In the paranormal drama there's always some odd reason why some vampire or werewolf or other hunky guy falls for the lead girl. She's so kick ass he can't help himself, she beautiful, smells great, tastes great, has a supernatural ability he admires...whatever. This is Alistair's reason for loving our Raina...though, this chapter has been modified from that which you will read in the 4th book, so as not to give away too much.
We, I mean, I decided we would walk at a human’s pace to Kamaria’s Café from Bastion Fatal. I needed the fresh air and time to think. Not to mention the view of Commencement Bay was beautiful at night; shining night waters, sparkling snow and thick frothy white clouds dancing low and slow in the dark sky, with city lights twinkling all around us.
“Alistair,” I began. He looked down at me with a smile. At some point during our walk I put my hand in his without really thinking about it. For comfort maybe, probably. He didn’t fight it or make a big deal about it. He just gave my hand a reassuring squeeze.
“Do you love me?”
He stopped walking and I stopped too because he was still holding my hand. He looked concerned when he said, “Of course. Why do you ask?”
“I need to know why. Why exactly do you have feelings for me? You’re this ancient creature. You’re powerful. You have your own collective of fifty vampires and hundreds of other creatures, all loyal to you. And to top that off, as if that wasn’t enough, you’re pretty good looking.” Understatement of the century. “I know I have low self-esteem, but I’m also practical, Alistair. I’m not fishing for complements or an ego boost. I know I’m kind of cute, I’m not completely stupid, and I have some skills. I’ll give myself that much credit. But, it’s obvious that I’m so below you, isn’t it?”
Alistair laughed good and loud. “You tell me. I know you can read my mind, so you tell me what I see when I look at you.”
That caught me by surprise. Damon always made a huge deal about my mind reading…In retrospect, I could guess why. He had to keep his little secrets from me. And here’s Alistair inviting me into his head. I could think of no one I knew who would do that…
I stepped in closer, until I was snug against his chest, and closed my eyes. Closeness and shut eyes weren’t necessary, but it felt right. I closed out the sound of the traffic roaring by us on the road beside us, and dropped my mental wall.
Alistair’s life as he remembered it was bare to me. Recent memories and prominent emotions floated at the surfaces. I saw me through his eyes. I looked small and closed off. My eyes always seemed to look down, down as I walked, down as I talked. When I did look up, it was only for brief moments and then my eyes would fall back down. As, if I were taking sneak peeks at the world and everyone in it and then scurrying away like a scared animal. To him, that made every bold move I made that much braver, that much more meaningful.
“Now, let’s see, when did I fall in love with you? No, first let’s look back a bit farther. You’ll have to forgive any distortion. These are my memories of you from the moment I first saw you, while Adia was in my head.”
The first thing I saw was my uncle, Seth. He’s a tall elegant half elf, half wizard with black and gold hair that’s never been cut. His hard, narrow face and large black eyes looked down at me, or rather, Alistair. He was showing Alistair a picture of me on his cell phone.
“This is my niece, master. She and her brothers have been infected with our affliction,” said Seth.
It was a picture of me at our families’ temple. Again, I was looking down. My dark red hair was long in the front and pouring over my shoulders, while the back was cut short and neat. Because Adia and Alistair shared one body, one brain, I knew she thought I looked weak. By this time, I’d already met her once in a dream. She knew I was young and would be so easily manipulated. Alistair thought I looked innocent.
Flash forward only a month or so. It was the first time I met Alistair in person. He entered his throne room and saw me standing there. I looked sweet but guarded. I even smelled sweet, like oranges and vanilla. I was obviously terrified of him, but when I looked up into his eyes, he could have sworn I saw past his madness and straight to him. He could have sworn I saw his kindness, his soul, and for just a moment, one fraction of a second, he didn’t feel alone. But then it was over and he hurt me, threaten me, and kill a man in front of me. And, just when he thought I’d fall on my hands and knees and give him everything he wanted, I yelled at him. Naked and beyond vulnerable, I stood up against him; so small and fragile and innocent and I yelled at him. He thought he’d kill me for it, but he surprised himself by letting me live.
“The next time I saw you, you were in the middle of a house on fire,” he said.
I looked up at Alistair. “No, you entered one of my dreams before that. I remember, because you tried to kill me and Adia had to save me.” Alistair gave me one raised eye and a face thick with confusion. “That never happened, did it? You never entered my dream?”
“As your maker, Adia alone has access to your mind, and even then, only as far as you let her in. Whatever you dreamt I did to you, that’s all it was.” I let my head fall against his chest and sighed. “No, the next time I saw you was immediately after Adia’s soul was pulled out of me. Raphael stood in front of me in my bed chamber, a horrifying sight of a beast. Just as he was pulling her from me I heard you call out to her for help. Once the demon held her soul in his hands, I flew out the window. I followed your scent.”
I laughed, “I must have reeked if you could smell me from ten miles away, in a burning house clouded in black smoke.”
He smiled, “It’s a good strong scent, but no. I’m just one hell of a bloodhound.”
“So, you love me because you feel protective of me?” I asked. I didn’t like that and I couldn’t help but frown.
“No, that’s not it. Because of Adia, I was always protective of you. When I found out you were a demigod, I was even more so. But I wasn’t in love with you. Time and time again, you showed me just how big your heart was. You put yourself in harm’s way for your brother, for your ex-boyfriend and for countless woman and children, but what did me in was when you saved me.” He wrapped his arms around me and held me tight. “Look, Raina. See what I see and you’ll never question why I love you.”
Suddenly I was thrust into a battle. Huge beasts called Larvea— that consumed human fluids, leaving behind mummified corpses in their wake—were pouring out of a tall faery mound located deep in the Olympic National forest. I remembered the fight well. Witches, vampires, trolls and police officers fighting side by side against an unrelenting ancient evil that plagued Western Washington; stealing away young women to be their brides and bear them offspring. Larvea were inhumanly beautiful creatures that were truly neutral evil. All they knew in life were fucking, feeding and breeding and all three were deadly. The sound of gunfire, swords clashing and people screaming roared around me. I smelt blood, mud, sweat and death.
I was seeing the battle through Alistair’s mind, as he remembered it. He fought hard and skillfully with a long silver sword, cutting into the bests with powerful blows. Every move was vampire fast, every thought faster still. The ferocity of his motions left me breathless. I remembered myself stumbling like a child through the battlefield, getting by on mostly luck. I couldn’t walk two feet without falling on my ass in the mud. I chopped at the monsters like a grade school kid smacking a piñata…Compared to Alistair, there was no comparison.
But skill was no use to him when he six larvae ganged up on him. He killed off two of them as they tackled him to the ground and tore his own sword from his hands. With his bare hands he could do little to these ancient beasts as they tore into his flesh with claws, silver and teeth. He screamed in pain and they tossed him to the ground to let him die of his injuries. He was alone in the chaos, bleeding out and unable to heal fast enough to avoid true death. He thought, “This is the end.” His eyes went to the sky. He wanted the last thing he saw to be the stars, not the carnage of battle.
“And then I saw you,” he said, still holding me close.
He could smell me as I ran toward him in the midst of war, my hair flying back, red like my eyes. My skin had an almost luminescent quality as I fell on my knees by his side. He tried to get rid of me, push me away because he saw a larvae making his way toward us with his sword in hand, but I was being stubborn. I heard myself say, “No! I won’t leave you to die!” It shocked him beyond words to hear me say that. He stopped fighting me but he knew that he was still going to die of his injuries. It was only a matter of time. If he could help me end the battle by setting fire to the faery mound before that, then all the better.
We were hidden near the mound, waiting for our men to clear the field before we set fire to the entire place, when he looked down at me and said, “These wounds were made with silver. I might not make it.” Through his eyes I saw myself tear up, large eyes overflowing with too much emotion. Again, he was shocked. He couldn’t remember the last time anyone had ever cried for him. He moved his hand to wipe away my tears, fighting against the pain of torn muscles. And then I kissed him. Feeling the kiss from his perspective was an odd thing. I felt the fevered thoughts of compassion and love run through his mind. And then I put the metaphorical nails in the coffin. I asked him to drink from me, hoping that my blood might give him a fighting chance at life. And I didn’t pull away or wince when he dug his teeth into my neck. I held onto him and let him drink my blood life. For Alistair, it was the most beautiful moment he’d ever shared with another person. He fell in love with me right then and there. He promised himself that if he lived to see another night, he’d spend the rest of his life being everything I needed him to be.
“Whoa,” I said, and I looked up at him. A tear fell from his eye and I wiped it away, and then I kissed him. I had to stand on tip-toes to do it, but I gave him probably the most passionate kiss I’d ever shared with anyone; long and loving.