Cass awoke to someone pushing her struggling body back into her pillows. She raised groggy eyes to find that strength belonged to Wren. "It's alright. Tameko found me and I found both you and Haven. Julius has been summoned and will be here shortly to get a report from you. I've already heard a verson of what happened from Nyoko." He smiled at her gently and then helped her to sit up, as she calmed down a bit.
"I'm afraid I really don't remember much, Wren. All I do know is that there was this..." Her words died away as her brain registered what she was gazing at when she took in the sight of the chaos that was her room and the slumped figure of Haven, propped against a wall, blood smeared from the neck of his shirt, downward.
"NNNNOOOOOO!!!!" her denial rent the air and she made to claw at her face. Two hands clamped firmly around her wrists and kept her from making a ruin of her pretty features as she tried to escape from what she knew she had done. The one horror she'd dreaded committing since being embraced, the death of a loved one at her own hands.
"CASSANDRA WADE!!" Wren shook her hard enough to stop her desperate attempts at fleeing and then wrapped her in steel banded arms, before rocking her in comfort as the sobs began. "It's okay, little one, it's ok. He's not dead, only passed out from efforts on your behalf. That's not his blood you see, it's the stuff from the bags. He dragged you all the way back here and force- fed you to keep you from waking up frenzied. Calm down."
Gradually the words sunk in and the frantic keening and crimson tears slowed to a halt. Lifting a ravaged face from Wren's now ruined shirt, she sought to leave him and approach the stilled form of her friend. Reaching out to place to fingers on a pulse point, she gave a small hiccup and sat down beside him, folding his hand into her own two. She glanced back at her mentor to see him smiling softly at her.
"I found him with you, just moments before everything caught up with him and dragged him under. I merely propped him there for comfort and didn't stop to think how things would look to you when you woke up, really. I wanted to wait until you were aware before taking him back to his own bed." He gave a small chuckle and swept his gaze across the littered floor, full of empty plasma bags and a set of latex gloves on the rim of a trash basket.
"But... Wren, I... out there I became the beast and I nearly... I thought I had..." This time the crying was quieter and more agonizing at the same time. Wren consoled her with the truth, "That's just it, Cass, you didn't! The opportunity was there but you wouldn't act on it. With either Nyoko or Haven! You kept just enough control to direct the black part of your soul in the direction it needed to go. And defeated a rather impressive foe, if even half of what I heard is true!"
Wren's voice dropped down to an even softer whisper, as voices began to carry down the corridor, "I'm rather proud of you... as I know Haven will be." Cassie flashed him a rather thunderstruck look, before Headmaster Julius swept into the room.
_________________ Cross that line, and I'll burn you down.
Time passed quickly, only a few days passed by, and it was rapidly approaching Haven's fifteenth birthday, and Cassie could sense the growing tension in Wren, though Haven had been decidedly busy lately; and it was no wonder... Julius seemed to have high expectations of the boy, assigning him not only a difficult project, but also to learn the first tiers of an art that was entirely new to him; Terram.
Finally, Cassandra could take it no longer, and decided to ask Wren about his unease, since Haven, although not so busy that he didn't make as much time as he could for her, was so preoccupied with the heavy tasks at hand, that he could barely think straight when he didn't have a book in front of him.
"Is it that obvious, Cassandra? he asked, in a tone that was, for him, rather sullen. "Yes, it is. So what is going on? she replied in her typically curious fashion. "Truth be told, Haven's birthday is coming up, the trouble is, I really have no idea what I should be getting him for a birthday present. Heaven knows the boy manages to get what he wants on his own most of the time."
Cassandra digested this information before finally, for lack of a better word, exploding, showers of sparks flying from her hair as her outburst came. "Oh no!! His birthday?!?!" she yelled at him, then remembered her indoor voice before speaking again, though her words came in rapid succession, with her only just pausing enough for there to be any space between them at all. "Why didn't you tell me?!?!?! I need to figure out what I'm going to get him now too!"
With those words, she began pacing back and forth, looking as though she were ready to begin biting her nails at any moment, before Wren put up a hand up, causing her to literally stop in midstep. "Actually, for you, I can suggest something, though as I am his teacher, it would presently be wholly innapropriate for me to purchase any of the shop's materials for him, as it would seem a form of favoritism, however, you can get away with it... I think."
Wren jotted down an address for Cassie, then passed it to her. "I think with the hands on business homework I've had you doing, you'll be more than capable of affording anything there," he said with a smile, knowing that the real estate business had, with some help on his part, already yeilded a fair income for her. "Now, seeing as his birthday is saturday, and today is thursday night, I would suggest you go there, and quickly. And if the vampire who runs the place gives you any grief, come back and tell me, and I'll make sure that things go aright, as well as making him rue the day his father stole the first kiss from his mother," he added drily, eliciting a warm smile from the excitable girl before she darted out the door.
Less than half an hour later....
It had presented itself to her as though it had been placed there specifically for the purpose. A set of a large, tome like book and a smaller, easily carried version, leather and silver bound and made with vellum paper, together with a set of metal pens, which appeared to have been lovingly etched with fanciful markings. The tall, wan person at the counter of the decidedly esoteric shop quickly took the money from her, counted, then recounted it, and then wrapped the entire set up in a series of brown paper wrappings, all done in complete silence, as though the store itself demanded such a silence from its customers.
With one last look at the contents of the store, and a cheerful nod, Cassandra dashed out the door of the shop, quickly headed home to the school, scurrying into her room to hide the gifts there, knowing that Haven, after a series of stern lectures by both Wren and Julius, would not be likely to come in there without warning again.
The party, when it came, was small. Only a few people had been invited; Marley, who had nothing to give, but was recieved by Haven with good cheer, Cassandra of course, who, much to Haven's delight, set the packages down, then hugged him and kissed him, before commenting that Haven was not looking entirely well, then lecturing him about the hours he kept.
And of course, came Wren, and finally Julius, who seemed to be taking an interest in Haven lately, who's weekly report had demonstrated a certain speed of learning that both intrigued and worried the Tremere headmaster. It intrigued him since Haven was rapidly proving such an able student, while it worried him because of the propensity for trouble that Haven had demonstrated almost since he first came to the school.
It was, needless to say, a very good birthday. All the gifts were very well recieved, Haven was in fact, very excited about Cassandra's gift, and even Marley, who had as late been sullen and withdrawn, seemed to have a good time... however, just as swiftly as the day had crept up on Haven's relatives and friends, so too did it slip away, leaving Haven to difficult hours spent studying, and finally, to the end of semester exams.
After that of course, came winter vacation.
_________________ When people have power, they seek to use it.
You cannot post new topics in this forum You cannot reply to topics in this forum You cannot edit your posts in this forum You cannot delete your posts in this forum You cannot vote in polls in this forum