To Fear the Dawn: Chapter 18
Warnings: Language, implied sexual sitations, partial nudity (no naughty bits showing though, I promise!)
Vidcund fell to his knees in utter shock as the police car drove away, bearing Nervous to the hospital.
Oh no. Not this! Anything but this!
“Vid!” Lazlo cried, and ran over to him, Pascal close on his heels. “Are you okay? What happened?”
“Nervous told me... he said... Oh God, Laz!”
“What?” Pascal asked breathlessly. “What is it?”
“She’s going to marry him!.” Vidcund gasped. “Charity is going to marry that bastard at midnight tonight!” He braced his head against his younger brother’s shoulder. “Lost, we’ve lost her... and it’s all my fault.”
Lazlo clutched fistfuls of Vidcund’s lab coat as he frantically hugged his brother. “It’s not your fault,” Lazlo said, forcing Vidcund to look into his eyes. “Vid, we knew this could happen. We’ve been preparing for it all this time, haven’t we?”
“But she’ll be married!” Vidcund snapped in a harsh voice. “Married... to him.”
“We can’t let her do it!” Pascal cried angrily, pounding his fist into his palm. “We have to stop it somehow!”
“How?” Lazlo replied. “It’s twenty minutes of midnight right now! We couldn’t even get to that place in twenty minutes, let alone figure out a way to get inside.”
“We could make the police give us a helicopter,” Pascal said, “and then we’d be able to--”
“There’s no fucking time.” Lazlo said firmly. “There’s nothing we can do.”
Pascal turned away and sat down on the stone floor of the veranda, his back to Lazlo and Vidcund. After a moment, he put his head down on his knees wearily.
“Lazlo, I can’t stand the thought of her being with him," Vidcund whispered painfully. "What he’ll do to her. What he’ll turn her into!”
“Vidcund, we knew she’d either come out of this a vampire or dead,” Lazlo said gently. “At least this way, with us working on the cure, she has a chance. You have to look at it that way, man. You just fucking have to.”
Vidcund sighed and wiped his eyes. “It’s not just the vampirism, Laz," he whispered. "If they’re married, that means she... that they’ll... if they haven't already... ” he gulped and couldn’t finish, but Lazlo understood. He hugged his brother and didn’t say anything more.
Silently, they all sat on the cold stone steps of the Beaker mansion until they heard the faint chimes of the grandfather clock inside announce the witching hour.
Vidcund stood up, a determined look on his face, and began to walk inside the house.
“What are you doing?” Lazlo asked.
“I’m calling a cab.” Vidcund said tightly. “I’m going back to the laboratory tonight. I’m going to work on that cure, and I’m not going to stop until it’s done. You two can come with me now or wait until morning, I really don’t give a damn.”
He strode into the house and after a moment his brothers followed him. They caught up with him as he was hanging up the phone from calling the taxi.
“I’m coming with you.” Lazlo said.
“So am I.” Pascal agreed. “Charity’s important to all of us.”
“Not only that,” Lazlo said with a hint of a smile, “We can’t let you get all the credit!”
It was a beautiful night for a wedding.
Charity and Reginald stood bathed in moonlight, the bright stars overhead and the quiet beauty of water all around. The nighttime music of crickets and frogs provided a soothing background euphony as Reginald gently placed a gold ring onto Charity’s finger, whispering ancient vows that would bind them forever as husband and wife. Reginald took her hands in his and kissed them.
“Truly,” he whispered, “I am the most fortunate being on the planet this night.”
Charity smiled and slipped a larger gold ring onto Reginald’s marriage finger as well, repeating the same immemorial oaths as the vampire’s offspring gathered around them approvingly.
Reginald took his new bride into his arms. “Forever, my darling... ” he said softly, and kissed her.
“Forever... ” Charity agreed, and they were wed.
Reginald held Charity’s hand and led her into the circle of vampires surrounding them. “Behold, my children,” Reginald called to his progeny. “Know your father’s mate! Is she not all you could have imagined? Am I not favored?”
There was a murmur of assent.
“You can see for yourselves, that although I have searched endlessly for a bride who would be worthy of me, now I feel I must be worthy of her. I hope I will not disappoint.”
A ripple of laughter passed among the gathered vampires.
“Now, as it is my wedding night, and I do not wish to be interrupted by the dawn, I bid you all good even. Fly, my children, and know your parent is lonesome no more.”
Charity watched the vampires transforming into bats all around her and her eyes widened in horror. During the ceremony and afterward, when Reginald’s offspring were all in a basic human form, it was easy to pretend there was nothing amiss, and it was only the moonlight making them appear so pallid and ghostly. Now, with the excitement of the wedding over, and enormous bats taking wing all around her, the realization that the guests at her wedding had all been vampires hit Charity like a bolt of lightening.
If they were all vampires, then that meant they all had either just killed or were about to kill! All of them! So many... It was horrifying! She knew the vampires themselves couldn’t help it; that it was, for them, either kill or die, but they hadn’t always been so. They had been human once, hadn’t they? It had been Reginald who altered them, who transformed them into what they were.
Why had her husband done this to them? Why had he turned them into killers?
It was a thought that haunted her as she walked with Reginald back into their home, and it overshadowed her excitement of the night to come. When she was alone with her husband in the bedroom, she turned to him.
“Reginald?” she asked tentatively.
“Yes, my love?”
“Why did you do that to them?”
“What do you mean?” he said softly, gently taking out the hairpins that held down her wedding veil and combing his fingers through her hair.
“Why did you turn all those people into vampires?”
Reginald sighed. “They are my children, Charity, and are very dear to me. I gave them a gift.”
“You turned them into murderers.”
“I made them like myself.” he corrected. “Do not all of us wish to see ourselves in our children?”
Charity thought about that as her mind spun from her husband's nearness. “Yes,” she conceded, her voice reduced to a whisper. “I imagine we all do.”
“No matter," Reginald said, "I shall no longer need to create children on my own.” He kissed her shoulder. “We shall have our own family, and your children shall be mine as well.”
He then kissed her neck, biting gently, and Charity shivered. Reginald groaned softly. He wanted to delve his fangs into her throat so badly, but not yet. Not yet. Not until she loved him fully as a mortal, and that meant not only in her heart, but with her body as well. Moving over her, he kissed her deeply as he lay her gently back on the bed.
This was, after all, their wedding night.
Afterward, Charity stretched luxuriously beside her husband and sighed. She had never imagined she could feel so wonderful and so loved. He had left no part of her untouched, and she felt absolutely cherished in every fiber of her being. She now truly felt as one with him, for there was no other way to explain the wonder that had just happened to her. She was so close with him now, absolutely one flesh, and could not imagine ever being without him.
This is love, she thought contentedly. This is what it means to truly be in love.
She could think of only one thing that could possibly make her life more complete, and she smiled, for it could be happening to her right at this very moment, unseen. She very much hoped it was, and she unconsciously placed her hand over her abdomen.
“What are you thinking, my love?” Reginald asked her, trailing his fingers up her bare arm.
Charity smiled at him lovingly. “I’m hoping we just made a baby. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?”
Reginald stopped stroking her arm. “Yes, it would... but I’m afraid it’s not possible.”
“Not possible?” Charity cried. “Why? It’s what I want more than anything!”
“I know,” Reginald said sadly. “Oh, Charity... Darling, I thought you knew.”
“Knew what?” she said, an edge of panic creeping into her voice. What was he talking about?
Reginald got out of bed and looked at her fully. “I cannot get you with child.” he said quietly. “I apologize if you assumed I could.”
Charity looked at him in confusion. “But why, Reginald? Is it because you’re a..."
“Yes.” Reginald said. “No vampire can conceive or bear young.” He sighed and stared up at the ceiling. “Much to my eternal regret.”
“But you... you said we would have our own family! That I would have children that would be yours, too!” Charity exclaimed. “You just said that, not two hours ago!”
“And I meant it,” Reginald replied, taking her in his arms, speaking soothingly. “Once, I told you there was a way you could become as a mother to the Grunt orphans. Remember?” He lightly began to comb her long hair away from her neck, drawing it to the side away from him.
“Yes, I do remember.” Charity whispered, his fingers continuing to softly stroke her hair, baring her neck. “I asked you how, but you didn’t tell me... "
“You were not ready to hear it then.” Reginald murmured into her ear. “However, now I believe you will understand.”
He kissed her exposed neck, and Charity let her head fall back against him. She could feel the slightest edge of his teeth on her skin, and it made her gasp. “Reginald... what... ?”
“You will be able to make them into images of yourself,” Reginald breathed. “As my mate, Charity, you will have the ability to give the gift of immortality, just as I do. They will be reborn as your children for all eternity. Do you understand this?”
“You mean that I will... that I’ll become... ?”
“You will become what you already are,” Reginald whispered hoarsely, teasing her neck with his teeth once more . “My wife. My lover. Mother to my children. My eternity... ”
He could wait no longer, and with a low moan, Reginald buried his sharp fangs deeply into Charity’s throat.
Mine, now... for always...
To Be Continued...