A/N: So, this is the final chapter! At last! I feel fairly certain I'll do a sequel, it's already rolling around in my head, depending on how people feel about this one. If I get enough of a demand, I'll try to spit it out onto paper. Thanks to everyone who's reviewed so far!
Laurel was still crying when they landed in the cave, holding onto Marko with all of her strength. Marko had to pry her hands loose from his neck.
"It's alright, kid."
He could tell that she was weak; she probably hadn't fed at all if she'd only been turned the night before. He felt bad for the girl. She looked so fragile, and was even younger than he was when turned. How would this kid ever make it as a vampire?
David flew in right after him, holding onto Jeanne, Soren following them. Marko let go of Laurel; she took one look around and immediately ran for the exit. Soren was there to stop her, and he carried her over to a couch before setting her down. She took a swing at him, and missed.
"It is truly inexcusable how weak you are. Marko, see if you can't find something nearby for our new addition."
Marko flew off to do as Soren asked, while David gave Jeanne a quick inspection. Something was terribly wrong; he couldn't feel her. Something horrible had been done to her, and he wanted to lash out at those responsible.
"David, you're no good to her in this state. You have to calm down so we can figure out how to fix the problem."
David tried to do as Soren asked as he sat on the couch, pulling Jeanne down with him.
"What happened, Jeanne?"
"They started recruiting those damned Surf Nazi's, and unfortunately they chose the ones I'd had problems with before. Apparently one of them carried an unhealthy obsession with me, and wanted me for himself. That's why I was taken."
David didn't realize he'd vamped out until he saw the Emerson girl cringing away from him, and he felt Jeanne's hand on his face.
"I'll kill him."
"I already did. When they discovered I had already been turned, he tried to sever my connection with my sire. The bastard slit my throat to drain me, then force fed me his blood."
She shuddered just thinking of it. And his other actions—something must have showed on her face, because David once again vamped out.
"Did he do anything else to you, Jeanne?" Soren asked the question David couldn't.
Jeanne closed her eyes against the remembered violation. The feel of someone moving inside of her, brutally thrusting against an unresponsive body, seeking dominance in every way. Her arms were pinned above her head, cuffed to the bed, so that she couldn't even fight him off once she was lucid enough to realize what was happening. At the moment, she was glad her connection to David was broken, so that he couldn't feel what she felt.
"He did," she finally said, unable to explain any further. Marko chose that moment to return, two young girls following him.
"This place is so cool!" one of them was cooing at Marko. David rolled his eyes, but said nothing. He could see that Jeanne needed blood almost as badly as Laurel did. Laurel tried to get up when Marko brought one over to the couch and sat with her, but he grabbed her wrist and pulled her back down. David was on the other girl in an instant, holding her for Jeanne.
"David, no. Not like this."
"No arguing, Jeanne. You're not up to going hunting. You need blood now."
When Jeanne made no move to drink, David bit into the girl, drawing blood. The metallic scent filled the cave, and David could see Jeanne inhale sharply, and lean away. He drank, filling his mouth with blood, then kissed her before she could guess his intentions. As soon as the fresh blood hit her tongue she was lost, and she fell on the poor girl. Once Jeanne was feeding on her own, he looked over to see how Marko was faring with the Emerson girl.
Marko had her meal by the neck, urging Laurel to drink. Soren was holding Laurel, who was screaming hysterically.
"You must do this child. It is how we survive," Soren was doing his best to coach the girl, but she was fighting both his words and his hold.
"You don't have a choice kid. If you don't feed, you'll die. It's easy once you start."
Marko held the human girl's wrist out Laurel, and she slapped it away. David touched the girls mind' she was almost irrational with fear. This was even worse than Jeanne's turning. Hearing movement behind him, he turned to see that Jeanne had dropped the now lifeless body and joined Soren. She gently laid a hand on Laurel's arm, and the girl seemed to quiet under her touch.
"There really is no choice, Laurel."
Jeanne took the human's wrist and bit into it, then offered it to Laurel. With the blood flowing freely, the new vampire couldn't resist any longer. She grabbed the offering and clumsily bit at the wrist, trying to sink her fangs in. As long as Jeanne stayed nearby, Laurel was calm. Marko let the young girl finish the human off, then carried the body outside. The ocean would dispose of the humans for them. He returned and took the other corpse from David. When he finished dumping the bodies, he returned to find Laurel crying in Jeanne's arms.
"I want to go home!"
"This is your home now, Laurel. You can't go back to what it was before."
"I want my mom! My dad!"
"Right now, you're too dangerous to them. You could kill them without meaning too."
"I would never hurt them!"
"Not on purpose. But it would be very easy to forget your strength. There is a lot you need to learn."
It was clear that she wasn't listening to anything Soren tried to tell her. David shook his head. This wasn't going to be easy.
"What they did to her—she won't trust any of us easily."
"She trusts Jeanne, David."
"She can't spend all her time with Jeanne. When the sun comes up, Jeanne comes with me. The kid isn't going to change that."
"Perhaps you should let the women stay together for the first few days."
He said it simply. It wasn't a whine, or a necessity to control, it was a simple statement of fact. He couldn't let her out of his sight. Not when he could no longer touch her mind. He had to keep her with him, be able to touch her, hold her. Not having her with him when the sun rose wasn't an option.
"Very well. You should stay here with her then. No running off to have her house to yourselves. The child will need her. And I think she will need the child as well, now that her sister is gone."
David didn't like to admit it but Soren had a point. He wanted to take Jeanne to the house, we wanted to be alone with her, but that would be a mistake. The girl wouldn't handle being alone with Marko.
"We'll stay here for now."
The sudden silence surprised him, and he looked back at Jeanne to see that Laurel had cried herself into exhaustion.
"Why don't you put her in bed, Marko, and let her get some sleep."
Marko picked the girl up and carried her into the smaller cavern. Jeanne stood and walked out of the cave without looking at David.
She didn't answer him. Soren put a restraining hand on his shoulder when he would have followed her.
"Give her time, David."
"She won't go anywhere. She just needs time. The sun won't be up for a few hours, she'll be fine."
David waited for Jeanne to come back down, but when the sun was due to rise in half an hour and she still hadn't made an appearance, he went up to check on her. His relief at finding her seated on the edge of the cliff was immediate. She didn't answer when he called her, so he made his way over and sat beside her.
"Jeanne, you should come in now. The sun will be up soon. What are you doing out here?"
"Do your thinking tomorrow night. Now it's time for sleep."
"I can't do this David."
What? What couldn't she do? Was it about the mortal he'd just made her kill? Or her sister?
"I can't read your thoughts, Jeanne. You have to talk to me. What is it?"
"I can still feel him, in my head. I know there was nothing left of him, not after what I did, but I can still feel that connection. You have to reverse this."
"Reverse it? No, Jeanne. No."
He couldn't—what she was asking of him. It was a miracle she'd survived it the first time. He couldn't do it to her again.
"It could kill you Jeanne! Draining you again could kill you! Don't ask me to risk your life!"
"David, I cannot live with this! The loss of you, the connection to him! I can't do it! If you won't reverse it, I will stay here and meet the sunrise."
David grabbed her roughly and hauled her to her feet. She couldn't even think about ending her life. She couldn't leave him. He wouldn't allow it.
"I'm serious David! It's enough that I have to live with the knowledge of what he did to me, to live with those memories. I will not live with a bond to the very ones who killed my sister. Surely you can understand that David."
He shook his head in denial. He would not try to understand something that would take Jeanne away from him. Especially not when he'd just gotten her back.
"Jeanne, there isn't a chance I'm going to—"
"David, you have to listen—"
"No! I can't lose you again, Jeanne. I can't. Now enough of this lunacy, the sun will be up soon."
"David, did you not hear me? I'm not going back with you if you won't do this."
"Jeanne, you don't know what you're asking." He let her go and started pacing. "I don't know how you survived it the first time. You should have died. I've never heard of anyone who survived such a thing once, and certainly not a second time. I can't risk killing you when I just got you back!"
"David please! You have to do this for me."
His argument stopped when he saw her face. She looked—lost, defeated. Whatever had been done to her had damaged her, in some way David couldn't understand. There was something fading in her that he couldn't reach. No matter how they'd fought, she'd never looked this way before.
"It could kill you," he said simply.
"It won't. I trust you, David. And Soren is here to help, of needed. Please."
David nodded once, not looking at her.
"David, this is a bad idea. You know what happened when you thought she was dead. If this fails—"
"If it fails I expect you to send me after her."
He extended a hand to Jeanne, and led her down back to the cave. He didn't need to hear Soren's protests, or Marko's. He knew that Jeanne likely wouldn't survive this attempt, and if it failed, he wouldn't survive either. If he had to walk out into the sunlight himself, he would do it.
"Marko, get the bottle, and the blood Emerson brought by. We'll need it."
"Marko, just do it."
He shut them out as he helped Jeanne down the steps to the cave. He couldn't listen to their arguments if he was going to be able to force himself to do this. Jeanne held onto his hand as they walked, well able to read his reluctance. She knew he didn't want to fulfill her request, just as she knew that if he didn't she would go mad. She trusted David and Soren, and she trusted that between the two of them, she would survive this. Marko and Soren were waiting for them, and she looked at David when she saw what Marko was holding.
"If you had those, why force the girl?"
"Michael brought them over almost two hours ago. You never noticed his arrival?"
David squeezed her hand tighter. She'd not even noticed a potential threat while she sat outside. What if it had been Sam, or Alan come after her?
"You don't have to do this, Jeanne. Not after everything you've already been through. Think about it."
"I have thought about it, Marko. I have to do this, or I'll—I have to get him out of my head, or I'll go mad."
"Are you sure, Jeanne?"
"Yes, Soren. I'm sure."
She was surprised when David grabbed her shoulders, and gave her a last desperate kiss, but she returned it. She knew he was afraid he might not get to do this again. When he broke the kiss, he pulled her down onto the couch with him.
"I trust you, David."
Without another word, he sank his fangs into her throat, drinking her blood, consuming it as one would consume water after a week in the desert. He drank until he could feel her hear slow, and pulled away. He quickly bit his own wrist and held it to her mouth. He could feel himself vamp out when she didn't drink.
"C'mon, Jeanne. C'mon"
She didn't move, at all. David let his blood fill her mouth, then he clamped her jaw shut. She didn't swallow it, so David massaged her throat until the blood went down as she swallowed convulsively. Once the first mouthful was down, David pressed his wrist to her lips again. He looked down when she still didn't drink, and saw that the wound had closed.
"Marko, the bottle."
Marko handed him the bottle, and he poured blood into her mouth, repeating the process of making her drink. After the second mouthful, David thought he saw her eyelashes flutter.
"C'mon Jeanne. You have to wake up for me now."
If it didn't work, if they couldn't get her to come around—
"It will work, David. Look at her.:
Her eyes were moving beneath the lids. He poured more blood into her mouth and gently ran his hand down her throat. She swallowed much more easily, and opened her mouth for more. David bit into his wrist, reopening the wound, and held it up to her lips. This time, she latched on and began drinking on her own.
"That's it, Jeanne. Drink, love."
She drank, taking more and more of David's blood into her body. She was getting close to draining him, but it was working. David was beginning to feel her again.
She didn't respond, she just continued drinking.
"You must stop now, Jeanne. You don't want to kill David, do you?"
Soren was there, gently detaching David's wrist from her fangs. She looked around the cave as if confused.
David could almost cry with relief. He'd been afraid he would never hear talk to him mentally again. He pulled her into his arms, and started planting kissed in her hair.
"I thought I'd lost you. Don't ever put me through that again!"
"Don't worry, I'm not planning on it."
"David, you must replace the blood you gave Jeanne. And I must get back to the hotel before the sun rises."
"My house is closer, Soren. You can stay there if you wish."
"Thank you my dear. I will see you tomorrow night."
David accepted one of the bags from Marko as Jeanne made the offer, and tore into it greedily. He hadn't realized just how close she'd come to draining him. He went through two more before he was satisfied.
"Well you two, it's almost sunrise, and I think it's time to hit the sack."
"Marko, where did you put Laurel?"
"She can stay with me for today. It might help her if she doesn't wake up alone."
"Maybe I should stay with her for the first few days."
"Not a chance. I'm not letting you out of my sight, Jeanne. The kid will be fine with Marko."
"David, I think—"
"You think too much."
David picked her up and carried her back to the small cavern.
"Marko, we'll see you tonight."
He ignored Marko's smirk as he set Jeanne down on their bed and followed her in, pulling the curtains closed. He easily shed his clothes in the dark and tossed them onto the floor, before settling in and pulling Jeanne into his arms. For the first time in a very long time, he felt that he was home.