I'd give you a timeline of when this story takes place, but I can't remember episode titles! Never could. But it falls between the time when Sasha broke off her relationship with Cash and when they reconciled before Fiori's assassination attempt on Julien.
(And yeah, I know I spelled the names differently. I think they look better this way.) Comments and virtual Scotch and chocolate to: Cboland@cris.com
Rated NC-17 for an m/m, vampiric sex. If blood doesn't appeal to you, skip it. This site is flame-proof, so don't even try.
PRINCE OF THE BLOOD
Cash prowled the edge of the dance floor, hoping some fool mortal would give him an excuse for a fight. The music pulsed and seemed to carry *her* name under its velvet beat...Sasha...Sasha...
//Gangrel isn't all that I am!// he'd tried to tell her, but she wouldn't listen, turning on him with a glacial chill. And between them roiled the blood-hatred, of Brujah set against Gangrel, the curse they had fought ever since Sasha's forced Embrace. Loyalty and devotion ran in his Clan's blood. Like the wolves they could become, once they had pledged themselves, their loyalty was fixed and total.
Brujah blood ran thick and hot with anger, laced with the need to rend and destroy. Often, the Brujah vented that need against something the Gangrel cherished. Brujah loyalty was sporadic and shifting. As Sasha had just proved, leaving his heart trampl ed on the floor, a show for his Clanfolk and hers.
He rejected the thought as soon as it rose. Not Sasha. Never. His thoughts scattered as Lily touched his shoulder. He turned around and looked down into the Toreador Primogen's ironic, amused aquamarine eyes.
"You're making my customers nervous," the Haven's owner murmured. Moving closer to insure no mortals overheard her next words, she added, "And get control of yourself before you break the Masquerade."
Cash bit back his initial retort and wheeled away, pushing through the crowd. Julien's office lay down the hall, far from the noise and crush of the club proper. He knocked to give his Prince warning, and walked in. One of his Gangrel stood watch. A jerk of his head sent the other vampire on his way. Julien continued working at his desk, almost invisible in the dimness.
The Gangrel Primogen collapsed into one of the chairs, brooding. Primogen, a craved position of power among the Kindred. Ha! What good had this power done him? He hadn't been able to avenge Sasha, had lost her to the clashing, back-biting political play of the Clans. Not for the first time, he wanted to toss it all aside, gather up his Gangrel and put San Francisco and its bad memories far behind him.
"Having trouble tonight, Cash?"
The younger man started. He hadn't heard the Prince move. Great bodyguard he was, so lost in his own funk, he wouldn't hear an army marching through. He looked away from those too-knowing eyes.
"Just more trouble with Sasha," he admitted. He regretted the words as soon as he said them. Sasha had been the last of Julien's mortal family. The Brujah had done great damage the night of Sasha's Embrace. A once-loved niece was now a symbol of his failure to protect those in his fief, and a constant source of grief.
"I heard something about that," Julien said, moving away.
Probably one of the flighty Toreador gossips had fluttered in to spill the news. Cash scowled. So much for privacy. "If only I'd gotten there sooner," he heard himself say.
"Or if only I had had her guarded, or if I'd done as you asked and Embraced her myself..." Julien shook his head, absently stroking his ring of office. "Eternity is too long to allow 'if onlys', Cash."
The Gangrel hunched over, the emptiness inside him growing into a searing pain. Sasha was so beautiful, so vibrant...he could have happily spent forever showing her everything he knew, and learning more to give her. And it was all pointless now. Cash stood abruptly. "I'll get one of the others to stand watch for me...I'm no good to you, tonight."
Julien's hands came to rest on his shoulders. "I disagree."
Cash started. His Prince was not particularly demonstrative, except with Lily or old friends like Daedelus. He must really look like a whipped pup if Julien thought he needed comforting.
And the hellish thing was, he'd be right.
"I better go." Cash's voice sounded rough in his own ears. God knew what Julien heard.
His Prince tightened his fingers on his shoulders. "I didn't say you could leave, Cash."
Cash settled back down in the chair, a little confused as to what Julien wanted. The man *knew* he was useless for duty tonight, and his shifting moods didn't make him good company. Julien moved around in front of him, staring down at him.
"Have I told you," he said at last, "how sorry I am that you were hurt by Fiori's madness?"
"Sasha was hurt the most."
"I know." Julien's voice was cold. "And he *will* pay for what he did to her. To me. To you. I promise you that, Cash."
Some of the tension drained out of him. If Julien said something would be done, it would be done.
"And I know she's turned from you."
There was a rustling sound of cloth, and a flash of Kindred-pale skin as the Prince's bare wrist appeared in his vision. "Let me make amends."
Cash stared up at him in shock. A Prince's blood...with all its potency and strength...and Julien would give it to him? The thought flashed through his mind: //Julien is Sasha's ancestor...his blood is her blood.// To have even that much of her, a part of him, as he had offered of himself that first torturous night.
The Gangrel's hand shook as he reached up and cradled his Prince's proffered hand. Julien smiled and rested his free hand at the back of Cash's neck.
"Go ahead," he whispered.
The veins rose up, soft blue shadows under the thin skin. The sharp, sweet ache of fangs extending, eager for the promise of blood. And such blood it was. Cash pressed his mouth against the offering, wrapping his lips around the wound he'd just made. The blood flowed with a life of its own, separate from Cash, from Julien himself. Distantly, he heard his Prince's shuddering gasp, felt fingers tighten in his hair.
But none of that was important as the blood, sharp and strong against his tongue, spilling down his throat to fill and soothe that horrible emptiness. Time danced in Julien's blood, time and strength, both of which had spun together to create his Sasha. He could taste *her*, too, that seemingly fragile creature who'd lured him back into living. His Brujah. And with Julien's strength a part of him, he could find a way to break past the blood curse that held them apart.
He pulled away with a gasp. For a moment, bright lights and unknown colors danced before his eyes. Then he blinked, and the world re-focused. Something different, now, inside him. He looked down, at Julien's wrist still clasped loosely between his hands. The puncture wounds still oozed blood. Too rich to waste. Cash glanced up into those rich, dark eyes-did he have the same awe-swept expression that sometimes touched Lily's face when she looked at their Prince, her lover?
//And now mine, as well.//
Blood was better than sex for the Kindred, the sharing of which made the act of flesh a mere prelude. Lily would not grudge him. She knew where his heart lay, as did Julien himself. He lapped at the wound he'd made, sealing it with one stroke of his tongue, feeling Julien shiver under the touch. His Prince's hand slipped from his hair, coming to rest on his shoulder once again.
Cash turned Julien's hand over, exposing his ring of office. With another glance up into his dark eyes, he kissed the ring.
"Thank you," he whispered.
"Bring her home, Cash. Just bring her home."