Authors: Nicole R. Taylor
ac was so completely lost, the only place he could find was the bar. For obvious reasons, but it was the only place that didn't exclusively remind him of her. The bar was full of college students, who seemed to be home for fall break. Many of the girls approached him, but he rebuffed them all and after a while they got the hint. He wasn't going to be one of their
projects. Not unless the police wanted to find their bloated bodies in the river next week.
When a vampire sat next to him at the bar, he rolled his eyes. This was a very familiar scene, wasn't it? This was how their trouble had
all those months ago. He bet that whoever it was, wasn't just here for the delectable college girls. Glancing out the corner of his eye, he took in the vampire who was staring at him, waiting for a response.
The man who sat beside him was heavily built, broad shouldered and imposing. His black curly hair was cropped short and his wide set eyes were such a dark brown, they could easily be mistaken as black. As he reached out and took the glass the bartender placed in front of him, he noticed that his forearms were densely muscled, which meant that he was either a soldier or a laborer when he was human, used to bearing heavy loads. On second glance, he had a hard face that couldn't easily be read.
Zac glared up at the vampire, cocking his head, "And who the fuck are you?"
The vampire smirked at the cold reception and proclaimed smoothly, "Marcellus Caelius Regulus."
As Zac's expression changed into one of surprise, Regulus laughed. "I see my reputation has preceded me. But of course you've heard the stories. Aeriaya would have told you much, I presume."
He sighed loudly and took a large mouthful of scotch, irritated at the Roman's fishing. "She's not here."
"I know," he said smoothly.
"Then what the fuck do you want?"
"I'm looking for Zachary Degaud," he said, prodding him.
"Well, you've found him. And I'll ask again. What the fuck
do you want
"Ahhh, so you're Victoria's pet. I thought as much," he said knowingly, assessing the young vampire. "She had a romantic view of immortality. So much so, she neglected to ponder on the cost. If you follow."
"I gather you're the asshole that changed her and let her ruin my life," Zac sneered at the founder, not caring if he pissed him off or not.
Regulus laughed at this and nodded. Well that was just fantastic. There was two degrees of separation from the biggest ass of all time.
The Roman leant forward in his chair and looked him square in the eye. "She sent me word of you, before her head was ripped off. I hear your bloodlust is somewhat legendary."
Zac snorted, scowling at the memories his words dragged up to the surface and turned back to his drink.
"She was quite annoying, you know. Had it in her that she was in love with me," Regulus scoffed. "Absurd, really, since I was using her and all. But you know how women are."
Zac shook his head and looked away. That story sounded familiar.
"You know she was a witch before I turned her." When Zac looked at him surprised he said, "I see Aeriaya neglected to let you in on that little tidbit. I wonder what else she forgot to tell you?"
"If you're here to gloat Regulus, don't bother."
"I don't need to
, Zachary. My being here is simply a means to an end. That end is none of your business. The end that I do want to know about is the one you helped Aeriaya give to my brother. Both of them."
"Caius was an amateur and Arturius was a brute who stupidly relied on his strength. He was as idiotic as they come. He deserved to die."
"If we're talking about people who deserve things, then perhaps you deserve to die for murdering your maker. Or all those poor helpless humans you drained so you could go on living."
Zac clutched the edge of the bar, his fingers denting the wood as he tried to control his temper. "Then you deserve to die just as much as I."
"Funny thing about life," Regulus cocked his head, eyes twinkling. "Sometimes you just never get what you deserve."
Zac clenched his jaw and remained silent.
"I can see why everyone around here is so concerned about you." The Roman reached over and pulled his hand from the bar. "Such a temper."
Desperate for a subject change he asked, "Why wasn't Victoria linked to Katrin?" He knew that Aya probably neglected to tell him this part as well.
"She was one of mine. Alistair was one of hers." He glanced at Zac then said, "You don't remember him do you? Alistair."
"I remember plunging a stake into his heart. That's pretty vivid."
"He was helping Victoria. As I understand it, he knew a lot about you."
It was that moment when Zac finally got it. The night Victoria killed his family a vampire had come to visit her. A vampire named Alistair and he knew exactly who Zac was the day he had walked into Max's. Aya was his target, but he found a bigger prize. Zac had killed Victoria and he wanted payback. That was why he felt it necessary to make his life hell.
"I see now, that you get it," Regulus thumped him on the shoulder. "Alistair had a thing for Victoria, so you can understand why he wanted revenge."
"Is there a reason you're goading me on, Regulus, or is there something you wanted?" Zac asked loudly, fed up with whatever game it was the Roman was playing.
"I have a proposal for you."
"What I'm proposing is that you come and work for me."
Zac scoffed, "You're kidding, right?"
"I see a lot of myself in you, Zachary. I came from very humble beginnings. I was good as dead until the Legion changed my life. And look at me now," he stared at Zac, measuring his reaction. "The downtrodden have the fiercest fire inside of them. Those are the people I want to fight beside me.
You most of all.
The pain you have been through only fuels the fire inside."
Zac glared at the Roman, wishing he could just rip his head off as well and be done with him. "If my entire life is such common knowledge, then you will already know that my answer is a very big go fuck yourself."
Regulus let out a laugh, "Don't be so hasty, Zachary. You may have had a hand in killing my brothers, and on a good day that would have earned you a painful death, but today I'm offering you a purpose.
One that you are severely lacking.
Have a think about it. I'll be around."
"Don't bother. My answer will still be no."
"You know I could just compel you." He leant back on the stool, surveying his response.
"Then why don't you?"
"Now Zachary, where would be the fun in
He sighed, rolling his eyes, refusing to reply.
"You know, you're very disappointing. I was expecting a lot more bite from you."
"If I'm so disappointing why don't you just fuck off and leave me alone?"
Regulus chuckled and threw a few bills on the bar. Standing, he gave Zac one last look, "I wouldn't count on that."
It was late when Zac finally left the bar, most of the humans had left already,
the street outside was empty save for a few random passing cars. Enough time had passed since his encounter with Regulus that he was hopeful that he'd disappeared for now.
As he turned down the street to begin the familiar walk home he stopped, cocking his head to the side listening. Something wasn't right. He glanced down the street to his left, which was shrouded in darkness. Every so often a street lamp broke up the murkiness, muted orange light illuminating the pavement. It was then that the wind shifted and blew in his direction bringing the unmistakable scent of blood.
Annoyingly, his teeth began to ache and he shook his head to clear his thoughts. Regulus probably cornered a few college girls from the bar and if that was the case, Zac didn't want to stick around to find out. From the pungent smell coming from down the street, it was too late to do anything about it anyway.
But, before he could move, the Roman sauntered out of the darkness, blood staining his mouth. "Zachary, just in time."
"Lucky me," he said sarcastically, turning to walk away, but he was cut off before he could take a step.
"I've saved one for you."
"If its all the same to you, I think I'll pass," he glared at him, eyes cold.
"Oh, but I insist."
Regulus grasped him around the scruff of his neck and pulled him down the street into the shadows. Letting him go, the Roman gestured to a young girl who looked about twenty years old, cowering against the fence of the adjoining property. Compelled and silent, but tears still rolled down her cheeks betraying her terror.
"I'm sure you're starving," he sneered, gesturing to two bodies that lay slumped beside her. "As you can see, I've already eaten."
Zac's jaw tensed as he tried to fight the burning that had begun in his throat of its own accord. This was the very thing that he'd been trying to fight for decades. Thinking about his relapse months before, he felt sick to the stomach.
"No," he said, taking a few steps back.
"Take her, Zachary. I know you want to." He backed away even further. "I can see it in your eyes. You want her. Her friends were so delicious."
When Zac still didn't move, Regulus roared in annoyance and he watched in horror as the Roman grabbed the woman and sunk his fangs into her neck, severing an artery. Pulling back, he let her blood flow freely, soaking her blouse. "Can you smell it?" he asked. "Isn't it intoxicating?"
Regulus pushed the woman towards him and he stumbled backwards. She fell to the ground sobbing uncontrollably, unable to run or to make a sound.
The Roman pushed him roughly. "Stop fighting it, Zachary. You know you want to."
"Stop it!" he roared, tearing at his hair, fighting the overpowering scent of her blood. His throat
Zac pushed past Regulus, desperate to get away, but the founder pulled him back, pushing him onto the woman. Her sticky blood soaked into his shirt and coated his hands. He couldn't stop himself lifting his shaking fingers to his nose and inhaling the rich coppery scent. Groaning as his fangs grew he knew it was too late.
"Yes," Regulus hissed. "Take her."
Zac's eyes rolled back into his head and he was over her, his fangs tearing into the open wound of her neck like an animal. He was pulling her body up off the ground so he could bite deeper, drawing her blood in heaving gulps like he couldn't get enough.
Groaning deep in his chest as his mouth filled with her sweet blood, he sucked the life from her, whatever she was pleading falling on deaf ears. To his horror, he felt disappointed when he felt her heart stop beating, her body becoming limp in his hands. Disgusted, he dropped her and fell backwards onto the pavement.
What had he done? Regulus had pushed him into this so easily and he had killed the woman like she was nothing. Even when he disappeared after his last fight with Sam less than a year ago, he hadn't killed anyone. None of those women had
they'd just been traumatized. Aya had brought him back that time, his
. Now she was gone.
"Magnificent," Regulus shook his head. "Imagine what you could do when your heart’s in it."
"Bastard," he spat, trying to wipe the blood away.
Regulus grinned, "Yes. I suppose I am."