as he would have liked.
Sara listlessly shuffled through the emails accumulated in her inbox over the weekend. She had taken a rare weekend off to deal with mounting chores that had nothing to do with work: laundry, vacuuming, buying groceries…and a new microwave…and a new bottle of pretty pink nail polish just because she damn well wanted it. Coming back to work that Monday evening had felt like returning to her home away from home, but since her arrival she’d had a bad feeling that her ears were about to hear something they wouldn’t like.
That was bad enough, but then here comes Godric, nicely pinkish from a recent feeding and fully ready to drive her insane. He was even worse than she was to piddle around and act like a bored but hyper toddler. She emailed herself a reminder to bring him some playing cards and a sketching kit the next evening – there weren’t that many regular pencils left in the entire office collective!
The phone on her desk rang just as she hit send, and she grimaced. When she studied the phone instead of immediately picking it up, Godric asked, “Expecting bad news?”
With a confusing blend of a shrug and a nod, she reluctantly reached for the handset and saw on the ID that the call was coming from Carlisle’s office.
“Good evening, Carlisle,” she greeted the Cold One as neutrally as she could.
“Good evening, Sara,” he replied, his melodic voice slightly more subdued than normal.
Sara exhaled in disappointment as her eyes flew to Godric, then she dropped her gaze in sadness.
“I have bad news as I guess you can tell. It seems that at this time we have run out of options for testing the use of our venom. I worked with the lab staff the entire weekend, and all of the resulting tests have failed.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry, Carlisle, but I expected as much. I would ask if you were positive, but I know you. I’m sure you tried every avenue.” She had meant her words as a statement but couldn’t keep her tone from rising at the end. There must be some way…
“Sadly, yes. I acquired more fresh samples of venom from my entire family and retested them as well as the ones in stasis collected from nomads over time, and nothing has worked. Apparently our venom can change any living humanoid from Weres and shifters to semi- and demi-demons, and probably even the Fae as well according to some results, but unfortunately the venom itself cannot be altered either before or after being introduced into a humanoid body. I’m sorry.”
She admired Carlisle’s dedication to his and TLC’s research. The vampire truly was a genius, somewhat more determinedly erudite than was strictly necessary, but still an all-around good man. And his approach to research was positively brilliant! He was extremely creative and had an almost “Vulcan” dedication to the application of logic.
Somehow, and she really didn’t want to know how, a while back he had even gotten (through Eric’s vast network of connections) testing blood samples from one extremely rare full fairy and several hybrids. As luck would have it, though, Carlisle was the only vampire on staff who was immune to whatever it was in fairy blood that drove Eric, Ian, and the vamps who worked in the lab nuts. They had wisely chosen to allow only the Cold One to deal with those particular samples.
“Damn,” Sara said softly, then continued, “Carlisle, it’s certainly not your fault. And, keep in mind then when we do come across a method that works, you might be able to reverse engineer some parts of the process so that it would work with venom, right?”
Desperately seeking hope, Sara’s disappointed brown eyes automatically sought comfort and hope in Godric’s own calm and steady blue gaze. The ancient vampire met her eyes squarely, nodded, then gently unfisted her clenched hand where it rested on her desk. He began slowly massaging her palm with his thumb as he tried to relax her.
She cleared her throat, then continued trying to console Carlisle. She was a bit worried about him since he was so determined to make The Experiment work and took any set-back to heart. Plus, she sincerely liked the male.
“But, for now at least, you will stick around, won’t you? I know you’ve been researching a way to make sunscreen actually remain applied to your type of skin,” she trailed off hopefully.
He obligingly chuckled at her emphasis on the word “remain” then replied, “Yes, yes, I’ll certainly stay. I believe I’m close to figuring that one out if nothing else. There are more tests I would like to run on the Fae hybrid blood, too, if Eric can get more samples. I haven’t been able to pin down the exact cause of their iron and citrus allergies yet, and there also must be a reason why Day Sleepers have such a reaction to silver, so I would like to….” his voice trailed off as he caught himself just before launching into “professor mode”, as Sara called it. He laughed aloud after clearing his throat unnecessarily. “So, yes, there is quite a bit more for me to do here. You won’t be rid of me that easily,” he added, his voice dropping just enough to send a shiver down Sara’s spine.
Sara’s less-acute hearing didn’t catch Godric’s low warning growl, but Carlisle certainly did. Alone in his office near the lab, no one caught his satisfied smirk and the devious look in his eye.
The Cold One may be many centuries younger than the ancient vampire, but during his human youth and for many decades after his change, his life had not been easy and as a result, he had matured in many ways he felt were lacking in the antique Day Sleeper. He found the boy’s youthful-looking appearance quite aptly matched his sometimes-childish actions and pastimes, but no matter how much disdain he held for the boy, he knew not to underestimate the elder vampire. His strength, power, and charisma were world-renowned.
Carlisle’s, however, were not.
**A/N: Well, there you have it: Chapter 2. So, still think it’s worth continuing? (I will anyway, however slowly; I just want to hear what YOU think!)**