Not to be Great

By: Mags

Summary: Cameron meets someone unexpected at the Haven.

Rating: PG/PG-13ish for a teense of bad language

Disclaimer: Not mine. I'm not creative. That's okay, cause I don't make 
money! Aint' it funny how it all works out…



Cameron watched the dancers swirl on the floor across from him. The 
whriling mob twisted and convulsed like a giant serpent to the back beat. 
Occasionally, a flash of color or light drew one figure out of the crowd. 
Then, they faded back into the whole, faceless once more. Off to the side, 
a pack of Gangrel, in suits for a change, denoted Julian's position. They 
hadn't moved for the past half hour, the Prince must be busy. With a 
grunt, he turned away from the brightly lit floor.

Back here, on the far side of the club, it was almost black. If he weren't 
Kindred, he'd have trouble making out the wine in his glass. He lifted the 
cup to his lips and let the maroon liquid slid down his throat. At least the 
drinks were still good. Curiosly, he concentrated on the noises around 
him. Not many people preferred this section of the club and with good 
reason. Where the bright lights from the dance floor didn't penetrate to 
illumine the flaws, the upholstery and tables were worn. Chill air seeped 
in from the vents high above. Bits of garbage, swept under tables by 
some lazy waiter flecked the floor. It was in short, a dismal place to be. A 
few hushed whispers emanted from several booths down. Even further 
away, he could make out the sounds of SOMEONE, well, two someones, 
taking advantage of the dark. He could barely surpress the slight grin 
that sprang to his lips. If Lily only knew what people were doing to her 
precious leather seats…

Aside from that, the tables were empty. He sighed. It was almost 
depressing. But, he was under no illusions, it was a lot more pleasant 
than letting the Prince see him here. Ever since he had murdered, no he 
wouldn't use that word, had killed the Archon, sitting in the same room 
with Julian had become a lot less… pleasant. Cameron didn't particularily 
feel like the dirty looks or poisoned comments this evening. He was tired.

It felt good just to be able to enjoy a glass of blood without feeling 
several sets of eyes burning into his spine. He wasn't hiding, he told 
himself, just taking a break. Up here, he wasn't a Primogen, or a Brujah, 
or even Kindred. When people raised their heads from the dance floor, all 
they would see was another faceless lump. 

Down on the main floor the music changed to something even faster, with 
a heavy back beat. Dancers, Kindred and mortal alike began to gyrate 
wildly, until he had trouble picking out one face from the masses. As he 
watched, a twinge of longing pinched his stomach. It would be… nice to 
simply walk down there and join them. He almost stood up before he 
caught himself. Yes, that was a bloody good idea. The minute he was 
recognized the whole mess would start again. He snarled to himself. 
There wasn't even chance of finding a partner. Julian's people hated him 
and everyone else feared the Prince's wrath. And there was no way in 
Hell he was dancing with one of his own people. Pleasure and business 
didn't mix well in a Brujah clan. Besides the only Brujah he could see were 
some of his thugs. He somehow didn't think that asking one of them for a 
waltz would go over well.

A slight rustle woke him from his musing. Instinctively, his hand dropped 
to his coat where he usually kept his gun. The comforting bulk of the 
holsster was gone, checked at the door. He cursed, looking up to see if 
the noise was a threat.

Across from him, materialized from nowhere, sat a single shrouded figure. 
Cameron blinked. How had they gotten past him so easily? Oblivious to 
his surprise, the figure pushed it's hood down. Two gimlet eyes stared 
back at Cameron, thin brows raised scornfully. Thick wrinkles of skin 
covered the entire face, turning it into a grotesque charicature. Delicately 
pointed ears rose out of the smooth skin of the skull. Cameron started in 
recognition.

"Daedulus?"

Daedulus nodded, with no change in expression. Cameron fell silent, 
waitng for some explanation. Daedulus folded his hands on the desk and 
stared back at him just as patiently. After a few moments of silence, 
Cameron shrugged and turned back towards the crowd. If Daedulus was 
here to play head games, he could go screw himself. With any luck, he'd 
get bored with Cameron's silence and leave. Cameron was in no mood for 
conversation, especially not with one of Julian's cronies.

"It is a tempting sight, isn't it?" 

Cameron suppressed a groan. Daedulus didn't show any signs of leaving. 
He turned to look at the Nosferatu. "I guess." He shrugged and turned 
back to the dancers. "Hadn't given it much thought,"

"You've been staring at them hungrily for the past hour." Daedulus kept 
his expression carefully blank. 

This time, Cameron didn't bother to turn around. "Yeah… well, I was 
bored," he muttered distractadly, engrossed by the changes on the 
dance floor. The wild song had ended again, to be replaced by a slow 
ballad. People were starting to pair off. The ache in his stomach twinged 
a little harder. It caught him so off guard, that he almost missed the 
important thing about Daedulus's comment. His eyes narrowed in 
suspicion. "Why were you watching me?"

"I was bored." The Nosferatu's voice held a hint of mockery. 

"Get a new hobby." Cameron snapped around to glare at him. "I'm not a 
fucking exhibit." Daedulus met his eyes evenly. The two vampires froze, 
stares locked. Finally, it was Cameron who dropped his eyes. Desperate 
to cover his momentary weakness, he spoke up again. "Why'd you come 
here?"

"Entertainment. Like so many others."

"And Lily doesn't… discourage that?"

Daedulus looked away. "Lily cannot be everywhere at once. I come here 
often. You… may not have seen me."

Cameron nodded. "So you hide in the shadows. Lurk like a real vampire. 
How traditional." He took a swig of his drink. The cup was empty, but he 
raised it in a mock toast anyway. "Here's to tradition."

Across the table, Daedulus shifted slightly. He was now almost entirely 
shadowed. In the darkness, Cameron could only see the outline of his 
features. He felt a slight chill. In the half-light, Daedulus was once again 
the creature of legend, cold, alien.

"If you wish. Since when has it become traditional for the ever-brash Brujah to avoid conflict? Surely Lily does not… discourage your prescence 
also?" 

Cameron's fist tightened on his cup. "No, a higher authority sees to that." 
His lip curled. "I’m anathema out there, and you know it." 

"Your own doing." The words were final, like a crypt door slamming shut.

"Maybe." Cameron debated whether to argue or not, but gave it up as a 
bad job. "Doesn't matter now."

"No," the other vampire's voice softened, "it doesn't." He turned away 
from Cameron to watch the crowd also.

"Y'know… I'd give my fangs to be able to walk out there and not have 
anyone recognize me…" Cameron trailed off aghast at having revealed so 
much. He was a Primogen, Primogen, especially Brujah Primogen did not 
share their feelings. To his immense relief, 

Daedulus didn't laugh or grin maliciously. Maybe the other man was 
plotting, but at least he had the grace not to show it.

"It is hard." Daedulus paused a moment to collect his thoughts, "But, it is 
the price we pay." 

"We?" Cameron let the disbelief creep into his voice. "I don't think our 
situations are all that similar." 

"No?" those gimlet eyes bored into his skull. "And do you think, even if 
you were just another ancilla, that you would ever fit this world 
completely? You would still be Kindred, still be other."

"It's better than being dead." 

Daedulus nodded. "Yes. I wonder though, sometiems…" he stared off 
dreamily, "if it was worth it."

His tone made Cameron go cold. He set his jaw, trying to dispell his 
uneasiness. "Talk like that, it'll just argue you into the sun." 

"If I were going to face the daylight…" Daedulus shifted, until he faced 
even further away from Cameron, "I would have done so by now." He 
propped his head up with one clawed hand. "Though why you should 
concern yourself with one of Julian's allies…"

Cameron whipped around. "I'm not concerned." He made a brutal cutting 
motion with his hands to emphasize the "not". It came out sounding less 
decisive than petulant. He sank further into the seat, basking in 
Daedulus's cool stare. Suddenly, he was very glad that Kindred didn't 
blush. He gulped and turned away with a scowl. When Daedulus made no 
reply, the silence prompted him to speak again. "Why are you 
"concerning" yourself with one of your Prince's enemies?" 

"Julian is not here." The Nosferatu gestured to the darkness around 
them. "A fact that you surely have noticed." He raised one eyebrow 
sardonically. 

Cameron examined his mug with narrowed eyes. If it had been anyone 
else, he would say they were trying to strike a deal. He put the mug 
down and looked up at his companion. Daedulus had pulled back, letting 
the shadows slide over his face again. Cameron snorted under his 
breath. No, not a deal. Daedulus was too far entwined with Julian ever to 
betray him.

"As long as you're here, I might as well be sitting on his lap." He jabbed 
one finger at the Prince's table. Not a deal, but quite possibly a trap. If 
Julian caught him conspiring, the Prince had carte blanche in his choice of 
punishments. At the very best, Cameron could hope for exile. At the 
worst… he still had the Archon's blood on his hands, he didn't think Julian 
would hesitate. 

"Such paranoia." 

"Do you expect me to believe that you won't tell him everything we say 
here tonight?!" Cameron slammed his mug onto the table. He didn't want 
to play politics tonight. The Prince was everywhere, no matter what he 
did. He crossed his arms and leaned back against the booth, eyes 
smoldering. Flecks of gold began to swim in the depths.

"No." Daedulus straightened. He brushed some dust from his cowl. "I do 
not." One wrinkled hand crept out from under his sleeve to rest under his 
chin. 

"Get away from me." Cameron fought to keep his voice level. He knew he 
was misbehaving, but the Brujah anger had risen. It was the best he 
could do to control it.

"Why?" Daedulus didn't stir, immobile as the booth. Cameron nearly 
cursed him.

"Listen to me, Nosferatu I have fucking had enough of politics. And 
fucking spy games. And fucking Julian Luna…" he caught himself. He 
couldn't even insult the Prince. Julian would definetely call him on it. With 
a breath, he composed himself and tried a different tack. "Why are you 
here? What mission did HE send you on?"

Daedulus smiled wryly. "You assume that I do only the Prince's bidding." 
He stared at the middle distance for a second then his eyes snapped 
back to Cameron. "I don't know why I came. Perhaps I simply felt," his 
eyes glazed and his voice softened, "… lonely." 

Cameron's surprise won over his rage. He hadn't ever thought to 
attribute normal emotions to Daedulus. In his mind, the Nosferatu was 
always Julian's shadow, just another intrusion of his prescence. He 
observed the vampire across from him with new eyes. 

Oblivious to the change, Daedulus whispered on. "Yes… lonely… But," his 
voice strengthened and he drew himself up, "I think perhaps you are 
better left alone, tonight." There was a hint of sadness in his tone, but he 
flattened it out brutally. His robes rustled as he prepared to stand. 

Without thinking, Cameron reached across the table to grab his arm. 
Daedulus's brows shot up onto his forehead. Cameron could feel him 
tensing, prepared to fight or flee. "Don't…" he checked himself. "Sit. It's a 
free country." 

Daedulus held his eyes for one long moment, considering. His face was 
once again, blank as a mirrior. "Why?"

Cameron swallowed. He'd already taken one risk, why not bet the whole 
farm? It didn't matter anymore. "Because… I'm… it's not a night to drink 
alone." He fought to keep from yanking his hand back. Gritting his teeth, 
he clamped his mouth shut and waited. Daedulus prolonged the moment, 
face blank as a mirror. Cameron looked down, unable to meet his 
darkened eyes.

"You want company?" Daedulus cocked his head. "You show it oddly." 

Cameron winced. He was about to draw back his hand when he noticed a 
slight twinkle in the Nosferatu's eyes. Daedulus had been joking with him. 
The other vampire surprised him further by chuckling at his shocked look. 
As Cameron sat frozen, he reseated himself. 

"Did you just… crack a joke?" 

Daedulus's face creased into a grotesque smile as he noted Cameron's 
look of horror. "I generally refrain. It takes people badly." He observed 
Cameron's unmoving form for a moment. "You should blink. You look like a 
landed fish." 

Cameron gaped and then shut his mouth with a snap. Daedulus took 
advantage of his distraction to reseat himself. By the time the Brujah 
Primogen had recovered fully, he had composed himself in the exact same 
position as before. His hands were clasped in his lap, and he was once 
again as still as the furntiture. They sat together in silence and Cameron 
went back to watching the floor. After a few moments, he became 
conscious of pressure on the back of his neck. As he turned back around, 
he met Daedulus's fascinated stare straight on. Cameron rolled his eyes.

"If you want company, you've gotta drop the gargoyle-shit." He kept his 
voice amicable, but there was a discernable edge beneath the 
friendliness.

"It is polite to focus on your companions."

Cameron searched the Daedulus for a hint of rebuke, or amusement. It 
retained it's masklike blankness under his scrutiny. The Nosferatu had 
one hell of a poker face. Finally, he shrugged and took a stab in the dark. 
"Maybe. But I'm beginning to feel like I should do a little jig, or throw 
some stool or something."

To his surprise, Daedulus smiled again. The effect did not become less 
disturbing with repetition. "Then I would be even more tempted to watch 
you. If only to dodge the projectiles." 

Exasperated, Cameron rubbed his temples. "You're really enjoying 
yourself, aren't you?" 

Daedulus might have replied, but he didn't catch it. Down below, he could 
hear the last song of the set. It was slow, and sweet. The singer closed 
his eyes as he crooned into the microphone. People swirled together 
slowly. The night was growing old and even the most strenuous of 
dancers was tired. Most had either retired to booths for coffee, or left the 
club entirely. Under the swish of clothing, Cameron heard the slight stamp 
of one of the waiters ascending the stairs. The dawn must be coming. Lily 
always sent up someone to clean out the upper balcony prior to closing. 

He sighed and looked over at Daedulus. The other vampire had his head 
cocked, listening to the footsteps in a parody of a spaniel. Cameron 
coughed slightly to get his attention. 

"Looks like the party's over." He fished a bill out of his wallet for tip.

"It would appear so." Daedulus settled his robes back over his hands. He 
reached back to raise his hood over his head and paused, yellow eyes 
boring into Cameron's brown ones. "It has been… interesting."

"That's the word alright." Cameron grinned despite himself and prepared 
to stand. 

Daedulus's brow creased, wrinkles caving in on themselves. He reached 
out and placed his hand on Cameron's shoulder. Cameron started, 
unprepared for the sudden contact. He tensed, but didn't pull away. The 
Nosferatu's touch was strangely comforting. Daedulus tapped him slightly. 
"No. Better than that. It has been pl…" A crack interrupted him as the 
waiter entered the balcony. 

Both Cameron and Daedulus turned towards the noise. The waiter 
clonked their way closer to the table, rousting others out of their boothes 
as they went. Cameron nodded in recognition and moved back towards 
Daedulus.

"Yeah. I guess it was…" He looked up into the empty air. There was 
nothing but a lingering sensitivity where Daedulus's hand had been. The 
Nosferatu was really and truly gone. Cameron squinted, trying to catch a 
glimpse of him in the shadows. Something flicked briefly by the exit, and 
then it was gone. He sighed. 

A polite cough sounded behind his shoulder. He turned around and found 
himself looking a mousy little mortal in the eye. She brushed her hair out 
of her face and pasted a smile on her tired face.

"I'm sorry, sir. We're closing. You'll have to leave." 

Cameron nodded with preoccupation. His ears strained to hear Daedulus 
leaving, but all he could pick up was the sound of her breathing.	

"Sir?" The waitress poked him with one enamelled nail. "Sir!"

Cameron blinked. "Wha- oh." He shook himself and faced the waitress 
fully. "Sorry. I must be tired." He gave her his best wasted-mortal smile. 
She nodded slightly.

"Know what you mean. I'm ready to go home too." She emphasized home 
with a jab of her finger. Cameron inclined his head and headed for the 
stairs. "Wait!" 

He whipped around at the sound of her voice. "Yes?"

"Did you… I mean… was there…" she swallowed, "was there another 
person here, a few minutes ago? Bald maybe? Kinda old?"

Cameron shook his head. "You must be more tired than you thought. 
There was no one here." He smiled ruefully. "I was all alone." 

Finis

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