What started out as a modest flame soon erupted into a full burst fire, a burning bush of prophecy. The new Slayer is rising.
"That was amazing, Livvy," Iris whispered. "Where did you learn how to do that?"
"I don't know," Livvy shook her head. "It all just came to me, I guess."
"Didn't it hurt when he hit you?" Iris asked in pure bewilderment.
"It did for a moment, but it just faded away," Livvy replied.
She had never been seriously injured before and even when she had fallen a few times as a child she had always easily recovered. Now, it seemed like there was a reason for her resilience. She felt like the heroines in the books she read. She was Joan of Arc, a woman soldier among an army of men. A woman chosen by God to fight and win the war. She wasn't the average girl she thought she was. There was something more inside of her destined for something else.
Strangely, the doorbell rang. Livvy didn't make a move. Who could be visiting their home at that hour? But the visitor insisted their stay as the bell rang on, followed by an occasional thump on the door. It was enough to send Gerard downstairs through half-lidded eyes. Livvy watched as her father walked past her and let out an audible yawn before he opened the door.
Livvy couldn't see the visitor, but the look on her father's face was one she had never seen before. First, he seemed indifferent possibly a symptom of being half awake. Then, he seemed surprised and he wiped his eyes as if he thought he was dreaming. Finally, his eyes narrowed and his lips straightened solemnly in defense. He stepped back and stretched one of his arms to lean on one side of the doorframe like he was blocking their path.
"What do you want?" Gerard asked bluntly.
Livvy could see now that it was two men at the door. Both wearing heavy black coats with the hoods over their heads. One of them was very tall and had dark brown curls peeking out of his hood. The other one was just as tall with a streak of visible blond hair peering from his side. She could see the tiniest bit of blond facial hair on the second man's face. Her father was glaring at them now as if he had known them before. Were they old friends turned into new enemies?
"Don't tell me you've forgotten us, Gee," The first man said, his voice soft and gentle.
Gerard said nothing. He just waited for an explanation, his fingers tapping against the doorframe impatiently. Livvy had never seen her father look so cold. Usually, he welcomed his visitors politely even if they were solicitors.
"We're here to talk to Lyvia," the second man added, his voice also gentle but with the slightest hint of persistence.
"I'm Lyvia!" Livvy blurted out before Gerard could refuse.
Her father turned around toward her in disbelief. He had been too sleepy to realize that she was still sitting in the middle of the stairway. Livvy made her way toward the two men curiously. Gerard kept his arm still, keeping her from getting any closer to them.
"You look just like your mother," the first man says with a smile.
"You knew my mother?" Livvy's eyes lit up at the word.
"May we come in?" the man asks Gerard who reluctantly let them through.
Livvy welcomed them inside and motioned for them to take a seat on the couch. Gerard just took a seat opposite of them and kept a defensive eye out on the two men. The men took their hoods down to reveal their identities. The first man looked as kind as the sound of his voice. He had a soft expression to him that made him seem approachable. The second man was somewhat intimidating with his strong build and bright piercing blue eyes. They both stared at her in fascination and kept friendly smiles on their faces. A minute flew by before the first man reached over to shake her hand.
"I'm sorry," he apologized for the delay. "My name's Ray Toro. This is Bob Bryar."
The second man shook her hand firmly and quietly said hello.
"You can call me Livvy," Livvy replied, returning their smiles.
"Livvy," Ray repeated. "Do you have any idea what happened to you today?"
"I turned 17," she shrugged.
"Happy Birthday," Ray greeted. "But I mean this night. Did something out of the ordinary happen?"
"Yeah," Livvy admitted, recalling the boy.
"Livvy, do you know how your mother died?" Bob asked.
"It was some kind of accident," Livvy answered, looking to her father for confirmation.
"Okay," Bob accepted though he threw a disapproving glance at Gerard. "This might sound like a joke, but you're the next Slayer."
"That's what one of those things called me yesterday!" Livvy exclaimed.
"Vampires," Ray said with a nod.
"So I'm the next Slayer....what does that have to do with my mom? Was she one, too?" Livvy asked, excitement building up in her voice.
"A very famous Slayer in fact," Bob grinned proudly.
"And I'm supposed to protect the city from vampires?"
"Right," Bob and Ray said simultaneously.
Livvy had a look of pure eagerness that surprised Ray and Bob. Gerard stood up in objection.
"Are you finished?" he asked them.
"You can't stop her from being what she's destined to be," Ray insisted.
"Destined?" Gerard scoffed. "There's plenty of people on your stupid Council. Let them fight their own battles. Don't drag my whole family down with you."
"The Council created the Slayer for the purpose of helping them fight their battles," Bob snapped. "We didn't handpick Livvy to fight. It was purely by fate."
"Well, undo it," Gerard sneered. "She's not going to be your Slayer. I'm not allowing her."
"It's not your choice," Bob countered.
"You don't seem to have any trouble believing any of this," Ray told Livvy.
"I do believe it and I want it to be real," Livvy nodded. "I want do something meaningful."
Ray looked at her proudly and couldn't help but to think of Autumn. He put his hand on Livvy's shoulder and assured her that it was not a dream. He could tell that she was going to be just as strong as, if not stronger than, her mother. They had the same fire in their eyes.
"We're here to help you," Bob turned away from Gerard and said to Livvy. "I'm going to train you and teach you how to use new weapons. You'll learn only the best for your safety."
"We're your Guardians. The Council sent us because the prophecy directed us to you," Ray added. "I was your mom's Guardian. Bob is your's, but I was sent here to help."
Livvy's heart soared. Ray knew the history of her mother that Gerard had kept secret and she knew he would share every story he had with her. Finally, a chance to know more about her mother and a chance to be more like her. Livvy couldn't help but to squeal in excitement and hug both Ray and Bob. She felt the protective grip of her father pull her apart from them.
"Livvy, you're not going with them," Gerard scolded, holding her arm.
"It's fate, Dad," Livvy argued, pulling her arm free.
"It's dangerous and I'm not letting you," Gerard insisted.
"Well, you can't stop me," Livvy snapped. "This is something you can't take away from me and you know it!"
"Lyvia!" Gerard raised his voice. "You are not going with them!"
"It's not your choice!" Livvy repeated Bob's words. "It's mine, for once."
"You can't stop her from being something she's meant to be," Ray locked eyes with Gerard.
The words were familiar. It was what Autumn would've said and Gerard silenced himself as Livvy's Guardians became more acquainted with her. A father would stop even destiny to keep his daughter safe, Gerard thought. There was no way he was going to let Livvy end up like Autumn. He was going to do everything within his power to keep them away from her. He heard them discuss plans for training in the morning. Livvy wholehearted accepted just as Gerard would expect her to. It frustrated him for her to be so oblivious and be so ignorant as to what she was agreeing to. Autumn wanted to give up her duties at one point and he knew that she was going to feel the same soon enough.
"So Training Day can start tomorrow?" Bob asked Livvy.
"Sure!" Livvy agreed, loving how he asked for her own decision.
"We'll see you then," Ray bid her goodbye as he and Bob headed for the door.
Livvy waved goodbye and ran to her bedroom to tell Iris. Even if it meant waking her cousin, Livvy had to share her good news just so she could even convince herself that it was truly happening. Bob was the first to step out of the door and before Ray could do the same, Gerard tugged on his sleeve.
"You already took my wife," he whispered pleadingly. "Don't take my daughter, too."
Ray glanced at him sympathetically, but shook his head helplessly.
"I'm sorry," was all he could offer. "She's been chosen."
He turned around to leave and Gerard stood in the open doorway until they were gone. It was beginning to rain and it brought back too many memories of the day Autumn left him. He wasn't sure whether he was more angry or worried. But he knew he was ready to take them on. Screw fate, he thought. He wasn't going to let their "fate" destroy what was left of his family.