The Black Thorn

The Angel Parks subway station did not look like a friendly place to die in. It seemed cold under the fluorescent lights. Stark, concrete benches and white tiles added to that feeling. There was graffiti on the walls of all kinds; gang, tags and vampire.
Or at least, thatís what Cathrin had told Charlie.
He squinted at a wall and cocked his head to one side, but he couldnít make anything out of the jumble of multicoloured scrawlings. She stood beside him, staring intently at the floor and scuffing the toe of a shoe on a tile. The black jacket of her pants suit was open, revealing the gun holster as she moved.
"Larry was here." she said finally, her voice awfully loud in the deserted station.
"How can you tell?" he asked.
"Thereís still some blood between the tiles." she said, looking around. The lights also made her seem cold, her skin almost too pale, her hair almost too red and her blue-grey eyes as friendly as an ice cube.
"The police do a good job, but not good enough. Maybe they should learn from us." a new voice echoed around the station, distinctly masculine but with an almost silken quality to it. Cathrin cringed, eyes searching the shadows.
"What was that?" Charlie asked, warily looking around.
"We have a visitor." she murmured before calling; "Come on out!"
Suddenly, a man stepped out of the shadows, looking much like a shadow himself, completely clothed in black. From where he stood, Charlie could just make out the other manís features, who seemed equally as stark as the station.
"What took you so long? Iíve been waiting all morning." the other man said and began a graceful swagger toward them.
"I had a funeral to attend, you know that." Cathrin replied.
"It must have slipped my mind. After all, it seems that you only talk to me when I catch you somewhere you canít just storm away from me." the stranger said and shrugged his broad shoulders.
He seemed a walking contrast of black and white. Black hair, white skin, dark eyes, white teeth flashing as he smiled, black clothes.
"Thereís a reason for that, Matthew. I donít want to talk to you." Cathrin was saying. Matthew, the stranger, finally noticed Charlie, his dark eyes settling on him in a steady, unwavering gaze.
"And who is this? I thought you didnít like people much." he said, an amused smile on his lips.
"This is Charlie Bernstein, my trainee. You keep away from him." she said and stepped between the two men. "I donít want you to make his life Hell. Thatís my job." she turned to Charlie. "Go back to the car, now. Donít argue, just do it."
Charlie frowned. "Why?" he asked, looking at them both.
"Yes, Cathrin, tell the hunter-to-be why. Iíd like to hear this." said Matthew, his amused smile growing.
"Shut up." she snapped over her shoulder. "Heís not ready for the likes of you."
"Then perhaps I should introduce myself." the other man said, leaning around her to extend his right hand. "Quin, Keeper of Darling Cove."
Mechanically, Charlie shook his hand. "As in aÖvampire, right?" he asked shakily. Quinís smile grew even more and flashed an elongated upper canine.
"Youíre not as stupid as you look." was all he said.
"Donít take your contempt for us mere mortals out on him." Cathrin said icily, turning toward the vampire. "And why are you here, anyway? From your note, I thought you didnít give a shit."
Quin shrugged carelessly. "Maybe I was curious. It isnít everyday a hunter such as Vlad is killed. They usually die of old age, not of one of us, and certainly nobody as young as a two hundred year old."
"In other words, you also think somethingís up. For once, the hunters and vampires are in agreement." she said.
"Truly now?" asked the vampire. "Well, I wonít tell if you wonít. And so, how is my favourite hunter and Servant?"
Charlie went cold. Servant? Cathrin Forbes, the Hunter, was a vampireís servant? She looked at him, her expression softening. "Donít look at me like that. Iíll explain later." she said quietly and shot Quin an angry glance. "Iím obviously fine. Now, why are you," she turned back to the other man. "So determined to be a pain in the arse? I come here to figure out what happened to Larry, only to find you. Maybe you did this."
Quinís dark eyes widened and he held up his hands in surrender. "Not I. If I had killed Vlad, do you think I would be quiet about it? It would be like me denying the fact that I need to drink blood. If I had killed Vlad, you would be the first to know. Heck, Iíd send you his head!" he said, grinning briefly, flashing fangs.
It was unnerving, seeing those long, sharp, teeth. Only animals seemed to have teeth like those. Predatory animals. Charlie found himself watching the vampire warily, not really knowing what to think or do about it.
"You have never seen one of my kind before, have you, hunter-to-be?" the vampire asked. "You mustnít have, because your mouth is hanging open and youíre staring."
"Uh, no." he admitted, squirming a little under the heavy, dark-eyed gaze.
"Well, Iíll have to do something to change that. Iím sure I can find Mackenzie and Frasier something useful to do." Quin said, flashing those awful looking canines.
"Donít you! The last thing he needs is the three stooges of vampirism annoying him." Cathrin protested, poking him in the centre of his broad, black clad chest with a finger. "Heck, I can barely handle you three, how do you think heíll handle you?"
He shrugged. "Fair enough." he said and laughed softly. His amusement drained away so suddenly, the quick change of expression startled Charlie. Without taking his dark eyes from something past the other manís shoulder, the vampire took hold of Cathrinís upper arms and turned her around. Her blue-grey eyes widened.
"Oh, shit." she murmured. Charlie turned around, to see what they were looking at. All he saw was a wall with graffiti on it.

Cathrin pushed past the frowning Charlie and went to stand a few inches from the wall. Cautiously, she touched a brown scrawling and lifted her fingers to her nose, then tasted them. She spat upon the ground. "Itís blood." she said, looking over her shoulder. Charlie was still frowning. Quin merely nodded, his face now grim.
"I thought so. Itís hard to tell, this being a murder scene and all. Thereís blood everywhere. Iím sure Iíll be smelling it for a week." he said, managing a bare smile.
"Donít even try to joke, Matthew. This ainít funny." she said.
"I know. It ainít often I see one of those. The last time was in the eighteenth century. Course, that was the last time I think anyone used that sort of language." he said, his smile fading.
"Uh, what are you two talking about?" asked Charlie, confusion crossing his features.
"Thereís a contract up on the wall. Itís for Larry, and the rest of us." she said. His blue eyes widened.
"Us?" he asked shakily.
"Me, Marty, John and Libby." she told him. "Youíre not up thereóyet. Told you this wasnít the best career choice."
"Can you tell me what it says?" he said, paling slightly.
"Ask the vampire. Itís his language. Iím a little rusty and heís dying to show off." she replied, looking at Quin.
"Would you like to have it quoted directly or a translation into English? However, I think it loses some of itís charm." he said with slightly cocky smile, though it didnít last.
"Itís that or you suffer with my lousy pronunciation." she said. With that, he cringed, making no attempt to hide his fangs. What use was there? There were no other people about. He sighed, dark eyes searching the wall.
"In a nutshell, it says you five, Vlad included, are Ďthe ones who stand between us and freedomíÖĎa price upon the heads of the ones known as Impaler, Ripper, Hunter, Slasher, SlayeríÖuh, this part is a little archaic, so bear with me." he paused, brows drawing together. Then he shook his head. "This isnít goodÖĎthe women shall be violated with impunity, all shall be decapitated and their heads taken toÖí Goddamn it!" he broke off, becoming ghostly white and swallowing tightly. It took him a moment to recover from whatever the shock had been. "I donít recognise the signature mark."
"I donít believe you." Cathrin said, narrowing her eyes at the vampire. He shook his head, giving her a perfect look of innocence.
"Then donít believe me, see if I care. But if I were you, Iíd put a gun to my head and pull the trigger. A quick death is better than what the author of the contract wants. And get the hunter-to-be out of here! If heís not careful, heíll be added to the list." he snapped.
"Is it that bad?" she asked. He gave her a helpless look, dark eyes wide.
"Worse." he said softly. "I wouldnít wish that on even Andrews."
"Hang on," Charlie interrupted, frowning. "Youíre taking his word on this? A vampire?" "Yep. I havenít got any reason not to, the dead always keep their word. But I have a feeling he knows who Nathaniel is." she said, glaring at the vampire. "For crying out loud, even I can read the name. What ís the problem? Why are you clamming up about it?"
Again, he paled to be ashen. "You donít want to know. If you donít believe a word I say, believe this, please. Keep away from Nathaniel. Heís one vampire you donít want to mess with, heísó" he broke off, nostrils flaring. "I think weíve overstayed our welcome. Or at least I have."
"Company?" Cathrin asked. He nodded.
"They might be just after me, I am out of my territory after all." he said, eyes searching the shadows. She went and grabbed Charlieís wrist.
"Weíre outa here." she told him.
"Why? he asked, wrenching his wrist free, looking distinctly bewildered.
"Because thereís going to be trouble and I donít want you in the middle of it." she snapped, but it was too late. A hand came out of the darkness, gripping the top of the platform.
"Shit." she swore, drawing her gun. "Get out of here, Charlie!"
"You said I should get experience." he protested.
"Not this way, not get to the car and move it into broad daylight. Go now!" she shouted at him. He gave her a wide-eyed, frightened look.
"I donít think I can." he said, his voice reflecting the look on his face. She glanced in the direction he was staring. There were at least two dark shapes blocking the stairwell.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the platform, four bedraggled looking people had climbed up onto it. Quin just stood near a wall, hands in his coat, glaring at them.
"You have no right to be here, young ones." he said, his voice empty of all emotions save one. Anger.
"We have every right, Keeper. The humans are ours." said a very thin woman with wild dark hair and tight fitting clothes.
"No, they are mine. The womanís my servant and the man is hers. You touch them, you deal with me and my people." he snapped.
She chuckled throatily, flashing fangs. "The wall says otherwise. The Hunter is ours. We want our reward from Nathaniel." she snarled.
Quin smiled a small, cruel smile. "He will kill you all."
"Maybe. But he was very happy with what we did to Vlad." she said, strolling forward.
"You bitch!" Cathrin exploded. "You killed Larry."
Charlie tried to stop her, but he wasnít fast enough to keep her from rushing forward, gun aimed at the womanís head.
"Well, Keeper, it looks like your servant wants a fight." she said.
"Cathrin, donít do this." he said quietly.
"Tough shit. Iím angry. Yeah, I want a fight. And I want to see you combust. Larry didnít deserve this shit, and Iím not going to put up with it." she growled.
"Cathrin," Quin hissed. "Think! You cannot take them all!"
"No, of course I canít. But youíre not going to stand by and watch me get ripped to shreds. Iím too important and you want a hunter under your thumb." she said, not taking her eyes off the other woman.
"The things I doÖKatrina, one last warning, stand down. This is one fight you will not win. You have angered Cathrin and when sheís angry, there is nothing you can do to stop her. So, go, take your people and live. Before we get nasty." he said, almost wearily.
Katrina smirked. "Do you honestly think that Iím afraid of this mortal, or even you Keeper?" she purred. "Youíre a Court Lord, all talk and no guts."
She had overstepped her boundary. Cathrin knew that the other vampireís pet hate was being accused of cowardice. She knew he was anything but, considering she knew his reputation and had seen him fight. She took a step back, lowering her gun as she saw him purse his lips and walk gracefully, deliberately, toward Katrina.
"All talk? No guts? Katrina, you are aware of who I am? Or the events which transpired a month ago?" he said, deliberately pronouncing each word slowly as he glared down at her. "And you do know who it was who granted you sanctuary here?"
She opened her mouth to reply, but she never got to say it. He struck her in a back-handed slap which sent her at least seven feet across the station platform.
"Anyone else share the same opinion?" he snarled as she began to pick herself up. She bared her teeth and lunged, hands hooked like claws. He batted her aside like a cat with a mouse. She picked herself up again, nursing her right side. "Back off, Katrina, I mean it. And you should be more afraid of me than Nathaniel." he snarled and hit her a third time. This snapped her head to one side with a sickening crunch and her arms flailed as she staggered back. She took hold of either side of her head and twisted it back in place with yet another set of crunches.
"Get the Hunter!" she snarled. "I want the Keeper!"
The other three vampires grinned maliciously and there was a low growl from behind.
"Charlie," Cathrin said steadily, drawing her other gun. "When I say so, run toward the end of the platform. Thereís a security camera up there. Stay in itís field of view."
Glancing quickly about, she saw a wolf the size of a large Great Dane trot forward, teeth bared.
It was a vampire who attacked first, lunging forward with a blinding speed. She barely had time to bring her gun up as she was knocked to the hard, tiled floor, itís teeth sinking into her forearm. She yowled in pain and put a Glock to its forehead and pulled the trigger. Itís pale eyes widened before it ignited and fell into black ashes. She felt blood on her right forearm. "Fifteen." she muttered absently and glanced from the wolf to the remaining two vampires, all of which were slowly approaching her. Quin seemed content with playing with Katrina. "Shit." she muttered, struggling to sit. She aimed a gun at the wolf, the other at the two vampires, who were now joined by another third.
"Charlie," she said, looking to and fro between the vampires and the wolf. "Run!"
She fired in both directions at once. A vampire howled, so did the wolf. Ignoring the animal for the moment, she twisted and fired at the vampires who were still approaching. Not even bothering to aim, she fired. One vampire doubled over and lunged forward. She kept firing. It incinerated, falling to ash before it even reached her, The second snarled and dove off to one side. The third slowly got to itís feet.
Just then a train pulled into the station.
That was the last thing she needed, people crowding around. "Quin!" she shouted as a shadow rushed toward her. Instinctively, she shot at it. It whined and fell to the floor a few feet away from her.
The doors to the train opened, people peered out in horror. In that time, a blur moved toward it, followed by another. There was a shriek and Quin had Katrina by the hair, dragging her away from the train.
"Charlie, get on the train" Cathrin shouted and got to her feet. People were backing away from the doors.
"I canít." he shouted back in a tight voice. She hazarded a quick look at him. He was backing away from the end of the platform. More vampires were climbing up onto it.
"Quin, you want to do something?!" she shouted and jogged over to Charlie as the train began to pull away. Her right arm was aching slightly and she used this opportunity to reload her guns, taking the clips from a very ashen trainee.
"Wanting a career change yet?" she asked flatly.
"ThisÖthis isnít normalÖis it?" he asked shakily as she backed him against the wall. She laughed bitterly and stood beside him, back flat against the wall.
"Hell no. You should know this ainít normal. None of this is normal. ButÖJesus, itís been years since Iíve had to deal with a gang." she said warily looking at the mob converging on them. "Okay, thereíre eight of them, one of me. Shit. Weíre in serious, real fucking big trouble."
"I take it that isnít good." he muttered and looked wildly about.
"Hell no." she said. "I wish I could be more reassuring, but thatíd be a lie. I suggest you start praying."
"What about Quin? HeísÖheís theÖKeeper, canít he help?" he asked desperately. "And heís your Master, shouldnít he help you?"
She looked between the snarling vampires, trying to see Quin, but he was nowhere in sight.
"Shit!" she swore and shot at a vampire who got too close for comfort. He staggered back, howling in pain.
"And that wasnít the good kind of shit." Charlie muttered and jerked back against the wall as she shot another vampire, this time in the head. She screeched and incinerated. That made them think again, if only for a moment. Still, if they all attacked, they, Charlie and herself that is, would have no hope in the world of surviving.
And trust Quin to disappear.
Ruthless and bloodthirsty, yes, but with lousy timing, Where the fuck could he have gone?
"Ah, fuck it." she muttered and emptied a clip of one of her guns into a couple of vampires. They fell down screaming, but didnít die. Four attacked at the same time. Her spare gun was knocked out of her hand, she was kicked in the stomach and punched in the jaw. Pain shot through her body, white hot and gut wrenching. She couldnít even gasp, though her lungs were burning. She was vaguely aware of Charlie struggling to help her, but he was held back.
A hand clamped around her throat and she was slammed against the wall, her head hitting the concrete painfully, dazing her.
"Spread Ďem, Imaya." was growled. Her head was spinning, but she vaguely recognised the word Imaya as meaning Hunter in the vampire language. Her remaining gun was snatched away.
"Fuck you." she mumbled and managed to gather enough strength to lash out, kicking and punching. Teeth sank into her shoulder and she was hit hard in the stomach again, driving all the air from her lungs. Her legs were knocked out from under her and she fell hard upon the tiled ground, pinned down by all four vampires. One grabbed her ankles and pulled her legs apart hard.
This time she shrieked and struggled, only to be slapped hard in the face. The edges of her vision went dim as she lay dazedly. She managed to get a good kick at one of the vampires, connecting with something solid and hearing a grunt of pain. One of them tangled a hand in her hair and pounded her head upon the tiled floor.
Iím going to be raped she thought helplessly. "Oh, God." she managed to murmur.
"God wonít help you, Hunter." was snarled in the language of vampires. Her shirt was torn away from her throat, her crucifix ripped off and flung away.
"But the Devil can!" that hiss came from her left and two of the vampires were suddenly pulled away. The fourth looked up, pale eyes wide. He suddenly touched a bloody wound on his shoulder. His body jerked and a hole appeared in his forehead. Then he fell to the floor, burning in ashes. The sounds of gunshots rang in her ears, her brain barely registering what was happening. Cathrin painfully managed to sit.
Quin was fighting with all three vampires, an animal snarl on his lips. He broke away long enough to say; "Cathrin, catch!" and throw something at her. She caught it easily and managed a smile.
It was her gun.
Fighting off dizziness, she scrambled to her feet, just as a vampire staggered backward, clutching at the bloody ruins of his throat. She shot him as he neared, just to make sure he wouldnít cause trouble. Just as her lurching vision was beginning to still, she was struck hard in her back and slammed back down onto the floor. The left side of her face painfully hit the ground and she tasted blood in her mouth.
She bucked to get rid of the weight and rolled onto her back, bringing up her left arm, gun cocked and ready to fireÖ
Katrinaís hands gripped either side of Cathrinís throat just as she brought the barrel to the vampireís temple. One jerk of her finger, the vampire was dead. One jerk of her hands, and Katrina ripped out the hunterís throat. Her fingers dug in hard, not quite enough to choke, but hard enough to take seriously.
"Stalemate!" Katrina hissed.
"Fuck you." Cathrin snarled and kicked the other woman away. The vampire bared her teeth and suddenly the gun was gone from the hunterís hand and was pressed to her temple.
"No, fuck you, Hunter" she said softly before raising her voice. "Keeper! I have your Tarvash!"
Cathrin looked over toward Quin. He was still fighting and despite the numbers attacking him, he seemed to be winning. But with Katrinaís announcement, he froze for a moment. In that moment her was swamped by half a dozen vampires. There were a few seconds of absolute chaos, but then the scene cleared.
And it wasnít pretty.
Four vampires held his arms out like wings, a fifth and sixth kicking him alternately in the ribs.
"Enough!" Katrina snapped. Quin sagged, barely standing, pain distorting his handsome features.
"You want to talk? Fine, weíll talk." he said through clenched teeth. "Neiv mar Tarvash, Katrina, elah Nathaniel sim koralan priva!" He switched to his own language and snarled the last words at Katrina. The gun left Cathrinís temple and she was vaguely away of the vampire raising her arm.
Cathrin jerked as the gun went off. So did Quin. He bared his teeth and snarled. "Youíll have to do better than that, Katrina."
He was kicked in the side and he doubled over, gasping.
The gun went off again. He jerked a second time. Then a third, fourth and fifth time. The explosions of the gun going off rang in Cathrinís ears and around the station. Quin slumped forward, the only thing keeping him up was the four vampires holding onto him. Katrina was on her feet walking toward the Lord vampire, gun aimed at his head.
The sound echoed around the station. Cathrin had never heard anything so sweet. Warily, she searched the floor for a gun or crucifix, anything! Charlie was being held by a vampire, still struggling against the creatureís hold. His foot hit something, sending it skittering toward her.
Her other gun.
She grabbed it, ejecting the empty clip, loading a new one in and jacking a bullet into the chamber. The vampire holding Charlie saw and opened its mouth the warn Katrina. Cathrin held the gun firmly, calming herself and fired. Charlie was released and the vampire fell into black ashes. She got to her feet and smoothly turned, firing once at each of the vampires around Quin, including Katrina. The other woman opened her mouth and shrieked in pain, clutching her left arm, dropping the gun. Her shriek was drowned out by the noise of a subway train as it passed through the station.
Then they were gone. Disappeared. Fsst, vanished.
Charlie looked bewildered and dazed. Quin fell to the floor in a crumpled black heap.
"I hate it when they do that." Cathrin growled, holstered her gun and scooped up the other. A wave of dizziness passed over her and she swayed unsteadily for a few minutes, waiting for the disorientation to pass.
"Charlie, look for my crucifix, will you? Itís on the floor around here somewhere." she said wearily.
"Why canít you?" he asked, his voice more of a croak.
"I gotta make sure our undead buddyís going to stay undead." she muttered and made her way over toward Quin. He was lying sprawled and face down, a black silhouette on bright white tiles. She carefully rolled him onto his back. His lips were drawn back in a silent snarl of rage or pain. His eyes were closed and he looked almost as white as the tiles he lay upon.
"Hey, ghoul face!" she said and patted his cheek. He winced and groaned softly, opening his dark eyes.
"Must you constantly insult me?" he murmured weakly.
"If it means you wake up or leave me alone, yes." she told him.
The smallest smile curved on his lips. "I canít get a kind word out of you, can I? Donít answer, I wonít like what you say." he said faintly and cringed. "Ow. I feel like a pincushion."
"You got shot, close enough?" Cathrin told him. "Think you can walk?"
"No, I know I canít. Not until I get these bullets out of me. AndÖ" he trailed off, eyes suddenly fierce and he wet his lips. "And youíre bleeding."
"Donít even think about it. Go feed when youíre intact." she said.
"Aw, but youíre so tasty and youíre already bleedingÖcanít let all that go to waste." he said softly, the tip of his tongue touching the tip of a fang.
"No. I donít donate, you know that." she told him firmly. "And donít even think about persuading Charlie. Heís shaken up enough as it is."
"Then help me up and get these bullets out of me." he said and tried to sit. He gasped, his face contorting in pain and fell back.
"I take it then, youíre still clinging to unlife?" she said wryly.
"Not funny! You tryÖgetting up or evenÖbreathing with so many bullets in you!" he said in a pained tone.
"Charlie, feel like lending a hand?" Cathrin asked, looking up. The blond man was nearby, colour had returned to his face though his eyes were still glassy.
"Huh?" he asked.
"Help me with Quin. I canít lift him on my own. Heís too heavy and Iím wounded." she said. He blinked, blue eyes focusing and unfocusing on her.
"YouÖyou meanÖtoÖtoÖtouch? AÖa vampire?" he stammered.
"Yeah. Help me lift him up and take him to the car then home. He needs help, weíre it." she said slowly. It seemed to sink in this time.
"Do I have to?" he said, nervously wetting is lips.
"If you want me to train you, yes." she said and glanced down at Quin. He looked worriedly at her.
"Dear God, youíve got a long way to go with this one. If heís like the next generation of huntersÖlet me kill him now, put him out of his misery." the vampire said wearily.
"No. Be nice." she scolded him and poked his chest. He gasped in pain. "Sorry." she apologised.
"I thinkÖI deserved it." he choked out.
"Then I take back my apology. Brace yourself." she said and took hold of him under his right arm while Charlie took hold of his left. Quin snarled as they lifted him up. Charlie nearly dropped him in fright.
"Remember, be nice." she told the vampire as he leaned heavily upon the two humans. "For Charlieís sake."
"You mean for your sake." he choked out, trying to stand on his own.
"No, for his. Youíre scaring the shit out of him." she said and looked at the very ill looking trainee.
"ThenÖmaybe heíllÖgive up theÖridiculous notionÖof being a hunter." Quin gasped and sagged against her. He glanced at the other man. "No offenceÖbut youíre pathetic."
Cathrin dug her elbow into the vampireís side. He howled in pain.
"You deserved that, so I wonít apologise. Iíll be the judge at whether or not heís pathetic. And I think that since he hasnít vomited everywhere, heís doing rather well." she said firmly.
It hurt to carry Quin back to the car. He leaned more onto her than Charlie, right onto her left shoulder, on the bite wound. He was quite obviously in a lot of pain, but he tried not to show it. At least, not until they came into daylight. The vampire squeezed his eyes shut, turning his face away from the light, one arm half-raised as if to fend off the sunshine.
"WhatÖwhatís wrong with him?" Charlie asked shakily once they reached the battered Jeep. It was parked in a side street near the subway entrance, so they didnít get too many strange stares as they moved Quin.
"Vampires are sensitive to light. Theyíre essentially nocturnal, so sunlight hurts their eyes." Cathrin explained as she unlocked the back passenger seat. Quickly, she checked her watch. "And this one wouldnít be out in broad daylight just yet. Heís not powerful enough to withstand sunlight a few hours before or after midday."
"Gee, thanks." Quin muttered, still not looking at the sunlight.
"Shut up and get in." she told him and shoved him into the back of her Jeep. She slammed the door shut, but not before reaching around the side passenger door and unlocking it. She ducked in through there and climbed into the driverís seat.
"Well? Are you coming, Charlie? Or do you want to go home?" she asked.
"ButÖif I go home, I donít come back, right?" he said shakily and got into the car.
"Thatís right. Good choice." she said and started the vehicle. She noticed that during the drive back to her apartment building, Charlie kept warily glancing back at Quin, then at her.
"How come youíre helping him? Heís a vampire." he asked finally. Ah, the question she had been dreading.
"Heís my Master, Iím his Servant." she said simply.
"But youíre a hunter too." he said.
"I know. So does he. The only reason why I havenít turned him to ash is because he saved my life. And if he dies, every vampire in the city will feel it. I wonít be able to walk down the street without a leech wanting to claim me or kill me. Servants usually die with their Masters, so I shouldnít be walking around if he gets killed. Thatís their logic anyway." she told him, pulling into the car park. "Ever get the feeling weíve done this before?" she asked with a small smile.
Charlie smiled wryly. "Not funny, Hunter." he muttered, but his smile grew a little. There was hope for him yet.

Chapter 1 Chapter 3