I busied myself with work on my laptop. Dae’lin had me doing research on several other cases. She never told anyone who was doing the research or how some of the intel was found. And she never told them when I had interfered. But I had connections no other Venatori had. My father of course knew and he had me looking into his vampire case. He and Emilio were supposedly the resident vampire experts and yet they knew nothing of the vampires living in New York much less the ones that lived around the world. But I never told him that, he didn’t want to hear that information.
My father was stopping over for an mid morning meal. It was breakfast for him, he would just be waking me. I’d been up since last night so I’d eaten once already, but my apartment still smelled like bacon as I cooked another batch and made a few eggs. Normally I’d just scramble them and add vegetables as I went. My dad didn’t really like green things so I opted for sunny side up which he preferred with some toast and bacon. I still had some bread left over from Sage stopped by earlier in the week to catch up.
Kai Viddens knocked and then the door opened immediately. He was polite if anything as he walked into my apartment carrying a bottle of irish whiskey. “I figured we could have Irish Coffee this morning?”
I looked at the clock. “I guess it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.” I took it from him, “You know I don’t drink.”
“You’ll have a beer with me but not whiskey?”
“I have two beers at most. Anything more and I’ll spiral into a self made hell I don’t want to think about.” I said as I poured coffee into a mug and added some brown sugar and stirred my father’s coffee until it was all dissolved, added the whiskey and some heavy cream, normally he’d want whipped but this was all I had. Ophelia was looking at me like I’d done something sacrelious using her cream for my father. I emptied the last of it into her bowl and set it in front of her chair to appease her. She still glared at me while she lapped at the silky treat.
“That’s all the cream I have.” I said as I handed my father the drink.
While I had been on my first hunt everyone told me how much I looked like my mother. But the only resemblance I ever saw was the eyes of my father. It was like staring into a mirror with those eyes.
Kai sat down on the couch and started pulling out reports he’d had over the past week. It wasn’t necessarily a morning ritual, but this was how Kai spent time with me. We still struggled with personal time but we did better when it was between just him and me in my apartment.
Kai was jealous of my relationship with Dorian (and Marco). And he tended to take it out on me, we fought more often than not but this was the one time we got along.
I set a plate of food on the coffee table for Kai and fed Ophelia some bacon before I sat down with my own plate of bacon and eggs. I wasn’t really hungry but I always ate with Kai.
“What do you have here?” I asked before lifting a forkful of eggs to my lips.
Kai was sipping at his coffee, then adding more whiskey to it. He was a lush and a half, but no one ever said it to his face. But then again so was Dorian, his poison was a good wine. Though Kai said he didn’t drink too much, but he was like his father in that regard. I’d learned through the grapevine that Kai’s mother died early and that his father was a drunkard. It’s hard to be an alcoholic Venatori where it’s detrimental to your mind and system but his father was. Kai wasn’t that bad, but he drank way more than he should. Iris was always getting on to him about it.
My father pushed a few papers towards me. “You remember that vampire nest that took me by surprise about five years ago?”
I sighed, “Yeah I can’t forget it.”
Kai looked at me with a frown. “Regret saving your old man?”
I shook my head, “No, it’s not that.” I didn’t want to talk about it.
Kai put his hand on my shoulder then took a deep breath. “Right, well I think they were incited. There has been a large influx of vampires.”
“Not only vampires. The rogue pack has been seeing a lot of newcomers and the CCB ranks are growing exponentially. The residential units here in the AU building are being swamped too, we are running out of rune stoned room and there is a program starting for extra stipend money for anyone who wants to move out into the normal world.”
“Are you thinking about it?” Kai asked me, his hand fell to the table from my shoulder and he picked up papers and rummaged through them.
“I hadn’t thought about it.”
Kai smiled. “I think you should. Think about it that is. The decision is yours.”
“I know it’s mine.” I said with more venom that needed.
Kai sighed. “Not that I don’t like seeing you here. I just think you’d be more comfortable out there. In the real world, than in here where every look is one of distrust. You know they think of you as one of them. Waiting for you to screw up so they can take you out.”
I grinned at my father. “I know. But I don’t screw up.”
“They’ll find a way one day Nox. You know that right? You shake things up. I don’t know how many times the council has asked me to rein you in.”
“What did you tell them?” I asked.
“The truth,” Kai laughed. “I have no control over what he does or does not do. It’d be like telling the rain to stop falling, or the sun to stop rising.”
I grinned. “Are you comparing me to natural phenomenon?”
Kai laughed, “Don’t let it go to your head son.” He tapped the papers in front of him, “What do your people say is causing this influx?”
I shook my head, “Nothing. Though I imagine Il Cane would have something to say if she’d every sit still long enough for me to ask. She’s all over right now, quelling things keeping people in line.”
“The vampires are restless here too.”
I laughed, “The vampires here are good compared to elsewhere, Kai. Ant has tight control on all vamps in the 5 boroughs.”
“I thought Desmond Vallejo was Master here?” He asked.
I grinned at my father’s question, more because he had actually listened to me than I thought his question funny. “Desmond is Master, but Ant is Prince. Even though the vamps that haven’t sworn fealty to him he has a modicum of control over. Not having childe of his own has amped his power base, and being that he’s mostly Primeval bloodline gives him a larger edge over Desmond. New York City belongs to Ant because he extends his will out to all vampires. The ones you and Emilio hunt are those who are typically high in necromancy and Ant can’t control as well.”
“Master, Prince, what’s the difference?”
“Power, Dad, power. It’s the difference between you and Mark Green.” I said.
“You mean you and Mark Green.”
I grinned, “Technically we are the same level.”
“Fuck that Nox, I’ve seen you do amazing things with your power, you can’t tell me Mark Green is your equal.”
“I didn’t make the rules.”
“You could be ruler now.”
I smirked. “Yeah. I can see that now. Walk up to a council meeting, alright everyone… wait where is everyone? Yeah they’ll listen to me.”
“They wouldn’t have a choice Nox. If you were to challenge Mark Green right now you’d win.”
I sighed, “And I’d have to take a life to do it. Just let the powers that be play their game, I don’t want to lead this fucking mess.”
Kai shook his head, “If it’s such a mess then why not fix it.”
“I can’t manage to get people to understand that a werewolf who just turns doesn’t know what they are doing, or that a fledgling vampire doesn’t have refined control and that these babies need to be taken care of not killed. What makes you think I could say this is the way it’s going to be.”
“You saw how people reacted when you healed me. Nox, they just need an example to follow. In the past five years they have a team of venom Magnus who do nothing but wait to be called in to save peoples lives. It’s not as easy as when you do it, but there is no other Cesari old enough to do it.”
Kai laughed. “The only potential Cesari are like 5. I think Emilio said Dorian has a whole class of them 6 or 7 kids who have the potential to be more. You should go visit them, see what you see. Dorian’s always going on about the things you see.”
“Since when have you been getting along with Dorian.”
Kai sighed. “I’ve made a point to sit down with him like I sit down with you to understand the relationship. And like with you I get fed. Having a chef for a husband has its perks I suppose.”
“I should go, we still on for our weekly spar later this afternoon?”
I nodded. “Yep. I’ll be there to get my ass kicked as usual.” It was the other time my father and I got along, when he was kicking the shit out of me on the ring floor.