This Mortal Coil – Chapter 4

Dustjacket by Circe Invidiosa using Mulder manipulation by Philiater

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Rating: NC-17

This Mortal Coil
Chapter 4
by Piper Sargasso

Disclaimers, etc. in Chapter One

Chapter Four

There isn’t much a badge and a well-placed take-charge
attitude can’t get you. If I’d failed to learn that lesson in
life, I definitely understood it now.

Never mind that I was no longer an FBI agent. Not
anymore, though only Scully and I knew that for certain,
under the circumstances. But my badge and
assertiveness, not to mention some undignified pleading
with the night nurse and doctor on duty, earned me
unlimited access to Scully’s room in ICU that night.

She was still unconscious, but stable. I was right in
assuming she would be, but terrified for her nonetheless.
Keeping my vigil next to her bed, I clasped her hand
tightly and looked around the sterile room.

It was small, but actually had walls instead of curtains to
separate the patients. This isn’t as standard as one would
think in an intensive care unit — and I should know. The
walls were stark white wallpaper, textured and with the
palest pastel brushstrokes of color printed on it at
intervals. There was a window, but I ruled it out as a
point of entry for me, as it was small and narrow. It was
also sealed shut by design — impossible to open and
enter. Monitors beeped and whirred insistently, gauging
Scully’s vitals and taking her blood pressure every few

The room reminded me of a prison cell. Maybe because
I’d been held captive in so many rooms like it for much
of my adult life. Maybe because Scully looked so
damned small and vulnerable in that monster of a bed. It
was a white and chrome prison, blue machines and clear

I wanted to take her out of there.

Shaking off the impossible thought, I forced myself to
remember why she was there to begin with. Could I
really blame Liliana? What she’d done was all a part of
her nature. The blame lay with myself. If I had turned
Scully away that night in the cabin, rather than agreeing
to “one last night,” she’d be healthy and dreaming in her
apartment right now instead of the victim of a vicious
vampire attack.

I vaguely remember a detective coming into her little
room as I sat with her, asking me questions about her
and treating me as a respected colleague. I can’t say
what a rarity that was. So many times, Scully and I had
met with hostility from local law enforcement in our
investigations. This man was polite. I scanned his
thoughts and found that my answers to his questions
were satisfactory. He believed that I found her this way
and that the FBI would head up its own investigation in
the matter, as was protocol. He harbored no suspicions
about me. The man thanked me for my cooperation, and
then was gone, leaving us to our symphony of electrical
humming and the soft whoosh of her pressure being
taken again.

It was about three am when the hunger started to
overwhelm and consume every particle of my being. I
had unwittingly fed on Julian, but it was only enough to
sustain me for a short period of time — just long enough
to get help for Scully.

The scent of blood and death surrounded me, and I was
no longer able to block it out. How can one who doesn’t
possess The Blood understand? It’s dizzying. All
encompassing. Memories of the flavor of rich, mortal
blood blossoms in the back of the throat, something akin
to having your mouth water at the thought of cutting into
a thick, juicy steak. You become dizzy, disoriented. The
only thing you can think of is giving some hapless and
precious throat your kiss, and drawing deeply on their
beating heart.

I once thought the idea of a vampire “seeing” the blood
of its victim through their skin was clichéd, something
reserved for Bram Stoker and Hollywood. I know better
now. As I looked at my beautiful, silent Scully, I traced
the network of blue veins beneath her still-pale skin. The
wrist beneath my hand, her throat, so exposed to me — it
was all a great temptation. It seemed they throbbed with
life of their own, calling to me. I felt my tongue flick out
to lick my lips in answer.

I had to get out of there. I had no idea how long my self-
control would prevent me from devouring her — or
anyone else unfortunate enough to cross paths with me. I
rose and left as quickly as possible, making sure to plod
heavily along as a mortal man would. Once outside, I
had the cloak of night to conceal me, and I hurried
across town to the club where Julian had taken me only
nights ago.

I was more alert than ever, and I knew this had
something to do with the burning hunger throughout my
body. I opened myself up to be receptive to any evil
nearby; anyone I could take small drinks from without

I found my answer, but not inside the club with all the
other reckless mortals playing their blood sports. It was
behind the warehouse, in the alleyway.

A man hovered over the body of a woman, and I could
see with my sharp night-vision that he was stabbing her.
She’d been dead for a few moments; he knew the instant
she was gone. Yet he went on and on, thrusting the knife
into her body until the blade was buried to the hilt. I’d
never witnessed such hatred before. The young woman
was little more than a bloody pulp, and he still carried

I jerked him away from her body and flung him against
a dumpster. He looked surprised, but the shock passed
quickly and the fury returned. He ran to retrieve his
fallen knife and shouted obscenities at me, brandishing
the useless weapon.

With very little effort, my mental powers sent the knife
flying out of his hand and scurrying under the dumpster.
I stalked toward him, answering to my baser instincts. I
was hungry, and needed the blood if I was to safely
return to Scully’s bedside. Nothing was more important
than that. As for my conscience, I quelled it by glancing
at the poor woman’s body, at her entrails and fluids
glistening in the pale light of the moon above. He’d
done this to her, and now he would suffer for it.

The man’s expression never changed — not once. I
marveled at a hatred so pure, sensible fear couldn’t even
penetrate it. Ruthlessly pulling him into my embrace, I
jerked his head to the side and sank my teeth into his
neck. There was no tenderness or mercy in the act. I was
far too famished and disgusted by what he’d done to show
him compassion.

As I drank, his thoughts poured into me.

Left me. Left me for another man, that bitch. Took all the
money out of our account and ran off with that pretty-
boy bastard.

It was a mantra he chanted in his head, nonstop. I waited
for him to reveal the story of his life, which I now know
is what normally happens. But he was closed off, a slave
to his hatred, and that was all I received.

In moments, he was gone.

In my bliss, I dropped him indifferently onto the cold
ground. But the bliss soon turned to despair as I realized
what I had just done. I had taken a human life.

It was unbearable. Unforgivable. I hated myself, and I
hated the pleasure that still sang in my body from the
warm, life-giving blood. I couldn’t believe I’d given in
to the temptation of killing. A vampire can take from
several victims, never leaving them anything but dazed
and drunk feeling. It has been done, and that’s exactly
what I’d planned to do. I never dreamed I was capable
of killing without provocation. I was a murderer, no
better than he was.

I dropped to sit down next to his body and for the
second time that night, I shed tears. I cried for Scully,
cried for the brutalized woman on the ground. Cried for
my contaminated soul, and inevitable damnation. Why
had I done it? Why had I surrendered to my newfound

“You’ll soon find that time will dry those tears, Young
One,” a soothing voice said.

My head snapped up. I looked around wildly thinking
Julian had found me.

“My protégé,” the same voice answered. A man stepped
out of the shadows, cloaked in a black coat. He had
sandy-colored hair and piercing, unnaturally brilliant
blue eyes. He looked young, maybe in his mid-twenties.
But there was an air of sophistication about him that
fumbling youth could never possess. He was one of us.

“Who are you?” I asked.

He smiled, looking down on me with understanding.
“My name is Claudius. Gallio Aebutius Claudius, as I
was known in my mortal days. Please, rise from that
cold and filthy concrete and we shall talk.”

I was surprised to find he’d opened his mind to me. I
found nothing but good intentions and loving warmth
for me there. I also sensed it was important for my
survival that I could depend on someone other than

“You said Julian was your protégé?” I asked, standing
up. If he knew Julian, this — being — could be dangerous,
regardless of what he let me see in his soul. I stiffened,
wondering if he was sent to bring me back to the

Claudius laughed and clapped a hand on my back in a
familiar, friendly manner. “I can assure you, the links
that remain between Julian and myself are far from
happy. I am no threat to you. But come. This alley is
unpleasant and dawn draws near. We have much to

I hesitated. It seemed obscene and grotesque to leave the
bodies. Once again, I felt the prickling pain of guilt over
my cruel actions. I felt Claudius’s presence next to me,
quietly looking at the scene as I did.

“How can I reassure you? These things happen, and
more often than you can fathom. To be sure, it will
happen to you again, but you must not surrender to the
self-hatred. Such things will make you mad.”

“I killed that man,” I said miserably. “I didn’t even try to
control myself.”

He answered with great patience, and again, I wondered
at his age. “Can you not take comfort in the fact that he
was a hard-hearted killer? Surely you can’t think this
poor girl’s actions merited such brutality.”

“But who are we to judge?” I countered. “Who am I to
dole out justice?”

“There are those that prefer to feast on the innocent
nightly, though they have survived long enough to
abstain from feeding for months at a time. There are
those who take lives without remorse. Your maker is
one such creature.”

He sighed before going on.

“There will be times where the hunger is far too great,
and small drinks from many will not suffice. The
occasional life will have to be taken. I can see an
intrinsic goodness in you. You will always seek out
people such as the one here to quell the insatiable
hunger. The ones who do evil toward mankind.”

I was morbidly fascinated. “Is that what you do? Feed
on murderers?”

“The evildoer, so to speak. Yes.” He smiled at me, and
there were a few moments of silence as he let me take in
this new information. “You don’t like being called Fox,
do you? Oh, you needn’t answer. I know this from your
own mind. Mulder it is, then. What an odd choice.”

“What do you know about Julian?” I asked. “Can you
tell me about him?”

His expression changed to one of sadness. “I’ll tell you
anything you want to know about Julian. You should be
armed with knowledge, Young One.”

He asked again that we leave the alleyway, and I finally
relented. Nothing could be done for the slain couple.

He wrapped his arms around me and we soon found
ourselves on a bench outside the hospital. A large
marble fountain gurgled and the strong golden lights
below water illuminated the benches surrounding it.

“I sensed your anxiety about the woman inside. I
thought you’d want to be here.”

I nodded gratefully.

“Let me begin by saying that I was the one who gave
Julian his second birth. I am his maker. I don’t want the
shock of that information to come between us in the
future, so I tell you now.”

I couldn’t hide my surprise at this new information. He
simply looked for me to allow him to continue, rather
than make excuses or rush to set my mind at ease. I
nodded for him to go on.

“He was my apprentice in ancient Rome. Bought at the
slave market at the age of fifteen and taught to prepare
canvases and mix oils and pigments for me, until the
night he begged me to teach him to paint. He was
possessed of an outstanding natural talent, and often
stayed up late at night to paint alongside me.

“I had been a vampire long enough to crave scenes from
the daylight world. It came to be that I would
commission him to go out and paint my Rome, the place
of my birth and death, in the honest light of day. He
brought these paintings, these treasures of everyday
sights, to me as he finished them, proudly displaying
each before me. In return, he was given praise, gold
florins and lush sleeping quarters next to my own. He
was never treated as a slave.

“Then, there came the day that he found his twin sister,

Claudius paused. A hardness came to his face as if he
were remembering something awful.

“Julian, as I said, was treated well, and with love.
Freedom was granted to him during the day as I slept. I
was able to keep tabs on him without his knowledge
through the mind connection I’m sure you’re now
familiar with.”

I nodded.

“Of course, as he was human, he never knew of this
connection. He was milling through the marketplace one
day when he came upon a slave auction. On the block was
his exact counterpart, pulled away from the huddled mass
of slaves and prodded as she stood on the dais. A feminine
replica of this gentle child.

“He was ecstatic, to say the least. He placed his first bid
eagerly, ignoring the taunting and laughs of the grown
men who gathered there. But he had the arrogance of
youth and a bag full of florins on his side. By the time
he placed his final, extravagant bid, no one was laughing

“With some trepidation, Julian brought Liliana home. I
could hear his excited and jumbled thoughts, elated and
fearful, all at once. He was thrilled to have found his
long-lost twin. It was believed she had died along with
the rest of his family in a barbaric invasion of his
homeland. But he was terrified he’d overstepped his
boundaries with me by purchasing a slave, as he was a
slave himself. Not for the world would he displease me,
or upset his happy home. He loved me far too much for
that, and was fearful I would send him away.

“Of course, I would do no such thing. He was my child,
as sure as if I’d sired him, and no slave was ever so
adored. I rose that night and went to his room, where the
two of them were catching up on lost time. Liliana was
breathtaking. There was an innocent sweetness to her
that you couldn’t imagine. Time – loss – has changed
her. But back then, she was a soft-spoken, delicate
beauty, blossoming into womanhood.

“They were inseparable. By day, he taught her to read
and write, how to do the mundane tasks of preparing
canvases and blending pigments. By night, they would
sit in the parlor of our villa and talk of their day; of the
new things Liliana had learned through her reading. She
was an avid reader by the age of seventeen and was
always anxious to tell me of the newest books on
philosophy, as well as the classics. She loved Sophocles
and Homer and couldn’t get her hands on enough plays
and epic poetry.

“Julian continued to paint for me by day as Liliana sat
next to him with her books and read. Indeed, I had an
entire room dedicated to his works, as I had long grown
weary of painting, myself. But his passion for it still
burned brightly, and he was always content to capture
the shining rays of daylight for me. How I loved him for

I tried to envision these monsters as the gentle young
innocents Claudius knew them to be. Julian’s murderous
hands once held paintbrushes, and Liliana, as evil and
insane as she became, had once been in love with works
we now call classics, fresh from the monasteries they
were copied in. It was unfathomable to me.

Claudius went on. “No doubt you recognize the passage
of time is different for us than for mortals. In the blink
of an eye, it seemed, they were grown. Liliana was
beautiful, and every bit the refined lady. She exuded an
air of grace and dignity, and attracted many suitors in
spite of her slave background. My wealth and position in
the community was such that no one questioned my
family or myself, and had accepted both my children

“My charming Julian, however, had become a wild
thing. He often visited the brothels and drank heavily.
He began to take up with the bottom-feeders of Rome.
Days would go by without word from him, and when he
did return, no explanation was offered. Of course, I
knew where he was the entire time. I kept a close eye on
him as he drank and played his dangerous games.

“I feel I should add that, despite his carelessness and
frivolity, he was ever respectful to me and doted on
Liliana. I knew it was a phase he was going through. I
also knew I had spoiled my children by lavishing gifts
and privilege, and this was what had become of my

“Unfortunately, I couldn’t always be there to protect him
from himself. One week, I was away by necessity.

“In my absence, Julian had gotten into an argument with
a man who’d lost a large sum of money to him. In the
heat of the moment, the man took out a dagger and
stabbed Julian, leaving him to bleed to death right before
Liliana’s eyes.

“Hearing her mournful wails, I rushed home as quickly
as possible and was horrified to see my dear boy, my
painter of sunshine, bleeding an unimaginable amount of
blood out onto the rug. He was going to die, of that I
was most certain. Fear and anger consumed me and I
knew in that moment I couldn’t allow his death.

“I ordered Liliana out of the room, which was not easy.
She was distraught and bordering on hysterical. Finally,
she obeyed. I cradled my boy, my mortal child, in my
arms and kissed him on the forehead, then laid him
down gently on the rug.”

I saw a fraction of the scene play out in my mind’s eye,
and knew Claudius had planted it there to punctuate the
story he was telling me. Julian was pale and so weak he
couldn’t move. The blood – there was so much of it –
poured freely onto the beige carpeting. Claudius knelt by
his side, heedless of the gathering fluid staining his
clothes. In an instant, the vision was gone.

“I’m sure you remember the Transition quite well,” he
continued. “The mechanics of it was no different for
him. I bit into my wrist and fed him my immortal blood,
bringing him over. He was then and forever since a
creature of darkness. Liliana marveled at his miraculous
recovery, though in her thoughts I knew she suspected
something mystical had taken place.

“She was also quite intuitive about the changes that were
occurring in Julian, always seeming to know, as a twin
often does, what Julian was going through. She had a
vague idea that her Master was something other than just
a generous eccentric who preferred to sleep the day
away. Just what I was exactly, she wasn’t sure.

“Jealously started to grow between brother and sister, as
I took Julian out nightly to teach him to hunt, and how
to use his new gifts while she stayed behind. Such things
couldn’t be shared with Liliana, for obvious reasons. But
she couldn’t bear the daily separation as we slept, or the
secrecy she now so keenly felt.

“Two years after Julian was brought over, Liliana was
stricken by a terrible fever. She tossed and turned in her
heated sleep while her doctors informed us she was
nearing the end. She looked so fragile and miserable
with her sweaty brow and darkly circled eyes. We
retired to our reluctant slumber with heavy and broken
hearts that night. Julian begged me to bring her over,
and I explained the consequences of doing so.

“‘I’ll damn her soul for eternity, if I do what you ask,’ I
explained. ‘Can you understand the severity of that?’ I
had made Julian in a moment of fear and panic. I hadn’t
thought of what making him meant to his soul. But
Liliana would be premeditated, and I didn’t know if I
could allow myself to do such a thing to her.

“‘It’s what she would want,’ he argued. ‘Bring her over,
or I’ll do it myself!’

“Defeated and miserable about her deterioration, I

“When I reached her bedchamber the next night, I was
nearly too late. She drew ragged breaths and writhed
feverishly atop soaked sheets, talking out of her head.

” ‘Can you see them? The people! Oh, the people! And
they ride on waves of lilac and seawater, like Scylla and
her Sirens!'”

“I soothed her and bit into my wrist. Looking at Julian,
who insisted on being present, I asked him if he was
certain this was what he wanted. He nodded with wide,
haunted eyes.

“I gave her The Blood.

“And so, for the second time, my family had been
threatened by the icy and indifferent hand of death. For
the second time, I had stopped it. Was I proud that I had
ultimately doomed the mortal souls of my beloved
children? No. It was an entirely selfish thing on my part.
I simply couldn’t bear the thought of losing them.”

He looked down and something like shame crossed his
face. “All things considered,” I said, “I can’t say I
wouldn’t have done the same. I can’t imagine there will
come a day that I lose sight of my human self
completely. It must be the same for you.”

“Human, yes,” he nodded. “The day my human emotion
leaves me is the day I truly die. But allow me to

“We spent several happy centuries together. We fled just
before the fall of Rome, our beloved home, and moved
about the world seemingly without end. Paris, Madrid,
Italy – all of these were home to us at one point or
another. We existed any and everywhere.

“It would take the space of countless nights to tell you
the tales of our adventures. But let me instead tell you of
Vivienne. Her tale is important to you, for you must
learn of the true nature of your maker.

“Vivienne was a cancan dancer in Paris. She was
stunningly beautiful, with vivid green eyes and golden
curls down to her shapely backside. Julian, Liliana and I
were in search of amusement after a satisfying night of
feeding. We walked into the dance club where she
worked and Julian saw her immediately. He fell in love
that very night.

“When we went home to our Parisian flat to retire that
night, Julian would not stop talking about her. He was
obsessed. Every night, he’d leave just after twilight and
wouldn’t return until the nearing of dawn. He became
secretive; something Liliana and I weren’t accustomed
to. There were no mysteries between us, and so this was
most strange behavior.

“We later came to find that he’d been courting her and
was so entranced by her gracious beauty and poise that
he told her all the secrets of the vampires. Everything.
Once again, he asked me to change a mortal, to bring her
over to us.

“I refused. Allow me to explain something about our
kind that should help you to understand my refusal –
there is much for you to learn, and Julian has been
negligent in your education.

“There are rules, even for us Ancients. There is a kind of
protocol, as with your FBI, that needs to be followed.
One cannot go around simply making vampires as they
see fit. Julian knew this, but also knew that the actions
of an Ancient such as myself would be overlooked. The
Grand Council of the Vampyres almost always turns and
looks the other way for one so old, as we’ve usually
experienced enough of life, as it were, to make informed
and responsible decisions when choosing to make a
companion. Of course, there is always the exception.
Julian and Liliana, though considered old enough, were
both denied approval to make their own companions. It
was the will of the Council.

“His only option was to either wait for his next
hearing with the Council, or to ask me to do it. I felt the
decision was rash and unmerited – Julian tended to fall
in love quite often in those days. I saw no difference
between this and his other infatuations. And so I

“This caused a great rift between us. Julian left Paris,
and Liliana, being the faithful sibling, followed with a
heavy heart. For the first time in centuries, I found
myself completely alone. I fell into despair.

“In the meantime, they had settled into the mansion you
were lured to. Julian brought Vivienne to this country
and made her into a vampire, flying in the faces of the
Council. It was a reckless and potentially fatal decision,
and to this day I cannot understand how he has gotten
away with it. I’ve witnessed the Council burn vampires
for far less.

“Vivienne lived out the following decades with Julian
and Liliana in happiness, from what I’ve been able to
discern. I had become something of an overprotective
parent, eavesdropping from across the miles every once
in a while to make sure they fared well. In that time,
Julian had created that cult – the Convenire, as he’s so
fond of calling it. Convenire is Latin for ‘coven.’ My
Julian is nothing, if not melodramatic.

“Many years passed in this way, until finally I could
endure the loneliness no longer. I went to my beloved
children and asked if there was any possibility for
forgiveness, if not understanding, for what Julian
considered a betrayal. Imagine my happiness when
Vivienne herself, who had only known me briefly in her
mortal life, took me into her precious arms and asked me
to stay. It seemed that was all the approval Julian
needed, and I took up residence with them that very

“There came between us a kind of peace. We lived and
hunted together, and made no mention of my refusal to
bring Vivienne over. This is not to say that things were
back exactly as they were. No, but things were congenial
between the four of us, and I was reunited with my
family. There was nothing more sublime, nor fulfilling
as that. I could only pray that time would restore our
deep love for one another.

“Vivienne was an exceptional creature. She took me into
her heart instantly, and looked up to me as a father.
Forgiveness flowed from her freely.

“‘I want you to know, sweet Claudius, that I harbor no
resentment toward you for your decision all those
decades ago,’ she once told me as we strolled alone, arm
in arm in the twilight hours. ‘I understand your
hesitation completely.’

“I was taken aback. ‘Oh? But why? You were doomed
to die a mortal death, and would have, were it not for

“She sighed. ‘Yes, but Julian was wrong to make me for
the reasons he did. Love that once burned so bright,’ she
paused and laughed scornfully. ‘He no longer loves me.
I was a plaything to him for only a short time, and now
he seeks another. What was my purpose? Mortal death
would’ve been kinder.’

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Could this be
true? It was too cruel for Julian to toss this sweet angel
away after damning her soul eternally. But Julian was
becoming a being I no longer recognized. He was
evasive and silent again. I knew what she said was
true, and I cursed myself for not seeing it in time to be
the voice of reason.

“As it turned out, I was too late by the time Vivienne
had told me. He’d already found another companion.
That night, I asked her where I could find Julian so I
might have a word with him about his flippant and
dishonorable behavior. She led me to a nearby bar,
where Julian was intently watching a man who sat
across the bar, drinking one Jack and Coke after another.

“That man was you, Mulder.”

I was astounded. “Me?”

“Yes. I scanned your thoughts, and found you to be in a
maelstrom of emotions. You were angry and hurt, but
most of all, you were consumed, utterly and completely,
with guilt.

“I was intrigued. Prodding further, I found the source of
your misery. Your partner – the one in this hospital
suffering from my poor Liliana’s demented brutality –
she was missing. I knew you’d searched everywhere for
her. Indeed, I knew every nuance of your tormented
psyche, and I hope you’ll forgive the intrusion. Guilt
was not a passing thing for you, but a slow-feeding
parasite, attached to your soul. I understood you
completely, for can you imagine a vampire with a
guiltless existence?

“You were oblivious to us and our mental prodding.
Julian ignored me, and studied you with deep and
unmovable wonder. He was in love with your intense
mortal emotions, the layers of them. He wanted to infuse
your passion with his own, wanted to solve you, as you
were an incredible enigma to him. But most of all, he
simply wanted you.

“Time passed. Your partner was found. Julian followed
you wherever you went, and rare was the time he left a
night to you alone. I was always close by to make sure
he didn’t make the fatal mistake of bringing you over,
for surely the Council would burn him for another

“He was obsessed with you. Completely enthralled with
your essence, your pain and wry manner. You didn’t
know it at the time, but you had a dark guardian angel
by your side at all times. Each time your life was
threatened, and to be sure, that was an extraordinary
number of times, he was half-crazed to bring you over.
He lurked outside in the cool desert night as your
Navajo friends performed their ancient ceremony, and it
was all I could do to keep him from rushing inside and
killing every last one of them to get to you. He thought
it was all nonsense, and was mad with the possibility of
losing you.

“There were other times as well. Your enemies were
nearly his victims more than once. But I held him back.
You see, I had begun to love you as well. You were like
another child to me, someone I could care for as a
guardian might. I began to care deeply about your quest,
and knew the consequences of taking your enemies out.
They would take their knowledge with their deaths, and
more than that, it was not for us to interfere with your

“All this is important to Vivienne’s story. You must
understand the level of Julian’s obsession with you to
fully grasp what he did to her. We returned home from
yet another night of observing you. I must admit, I was
finding that constantly watching over Julian’s actions
was wearisome, and if not for my concern for your
future, I would have finally let him make his mistake.

“Vivienne was tired of it as well. For decades, she had
been the object of Julian’s affections, and now she found
herself out in the cold. Four years, she held her silence
and tolerated it, hoping you were a passing phase. But
Julian’s obsession grew greater, until it came to be that
he was no longer our Julian, but a shell of his former
self. He wanted you so very badly, and was crushed by
the impossibility of having you.

“It was finally more than Vivienne could bear. She
accosted him that night, demanding that he stay close by
from there on out, rather than gallivanting around the
nation after you.

“‘You ought to stay where you’re loved, Julian, rather
than pathetically following some human who doesn’t
give a damn to know you and never will!’

“Julian was outraged. No, it was more than that. He was
infuriated beyond words. His eyes burned their
frightening violet and he shook with rage. I’d never seen
him so insane with anger.

“My tender, sweet flower – my Vivienne – was gone by
dawn. He had staked her out in the garden for the
morning sun to consume her. There was nothing any of
us could do about it, though we tried. He threw each of
us off as if we were mere mortals. I’ll never forget the
sight of him shoving the garden stakes through her
hands and feet as she lay spread-eagle and helpless on
the ground. His face terrified me. I no longer recognized
the boy I once loved. The approaching dawn forced us
all to retreat, and Julian himself barely escaped it. There
was nothing left to do but sleep. Vivienne was now lost
to us.

“The cruelty of it was unbearable. Nothing has been the
same since. I left the following night without so much as
a word to Julian. Liliana was beside herself and the
Convenire was silent, buried in their thoughts. I haven’t
seen my children since.”

When Claudius was done with his story, I sat in silence
for several moments, absorbing the new information in
shock. “He’s been following me for four years?”

Claudius nodded. “Yes. Countless times, I wanted to
warn you. But I knew you well enough to know any
contact with one of our kind would only create a spark
of passion to find out our secrets. I have watched over
you from a distance, rarely intervening in your affairs. I
knew the moment Julian taped his message on your
mirror. I knew the moment you decided to seek him out.
Sadly, there was nothing I could do to stop Julian
without drawing the Council’s attention toward him.

“Understand that in making you, he’s finally crossed the
line. They will be looking for him now. Indeed, I’m
quite surprised they haven’t moved to do so already.
They work in ways only they can fully comprehend.
Julian put you in danger as well as himself, and so I
finally come to you to tell you what you’re up against,
and the nature of the creature that made you.

“I’d like to offer you an alternative place to stay. Under
the circumstances, I think you’ll agree that’s best.”

I did agree. We arranged for me to stay with him until
Scully recovered and she and I could continue on our
own. He assured me Julian wouldn’t dare trespass on his
privacy and that I would be safe. I thanked him and we
parted ways for the remainder of the evening.

I walked back into the hospital and collected my
visitor’s badge from the front counter, returning to
Scully wiser, and much more aware than before. I was
still having difficulty digesting all I’d heard. It was all
too strange, but I believed every word Claudius uttered.

As I turned the corner that led to ICU, I heard a voice
speaking in rushed and barely controlled tones.

“Why wasn’t I notified?”

I’d know that voice from anywhere. I peeked around the
corner to verify it with my own eyes. Skinner.

To her credit, the ICU nurse didn’t flinch, though
Skinner was in her face. “Mr. Skinner,” she began
calmly, “Agent Mulder assured us the proper authorities
had already been notified. We had no reason to doubt

“Mulder?” his tone softened. “When was Agent Mulder

“He brought her into the emergency room and stayed in
her room here until about an hour and a half ago.
Looked like he was in a real rush to leave, too.”

Skinner sighed. I wanted to search his mind and see
what he thought, but it seemed too much like an
invasion. However, two things were obvious to me
without delving deeply into his thoughts; he was worried
about me and he was terrified for Scully.

But his presence threw a monkey wrench into my plans
to stay with her as long as I could and protect her from
any other nocturnal visitors. There was little time left
before daybreak. I had to get out of there – without
looking in on Scully and without being seen. I hated it,
but had no choice.

Silently vowing to return the following night, I made my
way to my new refuge.

Chapter 5