Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language and mature content.
Previously: Katie suffered through a long night, thinking about everything from how her Dad died to how she learned vampires exist. Unable to sleep, she goes downstairs where she finds Nathan injured. Nathan and Mrs. Borden explain to her that he is a Hunter and that Zander is even more dangerous than he seems.
Nathan held his stomach gingerly as he made his way to his Guardian’s house. Jim wouldn’t mind if he was woken up at this time of night and Nathan was thankful for that. He needed help researching Katie’s problem.
Katie was in trouble and it pained him to know that he wasn’t able to protect her from his life. He’d tried so hard. For what? For this to happen? For the worst possible vampire to get his hooks in her? No. Over his dead body would Zander get to her.
As he walked, he thought about her. Her long, brown hair; her beautiful brown eyes that he could get lost in for hours. The way she just looks at him could make him melt and yet he couldn’t say a word to her about his feelings.
He knew that he could never act upon his feelings, no matter how intense they have grown to be. If he did, she would be in even more danger than she already was and he wouldn’t be able to live like that. He couldn’t live knowing that being around her could easily claim her life.
Working to get Zander away from her was all he could do. It would hurt but as soon as he freed her from Zander’s “soulmate” theory, he had to make things go back the way they were. Only seeing her when she went over to hang out with Jen or something. There were too many risks keeping her in his life for any longer.
He sighed, knowing that brooding on it would only make it worse for him. He forced himself to think about other things. How was he going to save her from Zander? How could she feel his emotions? How could he teach her to block the creepy filth that attached itself to her?
Nathan would have to ask Jim all these questions. One bonus about having a Guardian-because there are a lot of down sides to it-is that he usually does all the research. For some reason, Jim loved his musky old books and basically refused to believe anything that came from and source of technology. To Nathan, he didn’t care how the old man found a solution as long as one gets found.
He snuck down an alley, careful to watch his surroundings with the time of night it was. He had often tried to convince Jim to move to the better side of town but he hasn’t made any headway with him yet. Supposedly, it’s quieter in downtown Edexx.
Nathan rolled his eyes. Quieter because everyone is being killed off. It was basically vampire hunting grounds around there.
He sighed in relief when Jim’s house came into view. He hadn’t seen anything lurking in any shadows on the way and he couldn’t tell if he felt relieved or worried.
He pushed the feeling aside and took the porch steps in one leap. Knocking on the door, he waited for the old man to wake up. A sense of relief washed over him when he saw the window upstairs light up. Waiting was the worst possible thing to do. Especially since it was dark and to be honest, too quiet.
The door opened a crack and Nathan smiled as Jim sighed. He opened the door completely and Nathan took the invitation gratefully. He may have been in the job for five years but that didn’t stop him from getting nervous in the dark. If anything, it’s given him more of a reason to fear it.
Once the door was closed behind him, Jim asked, his English accent heavy, “What brings you here tonight, Nathan?”
“The usual,” he replied and with a grunt, he added, “Times a million.”
Jim looked at him peculiarly and asked, “Like what exactly?”
Nathan walked to the sitting room and sat beside the electric woodstove. When Jim settled in his rocking chair, he explained everything to him. He touched briefly that he had been wounded but he kept the main topic on Katie’s situation.
Jim grunted and said, his voice giving away how deep in thought he was, “Yes, well, this is unfortunate and I will no doubt need to consult my books on this one. I know there are ways of cutting the connection but I do not know how as of yet.”
“What?” Jim asked, fully knowing what he was laughing at.
“You just sound so English, that’s all.”
“And proud of it!” The old man exclaimed.
Nathan grinned but brought the banter to an end when he said, “I need this to be your highest priority Jim. We need to figure this out for her.”
“I know,” Jim said, placing his hand on Nathan’s shoulder, “She’s special to you so I’ll see it done.”
Nathan smiled as Jim winked at him. Standing up, he gave his farewell before stepping out into the darkness once more. He almost immediately felt the hair on the back of his neck stand on edge. Something was around. Just out of eyesight but that didn’t mean he didn’t know it was there.
He put his hand in his jacket, getting his wooden stake ready to attack. Whether it would attack him or not was yet to be determined. If it was a vampire, it would be able to smell his wound and take that as an advantage.
He kept his eyes peeled, relying mostly on his ears to tell him where the creature was. His fingers wrung the wood hidden inside his jacket and his heart rang in his ears. No matter how many times he did this, he would never get rid of the butterflies in his stomach. Knowing that he could die at any time was nerve wracking at times.
He turned into the alley that he had come from before. If it was going to attack him tonight, this is where it would do it.
The alley was misty from the exhaust coming from the building, leaving everything hazy. It could be used to his advantage or it could be used as an advantage on him. He would have to be sure it wasn’t the latter option.
The musky smell of rain didn’t help either. The rain would leave clouds in the sky and cover up daylight, leaving the world open to the vicious animals. Nathan had grown to hate the rain considering it made his job a whole lot longer and more difficult. At least in the night, everyone is sleeping. On cloudy days, it makes it easier for the vampires to pick someone off and harder for him to keep them safe.
“Hello, Nathan.” A cold, masculine voice said, all too calmly for Nathan’s comfort.
He looked for the speaker and found that a man, or vampire, was leaning against the brick wall of the building in the middle of the alley. His white hair stood out in the darkness of the night like water in a desert.
“Who are you?” He asked, not too thrilled that it had knowledge of his name.
The man scoffed and said, “Don’t you know? Shouldn’t you at least know the things you try hunt? I’m pretty sure, if I got it correctly from Katie, that I’m your top priority. Am I not?”
He smiled smugly and Nathan knew exactly who this was.
“In the flesh.” Zander confirmed as he bowed mockingly towards him.
Unsure of what to do, Nathan didn’t do anything. He simply watched Zander; studying the way he moved. A lot could be told about a person by their eyes. Nathan felt that he wasn’t planning on doing anything to harm him but rather try and scare him away from helping Katie. That wasn’t going to happen.
He cursed his heart, knowing full well that Zander could hear it speeding faster with the silence. The vampire smiled at him, his fangs extending to their full length. Nathan forced himself to stay calm. No sense in giving that disgusting abomination what he wanted.
Zander was just testing him. He was trying to push him to attack him or lose control. He was trying to see how strong the “Hunter” really was. Nathan knew he had quite the reputation around Edexx. Being the only Hunter around and all.
The silence stretched on for what seemed like eternity and Nathan found himself relaxing. His heart had calmed itself down and his fingers weren’t wrapped around the wood in his jacket so tightly. He saw the control in Zander’s face flicker into annoyance as he realized that he wasn’t so scared of his presence.
Nathan took a step forward, enjoying how his boldness surprised Zander and said, “So, are you here to stare at me like I’m some hot chick or is there a reason for this cute little tea party?” He made sure to make his voice as calm and mocking as possible.
Zander chuckled and replied, “I think you know why I’m here.”
Nathan shrugged mockingly, “Sorry, I’m not your “soulmate” so I don’t think I can read your mind. Care to share?”
Seeing Zander’s annoyance grow, Nathan grinned, enjoying every minute of it. He was sure that having Zander show his reaction wasn’t an often occurrence. Being the head honcho of the living dead; Nathan was sure that it was part of the job description.
“I had to see what this Hunter was made up of. I’ve heard much of you but I can’t see your scrawny self living up to your reputation. Now that I’ve seen you, I think I’ll be off.” Zander said with a grin.
Nathan stepped forward, not about to let him go but the mist increased suddenly. By the time he made it to where Zander had been standing, he was long gone. He couldn’t see properly and he knew that if he wanted to survive to see daylight, he would have to get out of the alley.
He fought every instinct to increase his speed. Although he couldn’t see Zander, he was positive he was still be watched. Didn’t want to ruin the appearance he’d set for himself.
Only two more streets to go, Nathan could feel himself itching to get back in the safety of his house.
He groaned as he realized that a dumb school assignment was due for tomorrow. He knew already that he was going to get a zero on it. To get a higher grade, he would have had to actually do it.
Sorry fake life. Don’t actually have time for you! Nathan thought to himself annoyed. Sometimes he felt bitter towards kids with normal lives. He had to literally juggle two lives. His life in the day and his life in the night. They were both complete opposites that there was no way they could ever mesh. One was like water while the other was oil. Not mixable.
He physically had a difficult time not sighing when he felt the wood of his porch under his feet. The smooth feeling of metal under his fingers as he twisted the door knob to the front door. He stepped inside and leaned against the back of the door, satisfied when he heard the soft click behind him. He bolted the door and walked around the corner.
He wasn’t surprised at all when he saw Katie sitting at the counter. He smiled as he heard her sigh deeply, obviously relieved he was back.
“Still up?” He asked, throwing his jacket on one of the chairs placed at the dining room table.
“Yeah, Zander hasn’t exactly been letting me sleep.”
She sounded so tired. Her voice was strained like she’d been crying before he walked in. Now that he was closer to her, he could see the tears that had been wiped away hastily at his return.
“What’s he doing?”
She sighed again, her voice cracking as she said, “Well, he sent me some sort of picture of you in an alley. I could tell that he was with you and it kind of freaked me out. Well, I didn’t know if he was actually with you or if he can make something like that up too. I didn’t know what he was planning on doing.”
She let her head fall into her hands as she tried to hide the new tears flowing down her cheeks. He wanted so badly to put his arm around her but he needed to keep his distance. He knew that after the Zander problem was taken care of, their lives would go back to normal and she wouldn’t be his. There was no use in making himself hope for nothing.
Instead, he chuckled and answered her back, “Oh yeah, he did make a little visit.”
Her head snapped back up, her brown eyes full of tears. She stood up and made her way to him. The concern in her movement hurt him more than it did comfort him.
Don’t let yourself get too close to her.
“Are you okay!? Did he hurt you?” She asked as she touched his arm softly. He was going to have a hell of a time keeping his distance if she insisted on touching him like that. One little touch from her meant more than a thousand words.
He pulled away smoothly, pretending to grab his jacket before saying, “Yeah, I’m okay. I think he was just seeing what he was up against.”
Katie nodded her head, sending her brown hair jostling around her shoulders. Whatever she did to her bangs really suited her. It added to her sass when she resorted to sarcasm.
“What?” She asked, looking at him oddly.
Oh shit. I was staring.
“Nothing. Just lost in thought.” He said, chuckling nervously. It wasn’t a lie so he should have been able to keep his calm. Why did she have so much power over him?
“Oh, okay.” She said. He didn’t say a word and it became really awkward as the silence stretched on.
She eventually put her hands in her pockets and said, “Well, now that I know you’re alive and back home safe, I’m gonna try get some sleep.”
Nathan nodded his head, saying, “Yeah. Sleep would probably do you some good right now.”
She nodded her head in reply and said, “No kidding. Goodnight, Nate.”
As she walked out of the dining room, he talked after her, “Goodnight. Oh, Katie? If it helps you any, it gets easier to sleep at night.”
She glanced over her shoulder, a small smile on her face as she answered, “It better. If it doesn’t, I feel sorry for everyone that has to deal with me on a regular basis.”
He chuckled but didn’t say anything more. She was already halfway up the steps and he needed to get down to his room. He needed rest just as much as she did and he had school in the afternoon. He glared upwards as he walked down the steps, hoping Katie could feel it. She was home schooled. That meant she could take some time off to deal with all this crap.
That was a good thing. He had a feeling she wasn’t showing just how freaked she was about it all. That was one thing about her. She definitely had her fair share of pride.
He sighed and pulled his shirt off. His stomach was smeared with a bit of blood and he knew that he needed to clean the open wound again. As soon as he finished with that, he was heading straight towards blissful sleep.