I was always marveled by the Night Life building. The money that was sunk into the research alone was mind boggling. Every window pane in the glass blocked the harmful rays of the sun that killed a vampire. It’s no ordinary glass. It’s not UV blocking. It’s something else. Someone more scientific minded my be able to tell you more, but it was a marvel to watch old vampires step into the sun light for the first time since they were embraced.
And you’d think with that many vampires walking around the building it would be a blood bath. Humans, vampires, therians, they all walked together, talked. It was harmony at it’s finest. Still the humans didn’t know vampires walked among them. They were oblivious to the magics of the Clandestine Providence. But the vampires didn’t become exhibitionists here for one simple fact. At the second top most floor lived the scariest fucking vampire they knew. It was her money that paid for them to walk in the sunlight. If that wasn’t enough for them to have her respect, but she had it long before that.
We are the things that go bump in the night. Cari Giovanni, Il Cane, The Hound, whatever name you want to call her by she is what bumps back. Venatori fear her. Therians fear her. Vampires run and hide if the think she’s around. It is her mere potential presence that keeps the Night Life blood free. Or rather keeps the blood flowing in the human veins were it belongs. It is harmony as it should be – how the rest of the world should be. But outside these walls, it’s everyone for themselves.
I found Darwynn sitting at a table already with two coffees he pushed on towards me. “Black. Just the way you like it.” He shuddered. “I have no idea how you can drink it like that.”
“For a big bad tough were-lion you sure are a pansy.” I grinned at him.
“Look who’s talking. When’s the last time you were woken by your nightmares.” He said it with a smile. It was a joke. He’d seen my nightmares – blood free nightmares. If he’d know the reality of it he might not be joking about it right now.
He smelled the fear and he took a long draw of his coffee before he said. “So what’s the job?”
“Same as I told you when you came here. I need you to go where the kids are going. Contact the therians in the neighborhood and broker peace for me.”
“You want me, a therian to broker peace with people I don’t know for kids I don’t know?” Darwynn shook his head, “I don’t know what you think I’m capable of.”
“Same thing I’m capable of. Talk to them, charm them. Tell them I owe them.” I pulled a small box of cards from my pocket and shoved them across the table. “Tell them, I’d owe them. If they leave my people unharmed I’ll help them out. There is no reason your kind and my kind can’t coexist. The kids aren’t learning to kill yours out there. They are learning to survive.”
“So they can hunt my kind in the future.” Darwynn said.
I sighed. “Not all of them.”
“Nox. I don’t think this is going to do any good. We can’t co-exist. You hunt us without prejudice.”
“We do not. We hunt those who go rogue. If there are Venatori who are hunting you for sport then that needs to stop.” I said a little too loud and we got stares from some of the nearby tables.
“Who’s gonna stop it, you?” Darwynn sounded skeptical.
“Sure, why not. I’ll protect the kids and stop illegal hunting, why not. What have I got to lose.”
Darwynn frowned, “Your life, your family, everything you’ve ever known for starters.”
I shrugged with a grin. “I’d give my life if it meant those kids don’t get killed. Sage isn’t going anywhere, Drake, Fae and Matt are the only other people in my life that matter, so as long as they are with me I’m fine.”
“What you don’t love me?” He laughed.
I smirked as I looked Darwynn over, checking him out. I’d done it before, hell I’d seen the man naked not too long back. Shifters and clothes were like a nudist colony – clothing optional. “You aren’t my type.” I snickered. Which was a total lie because before Sage, he was precisely the type of guy I would look for. But that didn’t matter now. I had Sage. And Sage was about to introduce me to his friends.
I stood up and dropped a few bucks on the table, “Give them my card. Tell them to call me when there is a problem. If there is a poacher in the neighborhood, or if there is Venatori, or they have a kid who got caught up in something bad, or he’s changed and they can’t do anything about it. Anything, no problem to small. I’ll deal with it. You might end up back there, but I’ll take it. I’ll find a solution. And all they have to do is not kill the survival classes.”
Darwynn sighed, “I’ll try, but I can’t guarantee you anything. But you are paying me well for this trip so I’ll do my damnedest to get you what you want.”
“That’s all I ask, Darwynn.” We shook hands and I was off to Sage’s house.