The Human Heart - Sept 2016


Claudia prowled through the hallways, bright green eyes searching for Nikolai. She hadn’t seen him all afternoon, not since Eden had left the Black Family Manor after their train-wreck of a picnic.


-Where are you?-


She found that lately she was missing him more and more when he wasn’t around. With only Asinoe's therapy sessions and the odd midnight dessert feast with Bethany to distract her, her need for his company was beginning to get irritating.


-He’s become a liability-


‘He was always a liability,’ her mind argued with itself.


-Indeed-


"Gypsy boy..." she called out in a teasing sing-song voice, "Come out, come out...I have a present for you..."


Her shoes clicked on the dark-wood floors, the noise reminding her of Oakleaf and the wonderful anxieties the sound would draw from her patients.


-I miss the taste of their fears.-


Nikolai, meanwhile, was spying on her from his vantage point beneath the hallway table as her footfalls echoed through the enormous expanse. His chin rested on his knees, his arms wrapped around them as he watched her lithe form move through the Manor.


He'd been sitting in this same position for...he wasn't even sure now...but it had been a long time.


"I like presents," he murmured almost absently in response to her, cobalt hues following her path through the shadows. Night had fallen...at some stage...he wasn't sure when that had happened either. The house looked different at night...the walls crawled with blackness and whispered with memories that hurt his head.


"Marco..." he called softly to her, his voice sounding small and childlike. He was starting to wonder whether or not it had been all that brilliant an idea for him to come here after all.


Claudia paused mid-step, a grin spreading across her face as she caught his voice in the still quiet of the hall. She flexed her hand…her fingers ached to fix his hair, to stroke his cheek…


-To help him carve meat from the bone.-


"Polo…" she purred in response, following the source of the sound uncertainly. Her fingers traced spidery lines along the wallpaper and she placed one foot in front of the other, her steps as soft and silent as she could manage. After a moment she paused.


"Marco...?" she cooed.


Tilting his head, Niki let his hair fall over his face, watching as she moved closer and closer to the table where he hid. He waited until she was within arm’s reach before his hands shot out to grab at her ankles.


"Polo!" he declared, sniggering as she shrieked.


"There you are, my heart!" Claudia grabbed at the table to steady herself and laughed happily, teetering a moment before sitting on the floor awkwardly and grinning at him.


"Miss me?" she asked, her eyes lit with joy at finding him. His shadowed blue eyes peered at her from beneath the table and he nodded slightly, though it could just as easily have been to flick his hair from his face.


"You were gone a while...I went exploring," Niki said slowly, his expression indicating that he was unsure how he felt about said adventuring, or her absence, "Where are the others?"


Claudia’s expression faltered slightly.


"Bethany is playing with Opium…and Sin is on the phone doing something businessy," she replied, shrugging and letting a smile spread across her features. She reached into the folds of her dress and pulled out a small, thin black box with a red ribbon tied 'just so' around it.


She had custom-ordered him his own scalpel - a gesture she hoped would lead him to further exercise his extreme intellect and sadistic nature. This house was getting to her, she admitted to herself…it numbed her, and she hungered for sensation and mental challenge.


“For you…” she said softly, holding the box out gingerly.


Nikolai’s eyes lowered to the offering, his forehead creasing as he regarded the perfectly tied ribbon before his gaze flickered to the expectantly excited look on her face. Something dark crossed his features and he winced, a pale hand moving to take the gift and bring it to his ear. He shook it, wrinkling his nose and watching her.


"Is it fingers to go with my toes?" he asked with a sly grin.


"If you don't want it, give it back," she said pointedly, holding out her hand. Niki drew the box into his chest and leaned back, his expression clearly telling her that he would cut her if she tried to take it from him.


“Mine,” he pouted and Claudia smiled.


Turning his attention to the box again, Niki shook it once more before pulling off the ribbon and opening it, drawing aside the red paper within and revealing the shiny blade with the initials NK engraved on the handle.


He blinked, staring at it in silence.


Claudia froze.


-I knew he'd hate it. This was a stupid idea. No one finds bodies interesting except you. He doesn't want to play with you, he wants his kingdom…-


Frowning, she shook her head.


-Since when were you so insecure?-


"I....I was wondering if you would like to learn a new instrument," she said softly, trying not to let this strange new emotion flicker through her voice.


Niki blinked again, bewilderment dancing through his eyes, followed by awe, then finally, delight. His lips curved into a smile as he took the shining implement from the box, turning it in the light. Again he blinked, then laughed, nodding eagerly.


"Teach me," he said, those shining eyes turning on her, "All the things."


Visible relief fell over Claudia and she nodded just as willingly, leaning beneath the table to push his hair from his face.


"Absolutely, my gypsy boy. You have the mind for it..." she took hold of his lapels, drawing him closer and kissing him, "I can't wait to show you the beauty that is the human body…" She pulled away and stood, offering him a hand, "There is a second part of the present...if you would like...?”


Crawling out from beneath the table, Niki allowed himself to be dragged to his feet, his gaze dropping to the scalpel clutched in his hand again. He ran a finger over the carved initials, his lips quirking.


"More presents?" he murmured, blinking in that confused way that he often did when he didn't know how to react to something. He was suspicious of her motives...he'd learned young to be mistrustful of anyone who gave so freely.


Still...he was certainly not about to say no.


Leaving the small box discarded on the floor and holding fast to her hand, Niki allowed Claudia to lead the way…his awed expression deepening as he followed her.


She smiled, almost skipping with glee down the hallway, dragging him left, then right until they came to a door near the kitchens. Pushing it open, she stepped inside and flicked the light switch.


The room within had been stripped…there was no furniture save for a bare metal table in the centre with a picnic basket underneath. A naked woman lay upon the table, her pale skin shining in the warm light; a collection of sterilised medical implements laying by her feet. She was pretty, with auburn hair and soft curves...and very dead.


"Surprise," Claudia breathed, "Lesson one."


Leading Nikolai over to the body, she gestured to it, letting her fingers trail the girl's stomach. It had taken some doing to get her here…a good part of her afternoon had been eaten up by the project. Still, it had been worth it for the look on his face that she saw now.


"Ohhh..." he breathed, his lips parting as his eyes ran over the naked woman, his expression one of wonder, "Who is she?" he asked, then frowned and shook his head, waving a hand as if telling her to ignore the question. Moving closer to the body’s head, he bent over and peered at her face, perfectly frozen in death.


"Scarlett's hair is brighter," he commented after a moment, throwing Claudia a conspiratorial smirk. She chuckled, having already thought the same.


"Medical cadaver. Suicide. Clean bill of health," she told him, tracing a finger along the girl's jawline, "Perfect starting place. Aren't you, my beauty?"


She beckoned Niki closer, wrapping her arms around him and taking his hand, moving it to the body and making him trace a finger down her sternum.


"Try here. This pressure...and we hold the blade like this…"


Plucking her own scalpel from beside the body, Claudia showed him how she held it. Then, clearly too tempted by the perfect skin in front of her, she traced a delicate arch under the woman's breast with the blade, licking her lips as a bright red line sprang to the surface.


"Try," she prompted him after a moment.


Niki had leaned into her, his breath catching as she’d taken his hand to run it over the woman's frozen form, his pupils dilating in instant arousal. He’d watched quietly as Claudia had demonstrated her skill with the blade, his brows furrowing in concentration. Now that it was his turn he bit his lip, placing the scalpel where she had indicated and pressing...a little too hard. Blood gushed from the wound and he cursed, drawing his hand back.


"I ruined it!" he declared, shaking his head in total disappointment with himself. Claudia laughed and shook her head, kissing his cheek.


"On the contrary, most people usually push too softly. But you? You cut deep, unafraid," her eyes glittered and she dipped a finger in the blood, licking it thoughtfully before winding her hand around his and the scalpel, pushed lightly and helping him draw a line.


Nikolai’s blue eyes narrowed in concentration as she helped him, his hand trembling slightly as adrenaline coursed through his body, his breath quickening as he sliced into dead flesh.


"You have to understand, Niki darling…” Claudia crooned at him, “People study for years before they do this...but you? You make art with a knife, gun or axe...this is just a different tool…" she continued guiding his hand, carving a long line down the woman's chest, then tilting the blade to make one side of a Y incision, “Now…you do the other side...a Y...and then we can open her up like a book…" she purred in his ear.


"You're just trying to make me feel better," Niki murmured, his mouth quirking at her praise. Licking his lips, he took a breath and cut the 'Y' as instructed, his line nowhere near as straight or elegant as hers. Wrinkling his nose, he pouted as Claudia shook her head.


"I don't humour you...you are better than I was when I first started...I was so nervous I nearly cut myself," she shrugged, then smirked at him, "Not that I'd mind if you did that…" her eyes flickered with brief lust before she refocused.


"....watch.”


She peeled back the woman’s skin to butterfly the chest, taking up a bone saw to cut through the ribcage, then using a retractor to spread the ribs. Watching quietly, Niki nodded as his fingers twitched, like an impatient child trying desperately to stand still and not fidget during class.


"Isn't it beautiful?" Claudia breathed, wrapping her arms around him and leaning over his shoulder as she ran her fingers over the organs inside, guiding his hands over them and naming them all.


“Lungs…liver…kidneys...and my favourite….the human heart."


Nikolai relaxed in her arms, pressing his cheek against hers, his shaking fingers sliding over the slick heart as he squeezed it softly.


…but not softly enough. A fount of blood squirted out and narrowly missed them, making him cry out in surprise, then laugh, shaking his head. Claudia laughed too, biting his shoulder gently.


"Don't make me dirty," she said playfully, running a finger along the bridge of his nose and leaving a bloody trail, before tapping it in warning, "Bodies make for messy fights…and I don't want to do the clean-up."


"You're already dirty," Niki replied, scrunching up his nose as she pressed her bloody finger against it. Sighing contentedly, Claudia moved to stand between him and the body, drawing his focus as her arms draped over his shoulders.


"Do you like it?" she purred, indicating the scalpel in his grip. Niki’s free hand rose to curl around her waist and he lifted the bloody scalpel to her lips, pressing the cool steel flat against her mouth.


"I do like it," he murmured. He hesitated for a moment, that bewilderment and awe washing through his eyes once again before he nodded the affirmative.


"Thank you Claudia," he sing-songed.


Claudia melted a little at the cold metal against her lip, a small flash of desire screaming at her to lean in to the blade, to let it slice her flesh. Shaking the feeling away, she lifted her glittering green eyes to meet his gaze.


"You are so very, very welcome," she whispered, her voice hushed as she moved a hand to guide the scalpel from her mouth, "You can already do so many great things with that mind of yours...why not add to the extensive list?”


Niki’s head tilted, his hair falling into his face as he regarded her, his eyes pools of black etched in bright blue.


"You think so..?" he breathed, his gaze dropping to the small smear of blood on her lips as he bowed closer to lick it away, shuddering at the contact. A low moan escaped him and he pressed his head against her shoulder, his face turning into her neck. Claudia’s eyes fluttered shut.


"Yes," she breathed, placing a protective hand on his head as he nuzzled against her throat. Something twisted in her chest, the intensity of the feeling making her gasp. She blinked and grabbed his jaw, guiding his face back up to look at her.


-Distract me-


"Tell me. What is our end game? Once the Reverend is dead…do the others all fall in line so we can celebrate here for the rest of our days? Does Grigori live with his cowardice, drinking himself into oblivion where Kensington once sat? Do you bring your bride here and raise your children in these halls, while we hunt on the weekends?" she sighed at the mental image, "Paint me a picture, my heart…”


Leaning back on the metal table, she lifted her legs and wrapped them around him, resting her elbows on the pretty redhead beneath her. Niki’s lips curved into a smile at her questions, his hand moving to place the scalpel on the table before he pressed his palms on either side of the steel surface.


"All of the above..." he told her, nodding, "We'll move everyone here...we have room...we'll make it like it once was..." bending over her, he pushed Claudia back over the woman's corpse, "We'll locate Bethany's babies, bring Red and Julian...Tristan...you can have our baby here...everyone can be together...even Eden and Scarlett, you know, if you don't mind..." his lips twisted into a wry smile, "Maybe we can put them in the servants wing..." he laughed and winked, kissing her chin, "The grounds are good for hunting, as you well know..."


A smile crossed Claudia’s lips. One big happy family for her to spend her life with.


-Lots of children, and friends and...-


"Our...baby?" she frowned, assuming she had misheard or misunderstood which 'our' he’d been referring to, "You mean yours and Alina's? Lorelei?"


"Yes Lorelei, obviously. And ours..." Niki’s brows knit together in confusion, as if he didn't see how she could have misinterpreted him, "Yours and mine..." His lips found her cheek, trailing across her face to her ear, teeth nibbling on her earlobe. "And we'll have the most amazing parties...we'll leave the old Fundays for dead...I've got some ideas about a few things we can..." his words trailed off as he felt her stiffen, a brow perking as he pulled back to look at her, "What?"


-Our baby?-


Claudia laughed uncomfortably.


"We don't have a child...I’m not the mothering type and you and I...." she shook her head. The idea was ridiculous. "You have a lot of other children…if you need more you can have more...but…with other people, existing wives and the like. Legitimate heirs," her hair fell back against the corpse's tanned skin and she shook her head again, "There’s no reason for us to, well...breed," she pointed out.

Niki’s smile had faded as she spoke, his body slowly straightening. He blinked at her once, twice...his forehead creasing as he frowned.


"The Monére line has no heir..." he said slowly, "You're going to need one sooner or later and no one is getting any younger..." he paused, scowling, "Unless you had someone else in mind...Uncle Lucien perhaps?" Pulling away from her, he smoothed his clothes, smearing blood over them and shaking his head, "I may be a gypsy, but I'm still a step up from Vernon...or the Nazi…"


Claudia laughed. She couldn’t help it.


"You’re joking, right?"


Her face grew dark and she slid off the table, straightening her own clothes irritably.


"The Monère Estate is handed down to the eldest legitimate heir of the previous eligible heir. I am not having a child with a family member, and you are not..." she paused, struggling.


Blood was supposed to matter to her.


"You are already married...multiple times over, in fact. The Kreutz line can do whatever the fuck they like…but the Monére’s have strict guidelines and they will be fought for tooth and nail by Lucien…he is next in line when I die."


"Well then it's lucky I didn't propose, isn't it?" Niki retorted, his tone becoming colder. His eyes skittered to the table behind her, to the carved-up body and the shiny new scalpel, his jaw tightening as his eyes closed, "Thank you again for the gift," he said flatly, turning on his heel and heading towards the door, leaving her and her presents behind.


-And yet again you leave me-


"Gods, is that all this was to you?" Claudia asked his back, sounding hollow. She turned to the body as if addressing it, her voice turning to a bitter growl, "Sweet lies to make sweet little Lyra a complacent incubator for another child. Tender-hearted little Monère, such a psycho...but bat your baby blues at her and she'll call you friend and follow you to the ends of the earth…”


Her fingers curled around his abandoned scalpel, looking it over and lifting it to the light, the sleek surface glinting.


"We were going to make such beautiful things..." she said softly.


A crash sounded at the door, the heavy wood slamming back against the wall as Niki kicked it. Claudia whirled around, eyes wide…she’d assumed that he’d left and she’d been abandoned in the room as per usual.


"LYRA isn't real..." he snapped at her from the doorway, "Lyra is a creation of the fucking mind used to stifle and control...like Baelian...like Belladonna...Claudia is real, SHE'S my friend…and I do not bat my eyes..."


Her startled look fell into a nasty sneer.


"My NAME doesn't matter," she said, "And don't act like you don't want what they all wanted…to stifle and control. The only use a female heir ever was, was to be quiet and complacent and bear more children..." she held up the scalpel as if indicating her work, "Well that isn't me. I will die for you, lay my entire existence at your feet, along with a gift of the ashes of the world...but I will burn this place to the fucking ground before I give my body up to you to bear some child you only want in order to complete some non-existent score card. Fuck you…" she grit her teeth.


Niki's eyes blazed in anger at her outburst, a shadowed cloud falling over his face, his hands clenching unconsciously.


"Would you, Claudia?" he crooned at her darkly, his eyes narrowing suddenly. He crossed the room slowly, his luminous eyes burning into hers, "Would you really die for me?"


"Why, Nikolai? Did you want to practice more scalpel incisions?" Her steps were placed deliberately, toe to toe with him as she too moved forward, "I would die for you. Shall I? Is that what you want from me...or is it just the last sensation you would graciously deign to give me?"


Narrowing her eyes, she shook her head at him. She was either suicidal or hunting him in return...even she couldn’t tell.


"Do you even know what you want, aside from the aforementioned completed checklist?" she tilted her head, emerald eyes searching, "What do you do when Daddy's instruction sheet runs out? What pushes you to new heights of greatness then?"


Niki came to a stop before her, so close he could feel her breath on his face as his lip curled into a sneer.

"I thought it would be you, Monére," he said in a low voice, "But apparently I'm beneath you..." something akin to hurt flickered ever so briefly through his eyes, replaced immediately by anger, "But since you’re pulling all the strings and have all the triggers, tell me...is there anything YOU have planned, Professor Monére? This gypsy boy is just dying to know..."


Claudia winced at the word 'Professor,' her breath catching for a moment.


"Beneath me?" she breathed finally, surprised, "Why would I waste my time with you, fall in step with you, share my passions with you and offer to die for your whim if you were beneath me?" she laughed and shook her head, moving on as if the idea was so silly as to not warrant any further time. Looking at the blade in her hand, she threw it aside in disappointment.


"I don't plan anything for you, my heart...nothing besides surprises and things that might delight or test that wonderful mind of yours…" Claudia flexed her fingers, she wanted to touch him again...she ached for it, "You are pure potential…I don't want to lead you, or be led by you - I want to make art with you...as an equal…” Her face lit up with enthusiasm at the thought, "We could do such great things, Niki. We can teach each other, move our pieces one by one and bring our spoils home with stories for your family…" her words trailed off, pleading in her eyes as she lifted a hand to his face, fingers hovering just shy of his skin.


-Please don’t let this end now-


Niki’s anger seemed to dissipate as he watched her, the heat draining from him as he shuddered. His face tilted towards her hand and he seemed to pale, his lashes fluttering as a hand came up suddenly, gripping her shoulder. His body swayed as his fingers dug into her flesh, his head lolling forward.


"Shut up..." he moaned, though it was unclear whether he was talking to her or someone else, "Just...shut up..."


Letting her go, he staggered backwards then turned, making it to the door before falling heavily against the frame, a hand coming up to press against his chest. Claudia rushed to his side, concern etched on her pale features.


"Niki? What's wrong?" she asked, her mind already whirling through the possibilities.


-He’s clutching his chest…anxiety or rage causes adrenalin, which would cause shortness of breath, which in turn causes light-headedness and disorientation...or perhaps the blood or this location is triggering a past trauma...or maybe he hasn’t eaten anything and he’s hypoglycaemic...or…-


-Or?-


"Stop. Please. Sit down...." she glanced around and berated herself for stripping the room of furniture. Dramatic effect for her gift had become seemingly less and less useful. She glanced at the picnic basket across the way.


At least she’d come prepared with booze.


"I'm fine..." Niki muttered, "I'm fine...I just...I feel sick...I need a drink..." waving her off - or at least trying to - he moaned and pressed his forehead against the wall, "Don't help me...I'm angry at you and I don't need your pity."


Claudia sighed, worried and vaguely charmed by his feeble protests as she stepped away from him, retrieving a bottle of wine from the basket beneath the table and returning to offer it to him.


"Good, because you'll get no pity from me...you probably took your meds without food again…" a fond smile alighted her face, tinged slightly with innocent hope, "Have a drink with me...then we can go back to arguing, or we can see if Opium and Bethany can outrun us while we’re drunk if you prefer?"


Niki’s face turned, his cheek pressing against the wallpaper, blue eyes fixing blearily on the wine bottle. A hand shot out and he snatched it from her, moving to rest his back against the wall and sliding to sit heavily.


"I didn't take my meds," he muttered, pulling the cork from the bottle and drinking deeply as Claudia’s face fell, her emerald eyes searching his face for any indication as to why he would do such a thing.


-You promised you’d never leave me. You told me to kill you if you tried.-


"Well..." she began, but couldn't figure out what else to say. Biting her lip, she sighed, “That's why you’re feeling ill. Makes sense…it’s simple chemistry…” there was no breath behind her words, they sounded weak to her own ears and it annoyed her.


"Probably," he muttered, seeming to calm a little as he drank. After a moment he put the bottle down next to her feet, knees drawing up again as they had been earlier in the hallway. His hands raked through his hair and he pouted up at her.


"We need to leave this place...I want to go home..." he almost whined.


Claudia nodded slowly, opening her mouth to tell him that she would let the others know…then hesitating as she pressed her lips closed again. She hovered above him awkwardly for a moment more before slowly lowering herself to sit before him.


"Okay," she said simply, "We’ll leave. When you are feeling better we’ll tell the girls to pack, and send a message to Bella…" She made no move to start preparations. She felt numb. Tired.


Her chest ached.


Nikolai nodded, his eyes focused on the floor between them, his lashes fluttering as he reached for the bottle, nudging it towards her. His head bowed and his hair fell over his face as he tapped a finger against the polished doorframe…his hands were shaking again.


"What's wrong with me?" he asked finally, sounding very much like a child. Claudia felt something in her chest twist painfully.


"Well, sudden withdrawal from your medication can cause severe bouts of depression, shaking, feelings of weakness..." she looked at him and stopped listing possible symptoms, "It's all chemicals really…everything we feel. Everything could be fine and dandy, but if one little thing in your brain decides to go this way instead of that...." she gestured to indicate an explosion.


“Chemicals…” he echoed softly, frowning. Claudia looked him over carefully, her chest searing with sudden pain.


“Yes. Chemicals…” she reached out for the bottle and took a swig.


-Fuck.-


"What you need is to change the ratios for a while..." she pointed with the bottle, "Go fuck someone. Chase something..." she waved the wine towards the door, "Have some vicious, wild fun...you’ll feel better in no time…" The next twinge was duller, and she shook it off, her tone falling in playful exasperation, "And take your meds...for fucks sake!"


Blinking, Niki listened to her, nodding almost absently, his ears hearing the words but his mind having trouble processing the meaning behind them...and the unspoken whispers behind her eyes.


"I think..." he said after a moment, "I'm just going to...I think I just need to sleep..."


Climbing to his feet unsteadily, he walked in a daze towards the metal table, pushing the auburn-haired beauty onto her side and climbing up onto the cold surface beside her.


"I'll be ok if I sleep..." he murmured, laying down in the blood and letting his eyes slide closed, throwing a hand over the corpse and spooning it.


Claudia sighed quietly and rose to follow him, watching as he crawled onto the table and embraced the dead woman like a teddy bear. Closing her eyes and gathering herself, she placed the bottle back in the picnic basket, quietly unclipping the locked table wheels and pushing it slowly towards the door.


It took some doing – she wasn’t weak by any stretch of the imagination…but Niki wasn’t exactly light…and his dead-weight companion made the entire project even more awkward.


Still, somehow she managed, getting her cargo out of the room and down the hallway, following the path of her memory until she reached a guest bedroom…thankful that they hadn’t run into Bethany, Opium or Asinoe along the way.


-They aren’t part of this. This is ours alone.-


Wheeling the table into the room, she lined it up with the bed, moving to turn down the linens and fluff the pillows with bloodied hands. Pulling back the blankets, she returned to Niki’s side, circling him as she considered trying to move him on her own.


"Niki...” she called softly, deciding against it, “Will you get into the bed for me?"


His eyes opened and he gazed at her, a brow perking.


"I could have walked..." he replied slowly, giving no explanation as to why he’d allowed her to wheel him across the house, "I'm not a baby you know..."


"You are easier to direct on wheels," she told him with a grin and a shrug. Wrinkling his nose, Niki looked from Claudia to the bed and back again, staring at her for a moment longer before sitting up.

"Whoa...head spin..." he laughed, sliding off the makeshift gurney and onto the mattress, throwing himself across it unceremoniously and laying face-down in the pillows.


After a moment longer he turned his face towards her.


"Is our friend joining us?" he asked, gesturing to the corpse.


"Us?” Claudia raised an eyebrow, “Is it my nap time too?" She sounded pleased with the idea.


Niki gazed at her sleepily, lashes fluttering as he watched her in the dim lighting. Without a word he rolled over, shuffling sideways and smearing blood all over the clean linens. He kicked off his shoes, then wormed his way under the covers, blue eyes following her as he nuzzled into a pillow and waited, still saying nothing.


Smiling softly, Claudia wriggled her feet out of her heels, climbing onto the bed and slipping beneath the covers, hesitating for a moment before nestling against him, her hand resting lightly on his chest as she curled into him and shivered, as if she were suddenly cold.


Nikolai froze when she touched him, then relaxed slowly, his breath quickening ever so slightly as he buried his face in her hair. His arms came up to wrap around her, his body still trembling from whatever Claudia's ‘most likely’ diagnosis was.


“…are you angry at me..?” he asked her, his words muffled.


Biting her lip, Claudia inclined her head to rest on his shoulder, breathing deep the scent of him…his cologne…and the blood. Letting her eyes close and enjoying the rise and fall of her hand against his chest, she sighed.


“No Mon Couer, I’m not angry…”


-I don’t know what I am-


"Good."


Niki’s grip tightened and he shifted, turning his body inwards, his limbs wrapping around her and drawing her in until she was completely entangled by his arms and legs. She tensed slightly, overwhelmed, her every sense becoming caught up in him.


-Relax. He'll probably kill you in the morning…then you won't feel a Goddamn thing. Enjoy it while it lasts.-


A small, blissful smile crept across Claudia's face as her body relaxed into his embrace, all thoughts of their argument and the subject of babies falling away. She kissed his forehead, whispering something that made no sense and chuckling softly at his mumbled response before they fell into silence. She lay still, listening to the sound of his even breaths as sleep swiftly claimed him.


For the briefest of moments, laying there in his arms, she felt something very much like happiness.

She chose not to dwell on it, her bloodied hand moving over his chest, fingers trailing down as if she were mentally carving it open to reveal his organs.


-Lungs...liver...kidneys...and my favourite-


She paused, that tightening in her chest returning and making her wince, her palm flattening against his body as she waited for the pain to subside.


-The human heart.-

Written by Luna Madness and N Ristovski.


All characters and story lines remain the property of N.Ristovski and the Underground. All character writings within the Underground are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Copyright © 2016. Natalie Ristovski.

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