Posted on 2008-10-31
Author’s Note: A JAOctGoHoNo chapter of Excessively Attentive.
Darcy was entirely unhappy with the rest of his party. They barely find Elizabeth and bring her back into the family – and the earl was having problems curbing his patience about bringing her into the fold, as well!
“She loves walking in the sun, uncle!” he protested. “Why would you take that joy from her?”
“She is a Fitzwilliam,” he replied. “She is one of us – she should be one of us in all ways.” He grumbled. “If only Lewis had been one of us, as well, she would not have been born mortal, and this whole mess would have been avoided in the first place. She would have come back to us on her own.”
“It did not let Lady Catherine find her, either,” Darcy pointed out.
“Of course not,” scoffed the earl. “A vampire hunting a young girl during the dark of the moon? Not even her bloodline could have saved her from being drained – and then she would have been stuck as a child for eternity, and what a horrible fate that would be!”
“You are just jealous that, as my father is the head of the family, he would be the one to turn her,” Richard drawled, amused.
Darcy simply growled. “No one is turning her. She does not even know that this is an issue, and I do not want her frightened off!”
“If she is turned before you marry her, your children may not need to be turned,” the earl replied.
“Perhaps I wish them to have that option,” Darcy replied hotly. “Perhaps I do not wish to see her joy in life be diminished by knowing that she will forever be kept from the full brunt of the sun’s kiss – that only being born a half-breed will permit her to even experience the sun at all.”
“But can you countenance the rest of your existence without her at your side, if she stays mortal?” Alexander asked quietly. He had remained withdrawn from the conversation, but his expression was pensive.
“Asks the man who gave his wife the same choice?” Darcy replied.
Alexander hesitated before replying. “Cassandra understands that she has a few more years yet, before a decision must be made. She is not easy with it – but it is her choice. I love her entirely too much to force it upon her.”
“Then why would I want anything else for Elizabeth?” Darcy all but roared, and even the earl flinched.
The door opened abruptly. “Want anything else for me?” asked the subject of the discussion.
Darcy gaped at her, floundering for words. Alexander collected himself more quickly and drew her completely into the room, shutting the door firmly. “It seems, my dearest cousin,” Alexander began quietly, “that your recovery means you may be facing – even more choices and changes than you anticipated.”
“I cannot be turned to a vampire,” she replied, her eyes still on Darcy.
“How did you –?” the earl stuttered, and Elizabeth smiled without warmth.
“My father was a werekin, was he not?” she replied. “And – so mére tells me – a dragonkin on his mother’s side.”
Darcy drew in a startled but understanding breath, while the earl attempted to puzzle out what this meant for his plans. Darcy distinctly heard the earl muttering about “damned mixed breeds; I should never have let the girls marry outside of the vampire clans.”
“What Lady Catherine may not have told you,” Darcy finally responded, “is that the Darcy clan is a dragonkin clan; your father was a distant branch, having married into the werekin clans about four generations ago.” To this, Elizabeth smiled.
“What did you mean,” Alexander asked, “when you said you could not be turned?”
“My father – that is, Mr. Bennet – tried to turn me as of my eighteenth birthday.” She noticed Darcy’s startled look and replied with a smile. “What, you thought he remained hidden in his library all day for no reason at all?”
“That is why he is so unconcerned about the entail!” Darcy did not mean to blurt that out, but it did make much more sense than a complete indifference to such matters.
“Indeed,” Elizabeth confirmed.
“But mortals who are bitten and not turned die!” Richard cried, quite trampling his cousins’ conversation.
“I never said I am mortal,” Elizabeth replied, with a glance at the assembled men.
Darcy smiled. “No more so than I am, at least.” He glanced sideways at Richard, and explained at his confused look. “When a half-breed dragonkin latent is … er… afflicted by one of the other clans, they do not always turn. The dragonkin, after all, are the only one of the clans who can only be born and bred – they cannot be inducted, as it were. But, latents are known to occur, if the bloodline is diminished enough. It is not unheard of, for a dragonkin latent to become… a little less latent, in the expression of their dragon bloodline, after being exposed to the infection of the other clans.” He glanced at Elizabeth, and she smiled.
“Indeed,” she agreed. “Mama was quite furious when papa had to replace a window in his library. I did not mean to break it, but I did not precisely expect wings and a tail, you know.”
“How did that not let you know you were not his daughter?” Alexander finally asked.
Elizabeth shrugged. “Father may be a purebred, but mother is not. Truth be told, we are not entirely sure what mama’s ancestry is, in terms of the clans, although I shall not go into the drama that caused that to occur.”
The earl looked dejected. “But that means we have three dragons in the family?”
“Georgiana took after the dragonkin?” Elizabeth asked, interested.
Darcy nodded. “Indeed, she did.” He smiled fondly at some memory. “I remember her teething – how mother despaired over the fact she splintered table legs, and how she would wish we had been born more like vampires, for ‘at least vampire children do not destroy furniture before they learn control; they only frighten the servants.’” Elizabeth laughed.
The earl shook himself out of his dejection. “It is a pity you cannot be a vampire,” he said to Elizabeth, “But you are indeed not a mortal?”
“I am most assuredly not,” she replied. “Mére thinks my children may still be vulnerable to turning, depending on my husband, of course.”
On cue, Alexander, the earl, and Richard looked at Darcy, who could only blush as brightly as Elizabeth did. The earl muttered, “I shall learn to be content with dragonkin grandnephews and nieces, then. There are worse fates.” Elizabeth and Darcy both went from pink to red.
“The night has not yet started, Elizabeth,” Darcy said, appose to nothing. “Have you ever flown over London before?”
“Nay, I have not,” she replied. “My aunt and uncle were never comfortable with the idea of me going unescorted where they would not be able to find me. And the tales of some… behaviours of flying dragons, of course, bother them, as well.”
“Shall we?” Darcy asked, with the merest flick of a glance at the others in the room. She understood and agreed; they left post-haste.
“What tales?” asked the earl. He never did keep up with gossip from a clan other than his own.
His sons blushed, and only Richard would answer. “Flying is reportedly to be an ...encouragement, much like feeding is for us.”
The earl was wide-eyed. “And we just let the two of them go off without a chaperone!”
“Well… it is not as if we could accompany them,” Alexander replied, vaguely amused. “And Darcy is a half-breed vampire. He has better control than most of the dragon clan.” He paused, before adding with a wicked grin. “On the other hand, I should not be opposed to seeing my favourite cousin’s children sooner rather than later.”The End