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May 10, 2004
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It was simple.  The apartment was Spartan, decorated in cold blues and greys, suited for its occupant.  Technology was pushed into almost every cranny, from a DVD player, a state of the art sound system, and a computer with a cable modem.  A punching bag hung from the middle of the room and a weight set was cast over to the side.  Very simple and to the point, the only furnishing the room had was a single couch and a desk for the computer to rest upon and a matching chair.

Quinn Frost thoughtfully stroked the slick vinyl of the bag as he took one last look around his apartment.  Sonya Brown had cornered him to come here to this fairly small city to be part of her SPF.  She had known what he was while his fellow officers were getting suspicious after all a fellow detective had seen him go head to head with a vampire and come out the victor. Quinn was use to suspicion though.

He just didn’t like the whispers that reminded him of what he was.  Of what sins his mother had committed.

He didn’t need any reminders.  He knew exactly what he was.  Every time he saw his elongated canines in the mirror and every time the anger hit him like a fist, threatening to control him.  He knew that he really didn’t belong in this world or the next that he was just some wander ready to hunt and kill.

There was a word to what he was: dhampire.

He was a half-breed.  His mother had been human while his father had been a vampire.  The conflicted nature of his bloodline gave him abilities beyond a normal human as well as a desire to rid the Earth of vampires.  It was a dangerous balance, one that he could easily slip from and become like the creatures he instinctively despised.

He was lonely though, even though he would only admit it to himself.

His mother abandoned him, not able to bear the fact that she had a child with a vampire.  For a while, he was bounced from foster homes to orphanages, but most families didn’t know what to do with the stoic little boy with the inhuman eyes.  Especially when puberty hit.

That was when the hatred set in.  His senses became keener than any human could dream.  He could sense vampires and smell fear and lust.  And the hunger developed.

He started to thirst for blood.  He could live without it, but, at first, he couldn’t help looking at the white throats of the whores who strutted down Broadway.  He wondered what it would taste like and what it would feel like.  He knew the power it would bring him.  He just didn’t know how it would change him.  That it could make him like one of them.

One night while skulking about, he met his first vampire.  Pure, sheer, unadulterated hatred poured through him like a living thing.  The only thing that mattered was killing him and wiping out his entire race.  He attacked the vampire and it almost got him killed.  The vampire walked away unscathed, only leaving due to the fact Quinn drove him away with the silver cross he never took off.

Quinn remembered lying on the wet pavement in the alley that smelled like piss and shit.  He remembered how furious he was that he couldn’t move.  Then she came along.  The vampire who picked him up, carried him home, cleaned him up, and taught him everything about vampires.

He knew that vampires over a certain age were immune to silver.  That one had to have faith behind a religious item to drive a vampire away with it.  That vampires could only drink living blood, anything else would severely weaken them, almost to the point of death.  

Still, he hadn’t seen her for over a year now.  She was like that though, always moving and always changing.  She had even helped him get into the police academy in New York.  She had disappeared for unknown reasons though and he missed her.

That was the irony, he missed a vampire.  The very creature that the Laws of Nature had broke for him to be born to destroy.  Then again, she was always different, if a bit difficult.

He sighed and turned to look at the one thing he liked about this apartment.  It had a set of French windows that looked over a balcony.  He loved the balcony.  He loved to look out at night from the fire escape of his old dive.

He let the Autumn breeze ruffle his hair as he looked out into Louisville’s skyline.  He could faintly smell the river in the air.  He rubbed the back of his neck and took a look at his apartment again.

It was rather sparse, but he really didn’t have any ties in the world. An advantage really: there were really no weaknesses for anyone to exploit and there was no one to put in danger this way.  Still, as he had told Sonya Brown when she approached him to join the SPF,  “There is only one person I trust, Brown, and you’re not her.”

He walked over to the punching bag and gave it a hit.  It swung back at him and he swerved out of its path thoughtfully.  He gave it a kick before stilling it with his hands.  Sighing, he looked around the room and wondered if he could forget himself here, away from New York and desperately alone.

“You look thoughtful,” a husky, lyrical female voice stated from the balcony.

Quinn froze as he registered the feel of a vampire.  The energy they had was cold and dead, signaling their power.  It was a dead give away so to speak.  He should have sensed them a long time ago, not when they were standing on his balcony.  He realized that they were shielding themselves from him with a scowl.

He turned around and nearly started smiling.

She was there, watching him with keen indigo eyes.  He would never forget her eyes.  They were too intense, too intelligent, even for a vampire.  Then there was her hair, a rich gold color that fell to her waist in a silken waterfall.  

“Hello Forest,” he replied with a smirk as he leaned against his couch and watched her.

She leaned against an invisible barrier of the threshold of his home.  He could see the .44 Super Magnum as her leather jacket moved around her.  She was also the only vampire he had ever met that carried a gun.

Still, considering her line of work, a gun was an excellent choice of weaponry.  She was an assassin for the supernatural.  She hunted werewolves and other vampires for money and even helped normal humans whenever she could.  She was also damned good at her work.  Killing was her talent, her calling.

Forest had been his teacher. She taught him how to curb and practically ignore the bloodlust.  She taught him how to fight and the ways of vampires. She was the first person that had been kind to him.

And no one would of dared to attempt to stop her from teaching a dhampire.  They were afraid to.

She was Law Unto Herself, and she had disappeared without a trace about a year ago.

He had thrown himself into his work and tried to focus on any vampire related crimes that he could.  The gang in New York had just been the most recent task.  Still, he felt isolated and alone except when she was around.  He still felt that no one understood him except the woman in front of him.

She asked, “What were you thinking about, Quinn?”

“Things,” he answered as he leaned against the wall.  He ran his fingers through his hair with a groan.  He looked up to find her studying him.

He asked, “What the hell are you doing here?”

“I’m curious about this whole SPF business, and when I heard that one Detective Quinn Frost was part of this new force, I had to check things out for myself,” she answered with a smirk as she did sort of a push up on the barrier.

Quinn crossed his arms and asked, “Where did you go?”

“Away.  I had work, stuff you couldn’t get involved in,” Forest answered with a faint scowl.  She stood up straight and crossed her own arms, mirroring his hostile position.  He was openly challenging her and he knew it, but he didn’t care.

Quinn replied, “You left without any word for a year, Forest.”

“Yeah, well, I thought it was time that you did some good on your own,” Forest retorted as she brushed her hair from her eyes.

Quinn snorted at that as he walked over to her.  They were almost the same height, she was that tall, and eye contact was easy.  They stared at each other for a moment before her eyes widened.

“You weren’t this bitchy when I left,” Forest realized with a frown.

Quinn snorted again as he stared her down.  She didn’t know the constant line he had to balance. The line that he had to balance alone.  

Forest tapped her foot as she watched him.  He took a step back and said, “Come in.”

He felt the tiny rush of energy crash as Forest stepped through the threshold of his apartment.  He had forgotten how graceful she was, how each movement was a study in predatory elegance.

She tossed her hair and snorted, “Took you long enough.”

“Sorry, I’ve been preoccupied,” Quinn stated as he turned away from her.  

Forest sat down on his couch and made herself comfortable.  She snorted, “I’ve noticed.”  Still, he couldn’t help but notice the waver in her indigo eyes.  He swore he saw a look of concern on her face before it faded to her usual look of ironic amusement.

Quinn asked, “What are you doing here?”

“Like I said, I wanted to check out this SPF.  And Louisville has been a hot bed of activity lately,” Forest answered casually.

He asked, “Like what?”

“There’s a vampire killing prostitutes and the local police are so shoved up each other’s asses that they can’t do anything about that.,” Forest replied as she studied her long, silver nails.  He watched as she dug something out underneath her thumbnail and flick it away.  She looked up at him with a tiny smirk.

He sat down and studied her.  She was just the same as he remembered.  Just as beautiful and just as dangerous.  Like something that would kill you before it would kiss you.

He looked out the window and replied, “Aren’t most human cops?”

“Exactly.  Now, I’m going to check up on you from time to time,” she said as she began toward the window.

He stood up and looked at her in confusion.  He asked, “What are you talking about?”

“Meaning I’m back in your life,” Forest answered with a smirk as she stood on the balcony railing.

Before he could call her back, she was gone.  Quinn looked down for a familiar blond head and smirked.  Forest was back in his life.

Strangely enough, he was relived.  Relieved that a vampire was back in his life.  He shook his head at the irony.

******

Brandon Night had an urge to swing his sword down into the video phone in front of him.  His grandfather’s scowling, disapproving face was watching him as he went through the motions of his kata.  He brought the sword up and spun it in a graceful arch.

Brendan Night, Alpha Male of the Lupines, lectured, “You have your duty, Brandon.  You can’t just go out and hurt vampires and werewolves.  You’re not Alex.”

Brandon knew his responsibilities as one of the heirs in line for the Alpha Male.  He had them ingrained in his head since he had been a cub.  Still, the lectures were getting tedious.

Brandon replied, “This will help me protect our people better, Granddad.  We might know the Fey culture by heart, but humans are new to us.  Especially since this Cover of Darkness thing.”

Brendan snapped, “I will not have my grandson working along side humans and vampires.”

Brandon didn’t like vampires.  No Lupine did.  There were too many memories and bad blood between the vampires and werewolves and the Lupine.  The Lupine, once werewolves until  converted by Faerie Magic thousands of years ago, were a threat as well as a nuisance to the vampires and other dark forces.  But the instinctual hatred of werewolves was what prompted him to become a Hunter.

As a Lupine, he had skills and powers that could match and surpass any werewolf as well as not being a slave to the moon to become a mindless, evil, ravenous beast.  As the grandson of the Alpha, he had been training almost all of his life for the various Battles of Dominance to secure his place in the Lupine Pack Structure.

Still, he didn’t want to become the Alpha just yet.  He didn’t feel that he was ready for that responsibility and he didn’t want to fail his pack members.  He also secretly felt that the world wasn’t good enough for the Lupines and he could make it better.

He just wouldn’t tell Brendan that.

Brandon replied, “Humans aren’t bad.  Incase you forgot, your own granddaughter is half human.”

“Don’t bring her into this.  It’s bad enough that Alex is running around killing vampires, but I will not have my grandson going into such a dangerous endeavor when he has other responsibilities to pursue,” Brendan bantered back.

Brandon scowled as he brought his sword up and crashed it down.  He stopped it inches from the phone’s screen, just so that his grandfather could see the great sword’s point.  Brandon replied, “I want to make this world as safe as I can for the next generation.  This isn’t your world anymore, Granddad.  Humans know about us now, and the next Alpha Male has to be prepared to deal with this if we wanna continue to survive.”

Ohh, good one Brandon, the young man thought with a grin as he spun his sword again. He added, “Besides, if you were younger, wouldn’t you wanna excuse to kick some werewolf and vampire ass?”

“I lived through the Red Moon Crisis, Cub,” Brendan growled.

Brandon lowered his sword and took some deep breaths.  Sweat trickled along his shoulders, forehead, arms and back, but he was far from tired.  He could swing that fifteen-pound sword for hours on end without getting winded, but he had noticed that the Ohio Valley was more humid than even Minnesota.

However, he did not need to be reminded about the Red Moon Crisis.  No Lupine cub did.  It was too fresh in the Elder pack members lives, a time where the vampires and other opposing forces had almost wiped out the Lupines.  They would have been completely exterminated if it wasn’t for the Fey and one mysterious woman who had guarded a young Brendan with her life.  Brendan didn’t like mentioning it much; he only did it to make a point.

Like when arguing against his grandson.

Brandon said, “But you didn’t see those girls that the McLaughlin Brothers raped and killed.  They were weaker than the mongrels and were preyed upon because of that.”

“You’re too much of a warrior than a politician,” Brendan sighed, “I don’t know how you can be Brad’s son.”

Brandon smiled and replied, “Well, maybe I should fight for our people and not rule.”

“I’ll give you your time, Brandon, but if anything goes wrong you’re back into the Battles,” Brendan warned.

Brandon stood up to his full height and lowered his sword.  He replied, “Thank you, Grandad.”

Brendan made a noise that was between a growl and a snort before the screen went dark.  Brandon sighed as he laid his sword down.  He knew why Brendan wanted him as the next Alpha Male, and it wasn’t because he could kick all of his cousin’s asses.  Brandon was the only one who had the balls to argue against the older man.

He ran his fingers through his thick hair and walked around his cabin.  He liked his new home, hidden right next to the river in a thick patch of woods.  He had his privacy here so he could transform whenever he wanted to for a run and he was close to more familiar surroundings.

He walked into his Den, which housed his carving tools, computer, and manga and comic collection.  He picked up a random manga, browsed through it before putting it back down.  He turned on his computer and logged onto the files which contained information about the SPF.

He was looking forward to meeting his fellow workers.  Plus, there was a vampire that needed hunting.  He smirked to himself and mused aloud, “I’ve never kicked a vamp’s ass before.”

******

It was a dark brown smudge ruining perfect, smooth, pale gold skin.  

To Ami Li it was something else.  She flinched as she gently touched the still healing bruise on her back.  She sighed as she lifted her kimono over her shoulder, recovering the wound.

To her, it was something else.  It was a sign of weakness, that she could be hurt.  Or, rather, it was a sign of her mortality.

She could practice martial arts till she could shatter a board without touching it.  She could be armed with hundreds of swords and guns.  She could conjure spirits of dragons to protect her, but it wouldn’t change the fact that she was human.  Despite the guise of a skillful martial artist, a confidant and talented detective, and a powerful Shinto sorceress, she was still wholly mortal.

She was flesh, blood and bone.  While that could grant one power if they knew how to use it, it didn’t grant eternal life.  Her soul might be endless, but her body wasn’t.  She was aware that she would grow old and die if something didn’t kill her first.

Her fist flew up into the bathroom mirror.  She pulled the blow at the last moment, but the force of impact and her chi was not lessened.  There was a tiny spider web crack in the smooth glass.  Her hand was uninjured though, so she took that to heart as she brushed her long, layered hair.

Ami was a bit rebellious.  Her father wanted her to be a priestess while her mother wanted her to help with the business, to be a good vice-president.  Ami had chosen a different path, the way of the warrior.  Her grandmother had fought against oni, demonic forces, and so Ami took it upon her to do the same, except under the guise of a police officer.

She had learned that despite endless hours in various dojos as a child, she would never physically be a match for anything that walked the night.  Mystically was another story though.  She had learned how to harness the magic used by her father’s family for hundreds of years.

However, she was still mortal.  She could be hurt.  She could bleed.  She could die under the right circumstances.

It made her wonderfully aware of her mortality, and that only made her more determined to fight.  She was doing this for honor and for the Greater Good.  She was doing this for cosmic karma and simply because of the fact it was right, something that her parents understood, but couldn’t fully grasp.

She wanted to prove herself as a force to be reckoned with.  With a combination of her father’s mysticism and her mother’s keen business sense, she quickly climbed the ranks of the Frisco police force so she could work with supernatural cases.  The incubus had been the first creature she had actually been afraid of.

He wanted to violate her just like he did those girls.  She could still see it in his ever-changing eyes as he watched her.  He had lead her on a merry chase climbing dangerously on the Golden Gate Bridge just because it amused him.

She almost fell when climbing to the top of the bridge to face him.  She had her gun out and shouting at him to freeze.  He had lifted her like a rag doll and tossed her to the side.  She had landed hard on her back as the incubus taunted her, the cause of the bruise she had been studying moments before.

True, she had frozen him with her charms in the end, but it terrified her.  It terrified her that there was very little in the world that stood up to fiends like that.  It had made her more determined to succeed as a protector, but she wanted
to do this with man’s laws, not the supernatural.

Then Sonya Brown had walked into the precinct as if she had owned the place, offering Ami a chance to do just as she felt was her duty.  

So, Ami had packed up all of her things from San Francisco, which she dearly loved, argued with both of her parents for five hours each on the phone, and whisked everything away to Louisville, Kentucky to be part of the first Supernatural Protection Force.  She was thrilled at the chance to do this, and that Sonya Brown had chosen her for this honor.  Still, she was slightly worried though.

She put the brush down on the sink and wrapped her wet hair in a towel.  She hummed lightly to herself as she walked into the living room of her two story apartment.  Despite the fact that Aki Li was upset at her daughter, she had made sure that Ami wouldn’t suffer, having placed a lease on one of the nicest apartments in the Louisville area.

Ami smiled as she looked at her aquarium and the myriad of colors swirling in the water.  She studied the fish with a smile.  They just seemed so carefree in their little makeshift world she realized as she watched them.  It was as if they were innocent and the only thing they had to worry about was her feeding them regularly.

She knew that being one of the first members of an experimental group was going to be dangerous.  She also knew that there was a lot riding on this and she was going to face some intense odds at times.  Then there was the fact that she had never even met any of her teammates and knew very little about them except that Brandon Night managed to bag the infamous McLaughlin brothers, one was a detective from New York, and the last member was a fed.

She had even seen Brandon on TV.  The tall Hunter hadn’t said much in the various interviews, just gave a boyish smile and walked away.  He seemed rather young and perhaps lucky, not experienced.  She wondered if Sonya Brown choosing him was a wise course of action.

Ami sighed and shrugged her shoulders.  She flinched at the soreness, yet another reminder that she was just a mortal despite all of her skills.  Then she realized that the people she would be working with were just like her.

That made her feel better than she had in a long time.  It made her proud to be alive and fighting.  It made her determined to do the best she could under any circumstance.

******

Flashing lights.  Loud, pounding rock music with an ambient edge.  Bodies grating against each other in the false illusion of darkness.  Promises being made, kept, and broken.  Hopes found and hopes lost.  People finding each other for different reasons varying from long term companionship to just a hot release for the night.

It was a game Gabriel Umbra was all too familiar with.  It was a poem he could recite both front and backwards.  It was something that made him smile because he was here for the same reason as the mortals around him.

He was sprawled gracefully in his chair as he nursed a Whiskey Sour.  He smirked as people sent glances his way, some timid while some were bold, hiding nothing.  He took another sip and idly ran his fingers through his long, ebony hair.  He wasn’t even using his powers yet, but the looks were still there.

He could stand up and have almost every woman, and a few of the men, in the crowded club pawing and fawning at him if he wanted to.  Gabriel liked to be a bit more discreet than to turn on the Lure without a focus in a crowded club like this.  He had caused a small riot in Germany during World War II doing exactly that once.  Needless to say, the Shadow had learned his lesson.

He smirked as he remembered that Sonya Brown had spotted his mixed heritage right off the bat.  Shadows were the proper term of what people with mixed heritage like his were called.  His mother was a Dark Faerie and his father, the bastard, had been an incubus.  Umbra didn’t talk about Gabriel’s father much, but Gabriel knew that his mother still had feelings him, a demi-demon. An incubus.

He had been the product of that short affair, and one of the last of his kind.  The original Shadows had actually been an experiment; the Dark Faeries wanted to see what would happen if they crossed the powerful magic of the faerie with the dark power of the incubi and succuba.  Strangely enough, the two very different natures conflicted with each other and the children had very little power compared to their sires.

Shadows were magically null, meaning that although they could not use magic, but neither could magic be used against them.  It was the antithesis of every Fey.  The Fey were magical.  They were the origin of all things magic in this world.  However, while they did not have the need to feed off of sexual energy, Shadows had the ability to Lure, but it made them very sensual beings.  They craved touch and sensation as well as conquests.  The last gift they had was the ability to Shadow Walk, to walk within the realms of the shadows, one of the true ‘Tween Places.

Gabriel watched a teenage couple argue in the corner.  The boy was rather handsome and conceited and the girl was shy and timid.  It was obvious from Gabriel’s view point that the boy just wanted to use the girl and dump her.  Fortunately for the girl, she had better scruples than that and refused him at almost every turn.  

She was also attractive in her own way.  There were prettier girls in the club than she was, but she had a spark to her that was admirable.  Still, she was cowering while he berated her.

As he watched, he felt a dark, cold power around him.  He stiffened as he rationalized that it must be a vampire, then he noticed that the power was slightly different.  The power itself was alive, but it just attracted the dead.  Curious, he looked around.

Striding over to the couple was a tiny young woman.  Tiny meaning that she couldn’t have been more than five feet tall not including the heels of her combat boots, however he admired her generous curves from where he was sitting.  She moved briskly and efficiently, her anger making her power spike around her.

She had long, pale ash-blond hair that was almost silver in the flashing blue lights.  It was caught in a high pony tail and floated down her back to almost her waist.  He did smile as he noticed that her ears were sharply pointed, even more so than his own, but covered in various earrings, something that no true Fey would do.  However, if the girl knew of her heritage, she would have put up mental barriers to shield out her Fey powers and nature. Gabriel reasoned her to be a Changeling, a person with Fey heritage lost.

Gabriel watched as the girl told the boy something.  The boy glared but spun away, leaving his girlfriend alone.  The waitress balanced her cork board on one hip as she consoled the younger girl for a moment before moving on.

She turned around and headed back to the bar, carefully avoiding crushing bodies and fumbling oafs.  Gabriel watched her, bemused as he noticed the red winged, black dragon circling her pierced navel.  He smiled as he finished off his drink and placed the glass down.  He continued to watch her as he tried to figure out what she was.  

She was a puzzle to him, an interesting distraction.

It was very hard to find a woman that could distract someone like Gabriel.

He lifted his empty glass in a toast to her.  He had come here to be part of the SPF and maybe use his “gifts” to do some good.  It also seemed that he had found something just as interesting as well.

He chuckled to himself as his own waitress came back and picked up his glass.  She flashed him a real smile from a heavily painted face.  She asked, “Do you want anything else?”

“The real question is, what do you want?” Gabriel replied playfully.  Flirting was part of his nature.  He couldn’t help not to be charming, seductive, and charismatic all at once.

Gabriel also noticed that the little waitress hadn’t noticed him or ogled him.  He knew that there were those out there who could resist the power of Lure, or even sense it being used on them.  That made her even more interesting.

Gabriel realized that he might enjoy Louisville after all.

******
Stupid Normals.

Kayln Norman scowled at her Sloe Gin Fizz as she whirled the fizzle stick around the crisp liquid.  She was dressed to kill and was horny as hell.  However, her “boyfriend” had just dumped her after she had finally trusted him enough to tell him her secret.

“You’re a freak.  God, what the hell are you?  Talk about taking ‘Air Head’ to a whole new level,” he sneered as he looked her over and the tiny whirlwind she had created in her hand.

His brown eyes betrayed his true feelings though.  They were wide, almost panicked, as he looked at the tiny whirlwind she had conjured.  Kayln withdrew her power as he backed away from her, sneering, “I can’t believe it.  God . . .”

“Bastard,” Kayln murmured as she gave the drink an angry stir.

All she wanted was a warm body.  She wanted to be touched without fear.  She wanted comfort and pleasure.  She wanted to touch and be touched.

She groaned in frustration as she realized her mother’s self-fulfilling prophecy was coming true.  She couldn’t be in a happy, normal relationship to save her life.

All because she was an Elemental.

Air Elemental to be precise.  Air Elementals had the weakest element to wield.  Water and Fire were the dangerous ones even though you had to have flame and water to begin with, not simple Air, but people still freaked when they found out that she could create tiny whirlwinds in her palms or create hurricane gusts, even though it drained her.

Alan Durst was a perfect example of the bigotry she had to face from the Normals.

“Fuck him, I didn’t need the bastard anyway,” Kayln grumbled as she fished her digital phone from her purse.  I just wanted a comfortable relationship with sex involved.  That’s all.  I liked Alan, until he revealed how much of a prejudiced prick he was.

Still, she found herself calling Mike Darkfall, as she did numerous times before when a guy dumped her because they found out she was an Elemental.  Mike was an Elemental himself, but he was an Elemental.  He could control all four: Air, Fire, Water, and Earth.  He could turn a lighter flame into a roaring blaze with a thought or a trickle of water into a gushing geyser.  Strangely enough, Mike was pretty happy in his personal life.

She still hadn’t found out how he did it.

“Hello,” Mike’s pleasant voice said from the other line.

Kayln checked herself in the bar’s mirror.  She smiled as she ran her fingers through her short blond hair.  She knew that Mike couldn’t see her, but she still liked to look good when she talked to him.

It was a strange feminine quirk.

She replied, “Hi, Mike.”

“Kayln?  I thought you were with that Alan guy?” Mike asked, sounding surprised over the blaring music of the club.

Kayln laughed bitterly and retorted, “That ass?  Nope, dumped me and left me here all because of my ‘talent’.”

“Then you didn’t need him anyway,” Mike told her firmly, “You can do much better than that.”

Kayln snorted.  Mike was much better than that.  He was handsome in a clean-cut, American way, had a sparkling wit, and a charming personality to go with it.

Kayln sighed, “It’s just getting frustrating.  It’s like I’m good enough to fuck, but when the relationship gets more serious . . .”

“But you said you hadn’t slept with that Alan dude yet,” Mike replied, sounding confused.  She could picture his cute frown and dimples as he talked.

She chuckled darkly, “I hadn’t.  I wanted this to be special. But my libido was not rewarded.  I think I would have been better off sleeping with the bastard right off the bat than pretending to be virtuous.”

“You’re being destructive again,” Mike warned.

Kayln snorted as she leaned on the bar.  She said, “So?  Mike, wanna come get me?  We’ll have some fun.”

“I’ll come get you, but to take you home,” Mike offered, being the nice guy that he was.  Mike wouldn’t take advantage of a girl like that.  It didn’t fit his whole Raised by Witches nature of respecting women.  

Kayln sighed, “Fine.  I’m at the Raven.”

“Gotcha.  Kayln, don’t worry.  Someone will find out what a great person you are,” Mike told her cheerfully before she snorted and hung up.

She sighed, “Stupid normals.”

“I know the feeling,” a slightly accented voice said behind her.

She looked up in the mirror and frowned.  She was alone in the reflection.  There was no one behind her.  There was a masculine chuckle that made her jump and spin around.

Standing beside her, nursing a Bloody Mary of all things, was a tall blond guy with sharp, broad features.  He was handsome with a sharp, Slavic nose, and sparkling blue-green eyes.  She looked back up in the mirror as she realized that he didn’t have a reflection.

“Didn’t mean to startle you, I’m Dimitri,” the vampire offered as he held out a large, pale hand out to her.

She took it, surprised at it’s chill.  He lightly shook it and she replied, “I’m Kayln.”

He hopped up on the stool beside her and asked, “Can I buy you a drink?”

Kayln looked at him, slightly afraid.  She had never talked to a vampire up close before.  She absently rubbed her throat and he laughed.

He leaned close and said, “I won’t bite.”  His eyes twinkled as he added, “Unless you want me to.”

Kayln sipped her drink and retorted, “Don’t get your hopes up.”

“I like a woman who knows her own mind,” Dimitri replied as he pushed his Bloody Mary aside.

Kayln studied him.  Yeah, he was very yummy and that accent was interesting.  Still, he was a vampire.  She didn’t want to admit it, but there were prettier women in the club than she was.  And more willing to let him sink his fangs into their throats.

Dimitri tilted his head and said, “But they didn’t seem so upset.”

“Huna?” she asked, blinking in confusion.  Then she remembered that vampires were telepathists, meaning that they could read minds.  

Dimitri held up his hands in a defenseless gesture and said, “I apologize, but your thoughts were loud and I couldn’t help but to overhear them.  You just seemed angry about something, some injustice.”

“Yeah, about how normals are idiots,” Kayln snorted as she took another large drink, letting her anger bubble up again.

Dimitri nodded in agreement. “They fear what they do not understand.  Yes, idiocy is a good description for that.”

Kayln nodded and realized that he would probably understand her.  She continued, “It’s not fair, you know?  As soon as they find out they run away.”

“People fear what they do not understand, so they’ll try to destroy it,” Dimitri sighed as scowled at his Bloody Mary.  He raised his hand, signaling the bartender.  The young man, probably only a couple of months over twenty-one, walked over and smiled flirtatiously at Kayln before looking at Dimitri.

He asked, “What can I get you?”

“Vodka,” Dimitri answered as he pushed the Bloody Mary to the bartender, “And you can throw this away.”

Some normal thought it would be amusing if she bought me a Bloody Mary, the vampire explained in her mind, his voice a powerful presence.  She shivered at the feel of it as he smiled at her.  She realized that he probably had more trouble with normal people than she did.  At least she could pass for normal under most circumstances, he couldn’t.

She took the last swig of her Fizz and said, “Make that two.”  I could use something harder, Kayln thought wildly.

Dimitri raised an eyebrow and asked, “So, are you taking my offer?”

“Why the hell not?  I mean, we’re in sort of the same boat right now,” Kayln snorted as she pushed her glass to the bartender.

The bartender looked at her and asked, “You sure?  Vodka’s pretty strong.”

“Well, I could use a good hard drink,” she answered as she looked up at Dimitri’s profound blue-green eyes.

The bartender nodded and replied, “Got it, ma’am.”  He went off to prepare the drinks, leaving them alone.  

Dimitri said, “I don’t get drunk, you can.”

“Well, maybe I’ll feel better after downing a fifth of vodka,” she sighed as she shifted herself on the stool.  She licked her lips and studied him.  He was defiantly a tasty treat she realized, and he wouldn’t freak if he found out that she was an Air Elemental.

He asked, “So, what did this normal do to you that made you so upset?”

“Be an idiot.  Boyfriend dumped me after I told him what I could do,” Kayln grumbled angrily as she remembered the look of fear in Alan’s brown eyes.  She looked up and saw curiosity and interest in Dimitri’s sea colored eyes.  So different from the look in Alan’s.

Dimitri nodded and replied, “He does sound like a fool.  Beautiful, powerful woman wanting him and he left based on his own weaknesses.  You didn’t need him anyway.”

“I liked him though, I really did,” she confessed as the vodka was sat down in front of her.  She downed the shot and almost choked on the burning sensation.  Her eyes watered as she swallowed the powerful alcohol and she had to grip the table to balance herself.

Dimitri chuckled at her reaction.  He gently rubbed her back with a cool hand.  Hey, that’s true too, she thought as she wiped off her teary eyes.  He told her, “Sip it since you’re not used to it.”

She snorted, “Too late for that.”  She sat back up and he smiled at her.  She decided that he had a nice smile and he was a good listener.  So what if he was a card-carrying member of the undead?  He was still a seemingly nice guy, as well as being very tasty.

I’m the one who wants to sink a tooth into him, she thought with a chuckle.  She fluffed her stylishly bobbed hair and faced him.  He gave her a gallant smile as he lifted his glass up to her.

Dimitri prompted, “So you were saying about your boyfriend?”

“I liked him.  I really did.  He was smart and funny,” a replacement for Mike, “He had a good job and we clicked.  Or so I thought,” she conceded with a sigh.

Dimitri waved his hand irately and stated, “You deserve more than that.  You shouldn’t wallow in your sorrows like this.  You have power if you chose to use it.”

Kayln looked up at him.  His words had a ring of truth of them.  He was right.  She shouldn’t have to worry about the concerns of normal people.  She was different; she didn’t have to put up with it, damn it.  In fact, she was more powerful than those idiots were.

She realized how stupid that sounded as she snorted, “I wish.”

Dimitri laid a twenty on the bar and stood up.  He held out his hand and she took it, surprised at how chilled it felt to her flushed skin.  She didn’t know if it was the alcohol or what, but the look on his face promised what he said.

Dimitri asked, “I can show you.  Will you let me?”  Their concerns will not be of yours any longer, Kayln Norman.

She nodded and realized that she wanted this.  She wanted what he was offering to her.  A part of her always had.

She pulled out her phone and said, “First, I need to call someone.”

He smiled as she dialed Mike’s phone number.  She waited three rings and Mike picked up.

“Hello, Mike here,” he said in his jovial voice.

Kayln smiled and said, “Hey Mike, I don’t need you to pick me up.”

“You sure, Kay?” Mike asked, sounding concerned, ever the nice guy.

Kayln looked up into Dimitri’s jewel bright eyes and the promise held there.  She smiled and answered, “I’m sure.”

SPF, Characters, and Ideas are Owned by Jennifer L. Bratcher.  Don't even think about using without asking.
The first chapter of my in-progress novel for you to take a look at. Meet Quinn Frost, Ami Li, Brandon Night, and Gabriel Umbra.
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viciousSHADi Featured By Owner May 13, 2004   Traditional Artist
Shadi defintiely digs. I really like how you're setting things into motion with each different situation here...and including some intertwining paths, as well as exploring some of the characters (Ami namely). I'll definitely be keepin' tabs on this one as it's a damn good read. :blackrose:
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psi-yamaneko Featured By Owner May 11, 2004
~<3 I still think you could go for some more poetic turn of phrase sometimes. . .I dunno if that's just me though. It my wreck the dry style of your work. Dry in a good way. Dry humor. That and I wax eloquent to mask the fact that I usually have no idea what I am talking about. :3
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ChronoMCC Featured By Owner May 11, 2004  Hobbyist Writer
Seems quite World of Darkness, though that might just be through the use of Lupines as a race name, as opposed to just werewolves or lycanthropes.
Very nice tho', very good use of description.
Check out some of my place if you get the change
Love and Peace! <(^-^)>
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