A Healing Rest

Dracul stood outside the healing caves. He didn't understand why he was drawn to this place. But he found he enjoyed just walking and looking. He had taken moving, seeing, and more for granted and these centuries without them had taught him to appreciate many things... like being able to wiggle your toes or scratch your nose. He felt him before he stood next to him.

"Father," said Dracul. "I thought we were going to meet in half an hour."

"maybe I couldnt wait" he said in a soft tone "i knew i would find you here, you have been coming here a lot, are you sure your feeling ok? if you need healing its ok "

"The healer says that I am perfectly fine," Dracul replied. "It's something else. I don't know what, but I wander and find myself here. Just being able to look around, to move, is a blessing. I almost had to relearn to shield my mind because of my time trapped in the cave."

"I see...have you gone in, maybe you just need to feel the warmth of the place after being in the dark for so long" his father said

"I don't do it anymore," Dracul admitted. "The first time I just wandered, I wandered into to the cavern with the Daratrazanoff girls. I swear, if Gregori could have killed with a look, that would have been the time it would have worked."

"As a father I understand" he said "I still can not under those girls, I cannot imagine having them be my child, if you would have been suffering they same fate..." He saw his father ands clencth at his side for a moment

"Don't," said Dracul. "You did not know of me, but I was taught much from those Xaviero captured as a child. When I proved too strong, Dragonseeker blood too powerful within me, he tried to trap me, but I managed to escape. I worked hard to be a hidden hunter. However, he eventually found me, having some of my blood to track me. I have been deep in a cave for centuries. I enjoy seeing the sky. I was aware, I could think and could feel others near me, but I could not identify them or touch their minds to ask for aid. That was the worse. Hearing the common pathway, but being kept from using it. But otherwise, I didn't suffer much but being stuck in my own mind."

The ground suddenly cracked at his father's feet, scaring some kids playing near them and he saw him take a deep breath in "I'm sorry little ones run along and play" he said in a gentle voice and the kids ran off "I think maybe you should come stay with us for a bit, I would really like..." He was cut off when a loud bang went of in the healing caves followed by some screams, dracul was slammed with pain from whoever had just awoken.

Dracul went to his knees for a moment. Then, he rushed into the caves, almost as if on a mission.

Gregori was still out hunting when Savannah , who was stay with Anastasia told him Anaya had awoken and was tearing the caves apart. He knew he wouldn't get there quick enough get out now, the hunters will have to keep her at bay until I get there, Alex is with Mikhail in Brazil with the de la Cruz's he won't be able to assist, take ana home and let the hunters help Anya, Zev is there with that he quickly took to the air.

She's hurting, Savannah cried as Falcon helped her and an unconscious Anastasia out of the cave. I should be with my baby girl. Not just Anastasia

I know, but the best thing you can do for her is stay safe and make sure ana is safe, Ill be there soon

Anastasia won't wake up and now Anya is... he heard and felt her tears. I don't want to lose them, Gregori.

we won't, I won't let that happen, get to safety I'm almost there

Cold, she felt cold your worthless... his voice rang in her head give me what I want or the pain won't stop anya she moved, she was so tired, why was she tired wake up, you don't get to sleep until you give me the book she felt her skin being stabbed , the burning of the blood, she could hear the chairs. With a cry the ground exploded above her. The cave shook with her pain and rage and fear.

Zev was with her immediately, putting the button in her hand and saying, "It's okay, little sister. It's just a waking dream. It is not real. Come back to the land of the living."

The button was not working, she pushed him aside her mind was to broken for him to grab ahold of it to calm her, this was not a regular PTSD moment, she was breaking more. Her body jerked like she was getting stabbed again. Zev tried to get in her head to put her back asleep but he couldn't push past her mental block not with her mind the way it was. There was a ward on her mind, they had been trying to get it down since she went to ground but they couldn't figure it out.

Dracul suddenly swept in and took Anya from Zev, nearly knocking the man over. Dracul was practically protective of Anya. He touched her mind and the ward started to unravel at his touch. He growled when Zev got near them.

"Well, now we know why he was drawn to the caves," said Razvan.

He was filled with memories of her torture, when the ward broke a memory slammed into his head, he was looking at himself in the caves, Anya set down the bottle at his feet and was looking at him "I'm sorry...this is all I can do for now...." She said looking at him "I might die tomorrow,...not that you would know, I guess it's better that way" she said in a sad tone "regardless you will be saved soon, it's the least I can do since I might now be yours in this lifetime" she said getting closer to him, she studied his features "I hope I die...it would be better then being with me....a life with me...after all you been through seems more like a punishment then a reward, but still I'm happy I got to at least save you this way" she said and stepped back from his sleeping form. She gave him a bow of respect and the memory ended and he was aware once again. Anya flailed and cried in his arms

"Little one," Dracul said, "you don't know me, and I know little of you. What I do know, I am proud of. You sacrificed more than anyone has a right to ask of you. I want no other to walk beside me. It's an honor fate named me your lifemate. Let this final remnant of an evil man die like the shadow you named him. It is a memory and it will fade in time. You are strong, stronger than any other warrior and hunter. Open your eyes and look at me. Dare to live. You have a strong will and I know that, though you are already great, more greatness lays before you. I will never be worthy of you, but I will gladly spend the rest of my days working at it, if you would have me."

His voice calmed her flails, her mind still broken and memories threaten to consume her. She clung onto him. Her eyes still reminded closed "have her feed from you, make the bond, it might help until you are ready to claim her" Zev said

Dracul nodded without looking at Zev and said, "Take what I offer freely, little one."

When she bit down, he felt how frightened she was. He looked at the men, who backed away slowly. They knew that look. They would keep others out of the chamber. Dracul focused only on Anya.

"You're safe here," he said. "No one will harm you. I will be a shield when needed, or your sword. Right now, let me lighten your burden. If you trust no other, if you trust nothing else, trust in that. You protected my soul even at great risk to your own. You humble me. More than that, you shame me. I did not have your stoic resolve while I lay in that cave. At times, I fear I nearly lost my mind. You, my little warrior, are not lost. We will work through this together. We are strongest together, far stronger than the trauma he caused or the pain that holds your body. I do not doubt your strength and will. When you are ready, you and I will travel. I will teach you how to hunt vampires, as is your need and desire. We will bring peace to our fallen brothers together. For that is what warrior women are. Peace. Men bring death to the vampire, justice. But women? They bring not only justice but also peace."

He didn't know if she heard his words, he was soothing her while also giving her mind a rest and not actively being connected to it. But when she moaned into his skin and he felt the brush of her mind he couldn't help but let the feelings rising in him make him feel joy Dracul.... she said his name and it made him feel, feel emotions after so long.

He closed his eyes to keep from being blinded. He held her tighter to him. He kissed every inch of skin on her neck he could reach as she fed. He rocked her gently and said, "You are so amazing, kont o sívanak - strong heart. Never doubt what I see. A beautiful warrior who brings peace wherever she goes."

dracul... her arms tightened around him and she stopped feeding but didnt release him, she moved closer so he could kiss her more, her teeth stayed in him like she was using them to hang onto him. she moved until her legs wrapped around his waist, she clung to him like she was scared to let go. Slowly the cave stopped shaking, the longer he held her the calmer she became. her thoughts and memories slowed but were still there but it was almost as his touch and presence was keeping them at bay and she was clinging onto him for comfort.

"That's right," he said, kissing more of her and his hands moving over her now that they were alone. "I know you, Anya Daratrazanoff. I am your lifemate and my name is Dracul Dragonseeker. However, I find that I believe you more worthy of being a Dragonseeker than I. I did not endure my trial as nobly as you did. I am unworthy of the Dragonseeker mark."

She growled softly against his skin, almost like even with a broken mind she was getting onto him about putting himself down like that. He noticed how her body moved with his touch and became more relaxed. He chuckled and said, "Then, never doubt your skill as a warrior, a hunter, or peace bringer. Never again. You are those things and more. That's not just your lifemate talking. That is a fellow warrior and hunter. Can you do that, kont o sívanak? Can you trust your own skill... and me?"

Her fangs slowly retracted but her mark was left as the wound healed. She laid her head his shoulder but he felt how fragile her state was. She was at the moment a ticking time bomb, just as he was about to her back to sleep, careful to touch her mind gently so not to startle her. The door suddenly busted open, instantly anya tense and the loud noise brought back the memory of Xavier slamming her against the table and she cried out and made a sound like she lost her breath

Dracul smoothed her hair and said, "I'll take care of this, kont o sívanak. You relax and rest. Your lifemate will make this one leave." He looked over his shoulder. "Nicholas De La Cruz. As you can see, I do not need aid. We thank you anyway. Please, give her some space."

"some space? she nearly clasped the cave, there are people seriously injured and fighting for their lives in this cave, real hunters who need to survive and deserve to rest, you need to put her to sleep before she hurts anyone else" he said in a angry tone. Anyas breathing became uneven, his loud and angry tone brought only more bad memories and dracul was being pushed from her mind as she started to become defensive again

"Anya, trust in me," he said softly, only for her ears. "Rest and relax." Dracul looked at Nicholas, shielding Anya from his anger, and said, "De La Cruz, have you ever seen what a broken mind can do? Have you experienced it?" His eyes burned red, not that it intimidated Nicholas. "Perhaps you should." Then he slammed Nicholas with the memories anya was currently fighting through. "Humbling, isn't it?"

Nicholas growled "its her own fault for trying to be something she isnt and as hunters we have to deal with trauma everyday , it does not make her less dangerous to those in this cave, in fact it makes her more because she is too fragile to handle her own trauma" He said "now its sad what happened to her, but at least now the other women will see why its important to leave the fighting to use, but she needs to be put to sleep or moved before she brings down this cave and hurts more people" he said in a aggressive tone "and you need to leave as well you should not be holding a unclaimed female in such a fashion, gregori only gave zev permission to be here"

"You are telling me how to handle my lifemate?" Dracul asked, fighting to remain calm for Anya. "I didn't know you were a matchmaker. Though, it seems fitting. You are not much of a warrior or hunter if this 'dangerous female' was able to beat you. And when have you ever sacrificed your sanity, body, and soul to save another to the level she did? I don't believe you have. Perhaps one of your brothers, but not you."

He growled "I have sacrificed plenty and she still is unclaimed so how was I suppose to know, you talk so big yet here you are unclaiming her, what's wrong dragon seeker, is a broken woman not good enough for you? Or is it because while she was being tortured you took a nap right below her and now feel guilty?"

"Contrary," said Dracul. "She has not yet deemed me worthy. When she is healed, I will court her. When she is ready, I will claim her. It's called courtesy. Have you never heard of it?"

"I think it is selfish and foolish when claiming her could possible aid her in healing" he said as Anya tightened her hold on dracul and started to shake "and let's get one thing straight, we now know the only reason she did so well in the tournament was because she was using out enemies father's spell book, which by the way might I add only proves how young and naive and dangerous she is, get her out of here before she throws a tantrum and brings down the cave, better yet it might do us good if we ward her in the same thing you were"

"You want her to lay immobile, unable to touch someone's mind even when they stand next to you, and always aware that no one can hear you but you can hear them," he growled. "The torment of being trapped in such a way is worse than having nothing at all. Because with nothing, you can't feel the abandonment. Because I promise you, if anyone so much as subjects her to farther torment, they will join her to keep her company."

"I meant a ward to keep her asleep so the healers can work on her mind without worrying about her killing anyone or destroying one of the last healing caves we have left" he said matching his tone "lifemate or not anya is dangerous right now to herself and others and its obvious zev can not help her and you are struggling too. " he said crossing his arms "either you do it or i will" he said and dracul was slammed with a memory, xavier close to her face holding up a vampire blood lace knife "you do it or i will anya..." he said in a dark tone, dracul felt the pain anya was in this memory. how broken and starved her body was, with a shaking hand she reached up and took the knife and took it from him, xavier smiled darkly and darcul watched as she mutilated her stomach while he laughed. When he was snapped back from the memory dracul was against the wall and so was nicholas, strong winds that were going through the room like a hurricane kept them there as anya laid curled up on her side in the middle of the floor crying in pain

Dracul stayed lows and crawled on his stomach to her as he yelled, "Anya! Focus on me! Listen to my voice! I won't let anything happen to you!" He touched her hand. "Feel that?! Take hold of my hand! Don't let go! Focus on me!"

Her mind was closed tight and he was not able to get in without hurting her "shut her down!" yelled Nicholas

"If you had stayed out of it, De La Cruz," Dracul retorted, "this wouldn't have happened! I will not hurt her! Because compelling her will break her mind more!" He pulled Anya to him and placed her head on his chest. "Listen to my heartbeat, Anya! Focus on it!"

HIs touched helped just enough that the wind got a little weaker but not by much "for suns sakes claim her!" he said as the walls started to crack

"Damn it!" Dracul said, knowing that for the first time, Nicholas said the right thing. "I claim you as my lifemate! I belong to you! I offer my life for you! I give to you my protection, my allegiance, my heart, my soul, and my body!" The wind died down a bit more so that it was a quiet funnel around them. "I take into my keeping the same that is yours. Your life, happiness, and welfare will be cherished and placed above my own for all time. You are my lifemate, bound to me for all eternity and always in my care."

Her mind instantly opened to him and she made a sound of relief as his mind touched, her and his presence filled her. He felt her latch onto him. Nicholas was thrown from the room and a ward went up not allowing anyone to get into. The wind stopped and anya pulled herself too him. Her mind was steady as magic filled the air finish it...its ok, its not ideal and im sorry but finish it she said in his head as her face was buried in his neck it was in the blood you drank, this spell, if you needed to claim me i wanted to make sure you could, I wont be sane long, finish it

I always thought my woman would at least be standing in front of me, looking me in the eye when I said those words, he said. And she would trust me with her body when we made love the first time. Is this what you want, kont o sívanak? To be bound to me this way? But he sensed her resolve and kissed her, laying her on a soft bed of heather. I'm doing this so that you can heal, Anya. When you are done healing in the ground, I plan a real binding, not one of necessity. I will not steal that from you.

i am doing this for many reason, i dont know how long it will take me to heal or even if i will, but you are a dragonseeker, i trust you wont fall, i trust if i am hopeless or close to death you will chose to die with me, i am very sorry that you cannot enjoy being a lifemate, im sorry that after all you have suffered i am taking away a joy males dream of all their lives. Finish the bonding and if i manage to heal i promise to macke up for my short comings as a lifemate

I do not see any short comings, kont o sívanak, he said honestly as he willed his clothes away and kissed down her body in reverence. I see a strong woman before me. I know you will live. I will allow no other outcome. We face each obstacle together.

i can not face it with you if i do not have my mind she said as she moaned softly do not build me...i dont have that much time and i would rather you save it for when i am healed so i con enjoy our union properly and we can take out time, im sorry that this must be rushed i feel guilty for taking this first union from you

Then, do not think of it as our first union, he said as he entered her, gasping. It is us, trying to reclaim our place in this world. I have not touched anyone except to feed. Impersonal. No connection. In a way, I do not know if what I touched is real or a figment of a lonely mind still trapped. You still feel trapped in your own nightmare. We are making our bodies wake up to reality, healing each other. This is not a union, but a healing. He gasped. A tight, beautiful healing.

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