A Few Sips Ch. 17
Alexandru flickered in and out of consciousness during the night hours for the first week that he was free of his confines in Belarus. He would wake to find Samir or Mr. Hughes or Faeron nearby, ready to feed him, tend to his wounds that had finally begun to heal more rapidly. By the beginning of his second week in his old room at Vorhees, the one he had shared with his Domino all those many months ago, when dusk settled in the sky, his eyes would open and he was able to remain awake the whole night. When he woke, however, he wasn't entirely sure he was happy to be that way, the immense pain that greeted him with every stirring was enough to down a bear, and he would lay in bed, his eyes molten and his voice strangled as those around him tended to his every need.
"Where is she?" Was his first question, and Mr. Hughes had sat down on the edge of the bed and sighed.
"She went back to her home, Alexandru, she hasn't lived at the spa since shortly after Faith was born." His former employer had told him gently, worried to further anger the recovering vampire.
"But she was here." He was sure of it, he was sure that he had seen the woman he loved at some point, but she had been different, she had smelled different.
"She was. It was Domino that got you free. She brought you here so that you could heal."
"She left me."
"I think that she would argue that you have been the one to leave her...several times. She didn't want to stay, she said that she couldn't be here, not if there was a chance that something could go wrong. You were quite bad off when you first arrived. It was touch and go for a little bit." Mr. Hughes had explained to him.
"She smelled like darkness." Alexandru had groaned as he'd squeezed his eyes closed.
Mr. Hughes nodded, "She's been changed to a vampire, did you not see her wings?"
Alexandru shook his head, he'd barely seen more than a glimpse of her face, "Her sire? Domino shouldn't have-."
"She doesn't have one. Jo, a vampire who helped find you, actually, has developed a method of changing someone into a vampire that doesn't create a sire bond. Domino wanted to change, Alexandru. For herself, for Faith. She didn't want to change for you, so don't look at me like that." Mr. Hughes had frowned at the look of frustration he was being given by the still thin vampire.
"She has no sire?"
"No, she's like Faith in that aspect. No one can control her." Mr. Hughes had risen from the bed and gotten a bag of blood from the cooler, "You need to eat. You have a long way to go before you're ready to get your family back."
"Do I have a chance? Do I have a chance to get them back?"
"There's always a chance, Alex."
Two more weeks went by with Alexandru feeding voraciously. His body was slowly growing stronger, and in the past week, he'd been able to start bearing a little weight, cautiously taking a few steps each night, then a few more, until he was able to make his way back and forth from the bathroom. He would have a long way to go before his muscles would be back to their original shape and strength, but every day, there was a little improvement. The vampire, however, wished it would work a little faster, he had a family, they needed him, he couldn't be here forever.
"How much longer will you keep me here?" He had asked Mr. Hughes, who had frowned and shrugged his shoulders.
"Once you're well enough to make it up to the room Domino used to sleep in, to the dresser there where she left you something, then we can talk about whether or not you're ready to leave. But not before."
Alexandru had cursed at the man and pushed himself to get to the bedroom door. He had only made it to the doorway of the kitchen before he fell down, too exhausted to move any farther. It had been a bit humiliating to see Samir walk over from the couch, a smile on his face, and the giant had picked him up and carried him back to bed. He tried again before the night was over and was only able to make it about a step or two farther.
Another week went by before he was able to walk up the staircase to the ground floor, and then another before he was able to make it to the elevator. The basement staircase wore him out much more than walking in a straight line. There was no way he would be able to do two flights of stairs. Still, Samir was constantly having to pick him up and return him to his space below stairs. Alexandru's frustration that six weeks after his rescue, he was still unable to walk as he should, and that his body was only just returning to a usable state, was making him so cross that most everyone at the spa was steering well clear of him. He knew there were eyes watching him every now and then as he would walk towards the destination that he sought every day, but other than Samir picking him up, or Faeron encouraging him, or Mr. Hughes just standing there with a frown on his face, no one else approached the vampire, who was usually hissing foul language as he tried to make his legs work the way he wanted them to.
"Open the fucking door." He groaned one night in the middle of week seven, his hand on the knob, his whole body shaking from exhaustion.
"Are you sure? You aren't going to make it much farther." Samir said from close behind him and Alexandru closed his eyes, if he turned, it was over, he'd have to go again tomorrow. Damn it. He wanted his family.
"Fuck off." He growled and turned the knob awkwardly, sighing in satisfaction as the door slowly swung open before him.
He saw the bed that Domino had been in when he'd last seen her, saw the desk and the chair near the window. Her scent was ever so faintly in the air, and it warmed him to breathe her in. The dresser had been moved to the side of the bed, Alexandru frowned, that damned angel must think he was hilarious. Alexandru straightened and took a step forward and felt his muscles begin to scream from the burning feeling from the heavy use.
"Stop, Alex, it's not a good idea." Samir cautioned him.
"I need her." He hissed back, taking another painfully excruciating step into the room.
"You need to rest." Samir stayed in the doorway, his arms crossed in front of him.
"Fuck rest." He took a third step, he couldn't feel anything from the knees down at this point.
Alexandru felt a shiver work up his body and then he lost control of it and fell to the ground before him. He'd overdone it, and lost consciousness this time. Samir sighed and stepped forward, wishing the vampire would take it a little easier, but knowing that the man had two very powerful motivators now. His daughter, and Domino, and he was going to do everything he could do to get back to them, and the sooner, the better.
It was two days shy of week eight when Alexandru found himself standing before the dresser in Domino's room. He had actually reached it at the end of the night before, but had turned to look at Faeron and said that he needed to go back to his room, that he didn't want to feel like he was going to pass out after pulling the drawer open. He had taken things slow until the sun and risen and had fed several times at the coming of the next dusk before slowly setting back out to reach the dresser.
Now, standing in front of it, he was shaking a little, not from exhaustion, but from nervousness as to what was inside. What had Domino left for him to find? Would it be a letter telling him she didn't want to see him? Would it be a letter saying where to find her? He couldn't imagine what it was, and after a deep, steadying breath, he pulled the drawer open. The first thing he saw was a pile of baby clothes. Each outfit had a note pinned to the front of it. On the top was the blanket that Faith had been wrapped in when he had slept with her that very first night. The note said 'Her first night with Daddy.' It was enough to bring tears to his eyes, which he wiped carefully away before taking the pile out and putting them under one arm. In the bottom of the drawer, there were two envelopes. One said 'Open if I don't make it' and the other one simply had his name scrawled across the front of it. Picking both up, he moved over to sit on the bed.
Putting the letters down to his right, he moved the clothes to his lap and lifted the little blanket to his face, breathing in the baby scent, his baby's scent and reveling in the softness of the fabric. That night had meant a lifetime to him, he had worried it would be the only time that he saw his daughter. Putting it down beside the letters, he looked at the long sleeved onesie that had been beneath it, it had been a light green color but now had faint red stains on it, 'Month One.' Smelling the shirt, it smelled like Faith, but also faintly of human blood. He could imagine how difficult this would have been to clean.
'Month Two' was a little red dress with a polar bear on it. The next few months were the same. 'Month six' was a pair of leggings and a shirt, the leggings were almost worn through on the knees. She had started crawling. Months eight and nine were similar. Then, there was a pretty green dress with laces edging and a pair of white tights underneath. The label made his gut tighten and he clutched it tightly in his hands 'Daddy's first day back.' His daughter had seen him, they had been together. They had been together and he couldn't even remember it. Alexandru knew his breath was coming more choppy and he put the gown down on the rest of the pile.
Looking at the letters, he wasn't sure which one to open first. She hadn't given him any instructions on how to start. But he imagined the one with his name on it was newer, and he felt he should start at the beginning, so he grabbed the other. Tearing it open, he pulled out the single sheet of paper and carefully read the words that she had written on the page.
"My dearest love,
If you're reading this, it means that I am no longer alive, that I didn't survive the birth of our beautiful daughter. I can't imagine the pain you must be feeling right now, but I am sure it is not unlike the pain I feel when I think of not being there to see her take her first steps, or say her first word, or ride her first bike. Do vampires ride bikes? I hope so, I want her to do all of those silly human things that I grew up wishing I got to do. There weren't ever a lot of bicycles in foster care. I want her, I want our daughter, Faith, to have a wonderful life, a life that I know that you can give her. I know she will be safe and loved forever, and that you will tell her all about me.
I love you, Alexandru, and I know you are going to be angry that I made all of the choices that I have made over these last several months. You are my family, she is my family, and every choice that I have made is to make sure that our family is together. If you've lost me because of those choices, I am sorry, but I have died knowing that I have given you something that was only in my power to give you...Faith.
I know you will do everything right. I am hopeful that I will get to hear about it, I've got a line on an angel that I've met before and I'm quite certain that he can keep me updated on all of you down here.
I love you, I love you, I love you,
He didn't wipe at the tears as they came, and he swore when he realized that she had prepared this for him prior to the birth of Faith. She had worried what would happen if she were to die, but she had been so prepared that he would have been there for Faith. It made him sick when he thought about what would have actually happened if she had died. He would have still been forced to leave the spa, Klaus would not have changed his mind. Faith would have been raised here, by Mr. Hughes, and not by him.
Putting the letter down, he opened the next one, very nervous about what it would say, but reading it anyway, he had to know.
I can forgive you for leaving me after Faith was born. I know you were compelled by Klaus, and I am sure he had something to do with your proposal to me. Or maybe it was your way of saying that you were going to continue to fight for us even though you made that stupid deal with him to save me. I can forgive all of that, because you couldn't control yourself. He controlled you. I can forgive you for leaving me after I got pregnant, as well. You thought there was no risk of my becoming pregnant. As you once told me, I wasn't ovulating, and the pills you gave me should have worked. You had no idea that I would find myself pregnant. When you learned I was pregnant, you wanted to do everything you could to save me, even at the expense of our daughter.
I have made mistakes, as well, ones that I could have controlled, but failed to. I had sex with Aidan. I was scared and you were missing and I thought I was going to die. It felt good at the time, but I regret having done that to myself, and him, he didn't deserve to be used in that way. But, he was there when you weren't, and because of him, I got the help I needed.
I moved to Wisconsin with Faith after she was born. I have a house here in the country, and it is lovely. We have a family of our own in Spencer, the mermaid who I met in Madison, who now lives with us. Jo, Fionna, and Connor, the three vampires I know here, have also become close to us. We care for each other, and we look out for each other. I don't have problems leaving my house, I am much more sure of myself, Alex. Being a vampire has definitely made things easier in that department. I am so much more aware of my surroundings, everything is so intensified. My only worries these days are whether or not Faith is going to fly away from me and get lost, and that I will never see you again.
I want to see you again. I want to love you again. But I am not the same woman who you met and slept with in that apartment in Vermont. I don't need to have you protect me anymore, I don't need to have you try to plan my life for me. If that is what you want, just know that that girl is gone. I can't be her anymore. I've changed. I want you, I need you, but I need to rely on myself now. So if you are willing to try it my way, come to Wisconsin. Rent a place, and ask me on a date. We'll see how it goes from there.
If you can't, if I have to worry about you leaving me again, or trying to tell me what to do again, come anyway. Find a place to live that will keep you safe, and Faith, when she visits, and be a father to your daughter in that way. She needs her daddy.
I still love you, Alexandru,
Alexandru reread the letter several times before finally putting it down and looking towards the doorway. Samir was leaning against the paneled wall across the hallways from the door, his eyes to the left as he gazed absently about him, trying to give Alexandru as much space as he could without being entirely absent, the vampire was still pretty shaky on his feet, but he was improving. Putting the letter he just read on top of the other one, he picked up the whole pile and got back to his feet. Walking carefully, he made it out to where Samir was standing and looking to the left, he could see the wheelchair that they had begun to use so that he wasn't constantly being lugged in someone's arms unconscious every day. Walking over to it, he sat in it by himself and looked up at Samir.
"She's so much stronger than I thought." He said in a husky whisper and watched as Samir smiled softly and nodded down at him before walking around behind the vampire.
"She went halfway around the world to save you, and she wanted to do it all by herself. Of course, she is." Samir replied as he started pushing Alexandru towards the elevator.
"Klaus, did she kill him?" Alexandru grimaced at the thought, of the ways of which there was to kill a vampire, most were quite gory.
The giant shook his head as he pushed the button, "Wei would not allow it. She really wanted to, though. Wei knew that there would be some to argue that we had no right to end your sire's life after so many years. He was apparently a very old vampire and this type of behavior was nothing new to him. If we kill him for it, why are we not killing the wood elves?"
"Why aren't we?" Alexandru leaned his head back to look up at Samir as he was pushed onto the elevator.
"Indeed, why aren't we?" Samir frowned, lost in his own head a moment as they waited for the door to close.
"But he is dead." Alexandru couldn't really explain it, but some sort of chain that had always been around his brain, and had intensified when he was around his sire, had vanished.
"Yes. Wei had me take him out into the sun. The dragon wanted to do it. He wanted to be the one, so that all arguments stopped with him. Klaus was in his vault, but Wei got him out and took care of the rest." Samir frowned, it had been difficult to see the vampire burn like he had, into ash, but it was better than seeing the blood explode from his body as it did when you stabbed them in the heart.
"How did Domino take that?"
Samir grinned, "Not well. She wanted to kill him herself, probably with her bare hands. I know she's glad that he is gone, but she hasn't quite gotten over having to hand him over to 'a bunch of ego-driven guys' as she called us."
"I wouldn't have wanted her to have killed a non-human, it-it isn't a good feeling. I wouldn't have wanted her to have to live with that, even if that non-human was Klaus." Alexandru spoke softly as they rolled through the ground floor of the house towards the staircase.
"You think you can make it down them?"
Alexandru frowned, no, no he could not. But he sure wasn't about to tell Samir that, and instead, tried to rise from the wheelchair. His legs didn't cooperate and he swore. Samir didn't laugh, though, he knew how aggravated the vampire was, knew he was more than ready to get to his family. Walking around the chair, he lifted Alexandru up into his arms and walked him down into the basement and down the long hallway to his bedroom.
"She will take me back, right?"
"Yes. She's waiting for you, Alex."
"I don't want to make her wait."
"You don't exactly have a choice right now."
Alexandru frowned, he didn't feel that he had the choice to wait, he felt like he needed to get to her immediately. His body just needed to get with the program.
"It's not as fun throwing a birthday party for a baby at night, when you can't have the house filled with other babies all shoving cake in their mouth and playing with loads of toys and stuff." Domino sighed as she looked over at Spencer, who was helping her hang crepe paper ornaments in the doorway between the kitchen and dining room. The small woman with her smiled a little and put a hand over her own stomach for a moment, a gesture that was not missed on Domino, though the mermaid had yet to confess that she was pregnant now, herself.
"When your baby tends to drink blood for fuel, it's not exactly conducive to a playgroup, Dom." Spencer chuckled as she reached for another ornament.
Domino smirked, "I guess I should befriend some non-human mommies, like Anya. Then Faith wouldn't be the only kid around here."
Spencer blushed a little but didn't say anything. Her relationship with Astor was still very new, and the two spent almost all of their time joined at the hip. Domino hadn't minded him moving in, sharing one of the bedrooms upstairs with her friend. It made her feel safer having non-humans in the house who could move about it during the day. The lake nearby allowed them to change to their non-human forms whenever they wanted, which was generally at night when the humans in the area wouldn't suddenly appear, though the lake was pretty well deserted. Every so often, a fisherman would appear on the opposite side from her property.
Anya's got too many kids, though, doesn't she? Your house isn't big enough for that." Spencer reminded her and Domino sighed.
"Yeah, you're right. Plus, I kind of want to punch her face in sometimes, though Arc tells me that I need to work on my anger issues." Domino shrugged, she thought Mr. Hughes needed to work on HIS anger issues, actually, he was like a grumpy little toddler these days who had STILL not allowed her to meet his illusive guest. It was starting to piss her off, especially since she knew that even Anya had met the girl.