I fucking hated elevators, and when I was five floors from the vampires I got off the death trap and took the stairs. It was down and not difficult, but I felt better the moment my feet hit the ground floor.

Leaving the same way I had come I caught a glimpse of the power of the lion who’d been in the lobby. He was walking by the front of the hotel as I stepped out. Funny thing was Vegas was a big place, I shouldn’t have seen him twice in as much as so many hours much less in a different hotel. I wasn’t playing games – but he certainly was. But I turned back towards Alex’s hotel and walked slowly.

It wasn’t long before the guy started following me. Did he think I was a dunce? That unobservant? I cut down an alley way in the hopes of confronting him. There was a rustle in the trash nearby and then a low heated growl sounded deep in a human throat. I stopped in front of the moving pile and realized it wasn’t trash, or at least it wasn’t trash that I expected to see all over a boy. He couldn’t be anymore than sixteen. His grey eyes glared at me as I pushed back his hood. He pulled away sharply and growled, “Mine.” And scurried away down the alley carrying something.

I caught sight of the bag he was carrying. “I don’t want it. But, maybe I can help you.” I said as I felt the faint tingle of pack energy leave the boy.

He ran, and I walked behind him. He smelled like the garbage he’d been hiding in. He was relatively easy to track from that alone, but he was giving off pack vibes and my inner wolf as Adrian put it was seeking it out. As if I need more trouble from the local pack. Though this was CCB territory more so than any one pack, but I didn’t want their trouble either.

I finally found the boy hiding under a stoop of a house. “Go away.” he called from underneath it.

“Sorry, can’t do that kid.” I squatted down so I could look under the porch overhang and see the kid holed up in the dirt but it was dry at least. “Let me help you get cleaned up and a hot meal. No reason a kid like you should be living like this, where’s your pack.”

He sank back into his corner, “No one wants me in their pack.”

I sat down on the ground, it was going to take a lot more convincing it seemed. “Why not?”

“They don’t want to take care of me.” He growled.

“Is there a pack here?” I asked.

He shook his head, “No packs, just the CCB.”

“That’s different then. You aren’t much good to the CCB. But if you come with me, I’ll find you a pack that will take care of you.” I held out my hand much like I would to an errant dog or wild animal I was trying to befriend.

The boy sniffed at the air like the animal he would become upon the full moon. His eyes grew wide and he uncurled a little to look at me better, “You smell like pack.”

I grinned, “So I’ve been told. Though most people tell me I smell like a campfire.”

He nodded with a slight grin, “Mostly that, but I smell the forest too.”

I laughed, “At least you don’t smell everything else.” I had taken a shower after seeing Alex for which I was grateful.

“You don’t have a pack?”

I shook my head. “I’m not a werewolf. I’m Venatori. I tapped my temple to show the kid. Which had him shrinking back into the corner again pulling everything up close to him so I couldn’t get anything.

“I’m not going to hurt you. I give you my word. My name is Nox. I’m from New York City. My best friend’s part of a pack there. He’s human, but his adoptive family are werewolves like you.”

“That’s why you talk so fast.” He blurted out and then shrank back inside again fearing my wrath at his accusation.

“It is,” I said with a grin. “But I know the pack leader of the Manhattan clan, and I’ve saved many a wolf like you from the Venatori. I can give you his number and you can ask him yourself.”

The kid shook his head. “No that’s alright.” I said. I pulled my wallet out of my pocket and dropped several twenties on the ground just inside the hovel he was living. “Why don’t you rent a motel around the corner there, grab a shower and a bite to eat on me.” I stood up. “I’ll see you around.” I put a simple card on top of the money, “My number if you need it.” It was my attempt at keeping Sage and Mia happy so that I could hand my number out to people who might need my help or to contact me for some bizarre reason. I didn’t give it to girls (or guys) I slept with. I honestly think that was the first time I had honestly found the need to give it to a complete stranger.

I was happy with myself as I walked away. I could hear the breathing of the boy as I traced my steps back the way I’d come. I glanced at the watch Alex had given me just a few hours ago and smiled. I still had a bit of time to do what needed doing before Alex and I planned on dinner. I wondered what he’d gotten up to. What he and Benji had been planning – had they been discussing the book heist then? I should really call Ant, I thought to myself.

My name is Nox Sétanta. I am first and foremost a fictional character escaped from the mind of my creator AJ. In layman's terms I'm a magic wielding monster hunter born to my human mother and my Venatori father.

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