By Azure Dragon NOTE TO READERS: I wrote this under the influence of a very bad cold that I think is becoming a flu. So don't flame me unless it's major. WARNING: This story involves an abusive relationship, if this bothers you, don't read it. Part One Lilly took her usual table and cast a glance around her domain. She spotted Cash and his people near the bar and he nodded to her. Returning the greeting she cast her eyes to the rest of the club. She saw another familiar face appear from the staircase. Although the girl had no name, she had been coming to the club for the last two weeks. Always taking the same table and leaving just before close, she never ordered anything but water and never spoke to anyone. It was as if she wanted to disappear from sight and stay hidden. The girl had caught the Toreador's attention a couple days ago. There was no outward reason as to why she had, just a feeling. Lilly never got a close look at her face, just a hint of it. Just as the vampire was about to get a good look at her, one of the waitresses stepped in the way. "Can I get you anything?" The waitress asked. Her voice stirred the girl from her thoughts, " Just water." Came the soft reply. The woman departed, making her way over to the bar that sat under the stairs. A song by Enya floated through the posh club. The girl recognized it as Pax Deorum from the Memory of Trees album. It was haunting and sad with a hint of joyful. Dim lighting detracted from anyone being able to see very well. But it didn't keep the beauty of the club or it's patrons from being noticed. Not looking too closely at anyone in the club she sighed and leaned back into her little corner. Here she was hard to see and very easy to miss. No one too much notice of corners these days. So she could sit back and for awhile forget the reality that was her life. ** At closing the girl huddled into her coat and stepped out into the street. Lifting her face to the slowly lightening sky, she pulled in a breath. Her chest hurt and reminded her of what she was returning to. Pale blue washed over the dark ink of the night as she headed toward her home. The stairs were chipped and needed to be fixed, a new coat of paint was needed on the exterior of the house. Opening and closing the door as softly as she could, the girl shrugged off her coat and hung it up. It was as she crossed the kitchen to the stairs that she caught sight of the living room. Weak sunlight spilled in from the bay window and lit up the destruction of last night. The coffee table had been overturned again and the couch was a mess. Broken glass glittered in the sunlight as the fingers of light crossed the worn carpet. The light crossed a huddled form on the floor and the girl let out a sigh. She crouched next tot he form and pulled back the blanket. Her sisters face was three different shades of red and dark purple. Her clothes were ripped away and hung off her in tatters. "Regan." The girl whispered and received no answer. Shaking her she stood up and went to the kitchen. There were signs of dinner and she could only guess what had caused this fight. The phone was against the wall, near the door and she dialed a number from memory. "Jason," She said softly, "This is Ophelia, I need a ride to the hospital....No I am fine, it's Regan....Yes, thanks." Hanging up she went back to the living room and found the afghan for the couch. Shaking loose the bits of glass she knelt and wrapped her sister in it. The front door opened just as she was in the kitchen getting a cloth to wipe off the blood. "Where?" Jason asked as he took one look at her. "Living room." Ophelia gazed too hard at the sink and it's dishes as Jason went in and got Regan. She followed him silently to the front door and out to his car. " Should I come with you?" Jason shut the car door and shook his head. " No. Someone should be here incase the police come." "The fight was hours ago, surely they would have come by now." Just as she spoke her ears detected the wail of sirens. They sounded to be coming in her direction and she could cross her arms. " Best get going." Jason reached up a hand and brushed back a strand of her hair. "I'll get her to safety." Ophelia backed up a step, " Just go." She watched as Jason drove away and the sun rose over the city. It was another day and nothing was any different from yesterday. Turning to the house she saw the police cars approaching. "Here we go." She muttered as the unmarked car pulled up and two men got out. Part Two Sitting at the kitchen table while the police went through the house suited Ophelia just fine. What annoyed her was the intent stare of the two detectives across from her. Not that it mattered, she had nothing to hide from them. "Let us go through the facts one more time." The dark one said, from the badge he had shown her, she knew his name was Sonny Nillson. " You came home at just past dawn and found your sister on the floor of the living room?" He glanced at her. She nodded. "That's right." "Then you called Jason Peters, a friend of yours and he took her to the hospital." Sonny continued and she nodded again. " Why didn't you call for an ambulance?" "My sister was unconscious Detective Nillson, I was worried. Jason has always been the one to help us. I saw no reason not to turn to him." Ophelia rubbed her eyes with both hands. The second one, Detective Kohanek, spoke up. " Where you when this happened?" She regarded him for a moment and sighed. " I was out." "That was convenient for you." He muttered and she frowned at him, " Are you 'out' all the time?" "No Detective I am not." She spoke in a cold voice. " I am just...I went to a club okay?" "The Haven?" He said lightly, nodding to her hand. Ophelia gazed at the stamp on the back of her right hand. " Yeah, I was there and I didn't leave until close." "Do you have friends there too Miss Shaw?" She gazed at him and found that his tone was slightly strange. " What are you implying Detective? That I would let this happen to my sister?" Anger warmed her words, " For your information I was there because I happen to like the club. I don't know any one or have any 'friends' of any kind." She stood up and pushed back her hair. " Is there anything else?" The dark man put his hand on his partner's arm and stood up. " Do you know which hospital Mr. Peters would take your sister?" "The main one." Ophelia waved a hand, " I have no idea, we're new here." "Thank you for your time." Sonny handed her a card, " If anything happens give me a call." She took it and stared at the plain white and black, " I will." They showed themselves out and it was then that Sonny glared at Frank. "What is with you?" "I don't like it Sonny." Frank muttered. "She leaves and her sister gets put in hospital. Why go to The Haven? There are places closer to this neighborhood and it would make more sense." Sonny leaned on the hood his car and shook his head. " Frank, you have to learn to trust people. The girl said she liked the club now leave it alone. There are other reasons for this Frank, not all the answers are Kindred related." Frank stared at the house and then his partner. " Still...Something feels off." Part Three Pulling open the heavy door of The Haven and descending into it's dark depths was comforting. Not bothering to look at anyone, Ophelia went to her table and sat down. Just as she was settling in, she saw someone look over at her. There was no mistaking the fact that they had seen her. There was a look in those eyes that held her as they stood up and walked over. "Just water right?" Ophelia blinked and found herself face to face with a lovely woman. " Ah, right." The woman smiled and sat down across from her. " I've been watching for you. Tell me something, if you don't mind." "Umm, I guess not." Ophelia shifted in her seat and felt the shadows close in her. "Why do you always come to this table?" The woman's eyes were intensely bright in the dark. " What brings you here?" Her words spilled out before her brain could stop her. " This is a place where I feel safe." "Safe? From what?" The woman asked lightly. For a moment the words were stuck in her throat before they spilled out. " My life I guess." Something moved across the light causing Ophelia to blink and shake her head. The woman sat back and watched her as she sipped at her water. Her hands were shaking and she didn't know why. "Well in that case," The woman said as she stood gracefully. " This is the last place you want to be." "Then why did you call the Haven?" Ophelia met those eyes and there was no pull to them. The woman regarded her for a long moment and then smiled. " Just be careful is all." "Why?" Ophelia couldn't explain the sudden rush that over came her. " What do I have to be afraid of?" "I thought you knew." The woman left her with that and disappeared into the crowd that had swelled into the club. When close came that night she still hadn't seen the strange lady. Although she had searched for her, it was like she had actually disappeared. As the doors closed and locked behind her, she drew in a breath of damp air and felt exhausted. She hadn't slept much the day before and Jason still hadn't called her. Making her way down the street she chased pebbles with her shoes as she made her way home. As much as she wanted to know about her sister, she was tired of it all. How many times had she begged Regan to leave him? How many nights had she suffered because her sister refused? A cold hand slid down her back and she stopped a second. Searching the shadows of dawn she shivered and quickened her step. It wasn't her fault that Regan was in the hospital. It wasn't. No matter what people said about it. Opheila had stopped blaming herself years ago. After five years of putting up with the pain and the torment, she had lost her ability to really care about anything. There just wasn't anything left that mattered. "Hey there." The sudden voice made her jump, what she saw made her want to scream. " Carl?" "That's right," His voice was a whispered promise of pain. " Where's Regan?" "I...I don't know." Opheila moved back and step and his hand lashed out. The blow staggered her and she hit the wall. She spit blood out and leaned against the broken brick as he loomed up in front of her. " Honestly, I don't know." A cruel smile cut across his features as he stood over her. " That's okay," He said gently, " I was waiting for you anyway." With the sun rising over the city it turned a blind eye to the scene on the street below. Part four The harsh ringing of his phone dragged Sonny from his bed and into his shadowy living room. Snatching the phone from it cradle he looked at his watch. Just after ten in the morning. "Yeah?" "It's Frank." Came the rough voice on the other. "Yeah Frank?" Sonny stretched as his partner briefed him over the phone. "She awake?" "The doctors say the injuries weren't enough to make her unconscious. Just to her hurt." Sonny heard the flip of paper as Frank checked his notes. "One of Cash's people found her not far from the club." The Kindred sighed and knew where this was going. " I don't think one us did Frank." "Just the same I want to ask Lilly about it." "Come on Frank," Sonny snapped and forced himself to breath in. " You just won't leave her alone will you?" "How many crimes have happened in her area?" Frank countered. " Too many for comfort. First it was Starkweather, then it was Zane and then-" "Shut up Frank." Sonny closed his eyes a moment. " Let me get dressed and talk to Julian. I'll meet you at the Haven later." Slamming down the phone, he got dressed and went to his Prince. As he drove onto the grounds he felt it. Something had happened. Running into the house he saw Cash sitting on the stairs. His head in his hands and a cloud of misery around him. "What's going on Cash?" He asked as he looked around the foyer and saw nothing out of place. The man lifted his head as red tears went down is cheeks. "It's Sasha, someone...She might die." "What?" Sonny looked up at the second level and shook his head. " When did this happen?" "Late last night." Cash stood up and put on a brave face. " According to Cameron, an unidentified man broke into the compound and attacked her. The security cameras didn't pick up anything that could be used to identify him." "Where's Julian?" Sonny asked quickly, " Does he know?" "Yes, Cameron brought her here so that Dadelus could try and help." Cash nodded to the conclave room and shook his head. " I have never seen him so angry, not even when...when Eddie had her embraced. Cameron is pleading innocence and there's nothing to say he did it." Sonny approached the doors, behind them he could hear the raised voices of angry men. Pushing open the door he stepped in and closed them. Lilly sat in her chair and glanced at him, there was a panicked look in her blue eyes. "I warned you in the beginning," Julian shouted. " This will not go unpunished." "Glad to hear it." Cameron returned the harsh tone, " But I had nothing to do with this. I keep telling you that I wasn't even in the compound. I was at the Haven when the attacker broke in." Julian shot a look at Lilly and she met his eyes. "Was he there?" "Yes." Was all she said. The Prince looked at the Brujah and noticed Sonny over his shoulder. " What can we do for you Sonny?" Stepping forward he glanced at Cameron who spared him a flicker of eyes. " Frank thinks that a recent attack on a human was committed by a Kindred. He wants to talk to Lilly about it since it happened a few blocks from her club." "That man is more a nuisance then he is of use to us." Cameron muttered, casting a look at Julian. " Who do you think he blames this time?" Lilly lifted her head. " Did he say who it was?" "From the sound of it, the girl was one that he and I talked to a few days ago. Her sister was put in hospital and Frank thinks the girl was in on it. We couldn't find the boyfriend. It is possible that he followed her to the Haven and then waited for her." "This happened when?" Julian asked as he sat down in his chair at the end of the table. " Just after sunrise according to the doctors." "Has she said anything?" Cameron asked. "Something about a mystery woman and brightly blue eyes." He glanced at Lilly and saw the woman take a breath. "Know anything about it Lilly?" Part five A little over two hundred years had passed since Lillie had ever considered pain. She had never bled or faced any serious injury in over two centuries. Now she stood in the door of a hospital room and looked at the face of suffering. With her dark hair fanned out from the bandages it seemed slightly like a soap opera. There should have been music playing, some kind of haunting song as the vampire watched the girl. Indeed there was music, it came from the monitors at her bedside. A single light glowed to her left, illuminating the stitches that closed up the deep gash on her cheek. Her right was also cut and stitched back together. There were thick white coverings on her wrists and under the sheets there were more. From where Lillie stood she watched the pale face of the girl from her club. Her name was Ophelia and she had just moved here from a small town in the Eastern United States. Her sister Regan was in the hospital too but on another floor. This one was reserved for critical patients. From what the doctors had told her she was in danger of never waking up, ever again. Lillie drew in a breath taking one step then another, at her back was Sonny who was watching the hall. Even though it was past midnight, one could never tell when someone might show up. Sitting down next to the constant beeping machine, the vampire let out a rush of air and reached a white hand toward the sheets. Touching the rough woven cloth the vampire felt the hand underneath it. Cold and still. Reaching with more then her hands Lillie called on the girl's mind to respond. Give some sign that she was still in there. The first stirrings of consciousness came like soft little fingers. Touching like a child and tickling her senses. Ophelia knew she was still alive and Carl had been stopped by someone. That was all she knew. Still there was something pulling at her, asking for her to wake up. It was difficult to open her eyes and they fought her. She tried to wiggle her toes and fingers, they didn't respond. It was then that she realized just what the damage could be. Fear was warm as it rolled up from her gut and into her blood. It flooded her with strength and she opened her eyes. She jerked her arms and forced her hands to move, her toes to curl and her body to function. At first she thought it was a ghost who was next to her, but slowly the memory shoved it's way up and she found it was someone real. "What the hell?" She asked and found her throat hurt. Her hands couldn't move well enough to touch her neck, so she turned her head and found thick padding was against her skin. That meant that the nightmare about being choked wasn't a dream. It had been very real. She wondered just what else had been real. Her mind didn't allow her to think that far back, instead it focused on the woman beside her. "Hello Ophelia." She said gently and smiled a little. " I am glad you heard me." Looking from the woman to the dark shadow at the door. " What is going on?" "I friend of mine found you a few blocks from my club. They brought you here." Lillie said gently as the girl stared at her with little understanding. " You were at the Haven, remember?" Ophelia did now that she mentioned it. "I do now and Carl was waiting for me." "Is that the guy's name?" The shadow asked. "Yeah. He's Regan's boyfriend and he was waiting for me outside. Something about..." Her brain stopped her from remembering and she glared at the sheets. " I guess he did a bang up job if I can't remember anything." Lillie blinked and sat forward. " You can't remember anything?" 'Not a thing. Just that I was at this club and there was woman with glowing blue eyes." Ophelia looked up and stared at Lillie. " I guess that was you." She sighed and found her neck was hurting even more. " Sorry to involve you in this." The vampire smiled a little. " Doesn't matter, just tell me something." The girls watched her and shrugged, it hurt but she managed. " Sure." " Can I take a look at your neck?" Ophelia arched a brow and smiled slightly and that hurt too. " You aren't going to bite me or anything?" Lillie blinked at her, " Why would I do that?" "People don't look as white as you or have the eyes that you do without having fangs." Ophelia shrugged again. " I read about it. Go ahead and look." Reaching up the vampire gently removed the bandages and found what she had feared. A cut was on her neck and had nothing to do with her bruises or any other injury. But it did fit with the memory loss and the pale skin. Gently she reapplied the padding and sat back. "Thanks." "Find anything?" Ophelia asked as she watched the woman stand up and shook her head. "I still don't know your name." Lillie paused and gazed at her, " Lillie Langtry." "Nice to meet you, Ophelia Shaw." The girl smiled but didn't offer a hand. Lillie left the room with Sonny at her side and glanced at the police officer. " Did you see the mark?" He gave a slight nod. " Call this a wild guess, but I think I know who attacked Sasha as well as Ms. Shaw." "You think it was this Carl person?" Lillie asked as they stopped at the elevators as he nodded slowly. "He hunted on my grounds Sonny and nearly killed a human not two blocks from my haven. Then attacking Sasha like that, in Cameron's haven, it's clear this man is a danger to all of us." He nodded. " I'll talk to Julian about it. Just keep your guard up until then." "What about the girl Sonny?" The Ventrue shrugged, " So far she doesn't suspect anything. But I'll have someone keep any eye on her. Lillie wasn't satisfied. "Sonny, she was trying to find safety in my haven. I feel this is my fault." "She told you that? About finding safety?" He asked and was a dark question. "Ophelia said that when she was at the club, it was an escape from her life. That she felt as though she could belong." Lillie stared at the glossy metal doors of the elevator. " He was hunting her Sonny and she was hurt on my grounds." The cop sighed and put a hand on her arm only to remove it a second later. " We'll get him Lillie." She tried to smile and look reassured. " I'll see you at Julian's place." The arrival of the elevator broke the conversation and she disappeared as the doors closed. Sonny rubbed his neck and shook his head. Just as he turned he saw Frank and closed his eyes as he realized how long the night was going to be.