And So It Begins... 4

She was in a weak daze and did as he asked, he knew her mind was not really there as she was only half conscious but he felt that maybe that was a blessing in disguise. She drank from him, by the time he stopped her her color had improved significantly. He could hear her heart beating stronger. When he felt the brush of her mind he knew she was becoming more awake.

"Rest for now," he instructed in a soft tone. "Let your body heal after what happened. I'll be back." He walked to the next room and glared at Antony with disapproval before healing him. The bullet extraction was difficult and painful for Antony. The wound was bigger than when it had entered. Erik closed it and entered his own body again. Drayden returned to give blood to the prince and Erik.

"Jackson will be here tomorrow from his lab," Drayden said. "He asks that you keep the bullet safe until then."

Erik nodded and then he went to Meghan, who was sitting up. He couldn't tell if she was mad at him or scared, but he knew they had to talk about it.

When he got close she moved away from him "i want to go home" She said as she looked at him with fear in her eyes.

"It isn't safe," he said. "On top of that, I just destroyed some nastiness in you. This means, that the one that put it in you knows it was destroyed and will be looking for you to find out why. You will die hard and painfully. He won't make it quick either. Even if you didn't know anything, he'd harm you. On the other hand, if you could give him the answers he wants, but you would still die. I have to protect you, Meghan. You are my lifemate."

She stood up and he saw her fear turn to anger "i dont even know that that means because you wont tell me!" she yelled "you talk in vague answers and just keep saying its not safe well fuck you!" she said throwing a vase at him "you say this vampire will kill me yet you have already attacked me, touched me and caused me pain!" She said throwing a book that was near by "how do i know your not the vampire huh?!"

Antony walked out and held in a laugh. Erik glared at him as he dodged everything she threw at him. Antony went to Meghan.

"What has my second in command refused to tell you?" Antony asked Meghan. "We aren't vampires. We are Carpathians, and I will attempt to answer you questions since he is refusing to."

"Stay out of it, Antony," growled Erik. "This is between me and my woman, and we will settle this like any other couple."

She moved away from anthony and glared at him both but then she settled on anthony "whats a lifemate, what are the binding words, what was that thing inside me and.....and what am i?"

"A lifemate is the same as a wife, but she is connected soul to soul forever, even in death," he said, trying to figure out what to say. "She can't live without her man, nor he her. It is painful. The binding words connect the souls, like thousands of threads. There is no other way to describe it, but my parents said that it also made them feel whole, as if every empty space they had was filled and they knew they wanted no other person in their lives. Mom said it was obsession combined with lust and love. I don't know about the thing inside of you, but Erik does."

"A parasite designed to keep her from ingesting blood that doesn't belong to the vampire that placed it there," Erik said. "I destroyed it and he will know I did it. I plan on luring him to a place of my choosing to destroy him so he no longer has a hold on you."

Antony nodded and said, "As to what you are, you are human. Though, I suspect that Erik just performed a blood exchange, so you are a step closer to becoming a Carpathian. He will need to help you eat food and meat will cause you to get sick. I know these things don't make it any less clear. It's difficult to describe when we aren't told much about it either."

"your wrong there is something wrong with me, I'm not human" She said in a upset tone "I'm cursed but that's besides the point what happens if we exchange blood again"

"You should already hear and see things better than before," said Erik. "The next exchange we do will make that more profound, along with the inability to eat food on your own. The third will have you go through the conversion, where you become Carpathian, with all our strengths and weaknesses."

"i dont want to be like you! i already have enough problems, and i wasnt talking to you" She said and looked back at anthony "you..." She grabbed his wrist but before anyone could say or interfere she let go with a scream and fell backwards on her butt. She gripped her head "what in the holy hell was that...there were so many of them...i could feel them.."

"I'm the prince of the Carpathians," he explained, holding out his hand. "I will block my mind for you, have no fear. But you felt the rest of my people. I am the vessel. I hold them together and should I die, so would they. It is sad, really. They give so much to protect innocents in the world along with me. They risk their lives for me while they keep me behind a shield. I wish it were different, that I could be their shield instead."

"someimes its enough to have someone know your pain" She said without thinking and standing up on her own "Look i...this is too much i want to go home, i have animals that need me and I have known bullies i wont run away because of one and he hurt my animals, But i cant stand to be here any longer, your emotions are screaming at me and i dont know who it is but i really hope you are able to help that woman, her pain was worse then all of them, it hurt me more then the rest"

"Unfortunately, I cannot pinpoint the location of individuals, especially if I haven't exchanged blood with them," said Antony. "And until the vampire is destroyed, this is the safest place for you. And vampires are the embodiment of evil. Bullies look like saints compared to them. You are under the protection of the Carpathian people, and you will be kept safe. Perhaps you can help us find the woman you speak of. We do not want anyone to suffer, and especially not one of the treasures of our people."

SHe shook her head "look you all need to stop and put yourself in my shoes here, be a little more empathic which is sayinig a lot coming from me...this might all seem normal to you but my world just shattered and you all are not making it any easier" SHe said in a uneven tone on the verge of tears "please just give me some space i need time to thing and for god sakes take whoever that is to the hospital" she said just as the doors to eriks house swung wide open with a injured hunter being carried in

"Erik is our healer," said Antony. "We Carpathians can't go to a hospital like humans can. But Erik is drained from healing you and me."

"I will be fine," said Erik. "I will need blood though. He and I will need to feed after I am done."

"Would you like to watch your lifemate work?" asked Antony. "His skill is amazing."

"stop saying that word" she said and sat down looking like she was in pain

Antony nodded and said, "Your man there, he will shed his body and let go of all ego, becoming a healing light, warm and bright. He will heal the sound from the inside out, removing all bacteria and poison. If you watch, you can see it happening."

"stop!" She yelled loud enough it echoed "im am not his he is not mine! stop all of this crazy talk or i swear you will leave me no choice!" she said and everyone in the house started to feel very angry and aggressive

"It's alright," said Antony. "We are trying our best to help you be comfortable. But Erik can't be aware of his body or feelings. He could hurt the hunter."

"your not helping me! your biting me and touching me and saying I belong to some! your not answering anything you wont let me go home.." tears started to run down her face "please take me home, please" she begged and Anthony felt her sadness , her need to go home and feel safe, he wanted to comfort her. She felt pure and good and the fact that she was scared bothered him

"There is more than just you belonging to someone," he said. "They belong to you as well. He will be what you need, just as you are what he needs. Erik has become distant from our people, becoming cold and dark. I noticed it when I was first brought here. You are warm and kind. You don't want to harm people but are honest. What you are not, Erik is. And vise versa. Even for us Carpathians, this bond is difficult to understand. This is why our explanations sound just like riddles. We don't really have answers either. The one thing you can trust is that you are safe. Every man here, claimed or unclaimed, would give their life for you. You are a treasure and worth protecting."

"I dont want to be a treasure i want to be home please you dont understand i can be around people or vampires or whatever you are please ill get sick and then accidents happen" she begged

"Oh, if it's our feelings, I can shield you," said Antony. "You'd have to allow me into your mind, but I can do that for you temporarily so that you aren't effected by it."

"no!' she said more harshly then she ment "its worse....if you touch me or my mind, when he dud it i felt like i was about to break"

"If Erik wasn't busy, it would be different," he said. "A lifemate's touch always soothes unless someone dark put in a suggestion. To find it, we would have to go into your mind. Perhaps, putting you to sleep would be best during that."

He saw her take that as a threat, before he could say another word he was ingulfed in pain, it filled every bone and brought him to his knees and meghan ran for the door

Erik had his arms were around her instantly, saying, "He meant for your comfort, ma petite. So that you wouldn't be in pain. But you can't leave when there is a threat to you right outside the door. We do not know what the vampire wants from you or even where he is."

She fought hard against him until she tired herself out when she did the pain anthony was feeling stopped "the only threat i have seen is you" she said in a tired tone "you all say such nice things but your actions say otherwise..."

"I don't understand what you mean," said Erik. "I am doing what human police officers do when they have to protect someone. On top of that, you are very important to me, so I protect you. I am keeping my emotions at bay for you so you are not overwhelmed. What have I done that makes you feel unsafe?"

She stopped moving completely "I felt you...." she said in a scared tone

"Felt me what?" Erik asked.

"I felt you! all of you, your hunger your wants your needs, your anger your pain i felt all of you and it consumed me more then anyone else has and the next thing i know im on my back want you to do things that...." she trailed off "that i didnt want to do"

"I'm blocking you from that as best as I can," he said. "But you are the one woman that is supposed to know those things. Just you being in the world makes it better. Before you, I had nothing."

"thats not my fault! yet im being forced away from everything i know at least let me go home let me feel safe there instead of here" she said

Fear unlike anything she felt before slammed through her. She saw his fears, images filling her head but not hurting her. Him sending her home only to find her dead. The enemy getting her and killing her in horrendous ways. One after another, she saw the things he envisioned until it seemed he should be exploding with the emotion. Yet, when she looked at him, he appeared calm, except for his eyes. They held the fear she had been subject to.

"I can't," he said. "You are in danger there. Great danger."

She started to try and get away from him "you said they were cold and evil, you feel cold maybe your the vampire and whats out there is that thing you call a lifemate and your just trying to keep him from..." She stopped and suddenly turned in his arms and hugged herself to him. she was shaking and her fear filled the room "dont open the door" she said into his chest just as someone knocked

"We won't," Erik said. "The safeguards will hold, ma petite. I will go out a different way and destroy this one after you. Once we determine if he has a master over him, we will know if we can move you to your home tomorrow."

She shook her head "that's him...the voice that was in my head" she said in his ear in a whisper

"Before or after I talked to you, to show you what my people can do?" Erik asked, his arms tightening protectively.

"At the clinic, I know his touch, it was so painful and dark" she said shivering in his arms

"We will get rid of him," he said. "Stay here with Antony. I know you will be safe in here. I will return."

She didn't let him go "no he planned this it didn't kill the hunter on purpose to make you weak" she said

"I was his target?" Erik asked. "And he didn't know you were destined for me? You were bait?"

"I dont know i can just sense his intentions, its hard to explain, he is still in my head, what he knows i know and vi versa" she said

He signaled the other hunter to head out and called others to aid him even as he said, "Then, we will stay here. Dawn in but two hours away. He will have to seek the ground soon."

"you win ok ill stay just stay and keep me away from that door, he doesnt like it when you touch me and his voice is quiet when you do"

"That is a good thing," Erik said, making her look up at him. "It means he knows I am your lifemate, and I can take you from him where no other can. He sought you for himself, but you are not his."

"If this is some sort of trick I'll kill you" she said in a low shaking tone "I don't know how but I will" she said burying her face in his chest

"If it is a trick, I did not think it up nor implement it," said Erik. "I would not hurt you in such a way."

The knock came again making her jump "megahn are you there please open up, he has Sarah" that got her attention. It was her boss Mr harrold. Erik immediately felt her pain and she moved to leave his arms

"They can mimic voices," he said, holding her tighter to him.

"But how can you be sure it's not him?" She asked in a urgent tone

"You are of the light," he said. "Does he feel like the one you know? Does he would exactly like him? You know the man better than I and you would know the difference. You are afraid, and rightfully so, but I know you are also smart. You can do this and you will know the truth."

She stopped moving for a moment and tried to focus "I need to get closer" she said

He took her towards the door but stopped when she was just out of reach for the handle. He would not risk her letting the thing in. He waited, trusting her and her abilities.

She shook in his arms and when her saw her cover her mouth and let put a cry he knew it was really the old man on the other side of the door "please megahn I can hear her crying she is in pain, please I beg you" he said in a weak pain filled tone

"If I speak to him, he will become alarmed," said Erik. "Ask him how he found this place. It is important. Then, I will decide what to do."

She shook her head "kill him please, kill him before that monster does, I can feel it, he is torturing him, this is all my fault" she said in a sobbing tone

"No, ma petite," said Erik, wrapping his arms around her, "it is not your fault. That is what this evil one wants you to think. He wants you to feel fear and pain. He thrives for it. If we get the vampire doing this, we can save your friend and his wife."

"His wife is already dead I can't feel her..." She sobbed "please he is torturing him make him stop" she said gripping his shirt

"It's being taken care of," he said and felt her start when several others appeared outside the house. "I'll stay with you."

She buried her face in his shirt and covered her ears. She knew the moment that her friend died. She cried. She cried so hard that everyone in the house felt her pain and guilt, hunters were well aquatinted with those emotions so they understood her pain. Erik held her until she cried herself to sleep.

He took her to the master bedroom and laid her down. He knew one of the other hunters got the information needed for the vampire and already set out locating him. His Meghan would need him here with her. He hated to leave her alone, but with Antony here, he would have to lock the doors to keep Meghan in with his strongest safeguards. He set them up, put a suggestion in her mind to sleep until sundown, and went to the sleeping chamber below. Antony went first and Erik slept above him.

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