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(Contains: strong language)
Chapter 7

The phone rang for what felt like forever, and his voicemail was just picking up when he at last answered it.

"Hello?"

"Hi – I hate to be a bother, but can you pick me up? If you can't, I'll try Graham. I really don't think it's smart for me to linger at Jesse's any longer. I can walk, but I'm not feeling very safe at the moment. So if it isn't too much trouble, could you?"

Evey was breathless as she talked, her heart pounding as she continued her hurried pace down the stairs.

"Whoa! Wait... Evey? You're at Jesse's? Alone? Are you crazy?"

"Well, I didn't have much choice. I don't know if Cei followed me, but... yeah, I'm crazy. So, uh, could you? If you can't, that's all right too."

She jumped three steps onto the platform before going down the next flight. Five more levels to go.

"I'm on my way. Just keep your guard up until I'm there. Where can I meet you?"

She laughed harshly.

"Outside Jesse's building?"

"Right... I'll be there soon."

A click and Will was on his way. Evey hung up and the phone flew out of her hand and into her bag as she grabbed the railing on either side and jump down another three steps. She was gasping when she finally reached the bottom. Her eyes darted around to find some shadowy place in the parking lot.

She found one by a wall and rushed over, hiding herself in the shadows. Then she did something she hadn't done in a long while. When she had learned to block her mind from cruenti, she had also learned – with even more concentration – that she could make herself mentally and physically invisible. Not literally of course, but she could block herself so well that to those looking for her she was invisible. They couldn't smell her, hear her, or see her. In their minds and to their senses, she was invisible.

Unfortunately it took a LOT of concentration and usually wiped her out afterward. So she only used it when she was in a secure spot, so when she finally relaxed she would still be safe.

Evey did that now, sitting in a meditative position to focus all of her concentration. First she blocked off her scent, then her heartbeat and her breathing, every inch of her, until she was completely and mentally invisible.

It was almost fifteen minutes before Will pulled up on his motorcycle. He didn't even turn off the bike while he looked around for Evey, eager to get her out of there as quickly as possible. Evey heard the bike through the thickness of her protective block. She had been listening for it, waiting for Will and hoping he got there before anyone else did.

She slowly brought down the mental block, letting the layers fall away as she stood up and headed toward him, albeit with a wobbly step. To Will, it would like like she was slowly materializing as she walked toward him. It took all of her willpower to walk toward him. The moment the block was completely gone, Evey collapsed, falling toward him.

"Jesus!" Will exclaimed, killing the ignition to get off his bike and run to her side. "My god... Evey, are you alright?"

He placed his hand on her arm, worried when she collapsed. Evey grabbed onto his arms, her knuckles white. She looked far more pale than normal.

"I'm exhausted," she said, her voice still with that just-ran-a-marathon kind of breathlessness. "But other than that, I'm fine."

She leaned against him, her legs shaking. It was taking effort to stay conscious. She really had to practice that more so she wouldn't be so damn weak afterwards.

"Do you think you'll be able to ride? I don't want you on the bike if you might fall off."

He pulled her up to her feet, allowing her to lean against him for support.

"I can call Jon and get him over here with the car..."

Evey shook her head.

"I'll be fine. I can last the ride. I'm just tired. Just..." she gave him a weak smile. "Book it, please?"

Will nodded, helping her to the bike and with getting her helmet on.

"I'll take you back to Cei's. She should be home by now."

Evey didn't have the strength to argue. Besides, he was probably working and had to leave Jon to come pick her up. She wasn't going to keep him. Her place, his place or Cei's, it really didn't matter.

"Okay," she murmured when he got on the bike. She wrapped her arms around him and held him tight, concentrating what was left of her energy on holding onto him.

Will set out for Cei's as fast as he could push his motorcycle, pulling in front of her home not ten minutes after they had left. Her car was there, so she was thank fully back from the Ally Kat. Will was moving to help Evey when the cruenta came running out the door, brows furrowed with worry.

"Oh my god, I'm so sorry Evey," she said, giving her a hand to climb off the bike. "Ju called me and told me what happened."

Evey arched an eyebrow, wondering exactly what it was that Ju had told Cei. She gave the cruenta a weak smile as she was helped off the bike. The moment she tried to stand however, her legs gave out.

"Ah, fuck," she said as she sank to the floor. A wave of dizziness hit her. Will moved fast enough to keep her from hitting the sidewalk. Carefully, he scooped Evey up in his arms and carried her towards the home. Cei jogged in front of them to open the door.

"God, I should have never let you go alone... Damn Jesse..."

"I'd be mad at you," Will sighed, shifting to get a better hold on Evey. "But I know it wasn't your fault. Jesse's older."

"I should have known better..."

She let them in, allowing Will the set Evey down on the sofa.

"It's okay, really. I mean, I was a little worried, but I've dealt with vampires trying to kill me before. He was just mad because well... I think it would be hard for anyone to swallow that their mater who supposedly died in the French Revolution would be alive and well and having human kids."

She winced and then relaxed.

"I'm alive, I'm okay. Really. I just wore myself out."

Will sat in a chair across from the sofa, watching Evey. Cei went into the kitchen.

"You scared Ju," she called back, setting things up to make coffee. "He couldn't understand why you vanished. It gave him a headache."

Evey closed her eyes for a moment took a deep breath, gathering strength. Her eyes fluttered open again, and she looked to Will.

"I'm sorry, Will."

She looked back up at the ceiling and brought her hand to her forehead, closing her eyes again. When she spoke again, she tried to be as loud as possible so Cei could hear her in the kitchen.

"You know how I can block my mind so cruenti can't see my thoughts or telepathically manipulate me? Well, when I was young I came across a cruentus. A vicious horrible man who knew that I was more than normal. By then I had already come across a couple of vampires and had already realized that they were attracted to me for some reason. But before it had always been early evening, and I was with my father and mother, so they never did anything.

"But this was after my mother had left. I was depressed and confused and being rebellious. I had left the house on my own and was on the bus when this... thing approached me. By then I already knew how to protect myself mentally, but being unable to read me and control me that way made him angry. I remember running for my life and hiding beneath a dumpster. I was terrified. I wanted to disappear so he couldn't find me. I acted on it. I focused my ability to block my thoughts and just willed myself to vanish.

"I realized a half hour later that he had come and gone in frustration. Kind of like a dream, I remembered him searching everywhere for me, but unable to smell me, hear me, or sense me. But when I relaxed and stopped concentrating on being invisible, I was exhausted. I passed out. When I woke up it was late the next day. It took me a couple of hours to get home, and I was weak. Dad had already called the police. I caught the flu, but other than that was no worse for wear. I tried to figure out what I did, and after some experimentation and some very exhausting results, I realized that I could make myself invisible. Not literally, but to any mind or to the senses I would not be there. I only use it in dire circumstances and in a safe place, because I'm always very weak afterwards."

Evey sighed. She was exhausted just from that explanation. It was a struggle to open her eyes.

"I was so tired from the encounter with Jesse, I didn't want to risk being found by anyone or anything before Will got there. Especially not him. He was nice enough to let me get away before he realized how hungry he was. I didn't want to end up being fed on anyway despite his generosity."

Cei came back into the living room and handed her a cup of coffee, sitting in the other armchair. She sighed, sinking into the cushion.

"You can stay here for the night, longer if need be," she told Evey. "Just in case."

Will leaned against his hands, just watching her. He didn't know what to say. That had been too close. Evey struggled to sit up without spilling the coffee. She shook her head slowly and took a sip.

"That won't be necessary. I'll be fine after some sleep."

Her gaze shifted to Will who was still staring at her. She looked up to him and put down her coffee.

"Will?"

He snapped out of his stare and really looked at her, frowning slightly.

"I let you down. I should have gone with you..."

Evey shook her head.

"Jesse didn't even let Cei come with me. Why would he let you? You told me he hated you."

"He does..."

"Will," Cei said, sitting up. "Jesse used his mind control to keep me away. He would have done the same to you. It was unavoidable."

Evey blinked up at Cei. She had felt no such pull on her mind – but then, she'd been blocking it. She had wondered why Cei had given in so quickly. She wondered if it was possible to learn how to shield other's minds? Probably not.

"I'm okay, Will. Completely exhausted, but fine. Cei even gave me Mordax in case I couldn't get away. But I did."

She gave Will a weak smile.

"I even staked him."

This made Will laugh... but only a little.

"I bet that surprised him. Even I haven't managed that."

Evey's smile slowly faded. She wanted Will beside her, but she didn't dare ask him. He had to be upset with her for taking such a risk, but she had hoped he wouldn't be so upset that he would no longer want to be near her. It didn't make sense. She couldn't figure out what he was feeling. He seemed worried about her and like he was beating himself up for not being there, but at the same time he was keeping his distance like she'd done something horrible. She couldn't figure it out.

Hand trembling, she reached for her coffee again. She was so weak, but she didn't want to sleep until she knew that Will wasn't mad at her. That... oh, god, was she stupid. She should just rest. It didn't matter where Will was when she woke up. He was free to do his own thing; he didn't have to take care of her when she did something stupid.

"Probably," she murmured and took a sip. "I think he was afraid that I was going to leave him on the floor staked."

She rolled her eyes. Cei smirked, and Will even smiled a bit.

"I wish I could have seen that."

He sounded so sad, like he really regretted not being there for Evey. She looked up at him and then back down at her coffee. She took another sip before putting it down on the table.

"Will... You came when I called. Please don't be upset or sad."

She shivered and wrapped her arms around herself. Her voice was almost inaudible when she spoke again.

"I need you now..."

Cei turned to Will, tilting her head to one side, waiting for him to respond to Evey. He sighed and rose from his seat, carefully moving to sit beside her on the sofa. Slowly, he placed his arm around her shoulders.

"I'm not upset," he assured her. "Just... shaken..."

"I'll go set up a cot for you," Cei said, leaving the living room to let the pair have some time alone. Evey wrapped her arms around him and pressed herself close. Why did it feel he would rather not be here? It was the sigh. It made it seem like he would rather not be holding her. But she was too greedy to let go. She looked up at Will.

"I'm sorry, Will."

Only his eyes moved to return the gaze.

"The last time I met with Jesse, he nearly killed me. The same almost happened to you..."

He looked away.

"I just... feel responsible..."

"Yeah, but he only nearly killed me because for a very old vampire he handles the truth like a three year old."

Evey lifted her hand to his face and turned it back toward her.

"I could've insisted that Cei come, but I didn't. I didn't think I'd be in that much danger. I was wrong, I'm sorry I worried you. I thought I would be all right."

The corner of Will's mouth twitch up a little.

"Just don't scare me like that again, alright? Call me beforehand at least."

Will scrunched up his nose.

"Besides, now your detective friend is going to want to kill me for not looking after you."

He was joking, as if it wasn't obvious from the silly face he made, but it did still worry him. Evey gave him a smile.

"Let's not tell him," she whispered. At last, Will began to relax. He smiled back at her, laughing a bit as he settled into the couch.

"You know something," he said suddenly. "I could have sworn I heard your voice earlier this evening, telling me you'd be alright, that you'd be careful. Did a double take trying to figure out if you were hiding somewhere..."

Evey looked up at him a little confused. Her brow furrowed.

"You did? That's weird. I mean, I thought about you earlier when I was riding behind Jesse toward his penthouse, thinking that same thing. But I do that a lot. Think about a person and talk to them... in my head."

She blushed. She probably sounded crazy.

"It's just a way to reassure myself sometimes, or when I have a deep feeling toward someone I just imagine them and say it again in a way I can't out loud. But... Will, it's just in my head. There's no way you could've heard me thinking. I was on Jesse's bike."

Will shrugged.

"Maybe Cei's psychic powers are contagious... or I was just reassuring myself you were alright and it just happened to be in your voice."

"Maybe..." Evey shook her head. She could try to experiment like she had so many times before when she came across an ability she hadn't known she had. But somehow she was a little afraid to try. She hadn't had a new ability since she was a teen, why would she just discover this now?

Because Will was the first to mention it.

"I don't know. We should probably see if it was me or you but I'm a little hesitant to try."

She leaned against him. Will nodded and yawned.

"And it's getting late. If I'm tired, I know you must be, after what you went through."

"Cot's ready," Cei said as she came back into the room. "Whenever you're ready to sleep, just let me know and I'll make sure to keep quiet."

"Yeah," Evey said, her mind still thinking about what Will had said about hearing her. "I'm ready to crash."

She lay her head on Will's shoulder and closed her eyes. Within seconds she was out before either Cei or Will could say or do anything. For a moment, the two only exchanged confused looks, but then Will carefully moved Evey so that he could lift her, standing slowly from his seat so he wouldn't wake her.

"Where's the cot?"

Cei smiled and gestured for him to follow. When they reached the cot, he placed her down gently and pulled the blanket over her. Evey murmured Will's name briefly, clinging to him for a moment before releasing him and sighing into the cot. Her sleep deepened, and she didn't move anymore. Cei giggled, turning to leave the room.

"I'll get you some pillows, Will.

Evey rarely slept so deeply. And when she did she always dreamed. She was in a red dress – old and French, like from the revolution – and masked. People were dancing around her, all of them pale, all of their clothes bloody, all of their eyes behind their masks glowing red.

Ahead of her she saw the familiar back of Will and ran toward him, lifting her skirts. She grabbed his arm, and he turned. He was in a black domino with a hood and mask. But beside him another man, identical to him, turned wearing the same. Evey froze. Both reached toward her, and she stepped back, bumping into someone.

When she turned it was another woman, in the same red dress, with the same mask and the same hair. She took off her mask.

"Mama?" Evey whispered.

But the image of her mother looking so much like her opened her mouth, sprouting fangs and came at her. Evey lifted her arms to defend herself and got swept away by one of the men in the black domino. She looked over his shoulder and saw the other man dancing with the other woman in red.

She heard a shout and looked to the side. She saw Cei in a white dress clinging to a huge man dressed like a knight. Evey's eyes widened. It was Graham.

She looked up to the man holding her, and his blue eyes smiled down at her. She sighed in relief and clung to him. "Will," she murmured.

His mouth found hers, and he kissed her. Evey kissed back, and his kiss became more demanding and more ardent. She was lost to it. He lay her on a bed, peeled her out of her red dress and made love to her.

Evey lifted her head at the sound of low laughter. Will lay asleep beside her. In the distance she saw another bed. Cei was kneeling on it, naked and weeping, and Graham sat beside her, also naked, holding her as she wept. The laughter came again, this time right beside her. Evey whirled to see a mirror image of herself caressing the sleeping Will. The other Evey laughed again and slowly transformed into her mother.

"He's perfect, sweetling," her mother said softly, leaning down to kiss Will. "I approve." She bared her teeth.

"No!" Evey shouted, coming awake, drenched in sweat. She didn't know what time it was. She didn't care. She was shaking and crying. Beside her on the floor, Will started, sitting upright when she cried out.

"Evey?" he asked, reaching to touch her thigh. "You alright?"

It was hard to tell whether it was day or not; Cei had all the blinds closed, so everything was dark. Evey turned at the sound of his voice, saw him and jumped him. She didn't care if he was on the floor or not. In the next moment she was on the floor beside him, clinging onto him as if he would disappear. Her clothes suddenly felt too constricting, and she was so hot. She pulled off her overcoat, leaving her in just the halter top and skirt. Her hands ran over him, making sure he was whole and in tact. She shivered violently with relief.

"Thank god you're all right," she whispered, her voice hoarse.

"What?" Will coughed, still catching his breath from Evey's surprise tackle. He pushed her away so he could sit up again and look at her. He searched her face, trying to understand why she looked so upset.

"Of course I'm all right. Why wouldn't I be?"

Evey shook her head, still trembling.

"Nightmare," she rasped. Will frowned, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her close.

"I'm here. I'm right here, Evey."

Evey held onto him with a white-knuckled grip, afraid that she was still dreaming and he would vanish out of her arms. She kissed his neck.

"Thank goodness," she breathed. "Oh, god, Will, I'm so sorry for dragging you into this."

Will stroked her hair.

"It's all part of my job."

He kissed her forehead.

"Go back to sleep. I won't leave you."

Evey lifted her head and pressed her lips against his. She pulled away quickly, for some reason feeling a little ashamed. Like she was putting him in a position he shouldn't be in. Again the images of the dream began to haunt her. What if something happened to Will because she got involved with him?

She lay her head against his chest. Soon, they'd both fallen back asleep. Only a few more hours had passed when they were awakened again, this time by the phone ringing. After several rings, it was clear that Cei wasn't going to answer it. Evey murmured and pressed closer to Will.

"Kill the phone," she grumbled. He rolled to the side, burying his head in his pillow.

"The machine will get it..."

A click and the machine kicked in. The voice surprised them.

"Come on you two lovebirds; get up. It almost noon, and Cei is already dead asleep, if you'll pardon the expression."

Evey peered at the phone over Will's chest.

"Ju – it was a long night. Who wants us awake and up? I want to sleep more," she grumbled.

"Have some coffee," Ju retorted with a snort. "Jezz has been asking when you'll visit again, if you'll be safe after the fire, etcetera, etcetera..."

It was funny really. How the phone was not off the hook. She was actually talking to the machine. Heheh. She smiled.

"How are you and Jezz doing? She's a lot like you, surprisingly."

"Perhaps in organization. She wants to see you."

Evey sighed and looked over at Will.

"Do you mind coming along?" she asked him softly. Will laughed, stretching as he sat up.

"Of course not. I spent the night on the floor next to you, didn't I?"

Evey smiled and gave him a soft kiss on the lips.

"Thank you."

Groaning, she got up.

"We'll be there in a bit, Ju."

She cracked her neck.

"Good," he answered sharply, followed by the click of the phone as he hung up. Will scoffed as he rose from the floor.

"Not the nicest of fellows, is he?"

Evey smiled, trying to smooth out her clothes.

"He's just a little uptight because Jezz is staying with him."

Her smile turned into a grin.

"He's actually pretty nice. There's got to be some reason why he's upset."

Her grin faded.

"We should hurry."

She grabbed her bag and her coat. She was still lethargic from her exhaustion the night before. But she was sure Ju would have coffee waiting for her. In fact, just to be safe.

"Ju, get a pot of coffee boiling, please? I'm going to need it."

She found her shoes, sliding into her heels.

"You ready, Will?"

"As ready as I can get without a shower," he laughed. "Maybe Ju will let me get cleaned up at his place."

Will took a moment to fold up the sheets and push the cot off to the side and out of the way.

"If not, we can always go back to my place afterwards and you can get cleaned up there."

She wrapped her arms around him and gave him a brief hug.

"Let's go," she said softly, looking up at him. He smiled, leading her to get the helmets so they could ride. It wasn't long before they arrived at the warehouse. Ju was at the door to let them in.

"Just try to put everything back to where it was," he said to Will as they entered. "And wipe down the shower when you're done."

Jezz popped up then and rushed to Evey for a hug.

"Oh, I'm so glad you're okay! Ju was so worried about you, so I was even worse!"

She looked up to Will.

"If you don't remember exactly how, let me know, and I'll help."

Evey smiled at Jezz. Apparently the girl was getting along with Ju just fine. Evey then looked up at Will and smiled.

"I'll see when you're done."

She then turned to Ju.

"So what's up?"

"Aside from the ceiling, not much of interest," he said, giving her his usual disinterest frown. "The Council of Elders will be discussing the charity ball at tonight's meeting."

Her brow furrowed.

"So what was the rush that I get over here?"

Ju shot a sideways glance at Jezz.

"I'll give you one guess."

Jezz blushed.

"I just wanted to make sure you were okay! Even Ju was worried about you, he said you... he said he couldn't find you! Evey someone is out to kill you. It could've been that vampire you went to see."

She smiled and gave the girl a hug.

"It's all right. I had to see him you know."

Evey moved away and found an arm chair to sit on.

"God, I'm still tired from last night."

Ju's eye twitched when she sat down, his fingers curling up into fists.

"Watch where you sit..." he grumbled. "And yes, there is a pot of coffee ready for you. Jezz, if you want to practice with the coffee again..."

"Sure!" she chirped and hurried off to get the coffee. Evey arched an eyebrow at Jezz and then to Ju. What had he done to the poor girl, she wondered. She looked at the chair.

"What? Did I sit in the wrong chair?"

Evey rubbed her temples and then got up.

"Um... where can I sit, Ju? I'm still tired."

"The couch," he said as he walked behind her to fix the throw pillow she'd moved when she sat. "Anywhere on the couch is fine."

Evey looked at him for a moment, before mumbling a sorry, and headed toward the couch. She sat and then leaned back.

"This okay?" she murmured. Jezz came back with the mug, and then handed it to Evey.

"You sure you're okay?"

"Yeah. I'm just still tired." Evey took the mug and took a sip and sighed. She gave Jezz a sidelong glance.

"You doing okay?"

"Oh, I'm doing fine! Ju is really nice, and he answers all my questions about vampires. I cooked for him, and he made me dessert."

Jezz flushed, and she leaned close to Evey and whispered in her ear, "He has a nice smile."

Evey tossed Ju a grin. The cruentus did his best to maintain his composure, looking away from them both, but the slight blush that came to his cheeks gave him away. Evey looked from Ju's blush to Jezz's and back, an eyebrow arched. Well... that was not what she had expected when she left Jezz here. But they were cute. She'd known in the end he wouldn't have had a problem with Jezz. She's too sweet to not get along with anyone. But she didn't expect her to develop a crush.

"I'm sure he does," Evey whispered back to Jezz with a smile. Jezz's blush deepened, but she nodded, grinning, with a slightly conspiratorial look on her face. She gave Evey another hug.

"How long am I going to stay here? I mean, it's only been a day, but I really like it here. It's a palace compared to the last place I lived in, and the company is nice," Jezz asked, pulling back after a moment.

"For a while yet, I think."

Evey took a sip and closed her eyes, sighing and leaning back.

"Not until this is all over," she whispered to the air.

"You should visit your boss sometime today," Ju suggested, finally regaining his usual demeanor. "It would be good for his health and your employment."

Will joined them from taking his shower, wearing his old clothes, but otherwise clean.

"Want to double check me?" he asked Ju, and the vampire sighed.

"I know you didn't do well. Excuse me."

He started to leave to clean up after the hunter. Jezz winced as she watched Ju leave. She looked up at Will.

"I didn't think there was anyone out there more OCD than me, but he takes the cake."

She smiled.

"But he needs it like this."

Evey arched an eyebrow at Jezz's words, but then looked up to Will.

"Do you mind coming with me to the hospital to see Davidson? Then we can go to the theatre, and I can try to get a job there temporarily. I think work at the office is going to be a little slow. And all my open cases right now are... well, they're getting more and more personal."

Jezz looked at Evey.

"I can't go with you."

Evey shook her head.

"I wouldn't recommend it, Jezz. You're the only person I know that is close to me that can't protect herself. I don't want to make you a target."

She nodded.

"Tell Davidson that, so he doesn't fire me?"

"I promise, I will."

"I'll be ready to go as soon as I have a quick cup of coffee," Will said as he started towards the kitchen, but then he stopped. "Uh, maybe I should wait for Ju to fix it so I don't mess up his kitchen too."

"I'll get it," Jezz offered. She got up.

"Sit here. I'll be right back."

She hurried to the kitchen. Evey smiled at Will as he sat taking another sip of her coffee.

"I think Jezz is happy."

"Are you surprised?" Will asked as he opted to lean against the sofa rather than sit. "I know I'm a bit startled that Ju isn't put off by her. Nothing against Jezz, of course."

Evey looked up at him and her smiled turned into a grin. God, he was handsome and wonderful. She could totally understand what Jezz was feeling. Will and Ju were completely different, but she knew what it felt like to be captivated by a man so quickly.

"Maybe he'll tell us why she doesn't bother him – but I think it has everything to do with how infectiously sweet she is."

She chuckled.

"Maybe," Will agreed with a laugh, just as Ju returned. The cruentus crossed his arms.

"She keeps things in order."

Evey looked over to Ju.

"That's it?"

She arched an eyebrow.

"Just keeps things in order?"

He nodded.

"And in their proper place. She's learned my organization quickly, and I don't have to worry about her putting something somewhere it doesn't belong."

He glanced towards Will.

"Unlike some people."

Evey chuckled and the shook her head.

"Okay, well, I'm glad you two are getting along."

She winked at Ju.

"I told you Jezz would be all right."

Jezz hurried back then and gave the cup of coffee to Will.

"What about me?"

"Evey was just commenting about how well we we're getting along," Ju explained while Will gratefully drank the coffee.

Jezz smiled at Evey. "Yeah!"

Evey finished her coffee and handed her the mug. Jezz grinned, shrugged, and took it, hurrying back to the kitchen to put it away. Evey turned her smile on Ju.

"Thanks, Ju."

Giving her one of his rare, thin-lipped smiles, the vampire nodded.

"You're welcome. You should go see your boss now..."

The smile quickly faded.

"I don't know if it means anything, but Jared has been lurking around the hospital for several hours, particularly near the rooms where Davidson is recovering."

"Oh, fuck." Evey stood up. "He's probably trying to watch out for Cheron."

She grabbed her bag, suddenly in a rush to leave. She needed to get to Davidson before the malicious angel of death finished the job. She had to protect the old bastard somehow.

Oh, god, but how?

"Evey wait up! You can't ride the bike alone!"

Will shoved his half-finished mug into Ju's hands and ran after her, realizing they needed to get there quickly, but not quite as startled by the news as Evey was. They got back to his bike and didn't even need to speak as they both hopped on and headed off towards the hospital. Will realized he had forgotten to turn the intercom on when they were nearly there, and before Evey could dash off into the building without him, he flipped up the visor of his helmet.

"Slow down! We don't even know what room he's in!"

Evey took a deep breath and nodded. She took off her helmet and then grabbed his hand, giving it a squeeze.

"Will... I don't want Davidson to die."

He sighed, pulling his hand away so he could remove his helmet too. He reached out and squeezed her shoulder.

"Let's just stay calm. We'll go inside and ask where he is. I'm sure he's going to be fine..."

Evey nodded. She walked by Will, staying close as they entered the hospital. At the front desk, she gave the lady a small smile.

"Hi. Looking for Lewis Davidson. He was brought in yesterday."

The nurse at the reception smiled up at the two of them.

"Oh! I saw you on the news! I'm so sorry about what happened... you're a friend of his, aren't you?"

Will raised an eyebrow as he looked over at Evey. This nurse was awfully perky. Evey was a little surprised, but tried not to show it. She nodded.

"What room is he in?"

"Let me check..."

She turned to her computer and tapped away at the keys.

"Ah! Here he is! Second floor, room 220. Let me get you some visitors passes."

The nurse stood to get the passes for them, heading to the back of the small office. Evey was anxious. She took a deep breath to calm herself. She knew Jared was here, knew what his aura felt like. He had said before that Cheron had cloaked himself from her. She stretched out the tendrils of her senses, searching for any other powerful aura other than Will's and Jared's in the building.

Was there anyone here other than them? Anything that could do them harm? The consciousness in her eyes faded out as she spread her own aura about the building, testing for the identifying sensations of anything supernatural.

There were a few unusual twitches in her senses, but they were nothing horribly strange for a hospital: spirits, likely of patients who had passed on but still lingered a little behind. A couple of cruenti were in the building, and even some lycanthropes, but other than Jared's demonic presence, there didn't seem to be...

That's when it hit her: anew aura of inexplicable calm, yet so powerful it felt like a presence was right beside her. This couldn't be Charon; it was too gentle, and felt nothing like foreboding death...

Evey stiffened, not trusting. She wanted to identify the aura, but didn't dare push too hard. She lingered trying to identify exactly what it was. Angel, cruentus, demon or... something else?

But as soon as she started to focus, the aura blipped away, as if sensing her trying to find it. The nurse returned to the front with their passes.

"There you are! He should be awake and ready for visitors. Just don't be upset if he doesn't want you to stay long."

Evey immediately focused and gave the nurse another tight, small smile.

"Thank you. I know how he is."

She took the passes, handed one to Will, and headed for the elevator. She was trying not to run, but was having a hard time of it.

"We could take the stairs if you don't want to wait," Will said softly, worried because Evey was so nervous. "It's only the second floor."

Evey gave him a sheepish smile and headed for the stairs. She stopped by the door.

"Sorry, Will."

She took his hand and gave him a kiss, her lips brushing over his.

"Thanks for being patient with me."

Her smile was softer. She turned away, releasing his hand and hurrying up the stairs. Again, startled by the abrupt dash, Will had to catch up to her. Rushing up to the second floor, the pair came out next to room 201, so they still had a little ways to go to get to 220. Luckily, they had a guide.

"I was wondering if you would come today."

Jared smiled at them as he came down the hallway, cane leading him. He nodded towards Evey.

"He's awake and doing well. You're visiting, right?"

Evey nodded. Her heart racing a little from her worry and her running. She went to Jared, waited till Will was beside her and locked each arm around one of theirs, heading in the direction of 220.

"Jared, why are you here?" she asked softly. He laughed a bit as he tapped his cane in front of them.

"Not doing my job, again," he said. "And likely pissing off Charon. I came here as soon as I could and made sure the doctors did their jobs better than ever, so to speak."

Evey's eyes widened in surprise.

"Oh, oh, thank goodness."

She relaxed a little, but not as much as she probably should have. The aura from earlier lingered in her mind.

"So nothing has been trying to kill him since yesterday?"

Jared shook his head.

"I haven't sensed anything."

"So you've just been here looking after him?" Will asked. Again, the demon laughed.

"Just making sure he survives. He wasn't particularly keen on my presense, however, even when I told him I was a client of yours, Evey."

Evey relaxed enough to chuckle.

"Yeah, well, that would upset him actually. My client?"

She grinned.

"Not his client. It's still his company so all the clients are technically his. I just do the work for him."

Evey quieted, and her smile faded.

"So, you didn't sense that aura a little while ago then? Completely calm and gentle?"

"Briefly, near the maternity ward," Jared admitted. "But it's been appearing on and off since I arrived."

Maternity ward? Evey looked to Will and back to Jared.

"Do you know what it is?"

They arrived at room 220 and Jared placed his hand on the knob.

"It's divine; whether angelic or demonic, however, I can't tell."

He opened the door for them, letting them into the room. Fuck, Evey thought. Divine. Well, at least it didn't seem particularly malicious. And it was in the maternity ward. That did mean something good, right? For a fucking change. She walked in, releasing both men and heading to her boss.

"Davidson."

He peered up at her from his bed and snorted. But a small smile played on his face.

"Sorry to see me still breathing?"

"No, you bastard, I'm thanking the good gods nothing managed to kill you."

He leveled a look at her.

"The fire wasn't an accident."

Evey sighed. "I know."

He was silent. He didn't say what they both knew. It had been meant for her. He sighed.

"Whose the company? Other than the blind shrink that said he paid us?"

"Will Keatting."

Evey shrugged at Will.

"Will, my boss, Lewis Davidson."

The hunter smiled and waved at the man in the hospital bed, not really sure what to say to Evey's boss.

"Feeling better?" he asked, uneasily. Davidson snorted at him and looked back at Evey.

"Boyfriend?"

Evey blushed and crossed her arms. Davidson rolled his eyes and looked back at Will.

"Pleasure," he grumbled. "And yeah, I'm feeling better, thanks. I was hoping to ease into my retirement. I wasn't planning on burning my business to the ground."

Evey looked puzzled.

"Boss...?"

"Ah, I can take a hint. First this blind quack shows up saying he's your client, and then someone destroys my place trying to kill you, Grant."

Davidson closed his eyes.

"You bring more revenue in, and you actually solve the good stuff. I still sit in my car and take pictures of cheating husbands and wives. Sure, it's easy steady work, but when your employee has connections with cops that you used to have – but all your cop friends are retired – she's the one getting the death threats, getting shot at and solving all the big, dirty, big cases and is willing to do them all... Well, a smart man takes the fucking hint."

He sighed.

"Once they let me out of this god forsaken hell hole of a hospital I'm going to Hawaii for some overdue vacation time. I'd give you the office, but."

Evey smiled softly at Davidson. The man was a bastard, but he was a nice bastard.

"Thanks for the offer, boss. Collect your insurance and sell the place. Find yourself a nice hula girl."

Davidson snorted.

"Right. And don't call me 'boss'. I'm not your boss anymore, Grant. You're freelance now, I guess."

He tossed a glare at Will.

"Do you have a job, kid?"

Will stiffened a bit. He certainly didn't want to leave a bad impression by saying he'd just been fired.

"I do tech work at the Black Box Theater."

So it wasn't the job that brought in the best money, but he figured it would be a bad idea to say he was a vampire hunter. Davidson pointed at Evey.

"Well, make that job number two. I'll pay you to keep Grant alive. She has a bad habit of doing things by herself. S'why she's been shot and threatened plenty. And now the fire. Whatever the fuck is out there to get her it means serious fucking business. You look like you could beat the hell out of someone if you wanted to. I'll pay you to be her bodyguard. Figure, if you're dating her, that shouldn't be too fucking hard right? Just don't. Leave. Her. Alone. Period."

Evey turned red.

"Davidson, I thought you said you were going to Hawaii. How the hell are you going to pay Will for all that time?"

Now his glare turned on her.

"Shut up, Grant. You're going to get killed if someone doesn't watch your back. If the man gives even three licks of shit about you, he'll do it for fucking free. And you'll go work at that theater and lay low. Lay low, Grant."

He winced and leaned back again. Evey was still bright red as she glared back at Davidson. She couldn't help but be touched by his concern, but she... well, she just couldn't bring herself to look at Will at the moment.

"You didn't have to tell me to watch after her, sir," Will said, a little startled by the abrupt demand. "You're not the first to ask."

Davidson's attention returned to Will. His glare was piercing.

"I'm not, huh? Then do it and don't let the woman out of your sight. She's a sweet talker. Watch out."

Evey's face was flaming now.

"I am not," she gritted out.

"Right. I'm sure after the fifth bullet you've taken he'll start to believe it when you've STILL managed to convince him to let you go alone."

Davidson leaned back again, still staring at Will.

"Do you want me to pay you to be her bodyguard or what? I'm serious, kid. I want you with her around the clock."

"I got the message the first time," Will growled, growing irritated with everyone telling him he had to protect Evey. "God! It's like everyone expects me to just walk away when this shit happens!"

Davidson arched an eyebrow. He looked over at Evey.

"You're a meddling bastard," she said.

"Yeah, I love ya too, Grant. Take care of yourself and don't be stupid."

He sighed and closed his eyes.

"Now get outta here. I'm tired. I said my piece."

Evey stared at Davidson a long moment and smiled.

"Take care of yourself too, boss."

"Yeah, yeah. Beat it."

She looked to Jared. She still didn't have the guts to glance in Will's direction.

"Let's go."

She dared a peek over her shoulder at Will. But he was already leaving the room. Jared raised his eyebrows, not sure what to make of Will's solo exit.

"I think he's a little tired of everyone telling him to look after you..."

Evey sighed and shrugged.

"It's not like I ask them to..."

She took Jared's arm and walked out with him.

"I imagine it's quite stressful for him though," Jared said as they headed towards where Will had stormed off. "Imagine: everyone telling you to protect someone you're trying to protect already. It's like they're saying he isn't doing his job well enough."

Evey nodded.

"I understand."

She looked to where Will was ahead of them.

"I'd be mad too. Probably my fault though. I'm so used to being by myself and doing everything alone. I don't think to tell Will."

She shrugged.

"So I don't. And last night... Will had said he and Jesse didn't get along, so I didn't bother to ask him to come with me. Even when I called him, I asked him if he wasn't too busy..."

She shook her head.

"I don't want to impose on him..."

Jared frowned.

"I'm afraid this sort of dilemma isn't my specialty. All you can do is talk to each other."

They passed by the maternity ward, the screams of a mother giving birth preventing further conversation. The mother's family was waiting outside while doctors and nurses worked to birth the child. But there was another person in the room. A young girl, maybe seven or so years old, was at the woman's side, one hand wrapped around hers, the other on her bulging tummy. Yet the doctors didn't even seem to notice she was there.

Evey froze. She knew Jared couldn't see her, not physically anyway but... She just stared. What the hell? How could the doctors not see her? That kid shouldn't be there.

"Jared," she said close to his ear. "Get to Will and stop him from storming out will you? I'll be right back."

She released Jared and headed toward the girl. Was she the sister? Then why wasn't she with the rest of the family?

"Miss, you'll have to wait outside," a nurse said as she placed her hands on Evey's shoulders and pushed her gently back.

"But why is the little girl in there?" Evey asked, puzzled, pointing at the girl by the mother. Her brow furrowed as she looked at the child.

"Nice try, miss. The only ones allowed in right now are the doctors and their assistants. You'll just have to wait."

The child looked over at Evey and giggled, smiling sweetly as she rubbed the woman's stomach. Dread filled Evey. She paled and a her lips thinned into a tight line. She trembled out of worry for the mother and the child. What the hell was that little girl? Evey focused her energies and aura and tried to sense what the child was. A cruenta?

God, if that little girl was demonic... She didn't care how many doctors and nurses she had to shove out of the way, she was getting that thing out of there and away from the mother.

An infant's cry rang in the air, and the nurse sighed.

"Alright," she said. "Just another minute and you can go in. Mother and child are fine."

The girl was no longer in the room, but her giggle called to Evey from down the hall.

"You can see me."
I feel like this chapter is a little slow, but we are introduced to a new, very strange being...
:iconicysapphire:
Icysapphire Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2008  Student General Artist
SARAAAAAAAAAH~ :'D
SHE'S A CUTIE. <3
Nicely written, as always :'D
It's time I get back into reading Cruenti. xD;;
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:iconcei-ellem:
Cei-Ellem Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
Hooray! Glad to have a reader again ^_^
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