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(Contains: strong language)
Chapter 9

Evey walked with Alec to his car. Brendan's friend, another werewolf, had come from out of town at his friend's behest to be her bodyguard. The man was with her twenty four seven, and while he was pleasant enough company and actually pretty nice, she had no patience for the whole ordeal. He was with her no matter where she went.

She had planned to go work at the theatre with Will weeks ago. But since... Well, since he came to apartment that night, she hadn't seen him since. It broke her up inside. She wondered if Alec told Brendan that she cried herself to sleep most nights, wishing Will was with her.

Brendan had taken it upon himself to shadow Cei. She'd spoken to him, told him about Lemuel Malone – Cheron's human form – like Jared. Brendan had paled and the next day he was posted as undercover. She didn't know what he'd told his superiors, but she found out soon enough that Malone was a cop too. Brendan lay low, shadowing Cei. Even when she went to visit Jon, he lingered outside the Keattings' place keeping watch. He was clearly keeping tabs on Malone, Cei and Evey, and probably Jesse too. The man was tenacious.

Things had actually been quiet. Evey'd wanted to get a job – since the theatre wasn't an option anymore. Jon had gotten the lead role and Will had gotten the understudy position. She wished she could've celebrated with them, but... Well, things just didn't work out. Still, despite not having the theatre as an option, she wanted a job, but Graham had only agreed if it was a job where Alec could be around her and there weren't many people.

She got a job at the library.

She'd just gotten off minutes ago. It had been two weeks, and she was still miserable. But she wasn't going to chase a man that didn't want her. It had just gotten dark out, and there were only a few dwindling library patrons leaving at the same time as Evey. It was quite a task getting down the long stone steps in heels, but by now it was no more than a daily workout. She was almost to the car when her cell phone rang. The ringer told her it was Ju (or Jezz calling from his phone again). Evey stopped, Alec beside her, and flipped open the phone.

"Hello?"

"Someone's watching you," Ju told her over the line. "And you might want to tell Alec that the car is not a very good idea; when he went inside for a bathroom break, some solis slipped in and cut the break lines. They're watching to see if you get in, and I think there's more than one."

"Ah, fuck," she breathed into the phone. Well, it had been bound to happen. It had been too quiet.

"Thanks."

She closed the phone and looked to the man beside her. He arched his brows in question.

"We're being watched," she whispered. "And our brake lines have been cut."

"Ah, fuck."

"That's what I said."

"How many?"

"I don't know, more than one."

Alec was already trying to form an idea. He took Evey's arm, continuing down the steps, hoping that those watching hadn't realized they'd been discovered. He could run fast, but carrying Evey he'd only be able to go half as fast as normal. Almost every place was closed now. Two vampires, with Evey's help, he may be able to handle, but if it was more than that, they were fucked.

He took out his phone and dialed Brendan.

"Yeah?" Brendan's voice said on the other line. He sounded half asleep.

"We're being ambushed outside of the library."

"Fuck!"

Alec hung up.

"Brace yourself, Evey. We might have to make a run for it."

They reached the bottom of the steps. There were no people left on the streets now, and it was unnervingly quiet. The library sat at an ideal place for an ambush: right at the end of a dead end street.

Something shifted in the bushes.

"Fuck this," Alec said, a low growl escaping the back of his throat. No one in sight and really, vampires usually thought twice about going up against a werewolf. Let's hope these cruenti were smart and left them alone. He wasn't going to be able to make a run for it without risking Evey.

He pulled her close, startling her, as he began to change into his hybrid form. In the two weeks she'd been with him, she'd never seen him change – hell, she'd never seen Brendan change. She stared in amazement as Alec grew another two feet in height, and growled into the darkness.

A figured lunged at him from the bushes, fangs barred as the vampire ran at him. From the other side of the steps ran in another, and two more appeared across the street. Their eyes glowed bright green in the darkness, though those of the one who had attacked first shone yellow. These were younger cruenti.

Alec swung at the one that came at him, fighting back. Evey let out a short yell, pulling out the pair of stakes that Alec had armed her with. She was supposed to carry them everywhere and she was glad she had given in to his demands. Both flew into the air thanks to her TK, threatening the two younger ones to keep their distance while Alec fought the older one.

While the two across the street looked a bit apprehensive about the flying stakes, the one from the other side of the steps didn't hesitate to go straight for Evey while the first bit down on Alec's arm.

A fourth? Evey sent a stake flying toward the one who came at her, moving away from Alec as he grabbed the vampire who had bitten down on him on the neck, tearing him off and throwing him. Alec then threw himself at the vampire, his claws intending to dig into his sides and his maw lunging for the vampire's throat.

A sharp, whooshing sound cut through the air, followed by a solid thud as something pierced Alec's back. Leaning against a pillar at the top of the stairs was a dashing young man with deep red hair, smirking at them as he reloaded his crossbow.

"The first rule of a knife fight," he called down at them. "Bring a gun."

Alec howled, reaching behind him to grab at the bolt his his back to tear it out.

"No!" Evey cried mentally jerking the crossbow from his hand as she reached for her gun.

"Got one." She shot at him, just as the crossbow clattered to the floor. But the pain searing through Alec's back prevented him from getting a good hold on it. He howled again as he swung at the vampire he'd been attacking. Evey turned to him and saw the glint in the moonlight.

"No..." Dropping the stakes, she mentally reached for the bolt and jerked it out of Alec's body, tossing it straight at a vampire who had been coming up beside her, landing it into the cruentus's eye.

"Alec!" she cried, rushing toward him. The wound wouldn't close like any other normally would. She searched for the crossbow she had blown away, looking to destroy it and all the bolts with it.

"You ruined my good waistcoat," the red-head whined sarcastically, holding out one hand as the crossbow lifted from the ground and returned to his grasp. "Father warned me to watch out for the psychic ones."

He pointed the weapon at her, smiling. His eyes narrowed, glinting with a dim red glow.

"Ah yes, I remember you now. So this is why he asked this favor of me: you're friends with Celestine."

Evey knew enough by now to take an educated guess.

"Don't tell me – Crudelis's new filus to torture. We wondered if you existed, now there's no doubt." She lifted the stakes again with her mind, sending one flying into the chest of one of the green eyed vampires – the one with the bolt in his eyes still.

Alec was weakening but still hanging in there, finally having pinned the vampire that had come at him.

Evey shot another two bullets at the man with the red hair, hoping to distract him long enough to take his weapon again. He laughed softly, dodging the bullets with ease now that he knew they were coming.

"You speak as if I never existed before, even though we've certainly met once prior to this evening. Don't you remember that lovely meal I interrupted?"

Evey mentally jerked at the crossbow. She sneered up at him, gathering her energy for one powerful pull that would hopefully pull him and send him crashing to the floor.

"Don't you remember what I can do?"

She pulled hard on the crossbow, snapping free the strap that held the bolts so they fell free rendering the crossbow useless. His smile only widened into a Cheshire cat grin.

"Of course, but you never saw what I can do!"

The fallen bolts rose in unison with the gentle raise of his arms, and with a simple gesture went flying together and into Alec.

"NO!" Evey screamed, trying with all her might to jerk the bolts away in a different direction.

Alec, who had just finished off the vampire, ripping off its head, didn't have time to react. Half the bolts still pierced him, even with all that Evey had managed to turn away. He howled, the poison from the silver, penetrating deep and fast since there were so many.

Evey raced to his side, trying to jerk free as many as she could, but Alec was already collapsing.

"No, no, no, no..."

Holding onto Alec, Evey turned back to Druclerd's filus, her entire body wired with rage.

"You fucking bastard."

Evey began to use her TK the way no one but she had ever dared or ever done. Molecules were weightless. She focused her mind to the subatomic level of the redhead's skin and began to peel away the skin and muscle of his neck, stabbing into his throat and ripping away the skin with the force of her mind. He barely reacted, laughing as his natural healing kept the damage from becoming too severe. After a moment, it looked as if he hadn't even been touched.

"You'll have to try harder than that, though it is indeed a useful trick. Perhaps I should try it myself..."

Not wanting to test that, and cursing her luck, she gathered the molecules in the air around her, forming a shield to protect her and the dying Alec. He was already transforming back. Tears streamed down her cheeks. She really was all alone now.

"Sorry, Evey," Alec rasped.

She shook her head and held him close, ignoring the blood soaking through her clothes. There was nothing she could do to him. There was nothing she could use. It would take to long to find a piece of metal sharp enough to cut off the bastard's head. She'd been practicing how to vanish more since the night at Jesse's, but it was still far from perfect and she was still too vulnerable when she did it. She wasn't safe now. Even invisible to his senses and his mind he would probably find her. So she used all her energy to protect herself within the shield.

"Ah, that shield of yours... well, then I suppose I'll just give my message and leave. I hoped to get my fangs in you, but it will have to wait."

He reached into his cloak and pulled out a dead rose, tossing it towards Evey.

"Give this to Celestine for me."

Then, with a clap of his hands, the remaining cruenti dashed off, and he stepped into the shadows, becoming one with them as he vanished. Evey stared after him, tears of rage still sliding down her cheeks. She waited a long moment, looking back to Alec.

He was still and cold.

She stifled a sob and slowly got up, putting him gently on the ground. She turned to the dead rose. She dropped her shield and picked up the flower with her mind, shredding it to dust.

But the vampire hadn't truly left. He'd been waiting for Evey to drop her shield, and as soon as she did, he lunged from the shadows behind her, grabbing her and forcing her head to the side. He pulled her hair out of the way as he sank his fangs into her neck.

Evey had no time to react. Whatever mental protection she had been about to conjure filtered away as she went limp in his arms.

Two cars screeched to a stop at the base of the steps. Brendan practically leaped out of his vehicle.

"EVEY! ALEC!"

Jon soon followed, jumping out of his car and aiming his crossbow at the vampire as Will came out the passenger's side. He took one carefully shot, striking his shoulder. The cruentus growled, releasing his hold on Evey to remove the bolt, but as soon as she was out of his grasp, Will was right next to him, wielding his sword. The younger Keatting struck for his neck, but the vampire shifted just in time, taking the blow in his side instead. Furious that his meal had been interrupted, he darted off, not willing to take on three attackers alone.

The moment the cruentus released her, Evey collapsed to the floor without grace. She fell to the ground, sprawled over the steps near Alec.

Brendan, keeping Cei close beside him, rushed to check on Alec and Evey. He saw the state of his friend and cursed – rage filling him. Brendan turned, taking in the scent of the vampire from Evey and growled, "Dead west – move fast, Keatting."

Will nodded, pulling a vial from his coat as he ran after him. Cei knelt beside Evey, placing her hand where the bite wound should have been.

"Thank god it sealed," she sighed. "Evey! Evey, say something!"

"Mm... Mm?" Evey half smiled and put a bloody hand to her head. "What? What happened?"

She sighed.

"Pick her up, Cei. Put her in the car. Jon – help me with Alec."

Brendan's lips thinned and his eyes closed.

"I'm not going to leave him out here."

He was in the process of removing every silver bolt, wrapping them in his overcoat.

"Son of a bitch."

He looked up at Jon.

"I hope your brother rips that son of a bitch apart."

As for the younger Keatting, he'd caught up to the vampire and took another swing at him, but missed. The cruentus whirled around.

"Stupid mortalis!" he sneered, fingers growing into long claws. "Didn't you learn anything from our last encounter?"

He swiped at him, tearing through Will's coat. The hunter retaliated with another strike of his own, eyes glowing bright.

"I wasn't as prepared as I am now!"

The two went back and forth at each other, neither backing down until Will's sword cut deep into the vampire's leg, nearly taking it off. The cruentus howled in pain, and stepped back to vanish into the shadows before Will could finish him off.

He didn't know Will was as exhausted as he was.

The hunter made his way back to the other, bloody and tired. Brendan was burning the body of the vampire Alec had killed. He was covered in smudges of blood from Alec, and had already placed his deceased friend in the car.

Evey was sitting up against Cei, still a little disoriented, but slowly focusing again. Unlike Cei and Brendan, Evey was soaked in blood. There were tears in her eyes and on her face, burning paths through the blood smeared on her.

"He's the one that attacked at the restaurant. The one sending you death threats, Cei," Evey finally said, her voice barely above a whisper. Brendan heard her, his ears far more attuned than that of the humans.

"As long as you're safe," the cruenta sighed.

"He called you Celestine," Evey breathed to Cei. "You're not safe, Cei..."

She leaned back closing her eyes.

"I couldn't save Alec..."

Will walked over to Brendan, head lowered.

"He got away," he told him with a frown. "The bastard got away..."

Brendan shook his head watching the fire.

"He was probably Crudelis's filus," he whispered. "We've suspected he may or may not have had another – there's no reason for him to threaten Cei. He wants her back. And after what Evey just said, I believe it. We'll ask Evey exactly what happened once she's more lucid. You and Jon take Cei and Evey home. Stay with them until I get back? I need... I need to bury my friend."

Will nodded, walking over to the girls. Jon was already there.

"Let's get back to the apartment," the younger Keatting said softly. "We need to get them both where they'll be safe."

Jon nodded and helped Evey to her feet, guiding her over to the car. Will followed, but Cei lingered back, watching Brendan. She walked over to him first, keeping a small distance between them.

"Will you be joining us soon?" she asked. Brendan nodded.

"I'll get there as soon as I can. I need to get some friends to clean up and I have to call the pack."

He turned to Cei, his eyes glowing a bright yellow.

"It shouldn't take more than a couple of hours. Stay safe. Don't leave the Keattings till I get back."

He lifted a hand to caress her cheek, then dropped it, heading to his car. As Cei returned, Will watched her, raising an eyebrow at what he'd just seen. He'd ask about it later. Now was not the time...

The four of them headed back to the Keattings' apartment. Cei took Evey to the bathroom to help her get cleaned up, while Jon helped tend to his younger brother's wounds.

Evey spoke quietly to Cei.

"He left a dead rose. I destroyed it. Cei... It's been so quiet. What are we going to do now? He wants to kill you."

Evey put a hand to her neck. Bastard. She looked up to Cei.

"Alec is dead. What will I do now? Graham can't protect us both..."

"We can't keep hiding either," Cei pointed out. "Ever since that fire, I feel like we've been hiding out, not trying to solve this problem. We need to fight back..."

She sighed, preparing a warm bath for her friend.

"The masquerade ball is in a few days. A charity to help rebuild the office. It would be strange if you didn't go..."

Evey looked up at Cei surprised.

"Rebuild... my office?"

Why... why would they do that? No, it had to be a different office. Evey took off her bloody clothes and sank into the hot water, wrapping her arms around herself. It was strange being here. What would Will say?

"Evey, what's happened to you?" Cei asked, brows furrowed with concern. "You've been so detached lately. Is it because of Will?"

Evey looked up at Cei, her eyes suddenly stinging. She looked away again.

"Yes... He... He decided he didn't want me. It hurt too much to be around him. He avoided me, I avoided him."

"God, you're both being ridiculous!"

Cei handed her a washcloth and some soap.

"He thinks that you don't want him; that's why he's been avoiding you. He has barely spoken at all since you went to the hospital!"

Evey looked up at Cei. Tears streamed down her cheeks.

"He walked away from me, Cei. All he had to do was stay. All he had to do was tell me that he wasn't going away, that he was going to stay. I wasn't going to force him to, he had to want to. I wasn't going to manipulate him into staying. He walked away, Cei. He left and he never came back."

Evey looked away again, starting to wash herself. She wasn't going to explain anymore. She hadn't done anything wrong. She had told him she wanted him. All she had demanded was that he wanted her too. And then he left. Cei shook her head, sighing.

"Will has some confidence issues, but I can't make you two get back together."

She stood, walking towards the door.

"Holler when you're done and I'll bring you some clean clothes."

Evey nodded, but didn't look at her. She had already told Will how she felt. She wanted him with her. He just didn't know what he wanted, which meant he didn't want her.

She finished her bath when the water started to get cold. She wrapped the towel around herself and headed outside. She didn't feel like hollering. She'd rather just find Cei and ask for the clothes.

She was in the living room, tightening the last bandage on Will's arm. Jon was headed out the door to pick up something for dinner, and wondering what was taking Brendan so long. Cei looked over at Evey and quickly left Will to get her something to wear other than a towel.

"I have some spare clothes here," she said as she passed. Evey nodded and stood in place, looking at Will. Her face was flushed, and well aware that she was naked beneath the towel. Her lips dried. She licked them.

"Are you all right?" she whispered. Will nodded slowly, his head down.

"I'll survive."

He shifted in his seat, not wanting to look at her.

"And you? Are you all right?"

"No."

Evey walked toward him. Her feet padded softly on the floor. She paused beside him.

"I haven't been all right for a while."

It took a moment, but Will dared to turn his head to look at her.

"He almost killed you..."

Evey nodded.

"Yes."

She sat down beside him and put her hand on his injury.

"He hurt you. I'm sorry, Will."

He flinched at her touch, still sore from his fight.

"I wanted to kill him, but he was too fast. Graham was right; I can't protect you..."

She drew her hand away, not wanting to hurt him. Her fingers intertwined together on her lap.

"Will, Graham only said that because he expected you to stay with me all the time. He thought you would... want to protect me so much that you wouldn't leave me alone. He thought it would be easy for you because you wanted to be with me, so he thought I would be safe because you wouldn't leave my side. When you weren't there – he was shocked and angry. Like a big brother. He felt you didn't care about me enough, and because you didn't care about me, you couldn't protect me the way he felt you should."

Evey closed her eyes, and didn't bother to hide her tears.

"But I wasn't going to force you to be with me if you didn't want to. I know what I want. I've always wanted you with me. But I wasn't – I refused – to make you protect me and care about me if you really didn't. You can protect me. But only if you want to."

She looked up at him.

"We are strongest when we protect those we care about. If you didn't care about me, you couldn't protect me. That was what he accused you of. That you didn't care enough to stay with me. And then you left."

And proved him right. Tears streamed down her cheeks. Will slowly turned his head away, lowering his eyes.

"I do care about you Evey, but I don't think I'm strong enough to protect you. My brother and I... we're always out protecting everyone from dangerous vampires, but sometimes we can't make it in time. Tonight we came too late to save a life, and I almost lost you. That's Jon and I together. If we aren't strong enough as a team, then on my own..."

He closed his eyes, trying to hide his own tears.

"I love you Evey, and I couldn't bare it if losing you was my fault."

Evey stilled in disbelief at hearing his words. He... god, he loved her? She was shaking as she stood and moved before him, slowly going down to her knees between his legs. She didn't want to hurt him, and it took all of her willpower not to throw herself at him. Her hands cupped his face as she leaned into him.

"Will... Will, I love you. As long as you're with me, I'm safe. Please stay with me. Don't leave me alone again. Please?"

Will opened his eyes, meeting her gaze with his. The corners of his mouth turned up a little. He was shocked and happy, but at a loss for words.

"Okay."

"Um, Evey?"

Cei stood in the doorway to the living room, holding a pile of clothes. She'd been watching this scene for a while.

"Would you like to get dressed now?"

Evey turned bright red and gripped onto the towel, holding it against her. She got up, still shaking a little, aching for Will's kiss. She headed toward Cei, head down with embarrassment.

"I'll be right back."

She took the clothes, still not willing to look at Cei, and disappeared into the bathroom to change.

Once finished, she realized even with the clothes, she didn't feel any less embarrassed. Will loved her, but... would he forgive her these last two weeks. Would he even kiss her again? Just confessing their feelings didn't mean... Evey shook her head. It didn't matter. He would kiss her again when he wanted to. She'd been so dominant in this relationship – if it could be called that – so she decided she would let him gain his self confidence, before they stood head to head, where she wanted them to be.

Evey went back into the room. She shifted in place by the door.

"Do you want me to heal your leg?"

"Is there much more that can be done to help it?" Will asked with a bashful smile. "I'm lucky he didn't break it when he hit it. The blood I took was starting to wear off..."

Evey nodded.

"Of course there can be more done to help it."

She walked over to him, knelt down by his side and took off the bandages Cei had put.

"I'll put them back on if you need them, but I don't think you will. I've had lots of practice."

She ignored his questioning face and focused on the garish wound. Focusing her mind, she used her TK to find the molecules.

"Brace yourself," she murmured. "This'll probably hurt."

With that warning expressed, Evey focused on the wound completely, binding the broken molecules together, bringing the skin together and mending it with her telekinesis. She had done this a million times before with herself and with others (though they didn't know about it, thankfully). Mending a wound was easier than creating one.

But it did hurt like a bitch.

Will braced himself as she knitted the skin back together. Healing was one thing, but this was as painful as when he received the wound... except this took longer. While Evey worked, Cei stood back in the doorway, watching the two of them together.

"I'm sure that ability comes in handy."

Evey didn't respond until few seconds later. Will was healed. Sure slicing him up was only milliseconds of time, and healing him took a few seconds. But a few seconds of pain was better than waiting weeks for the healing process. She just sped it up. She turned to Cei for a second.

"It does. I started practicing on myself when I was little and got beaten up by bigger girls. I didn't want my father to worry."

Then she turned and looked up at Will, seeing is pale, pinched face, and winced.

"Sorry, Will. Maybe I should've let it gone through its natural course?"

She put her hand on his now healed leg. There was no more pain. It was as good as new.

"Did it hurt a lot?"

"Only as much as it did when it was dealt," Will said with a relieve wince as he tested his leg. "Feels fine now, though. Thanks."

He shifted so that Evey could sit next to him.

"Let's wait a little for the rest, please. I need a minute to recoup."

"I'll make some coffee," Cei piped in, just glad to see them together again.

Evey sat beside him and put her hands in her lap, staring down at them. She didn't know what else to say to him, really. They'd said how they felt, but... what now? Would he stay? Or would he leave again?

"So," he began, trying to break the uncomfortable silence. "How have things been? Cei tells me you got a new job."

Evey released a short laugh.

"Not that I'll be going back anyway. Not after tonight."

She shrugged.

"It was okay working at the library. But not really what I wanted to do."

She glanced up at him.

"How about you? I heard you got understudy. Congrats."

"I'm much happier backstage than on, although Jon is proud of me. Which reminds me..."

His lips thinned and he frowned as he glanced back towards the kitchen.

"Did you see what I saw before we left? Between Cei and Brendan?"

Evey shrugged.

"Yeah. He likes her."

She suspected what was going on, but wasn't going to reveal anything she wasn't sure of. She knew Brendan had a thing for Cei. She'd only recently gotten the idea that it was mutual.

"He has since I introduced them. Brendan's never been big on keeping his feelings... to himself."

"Jon hasn't noticed anything," Will sighed. "And I hate to say it, but I think the new relationship goes a bit deeper than guard and guarded..."

Evey was quiet for a long moment.

"Do you think Cei feels something back for Graham? It's not just unrequited?" she asked softly. He shook his head, glancing back at the kitchen to see if Cei was watching. He leaned in closer to Evey to whisper, just in case.

"I was over at her place a few days ago, to get more blood from her, and... well..."

Will took a deep breath.

"Let's just say I found that the two of them were a little busy upstairs."

Evey's eyes widened. She leaned close and whispered back.

"You sure it was Graham?"

She didn't doubt him, but even she didn't have that kind of evidence. This wasn't just supposing. This was pretty hardcore proof there.

"Jon was at rehearsal, and Brendan's car was there."

Cei came out of the kitchen just then with a cup of coffee for each of them.

"I hope Jon gets back with dinner soon," she said. "I'm getting hungry."

The cruenta smiled, but anyone could tell it was false. She kept looking out the window. Evey looked at Cei curiously. Will was right. Well, this was something she hadn't expected. But maybe she should've. Brendan knew what Cei was and didn't care. Jon would probably kill her if he knew. She took a sip of her coffee.

"Thanks, Cei."

She paused.

"Don't worry. He'll be back soon."

But who the 'he' was was debatable. She looked at Will.

"What are you going to do now?"

He raised both eyebrows, thinking for a moment. Will set down his coffee mug and, without warning, leaned into Evey and gave her a long, passionate kiss. When he pulled away, he laughed.

"I've been waiting a long time to do that."

Evey was completely stunned for a moment, but then melted beneath his kiss. Oh, god, how she'd missed him. She kissed back, losing herself in it.

She was still a little dazed when he pulled away, laughed and spoke. She smiled up at him, put down her own coffee mug, moved closer and kissed him again, sighing softly into his mouth.

"Me too," she whispered against his lips. Cei giggled from across the room.

"You know, I certainly don't mind if you head over to the bedroom. I can wait on the guys alone."

Evey looked up at Will, her eyes hooded and her cheeks flushed. It was his decision. His house. She wasn't going to drag him to the bedroom if he didn't want to go or didn't want to leave Cei alone.

They probably shouldn't leave Cei alone. She was more fragile than she looked, and after all, even though Evey had been the one attacked, and Alec had died, the target had really been Cei.

Where the hell was Graham?

There was a knock on the door and a murmured voice through.

"You don't have to shout in my head, V. I'm here dammit. Somebody open the door, please?"

Cei jumped right up and went to the door to let Brendan in.

"I was half expecting you to show up well after Jon got back with the Chinese," Cei teased, leading him inside. "I made coffee; would you like some?"

Evey blinked, her brow furrowing. Shout in his head... what? And how...

As Evey puzzled over it, lips pursed, Brendan followed Cei to the kitchen.

"Yeah, I'd love a cup. And then I'm going to hit the shower if the Keattings don't mind."

He looked down at himself at the blood, the ash and the dirt.

"I smell like death."

He looked up and saw Evey next to Will. He didn't say anything. It was her choice, after all. He knew how miserable she'd been the last two weeks. He just hoped the Keatting didn't break her heart again. Or Brendan would have to break his legs.

He nodded to them both, before turning back to the kitchen. He wanted to be sure Evey was okay, but he didn't want to interrupt them if they were patching up.

"Go ahead and help yourself to the shower, Brendan," Will called to the detective as he walked through. "Got plenty of hot water to take care of you."

He then noticed Evey's confused look, and turned to her.

"You okay?"

Evey nodded, still looking a little confused.

"You know, that's the second time someone has mentioned I was talking to them... in their head..."

From the kitchen, Brendan called out, "Thanks, Keatting. Oh, and Evey..."

He popped his head out, coffee in hand.

"You've done that a lot. You never noticed? I never mentioned it before, but you do it often enough for me to figure that's just another one of your abilities."

He took a sip and disappeared back into the kitchen. Evey looked at him agape. Then she turned back to Will.

Well, there was only one way to find out.

She focused her attention at Will and then thought at him.

"Can you hear me?"

He jumped, looking at her in complete shock.

"Loud and clear! Maybe you could... uh... think quieter?"

Evey stared at him, also in complete shock. She... she could do that? She... she had never known... God, something else to practice. Well, that would a lot faster than a phone now when calling for help when she needed it.

She smiled slowly at Will, and, deciding to try something else she whispered into his mind.

"That better? ... Will, I really do love you. I missed you so much..."

She searched his eyes, wondering if he'd heard her. If he didn't, it wouldn't matter. She'd just say it again out loud. But she could tell he'd heard her when he smiled.

"Yeah... that's much better."

"I wonder what's taking Jon so long," Cei grumbled as she came back out into the living room. "The Chinese place isn't very far."

Evey had leaned into Will after his words, but looked up when Cei popped out. Her brow furrowed worriedly.

"Try giving him a call on his cell."

"I did," Cei sighed. "And found it in the bedroom under a pile of clothes. I hate it when he does that..."

Will started to rise when she said this, worried for his brother.

"Someone should go out looking for him then, especially after what just happened."

Evey stood up too, also worried. Brendan took a sip of his coffee, seemingly unperturbed.

"Jon knows about Evey's abilities, but not about Cei right? Other than her premonitions. How about either of you try to set up a telepathic link?"

He arched an eyebrow.

"Like Evey just did when she was bitching in my head. We'll know then if he's okay, and if he doesn't like it, he can remember to take his phone."

Evey shook her head.

"I just found I could do this, Graham. Even if I did say something into Jon's head, I wouldn't know if he was all right or not. And he wouldn't be able to tell me anything."

She looked at Cei.

"You could probably do it, but have you told Jon you're telepathic too? Or does he just think you have premonitions?"

Brendan shrugged.

"If you can't, don't worry about it, Cei. I'll leave and see if I can hunt him down."

But they didn't need to try either method to find him as Jon walked into the apartment, arms loaded with bags of carryout.

"Sorry that took so long," he managed to say through the keys he held in his mouth. "The line tonight was killer..."

"Jon, you idiot!" Cei snapped at him. "With everything that's happened tonight, you didn't think to take your cellphone?! We were afraid something had happened!"

Evey sagged against Will in relief. She didn't want anyone else alone out there tonight.

Brendan smirked into his coffee. Well, this was going to be fun. Cei yelling at Jon always made him laugh. Hell, Cei yelling at anyone made him laugh.

"Sorry..."

Jon unloaded the bags on the coffee table, figuring the problem was solved, but Cei was still livid.

"Sorry? Jon, where's your head at? Someone was killed tonight, and you didn't think that maybe there could be another attack? How reckless can you get?"

"Cei, I've forgotten my cell before..."

"Not in a crisis like this! What if something had happened to you?"

"Nothing did."

"But what if?"

"Cei, I think you're overreacting just a bit."

Her jaw dropped, and she almost let go of her coffee mug.

"Overreacting?" Cei repeated. "Jon, does it mean anything to you that I was worried that you might have been killed? Did it occur to you that maybe it was a stupid idea to go out for food without some means of calling to let us know that you were alright?"

Evey caught Brendan's smirk and rolled her eyes. She looked to Will. If anyone was going to save his brother from Cei it was going to be him, unless he was completely with Cei on this one. She sure as hell wasn't going to get in the middle of it.

Brendan, enjoying the show but not eager to get drawn into it, started setting the table for the Chinese food Jon had brought home, while he and Cei "discussed" the issue.

Jon shifted, scratching the back of his head.

"Cei, I took my crossbow. I'm a competent hunter; there was no need for you to worry."

"You and I both know that you can only take on so many at a time! God, Jon..."

"I said I was sorry! Isn't that enough?"

"No! It isn't! You don't seem to realize how serious this is! This isn't a game, Jon!"

"I know!"

"Then if you know, why don't you act like it matters?!"

Now they were both getting worked up. Jon's eyes started to glow faintly.

"Because it was one time, Cei!" he yelled. "One fucking time!"

"One time could be all it takes!"

Cei's emotions at last got the best of her, and her eyes flashed brilliant red with her last shout. Realizing what had happened, she quickly covered her face. But the damage had been done.

Jon's eyes widened. He chewed on his lip.

"No... fucking... way..."

He started to back away, pointing at Cei.

"You... fucking... bitch..."

Brendan immediately got between them. Fuck. He'd never seen Cei get so worked up that she lost herself like that. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

"No, she isn't, Jon," he said, his voice soft. "She's the woman you love. The same one. There is nothing different about her. Who she is has nothing to do with what she is. You, of all people, should know where the true monsters are. She isn't one of them. She was just yelling at you because she was worried about you. Because she cares about you. Think about it. There are cruenti out there that want her dead. Because she's different from them."

Evey rushed to Cei, wrapping her arm around her in comfort. Whether or not there was anything going on between Brendan and Cei didn't matter. Everything she'd been afraid of when it came to Jon had just happened.

She looked to Will for help. The younger Keatting walked over to his brother, trying to get him to calm down.

"Jon, just because Cei's a cruenta doesn't mean..."

"Doesn't mean what?" he interrupted. "Doesn't mean she hasn't been using us? Vampire hunters in a vampire's employ? I see what's going on here..."

Cei was shaking, staring at Jon fearfully as he continued to grow angrier. Brendan shook his head.

"No, you don't. Think, Jon. Think."

He pointed to himself.

"We've all been helping you. Cei has only helped us all. Evey is a freak – is she a monster too? Whatever is out there is trying to kill them both. She never used you. She just fell in love with you. I've been fighting alongside you for week. You know I kill vampires. You know I'm a hunter too. Do you kill my kind as well, Jon? Because I'm a monster too."

His eyes glowed their wolfish yellow, and his fangs began to show.

"Alec – who died protecting Evey tonight. He was like me. Another werewolf. Will you kill all your friends, all those who love you, Jon, because you can't imagine that there could be good and evil in everyone? There are evil humans, evil wolves and evil vampires. But not all humans are evil, not all wolves and not all vampires."

Jon drew several deep breaths, and for a moment seemed to seriously consider Brendan's words. Still, he continued to step back.

"I'll need some time to think about it..."

He reached the door.

"I'll stay at a hotel for the evening. Enjoy your Chinese..."

Jon said nothing more and left before anyone could object. Cei leaned into Evey and started crying.

"I knew he would act this way..."

Brendan stared at the door for a long moment. Idiot left without the stupid phone again. He took a deep breath and turned. Evey was holding onto Cei, letting her cry.

"I know, honey," she whispered to Cei. "But I think Graham had him mostly convinced. He just needs a little time to recover from the shock. He knows now that his closest friends are monsters, and we still love him. Hopefully, he'll get past."

Brendan put a hand on Cei's shoulder and looked up at Will.

"I'll follow him. Make sure he's safe, or at least deliver his bloody cellphone. I know he needs the time alone, but he should still be able to contact us if he needs us."

He looked at Cei.

"Where's his cell? I'll take it to him."

"I'll go get it for you," Will offered, going to fetch it for him. Cei slowly let go of Evey, wiping the tears from her eyes.

"God, I hope he understands. I can't give him any blood if he's avoiding me. He'll get sick..."

"We're going to try to avoid that subject for the moment," Brendan said. "I'll be back fast. I'm not going to leave you alone. Jon is a big boy, he can take care of himself, and he does need the time right now. But I'll make sure he's okay, give him his phone and then head back."

He put his hand to Cei's cheek.

"I'll make sure he's okay."
The first DEATH of the story! ZOMG! Also, some secrets are revealed...

Side note: You may notice that my co-author and I are both uploading this story, and we start/end chapters at different points. It's the same story, still, and really the chapter breaks are more based on the upload limits and personal tastes than anything else.
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:iconicysapphire:
Icysapphire Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2008  Student General Artist
D8 If Brendan hadn't been there, I think I would have lost all faith in Jon. The loser. > 3 >

And I'm sorry, but as evil as he is I'm finding Ashton really cool right now. XD;;
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:iconcei-ellem:
Cei-Ellem Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
lol. Somehow, I'm not surprised you like the loony one.
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:iconicysapphire:
Icysapphire Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2008  Student General Artist
YAY FOR THE LOONY! :'D
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:iconcei-ellem:
Cei-Ellem Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
Hee hee ^^;
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