Red Wine

By Jinni

You . . me. . . and a bottle of that wine from the  cellar. 

Oh, Julian ? how I miss you. 

We used to curl up together, by the fire, just sipping that wine. The one that  
wasn?t really wine at all. It was thick and rich, and slid down my throat like 
a  coating of pure silk. 

Just laying there, in your arms, it was difficult to imagine the world outside  
was so dark and bitter. So cruel to the two of us. We didn?t know they 
were  conspiring. Didn?t know they were making plans that would tear us 
both apart.  From each other, from the inside out. 

We had no clue. 

And we should have. 

After all. . . things had been too quiet for too long. 

The clans had been too quiet. The Brujah most especially. And when the 
Brujah  are quiet there?s a good reason to be on the defensive. 

So why weren?t we? 

Too many why?s, should have been?s, could have been?s. And none of it 
matters  now. 

You aren?t here with me any more. 

Lillie is upstairs, scared of what?s to come. She neither seeks solace from 
me  nor provides it. We will never be friends. Especially not if . . . 

But I digress. 

I was thinking of the wine. 

The wine of the soul, of the heart. Even at room temperature it was still 
warm  enough to make it a sensory delight. Not too cold, not too hot. Just 
right. That  first time we drank together, toasting to a partnership and things 
to come, I  had no way of knowing that we would drink together on a 
more regular basis.  Once, twice a week. Until finally it was every night, 
sharing a nightcap before  climbing in bed together to make love. 


You gave me what I never dared to hope for. That shining emotion that fills 
the  soul with light. Love is so much more wonderful than words can make 
it seem. It  is the end all and be all of creation. Without love the world 
would be lost in  darkness and I am not so jaded as to think that we are 
nothing more than  monsters that cannot love. I thought that once ? but 
you showed me the truth. We  can love ? more passionately that humans. 
We can feel so much more, can  experience greater loves. . . 

And losses. 

Is that what I?m feeling right now? Loss? Is that the ache where my heart 
should  be? The inability to move? The desire to cease living if you are no 
longer to be  with me? 


Julian, I love you! 

Why did you have to go? 

Do you not have bodyguards? Kindred whose only purpose in this 
existence is to  protect your life, to sacrifice everything to make sure this 
city stays in your  grasp? 

Why did it have to be you? 


Willow turned from the fireplace, swallowing the last  drop of ?wine? from 
her glass. Her eyes, normally a shade of green that  resembled emeralds, 
were now silvery with the weight of her emotions. She could  feel the tears 
welling up from within her, a tangible wave of grief that coursed  through 
her body, ending in bloody tears that spilled from her eyes. 


She sniffled, wiping at her face with her hands and smearing those same 
bloody  tears over her pale skin. The house seemed so empty, even 
though it was not. She  supposed they all wanted to give her room, a 
space to grieve. 

It had been a fool?s mission. Anyone with half a brain could see that. But that  hadn?t stopped Julian from going and now. . . 

She stopped in the center of the study, falling to her knees. Great racking 
sobs  of pain spilled out of her mouth and she moaned in agony. 

?Julian. . . ? 

An hour later, as she still lay on the floor, her head bowed in agony, the 
door  to the study slid open. She ignored it. Those who were foolish 
enough not to  leave her alone would find out all too quickly why she had 
been feared long  before she became Kindred. Still crying, silently now, 
she waited to hear who  would dare disturb her grief. 

Strong arms encircled her, drawing her to a chest she knew all too well. 

But it wasn?t possible. 

He had left days ago. . . 

No one had heard from him. . . 

?Julian?? The red head looked up into the face of her lover, seeing a tired 
man  staring back at her. He was alive. Weary, worn to the bone, but alive. 

So much as their kind ever was alive, that is. 

She drew a great, shuddering breath, her heart leaping into her mouth. 

?But. . . You. . . ? She shook her head. ?We thought you were dead.? 

He nodded, face lined with his own emotional torments. ?It was necessary 
in  order to lure the last of the traitors out of hiding.? 

She nodded, mutely; unable to yet feel the joy that this realization should 
have  brought to her. It hardly seemed real that he should be there, 
holding her, when  she had grieved for his final death for two days. 

Willow reached up, touching the curve of his jaw with her fingers. When 
they  didn?t pass through as she would expect of a phantom, she rubbed 
harder, ending  with a thorough examination of his body with her hands. 

?You?re alive!? She grinned, holding onto him for all she was worth. 
?You?re  alive. . . I love you. . . oh, Goddess, I love you. . .? 

She could feel his chuckle, the soft rumbling laugh vibrating his chest. 

?I love you too, dear one. And, as much as I would like to spend the night 
just  holding you ? I would much prefer to do it in our bed. After a shower.? 

Willow laughed, loudly, filling it with all of her relief, her joy. 

?Fine. Fine. You should tell the others, too, of course. Many think you to be  

He nodded. 

?All in good time, Willow. For now, let me make this up to you.? 

She smiled, knowing he would do just that and then some. 

Tomorrow they could pick back up their tradition of drinking by the fire. 

Tonight the warmth of their bed sounded like a small piece of heaven.