Gary’s office was much like Dae’lin’s they ran the field hunters together – splitting the hunters between them, and they had their own minions to do paper work and such. Normally I’d be standing outside Dae’lin’s office, but Gary had wanted to talk to me. Dae’lin was watching me from the glass window in her office. Her normally tanned skin was a little pale and I’d say almost green with worry. She was nervous. I don’t know what she had to be nervous about. It’s not like she was about to get ripped a new one.
Gary sat in his office on the phone. He wasn’t actually talking to anyone as he typed away at his computer. It made me wonder if he knew I could hear him. His fake phone call was just to make me wait. He wasn’t Magnus, he wasn’t my boss. I out ranked him in everything but title. That is the joys of being born what I was. I may have been an orphan, no parents, no name, born to a human mother but I was Magnus. And I was Cesari. There were only two of us in existence at this present moment. But I suspected there were others out there, they just never manifested.
Gary hung up the phone with a slam. Both he and Dae’lin kept the old fashioned handset/cradle pairs just for that purpose. They liked being able to slam the phone down. They had their own cell phones but they used the old ones just to make a show when they were angry. I don’t even think they worked for real.
He stood up and stomped to his door. His green eyes stared at me with a fire I’d seen before. This wasn’t the first time this man had yelled at me. I did my best not to smirk at his sneer. He hated me. He hated what I represented – change was a foreign concept to most Venatori.
“How dare you make me wait boy! I requested your presence 20 minutes ago.”
I shrugged, “Sorry I was taking a shit.” I said it with a perfectly straight face.
A vein in Gary’s forehead started to throb as his face grew red. The fire in his eyes grew brighter. If he were Magnus I’d probably be on fire now. But he wasn’t, he didn’t even have a useful mental gift – it was something like transcribing codes. Which made him an excellent spy master, but beyond that it was useless for me.
Gary reached out to grab me but he thought better of it. The last time Dae’lin did that I throw a very public temper tantrum. Her words not mine. I refused to be manhandled anymore by people who were not my better.
“In my office.” He said. He didn’t wait for me to follow and he didn’t have to. I didn’t know why I was in trouble, I only knew that I was, and it had to do with my report I’d submitted.
I closed the door behind me but I didn’t sit down. I could have taken a military at-ease stance like most other Venatori would have with Gary, but I didn’t I stood near the door ready to leave or move if things got violent.
Gary asked, “Why did you submit an uneeded report?”
“Because I felt it was necessary to record my perspective. And I wanted you to call me in here.”
He looked up at that and there was a concerned look on his face. “Why did you want me to call you here?”
I smiled. “Because I wanted to ask you if you really sent those boys out to die.”
The vein started to throb again, his face turned purple. “Wha… what?” He spluttered out like he was offended. He was just covering his ass now.
“There is an unwavering agreement between you and the pack. It’s not written, but every year, at the same time a group of boys gets sent out to the same area. They never come back.” I stared at him with a frown that said I was disappointed in him. Like this was my meeting to run.
“How dare you accuse me of such things?” He got up from his desk and advanced on me. I backed up without hesitation and the door knob was jabbing into by body. His finger was pointed at my face and the vein was throbbing, and I had a clear view of it since he was six inches shorter than I was. I did my best not to smirk, but I knew I’d failed. People like Gary Kenyon always think I’m going to back down. That because I did for Dae’lin and Dorian I would do for them.
I stopped trying to hide my smirk and let it slid on to my lips. Which only made him angrier. “What’s so funny boy?”
Shaking my head I smiled at him. “If you didn’t do them, why are you so angry at me for even thinking it. Instead of denying it, offering up proof you had no idea what was going on. For the past 10 years you’ve been sending boys to their deaths. This time you fucked up, cause you sent me. Get rid of the trouble maker. I understand – perfect set up. Except you forget I like to make friends with the beasties, and that’s exactly what I did. You slaughtered their families. Their homes burned to the ground, their women and children are dead because you let Michaela and Dylan have their revenge. Trent and Kenny didn’t have to die. John and Chris definitely didn’t have to die. There is no reason any of those people should be dead – except maybe you.” I grinned at him and I took a step into his finger and he backed up. “You sent my nephew to die.” I took another step closer and he went back again. I loomed over him but I showed no other display of power, and I could call all sorts of fun things to my back if I needed it. “You sent my best friend’s nephew to die. You sent the grandson of our leader to die. You sent another ruling families son to die. You sent 15 boys, and two counselors to die. All because you fucked up?”
“What…. no?” Gary stammered he was used to me standing up for myself, for taking charge of the situation.
“You think I didn’t do my research. To check up on what Darwynn told me, Gary? You think I’m that stupid to trust someone who I don’t know?” I took a step back and sat down in the nearest chair. It wasn’t the most comfortable thing in the world, but it was a chair and I was no longer threatening the man with my presence.
I smiled up at the angry man and continued. “There was a group of boys who went out. Their field instructor found a weak wolf man, he’d been attacked by a rival and had been left to die. You brought the man back and the boys beat the wolf to death. But you just left the body to rot outside of camp and when his friends came looking for him, they attacked you for killing him.”
“None of that is in the report.” He voice shook a little like he was nervous. If I could deduce what he’d done who else had. My question is who else cared… and I knew that answer – no one.
“I told you, Darwynn Randall told me the story, his side. I wanted your side.”
Gary sat down in his swiveling chair, he was still angry. But he was calming down. “I didn’t send those kids out…”
“You didn’t stop them either. Who else knows why this keeps happening?” I asked calmly even though I knew I was going to blow a lid.
“No one knows why, but everyone knows it happens.” There was a dark twinkle in his eyes, “Even Dorian knows.” He smirked – he knew the relationship we have, he said it to rattle me. “We do what we must to survive. It is the name of the game.”
“Sacrificing 15 boys is survival?” I would talk to Dorian. But I wasn’t going to let that change the subject.
“Would you rather they attack every group?”
I sighed. “All you had to do was move to someplace else.”
Gary laughed. “You would change millennia of tradition just because of some stupid group of therians decided to take up residence in our woods.”
“Millennia of tradition? Who the fuck cares about tradition when you knowingly send boys to die! Do their lives not matter?”
“You will never understand, boy. You are too human.” Gary shook his head, “We should have let the dragon’s kill you instead when you were a baby.”
Gary laughed. “You think your mother didn’t know? The dragon’s came to us. Told us of the birth of Cesari. Sadly we let them kill the wrong twin. Such was their loss and ours.” He laughed again, “You honestly think we didn’t know? You are a delusional boy.”
He stood up still laughing, but not as hard as he had been. “Your report has been noted. Now get out of my office.” He waited for me to stand up and start for the door before he slammed me against the door jam. “You bring up the follies of my youth again, and I’ll see to it that you find yourself under worse circumstances.”
He glared at me with his hand pressing into my chest. I fought the urge to become that five year old boy, the one who would cower before his elders. But this man was worse that Garrett, he killed boys. He let it happen. He killed innocence. I didn’t back down and neither did we. The only thing that stopped the standoff was a knock at the door.
A small boy of about ten was standing outside waiting. Gary’s demeanor changed as he saw the boy. The red fury dissipated and he let me go. He opened the door and smiled at the boy, he was a diminutive image of his father. The boy asked, “Am I interrupting something, Father?” He looked at me and frowned. I can’t imagine what he thought, the camo color still in my hair and the dark eyeliner. But I didn’t need to know, they were all the same.
Gary shook his head and with a smile waved me away, “No, Lee, Mr. Sétanta was just leaving.”
I nodded in assent and left through the open door. Gary shouted after me, “Remember what I said.” I rolled my eyes. Like I could forget anything he said.