Evey and Will had left after dealing with the cops and with Officer Mike. Ju and Jezz were safe for the moment Evey hoped. She was also happy for them. It was about time.
The shadow kept watch until Evey and Will and all the officers had left. Cei was still safe with Jared and Amelie.
He sneaked into the warehouse after he was certain everyone was gone. He quietly picked up the last of the shattered coffee table that Jezz hadn't finished cleaning, and then waited on the couch. Once Jezz was asleep he knew Ju would notice he was there.
So he waited.
Jezz was fast asleep an hour and a half later, after another round of exploration, kisses and lovemaking. Her breaths were even and deep. Her white body lay sprawled on Ju's bed as if she had belonged there.
The vampire barely took his eyes off of her as he got dressed. Ju had never thought he'd care so much for someone, let alone a mortal. He hadn't thought of it until Jezz was sound asleep, but he remembered that they had kissed not long after he'd bitten his lip too hard. He didn't think it had healed quickly enough and wondered if Jezz had inadvertently tasted his blood.
For her sake, Ju hoped she hadn't.
At last fully clothed again (right down to having his tie back on), the noctis walked out into his living room to meet his waiting guest, stopping behind the couch.
"Coffee?" he offered.
"Oh," the guest practically moaned. "I'd love some. Dumpster diving gets old fast. Saves on money, but so not fun when you have to do it to survive."
He watched Ju for a moment. He couldn't help hearing Ju and Jezz. He was happy for the vampire. He had sorely needed to get laid.
"There are brownies too," Ju also offered as he went into the kitchen to fix them both a mug. "They aren't warm anymore, but they should still be good."
He had to take off his glasses to try and straighten out the frames.
"I think I'm going to need to get a new pair of glasses..."
The shadow stood up and followed Ju. He made a grab for the brownies and practically moaned in delight. He hadn't had a decent home cooked meal in weeks.
After eating almost half the tray before the coffee was even ready, he forced himself to stop. He turned to Ju.
"Look, I know you don't want to leave here, but after this, I really think you and Jezz need to get out of town. You know where you can go that you'll be safe. At least until this all blows over. Lios is dead. I'm not going to wait to kill Ashton. The moment I get a chance, I'm taking it."
He leveled a glare at Ju.
"But I can't do that if I have to be watching this place. I need you and Jezz safe. We can't risk what happened here again."
He grabbed another brownie, though he really shouldn't.
"And I'm not using you as bait, so you can forget it."
"I wasn't about to suggest it."
Ju fixed up the coffee, knowing exactly how the shadow liked his, before handing the mug over to him.
"I fully agree that things have gotten out of hand," the vampire conceded, sipping from his mug. "But there are other factors to consider. Even if Jezz and I move out of the city, there is no guarantee we won't be followed. As Ashton's actions are completely within his right to take, given cruenti law, he could send out a hunt for me. The last thing we need is to start a war between vampires and lupines. It's cliche enough as is without being a reality."
"I don't think Carmilla would risk it. She didn't like Lios enough to start a full on war just so Ashton can take a little revenge. She doesn't like Ashton much either."
He took a sip of his coffee and sighed happily. Fantastic. He visibly relaxed.
"Cruenti law or not, I think Keatting is right. She's way too involved with establishing control and keeping to the bureaucracy in order to get that control to risk losing it all because of a petulant vampire who is more of a threat to his own kind than anything else."
He took another sip. Ju shook his head.
"Perhaps, but they'll be after me for their own reasons. Ashton has already spread the word that I'm Cei's filius, and that is not sitting well with many of the council members."
He set his mug down on the counter, turning the handle parallel with the edge.
"My credibility has been destroyed. They suspect favoritism on my part with regards to Cei, and despite her no longer being a member of the Council, that has many of them very upset."
"But how could they just believe him like that? This guy came out of nowhere. He has no proof that you're her filius! He has all the cops in the county and the Feds bearing down on cruenti because they're after him. He destroyed an entire precinct! And they just believe him when he's threatening their entire existence?"
He stared at Ju.
"Sorry to tell you this, man, but you vampires are populated by fucking idiots."
Ju sighed, lowering his head.
"Carmilla has been busy making sure hers (and Ashton's) words are believed, no matter how absurd."
He looked the shadow in the face, eyes narrowed.
"How else do you think she subdued the Council so easily? It isn't just her age that gives her clout; it's her blood."
Turning back to his coffee, Ju picked up the mug before heading to the kitchen table.
"We knew it was going to happen sooner or later. All it took was killing Jesse and getting into the Council. That gave her the access she needed to slip them all the drug."
He took another sip of his coffee and followed after Ju.
"So, again, all the more reason to get you out of town and buried somewhere. If the entire Council is upset with you and there's no reasoning with anyone, you and Jezz need to hide," he said as he sat across from Ju. "To be honest, Ju, it's unlikely they'll look for you there. They can't track you. And bottom-line, I don't think Carmilla is going to risk a war against an entire nation of lupines. Pack creatures are pack creatures. Vampires attack one town, the entire nation retaliates. Do you think Carmilla wants to engulf the world in chaos or just have control over it? Because the Council may believe Ashton and Carmilla, but Carmilla has little patience with him."
Ju nodded, looking down at the pile of notes still on the table. He couldn't help but sigh.
"They'll all be after Cei too. You forgot about Lios's driver. He saw the whole thing and reported back to Carmilla and Ashton. They haven't told the Council yet (god knows why), but when they do, she's going to be in serious trouble. Penalties for killing one's own creator are very, very severe."
"I can protect Cei. But I can't protect Cei, Jezz and you. There's only so much I can do."
He grew quiet for a long moment as he took another sip of his coffee.
"I'm sorry. I can't... I can't do it all. Especially, not like this..."
There was a long silence between them. Ju continued to stare at his notes.
"We can't leave tonight," he said at last. "I don't think we can make it there before dawn."
The shadow nodded.
"I'll keep watch during the day. I don't think they'll try to attack you then. Ashton can't be out during the day, and Carmilla doesn't care enough. But I'll still keep watch. At dusk, you and Jezz need to be up and ready to move."
He took another sip of his coffee and looked up at Ju.
Ju took a deep breath, looking towards the bedroom door where Jezz was fast asleep. He'd do anything to keep her safe.
The man nodded, relieved. He finished off his coffee and then cracked his neck.
"Well, I guess I better get back to my post. The rest of the night and then all of the day on concrete."
He rubbed his temples.
"God, how am I going to stay awake?"
The thought of a concrete ground to sleep on flitted through his mind.
"Damn, how am I going to get to sleep?"
He gave Ju a half-assed smile.
"Will has offered to let you stay with him when no one's around," Ju noted. "If you want to sleep inside for a change, you're welcome to the extra room. Jezz is pretty good about leaving locked doors alone, with the exception of tonight with the closet."
"Evey's been over there almost every night. And if she's not there with Will, then they're both at Cei's. On those nights... well, I'd rather not break in."
He gave Ju a rueful smile.
"I appreciate it. It's just been crazy around here. I've exhausted myself trying to cover everyone without being seen. You all just need to stay in one place," he said with a short laugh. "Just point me to a bed, Ju. My body is killing me after today's chase."
Ju gladly led him to one of the small rooms, knowing how true the man's statement was. He hoped that Jezz wouldn't be too curious when she awoke; maybe he would leave her a note, just to be sure. At this hour, he needed to be getting to sleep too.
"Here's the key," the cruentus said, handing it to him. "If you leave before I wake up tomorrow night, just leave it on the kitchen counter, next to the sink. Parallel to the edge, if you can manage it."
"Counter, next to sink, parallel to the edge," he muttered. "You want that on the left or right of the sink?"
He smiled at Ju.
"And do you want the teeth facing up or down? The key pointed to the sink or away?"
It was pretty obvious to tell that the man might just be a little desperate for company.
Ju raised his eyebrows and barely stifled a yawn.
"I wasn't going to be picky, but if you would, place it on the right side of the sink, teeth facing towards the sink and down. One inch away from the sink and two from the edge of the counter."
The man pulled out a pad and pen and scribbled the directions before putting both away. He looked at Julian.
He hesitated only a moment, but then he gave Ju a quick hug. Just one arm around the shoulders for a second or two before he released Ju.
The man coughed.
"Yeah, sorry 'bout that."
He turned away and opened the door to the room.
"Thanks again, Ju," he said softly.
Ju stared at him briefly, a little surprised to have been hugged (by this man, of all people). He sighed, and then nodded.
"Of course. Rest well."
The first thing Ju did when he awoke the next night was call Cei.
"You're leaving?" she repeated when he told her. "How far?"
"Just back to the town. You remember."
As nice as the people had been, Cei didn't like thinking about the place where they had had Jon's funeral.
"When do you think you'll be back?" she asked.
"As soon as it's safe. I can't risk staying here, not now that Ashton knows."
"Cei, he told the Council you're my mater. They are very angry."
It was Cei's turn to grow silent. She sighed.
"We knew it wouldn't be a secret forever. Do they know who killed Lios yet?"
"Ashton and Carmilla do; his driver saw the whole thing. They haven't told the Council yet. Be on your guard."
"Like you have to say it."
"I do. I don't think Jezz or I should keep contact with you while we're away. The less of a trail we leave, the better."
Again, Cei was quiet.
"I'll tell the others then," she said at last. "Please, don't stay away too long."
"Make it safe for us to return, and we won't."
They hung up the phone in unison. Cei turned away from the phone and looked over at Evey and Will as the prepared to head over to the warehouse themselves.
"Ju and Jezz are heading over to Brendan's mother's to stay until this gets resolved," she said quietly.
Evey looked up in surprise.
She blinked. Well, it was smart, but she hadn't expected Ju to come with that idea on his own.
"That's... weird. I mean, it's a great idea, but I didn't think Ju would consider that on his own without a pow-wow. It's kind of... random. We've only been there once."
She looked at Will, eyebrows arched.
"Though that town is probably the safest place for them right now."
She looked back at Cei.
"All things considered. Did he say anything else?"
"Well," Cei continued. "The Council now knows he's my filius, thanks to Ashton, but not that I killed Lios. Hopefully, that remains unsaid."
"You know," Will added, leaning against the kitchen counter. "Maybe that attack on the two of them really frightened him. He's a recluse, but not that stupid. Up until recently, they didn't know he existed."
"I'm not saying that, I'm just saying that it's a little strange that he made such a leap without any of us mentioning it."
She grew quiet.
She stopped. She thought she and Cei were the only ones who had really felt the loss of Brendan. But it seemed that Brendan must not have been far from Ju's mind either, for him to think of Graham's hometown as a good place to hide.
She shook her head.
"Ju's a smart man. This was a great idea. They'll be safe there. Will is right about Carmilla. She's into the bureaucracy and the power; she won't launch a war on werewolves for Ashton."
She looked up at Cei.
"At least, no one knows about you killing Lios yet. This makes things easier on us. We don't have to divide up to protect each other. We can focus on sticking together and figuring out a way to launch an attack."
"If only the play weren't so soon," Will groaned. "I think this is the first production I'm not looking forward to."
He walked around to the living room and sat down on the couch.
"Fuck, what are we going to do?"
The production made Evey worry. That potion drinking. Especially when Carmilla owned the place now. She looked at Cei and then followed Will, biting her lower lip.
"Will, why do you have to perform? I mean, money isn't worth risking your life..."
"I know," he sighed, rubbing his head. "But I was the understudy, remember? The director didn't give me an understudy after I took over for Jon, and at this late in the game..."
"But what would he do to you? I mean, really musical or death?"
Evey put her hands on her hips.
"I know you promised you'd do it, but you know he's probably on the drug too. I'm not saying try to get out of it, just don't go."
She bit her bottom lip.
Will looked up at her, eyes narrowed and serious. He wasn't quitting the play. No matter what.
Evey sighed and crossed her arms. She wasn't backing down until he gave her a good reason.
"Just, why? Why do you have to go when you know there's so much risk to yourself?"
"Evey, it's the only income I have right now. And I owe it to Jon..."
Will was growing very agitated.
"Just let it be."
"But Jon wouldn't want you to risk dying because of the play, Will," she said. "I know it's the only income right now, but... God, Will, Carmilla owns that theatre now. I know you don't put any credence in my dreams I'm not Cei but I know Carmilla wants you for some reason. That potion you have to drink is a real threat. You're going to risk that for Jon and a play? He wouldn't want you to chance becoming a slave to her and being under her power just for a play."
Evey's hands dropped and they squeezed together, trying to stop their shaking.
"You can't risk so much without any benefit. What's the benefit of going and risking your life?"
"Maybe we could use it to set up another trap," Cei suggested quietly. She wasn't keen on the idea herself, but she hated to see them arguing. Will wasn't going to quit the play, for whatever reason; that was clear. They needed to somehow turn this in their favor.
Evey looked to Cei. Her lips were dry with worry, and she licked them, trying to find someway to please Will. But it was foolish. All of it. Why risk his life for a stupid play, just because his brother had been in it? Jon wouldn't want Will to risk becoming a slave of a vampire just for a damn play.
Her hands still wrung together. She didn't say anything. She didn't want him to do it. Carmilla wanted him. Carmilla owned the theatre. It was trouble, and she knew she was going to lose him.
Will, on the other hand, seemed relieved by Cei's suggestion.
"That sounds like a plan," he said, leaning back into the sofa. "What are your thoughts, Cei?"
"Well," the cruenta began, still not completely sure of her idea. "For one, you can carry around a few vials of Gracilis with you to mix with your 'formula.' That'll hopefully dilute the power of their drug, if not dilute it entirely. I still haven't been able to perfect it that far."
That seemed to relax Evey a little, but she was still tense. She didn't understand why Will wanted to do the play so bad. The whole thing was worrying her so much that she was beginning to get a migraine.
She gave Will a hard look, her lips a firm line.
"I still haven't heard a good reason why you need to go at all," she said flatly.
Evey turned and walked to the kitchen. She couldn't keep still anymore, and she didn't have any ideas.
They were the ones walking into a trap. And they were doing it blindly and stupidly. The worst part is that she couldn't find a way to stop him other than tying him up and locking him in a closet.
Her comment, of course, made him upset again.
"God, Evey!" Will exclaimed throwing his hands up in the air. "Does it matter? I don't feel like explaining it. I just have to finish the play. I've dedicated too much time and energy to it to quit now! Let it be, damn it!"
Evey whirled around and stomped back. She stood right before him and glared in disbelief.
"Will you listen to yourself? You just have to finish the play? You don't have to do anything! You need to stay alive, objective and in control of your faculties. And it's fucking guaranteed you won't be if you do that goddamn play!"
She searched his face shaking her head.
"What's wrong with you...? What gain could we possibly get by losing you?"
Will jumped to his feet, eyes aglow with anger as he stared down at her.
"You're NOT going to lose me, Evey! I'm the one who fucking fills the glass with water and dye. I'm bringing my own food coloring and filling it from the tap, damn it! In the unlikely event that the glass I've already fucking filled gets filled with Carmilla's blood instead, we have the fucking Gracilis to counteract it! LET IT FUCKING BE!"
Evey took his yelling without flinching. She met his gaze without breaking it. Neither of them was going to back down from this. Which meant she'd lost. He was going to go, no matter what, and it made no sense. Maybe he was already infected, and they didn't even know it?
Tears slid from her eyes. She wanted to walk out. She wanted to go back to her apartment and scream. Instead, she finally broke eye contact and walked away. She headed upstairs to the bathroom and locked herself in.
She looked at her face in the mirror, saw the similarities to her mother, and then sank to her knees. She was going to go, to keep him safe, but she knew how it would end. He would be enthralled by Carmilla. Her blood was too potent. Even if the Gracilis diluted it a little it would still be impossible for him to fight it. She was going to have to save him somehow.
Everything was going to go down the night of the play. Will would be no help. Any plans they made... It would have to be without him, or he would tell Carmilla.
God, she'd already lost him to her.... But how? Evey thought.
There was a light tapping on the bathroom door.
"Evey?" Cei called to her softly. "May I come in? I'm worried about Will too, but I can't talk to you through the door all night..."
Evey sighed and stood up. She unlocked the door, but instead of letting Cei in, she walked out. She wrapped her arms around herself.
"Maybe he's already infected somehow."
She closed her eyes.
"But I don't know how. We've been with him almost every moment. When did Carmilla manage to slip him her blood?"
"The only time she could have possibly done it would have been at the masque," Cei said, shaking her head. "But none of us ate or drank anything while we were there..."
A loud bang interrupted their conversation as the front door slammed closed. Cei exchanged looks with Evey as they heard Will's motorcycle start up and drive off. The cruenta bit her lip.
Evey shook her head.
"It's too late, I think. There's no reason why he couldn't just listen. He was acting so irrational. He couldn't give me a single reason why he had to do the play."
Her shoulders slumped and her head bowed forward, hiding her face from Cei.
"It's best. Even if he's not infected, he will be completely enthralled by the end of the play. The night of the play is when we have to end this, Cei. And Will... He can't know our plans. If he does, he'll probably tell Carmilla."
"I just wish we knew how it happened," Cei sighed, heading downstairs. "God, how could this have happened?"
Suddenly, she stopped mid-step. She thought she knew how.
"Shit! I can't believe we didn't think of that!"
"Think of what?" Evey asked, looking up at Cei in confusion. Her mind was already working ahead to figure out a plan to get Will out from under Carmilla's grasp.
Cei turned slowly on her heels to face her, eyes wide with fear.
"We didn't think about Jesse's blood."
Evey stared at her for a full minute.
"Jesse's blood. God... Can Carmilla even do that?"
The moment after she asked the question, Evey knew the answer. Yes, she could.
"We need to tell Will," Evey said, hurrying back to the kitchen where she'd left her cellphone.
Cei ran after her, placing her hand on her arm when she caught up.
"Will it do us any good if he knows? Hell, he might tell Carmilla we know!"
Evey's eyes became wide. The tension in her flitted away and in its stead was dejection.
"So we have to treat Will like he's already on their side. Just... make sure he doesn't know about it," she whispered.
"Unfortunately," Cei sighed in agreement. "Evey, I... I think we're the only two left now. Sure, we have Jared and Amelie to back us, and Sarah too, if she's up to it, but Jezz and Ju are out of town, Will's out of commission, and the rest..."
She trailed off, moving to sit on the couch.
"We're alone now..."
Evey sat next to Cei, dropping to the couch in dejection.
"God... That's terrifying."
There was a long moment of silence, the two women realizing that they'd gone from victory instantly to defeat. The minutes ticked by slowly, until it seemed like ages had passed before there was a knock at the door.
Cei looked up from her stupor and turned to Evey, as if to ask her should they even bother answering it.
Evey shook her head, but still stood. She walked over the door, checked the peephole and then opened it, letting in the two angels.
"Wha' happened?" Amelie said as she walked in. Jared said nothing until he stood beside the couch.
"You were supposed to call and keep us updated about Ju and Jezz," he said, a little worried. "Did something happen to them?"
"No, worse," Cei grumbled with a frown. "We already lost Will to Carmilla."
Evey sat beside Cei.
"Ju and Jezz are heading to Brendan's mother's place. Someone at least is thinking smart. But yeah, Carmilla has already gotten to Will."
Evey slumped forward, laying her head on her knees and wrapping her arms around her head.
"Through Jesse's blood," she whispered. "I've got... no ideas left."
Amelie looked to Jared. Even though he couldn't see her expression, her worry was palpable.
Jared sighed and knelt before the two women.
"Hey," he said gently. "That's no reason to give up hope. We knew this was going to be difficult before we got this far. I know this is hard on both of you, but don't lose hope. We know something that we're not supposed to know: that Will is under Carmilla's control. We can use that against them."
"How?" Cei countered. "It's one thing to use a person as bait. We're practically giving him to her!"
Evey straightened and looked at him.
"We don't even know how to kill her! And there's still Ashton to deal with. Will fended off Lios, but neither of us have his skill in hunting to kill Ashton!"
Evey shook her head.
"I'm out of ideas, Jared. Even if I confront Carmilla to get Will back, I'll probably not get out of it alive. You'd figure having children would make her more human again after not being human for so long, but..."
Amelie shook her head.
"If Carmilla is Keket it wouldn't matter."
Her accent was gone. The girls were in trouble.
"She killed the man she loved, the angel she loved, for his weapon of power. A child would mean nothing to her. You could try to play the manipulation game with her but "
"She'd win," Evey said, cutting her off. "If I knew why she wanted Will maybe I'd have an edge. But I don't know why she wants him!"
Jared rose, lips pressed firmly in a thin frown.
"I hate to say this, but it does seem a little petty that she'd have her eyes so desperately set on a mortal when mortals die. Ancilla or not, he isn't invulnerable, and besides, it seems such a far cry from her known goal: acquiring my scythe. She wouldn't even be able to wield it if she got her hands on it."
"What do you mean?" Cei asked. "Why would she covet an object she can't even use? I doubt that (given her age) she wouldn't know this."
She watched as the demon walked over to the kitchen counter to lean against it.
"Only an angel or someone with angelic blood, such as a demon, can wield an angelic weapon. Her contract with Charon makes it so that it couldn't wield the scythe for her, as the contract would end if it acquired the weapon. She otherwise has no angelic allies."
"I thought caelestis were angelic. They give birth to angels," Evey said, the question in her voice. "I thought she could use the scythe."
Jared shook his head.
"Nothing once mortal can be angelic. Because she used to be human, and despite being the progenitor of angels, she has no angelic blood in her."
"I swear," Cei sighed, awed by this information. "You angels sure have strange lives..."
The doctor couldn't keep a smile from peeking through.
"Remember: we were never human. We can become human, but we never were."
"That makes sense," Evey said. She shook her head. "But if she wants the scythe, why does she want Will?"
Amelie crouched down by Evey.
"Think, Evey. You're a detective. You know Carmilla better than any of us."
"You know her true name."
"Yes, but now you do. You're the only who has spoken to her. Was there anything in the conversation at the ball that could help? Any clue? What about your dreams? You said she wanted Will, you have been for a while. What makes you believe that so completely?"
Evey shook her head.
"In my first dream... Will and I were in bed and then suddenly she was there, stroking him. She was looking at him, like, she wanted him."
She looked up at Amelie.
"I don't know how else to explain it. She said he was perfect and looked at him with... well, with lust. It freaked me the hell out."
"I can see why, especially since she's your mother and all. Even if she wasn't evil, that's just creepy."
"So she's wanted Will from the start then?" Jared asked, scratching his head. "Very strange... what makes him so different from any other human, besides his relationship with you, Evey?"
"I can answer that," Cei said. "He's probably the only human I know that is more cruenti than mortal. Both of his parents were ancillae when he was conceived, so he's at least half vampire to begin with, more so if his parents were both fully sated on blood during conception. It's very rare that someone like Will exists."
"And he needs blood in order to not get sick," Evey said. She froze. She stood up.
"If Will doesn't have blood, he gets sick. If Cei didn't give him her blood with the Gracilis, which makes it diluted, he would be enthralled by Cei right?"
She looked at Cei.
"If you just gave Will your blood because he needed it, he would become attached to you, that's why you give it to him diluted."
She paused and looked at Amelie and Jared.
"He's more cruenti than human."
Amelie shook her head.
"I don't know how this would help Carmilla, though, love."
Evey shook her head.
"I'm thinking. The dream is when I realized she wanted him. So I'm trying to think about the ball and what she said, anything there that will give me a clue. I tried not to mention Will at all, since I knew she wanted him. I didn't want him to draw her attention..."
"And?" Cei prompted. "What did she say? Remember, we were way over at the other end of the hall when the chaos started.
"And is it possible she still could have noticed Will?" Jared asked. "As you left, perhaps?"
Evey shook her head.
"No, there's no reason for her to. She's never actually met him before. I wouldn't know how she knows him except maybe through Lios because of his connection to you. No, all I did was ask her why she killed Jesse. I had misinterpreted his reaction when I talked to him about her. I thought he had loved her, and she had died. Like she had abandoned him, like she had me. But Carmilla said that he had abandoned her. And Jared said that Jesse had told him Luke was the 'good' son. The one who did what she told him to do."
Evey looked at Jared.
"Carmilla said she had been betrayed and abandoned by them. You said that she was trying to control their every move. Jesse was terrified of her. Of her control over him. And Will..."
"Will said that night that she seemed obsessed with the bureaucracy. With being in control. It makes sense. Looking back on it now, maybe she was a little controlling, but only until she realized I had powers. She was pretty normal until then. I always wondered... Maybe that was why I missed her so much. She understood me, understood my powers and encouraged them, she didn't think I was a freak."
Evey rolled her eyes.
"And now I know it was because she was far worse than me."
She paused. Her eyes widened. Wait...
Evey looked at Cei.
"Cei, if Will and I had children, would they have his condition too?"
The vampire thought about it for a moment, then nodded.
"I would think so, although they would be more like Jon in that they had vampiric blood in them, yet gained no benefit. I don't know if they would need blood to stay healthy, since technically, they'd be half-ancilla, not half-cruenti."
"But if Carmilla had kids with Will...?"
Evey asked this even though it sent shivers down her spine.
"They'd still be blood bound to her in a way that no one else would. And they'd be half angel, like me."
The whole group went silent at that notion. Cei was the first to speak.
"If... if Will was fully enthralled at the time of conception," she explained, not liking at all where this was going. "Then any children he beget with her would be predisposed to become enthralled as well. Will had that problem when he and Jon confronted Madison, the vampire their parents were bound to."
Jared removed his shades to rub his face.
"God, and they'd have angelic and vampiric blood in them."
"But while she'd get what she wants with children that are enthralled to her... wait."
Evey looked at Jared.
"Angelic blood? Jared, does that mean they'd be able to wield your scythe? Children that are completely enthralled by Carmilla completely blood bound to her and be able to use it?"
Jared groaned in frustration.
"Yes... damn, Ari. You know what that means."
Amelie's expression became dark.
"If she gets the scythe she can have it in her possession forever. As long as she keeps giving Will her blood and producing offspring the scythe will be eternally hers."
"Sweet fucking hell."
Evey dropped to the floor, her legs no longer strong enough to keep her up. She looked at the two angels.
"How can we stop this? She practically already has Will in her pocket."
Evey shivered. God... Her Will. Her Will, dammit. Not Carmilla's.
"She has to die... but how do we kill her?"
Evey's voice broke as she asked the question.
"The caelestis are true immortals," Cei fretted, joining her friend on the floor. "None of the traditional methods of killing vampires will work, not even decapitation. It's impossible!"
Jared put his shades back on, lowering his eyebrows.
"No one can escape death if Death wants them to die."
It was the first time he ever sounded so dark, and it was not becoming of the doctor.
Evey stared at him.
"What the hell does that mean? Can you kill her? Or Charon? He can't until the contact is destroyed, and Carmilla still has a big chunk."
Jared straightened and nodded.
"Angel or demon, no one can cheat Death."
"Then why didn't you kill her at the charity ball?" Cei asked, voice bitter with the accusation. "It would have saved us all the trouble we're in now; we'd only have had Lios and Ashton to worry about."
"And risk leaving my True Name behind on so many witnesses? It wasn't worth the risk. Killing someone out of time takes a great deal of effort."
Amelie looked at Jared. Worry was etched all over her face.
"It's too great a risk, Zuriel," she said softly.
Evey shook her head.
"If we could lure her into a trap, maybe if I pretend to reason with her, to have her give me back Will, maybe let her believe I can be manipulated and controlled... That might lure her into a false security so you could do something, Jared."
She slowly got up and moved to the couch.
"But Amelie's right. We can't have you just going in there without a plan. And this all has to be done the night of the play. That'll be when she has Will completely under her control, and we won't have to worry about letting Will know our plans. It'll be too late."
"Do you really think she'll strike on opening night?" Cei wondered out loud. "Think of all the problems it would cause if Will wasn't able to perform in the show..."
"She'll likely let him still act on stage," Jared surmised. "So long as she can keep him when he's not in the theater."
The cruenta frowned, burying her face in her hands.
"Why does this have to be so... complicated? We don't even know if she'll be at the show. She could just order Will to waltz right on over to her lair and never have to set foot in the theater."
Evey shook her head.
"Will became Hyde in my second dream."
She stood up and wrapped her arms around herself.
"Carmilla will come to the play. And when it's over, she'll take him away."
Jared leaned against the wall behind him, banging his head in exasperation.
"Then what is it you want us to do, Evey? We know we can't stop her from possessing Will. Our only options are to destroy her at the theater or follow her home and destroying her there. Which would you prefer it be?"
"Don't forget about Ashton," Cei reminded them. "He's still an obstacle."
Evey became still.
"We have to follow them. I don't like going to their home turf, but I can't let her keep Will. I'll be the distraction so," she looked at Jared. "So you can have the chance to kill her. We only get the one shot, and if we fail, she knows your True Name. So we can't afford to."
She wrapped her arms around herself.
"Somehow though, we need to get Ashton out of the way."
"Leave that to me."
Cei uncurled herself to look up at the angel with curiosity and skepticism.
"You have a plan for him already?"
Amelie glanced over at Jared and then back at the two women. Evey was looking at her with wide eyes.
"Yeah, I do, luvs," she said, her Jamaican accent coming back. "Dontcha be worryin' 'bout Ashton."
She looked at Cei.
"But I'll be needin' ya as back up when dealin' wi' him."
Cei waited for a moment, expecting her to elaborate. When she didn't, her curiosity only increased.
"So... you aren't going to tell me what this plan is, even if I need to be there for back up?"
Amelie shook her head. "I don' think ya should come, luv. If Carmilla thinks Evey's comin' wi' a cavalry, she won' believe her ta be honest 'bout her lie."
"She's right, Cei. I have to go alone after the play. Demand to have Will back. Try to play enough along to distract Carmilla so Jared can attack. You should wait half an hour, maybe a little longer depending, and show up then to back her up."
Amelie put her hand on Cei's.
"Look, luv. All I need o' you is ta show up. I don' know if mah plan'll work. I need ya there, in case it don'. Or it goes south."
Cei sighed and frowned, but nodded.
"We should leave for the night," Jared said, moving away from the wall. "Amelie and I will need to make some final preparations before the show. We only have a few days."
Again, Cei nodded.
"I just hope it works."
"Simple is always better. If it's too complicated too many things could go wrong."
She gave Amelie a hug and the woman smiled, giving Evey a hug back.
"Ya be strongah than ya think," Amelie said, touching Evey's jaw softly.
Knowing that Amelie was the angel of truth, made that statement more powerful that it probably would've been from anyone else. Evey felt her worries fall away, if only for a moment. If Amelie said it, it must be so. She silently thanked the heavens for Amelie.
Feeling better, but a little sad having to release Amelie, she turned to Jared and shrugged. She gave him a hug too. The feeling that the two of them gave her... She didn't quite understand it, but it was clear that they loved her. And that made all the difference.
Not to leave Cei out, Amelie pulled the cruenta into a hug as well. Cei needed it as much as Evey did. Amelie rubbed Cei's eyebrows gently, the way a mother would to ease tension.
"Ya be strong too, but don' be scared ta believe in the impossible."
Cei hugged Amelie tightly in return, resting her head against her.
"I'm not afraid to believe in the impossible," she said softly, a few gentle tears rolling down her cheeks. "I'm afraid of what impossible things might happen."
"Yah'll be glad o' it," Amelie said, giving Cei a squeeze. "I promise ya. Your heart knows what ta do. Trust it."
She kissed Cei's forehead.
Cei cried a little more before letting go, sinking back into the sofa. Jared made a nod towards Amelie.
"Let's go then," he said, patting Evey on the head before stepping away. "We have much to do."
Evey saw them to the door. She gave them a wave and then closed the door. Then she sat by Cei.
"You okay?" she asked the cruenta. Cei shook her head, wiping away her tears.
"No, but I will be."
Outside, Jared and Amelie walked to her car.
"I need to feed Sasha before we start figuring this out," the demon said as he got into the passenger's side. "That poor little cat really has taken a shining to me, hasn't she?"
"Can' blame her," Amelie said with a smile. She got into the car and drove off.
"We need ta chat wi' our detective, Jared. He wants Ashton an' he should have 'im."
"I agree, but I don't think he'll like this news about Will."
Jared took off his shades and began to fiddle with them.
"I'm sure he was the one who suggested Ju and Jezz take refuge outside the city. At least they'll be safer during this ordeal."
"He's a smart boy, that one," Amelie said. "He'll be righ' behind our Evey an' he'll keep Ashton busy bu' we need ta work out a better plan. I don' want Ashton ruinin' Evey's plan ta distract Carmilla."
She looked over at him worriedly. Her accent fell away.
"I'm afraid for you. Are you sure attacking her yourself is wise? She wants your scythe."
"As of right now, she has no use for it, as she has no ally who can wield it for her."
Jared took a deep breath.
"And besides, it is the only thing we know for certain can kill her."
"All right. But I'll be close, in case you need me," she said softly. "This is almost over, isn't it? For good or for evil, it is almost over."
Opening night. Will had called Evey to apologize for his behavior, to say that he didn't know what had come over him, and that he was sorry... but he was still going to be in the play. It was hard keeping their plans secret from him (what little plans there were). That night, the girls arrived at the Black Box Theater prepared for the worst.
Evey prepared herself physically and mentally for it. She spent the morning meditating and honing her skills. She would need them all to face her mother. The best way to follow Will after the play (or Carmilla if she showed up) would be to be invisible.
After her meditation, she went back to the spa. She had her hair done, her nails, the works. Standing by Cei now at the Black Box, she wore a slinky black dress. There was enough cleavage to entice, and a slit went up the side. She wore her mother's jewelry. Black pearls with diamonds. Her hair fell straight for most of the way, but the ends curled softly. Her skin was aglow from the pampering she received there. She wanted to see Will, remind him of how much he loved her, and she prayed that would come out, even when he was enthralled.
She knew emotion even something as powerful as love was no match for the strength of Carmilla's blood, but she could hope.
She looked over at Cei.
"I'm going to try and see Will before the play starts."
Cei had given her another two vials of Gracilis. She wasn't going to give them to Will for him to use. She figured he was already too far gone to know to use them. But she could try to sneak it into his "potion." She didn't know if it would work, but it was worth the shot.
"I'll meet you back at our seats."
She gave Cei a tentative smile.
"Here's hoping this works."
"Good luck," the vampire said quietly before heading to find their seats inside. As Evey made her way backstage, she ran into several of the actors and tech crew, who immediately complimented her on her appearance. They all knew who she was there to visit, and several gave her directions to the dressing room where he was. Along the way, she passed by the prop table.
Evey paused only for a moment. There was already liquid inside a dark burnished color that could have very easily been blood mixed with chocolate milk and coffee or somesuch. Without hesitating, she got the two vials and dumped them in. She didn't know if Will would throw it out before putting in something new, but even if he did, hopefully the Gracilis would cling to the cup so some of it would have an affect.
She just wanted enough of an affect that maybe his love for her would shine through. That's all she needed. All she wanted.
That done, she put the vials back into her small purse and continued to the dressing room. She didn't bother to knock (it wasn't as if she hadn't seen him naked before), and just opened the door.
"Will?" she called, trying not to sound worried.
He was standing in front of the mirror, trying to get his tie on. He stopped to turn and look at Evey, giving her a warm and welcoming smile.
"Evey!" Will greeted her happily, giving up on the tie to approach her. "I was worried you weren't going to come, after our last argument."
He paused to look at her, his mouth almost dropping in awe at how amazing she looked.
"God, you're beautiful..."
Her heart swelled. Evey didn't know how influenced he was, but he was still her Will. She closed the space between them and wrapped her arms around his neck, pressing her body against his.
"And you're gorgeous, handsome," she said. She shook her head.
"Of course, I was going to come. Someone has to protect you."
Evey kissed him.
"I love you, Will Keatting. More and more everyday," she finished with a light laugh, because it felt good to say it and to let him hear it.
"I love you so very much," she whispered into his mind.
Will smiled even more, and pulled her in again for another kiss.
"I'll almost be glad when the play's over," he said. "It has caused more trouble than it's worth. Say hi to Cei for me, alright?"
He gave her one more quick peck on the cheek.
"I have to finish figuring out this tie and get ready to go. Drop by backstage after the show, alright? The director knows, so he won't try to stop you or anything."
Before he pulled away, she tugged him back and put her hands on his tie. A few twists later, and she had it perfect. Evey smiled up at him through her lashes.
"I'll definitely pass by, just..."
Her smile faded and worry came back.
"Just remember that you love me."
She put her hand to his face.
"You love me, Will Keatting. Don't forget that."
Her eyes watered up a little, so she lifted her chin to keep the tears from spilling.
Will's brows furrowed. He hated seeing her upset like that.
"Evey," he said softly, placing his hand on top of hers. "Evey, please don't cry. How could I ever forget that I love you?"
"Keatting! Five minutes to curtain!" the director called. Will sighed.
"I'll see you after the show. Please, don't cry Evey."
Evey smiled at him.
She poked him in the chest, and her expression became firm.
"Don't you make cry, sir."
She gave him one more sweet kiss on the lips.
A kiss that seemed to be both afraid and desperate. As if the kiss itself knew that this was good bye, but it desperately didn't want it to be.
Evey pulled away.
"See you after the show."
She turned and hurried out. There was no way Will could miss the fear in her voice.
When she arrived back at their seats, Jared and Sarah were waiting there with Cei.
"Hi Sis!" Sarah said enthusiastically, waving Evey over. "Guess what! Julian sent Jared a text message."
The little angle giggled, and Jared just shook his head.
"He sent it to me intended for you or Cei. He knows I can't read them."
Evey smiled. She approached, gave Sarah a hug, Jared a peck on the cheek, and took her seat.
"So what's this text message?"
"It says that Ashton has a tainted aura," Cei said, staring solemnly forward. "It explains why he'll be more powerful than Lios was."
"What does a tainted aura mean?" Sarah asked. "I can tell that's bad."
Cei chewed on her lip a little. This was very, very bad.
"It means that he's given many Black Roses, and that much of his strength was stolen from those more powerful than him."
"Oh, hell. Why is it never good news?"
She tried to smile.
"Did he send this to Amelie too? She said she was going to handle the Ashton situation... somehow..."
Jared nodded, settling into his chair.
"Yes, and she should be here by now. The show starts soon, doesn't it?"
"It does," Cei confirmed. "Damn, if only the Council had known how tainted Ashton was... that could have helped us out."
"And we can't tell them now," Evey said. "They're all in Carmilla and Ashton's pocket."
She slumped a little in her seat.
"Lord, I hope this works."
"Have ya been waitin' long, m'luvs?"
Amelie appeared by Evey, looking lovely in a white dress. She had half her braids up and pulled back, and twined with a blue ribbon.
"I be glad I made it before the play began."
The lights flashed.
"And just in time!" Sarah said, giggling. The lights dimmed a little, and over the loudspeaker came the announcements.
Amelie hurried to her seat beside Jared and asked him quietly if anything else had happened before she got there.
Evey straightened in her seat.
"Thank you and please enjoy the Black Box presentation of Jekyll and Hyde."
Then the lights finished dimming, and the orchestra started up with the Prologue. An actor walked out in front of the curtain and began the opening monologue:
"You all have heard of Dr. Henry Jekyll..."
Evey tensed. Her hands clenched in her lap. She really hated this play.