One Shot: Alive

Type: One Shot
Character: Olivia Vaughn
Author: Annie

Lying on the bed, emerald eyes stared up at the plaster ceiling of the room in an attempt to distract herself. ‘Hmm, such an intricate mandala’ she mused, damp hair clinging to the plush cotton pillows behind her. How she had ended up in this fancy Moroccan hotel was still a blur; was she alive and truly experiencing this, or could this be a dream? ‘No, I am quite alive’. The burning ache of her wounded shoulder suddenly intensified, making her usual stone cold face contort in pain. Though it was cleaned and freshly wrapped, the burning poison still coursed through her veins.

It all seemed too surreal as the whirlwind of events that occurred in the past 48 hours replayed in her mind. The clues she uncovered, and the ‘surprise’ waiting for her when she had located the abandoned lab flashed. Olivia’s bruised and bandaged left hand raised, fingers reaching up towards the ceiling. ‘At least this side has feeling’, she thought to herself, stretching the muscles as best as she could since her right side was immobile. Eyes glazed over, her mind wandering back to those final moments. The seemingly never-ending battles were brutal between her and the army of lycans lying in wait. Any other hunter would be dead within minutes, but Olivia was the best. Instead the body count of her enemies grew with each step she took deeper into the building. But even her hybrid stamina had it’s limits, and by the time she reached the last remaining group, her body quickly faltered. 

“I survived,” fingers curled into a fist almost bitterly, “I’m alive…only because of him.” Slowly her arm succumbed to gravity and returned to the feather bed, the loss of blood seeming to still be weakening what little strength she had regained. The warmth of a bath helped her to return back to some sense of humanity. The symbolism of washing away the stench of lycans and their pomegranate colored blood from her skin was powerful. But even though those reminders were no longer visible, the cracked ribs, gashes, and barrage of bruises which adorned her skin remained. It would be weeks till she could fully recover from this job, however luck must have been on her side that she could still take a breath of air. No, perhaps it was fate instead. Fate had a habit of interfering, cruelly drawing them together once more, ensuring she would survive long enough to suffer from the growing unrequited desires in her heart. 

“Liv, one of these days, their orders will kill you.”

That was the warning he gave her over eight months ago before he left, slamming the door and vowing to never cross paths again. She had almost forgotten about it, but his words had just come to pass. But when Ezekiel had given her that prophecy, he had forgotten who Oliva Vaughn was; a strong huntress on a mission. Yes, the orders given to her by the Hunters Council to clean up after the misdeeds of others seemed impossible, but that’s why she was tasked with it. “You are the only one who can handle this” were their exact words. Whether they believed in her, or were setting her up for failure made no difference. She was a hunter given a mission, she had to succeed or die trying. It was the only reason an abomination such as her could live.

Reflecting back, Olivia was naive to believe that her own strength would be enough to take on this latest mission. It would be a tough road, blocked by the presence of many esteemed Night World families. He had offered to help that last night they spent together. Zeke tried to convince her, but she was too stubborn to accept his hand. No, that wasn’t right, there was something else that led to her decision to push him away.  She refused to admit it at that time, but somewhere, deep in her soul she was worried about what would happen to Zeke if he dared to defy the combined will of the other powerful families. Even being a pure-blooded Leroux wouldn’t save him from facing severe consequences for turning his back on his kind.

It was hard to explain their complicated ‘relationship’. Her interactions with Zeke were always tumultuous because of the different roles they played within the Night World. She was a hybrid, a lesser being seen only as a weapon for the Hunters Council, and he was a pureblood from an old world line. There was no way that they could ever intersect without being at odds, but perhaps it was their long-standing rivalry that brought them together?

Thinking deeper, it seemed that the easiest comparison of them was to Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty. They knew each others intricacies best, were stubborn geniuses with opposing goals, and one could not exist without the other. However, after their last meeting she never expected to cross his path again. Those hateful words he spoke, the way he blindly denied the strange feelings they had when around each other. Yet somehow when she was lying amongst her fallen enemies in that apocalyptic scene, a moment away from embracing the cold arms of death, Ezekiel Leroux appeared. The fleeting flames around them appeared to reignite after sensing his intense rage. Those haunting blue eyes of his were cold, dangerous, as he tore the remaining lycans apart like rag dolls. 

Now thinking of him, Olivia’s head tilted to the side, staring at the bathroom door as the sound of the shower water falling echoed into the bedroom. For a brief moment she had felt jealous of the soap that was slowly tracing the lines of his skin, knowing he was washing away the blood of those who nearly ended her. Her confused heart beat steadily, uncertain whether to be be furious or excited about his actions that night, or was it morning by now? ‘Who are you, is this the real Zeke?’

Lids shut once again, the sound of water rekindling the recent memory. When they returned he stripped her clothes and put her into the warm bathtub. Zeke was hesitant, almost gentle, as he scrubbed off the blood and dirt from her marred skin. The warmth from those normally cold hands as he stitched her wounds shut. It was if she could once again feel his long fingers slowly massaging, combing through her raven locks as he shampooed her clean. She had never been one to shy away from her body, but the way he gazed upon her naked body as he dressed her wounds gave her goosebumps.

“Did they bite you?”
 Those were Zeke’s only words to her, and she responded with a faint nod. One lycan in particular had latched ahold of her shoulder, biting deeply into her flesh. It had felt as if his fangs were scraping her bones, feasting on her blood in its bloodthirsty state. Both of them knew what would have happened if more of the poison had entered her body. If enough poison could kill a lesser vampire, a hybrid would certainly not stand a chance.

They both knew the politics of the night world well, so there was no need to explain why this happened. In fact, the destruction of the genetically created abominations known as Lycans was the one topic they could both agree on. Those creatures were used as foot soldiers, a way to force submission, control over others in the Night and Human worlds. The Hunters Council had charged her with the task of dispensing these creatures a year ago, and that was against the wishes of the most powerful families of the night. It was clear by the sheer numbers that were waiting for her at the lab, that someone had set her up to die; the only questions was who.

The immediate issue at hand however had nothing to do with the Hunters Council or Night World power struggles. No, it was much more personal. When he showed up as the fiery ash fell like snow in the night, his usual calm demeanor was replaced with something else. Behind those usual emotionless blue eyes was a hint of rage, of fear for her. The way he handled those foul creatures, that desperate look he gave as he lifted her up, the wavering tone of his voice as he called her name. Had time finally made him acknowledge that there was some powerful force between them, drawing them closer?

Emerald eyes flickered open to prevent herself from succumbing to exhaustion. Staring once more at the elaborate mandala etched in the plaster, her mind wandered back to the mystery of  ‘what are we?‘. Much like that design, the ‘relationship’ between her and Zeke was complex, intricately linked no matter where in the world they were, fate choosing to intersect their separate paths. It was wrong, it went against the natural order of the world — yet even with her current injuries she found herself desiring his touch, a primal need for a physical connection. It was as if she needed his confirmation to know that she really was alive.

As the water stopped Olivia’s heart began beating more rapidly than before. She tried to control it, knowing that the pure-blooded vampire could hear it from the next room, but her efforts were in vain. Injured hands quickly struggled to cover her exposed skin with the satin red robe left for her to wear; even though he had seen her naked already, her body suddenly felt far more exposed now than ever before. “Can I tell him,” she whispered, throat still raspy from the smoke still trapped in her fragile lungs. If she could manage to speak, what would she even say? They were both such prideful, stubborn realists who should reject the feelings hidden in the depths of their hearts. Yet she knew that the carnal attraction between them was becoming harder to ignore. Her eyes shut once more as she sensed his presence entering the room, her breathe held as uncertainty hung heavily in the air. ‘Ezekiel, should I even entertain these thoughts?’

(Olivia Vaughn feat Ezekiel ‘Zeke’ Leroux)