Not prepared 2

Mikhail and Gregori we're with him, working to help her. Gregori began working on healing her body and Mikhail her mind. Alex, however, went for her memories, feeling the key was there. He saw the extent of the vampire's cruel game, but what disturbed him were the white haze over certain memories, a feel of magic to them, though there was no memory of them. Gregori told him of the child she carried, their child. Part Lil and part Alex. He moved through her body to examine it. Others would have been hurt touching the barrier, but Alex wasn't. He knew he couldn't pass through it, but Liliana's heart was in that barrier. Alex suddenly found himself back in his body, weeping internally. He found the answer, but it would take nine long months before she was fully healed.

"It's alright, my love," he whispered. "We will take this one day at a time."

She didn't answer him. But turned on her side, once again not using her legs or arms. When Alex gave Gregori a look he said "it's in her mind, her body is well, her body shows her limbs were out of joint for days." He said in a serious tone with a stone face so warm.....yet I feel cold, can I sleep now Adam?

Rest, Liliana, he said, choking back tears. Rest and know you are safe. No more pain.

no more pain......does that mean it's done? The spell is broken? Am I free? she asked in a tired tone

I'll tell you when you wake, my lov[i]e,[/i] he said, laying her in the ground and kissing her forehead. There is no need to worry anymore.

but I didn't feed you yet, you said I can't rest until....

Before he could stop himself, he growled. Still, he said, Tonight, you don't have to feed me. Have you fed yet? Tonight, I offer freely. He put his wrist out to her. Take what you need from me, Liliana. A gift from me to you.

Her fear hit him like a tide wave no! Please I'm sorry don't make me do it ....Ill be better she rolled herself over onto her stomach please.... she said in a scared tone I'll do anything she said turning her head to the side looking away from him. He felt it, she was waiting for his violations, to be touched or to be bitten. She was like a warrior preparing himself for a fight. But she wouldn't be fighting back she is just expecting the beating please don't make me drink your blood again, rape me all you must but we had a deal, I'd stop fighting you if you left my child alone. Your blood will hurt them she said and for a moment he felt her, the real her, he felt her mind having a moment of clarity

My blood won't hurt, he said, not moving, letting her decide. And I won't hurt you in any way either. It's okay. It's all better now.

He saw her stiffen at his words Alex... she said his name softly. She slowly turned her head "Alex" she said more confidently

"Yes, Liliana," he said. "It's okay. I know you don't trust this right now, but it's okay. One step at a time. You and me."

She didnt move for a moment. As he watch her eyes he not only felt her break away but he saw it. They slowly glossed over and once again she was lost to him can I sleep now......please I've been up for two days, it hurts Adam

He pulled his arm back and said, Yes, you can go to sleep. Sleep however long you need to so you can be healthy and well.

thank you... she said in a tired tone and within seconds she was asleep

He closed the earth. He hadn't noticed, but everyone had left to give them space. He stomped to the adjoining chamber. He stared at everyone in turn. He noticed that Zacarias had brought a human with him, though he didn't look happy. The man looked close to fainting. Alex recognized him from Gregori's memories.

"Talk," he demanded of the man. "Tell me everything and why I shouldn't just kill you now and be done with it."

"Get in line" said zacarias in a low tone looking at Steve. Everyone heard Steve's heart beat quicken "I can't answer your question about her I never had any part in that , I was a botanist and genetic scientist, I only worked with her blood. I didn't even know she was the source" he said in a honest tone

"Then give me something I can use," Alex said, his voice calm but the cave going ice hold so that Steve's body shook despite Zacarias regulating the air around him. "You worked in that torture chamber of a lab. You had access to the computers and their network. I'm grateful that you helped my lifemate, but you are still part of their society. For all I know, knowingly or not, you asked for more samples and allowed them to torture her more."

"He's a low rung man," said Natalya. "Added to the group of scientists just before they took my daughter. He is a good man, Alex. Do not cast your anger on him."

"That's all well and good," Alex said, looking at her. "But the fact remains, he worked there. So, I want to know as much about my enemy as possible. I'm shielding her mind from him, along with Gregori and Zacarias. He is already trying to strike at her, Natalya. He nearly tore out her throat, feeding from her and torturing her. He touched her." His fists clenched. "I'm going after him, but I'm going in prepared. If this man doesn't tell me something about the vampire, there's no use for him. And he knows about us now, so if we have to cut him loose..."

"I don't know about him but I know about her..." He said in a shaking tone but sounded confident " I know what I saw and what I felt and heard the moment she spat her blood in my mouth" he said "and I haven't been able to stop feeling it since so excuse me if it's a little hard to concentrate right now" he said gripping his head "I know your not safe here and it's because of me, we all donated blood I'm sure it was for him now that I know what he is and I know you can track like that, so kill me if it means he won't get her back"

"Good," said Alex, a dark smile on his lips. "You're the bait."

"Excuse me?" Gregori asked, though Zacaraias said, "I like the way you think, kid."

"We will come up with a plan to draw the enemy to us," Alex said with a shrug. "Old Steve here has proven he can be trusted. Sure, he could have just said it to save his own life, but from what you showed me and what he just said, he doesn't care what happens to himself, so long at Liliana is safe. We can protect him. I'm too inexperienced in battle, but I can hold a good shield around Steve and myself in the middle of battle. Dad will be in it too, helping me. That way, if the bond is needed, everything is in place."

"You believe the bond will be needed?" Mikhail asked.

"I believe this vampire is far too cunning to come himself, but he will have an army to send our way," Alex said with a nod. "Yes, it's a possibility it will be needed. If he does show up, it will be here." He looked at Zacarias. "How many of your brothers are here?"

"Three of us," he answered. "Manolito being one of them."

"Falcon can join you and your brothers here," Alexandru said, almost like a general leading an army. "Liliana will be the primary target. If I'm here, that would give you too much to worry about, considering I could snap and become a liability. I'll do more good with dad protecting Steve. He's already on a hit list for turning off the alarm at the lab. They know he turned on them and joined us, or assumed it at the very least. He will draw the larger part of the army to him. Adam and his more skilled goons will come here. They can't enter, but that won't mean they can't draw her out. Will you need anyone else with you?"

"A few of the Brotherhood are visiting the mountains," he said. "I'll call them in, along with Lucian and Gabriel."

"Good," said Alex. "Sounds like we are all set." He looked at Steve. "How do you care for this plan? Everyone must agree to it for us to give the go-ahead. If you don't like being the bait say so, and we'll come up with a new plan."

Before he could answer Anya suddenly appeared behind Alex and slapped him hard upside the head.

He rubbed the back of his head, stumbling a little, and said, "Ow! Geez! What was that for?!"

She leaned against the wall. It was clear she was still weak but she didn't show it. Dracula was right behind her and she leaned on him a little " for being stupid and not including me in your plan" she said simply "I'm not useless and your not the only one who is changed Alex" she said in a serious tone I need this Alex....I need to think about something else besides that cave..besides him she said in a much more vulnerable tone in her head and I want to help you, I want you to be happy

I didn't know you were up, he said. But I understand.

At the same time, he said aloud, "I thought it was obvious you and Dracul would be fighting alongside your father. Someone's got to keep your old man in check."

Everyone in the cave snickered, but Mikhail let out a loud laugh. Steve seemed to be the only one out of the loop on the joke, but smiled anyway.

"Expect retaliation for that one, little brother," Gregori said.

"Looking forward to seeing you try," Alex retorted.

Alex we need to talk alone Anya said to him on their private link "he was getting slow the day I was born" any said and walked out of the room

Alex followed Anya as Mikhail laughed again, this time everyone joined in with him, including Steve, while Gregori said, "Kids. No respect."

When they were out of earshot of the others, Alex asked, "What is it, Anya?"

She suddenly hugged him. Which was out of character for her. She hugged him tight. And he felt relief washing through her like she had been holding it in

"You scared the hell out of me," he said, hugging her back. "And I wasn't able to make him stop. God, Anya, what were you thinking taking him on alone? I could have helped, made him stop what he was doing. You and me, together, could take on the world and come out grinning. Why didn't you talk to me?"

"Because he had you.....and Ana and dracul, I couldn't risk it" she said still hugging him "I'm so sorry Alex I didn't know you could hear, the spell was meant to protect you all, I'm sorry I failed" she said in a low tone "but I promise this" she said pulling back and looking him in the eyes "I promise I won't fail you again, not this time, lay me next to your woman...I'll protect her with my life, I know I'm weak but I can still fight and I'll die before anyone lays a hand on her...if I had been up sooner maybe I could have....."

"Don't you start that," he said. "I've taken on more guilt for it than I should and now, so are you. Stop. I'll still need Dracul at the battle with the army that will come for Steve. You didn't fail, Yaya. You did what had to be done. Just like I'm doing now. And you are strong. I trust you with my lifemate and child. I may not feel ready to be a dad, but she needs me to care for the baby. Hell, I probably do too. No black magic. This is a sacred place and she needs to heal. Keep her mind closed off from him and keep her asleep. Even if the mountain starts coming down, keep her from knowing and waking up. If Anastasia were better, I'd have you both there like bookends, one healing and one protecting. It's you and me driving this. You got that? No guilt, no regrets. Everything that happened to us makes us stronger. We aren't weak, Yaya. We passed a trial."

She looked at him like she was examining him. She nodded "when this is over we should talk more, you should go" she said moving away and he got the sense she was trying to get away from him "I'll go there now, give them hell " she said and started to walk away

"Anya," he said, causing her to stop. "Tell me. You know I always find out anyway. Just say so I can prepare for it."

"Later Alex... We will talk later " she said and left for the cave. Dracul looked at Alex "I'll guard the cave, no one will get in" he said in a serious tone "and before you ask because I see the look in your eyes, I don't know what it is but I know she woke up screaming Alex , like she had been dreaming which is impossible. Something is bother her and she won't talk to me. So just know that if you care about her make sure when this is over that you get her to talk to you "

"I've been her confidant since forever," Alex said. "That should be you now, but I'll talk to her when this is all over. We need a few weeks of peace to have any real chance. She gets edgy then and she likes to grip about it. And she's special. I swear, she has some sort of ability to dream in a Carpathian sleep. She used to talk of a dark shadow as a kid. I thought it was a waking dream but..."

Dracul sighed "I fear it has to do with the magic she has done, everything has a give and take when it comes to magic, I have a lot to learn about my lifemate but I do know she practiced a lot of things in secret. I'm worried magic was one of them" he said looking uncomfortable "anyways you have bigger things to worry about. I know it seems grim to say at this time but, congratulations on finding your lifemate, may you both live long and happy lives, I'll take my leave now" he said and Alex noted how tired the hunter seemed

Alex rejoined everyone and asked one more time, "Steve, do you agree to the plan? If you don't want to be bait, we will think of something else. Liliana trusted you to save her, and that's all the proof we really needed, but we had to be sure. We can protect you, but we can't have you panicking when the fighting starts. It will be bad, I won't lie. Not everyone is suited for it."

"I dont want to jeopardize anything, I'm willing to be the bait but I can't guarantee my reaction" he said

"I'll take a bit of your blood," Alex explained. "I'll give you a bit of mine in return. Liliana formed a blood bond with you, probably from some you donated and by the drop she spat in your mouth. Mine will enhance your sight and hearing. That will help you in your role as bait. But I'll also be able to talk to you through a mind link and keep you from moving if you start to run." He smiled. "Gregori's brother, Gary, used to be a human ally too. He can tell you if he ever comes back what it means to be an ally and friend to the Carpathian people. There are others in the village as well. For now, I just need to know if you want to be aware or unaware the exchange is happening."

"Will it break my bond with Liliana?" He asked me when Alex seemed a little disturbed by that question Natalya spoke up "Alex even I don't know the extent of what her blood can do, try to keep that in mind" she said trying to help him not take his attachment personally "in fact if I may...Steve you were willing to die for a woman you just meant, why?" She asked and Steve looked at her "I....she reminds me of my sister" he said and she took a couple steps towards him "and?" She asked. He frowned "and I had to. I can't explain it, the moment she spoke to me it was like something snapped in me, I had to do some, I needed too, I would have died right then and there is it meant protecting her"

"Normally, a blood tie doesn't break," said Alex. "And your reaction seems strangely strong. I doubt it will break the tie, but it might lessen the effect it is having on you. Her desire to get out of that hell hole could be what made you willing to die for a stranger. But it could also be your need to help people. You have a gift at finding out what is needed to heal through natural means. I'd go so far as to say that your botany training is a latent ability derived from healing. It is an excellent gift to have, especially with natural herbs." He looked at Gregori. "When we have a break from all of this, would you talk with him and see how far back his affinity for herbs and remedies goes? This could benefit our people and even the world. It would be a shame to loose such a gift."

Gregori nodded in agreement and then Steve spoke again "I'll do it but don't let me know, what I know he will know right?"

"We're talking about it, so it's a moot point," Alex pointed out. "And we don't know if he took your blood. It's a possibility, but we don't have access to that information. Still, if you are certain, I will block you from knowing."

He waved his hand and Steve's eyes blanked. Alex was quick, a couple of gulps each. He felt Anya's disapproval along with Gregori's. All he felt from his father was laughter. When he was done, he released Steve.

"How do you feel?" Alex asked.

"Bad....like I've done something really wrong" he said in a upset confused tone "like I've betrayed someone"

"Zacarias," Alex said. Zacarias put a barrier around Steve's mind to block any outside influence. "And now?"

"Still the same.." he said frowning "I don't want to upset anyone but....I feel like the person I should be apologizing to is Liliana" he said in a nervous tone "and I don't know why...I haven't done anything wrong have I?"

"Of course not," said Natalya.

Alex said, "With the state of mind she was in when she gave you her blood, it is possible that it formed a familial bond between the two of you. You know we are trying to remove a threat to her, but in her current state, she believes we are the enemy. She's been conditioned to believe it, Steve. Right now, as much as it pains me to say it, you are the only person that feels real to her, her only real ally in a world gone mad."

"It's obvious you are her husband, I don't want to cause any trouble but I feel the need to be near her, to protect her and I'm only saying this not to upset you but because we'll...I'm scared, my logic tells me these trying emotions are not right for someone I just meant let alone a vampiress" at that word everyone growled "what um....did I say something wrong?"

"A vampiress is a human woman forced to drink the blood of a vampire," Alex said, trying to hold himself in check. "She's a hag that feeds on the blood of children. They are a source of great pity for our people. I'll go on to say that vampires are hunters that gave up their soul to feel or lost their lifemates and chose to stay alive rather than follow her. They are wholly evil. I'm sure you're aware that Adam is really a vampire by now and not the man you believed he was when he first found you." He gestured to everyone in the room. "We are Carpathians. We hunt down vampires, making sure humans are safe and are unaware of what we are. We bring justice to our fallen brothers so that they may find peace in the next life."

"Carpathians....like the mountains. I see, I'm sorry Adam said the blood was from a vampiress , I haven't heard any other names for you guys. Blood.....oh shit! Blood oh you guys are in danger, he , they, they have weapon" he said in a concerned tone "part of my job was helping with that in fact I just finished helping infuse a certain type of metal with blood. They said it would help fight against vampires"

"Tell us about it," said Alex as he looked at Gregori and Zacarias, both wore faces of stone. "It seems that bit of information was skipped over when examining you at the first meeting." He looked back at Steve. "I have a feeling Adam personally donated his blood for the project."

Steve started to pace "ok I'm besides bullets we have made daggers and armor, gas's and I believe some vehicles are armed with some upgrade, but I don't understand why I'm remembering this now, to be honest my mind has been a mess since her blood" he said in a upset tone "um....oh! Oh shit...um Liliana he must have made it for her, or you need to take me to her her now" he said in a urgent tone

Everyone followed Steve to the next room as Alex asked, "What do you me, he made it for her?"

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