Title: Virales en Crux
Rating: NC-17 (eventual)
Summary: AU inspired by xxmisssassyxx
Warnings: VIOLENCE, blood (it's a vampire fic, so... yeah.)
AN: Latin is not Latin. It's based off of Latin, but it's not.
Cara carefully set the guitar in one corner of her bedroom, petting it almost reverently before she stepped back to appraise its presence. It smelled of the human. There was no getting around how much it smelled of the human. That scent drove Cara mad, but she endured it, piercing her wrist with her fangs and drinking her own blood to assuage the ravenous appetite brought on by the scent. By the guitar. By the lingering memory of how it had looked in the human's hands, those delicate fingers plucking and strumming a fierce bass beat as wicked lips uttered words to a song. A song that had no melody to Cara but for the pitch of the girl's voice. Each word assaulting her ears with emotion and humanity. It disgusted her, even as it fascinated her.
She had taken the guitar to unnerve the singer; had intended to destroy it, but as she'd stood before the bonfire in the empty lot behind St. Andrew's, and the wind had poured the scent into her being, she had been unable to lay it to flame.
Kahlan was furious at the loss of her guitar. She was currently in a rage, pacing back and forth in the recording studio, screaming and breaking things and kicking anything not bolted to the floor. She knew who had taken it. That fucking crazy blonde bitch with the impossible fangs and inhuman stealth. How did she know? Because Emma Chase's body had been discovered today, at the same time her guitar went missing. It was not a coincidence. The chick was a vampire, she had to be, as insane as that sounded, there was no other explanation, and Emma's body had been drained of every drop of blood, the police had told her.
She picked up a music stand and swung it like a baseball bat, shattering one of the plate glass windows that separated the mic room from the control room assigned to it. She'd have to pay for that, but money wasn't something she was short on. Patience, however, was. She had already tried to find the blonde, but with no luck. No one even knew her, knew anything about her, even knew she existed.
"Hey," her manager snapped, poking his head in the room. "Calm the fuck down before you bankrupt yourself."
"I can't record without my bass!" Kahlan exploded at him, leveling the music stand for another swing, but he grabbed it out of her hands and tossed it away to a corner.
"Go home!" he rallied. "We'll record when you're less crazy!"
Muttering curses at him under her breath, she stalked from the studio and took the long way home, so she could vent some of her frustration on the old dirt roads that skirted the edge of town.
She stopped at the mall to look at basses, but none of them appealed to her. She wanted hers back. Frustrated tears filled her eyes as she finally pushed open the door to her apartment, and she let them fall as she sank facedown on the couch. She loved that bass.
Cara watched the human's eyes wet from her perch outside the window, head tilted in curiosity. She vaguely remembered doing such a thing before she was sired, but any understanding of the feeling behind it was long-since lost.
Kahlan cried for a few minutes, and pulled herself together, slowly sitting and wiping her eyes, when she saw it. It? Her. The blonde. Outside her window, three stories up, just sitting there on the sill. Instead of being afraid, she was angry. She flew to the window and flung it open, surprised when the girl stayed put. She guessed she had expected her to run away. Or... fly away, maybe, since she was ON THE THIRD FUCKING STORY. "You stole my bass!" she shouted without preamble.
Cara blinked, slowly, eyelids falling heavily over golden eyes, then lifting to reveal them again. "Est quare maerore
"SPEAK ENGLISH!" Kahlan screamed in a fury, flailing her arms for emphasis.
Cara cleared her throat, taken aback by the outburst. She was not accustomed to witnessing such fits of human behavior. "Is that why you cry?"
"You don't know why I'm crying? You can't figure that out?" Kahlan snapped, turning away from the window. "You killed a girl and left her Rosary beads on my pillow. Then you stole my bass, and now you're sitting out here on my third story window, without a scaffold or a ladder, just watching me like a creepy-ass stalker, and you wonder why the fuck I'm crying?!"
"You say killed like it was murder." Cara gripped the edge of the window frame and pulled herself into the human's living space.
Kahlan didn't even flinch. In fact, she stepped closer, to show she would rather die than be afraid of this... creature. This gorgeous, intoxicating, flawless-- MURDEROUS creature! She shook herself out of it and narrowed her eyes. "What would you call it, then?"
Cara looked around, taking stock of the space, laying it to memory. The act took roughly five seconds, and her golden eyes were back on the human. "Sacrifice."
"Sacrifice. Oh, and here I was worried you were just a killer," Kahlan said sarcastically. "What are you doing here? What do you want from me? Besides to try to scare me, and steal my shit," she added with venom.
"You should fear me," Cara said without affect. "I could kill you with a flick of my wrist."
"Excuse me if I don't run screaming from my own fucking house," Kahlan spat.
"The only reason I haven't killed you and drained your lifeblood is because you are impure," Cara said, darkly now, her eyes shrouded in intrigue.
"Fuck you!" Kahlan shouted. "Is that supposed to be insulting? Like I should be disappointed that you don't want to eat me? Or drink me, or whatever it is you freaks do?"
Cara's eyes went dark, black veins curling up around her jaw, and she flexed her fingers, keeping the power at bay. For now.
Kahlan's eyes widened, fear slowly creeping into them as she realized with unequivocal certainty that the girl in her apartment was indeed not human. It had been a sort of fantasy before, theoretical and fanciful in nature, but the reality of it was crushing, and she suddenly struggled to breathe. "You're really not human," she exhaled in rising panic.
"Of course I'm not," Cara said, amused. "You thought otherwise?"
"I suspected," Kahlan told her, "but it's not every day you learn that creatures of the night really do exist."
"It just happens to be nighttime now," Cara said, waving a hand toward the still open window. "I am not a creature of the night."
"Oh no?" Kahlan choked out, still having trouble breathing normally. "What are you, then?"
Cara raised an eyebrow, slowly looking the human up and down, a wicked smirk lighting on her blood-red lips. "Hungry."
Kahlan's heart thudded against her ribcage. She realized the vampire was making a joke, but she didn't find it funny. "Give me back my fucking bass," she said hoarsely.
"No," Cara said simply. "If you can't protect it from me, you don't deserve to have it."
"You're the fucking undead, what chance did I have?!" Kahlan shrieked.
"How dare you judge me," Cara hissed, her voice suddenly low and dangerous, all traces of teasing gone. "My blood is pure."
"Congratulations, you're frigid," Kahlan said flippantly.
"The arrogance of humans is astounding," Cara said quietly, fixing the one in question with a steely gaze.
"Not all humans. Now look who's on the judge-y horse." She paused, considering how incredibly angry she was, and whether she was angry enough to threaten a vampire. She found that she was. "Give me back my bass, or I'll stake you," she growled.
Cara couldn't help it... a condescending laugh escaped her lips. "While that would certainly be unpleasant, it would not have the effect you desire. And you may not have your bass back, I've already said that."
Kahlan lunged at her, but the girl was fast... lightning fast, and was out of the way almost before she had even moved. Now she found herself bent precariously over the windowsill, kept from falling by a warm hand around the back of her neck. She shivered, sparing a brief thought to the fact that vampires were supposed to be cold.
Cara hauled her back into the room without effort and released her. "Don't... do that again."
Kahlan kicked her.
Cara blinked, hands clenching into fists as she sent the human flying across the room with merely a thought. "Don't do that again either."
Kahlan crashed into the wall, just barely managing not to hit her head, and groaned in agonizing pain as she slid to the floor, curling into a ball. She had no idea how people on tv just kept getting up after that. She wasn't going to be able to move without medical attention.
When the human didn't get up, Cara realized the impact of what she'd done, and her brows furrowed as she strode across the room. She was used to combat with others of her kind. "Instinct," she explained, squatting down and waving a hand over the still, groaning form, healing energy crackling to life and diffusing through her clothes and skin.
Kahlan gave a different kind of groan as she felt the energy heal the damage, and stretched out on her back, arms above her head. "Instinct? Is that your version of an apology for overreacting?"
"Overreacting? You kicked me. Like a child."
"Well, why are you surprised? Aren't I a child compared to you? What are you, two hundred years old?"
Cara's eyes narrowed. "Five hundred and seven," she said tightly. "I don't like to talk about my age."
"Why did you steal my bass?"
"What is it you people do in proceedings of law? I plead the fifth."
"Why did you put Rosary beads on my pillow?"
"I plead the fifth."
"Why did you put a message in my mirror?"
Cara finally sighed. "You offended me."
"Why did you br-- what?"
Gold eyes narrowed again. "You offended me."
"How the hell did I offend you? I never did anything to you."
"Behind the club, the first time I saw you. You ran when you saw my fangs."
Kahlan was pretty much floored at that. "And you're not used to people doing that, or what?"
"I'm used to people fearing me before they even see my fangs. Before they know what I am. Not because
of what I am."
The singer shifted uncomfortably. "Well... I didn't mean to offend you. It just freaked me out, because I didn't expect it, that's all. And really, I hadn't had the best evening before that. So I was off my game." She paused, shifted again. "I'm, uh... sorry?"
Cara just stared at her blankly.
"Anyway, I'm gonna go to bed, so..."
Cara nodded, folded her hands in front of her.
Kahlan waited. When the blonde made no move to leave, she raised her eyebrows and gestured to the window. "So, get out?"
Cara's face remained impassive.
Kahlan sighed and ran her hands over her face. When she dropped them again, the blonde was gone. "What the fuck," she said under her breath, running to the window and looking out. There was no trace. No sign that anyone had even been there. She pulled the window shut tight and locked it, then drew the curtains for good measure. She'd never thought she would have to worry about someone coming in her window. She didn't think she'd ever locked it before.
She got another visit the next night. She was angry all over again, having had to go through rehearsal without her precious bass. She threw open the window and growled at the vampire perched on the wall about three hundred feet above ground. "You can't come in."
Cara ignored her, extended a hand. "Come with me."
"You've got to be fucking crazy if you think I'm gon--"
She screamed as the girl grabbed her arm and pulled her out the window. Before she could blink, they were safely on the ground, and she had no idea how they'd gotten there. Instead of being relieved, she was just freaked out. She jumped away from the hold on her arm, running her hands frantically through her hair and then flailing them in aggravated gestures as she ranted at her captor.
"What the FUCK is wrong with you?! You can't just fly up to a person's window and drag her out in the middle of the night, and scare the fucking piss out of her when she's wearing really expensive fucking jeans! Wet! My pants are wet!" she shrieked, oblivious to the stares her outburst garnered.
Cara regarded her curiously, and when the yelling stopped, she took the human's arm again and began walking. "I don't fly."
"Oh, because THAT was the key point I was getting at," Kahlan hissed, following along simply because the grip on her arm was too tight to shake off, and the forward momentum would have her falling on her face if she didn't start walking. "Where are you taking me?" she finally thought to ask, once they'd been traveling for a few minutes.
"To your bass."
"Why didn't you just bring it up with you?"
Cara stopped walking and turned, eyes narrowing as she glared hard at the human. She did not like that the girl pestered her with insignificant questions. Even more, she did not like that she had no answer.
"Oh, great. Is it in pieces?" The idea made her wince.
"No, it is not in pieces. One piece, singular. I didn't smash it, like you arrogant musicians tend to do."
"Smashing guitars on stage has nothing to do with arrogance."
"No? Stupidity, then. Immaturity?"
"Both of the above. I don't smash guitars."
"But you wet your pants when you're pulled out a window. We all have our faults."
"That is not funny," Kahlan said, her jaw clenched as they resumed walking. She decided to keep her mouth shut for the moment, just glad to be getting her bass back.
It was another fifteen minutes before they reached the outskirts of town, and another twenty after that when Cara stopped in front of an old rundown shack.
"Seriously? You live here? Sucking blood not pay very well?"
"I live beneath it," Cara said without taking offense. "And I would hardly call it sucking. Only those of us without manners deign to 'suck'."
"Really now. Enlighten me."
One corner of her mouth pulling up in a smirk, Cara turned and brought the human's forearm to her lips, mimicking the way she would elegantly drink from a wound.
Kahlan's eyelids fluttered. It was more like a kiss than anything else, and she struggled for the will to push the blonde head away, just in case she got any ideas. Her skin tingled and was smeared red from the vampire's lipstick. She absently rubbed her other hand over it, glancing around the deserted, desolate area with a shiver. "So, where's my bass?" she forced herself to ask, before things got any weirder.
"Follow me," Cara said, flicking her tongue out over her lips, venom filling her mouth at the taste of the human's pale skin, her fangs extending. She turned her head away, leading the girl into the shack and pulling open a square door set into the wooden planks that served as flooring.
A musty smell permeated the air around them, and as Kahlan peered over the blonde's shoulder down into the hole, she could see the faint light of flickering candles below. She gripped the back of the blonde's dark robes as they descended a flight of stone stairs.
When they reached the bottom, the floor was wood again, and Kahlan's first thought was of safety. "It's a fire hazard to have candles burning down here, especially with all the wood."
Cara looked at the human over her shoulder, one sculpted eyebrow raising gracefully as she closed her left hand into a fist. The action snuffed out the flames, pitching the cavern into sooty blackness.
Kahlan gasped and pressed close to the hooded woman, fists gripping tightly at her robes. "Stop it," she said desperately, her throat dry, lungs not getting enough air. "Put it back, put them back..."
Cara opened her hand, and the candles sprang back to life, casting eerie shadows over everything the light touched, but Kahlan would take eerie shadows over endless black any day. She released her vise-like grip on the handfuls of robes, relaxing enough to look around.
Kahlan figured they were in an antechamber of some sort. The walls were rock, unadorned except for one iron bracket holding an unlit torch, and the ground was hard dirt laid over with wooden planks, some rotting, some newer-looking, some overlapping and leaving patches of bare dirt here and there. A few yards ahead was a plush red rug with silver detailing and fringe. It looked out of place among the dirt and rocks.
Cara led her silently forward after taking a torch from the wall and lighting it with the flame from a candle. "You can wire electricity underground, you know," she commented as she stayed close.
"I prefer natural lighting," Cara said without turning.
"Mkay then," Kahlan replied, shoving her hands in her pockets as they turned a corner and walked through a curtain of sheer silver silk into what was obviously the bedroom. Her jaw dropped. She had expected simple, given the location, and the state of the antechamber. This was lavish, to the point it bordered on ostentatious, but didn't quite reach that distinction. It could still be classified as elegant. "Holy shit," she whispered.
The floor was covered wall-to-wall with a deep red carpet so soft she could practically feel it through her shoes. The walls were rock, like the outer room, but not unadorned. Black charcoal drawings covered most of the smoother surface areas, while the more jagged ones were painted solid with a shimmering silver color. She reached out to touch one of the drawings, but Cara snatched her wrist before she made contact.
"That is a sacrificial rite. I wouldn't touch it if I were you."
Appropriately freaked, Kahlan let her arm drop back to her side. "Sacrificial rite for what?"
Cara moved to a mahogany dresser and opened the top drawer, pulling something out. She closed it and opened the next drawer, removing something from it as well, and closed it before turning to face Kahlan, holding out a pair of folded jeans with black lace panties atop them. "Virgins," she answered.
Kahlan grimaced. "Why did I ask?" She turned away from the wall, blinking at the offer of pants, then blushed, snatching them quickly. "Where's the bathroom?"
"Didn't you already go?"
Her eyes widened indignantly and she hissed, "to change clothes in!"
Cara's head tilted, and she stared a moment before giving a subtle shake. "I don't have a bathroom."
"How do you not have a bathroom? Do you use the bushes outside?" Kahlan asked, incredulous.
"I don't have any need for one. My digestive system isn't the same as yours. I don't eat or drink what you do."
"God, that's just weird," Kahlan muttered, shaking her head. "Where can I change, then?"
"Anywhere you like."
Kahlan waited for her to turn around. She didn't. "Privacy, please?!"
"Of course." Expressionless, Cara turned away and let the girl change unobserved.
Kahlan slipped off her shoes, then shimmied out of her pants, feeling no need to mention her preference for going without underwear. She put on the pair Cara had given her, though, then pulled on the jeans, relieved that they fit. She didn't need any more embarrassment regarding her pants. "Thanks," she said as she buttoned and zipped.
"Would you like me to burn the ruined ones?"
Kahlan shrieked and scooped them up from the floor. "No! They're not ruined! These are my favorite jeans. I'll wash them. Do you not wash your clothes, either?"
"I send them out."
"After five hundred years you get tired of washing clothes."
"I thought you didn't like to talk about your age..."
"When it suits me."
"So you're a hypocritical vampire, then."
"I prefer to think of myself as logical."
"A rose by any other name," Kahlan quoted, one eyebrow raised.
"Shakespeare," Cara said, adopting a fond, wistful expression. "They don't come that tasty anymore."
Kahlan choked. "You ate William Shakespeare? You bitch! Do you have any idea how many more brilliant plays he could have written if--"
"The term is 'fed from', and that was a joke. I thought humans enjoyed such things."
Kahlan stopped, mouth still open, and snapped it shut. "Oh." Pause. "We do. But that wasn't funny."
"I thought it was quite funny."
"Well you are dark and twisted. Speaking of, if you're not a creature of the night, why do you live underground?"
"I like it. It's quiet, and provides solitude. And, as you would say this century, it's 'off the grid'."
"Oh, you don't pay taxes. I got it."
Cara snorted. "So you do have a sense of humor."
"Sure, when something is funny."
"Can I have my pants back?"
Kahlan made a pitiful face. "Did I say how much I loved your joke, by the way? Totally brilliant." When Cara didn't insist she return the pants, she grinned. "I keep meaning to ask and then forgetting, but why virgins? What's so special about virgins? Why do you consider them to have pure blood? What if they're a virgin, but they've had a blood transfusion? What do you do then? You'd be fucked."
Cara blinked. Slowly. "You would have to ask Lord Rahl, and I don't foresee ever letting him know you. He is the one whose laws govern our clan. I never thought to question them."
"Seriously? He said hey, only virgins, and you didn't think to ask why? What if there was some tasty-looking human that was a total whore? I mean like really tasty-looking. Enough to make you drool."
Both eyebrows rose. "That has never happened to me. I do not drool."
"Your fangs come out. Same thing."
"That is not the same thing."
"Oh yes it is. You think I didn't notice the look in your eyes out back of the club? When I got too close? Drool."
"You are making me angry."
"Uh... okay? And?"
"And when I get angry, I hurt things."
"So, you're threatening me, then."
"I am warning you."
"If I don't stop pissing you off, you'll send me flying into the wall?"
Kahlan considered. "Well, at least you're up front about it. Thanks for the warning." She glanced around again, her eyes falling on the giant, four-poster bed draped with a sheer silver canopy. She could only imagine how many thread count the sheets were. "Where's my bass?" she asked again, figuring that was a safer subject.
Cara regarded her coolly, letting her temper fade, and reached around behind her dresser to retrieve the instrument.
Kahlan lunged for it as soon as it was in sight, and grabbed it from the blonde's hands, hugging it protectively. "Never steal from me again!" she yelled, unable to help herself. "What do you think gives you the right?!"
Cara glanced down to the jeans Kahlan had dropped in her haste to snatch up the guitar, and noticed a distinct lack of undergarments. "You don't wear underwear," she stated.
"And you think that gives you the right to steal my shit?!"
That was almost amusing. "The two were unrelated."
Kahlan's ire cooled, though she wasn't exactly sure why, and she bent over to pick up the jeans again, holding each of her precious items in one hand. "I want to go home."
Cara grandly extended a hand toward the room's only exit, and brought the torch with her as she followed Kahlan out.
The walk back was silent, and when they reached the ground floor of Kahlan's apartment building, the vampire addressed her condescendingly.
"If you think you'll wet your pants again, we should take the stairs."
"My keys are in my apartment. The only way in now is through the window," Kahlan said through gritted teeth. "Just give me some warning."
"Will a countdown suffice?"
"Three, two, one."
And suddenly they were on the windowsill, Kahlan having no idea how they'd gotten there, just as she'd felt on the way down earlier. She felt the vampire urging her through the open window, into the apartment, and steadying her once she was on her feet, since her hands were full. "I could never get used to that."
"I've had five hundred years, so..."
"Are you going to steal anything else?" Kahlan asked suddenly, with an exasperated sigh.
"It really bothers you?"
"Of course it really bothers me! Taking things that don't belong to you is wrong," she said as if she were speaking to a small child. "And taking MY things is really wrong. If you're that curious about me that you have the urge to steal from me, find some other way to get my attention. I mean really... five hundred years and you're still pulling hair on the playground?"
"I told you I don't like to talk about my age," Cara said, fighting a smirk. Finally, at the singer's resolved silence, she shook her head and rolled her eyes skyward. "I won't steal anything else from you. I'll take my pants back, though, in case I don't see you again."
Kahlan removed her boots and stripped the pants off, holding them out. She was exhausted, and just wanted to sleep.
Cara cleared her throat.
Eyes directed at the panties Kahlan still wore.
"Right. Well that you don't get a show of. Hang on, I'll be right back." She took a pair of pajama pants and went into the bathroom to change, emerging a few seconds later and returning the underwear to their rightful owner. She turned to make sure her bass was still safely on her couch, then a thought struck her and she turned back toward her 'houseguest'. "Do you have a nam-- ugh!" The blonde was gone. She ran to the window and looked down, but saw nothing other than the usual - sky and pavement. "I hate when you do that!" she called into the night, just in case the woman was still within earshot.