Fandom: Dracula

Pairing: Mina x Lucy

Rating PG/Teen and up

Disclaimer: I own no connection to Dracula the novel or NBC's production. This is written for entertainment only. This is self-beta'd along with Word spellcheck, so I blame spellcheck for any errors.

Summary: Sometimes it takes believing someone is gone forever to realize just how important they are to you.

PART 1

"Lucy," Mina Murray whispered, heart in her throat as she looked across the crowded restaurant and saw the oh so familiar face.

It had been six months since the world had gone to hell. Six months since the night Alexander Grayson's self-proclaimed revolutionary generator exploded killing dozens of people including her mentor Abraham Van Helsing. Six months since Lucy Westenra had offered her heart so innocently to Mina and Mina had stepped all over it in the cruelest way possible and six months since Lucy had sought to teach Mina a lesson in pain by sleeping with Johnathan.

Mina had avoided Lucy for days after learning what she had done. She fought to come to terms with the betrayal, trying to understand what had driven the woman who had meant everything to her to hurt her so badly. She'd spent the first two days, so angry that she couldn't even bear to think of Lucy. It was only when she picked up a dainty china cup with a painted yellow primrose on it, that she froze. It had been a gift from Lucy, one of the many that she often presented to Mina for no special reason. Mina had teased Lucy unmercifully at the time telling her she read a book about the meaning of flowers and the Primrose meant 'I can't live without you'. She asked if Lucy had been trying to say Mina couldn't live without tea. Lucy had merely smiled and said 'of course' and the matter was forgotten.

It was only as Mina had been prepared to smash the cup against the wall that it hit her. Lucy had been trying to tell her then, in her own innocent way, how she felt and Mina hadn't seen it. She hadn't seen Lucy then and Mina realized that she had never truly seen her. It had shamed her unbearably to finally accept just how badly she'd taken Lucy's affections for granted. Affections that would have been so very clear to her had Mina bothered to look. She had also had to face the fact that it was guilt at her own blindness that had her lashing out so cruelly at Lucy and dear sweet Lucy, despite the air of arrogant sophistication she wore, was still so emotionally innocent she had reacted the only way she knew how. Yes, Mina was hurt and betrayed but her anger had been replaced by remorse that her shocked and needlessly cruel outburst had driven the blonde to it.

She'd gone to see Lucy the next day, desperate to apologize to the woman who meant more to her than anything in the world and to try and mend things between them. To her dismay, she had been told that Lucy had gone on an extended holiday with Lady Jayne Wetherby who was still, rumors had it, recovering from the injuries she'd received at the demonstration. There was no mention of when they were to return and there had been no message left for Mina. It was only then that Mina finally knew what true pain was.

Six months of waiting, six months of worrying and six months of crying and now suddenly there she was, flirting and laughing with the Maître'D as if she hadn't a care in the world. For a moment Mina could only stare numbly as she noticed how her beloved Lucy had changed. She had always had a grace and elegance about her but now she had a maturity and worldliness about her that practically screamed sensuality. Even her gown was far more sophisticated and seductive than any she'd ever worn. It was a deep royal blue that clung to her body like second skin with a neckline that most would call scandalous but made Mina lightheaded. In the months since she'd been gone, Lucy had found an air of confidence that shone brightly, even in the dimly lit restaurant and it was one of the most beautiful things Mina had ever seen.

"…you think? Mina?"

Mina jumped at the sound of her name and faced her companion. "Oh Johnathan, I'm sorry I…" she trailed off as her eyes went back to Lucy. She frowned when she saw yet another blonde step up close to Lucy. Far too close for Mina's liking and she wasn't at all happy to recognize Lady Jayne Wetherby.

"Mina, you aren't even listening to me," Johnathan complained, once more breaking into her thoughts and it irritated Mina. She considered getting up and confronting the pair but she couldn't move. She had no idea what she would say to Lucy at this point.

"I'm suddenly not feeling well," she said distractedly, forcing her eyes away from the two women who were laughing together and trying not to remember when it had been Mina that made Lucy laugh so. "I'd like to go home," she added as Lucy and Jayne were led to a table across the restaurant.

"But Mina, we haven't even…"

"Johnathan, I agreed to meet with you so you could explain your actions with Lucy," she nearly choked on the name. For some reason she had no desire to point out the woman in question was standing only a short distance away from him. "However I find there simply is no excuse that can justify what you did."

"Mina please. I never wanted Lucy. She's the one who…"

"Enough," she snapped. "I will not listen to you attempt to blame Lucy for your actions. I have been made aware of why she did what she did. You, however, are a grown man and capable of saying no." She sighed and rubbed at the sudden pain in her temples.

"It no longer matters Johnathan. I can forgive you for what happened and I can even understand why, but we will not be getting married, now or ever. Now please, I'd like to leave."

Johnathan only heard the words that she could forgive him. That was a start. Once she forgave him, then he could remind her why they were so good together. "Very well", he agreed. He left some money on the table and held the chair out for Mina. As they walked through the restaurant, Mina couldn't help but turn toward the direction Lucy and Jayne had been escorted and she froze mid-step when she saw Lucy staring straight at her, a rare inscrutable expression on her face. For a moment Mina couldn't breathe, she couldn't think, she couldn't move. She simply stared at Lucy as if she'd never seen her before and something told her she wasn't too far from the truth.

"Pardon me Miss."

Mina jumped at the sound of a waiter behind her and she regained her composure. She stepped aside for the young man and quickly followed Johnathan out of the restaurant without another look at Lucy or her companion.

DDDDDDDDDDDDD

The next morning found Mina standing on the Westenra doorstep, twisting her hands anxiously as she tried to determine what she was feeling. There was a knot in her stomach she'd never felt before when paying a visit to Lucy but so much had changed and she simply couldn't make sense of it. All she knew was that the last time she was here, she'd been told Lucy had left and that had been half a year ago. She desperately hoped she wasn't going to be told the same thing.

Finally, she rang the bell and almost immediately the door opened, causing Mina's heart to skip painfully. Unfortunately, it was only the Butler William.

"Miss Murray, it's good to see you. Please come in."

"Thank you William," she smiled as sincerely as she was able. "Is Lucy at home?"

"She is, although you know her well enough to know she's not awake at this hour," he smiled, leading her to the drawing room.

"How is she William?" Mina asked sadly, daring to broach a subject that must still be sore.

William's smile faded and he looked at the young woman soberly.

"She hasn't been well," he told her. "Since her return from abroad, we never see Miss Lucy until night has fallen. She stays barricaded in her room and only leaves when Lady Jayne calls for her. We were all hoping her time away would have helped but…" he shrugged, not knowing what else to say.

Mina sighed. "That's why I'm here so early. I knew she'd still be asleep and wouldn't have the chance to run away and avoid me," she admitted.

William looked at the young woman who had always been like another member of the family. The entire staff suspected that whatever torments had driven Lucy to leave England for so long had to do with Mina Murray as much as it did the loss of her mother, but none of them had dared ask their distraught mistress about it.

"I shall have Mrs. Wortham put on a pot of tea and let Miss Lucy know you're here then," he merely replied and left the room, a sense of dread hurrying his steps.

Upstairs, Lucy was wide awake and pacing her bedroom anxiously. It was true she'd only returned home a short while ago, but she couldn't sleep. All she saw was Mina looking at her in shock at Savoy's. She had known that at some point she was bound to run into the woman who had destroyed her heart and Jayne had done all she could to help Lucy prepare for that moment but still, nothing could have prepared her for the pain that shot through her as soon as she saw her and realized she was with Harker. Jayne had seen and instantly done what she could to alleviate the hurt and the anger and Lucy had been grateful and for the rest of the night and early morning, she had let herself be distracted.

Once she was home, however, it was a different story and she'd almost instantly resigned herself to staying awake, wondering what Mina had been thinking as she looked at her at the restaurant. Sighing in frustration, she walked to her window and looked outside, ignoring the pain that the light now caused her. Suddenly, she noticed a carriage stop in front of the house and her knees nearly buckled when she saw Mina Murray getting out.

"Damnation," she swore panicked and then suddenly, a dangerous and unfamiliar anger started to fill her at her former friend's presumption. She had no doubt Mina would bully her way upstairs even after being told she was in bed, so she thought of all that Lady Jayne had taught her about burying her emotions and quickly returned to her bed.

Sure enough a short time later her door opens and in walks Mina as if she owned the place.

"Oh good you're awake," Mina greeted breezily as she closed the door and entered the room and plopping down on the bed next to Lucy.

"I'm sorry, I don't remember hearing a knock." Lucy replied coolly, pleased by the falter of Mina's too bright smile.

"Oh please. Since when have I ever had to knock," Mina answered with a teasing laugh, that wasn't quite sincere.

"Oh I don't know, maybe since the night you called me a disgusting deviant and threw me out of your house?" Lucy sneered, despite the sharp pain in her chest as she relived that moment once more. Unable to bear the closeness, Lucy got to her feet, longing to go to the window but knowing she couldn't.

Mina's smile faded as she was stricken with shame. She got to her feet prepared to follow Lucy but something told her she wouldn't be welcome.

"Lucy, I never said that," she protested, hurt at Lucy's cutting demeanor.

"Not in so many words perhaps," Lucy replied almost indifferently, turning around to face her. "Why are you here Mina?"

Mina had spent the entire ride over rehearsing what she wanted to say, all the while forcing herself not to remember how close Lucy had appeared to Lady Wetherby the night before. Now that she was here, standing before the woman she had once known better than anyone, she had no idea what to say.

She shifted uncomfortably under Lucy's expressionless gaze, the guilt and remorse she felt rendering her speechless.

Lucy waited for Mina to speak. She had never been able to stand it when Mina was unhappy and it was all she could do not pull Mina into her arms to comfort her. Only the echo of her condemnation kept her where she was.

"Well, this has been enlightening," she said drily, "but I'm really quite exhausted so…"

"Lucy, I'm sorry," Mina blurted.

"For what?" Lucy asked with a mild amusement she was far from feeling. "For interrupting my sleep unannounced? For accusing me of feigning friendship out of some perverted desire to bed you? For throwing me out of your house? Or are you just sorry that you spoke the words aloud?"

Hearing her horrible actions of that night detailed so plainly was like a knife in here chest. "All of it," she cried in frustration. She stepped toward Lucy, wanting to be close enough so Lucy could see her sincerity but when the blonde backed away tears stung her eyes and Mina feared she had truly destroyed the once gentle and tender hearted woman standing before her.

"Lucy, I know there is absolutely nothing I can say or do to make up for what I said that day and I shall never forgive myself for it."

"You're right. There isn't," Lucy said coldly, though the very words nearly choked her. "However, I am equally responsible. I made the mistake of thinking your mind was open to understanding that which others shun. I made the mistake of thinking that even should your feelings not match mine, the years of what I had believed to be friendship would allow you to overlook my own misguided affections."

"I was surprised Lucy," Mina insisted. "I didn't mean it. I didn't mean any of it."

Oh how Lucy wanted to believe that. "Yet those were the first words out of your mouth," she said pointedly. "How am I supposed to believe you didn't mean it?"

"How am I supposed to convince you I didn't?" Mina countered desperately.

Lucy sighed sadly. "You can't, darling," she said softly. "Especially after I slept with your fiancé."

Mina was absolutely stunned to realize she'd forgotten that. What did that say about her? About her feelings for Johnathan?

"Lucy, that betrayal hurt me deeply," she admitted, "but I know why you did it."

Lucy swallowed the bile that rose remembering those moments with Johnathan, how every touch was a horrible reminder of what she'd thrown away.

"Do you?" she asked bitterly.

"Yes. You wanted me to hurt as I hurt you and it worked."

"And there it is. We've both hurt each other far too much for us ever to move past it."

Tears stung Mina's eyes and she felt sick as she saw the most important relationship of her life disintegrating before her eyes.

"I've forgiven you for what happened Lucy. Can't you forgive me?"

Lucy remained quiet, causing Mina's heart to clench in panic.

"I can fix this, if you'll let me," she begged.

"You can't fix it Mina," Lucy snapped. "You can't fix me."

Mina stepped toward Lucy, this time not stopping when Lucy tried to back away. "I don't want to fix you," she said, swiping at the tears she had only become aware she was shedding. "I just want us to go back to how we were."

For some reason that angered Lucy considerably. "Is that so?" she asked coldly and stepped close to Mina.

"Yes," Mina replied anxiously. "I know we can put this behind us and…"

Lucy quickly lifted her hands to Mina's face and then kissed her. It wasn't the gentle expression of love she'd given Mina the night her life went to hell, this was a kiss meant to prove something and this time when Mina jerked away, there was no pain of rejection, just bitter amusement.

"Do you think I can just turn my feelings off so easily?" Lucy continued.

"No, I…"

"You want to go back to where we were?" Lucy interrupted incredulously. "'Where we were', is my being there for you with every worry, concern or success you endured while you failed to notice even a hint of the pain I was feeling. 'Where we were', is my trying to find a way to be happy that the person I loved with all my heart was marrying someone else. That's what you want to return to?"

Mina's mind was still reeling from Lucy's kiss. The first time Lucy had kissed her, the softness of Lucy's lips had sent a shock of something inexplicable, alarming and oh so powerful through Mina which she blamed for her harsh reaction. This kiss had been hard and angry, almost punishing, yet it sent the same unfamiliar shock through her but whatever it was, she knew it wasn't disgust and it definitely wasn't something that should send her away from this proud woman.

"No, of course I don't want that," Mina finally said. "I have never wanted you to be unhappy. Ever. It eats at me that I couldn't see how you were hurting and I'll never forgive myself for focusing so much on myself and ignoring your own feelings, but Lucy I do love you and regardless of what I said, nothing will ever change that. Please give me another chance."

Lucy could no longer contain her own tears and she looked away from the face she had never been able to refuse. "Mina, I…I do understand your reaction and even though it still hurts, I can forgive you for it because I did take you by surprise, but…"

"Lucy please don't," Mina pleaded, reaching out to take the blonde's hands, willing her not to say what Mina knew was coming.

"I have to Mina," Lucy said softly. Sighing softly, she freed her hand and lifted it to trail her fingers down the beloved face. "I can't do this anymore. Had I never spoken my feelings, I could have continued to ignore my heart for your own happiness, but now…I simply can't bear the thought that anytime I'm with you, anytime I touch you or hold you, you will wonder what my intentions are."

"I won't!" Mina protested.

Lucy smiled. "You will. You won't be able to help it Mina and I would never fault you for that, but it just hurts too much, can't you understand that?"

Mina wanted to shout NO! She wanted to stomp her foot and demand Lucy stop being ridiculous and stop thinking about herself and then it hit her. That's exactly what she herself was doing. She hadn't put herself in Lucy's position. She had never looked at the last year through Lucy's eyes and now that she did, the guilt nearly brought her to her knees. Suddenly she remembered seeing Lucy with Jayne earlier and how happy she had looked and an anger she didn't understand began to rise.

"Clearly you weren't hurting too badly, having spent a month on holiday with Jayne Wetherby. And you certainly didn't seem to be in pain with her last night," she snapped.

The old Lucy would have teased Mina about sounding jealous, but she couldn't, that way only lay hope and Lucy had learned hope was a useless broken thing. Much like her heart.

"Not that it's any of your business Mina, but Jayne understands me. She knew who I was from the beginning and has never judged me for it. She told me it was alright for me to love as I do and that I'm not a horrible person. She convinced me that I don't have to be alone. And now that I…" she froze, unwilling to reveal the truth about what she had become."

Mina ran her hands through her hair, fighting the urge to scream her frustration and heartbreak. Every word that Lucy said so calmly was a like the lash of a whip until she could no longer deny just how badly she had messed up and that everything Lucy said was right. What she did, what she said was unforgivable. She above anyone, who claimed to love Lucy Westenra, who had claimed to know her better than anyone, hadn't seen her heartbreak. She hadn't seen that Lucy was different and she hadn't seen that Lucy had been in love with her, even when the blonde tried to tell her. What kind of friend had she been?

"You really do hate me," she said sadly.

"Oh no Mina, I don't hate you. I never could," Lucy swore. "I will love you until I die." She flinched at Mina's choked little sob at that declaration so she forced herself to smile. "I promise dear that one day I will move past this silly embarrassment of having exposed my feelings to you in such a way and then we can once again become as we were."

As Mina looked into the beautiful green eyes, for the first time she finally saw the depth of Lucy's love for her and something sharp shifted inside of her.

"I can't imagine my life without you in it," she choked out.

Lucy placed a hand on Mina's face, even now unable to walk away from her. "You will never be without me Mina. Even if we are apart, even if we no longer live in each other's pocket as we used to do, I will always be here for you, but for now, I simply need time. I need time to become used to who I am and I need time to learn how to love you in secret once more and no darling," she smiled when Mina opened her mouth to speak, "I can't do that with you."

Mina was alarmed by the coldness of Lucy's hand. "Lucy? You're so cold. Are you alright?"

Lucy swallowed and looked away. "I'm fine Mina, but I really am tired."

Knowing that Lucy's decision had been made, Mina could do nothing as she began to cry and then Lucy's arms were around her and Mina's sobs came harder.

"I'm so sorry," she whispered over and over.

"I know Mina," Lucy whispered, tears of her own, sliding down her cheek. "I'm sorry too."

Finally, Mina pulled away and wiped her eyes. "I suppose I should let you go to bed."

"I suppose so," Lucy agreed. Then, knowing it couldn't make anything worse, she took Mina's face in her hands and brought their lips together once more. This time it was a soft lingering kiss of forgiveness tinged with goodbye and when Lucy pulled away, Mina moaned in protest.

"Be well Mina," she said quietly.

"Please be happy Lucy," Mina said sadly. Then without another word, Mina forced her trembling legs to take her away from the one person who had once been her greatest happiness.

DDDDDDDDDDDDD

PART 2

"Mina dearest."

At the familiar endearment, Mina's heart flipped and she turned around hopefully, longing to see the familiar blonde giving her a cheeky grin. Her heart fell when she saw it was only Edith Lassiter, one of her mother's old friends and a dreadful gossip.

"Hello Mrs. Lassiter," she greeted with a politeness she wasn't feeling.

"You're looking lovely dear," the older woman said, though it was clear to Mina she was looking for the tiniest thread out of place.

"Thank you, as do you."

"I must say, I knew that if anyone could get Lucy Westenra to return to society it would be you," Mrs. Lassiter continued. "Though I fear I should warn you that she appears to be enjoying the refreshments a little too well."

"Mina's heart clenched. "Lucy's here?"

"Of course dear," Mrs. Lassiter said with surprise. "I just assumed that you had come together."

"No. No we didn't," Mina whispered sadly.

"Oh. Oh dear," Mrs. Lassiter replied awkwardly. "I'm sorry. I saw her speaking with Lady Wetherby, but you and she always seemed inseparable and always attended these events together. I just assumed…I didn't know you had fallen out."

It was clear the old woman was eager for new gossip to liven up the dull party, but Mina was not in the mood to indulge her.

"Not at all," Mina lied easily. Apparently she'd picked up a thing or two from Lucy after all. "So what did you mean about the refreshments?"

Mrs. Lassiter looked around and leaned forward conspiratorially. "Not that I blame her, but dear Lucy appears to be in her cups and getting more so by the hour. I hate to say it, but I suspect Lady Jayne is not the best influence on her."

Mina swallowed. "Yes perhaps I should check on her. if you'll excuse me," she said as politely as she could manage and made her escape. Her heart was aching and she was near tears as she pushed her way outside onto the balcony, ignoring the curious glances she received.

She leaned against the balustrade and stared out at the night. Lucy. Her Lucy, the woman who meant so much to her that the words family and friend didn't even begin to cover it; the woman who so often made these horrid events bearable had come with someone else. Someone who had eagerly taken what Mina had so cruelly rejected.

A loud giggle drew her attention and she gasped when she spied two familiar blondes in the corner of the balcony but not as hidden as they assumed. There was an intimacy about it that screamed at Mina and she knew if she could see it, the more sophisticated and worldly members of society would see it. She quickly looked around, surprised that that nobody but her was paying them any attention. She turned back to the pair and inexplicable fury swept over her as Jayne looked at Lucy as if she were a mouse and Jayne was a very hungry kitten. The seductive smiles, the small touches had Mina fuming like she never had before, but when Lucy blushed shyly and looked at Jayne with an expression that couldn't be seen as anything as flirtatious, Mina couldn't take it any longer and finally she understood everything. Those looks were hers. They always had been and they always would be. She stormed over to the two women and stepped between them, glaring at the older woman.

"I wish to speak to Lucy alone," she stated coldly.

Lady Jayne didn't even have the decency to look surprised. Merely amused. "It's about time darling," she replied and then nodding at Lucy she walked away.

Suddenly Mina's mind went blank and she couldn't think of a thing to say nor could she bring herself to look at Lucy, though she could feel her gaze as strongly as if she were looking right at her.

"Mina?" Lucy finally spoke, her voice quiet and unsure and without a trace of the drunkenness she'd expected.

Mina's eyes closed briefly as that one whispered word seemed to call to everything she felt for this woman, all that she'd known and all that she just now realized she felt.

"Mina darling, what has distressed you so?" Lucy said with a concern Mina felt she didn't deserve and against her will, a lone tear trailed down her cheek.

"I…can we please find some place to talk?" she asked finally turning to look at Lucy. Her knees nearly gave out at the love and concern that was so clear on the beautiful face.

"Why?" Lucy countered.

"Because," Mina stated, regaining the confidence that had momentarily deserted her. She took Lucy's hand and led her back into the house. She swore when she realized she had no idea where they could go for privacy but her heart melted when she heard the soft laugh coming from behind her. Finally, she led Lucy through the house and opening every door until she found one that was unoccupied.

Lucy's heart was racing as she tried to understand what was driving the agitated woman but she stayed silent and just let Mina guide her, all the while savoring the feel of her warm hand in her cold one. They entered a small sitting room and Lucy swallowed nervously when Mina firmly shut the door behind them and locked it.

"Mina?" Alarmed by the intensity in Mina's face, Lucy briefly feared she was about to be slapped or insulted again for her abhorrent behavior, but before she could ask anything else, she found her back firmly pushed against the locked door and Mina's lips on hers.

For one moment Lucy surrendered to Mina's kiss, her entire body savoring the sensations she had craved for so long but then she stiffened. Understanding what was happening, she quickly pushed Mina away from her.

"Lucy?" Mina whispered, her heart racing and crying for another taste of Lucy's lips. How had she not known…how had she denied herself such pleasure? Now, she looked at Lucy shocked to see an anger burning in her eyes and a deep sorrow hidden just behind it.

"Lucy, what's wrong? Did I hurt you?"

Lucy barked out a bitter laugh. "Did you hurt me? Which time Mina?" she asked coldly. "When you threw me from your home like unwanted garbage? Or now, when you kiss me to assuage your guilt or pity or whatever it is?"

Mina inhaled sharply at the almost cruel tone in Lucy's voice and Mina was beginning to fear she had truly lost the blonde forever.

"That's not…Lucy please, don't do this!"

"That sounds remarkably familiar," Lucy retorted, as always, her heart aching at the sadness filling Mina's beautiful eyes.

Mina stepped away from Lucy, fighting desperately not to cry. "I don't know how many times I have to apologize for that night," she said sadly. "I don't know how to prove to you that I didn't mean it and that I hated myself the moment I said it."

"You can't Mina," Lucy cried. "You can't take back what you said any more than I can take back what I did to you. We can't go back.

"I don't want to go back," Mina replied, stepping toward Lucy once more. "Lucy when you left and I didn't know if you were ever coming back…my world fell apart. I had been mad at your sleeping with Johnathan but by the next day I let myself understand why you did it and all I wanted was to see you again and talk. Then I heard about your mother…" Mina froze when she saw the sheer agony on Lucy's face.

"Oh God. Lucy, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to remind you…"

Lucy shook her head and she was brutally reminded of why she couldn't allow herself to lower her walls around this woman.

"What is it you want from me Mina? Forgiveness? Fine, you have it, now if you'll…"

"No, you're not leaving," Mina said firmly. She grabbed Lucy's arm to keep her from leaving and she gasped when she heard an unmistakable growl and for a split second it appeared as if Lucy's eyes had flashed red.

"Lucy?" she whispered, confused.

Lucy wanted to be ill at the expression on Mina's face, horror at what she'd done, an instinctive reaction to being grabbed, had her longing for the sunrise.

"Oh God. I'm sorry Mina," she said, a tear sliding down her cheek. "You must let me leave."

"No Lucy. Please, what just happened?"

Lucy sighed and the stiffened her spine. She would tell Mina what she had become and then Mina would once again run from her. This time anger would be replaced with disgust and Lucy wouldn't be able to bear it and come morning she could step into the sun and finally be free.

"Very well Mina, come sit and I will tell you."

Mina suddenly thought she didn't want to know. She wanted to change her mind and leave now before whatever was spoken ruined everything beyond repair but she didn't. Lucy Westenra had shown so many times how much courage she possessed. Mina could do nothing less so she sat on the sofa and made room for Lucy, disappointed when Lucy chose to remain standing.

"I didn't want to tell you," Lucy said quietly, unable to look into Mina's ever gentle dark eyes. "I never wanted to let you know that I had become in truth, that which you thought me. A monster."

"Lucy I never, not for one second thought you a monster," Mina cried.

"Did you not?" Lucy sneered, remembered anger flaring inside of her. "Was that not how you described me to Grayson when telling him of my disgusting declaration and my sleeping with your bastard of a fiancé?"

"No, of course not. And why would you believe I told Alexander anything?"

Lucy laughed, though Mina cringed at the bitterness in it.

"Because he told me so himself," Lucy said pointedly, "right before he killed me."

Mina could do nothing but stare as she tried to make sense of what Lucy just said. "He…Lucy, you've had far too much to drink."

"You think that because I stand here before you I'm not dead? Oh but I am. Alexander Grayson is not who you believe he is. He is a vampire and the night you revealed to him what a vile betrayer I was, he decided to teach me a lesson on your behalf."

"Lucy you must see this is madness. Vampires are a fictitious." Mina protested.

"No darling, they aren't," Lucy replied and then parted her lips.

"Oh bloody hell," Mina whispered when she saw the fangs suddenly appear, Lucy's eyes now a steady, glowing red.

Lucy frowned. Mina showed no sign of fear or disgust, just surprise and her damnable curiosity.

"Are you afraid Mina?" Lucy whispered dangerously, wanting to see what it would take to make her run.

Mina blinked, her confusion fading as she saw the horrible expectation on Lucy's face, knowing what she was waiting for and refusing to give it to her.

"No, just confused," she answered honestly.

"There's nothing to be confused about," Lucy retorted, retracting her fangs at the first stirring of the familiar hunger, but leaning toward Mina with an angry sneer on her face as she remembered why she had become the monster and the horrible things she had done. "You had your lover punish me for my unconscionable actions with Harker, for daring to speak of my twisted and perverted feeling for you."

Mina's heart clenched painfully. "Lucy," she whispered, still unable to grasp the magnitude of what she'd just heard.

Lucy saw the doubt still present in Mina's eyes and while she cringed inwardly at the cruelty she was about to perform, it paled in comparison to the reality of it.

"Are you aware that when a vampire is made and they reach their first hunger, if they do not have their sire to control them, they will feed on the first person they see without any thought but to ease the horrible hunger driving them mad? They have no sense of their victims growing weakness and they drain them until they lay dead at their feet."

Barely able to fathom that the silly stories they heard as children were real, Mina could only shake her head.

"Mina, Grayson turned me in my own home and he left me there in a tub of my own blood. I managed to clean myself up without alarming the servants and fell asleep as my body attempted to adjust to the trauma of what had happened. When I awoke, the pain inside was unbearable. The daylight streaming in the open windows was burning my flesh and I was ravenous but didn't know for what."

A horrifying suspicion entered Mina's mind and she longed to cover her ears so not to hear what she couldn't bear to hear but she couldn't. If what she was beginning to understand was true, at the very least she owed to Lucy to hear it.

"Can you guess Mina dearest, who might have been the first person to cross my path that morning?"

There it was and had Mina not been sitting she would have surely collapsed.

"Your mother?" she whispered. The newspapers hadn't specified the nature of her injuries but her father had seen poor Minerva when she had been brought in to the hospital and all he said was it had been a brutal butchering, nearly all of her blood had been drained from her body.

Lucy looked almost smug as Mina finally accepted the truth and now she just waited for the disgust.

"Yes, I killed my mother Mina. I…" her smugness was soon replaced by the self-loathing and despair that was never far from the surface. "I killed her Mina. I didn't even see her. I was just so hungry and I had no idea of how to control it or stop myself and I…" she stopped, the words nearly choking her and she turned away from Mina and struggled against the tears that threatened to fall.

Mina was stunned but all she knew at that moment that it was her fault. All of it. Lucy had been all but killed because of her angry confession to Grayson and then, lost and confused she had unwittingly killed her own mother. Her shame and guilt lodged in her throat and she nearly threw up right there on the sofa.

"Dear God," she finally whispered, tears of pity and regret slid down her face as she looked at Lucy knowing she was forever changed.

"You need to leave now," Lucy sniffed, gathering her strength and turning back to the brunette.

"I can't," Mina replied brokenly. "I need to know all of it. I came to see you after your mother's funeral. I had been so worried for you and I wanted more than anything for us to reconcile but I was told you had left with Lady Wetherby. Why?"

"I think the answer to that is obviously," Lucy retorted.

"No, I mean why her? Why didn't you come to me?"

Lucy couldn't help but scoff at that. "Are you really asking me that? You had made it very clear that you detested me. Jayne had always understood me. She didn't judge me for my feelings and she knew more than I had ever dreamed about regarding vampires and what your lover had done to me. She helped me deal with it and taught me everything that Grayson should have. She kept me from ending this horrid existence too many times to count until she finally showed me how to live with what I am now and what I had done."

Mina sat for a moment as she tried to process everything. Vampires, monsters of legends forced to survive on human blood, were real and Lucy, her Lucy was one of them and Alexander Grayson, the man she had been so drawn to, had come to trust, had been the one who made her so. He had effectively killed Mina's beloved Lucy and turned her into such a creature all because Mina had revealed her heartbreak at Lucy's hand. Lucy was all but dead, she had brutally killed her mother all because of Mina.

"Oh God Lucy, how can you bear to look at me?" she whispered, revulsion at her own actions nearly choking her.

Lucy finally saw the look she was waiting for but to her dismay the look of disgust was not aimed at Lucy and as she saw the tears and anguish on Mina's face, Lucy found herself surrendering as she always had. She quickly dropped to her knees and cupped Mina's face.

"Mina, please don't…this was not your fault," she whispered, even though up until that very moment she had forced herself to believe the opposite.

"How can you say that?" Mina lifted her hands to cover Lucy's. "If I hadn't turned you away so cruelly. If I hadn't told Grayson…"

"If I hadn't told you of my feelings," Lucy interrupted "and then slept with Harker out of some childish attempt to lash out at you, you would not have felt betrayed with only Grayson to talk to. He is the monster who did this to me and God knows how many others."

"But…"

Lucy smiled gently, using her thumbs to dry the tears on Mina's cheeks, trying not to notice how soft her skin was. "No buts darling."

Mina looked into eyes that had always been so honest, sincere and full of love. For her, and Mina had been too blind to see it, but never again.

Mina gently took Lucy's hand from her face and placed a soft lingering kiss in her palm. She heard the sharp intake of Lucy's breath, but continued. She continued to gaze into Lucy's wary gaze as she trailed kisses on her wrist and slowly up the slender arm, only briefly recognizing the iciness of the soft skin. She pulled away once she reached the crook of Lucy's elbow.

"Mina?" Lucy asked, afraid to wonder what was happening.

Mina's hand went to Lucy's cool cheek. "Lucy, I brought you in here tonight to tell you…when I thought you were gone forever, I couldn't stand it. Every ounce of joy left my life. I took no pleasure in work or school or anything. I just kept seeing your face the night you told me how you felt and remembering the brief moment your lips touched mine. I realized I had felt more with that one small kiss than I had ever felt with Johnathan or Grayson. All I wanted was the chance to feel it again but you were gone."

If her heart still beat, Lucy was certain it would have been racing wildly. "Mina, what are you saying?"

"I'm saying," Mina swallowed, fearing that she would be rejected and knowing Lucy had every right to do so, but she would not fail the gentle woman again. "I'm saying Lucy, that when I saw you tonight, with Lady Jayne all but seducing you in public, whispering god knows what sort of inappropriate things in your ear, I didn't like it. It should have been me. I want it to be me."

Lucy's mouth went dry and she stared into Mina's eyes, with a wonder and a hope she'd not allowed herself in almost a year.

"Lucy, I'm saying that I want you. I need you and most of all, I love you. With all of my heart. I just hope that one day you can forgive me for every ounce of pain I've caused you."

Lucy studied Mina for a long moment. Looking for any sign of deception or pity, but all she saw was the impossible; love, and tears once more sprang to her eyes.

"Please do not toy with me," Lucy begged.

Mina lunged forward and captured Lucy's face. "No, my Lucy. I'm would ever do…" feeling any words she said were inadequate, Mina pulled Lucy forward, covering Lucy's soft, sweet and stubborn lips. And with just a touch, the rift that had grown in her heart, the emptiness that had filled her the moment she had learned Lucy had left London was no more. She quickly deepened the kiss but it wasn't enough. She needed more. She flicked her tongue against Lucy's lips and she shivered in delight to hear Lucy's little moan as she parted her lips. The taste was like nothing Mina had ever experienced and her desire guided her inexperience as she let her tongue stroke slowly against Lucy's, craving and memorizing every sensation and every reaction she drew from Lucy.

Lucy groaned. It was far more than she had dreamed of but Mina Murray was kissing her as if her life depended on it. Lucy had to fight to keep her hands to herself as Mina's tongue slid hotly against hers. She grew dizzy and then she felt it. The disgusting craving that now drove her and with a whimper she pulled herself away from Mina and tried to stand, but Mina's hand was on her arm before she could.

"Mina, please," she looked away feeling her fangs elongate. "You need to leave."

Mina gently pulled her face back to hers. "Do not hide from me love," Mina whispered. "Now that I know…I am not afraid of you. I will never be afraid of you and nothing you could show me will make me anything less than grateful you are still alive."

Lucy shut her eyes and willed her body back under her control. She felt the monster retreat and only then did she reopen her eyes.

"You truly love me?" she whispered, somewhat ashamed of the needy hope in her voice.

"Oh yes my darling Lucy. With all that I am."

And to both women's horror, Lucy broke into sudden gut wrenching sobs and buried her head in Mina's lap. Mina, tears of empathy sliding down her face, merely wrapped her arms around her, stroking her hands up and down her back, soothingly, letting Lucy release all the pain and torment she'd carried for so long.

"I never stopped loving you Mina," Lucy whispered. "Never, not for one minute."

"I'm so glad," Mina smiled. "Now, what say you and I leave here and return home and discuss this further with more privacy?"

Lucy looked up and offered a watery smile. "If you insist, dearest Mina."