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It was late at night in the dark, quiet children’s ward. Connor was sitting up, reading a book under the bed’s light. The nurses always tried to get him to go to bed around nine, saying it was the hospital’s policy for lights out. He always looked them square in the eye and asked them one question.

“Don’t you think I’ll get plenty of sleep when I’m dead?” He smiled grimly whenever they couldn’t hold his gaze.

He rubbed his head. The headaches never went away now, only the intensity went up and down. Connor could swear he could feel the tumor growing bigger and bigger. The time between the spikes of pain was getting shorter every day. He knew he didn’t have much time left, even without the doctors and the scans. He flipped the page listlessly.

“Psst.”

Connor looked up. He was the only one in his room, the other bed lay forlornly empty. There was no one there.

“Psst!”

Connor frowned, unable to find the source of the noise. Had the tumor made him start hearing things?

“Jeez. Psst! Hey kid! Over here!” Connor turned to the window. He blinked.

There was a man covered head to toe in a black outfit, a sleeveless coat flaring in the wind behind him, a grinning skull mask over his face. “Finally. Hi there.”

“Hi?” he said slowly.

“Great, great. So, uh, Connor, right?” the man said, flipping through pages on a clipboard. Connor recognized it as his medical charts.

“How did you get that?” he asked. The skull grinned up at him.

“A little bird helped me.” he chuckled. “Anyway, I heard you got a tumor in your brain, inoperable, and you’re gonna kick the bucket soon. Ow!” He flinched, as if suddenly kicked in the leg.

“Be a little nicer!” a girl hissed, also dressed in black, but wearing a standard face-concealing mask and possessing a skull insignia on her chest and hat. “Especially to kids!”

“Nah, it’s all right. I can feel it, it’s going to kill me soon. Doctor said maybe this week.” Connor said casually, making the girl’s hand fly to her mouth. “So anyway, what do you want? Aren’t you that guy from that play, or something? It’s after hours, so if you’re going to kidnap me or something I’ll probably just die tomorrow, so…”

“Actually, that’s what we’re here about.” the skull mask said, shoving forward. The black eyes shone with two toxic emerald green pinpoints. “How would you like to not die?” he said gleefully.

“I’d say you’re full of crap if you’re one of those ‘new-age’ healers that think singing and dancing on a circle’s gonna cure a brain tumor.” Connor said flatly.

“Oooh!” the skull reeled back as if struck in the heart. “You wound me! So cynical, at such an early age! Although, I suppose your imminent death would be a good reason to have a sour outlook. But you shouldn’t count out miracles so easily.” He held a gloved finger to his skeletal grin, and Connor got the impression the grin was beneath the mask as well. “Here’s the deal: I’ve got something that could cure your brain cancer. However, it’s still untested. So the problem is also the solution; let me test my method on you, and in return you’re cured. I don’t think there’ll be any aftereffects, so what do you think?”

“I think you’re nuts.” Connor said, leaning on the windowsill and the skull deflated. “I also don’t think any new medicine is going to help.”

“Ah-ha! But you deal with the great Necrysis now! My amazing abilities and outstanding intellect absolutely obliterate anything you’ve seen before! It’s not a medicine, but a process! And really, think about it. You’re gonna die either way. What’ve you got to lose?”

Connor mulled his words over for a moment, then shrugged.

“Makes sense. I mean, the worst that can happen is you kill me, so…”

“Exactly!” The disguised man threw black dust into Connor’s face, making him hack and cough. “No, don’t cough it up! Breathe it in, try to inhale through your nose as much as possible.”

“It stinks.” Connor complained, but obeyed. Scott closed his eyes, feeling the microscopic zombies worm their way through the boy’s system, chewing their way through membranes to reach the brain.

“Okay, go to work.” he muttered, and the zombified organisms went hunting for the engorged brain tissue. Connor clutched his head.

“H-Hey, I feel weird, it’s like…it’s like there’s something tickling inside my head.” Connor said, panic beginning to mount. What had he agreed to?

“Shh, try to relax, that’s normal.” Amber soothed, then whispered to Scott “That’s normal, right?”

“I think so. Last time they went for several areas at once, this time they have one specific target.”

“I-I don’t feel so good.” Connor whined, sinking to his knees. The pressure in his head was mounting. Blood stated trickling form his nose.

“S-Scott!”

“I know, I know, it’s worse than I thought.” He could feel his bacteria latching onto and digging into the tumor. From the way they were spread out, this thing was huge. He hadn’t counted on it being so big, as it was being dissolved it was being released into the skull faster than the bacteria could move it through his system. “Quick, open the second vial.”

“Amber popped a cork and reached through the window to the moaning boy, the black dust flowing up his nose. She glanced at the door; who knew how long they had until a nurse arrived?

“That’s it, that’s it…crap. They can’t work fast enough, the tumor’s too big-wait a minute.” He stared at his hand. Normal disease was the result of an imbalance of the body, life energy twisting and warping to create necrotic energy, but cancer was the own body attacking itself. Sure, the kid’s body was being spiritually wracked with necrotic forces, but the source itself?

Hoping like hell, Scott reached through the window and touched his forehead. “Hold on, kid. This’s gonna hurt. Sekh.” He grit his teeth and tried to keep the flow as small las possible. Connor gasped and whited out with pain, the shock tearing the air from his lungs, preventing him from screaming. The necrotic energy fed into the brain, while the tumor swelled and released its mass. “No, c’mon!” The dark magic was starting to curdle the grey matter. “That’s it. No more playing around.” Scott’s eyes flashed as he shot more power into it, ramping up the damage to the brain but hitting the tumor hard, rotting and withering.

The tumor wasn’t the only one affected, though. The zombified bacteria received a power boost, gorging themselves on the excessive tissue until they could physically hold no more, then moving down through the bloodstream. Within heartbeats, the tumor had been erased.

“Whew.” Scott sighed, cutting the juice and wiping his forehead, then realizing he had a mask on.

“Oh my God, is he okay?” Amber said, frantically peering into the window. The boy’s finger twitched, and he moaned and shook his head.

“Uhh…whuh…what? Ow.” he said groggily.

“See? There’s nothing to worry about.” Scott said, internally relieved. Looked like he wouldn’t need that resurrection circle after all. He pulled out a notebook and started jotting down the experience. “How do you feel? Any headaches, dizziness, nausea?”

“Umm…my head hurts, but-hey, my headache’s gone! It’s gone!” Connor’s eyes widened as he realized the constant pressure was relieved. “How did you do that?” he asked in wonder.

“Trade secret, I’m afraid. But rest assured I’ve removed the tumor, broken it down so it should be out of your system within the next couple of days. The doctors’ll need to check it out, but from what I can tell it’s outta there and you’re fine. You’ll wanna take it easy for awhile, had to damage your brain just a little bit, should be nothing some R&R won’t cure.” he answered, finishing his notes. “Anyway, you’ve been very helpful, but I’m sure it’s past your bedtime and you need to heal. So have a goodnight and remember: we were never here.” He narrowed a glare at him, but Connor just nodded.

“Who was here?”

“Smart lad.” And with that they were gone, disappearing into the night with a swirl of leaves behind their boots. Connor unsteadily got to his feet and climbed into bed, marveling at how normal his head felt.

In the morning, the hospital staff would be astounded and flummoxed at the tumor’s disappearance. His parents would be too relieved and overjoyed to care. Upon being questioned, Connor could only shrug and repeat the words he’d muttered as he drifted off to sleep.

“I guess you really can’t count out miracles so easily.”

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“This is Tamara Nelson, reporting live from the scene at town hall.” the ecstatic reporter exclaimed into the microphone, watching the action. “We’re bringing you footage of the live art performance, the so-called Duel of Hero and Villain, for the whole of Craven Falls to see!” The camera zoomed in on the building.

There, on top of the roof, stood a figure dressed in black, the slash of white on his chest illuminated in the moonlight, cape billowing in the wind. Looming over him was a grinning skull mask, cackling wildly.

“This time you’re through! It is I, the great and terrible Necrysis, master of all that is evil, shall triumph!” he declared, minions dressed in black uniforms rising up to surround the hero.

“Never!” Nightfang declared, throwing his arms out. “The heavens cry out! The people cry out! They cry out for the fangs of Justice to pierce evil’s throat! I, Nightfang, will take you on with everything that I have!” The vampire raised his arms and the “battle” began, to the delight of the crowd below.

“Look at them go, folks!” Tamara said. Nightfang flipped and twirled in a dazzling display, kicking and punching the bad guys from impossible angles and literally sending them flying. Necrysis was no slouch in the special effects department either, appearing to grow extra-long skeletal arms to whirl and flail at the superhero, both locked in a deadly dance up on the town hall roof.

“You shall meet your end tonight, villain!” Nightfang said, parrying the boney arms.

“You fool! I will defeat you once and for all, and then the town will be mine! Ha ha ha! Can you not see you’re outmatched? Arise, Corpse Corps!”

“Uuugh.” The minions shed their uniforms to reveal what they truly were: emaciated, rotting corpses hungering for the flesh of the living. Gasps were heard from the assembled crowd below.

“Egads! How did you manage to reanimate the dead!?” Nightfang proclaimed.

“My mastery of the mystical arts is second to none, you boorish bloodsucker! Time and again my genius has proved my superiority, lest you forget. Get him, boys!”

“Have at you, villain!” The zombies lunged forward, slamming into one another because Nightfang had leapt straight up. “Hyaaah!” His legs lashed out, striking the zombies with unmatched power and precision.

“Hey, hey! Watch it!” Necrysis whispered harshly. “You‘ll wreck ‘em!”

“Oops, sorry.” Nightfang apologized. The zombies were kicked off the roof, facing away from the crowd. Most there assumed there was a net or something to catch the “actors.” Amber winced as the zombies impacted the ground. She sighed and brought out the superglue.

“Alone at last, Necrysis! Nightfang said, cape billowing in the wind to the cheers and applause below.

“It’s not over yet, verminous vampire!” Necrysis snarled. Kevin raised an eyebrow beneath his mask.

“‘Verminous’?”

“Shut up, it’s hard to alliterate the word vampire.” Scott said, and the bony arms shot forward.

“Not today, felonious fiend!” Nightfang cartwheeled out of the way on the gutter, then backflipped over him in a mighty jump. Necrysis, having gone through the choreography all day, kicked him and sent him tumbling, scrambling to catch the edge of the roof.

“Oh no!” Nightfang cried.

“Oh yes!” Necrysis cawed, then saw the police begin to arrive. “Cops’re showing up, we gotta wrap up. No triple-axle.”

“Right. CURSE YOU!”

“Ha ha! Farewell, ignorant hero!” Necrysis bent down to pry him of, to the delicious boos of the crowd.

“No!” Nightfang grabbed the arm, and with an incredible burst of strength hauled himself up, snapping the bone arm like a twig. “Your villainy will NEVER prevail! No matter what, I shall never give up1 No matter what, I shall defeat you!” With a “powerful” punch, Nightfang decked Necrysis, making him reel behind the cooling unit and an obvious dummy rolled off the building.

“Now! This evil has been vanquished forever! But remember, where ever injustice rears its ugly head, I, Nightfang, shall rise to strike it down! Thank you Craven Falls, you were a wonderful audience! Have a good night!” Nightfang and Necrysis took their bows to the applauding crowd and took off before the police could get on the roof.

“That was amazing! Did’ja see that, Vanessa? Did’ja see?” a little girl chirped happily, bouncing on her feet next to her big sister. “That was so cool!”

“Yeah, I saw. That Nightfang guy was very impressive. C’mon, we have to get home, Riley.” Vanessa said, playing on her phone.

“No, not that guy.” Riley scowled. “I’m talking about the other one, Necrysis! He had a horde of zombies, real ones!”

“Sis, those were just costumes.”

“But they were real!” she insisted.

“And zombies are the coolest! Don’t you remember on Halloween, they saved us from-”

“Nothing.” Vanessa put her foot down, a manic gleam in her eye. “They saved us from nothing. They didn’t save us, in fact, because they don’t exist. That was a bad dream, nothing more.” She hadn’t spent the last three weeks repressing that night for nothing. “Let’s go home.”

“But-” Riley pouted as Vanessa took her hand and they started walking back. “Fine. But he was still cooler.” She glanced back at the town hall roof, swarming with police. She grinned as she promised herself she would find him, and learn how to make zombies herself. “No matter what!”

“What?”

“Nothing!”

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“Hurry up, hurry up! I can still hear ‘em!” ‘Necrysis’ urged, clinging to Nightfang’s back like a limpet.

“Well I can hear their radios, they’ve lost us.” Nightfang shot back, slowing down. He had to, or the speeds he was running at would melt his boots. He hopped onto the grass, hoping to disperse some heat that way. Scott turned to the figures loping after them.

“How you holding up, Amber?”

“F-F-Fine!” she managed to say. The zombies, while not as fast as the vampire, could still exceed human running speeds so long as they had sufficient muscle left. Amber was currently riding one and trying very, very hard not to think about it. “W-Why can’t I get a lift from Kevin, again?”

“Cause he was my ride down the building!” Scott called back, grinning at the memory. There was no way the cops could keep up, it was child’s play for the superhero to avoid them.

“Glad to see my greatest contribution is as a getaway vehicle.” Nightfang said.

“Hush! Onward, noble steed!”

It only took them twenty minutes to reach the bluff overlooking the town, where Scott had stolen the souls. They climbed off, and Nightfang was instantly enveloped in a hug.

“Oh Kevin, I was so worried. But you looked fantastic! So this’s your costume, huh?” Mrs. Bachelder said, giving her son a once-over.

“Uh, yeah.” he said, a little embarrassed.

“Hmm, not bad…but Nightfang? Sounds like you’re trying too hard.” she had to admit.

“Yeah, yeah. Everybody’s a critic.” Kevin said, taking the costume off.

“So how’re you doing, Leo? Any problems with your body since being brought back?” Scott asked the older teen, leaning on his freshly-repaired convertible. You haven’t had any hunger for garbage, have you?”

“No, don’t worry. I’m 100% human again.” Leo said, chuckling. “Although, I am a tad concerned. You see, I told Evangeline about what happened and accidentally mentioned that I died…”

SSCCCRRRCCHHHHH!

A white Honda roared down the road and screeched to a halt beside them. The door nearly flew off its hinges as a tall, extremely muscular young woman tore out of it and tackled Leo.

“Oh my God Leo! What happened? You’re alive? You’re okay? Are you alright!?” Evangeline said, after they landed safely on the ground.

“H-Hi, Eva. I said I was fine, Scott brought me back good as new, no problem at all.” Leo half soothed, half begged. He would’ve gone on, except Eva pressed her lips to his and they stayed that way for a solid minute. After letting go, Eva got up and stomped over to Scott.

“You, the scrawny kid. You the one who got Leo involved in this?”

“Ah, well, that’s a matter of perspective, really. Technically, he involved himself when he promised-” he started, trying to hide behind a zombie. She slapped it aside and loomed over him.

“And you’re the one who brought him back to life?”

“Uh…yes?” he gulped. She scooped him up in her arms and hugged him as hard as she could, nearly sobbing.

“Thank you, thank you so much.” I don’t know what I’d do without him, thank you!” Amber smiled as Scott nodded wordlessly.

“Welcome…crushing…can’t breathe…” he choked, trying to tap out on her shoulder. She let him go and grabbed Leo.

“C’mon. I had to use vacation time for this, so I’m going to enjoy it. I rented a hotel room for the next couple of days. You scared me to death, when I heard you died. You’re not gonna get away from me again.” she growled seductively into his ear, and he shrugged happily at the others as she dragged him to the car.

“Bye guys, see you later!” he waved. They left in a hurry, leaving the others staring at their dust in confusion.

“That’s a girl who knows what she wants.” Amber said diplomatically.

“That’s one way of putting it.” Scott said.

“Indeed, a vorcevul voman ist a gut von, vhen her heart ist vull.” Harvaste said, stepping out of the shadows with Genevieve and Gregor. They all turned to them, but Amber noticed Mrs. Bachelder stiffening and tightening her hands, knuckles gripped so hard they turned white.

“Hey. What’re you doing here?” Scott said genially. Gregor stepped forward and bowed low.

“Though my actions were not truly of my own volition, I am aghast at the reprehensible things I have done. I have been a beast, quite beyond the pale. A thousand apologies aren’t enough. Though I do not deserve it, forgive me.” he said gravely, not looking up. Scott waved dismissively.

“Don’t sweat it. The guy who’s really to blame’s squashed like a bug, so we’re doing okay. Oh, speaking of, are you guys still…y’know…” Gregor looked away bashfully.

“Err, yes. The transformation was permanent.” he said, his mouth stretching like a snake to speak to them. “Fortunately, we are in complete control again. We do not have to be in those horrendous forms unless we somehow want to.”

“And a few of them really like it. It’s disgusting.” Genevieve said, shaking her head. “Anyway, we’ve chartered a ship and we’ll be heading off in a few hours. Most of the old clan’s…gone,” A shadow fell across her face, but she pressed on. “But the new people who were transformed and survived have decided to come back with us, at least for awhile. We’ll be training them to live as vampires.”

“Vampire training?” Scott asked.

“Being a wampire reqvires a certain deportment, und I vill giwe it to dem. Und dis modern vorld ist a large place, but it ist shrinking all da time. Dey must learn to valk among humans unseen, hidden. Ve cannot avvord anoder incident like dis vun. Dough wampires are strong, da days ov our rule trough supwerior power are ower. Und to be honest, dese times are fascinating. I haff spent da centuries learning all dat I can, und I haff been wery busy wit dis era. Since coming to dis country again, I have started learning da Tvitter.” Harvaste held up a cell phone, and they stared in disbelief at the page.

“@realLordBloodSage?” Scott read aloud, stunned.

“As strange as it may seem, da handle ‘LordBludSage vas already taken. Not vor wery long, I assure you.” he said, eyes flashing. “Veel vree to vollow me.” He turned to Genevieve. “Vat vas it? Da hashtag “Wampirelive”?” Genevieve put her face in her hand.

“Oooooohhhh…kaaaaay.” Amber said warily, turning back to Kevin. “Wait, so, if all the new vampires will be going home with them to learn how to be vampires, what does that mean for you?” Kevin smiled sadly and shrugged, going over to his mom’s car and pulling out a bag.

“Genevieve and Lord Harvaste visited us earlier, and explained.” he said, slinging the bag over his shoulder. “While I’d like to disagree, Scott was right when he said I stood out too much. I need to practice how to move like a vampire, how to hide like one, how to protect my true identity. Then I’ll be able to be a real superhero. It’ll be hard, but I think it’s for the best.”

“Oh, Kevin.” His mother hugged him close. “No matter what, you’ll always be a real hero to me.” she said, shaking.

“M-Mom.” he choked, hugging her back. After a moment, he reluctantly let go, and shuffled over to Amber and Scott. “You guys…thanks. For everything. Especially you, Scott. I mean it, you need anything, you call. I’ll be there in a flash. Like the Flash!” Kevin shook his hand.

“Yeah, sure man. No problemo at all. I got some valuable research data outta it, anyway.” Scott said with a grin.

“But, do you really think leaving’s a good idea? Is it really what you want?” Amber asked, looking concerned.

“No, it isn’t. What I’d really like to do is be at home with Mom. But what I want to do and need to do are different things.” he said, his voice steady, his eyes resolute. She gave him a quick hug goodbye.

“We’ll miss you.”

“But not the trouble you bring.” Scott tossed at him. Kevin laughed.

“We’re very sorry that all this happened, Mrs. Bachelder.” Genevieve said to her apologetically. “It’s all my fault, I just wanted a meal, I’m the worst-” Mrs. Bachelder put a hand on her shoulder.

“It’s alright, dear. I’m not happy about it, but I know you genuinely didn’t mean for this to happen, and I can’t blame you for your dietary requirements.” she said, trying to keep calm. It was hard not to break down. Gregor and Harvaste both stepped forward and bowed low.

“It ist vith a heawy heart dat ve do dis, madame. Iv I had a choice, none ov dis vould haff occurred. Howewer, da vorld ist not kind enough to giwe do-ovwers. Ve must simply make da best out ov da situation ve vind ourselfs in. I can assure you at da wery least, he vill receiwe da best education money can buy. I periodically hire tutors from my wast velth resources, to try und keep up vith da current vorld. Tink ov it like a scholarship, und perhaps it vill be better dat vay.”

“Thank you, Lord Harvaste.” she said, nodding. “I…I’ve been trying to keep everything together, for the last sixteen years. And in two days everything comes crashing down around my head. And then, all of a sudden…” They turned to where she was staring, at Kevin laughing with Scott and Amber. “All of a sudden, my little boy grows up to be a man.” She had to wipe a tear from her eye. Harvaste nodded solemnly.

“It ist vhen a boy ist put to da test dat he sees da man he becomes. It ist a process I haff seen vor centuries.” he said, melancholic.

“Does it get any easier, knowing they don’t need you anymore?”

“Not vonce in ower eight hundert years.”

“Do you regret any of it?” she asked, a small smile on her face, the weight of it matched only by the one on his.

“Not vonce in ower eight hundert years.” he repeated. She nodded.

“So, I guess this’s goodbye then.” Amber said sadly.

“Not forever, though. I am going to get to come back for vacations and holidays. If I’m good, Harvaste says.” Kevin said, rolling his eyes. “Other than that, yeah. Everything’s taken care of.”

“No. Not everything!” a hoarse voice called out. From the trees emerged a stumbling Will. Scott pulled out a vial of bacteria, Genevieve drew her knife, and Harvaste split his thumb on a fang, forming a snake with a hastily muttered incantation. However, it seemed their precautions were overenthusiastic; the teenaged vampire was swaying, bruised, one eye puffed up and closed. He had extremely large circles under his eyes, like he hadn’t slept since before the mall collapsed. His jacket and pants were ripped and torn, his ribs showing through his skin. He was shaking, struggling to stay on his feet.

“It’s…not over. Not…yet. Not with things like this.” he growled.

“See what I mean?” Scott muttered.

“Everybody, please let me handle this.” Kevin said quietly yet sternly, his eyes never leaving his former friend. The others stood aside, though not with guards down. His mother hung on his arm, but he pried her off with a gentile smile. “It’ll be all right. I promise.” Squaring his shoulders, he marched towards Will. “Hi. You’ve…obviously seen better days.” he began, gearing up for a fight. He didn’t know how much of one Will could put up in the state he was in, though.

“Dumbass. Shut up.” Will snapped, trying to keep his remaining eye open.

“Why did you come here.” Kevin said, keeping his voice even.

“Because. I caught wind of your little going-away party here. I’ve been lurking around the other vamps for a bit now; I hear a lot.” he leered, then winced in pain at the bruise on his head. “I couldn’t let you leave for God knows where, not without finishing things between us.”

“I thought we’d pretty much settled things last time.” Kevin said, and Will spat at his feet.

“Don’t give me that! You ran away! I…god, I had no idea what to do after Brian died. I’ve been wandering the woods, I fell down a cliff…I headed into town, found the busses that’re gonna take the others to the ship…then I knew what I had to do.” Glaring with his red eye, he stomped over to Kevin. They stared at each other. Will fell to his knees.

“Kill me.”

“Huh?” Kevin blinked.

“You heard me!” Will snarled, lowering his head. “I…I’ve got nothing left. I backed the wrong horse, I let my jealousy get the better of me, I betrayed humanity and my friends. My best friend. And I didn’t get what I wanted. I thought things would be better. All I got was looked down on even more and this terrible thirst. I did you wrong, I know that. It’s too late for sorry. But maybe your misery will be a bit better if you put me out of mine.”

Kevin stood stock-still, staring at Will’s exposed neck for a long, long time. His emotions were a storm of chaos inside him. The others waited with baited breath. Kevin, trembling, raised his hand.

This boy was the cause of all of his personal misery. He felt a hot flash of anger sear through him, and his eyes glowed. Why shouldn’t he strike him down? That would be justice! He stared, remembering all the support Will had given him over the years, how much it hurt when Will became a vampire. This wasn’t fair, forcing this choice on him.

SMAK!

Will fell to the ground, the side of his face stinging.

“Wha-? You slapped me?”

“You really are stupid. I should hate you for what you’ve done until the end of time. I should break your neck right now. You deserve it.” Kevin said dispassionately. Will grit his teeth and looked away. “There’s nothing I’d like more than to smash your face underneath my boot. But.” He took a deep breath, and glanced at his trembling mother. “I am a hero. No, beyond that. I am a superhero. And a real superhero works to save everyone he can.” Kevin leaned down and offered a hand.

“Don’t you dare! You won’t pity me!” Will screeched, knocking his hand aside and trying to get to his rubbery feet.

“It’s not pity. It’s the right thing to do.” He offered his hand again. “You’ve done terrible things, for terrible reasons. I don’t know if I can ever forgive you. But Scott’s saved my mother-”

“Hang on, what?” Will said incredulously, finally noticing her.

“Mister magic, that’s me. Wanna see what else I can pull out of a hat?” Scott waved.

“-and now I’m sure miracles are possible. What I do know is, even after everything that’s happened, I miss my friend. I want him back."

“I mean, I don’t think things can go back to the way they were. But things between us don’t have to be like they are right now.” Kevin said, and Will shifted, eyes darting from side to side.

“You really think it’ll be that easy?” he said hoarsely.

“No. But I do think it’s worth a try. You’ve made a lot of mistakes, a lot of bad choices recently. Do you want to make another one?”

Will stared at Kevin with a baleful red eye, shaking like a leaf. Tears started to flow down his cheeks.

“Bastard.” he said, and took his hand. “Th-Thanks.” He tried to stand, but everything was too much. He faded into unconsciousness. Kevin sighed and picked his friend up, and trotted to Harvaste apologetically.

“Uh…room for one more on the ship?” he grinned weakly.

“Are-Are you sure this’s a good idea?” Genevieve asked.

“No. But it’s what has to happen. A hero helps everyone he can, after all.” Kevin said, glancing at the unconscious vampire on his shoulder.

“Wery vell. I leaf him in your care. I vill allow it.” Harvaste said, turning his back and starting down the road. “Come, Genevieve, Gregor, Nightfang. Ve must be going.”

“Love you, Mom.” Kevin said, kissing her goodbye.

“Be careful, sweetie.”

“I will. Later, guys!” he waved to Scott and Amber, who waved goodbye back. He jogged to catch up to the others. “Uh, Lord Harvaste? My name’s Kevin, though.” The elder vampire glanced back at him.

“Don’t be ridiculous. It ist common vor new wampires to take on new names, to reflect who dey haff become. Genevieve has, I haff, und you haff. Dough it ist not vun I vould haff chosen, it suits you und vhat you do, Nightfang. Ewen dough it sounds like you’re trying too hard.” Nightfang smiled a toothy grin, revealing his fangs.

They walked down the road in silence under the stars, vague shapes among the dark and the fog. With the screech of bats and the fluttering of leathery wings, Scott and Amber watched the night swallow them up, and they were gone at last.

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Dreadwizard Siegfried

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