Tightened security

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Post  Soraya on Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:54 am

There it was, the address given in the ad. Kahtenny mounted the steps and rang the bell. The door opened to reveal a rather gaunt looking man of indeterminate age.

"Can I help you?" he asked.

"Yes, my name is John Eagle. I'm here in reference to this ad." He handed the printout over.

The man looked down at the ad, up at John Eagle, back down. Up again. Sighed. "Very well," he said at last. "Please follow me."

He led the tall Indian into the parlor to wait with several other candidates. Some were waiting in military fatigues, looking every inch the gung-ho marine. Others wore three-piece suit types, hiding behind dark glasses. None, however, seemed anywhere near as imposing as the newcomer in their midst.


Soraya placed the last of the notebooks into her messenger bag. She had already missed so much school, and finals time was quickly approaching., not to mention the final project on which she had already been granted an extension. She needed to get it all done if she wanted to graduate. Radu had, after all, insisted. The doorbell had been ringing downstairs, though she preferred not to think about who exactly it was that was, "visiting." She preferred to focus on getting out. Thinking about the rest would overwhelm her and leave her in a near crippled state.

"Want help?" Matty asked Soraya boredly.

"No, thank you," she answered Matty hurriedly, grabbing her coat and donning it.

"He's not gonna let you go out the door without a shadow," Matty reminded her, still sounding oddly deceptively disinterested.

"He is busy," Soraya answered, glancing at her watch. She could still catch half of her first lecture, then meet with Emmett to get this over with.

Kristov met her at the door. "I am to drive and stay today. Are you ready?"


“Next," a petite young woman with a clipboard called before leading the next GI Joe wannabe in to meet with Vlad.

Kahtenny entered the main room, wishing he'd worn better clothes, but he wore what he had - khaki pants, plaid shirt, scuffed leather jacket. He nodded to a couple he recognized as kindred spirits, ignoring the suits as he sat down.

GI Joe left, frowning, clearly a GI No as the young woman reappeared at the parlor door. "Next," she said again, this time leading a three-piece-suiter into the room.

Looking around the room, Kahtenny couldn’t see anyone with the indefinable something that revealed one Seal to another. Depending on what they wanted, it looked like he might stand a chance.


Soraya grimaced. The truth of the matter was that as terrible as the experience had been, she wanted to move past it. All of this... it felt like reliving it. It all reminded her of exactly what had happened, of why they were (at least partially) doing this. Having someone follow her felt just as much of a prison as staying here doing nothing. "I can drive," she answered Kris tartly.

"I am to drive and stay today," Kristov repeated. "Are you ready?"

<This is unnecessary,> the redhead broadcasted to all unhappily, lip pouting. "I can drive," she answered back just as stubbornly.

"I'll bring the car around," Kristov announced, refusing to have this circular discussion any longer, lest she be late for school.

<Soraya, please...> the Seraph sighed. <Just take someone.> He had pushed his limits with higher powers just "cheating" to find her. He was nervous about doing so regularly.


Naitachel sat to one side of the study, comfortably seated on a stool with tail curled around his feet under his long coat. His crutches rested against another chair within reach. He sighed quietly, and prodded the fireplace before him with a stick. <That one was rather interested in violent action, if he could find it...>

<This one dreams of becoming the next James Bond...> he further informed Vlad.

Vlad nodded. <I thought as much,> he sighed as he sent this one packing as well.


"I think you're lost, pal," one of the GI Joe's blurted to Kahtenny. "Cigarette shop's back on 29th."

A pair of jet black eyes focused on the GI like a hawk. Saying nothing, Kahtenny pushed him back in his chair by the force of personality alone. "Don't smoke," he replied.

"Next," the young woman repeated, sounding tired, bored, and a bit frustrated by this point.

"That's you, Injun Joe," someone quipped.

Kahtenny rose effortlessly and followed her into the next room. "Thank you, dahchizha," he replied to the joker.


Soraya's jaw set in frustration. She waited several long moments for Kirstov to be out of sight before she grabbed her own keys and made for the garage instead.

Kristov was there in front of the door, smiling, as he plucked her keys from her hand. "I am to drive and stay with you today," he reminded her. "The car is ready, Miss."

<I would prefer to go on my own. I need some breathing room,> she answered Naitachel, frowning heavily as Kristov took her keys.

Kristov opened the back door to the limo and waited patiently.

"This is ridiculous," the redhead huffed, turning away from the would-be body guard and storming back inside toward the makeshift interview room.

Kristov closed the car door and waited patiently for her return.


Naitachel set the poker back down on the floor, and rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Heavens..." he sighed again. <And so might I, from worrying over everyone. But after you were caught so recently, just what do you suspect this is doing to Vlad's nerves? To Radu's helplessness? To my own guilt? Please, Soraya... Let us make some breathing room first, lest your wings scrape walls.>

"John Eagle, sir," the young woman introduced the next prospect as she led him in.

Vlad rose and, for the hundredth time, held out his hand in greeting. "I'm Vlad Prince. This is my uncle-in-law, Naitachel. Please, have a seat."

Kahtenny nodded and stood, very much at ease, before the two men.

"Thank you, sir," he said, and sat.


<And you? You will take to being escorted and followed everywhere like some helpless child without the chance for any time alone?> she asked Naitachel as she entered what must be the waiting area.

She stopped short, finding herself faced with several intimidating types. Seeing them all gathered like this made her even less comfortable with the idea of having them follow her around.

One of the three piece suit types actually lowered his shades to inspect the beauty who walked in as a GI Joe licked his lips. "Hey. How you doin'?" he asked her.

Soraya shrank back defensively, suddenly reminded of her mission to begin with. She knew she was being rude and interrupting, but if the current, "candidate," was anything like these men, she hardly cared.


<Am I not already?> Naitachel told Soraya ruefully. <I cannot even spend time with my mate except in tight secret.> He nodded to John politely. "Hello, Mister Eagle."

Unobtrusively, Kahtenny studied the two in the room. One, tall, slender but not gaunt, an air of power and, yes, almost menace. The other could have been man or woman... "Mr... Naitachel? How do?" he replied. Naitachel? The name might have been one of the People. There was no meaning to the word, but the music was there.

Naitachel smiled at John in amusement, not surprised by the man's reaction. A common one, after all. "I do quite well, thank you. And yes, Mister."

Looking over the paperwork before him, Vlad sat back down as well. "So, I see you have a special ops background. Why private security?"

"Vlad, this is ridiculous," Soraya called as she barged into the interview room, unannounced.

The Apache sat quietly, observing the tall man, who seemed absorbed with his thoughts. He was startled when a most attractive woman stormed into the room.

At his wife's interruption, Vlad sighed audibly. "Soraya, this is John Eagle. Mr. Eagle, my wife Soraya. She was just on her way to school." He fixed her with a determined stare. "Kristov awaits you in the garage."

"Mrs. Prince." He was beginning to enjoy this. Gave him a chance to see what his possible employers might be like.

Naitachel closed his eyes and rubbed at them again with his hand when Soraya burst into the room. Heavens, the stress of this was getting to him at last. He was a rescuer of souls, not a guardian angel. "It is... a bit more polite to knock, Soraya," he murmured. <If you have a better idea to keep us safe, please offer it?> he suggested.

The redhead glanced over at the man being interviewed and had the decency to look somewhat embarrassed. "Mr. Eagle. I apologize," she said, smiling weakly. "I was, as Vlad pointed out, on my way to school, though he and I seem to have a difference in opinion on the mechanics of that particular venture."

<I realize you don't like it. I don't like it either. However, I dislike having my wife kidnapped and my daughter menaced by intruders even more. Now, if you please, we can have this argument again if we must AFTER your class,> Vlad told her silently.

Rising as she spoke, Kahtenny gave her a narrow smile. "Yes, Ma'am," he said.

<You can hire someone for the house,> Soraya told Naitachel, <or for yourselves, if you like, but I would prefer to manage myself without a shadow. I cannot have someone following me when I start my clinical rotations. It risks a breach in confidentiality,> she told them.

"It's simple. You'll get in the car with Kristov and allow him to drive you there or you'll call your teacher and ask for yet another extension as I've no intention of clearing a car to pass the gate otherwise," Vlad told her simply. <You'll have someone just outside the door, then, and accompanying you otherwise. I'll do my best to keep them out of your way but they will be there.>

<I am not sure I am making it to class. Kristov took my keys,> she then added for Vlad's benefit as she sat on a chair, her version of a, "sit-in." <I suppose I shall have to disappoint Radu and fail out of school after all.>

<It will disappoint him that you would rather be stubborn than accomplished, but I suppose that is your choice,> Vlad agreed as he continued to await the candidate's answer to his question.

Kahtenny sat again, quietly, trying to remain unnoticed. There was something going on - nothing being said, but communication nevertheless.

"Pardon, please go on, Mr. Eagle," Soraya prompted, glancing at her husband. She was not about to leave it at that, but she knew if she pressed now this could dissolve into an all-out shouting match, given her current mood.

Kahtenny answered, “Why private security? Well, I could tell you a tale about wanting to rise in the world, start my own business, all that, but the truth is, I got burnt one too many times. By my own government. Had all I could take. So I quit. Didn't want to go back to the reservation, didn't want to get roped into a big rent-a-cop organization. This is something I'm qualified for, and I can do what you want. I can set up security on the property, both passive and active, and I can give personal protection if needed."

<Oh for heaven's sake, Soraya--do you think I wish to be followed as well? That I can just go on my missions with someone tagging along like a passenger? This is not about preferences. This is about not repeating what just happened to you mere days ago--you getting kidnapped from right next to a room full of vampires, at that!> Naitachel gave her a hurt look, and shook his head, looking back at the fire. He closed his mind from them all, just resting his head in his hands. The Seraph felt miserable.

Vlad nodded, grateful for what might well be the first honest, non-politically-correct answer of the day.

"It just depends on what level of protection you want. I'd prefer to keep it short of lethal, but that's your call,” John Eagle continued.

"Suppose we were to assign you to a protectee who was... less than welcoming. Possibly even openly rebellious. How would you protect her?" Vlad asked, glancing at his wife.

<This is more than just preference to me, Naitachel> Soraya answered mournfully, hurt that he should think this was nothing more than her being capricious. Yes, the situation affected her loved ones, but in the end, she was the one who was taken, and she was the one who needed to find a way to move past it. All this did was remind her of what happened, kept her trapped in that dark, isolated room rather than letting her rejoin the world. This was a matter of her own emotional survival. She didn't want to let herself live a life of fear. She couldn't. Doing as much was as good as keeping her a shut-in in this house, a shadow of who she had been.

She ignored Vlad's pointed stare as she unbuttoned her coat and removed her hat.

"Well, I could just follow her and take a chance on missing her when I had to shoot her attacker, or I could handcuff her to me and when she had a tantrum in public, just tell the reporters who she is and let her deal with that," Kahtenny replied with a slight wink at Vlad. "Or I could hope that she was smart enough to see the reason for me bein' there and cooperate for her own good... and yours."

"Tantrum," Soraya answered flatly. And she had thought she might actually like this man. Vlad would likely love him.

The Seraph simply listened to the interview, not adding to anything. He had no idea what use he might be, other than to feel out their candidates for help in this matter. Though this John Eagle seemed like he might be able to handle this mess in some favorable manner...

"Yes, ma'am, tantrum. I don't think you're given to them,” John Eagle said.

Vlad almost laughed when the big Indian winked. He would have, had it not been for the seriousness of the situation. "Not normally, no," Vlad agreed with him. "Nor is she one to back down."

"Not a matter of backin' down," said the Apache. "Just a meetin' of the minds... understanding what's best for all and agreeing to it."

"I suspect that is what we need help on, however," the Seraph stated wryly, smiling. He shifted his gaze to Vlad, arching a brow and unshielding again. <This one sounds good.>

"We're unlikely to get agreement, per se," Vlad said. "What we need, however, is an understanding. I understand she doesn't want protection. However, I don't want to risk my family again. And so, security will be present for everyone from this point well into the foreseeable future. Period." <I agree. We should bring in Uncle,> Vlad answered Nait.

"Now I can see, sir, your wife is a reasonable lady. She knows her own mind, but she also knows what's right, and is big enough to agree to it. Aren't you, ma'am?" Kahtenny turned an easy smile toward Soraya, radiating friendliness.

<Save it for the final interview,> Mircea replied to them both. <I'd like to hear the rest out even if we like this one. Just to be sure.>

"I think agreement is, as Vlad has pointed out, going to be a rather difficult thing when we both see the situation in different ways," Soraya responded.

<I... agree with Mircea,> Nait sighed reluctantly. <I would rather not risk him in the slightest. We cannot go back once he is involved.>

Soraya smiled in return. "You see, that is the problem," she told Mr. Eagle. "What I see as right is in obvious conflict with what my husband sees as right. But that is neither here no there. You are not meant to be the family counselor, rather the one Vlad would hire to head his security. The rest we will have to sort out ourselves." She appreciated the man’s attempt at bridging the gap between herself and her husband, but she didn’t know him, and she didn’t want him stuck in the middle of their internal conflict. That wasn’t the job.

"Yes, ma'am," Kahtenny replied, turning back to Vlad with virtually no expression. Now if he was back with the tribe, there would be no problem. He'd lodgepole her till she saw reason.

"Well let me lay it out for you," Vlad growled. "You were kidnapped and almost killed. We went in search of you and, while we were doing so, our daughter was caught between not one, not two, but three heavily armed and dangerous intruders. Both were at risk because neither had adequate security. All of this after the lab incident and what happened to Uncle. Do I really need to say more?"

Oh, ho! Things were coming a little clearer. Kahtenny had heard rumors on the streets.

Reaching for his crutches, Naitachel stood. "I apologize, but I think I shall get a breath of air." <Shall I ask Mister Eagle to depart as well while you two argue?> he asked wryly.

Vlad turned his attention back to John Eagle. "It's not about agreement or disagreement at this point. We will be hiring extra security. Someone will be responsible for keeping each member of the family safe. This is not open to debate, thus there shall be none."

"Yes sir," Kahtenny replied. "What I said still goes. I can give you what you need."

"Good to hear." Vlad nodded, rising. "I'm sure you'll be hearing from us, Mister Eagle." He extended his hand. "Thank you for your time."

<Apparently there is no need to say more as you will not listen to or consider anything I have to say,> Soraya answered. <You have decreed it and I must fall in line.> She stood as well, and extended her hand to John Eagle, smiling as best she could. "It was a pleasure to meet you. And I look forward to seeing you again, despite everything."

Taking Vlad's hand, Kahtenny noted again how cool and dry it felt. The man gave an aura similar to that of the old tribal healer, but suggestive of much greater age. "I'll be available."

The woman reappeared to escort Kahtenny out. "Katarina, please make certain we have his contact information correct before bringing in the next prospect," Vlad instructed her.

"Of course, sir,” Katarina agreed as she gestured for the tall Indian to follow her.

Kahtenny smiled as he took Soraya's hand. "Yes, ma'am, no reason we can't be friends. Have a good day." With a final nod to Naitachel, he left the room, not bothering to acknowledge the other applicants in the waiting room.

Without further comment Soraya excused herself as well. At least she could still meet with Emmett to get this cursed project done.

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Post  Soraya on Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:01 pm

Soraya had ended up missing her first class, but she had managed to make the others, then met with Emmett. Not that she relished the idea of being in his company, but she had drawn out that particular meeting as long as she could, forcing him to go over the instructions and their answers for the project meticulously simply as a way of avoiding going home. It didn't hurt that Kristov was forced to wait in the cold for her. Still, all of that had necessarily come to an end, and there was no longer any avoiding returning to their tension-filled home.

It was late by the time they arrived, well past ten, and Soraya hoped that the house would be equally quiet as she slinked in.

Kristov opened the car door and waited, sneezing for the tenth time while waiting for her to exit then went to park the car, utterly miserable.

"Bless you," Soraya said, admittedly feeling guilty. She hadn't intended for him to get sick, merely uncomfortable. "Maybe you should call in sick tomorrow," she suggested.

"No, ma'am. I am here for you," Kristov insisted before sneezing again. He could only hope his health held out as long as his loyalty did.

Soraya sighed and shook her head. It seemed they would need to add Kristov's stubborn nature to their already rock-hard place situation, perhaps calling him the brick wall. "Good night," she called quietly before edging through the door into their home, taking off her shoes for added stealth. Not that it would help with vampires, but it made her feel better.

"You're late," Vlad's voice came to her through the darkness of the entry hall.

Soraya jumped and flattened against the wall at the voice. She shut her eyes a moment to regain her self-control, trying hard not to equate the voice out of the dark with another... "I had a project to work on with Emmett," she reminded him finally, dropping the pretense of silence in favor of haste toward their room. "I assumed since I had my babysitter, I could be out past curfew."

"That would be the project you went over seven times?" Vlad asked conversationally as he followed her up.

Soraya broke her stride and turned to face Vlad. "So now you are spying on me?" she asked, truly taken aback. Of all the arguments they had had over their millennium together, never had he shown her such a lack of trust, and never had he broken hers this way.

"I called Kris to make certain you were both still safe when you didn't return two hours after you were scheduled to," he answered calmly, refusing to take the bait. "He assured me both were safe but that Emmett was, apparently, just slow, as you'd gone over the same thing so many times Kris now knew it." Vlad stepped past her then, into their room and proceeded to remove his tie as he would any other night.

The redhead watched her husband with a look of pure frustration. After a few moments, she stepped in after him and set her book-laden bag down noisily on the desk where she usually kept it. "If you already knew where we were, then there was no use to be so accusatory when I walked in the house."

She fetched herself a pair of pajamas, then looked at the door, clearly considering her sleeping options for the night. She was seething.

Vlad checked his phone messages, then dialed his office, returning Sophia's call. "I got your message," he said without preamble. "I should return by the end of the week. I suspect we all will. Can you manage until then?" He listened closely to her answer, then shook his head. "I'm not certain. If we can settle things here by then, perhaps, but it doesn't look like it. Just tell Hugo to keep an eye on it for now and call me or Mircea if it shows any danger of going critical."

Soraya watched in disbelief as Vlad simply ignored her. As though she hadn't spoken, as though she weren't there. "Fine," she muttered. "If that is how you prefer things be, then fine." She took the pajamas and headed for the door. Clearly it would be better if they had a bit of a break from each other to allow tempers to cool.

"I know there was no need to go over the same things so many times," Vlad answered simply. "You dragged it out to punish Kristov for following my orders." He noted her gaze and shook his head. "You needn't give up the bed on my account. I've never forced you to lay beside me before. I won't start now." He picked back up his tie again, and his took out his phone.

"I dragged it out to avoid coming home," the redhead answered. "I dragged it out to avoid coming back to this." Angry as she was with Vlad, she was just as angry with herself for the tears that welled in her eyes, hurt and frustrated. Barely registering what she was doing, she took Vlad's phone from him and threw it against a wall. "You can ignore what I have to say just as thoroughly without having your phone attached to your ear. You do not need the prop." Her voice had risen several octaves now, and the tears had started to actually spill.

"I see," Vlad replied, his voice only barely registering for all he struggled to keep his emotions in check. "You feel ignored because I won't continue to debate allowing you to remain a walking target, but I'm not to feel anything over your refusal to let me keep you safe." He shook his head. "Fine. You want to avoid 'all of this'. I won't keep subjecting you to it. But do me one favor, okay?" He went to her drawers and withdrew a white tee with a red logo on it, flinging it at her. "If you're really this determined to make a target out of yourself, at least do a good job of it." He turned and headed for the door, exiting as swiftly as his long legs and vampire speed would carry him.

Soraya stared after Vlad numbly, her responses tumbling through her head one after another, though he never even gave her a chance to reply. He was, apparently, completely checking himself out of the entire situation and hurting her as much as possible in the process.

She remained where she was, looking at the target in her hands for several long moments before she slumped to the floor and clutched at her stomach, unable to keep the loud sob from escaping her. She had such flimsy control left that she had had no choice but to fight this battle to try to keep herself whole. Facing what she had been through was overwhelming, too much...

But now, with this to add pressure to what little she had to hold on to, her self-control not only cracked, but shattered completely.


"Do you need anything sir?" one of the servants asked, stunned to see Vlad come back down the stairs.

"I'll be at the labs if I'm needed," Vlad answered.

The servant watched, stunned, "But what about the interviews tomorrow?"

"I'll handle them from there," he replied.

<Vlad?> Soraya called pitifully, knowing he was the only one who could put it back together, as angry as she might be with him. She only hoped that he wasn't so angry with her that he would refuse to return.

Mircea was there, stopping Vlad from leaving as Min tapped on her door, then entered without waiting for her to respond.

Soraya was on the floor, face buried in the t-shirt, her body wracked with sobs that she was trying to muffle. Min didn't say a word. He simply knelt next to his sister in law and drew her to him, holding her gently.

A wordless question came back in return. Vlad didn’t' trust himself with more than that.

"Are you alright?" Mircea asked his nephew, knowing full well he wasn't, the anger and hurt rolling off of him in palpable waves.

"Fine," Vlad answered dully. He was furious. At her for being so stubborn and irrational. At himself for not being able to make her see reason. At the entire situation.

Soraya didn't fight against Min, comforted by someone's presence as she struggled to bring herself back. Still, now that her carefully constructed facade had broken, she found herself unable to keep the images at bay, of the girl being tormented because of her as they both froze, of the darkness that swallowed her up... <Help.>

<What can I do?> Vlad asked, sounding as if he were truly at a loss. She didn't want him to protect her. She didn't want to talk to him or be with him. She'd avoided coming home and thought to sleep elsewhere rather than remain in his presence. What options did that leave him?

A series of images reached Vlad, images she had tried to spare him, and a sense of unconscionable guilt over the fact that she had gotten an innocent girl killed. Perhaps he would even manage to see, from what she shared, just how strongly she was struggling to keep herself together, that she had balked at his control in an attempt to keep her sanity. And that now that all that had been taken from her, now that it had broken, she felt just as lost as she had felt when she hadn't known who she was at all. She didn't know what it was that she needed to fix this, to fix herself, to fix them. <Help.>

Vlad didn't ask anything else. In an instant, he was there moving his brother aside and gathering his wife into his arms. <I'm here.>

Min stepped out as silently as he'd entered, leaving them to one another.

Soraya clung to Vlad as though her were her only lifeline. <I am sorry,> she managed.

"Shh..." he soothed, holding her to him. "It's alright." He kissed her temple and rose with her in his arms, carrying her to the bed and tucking her in gently. "I've got you."

There was no telling how much time passed as Soraya simply clung to Vlad and cried herself out. A dull ache remained when she finally came out the other side, exhausted. "I killed her," she finally whispered in a voice full of self-reproach.

"No," Vlad replied gently but firmly. "They killed her. You refused to, remember?"

Soraya shook her head, but remained nestled against Vlad as her fatigue began to overwhelm her. Her eyelids drooped heavily.

Vlad just continued to hold her, stroking her hair gently, and murmuring words of reassurance until she fell asleep.

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Post  Soraya on Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:47 am

Kahtenny sat at the small desk in his hotel room, making a list of equipment he might need, should he get the job. Some might be available to his employers, depending on the amount of their pull with the government. Some would undoubtedly have to be found through other channels. He smiled at the thought of what he could do with some of this stuff. Big surprises. Big loud surprises.

Mircea picked up the stack of candidates and filed them directly in the circular file. All but one, that was. That one, he opened, taking out his cell phone. He waited while the number rang.

Kahtenny picked up his phone. "Yes?" he said quietly.

"This is Mircea Prince," he growled without preamble. "You do realize we'd expect you to live on site."

"Yes sir, I'd prefer it," Kahtenny answered.

"Very good. Pack quickly. The car's on the way. Kristov's the driver. Don't try to tip him. It insults him." Mircea said as if there were no question he could make the move immediately. "He'll be there in fifteen minutes."

"All right. Most of my gear is in the Greyhound baggage room. We can get it now or later, doesn't matter to me," Kahtenny responded.

"I'll send someone for it," Mircea replied distractedly. "Give the claim ticket to Kristov. We'll talk more when you arrive." That done, he hung up, not waiting for any further reply.

It didn't take long to pack. Stripping off his soiled clothing, John Eagle slipped into a pair of slacks and a sport jacket and threw everything else into his pack. He had checked out and was waiting in the lobby when a large black car pulled up in front of the building. He sauntered out and stopped, waiting for acknowledgement that this was who he thought it was.

Kristov jumped out and hurried around to open the door for the large Indian. He was certain this was him. How many living giant dime store Indians could there really be?

"Your car, Mister Eagle, sir," he offered respectfully, as always.

"Call me John." He tossed his bag into the car and crawled in behind it, bumping his head on the doorframe, as usual. "Ouch. Damn. Did I hurt the car?"

"No, sir," Kristov smiled. "It's used to such things. The Princes are a rather tall family, and not always as mindful to duck as they perhaps should be."

"Good." John shut the door and settled back to enjoy the ride.

"Would you care for any refreshment, sir... er… John?" Kristov asked through the open privacy glass. "There are a variety of refreshments available should you desire one."

"Refreshments? Do you have any iced tea?" John requested.

"Yes, sir. In the small refrigerator just under the window," Kristov smiled. "Only Mister Matthias usually asks for this, so there are often several bottles of this." Realizing then, he had forgotten to introduce himself, he quickly told him. "I am Kristov Xandrescu. I will be driving you, sir."

"Good to know you, Kristov. Oh, I've got some luggage at the bus station. Your Mr. Prince, whichever one it was, said he'd send for it, but I'd rather pick it up myself. Do you mind?" There were some things in there John didn't necessarily want anyone to see or feel. "It will only take a minute."

"Yes, sir. Mister Mircea told me to see to it for you. I don't mind." they young blonde man smiled, moving to close the privacy partition then so that John could enjoy the rest of his ride unmolested.

As Kristov pulled in by the bus station, Kahtenny hopped out and was halfway to the baggage room before the chauffer could get out of his seat belt. He returned shortly with a duffel bag nearly as long as he was tall, and a good three feet in diameter. He pitched it into the back seat and tapped on the window. "Mind if I ride up there with you? This thing takes up a lot of room."

"Um..." Kristov began, startled by the request. Brianna was the only one who ever asked to ride up front with him, as a rule. "I suppose it is fine, sir. If you wish."

"Thanks." Kahtenny retrieved his bottle of tea and climbed in beside Kristov. "I've an idea we'll be seeing a lot of each other. No point on being formal."

Kristov smiled, blushing slightly. "I am accustomed to formal, sir. The family is friendly, but rarely casual." "They cannot be and maintain their privacy as they must," he added quickly. "It is not for airs. They just have little choice with what is put upon them. You understand?"

"Thanks, I'll remember that. Anything else you can tell me to keep me from making an ass of myself?" John asked.

Kristov laughed out loud at the question. "Don't ever accept a drink offer from Mister Minhea, unless you are off duty. Guard Miss Brianna closely, as she is most precious to all. Mister Matty must be watched closely if too quiet, for his own safety, but do not let him know you are watching. Never argue with Mister Mircea when he is cross. He has no patience. Please don't stare at Mister Naitachel's walking or crutches. He is most sensitive about such things. Misses Soraya will argue and try to evade you, so you must be most vigilant when protecting her. She values her privacy, sometimes, over safety. Oh, and when guarding her, bring a coat and scarf. It gets cold waiting. " He paused as if done, then remembered the most important rule of late. "And no matter what you think you hear, do not ever, under any circumstances, enter the east wing."

"The twins will flirt, but are harmless,” he continued. “Michael will evade you often. Expect it. Tommen will brood, but is safe. Not like Matty. Overall, the family is not difficult. They are mostly night owls, so it is kept dark. It must be kept so, no matter the temptation. That is all, I think."

"The east wing? Why?"

A dark cloud seemed to touch Kris' features at the question. "It was Mister Radu's sanctuary. His books, his music, his instruments. Most of what was his is there." They approached a high wrought iron gate. Kristov paused next to a box and keyed in a rapid succession of numbers, then waited for the gates to open.

"Radu... Oh, yeah, I read about his death a while back.,” Kahtenny said. Some kind of industrial accident or something, wasn't it?"

Kristov averted his gaze, having little skill at lying but no desire to break trust. The car began the trek down the long, winding, tree-lined driveway. "It was a devastating loss to all of us," Kristov answered at last, deciding on a truth that would not betray anyone.

Kahtenny took note of the layout of the grounds, calculating the weak spots, places that must be monitored, areas that should be patrolled on foot... "We could use some dogs out on the grounds. Do they have any?"

"Dogs and Princes do not mix well," Kristov answered honestly.

"Huh. All right, no dogs." Kahtenny tucked the information away for later consideration, along with a couple of other things he had learned today.

They pulled up to the great manor house. This time Kristov jumped out quickly and almost ran around the car, determined to do his job well. He opened John's door with a smile, then moved to the back to retrieve his passenger's bags for him.

"Better let me take that one," Kahtenny said, as Kristov staggered under the weight of the duffel bag. He slung it easily over a shoulder and followed the smaller man up to the door. He was still puzzling over the ban on entering the east wing. They'd have to talk about that. It would leave a weak spot in their defenses if he couldn't get in there.

Naitachel was inside the dining room, looking a bit haggard and worn, even a touch grey, sitting on the couch with papers spread around him on the coffee table and other nearby furniture. He was intent on one in his hands, reading it very carefully and with some concern...

"Mister John Eagle is here, sir," Kristov informed Naitachel as they entered, announcing the man as if his presence hadn't been obvious. He frowned at the appearance of the gentle seraph. "Do you need something I can get for you, Mister Naitachel? You look unwell."

Naitachel started, blinking almost owlishly, and shook his head, smiling only slightly. "No, thank you Mister Kristov." He evaded the comment on his health, and set the paper aside, standing and reaching for his crutches to come over around the coffee table. He held out a hand to John. "Welcome, Mister Eagle, to the family. I do hope you settle in with us well?"

"Thank you, sir. I hope so, too. But please call me John... or Kahtenny... I answer to that just as well. When I hear 'Mr. Eagle,' I tend to look around for my father," he said with a slight smile.

The young blonde woman who'd ushered him in to his interviews previously appeared in the doorway. "Mister Eagle? I am Katarina Xandrescu. I'm to assist you in setting up your office, then act as your liaison." One looking closely might note how very similar her features were to the young chauffeur who'd brought him there. "Mister Matthias seeks you, Kristov. It seems he is once again in need of additional computer parts. Shall I tell him you have arrived?"

Kristov looked stunned. "Again? I only just picked up his last order three days ago." He shook his head and sighed. "No, thank you. I'll go tell him myself. He'll want to show me what he needs so I can find the right parts. It won't do to get the wrong things." Turning back to John, he shrugged. "If you need anything I can help with, just let me know."

"Kahtenny...?" Nait asked, smile broadening a bit, and he chuckled quietly a musical sound. "Very well, as you wish. I believe Mircea is... hmmm..." He stopped as the blonde appeared to give her message, then nodded. "Well, I shan't keep you, then--that is likely most urgent. Again, welcome." With that, he turned and clicked back to where he'd been working... Though a practiced eye might wonder at how he moved. Unnatural, his legs odd... but did he need those crutches, really? And a coat, indoors...?

"Actually, Mister Mircea asks that you wait right here until he joins you. He's on the line with Hugo. Important lab business, "Katarina corrected.

Well, he thought, things are looking up, to have such a pretty assistant. "Thanks, Katerina. Lead on. Good to see you again, ah, Naitachel. And thank you, Kristov. All right. I'll be here."

"I've selected some furniture being delivered to your office as we speak, and we can order supplies and such when you're settled in and ready. Mister Min sent for Mister Lionetti to handle your decorating, unless you've another preference," Katerina informed him. She looked down at her list. "And I'm to show you to your rooms as soon as..." She noticed Nait's expression then. "I'm sorry. Is there a problem, Mister Naitachel?"

Settling carefully on the couch at an angle, Naitachel picked up the page he'd been reading, and scanned it again, brow furrowing... and waved a hand in an attempt to reassure, intent on the papers. "No, but thank you. Merely a puzzle I am attempting to solve. Please, do not mind myself or the ensuing chaos."

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Post  Kahtenny on Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:52 pm

After completing the details of his employment, including a very healthy salary, Kahtenny and Mircea took a tour of the grounds. The former Seal spoke quietly into a small voice recorder as he noted points of concern around the high walls - trees that would have to be trimmed back, or possibly taken out completely, blind spots needing extra surveillance, even a couple of places that might require more active security - robot guns or high voltage fencing. Security on the gate must certainly be tightened, to include at least thumb print recognition, if not full face identification. He shot pictures of the entire grounds, outbuildings and all.

"This won't be all that hard to wire," he said, "but I'll have to pick up a few items you can't buy on the open market. May take a few days to make arrangements, but I should have the place totally covered in about ten days. Major part of it will be done inside of a week." Back in the mansion, he immediately went to his office and began making phone calls.

(OOC - Here might be a good place for revelation of the east wing, followed by the art thieves.)

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Post  Soraya on Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:26 pm

It had been a little over a week since Kahtenny had joined the family as their head of security. Things had settled into a new form of routine since then, with the Apache converting the house's security into his own vision. During this time, Soraya had begun healing, though the process was still on-going. She was, as well, busy trying to catch up with her school work.

Naitachel, on his part, had needed to take some distance from the goings-on, needing some time to recuperate and heal himself, with the stress that he had been subjected to with the previous events and the continued demands of Dragon Enterprises.

Jasmine opened the door for Naitachel to stiffly lever out of the car, and stifled a yawn as he gathered his crutches and set to hobbling back inside the house. He nodded to her and waved a hand. "Please, go home and rest, Misses Jasmine. You have stood your own vigil enough, I suspect."

Soraya was sitting quietly in the living room, studying for her second-to-last final when she heard Naitachel's voice carry in. <Nait?> she asked, just to make sure she hadn't imagined it

<Yes. I am home,> the Seraph answered as he set his crutches aside by the door, not bothering with them when he could feel the only ones within were those aware he was no true invalid. He stepped into the living room, and offered a small smile. With a sigh, he stretched a bit, tail shuddering beneath the hem of his coat. "Still studying, I see."

"Indeed," she said, smiling warmly at him. "It is good to see you. Welcome home." She bit her lower lip a moment, glancing at him sheepishly. "How are you?"

"Thank you..." Naitachel shrugged his wings, and moved to sit on his usual stool, setting a foot on a rung. "Well enough, I suppose." He didn't say he was told he could always go "home" to his own plane. He couldn't imagine abandoning his family like that. Not in all this. "I... needed to step away from the situation a bit, however. I am sorry... but I am simply not strong enough to handle this."

The redhead closed the book in her lap and set it aside. "You have handled all of this in a much more sane, healthy way than the rest of us can really claim. You have no need to apologize. It is I who should..."

Folding his hands and setting them on his raised knee, Nait shook his head. "I can understand your perspective, even if I do not agree with your choices. However, all I might offer are what safety measures I can think of for us all. It is difficult to be restricted to 'the buddy system', however if it offers peace of mind, I see it as worth the effort until we might force the danger to back off. Still, your choices are your own... or there would be no free will in the world at all."

Soraya sighed and shook her head, trying to find the words. "It was more than just that. I... Did not know how to face what had happened to me, and so I thought it easier to go back to living life the way it was. Having someone else there, driving me around, following me... It reminded me that things were not as they had been." She glanced at Naitachel, eyes still haunted. "We learn defense mechanisms are unhealthy, but sometimes you hardly realize you are putting them in place until you have already risked alienating those trying to help you through it." She tucked a lock of hair that kept falling into her face behind her ear. "I am sorry that that reaction added to your own distress, however. I cannot express how much so..."

Sliding to his feet, Naitachel came over to offer Soraya a hug. "I have lost friends in the past to being brave, at times on my own behalf. It is difficult to watch and know I might see you only on the other side someday. To say I worry about us is merely an understatement. But I have asked what aid I may... Anything more is in mortal hands, and I needs must accept it as it happens."

Hugging the seraph, having him solid and home eased Soraya's still-present fear more than she had realized. "It was not about being brave," she tried to explain again, before giving up. It was all water under the bridge now, she hoped. "Either way, I was finally forced to face all of it, and though I cannot claim to have completely moved on, I am working on it, with Vlad and the rest of the family's help. And yes, I have relented and agreed to have security with me. For now," she teased with a wink. "So you spent time praying, then," she urged gently. "Did you get a response?"

Perching on the arm of a nearby couch, Naitachel shrugged again. "I suppose you could say so. You might consider it... rather like a session you are training to conduct? Anything more, well, only time will tell."

The redhead nodded thoughtfully. "Sometimes answers are not so easy to come by as all that, are they?" she smiled, pulling her legs up onto the chair. "But you.... it did help you, right? The last time I saw you before you left, you seemed rather harrowed." She truly was concerned for the seraph's well-being.

"I imagine I shall be again," Nait laughed quietly. "Things have not changed all that much since I went to the church. I suppose I shall have to return when things drive me to ripping my hair out again, yes." He grew quiet swiftly. "That may not be so very long." <Radu's isolation... traps us both. we cannot comfort each other as much as either of us may wish, I fear.>

"Well, at least I will be trying to keep to the more rational responses, if that helps at all," she offered. She reached across and took the seraph's hand, and he would likely feel her embarrassment and concern. "I really am sorry for adding to all of this." The redhead looked at the seraph and nodded, understanding how difficult that might be. Much as it had been self-made, she had driven herself nearly insane isolating herself from Vlad when this had all started. It hadn't taken all that long for her to fall apart at that. <You likely need some time with him now. And I am keeping you. But before you go...> she said, <Know that despite everything, if you ever do need to confide in someone.... I am here. I realize my actions may not give you much confidence in my ability to listen, but I am doing better now. And I would like to be there for you.>

Naitachel squeezed Soraya's hand back reassuringly. "Thank you. Though you need not worry over my feelings so, Soraya--I forgive, always, and did so long ago." <Pretense is keeping me. Like those damnable crutches. But thank you. I will keep your offer in mind.>

"I know," she smiled. Soraya then rose and gathered her books. "Perhaps we could adjourn to somewhere quieter. I am sure you would like to use your few remaining hours of quiet before returning to the hustle and bustle of it all," she suggested with a wink. <Then perhaps I can walk you to the East Wing and deliver you to Radu, if it helps with pretense>

<That does, and thank you.> Naitachel smiled gratefully, and slid to his feet gracefully. "I would like that very much, Soraya, thank you."

Arms full of books, the redhead made a half-formed gesture suggesting Naitachel should lead. "I cannot tell you how grateful I will be when finals are over. I thought continuing with school was overwhelming before all of this happened," she grumbled. "I will be lucky to earn passing grades at this point." <The break will be nice, but avoiding Emmett will also be a bonus> she confided wryly.

Naitachel reached out to offer to take some of the books. "Well, surely they may understand that you were unwell, and surely that is no fault of your own..." <Perhaps having an escort may keep his hands off you the better? And tame his mouth slightly?> the Seraph mused hopefully. After all, that unwanted audience could serve dual purpose...

Radu set aside his paints, gazing up at the ceiling of the east wing entrance's grand foyer, eyeing his work critically.

She handed some of the books over gratefully. "Some professors are... more understanding than others," she answered sheepishly. "Tomorrow’s test, for example, is one of my less friendly professors who thinks I have been putting on quite an act to earn more free time." She shrugged and rolled her eyes. <True. I suppose that will be an unexpected perk to having someone shadow me...> she admitted.

Naitachel hefted the load and led the way. "Well, if you wish, I suppose I could be your practice subject if you need one, then. I have... taken free time for the moment. I suppose that is a perk of being at the top of a company?" <Worth taking advantage of, I imagine, if it keeps him at bay,> he told Soraya. He flashed Radu a warm smile on entering the east wing, and set her books down on a clean table before moving to embrace his mate, not minding paint in the least...

Soraya chuckled and smiled fondly at Naitachel and Radu's reunion. She had no doubts the vampire had missed his mate, given the fact that he had been gone a week. "The project is written," she said quickly, "but thank you." She nodded in silent understanding of his suggestion regarding her situation with Emmett. She collected her books and moved aside to a corner so as to be unobtrusive. She knew she needed to remain in the wing to uphold the pretense, but she wanted to give as much privacy as possible, as well.

Radu held back, not wanting to soil his mate with paint, though, in truth, he wore very little of it himself. It seemed he was one of the rare "neat" painters. The ceiling in question now bore an incredible likeness of his own family through the ages, from their original exodus from their homelands through these current times. It was a pictograph detailing their entire history in vivid color.

Once Nait held him, though, all hesitance faded to the background. He held Naitachel closely, showing no sign of letting him go.

Naitachel arched a brow as Radu hesitated. <You have forgotten... I do not become soiled so easily,> he reminded gently. In truth, it had been some time since he had Purified anything except himself or a few clothes... But he needed this embrace as much as the vampire did, and simply closed his eyes, content to stay there and let the world hang.

<Are you more...centered...now?> Radu asked him, knowing how difficult the tumultuousness of their home had been on Naitachel.

The Seraph nodded against Radu's shoulder. <Yes, much more so. But if this continues, I shall have to take up such vigil regularly.> He sighed happily, opening eyes to look at Radu's painting over the man's shoulder. <It is lovely... You do have a great talent for paints...>

<I thought so once,> Radu laughed silently. <It seems somewhat less than perfect now, though. I think, perhaps, I got the palette wrong.> Aloud, he said, "It is good to see you smile, child. Are you, also, feeling better?"

Soraya glanced up at Radu. "Getting there," she answered. The memories came in fits and starts, but already it wasn't as frequent as it had been. What was most frustrating were the nightmares that lingered. "I will be glad when finals are done. It will help to have that much less on my mind." Until then, she was at least keeping things together by running TO Vlad rather than FROM him when she felt herself slip.

<It looks good as it is, to me. Come now, no artistic work is truly ever perfect to the artist...> Naitachel answered his mate. "I imagine the Finals only add to the stress, however?"

"A little stress never killed anyone who cannot be killed due to natural causes because of a supernatural bond created by a curse linking them to a vampire's lifespan," she said with as much good humor as she had displayed in some time. "I will be fine. One test tomorrow, another the day after."

Naitachel glanced over his own shoulder at Soraya. "So, a break after? That is good. Any plans for that time?"

"Rest," Soraya said simply. "Time with my family, the kids... Poor Kristov likely needs a break from all the driving around himself." She closed her book and stood. <Have I remained long enough for pretense? I am sure you two would enjoy some time alone.>

<I think so. And... thank you again, Soraya,> Nait returned with a wave of grateful warmth. "That sounds good. I think after recent events it may make all feel much the better..."

<It was the least I could do,> Soraya answered, collecting her armful of books. <This is worse than being pregnant,> she quipped as she waddled out, struggling to keep a hold of all of the texts. <Have fun, you two crazy kids.>

Naitachel smothered a chuckle against Radu's shoulder.

((OOC - I thought this could actually lead in to the East Wing thing, as Kaht finds Nait and Radu together. Still, I'm trying to edit the East Wing thing right now, but the problem is that there's no real intro to it. You guys were tossing ideas around and then went with it to play. Do one of you want to write an intro about hearing sounds or should I try to come up with something? It'll likely take me awhile and I don't play any of your characters. Razz ))

Last edited by Soraya on Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:08 pm; edited 3 times in total

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Post  Rowanna on Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:06 pm

Feel free to write whatever sort of intro you feel it needs. It'd be good to get that up. Thanks for working on it. Smile

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Post  Soraya on Sun Nov 18, 2012 10:50 pm

A couple weeks passed in edgy routine. Recent events left the family somewhat jittery and touchy still, but the addition of Kahtenny's surveillance began to ease their minds again.  Especially after he caught and removed a number of unscrupulous reporters and even a couple curious neighbors.

However certain unusual activities began to draw the security man's scrutiny. His equipment caught a few things he couldn't ignore in the East Wing despite the rules established regarding it. Rather than strike first and possibly upend an apple cart, however, Kahtenny chose to note the oddities and bring them up to his employer. Gathering his evidence, John took a deep breath and readied himself to face Vlad. It was time to establish exactly where they stood.

He found Vlad in his office, and without a word simply set the incriminating photos and video and audio recordings down in front of the man. Folding his arms across his chest and looking all too much like an intimidating tobacco logo, the Native American waited for a reaction.

Surprised, Vlad arched a brow but poured through what Kahtenny gave him. "I thought we agreed your passive surveillance would be pointed outside the wing," he stated after a minute, feeling a cold pit of unease enter his stomach.

"We did, but when things happen inside the house, it becomes active surveillance, and all bets are off," Kahtenny insisted firmly, ready to drop all facades.

"That was not our agreement," Vlad tried, a last effort to dissuade the man's curiosity.

“Our agreement was that I am responsible for security in the house and on the grounds. I can't do my job if you don't trust me. I've eaten your bread and salt, and that settles it for me, as far as loyalty goes. I am your man, as much as Kristov, but loyalty works both ways," Kahtenny insisted.

Vlad considered that a moment, then sighed. "Very well then. Please come with me."

Kahtenny fell in beside him. He was Vlad's man, but very much his own man as well.

Vlad led them into the east wing and tapped on the door wherein his uncle and his spouse most likely were, looking about at the newly done paintings upon the walls and ceilings as he waited.

One very content Seraph was curled up against his mate, a wing draped over them both, tail keeping feet warm. He murmured at the sound of the knock. "...Do not wish to get up, Michelle..."

Vlad almost laughed, hearing what Kaht likely did not. <Pray dress and come. We are well past Michelle's day and have a... situation...>

Kahtenny looked over the pictures while he waited. Not bad. Some were very good, in fact.

All Naitachel sent back was the mental equivalent of someone pulling up the covers and rolling over.

Radu groaned. <It seems we've got company,> he told Naitachel, rising and righting himself before moving into the shadows, vanishing there in the corner as if he were simply not there.

A grumble. <...All right...> Sleepily, golden eyes cracked open and he dragged himself to grab his clothes. It took a couple minutes as Naitachel struggled into them, and he could be heard staggering as he did so, like someone drunk.  Finally the seraph reached the door and opened it part-way, squinting at Vlad and John as he leaned against the doorjamb, almost cross-eyed with weariness. "Yes?" he asked.

"It seems our head of security was given reason enough to turn his surveillance cameras inward," Vlad informed them.

Golden eyes glazed, and Naitachel jerked slightly as he tried to keep from nodding off on his feet. "Oh? Pardon...? Was... was something outside?"

"Actually... Mr. Eagle's questions were about what was inside," Vlad sighed.

"No, something was inside. It made enough noise to set off the alarm on my controller," Kahtenny replied.

Vlad looked to the corner where he knew his uncle to be, despite the fact that he knew none could see him. "He turned a camera inward to see what was in here," Vlad prodded Nait and Radu.

It took a moment for the information to sink in, before Naitachel registered what must have been heard and blushed a deep crimson. "Oh... Oh! Ah... pardon..." He glanced over his shoulder at Radu. <I am so sorry...> he apologized to his mate, worried that his secret was blown. "I am... terribly sorry about that." He couldn't lie about what had been going on, so, he was at a loss what to add.

"I saw enough to make me think there's a family member I haven't met yet," Kahtenny said, the hint of a smile on his lips, "and heard enough to make me suggest you soundproof that bedroom."

"You are correct," a soft deep baritone came from the seemingly empty corner. "On both counts, it would seem."

Naitachel hung his head and flushed bright enough to rival the sun, mortified. "Oh heavens," he whispered, embarrassed. "I suppose... well... do come in." He moved back from the door to allow them entry and slid over to Radu's side uncertainly.

Startled, the Apache managed to maintain his usual stoic expression as he slowly turned toward the corner.

Now fully clothed, the tall, thin Radu stepped forward as if appearing from nowhere, placing his arm protectively around his mate.

"Uncle, this is our new security chief, John Eagle. John... my deceased uncle..." Vlad smirked.

White wings and tail trailed behind Naitachel like a living feather cloak as he joined Radu, and he leaned against the vampire with a quiet sigh of content, blinking sleepily. "I fear this is my fault," he admitted ruefully. "Though please understand, this is something..." He paused to cover a yawn. "...Something we needs must keep quiet..." Utterly embarrassed, he added to Radu quietly, <I suppose I was too noisy...>

"Deceased...?" For once, Kahtenny had nothing to say as he digested the information. "Mr. Radu Prince, I presume?" He had to look up a couple of inches to meet Radu's gaze. "I read about your... death a while back. That was a good move. Keeps you safe, and gives us some unexpected backup in case of invasion."

Radu smiled and held out his hand. "Welcome to our family, Mister Eagle."

"It's good that you understand." Vlad glanced at his uncle. "I fear the ruse came far too near to being truth for my liking."
Returning the smile and the handshake, Kahtenny said, "I'm glad you put it like that, sir. I've been thinking of you all more as family than employers."

"It was... very touch-and-go several times," Naitachel agreed softly, shivering at the memory. "It could too easily happen again."

"Then we'll just have to see that it doesn't, won't we?" the chief of security answered.

<You were fine, beloved. Pray, do not apologize.> Radu glanced at Naitachel, his pale blue eyes filled with warmth and adoration. He drew him nearer as the memory took hold. "I am here and quite safe. And so long as none are aware of the truth, I shall no doubt remain so."

"Does the rest of the staff know?" Kahtenny asked.

Naitachel flashed John a warm if sleepy smile, and hugged Radu snugly as if in doing so he might keep him safe. "Some, like Kristov..."

"He and his sister, Katarina. Misha and Anya Sala..." He paused to consider a moment, before shaking his head. "I do not believe any others are aware." Radu looked to the others for names of any he might be unaware of.  

"Anya and Misha tend to the wing, officially. Maintaining it free of dust and such," Vlad smiled. "They and the Xandrescu twins were raised as if they were our own. None find it odd that they come here."

Kahtenny made note of the names. They were the most trusted, but because of that, must be watched more closely, just to be sure. And for their own safety as well.  "Good. Then I won't have to come back, at least without an invitation." He smiled.

Naitachel blushed brightly again. "Ah... yes... perhaps that is a good thing..." If only so Kahtenny wouldn't catch Radu and himself in a compromising position by accident. "I fear I am the weakest point in Radu's own safety," he added sheepishly. <But... I cannot stay away.>

"You may return as you like. Ostensibly for security reasons." Radu shrugged. "Now that you know, it would be pointless to deny you entrance."

Vlad looked surprised. Radu wasn't often prone to inviting strangers into his personal space.

Kahtenny nodded.  "I appreciate that, sir. Don't want to intrude, though."

<I should be most disheartened if you did,> Radu almost laughed in answer to Naitachel. "It is no intrusion."

Nait glanced at Vlad and smiled. He could understand Radu's invitation to John. After all, his social meetings here were few and limited to only select people, and besides, John was a pleasant personality he could see Radu enjoying having discussions with. <You do need the company,> he teased his mate, referring not just to himself but to now John being a visitor. "Just also knock, please," Nait added.

Radu actually laughed at that. "Who knocks for ghosts, beloved?"

Nait nudged him in the ribs with a wing-shoulder playfully. "For when I may be around as well? This was a bit embarrassing..."

"Well, then, thank you. I'd like to talk with you about those paintings. Some of the figures on there look like creatures out of our tribal mythology." He cocked an eye at Naitachel. "Matter of fact, Nait, you look a lot like one of the ancient katchinas. One of the real old ones, not this tourist stuff they're turning out now."

Radu glanced back toward the hall, his eyes alight. "I should enjoy such a discussion if you are open to impossible sounding tales, Mister Eagle."

"Don't think they could be much stranger than some of the things Coyote was supposed to have done."

The Seraph dipped his head in acknowledgement. "That is quite possible... My kind may not be so often seen around this world, but we have visited widely throughout history." He blanched at the name of Coyote. "Heavens, let us hope that one is not visiting..."

"You may be surprised," Vlad laughed. "My uncle is quite youthful looking for a man his age. He's got quite the wealth of stories if you've talent enough to get him talking then patience enough to listen."

"I've spent enough time sitting in an eagle trap to learn a little patience," Kahtenny grinned.

Radu said nothing, but his gentle smile suggested he might not be completely against such a visit at all.

Naitachel smiled sleepily, leaning a bit more against Radu, his tail curling around both their feet. "I fear you may need it, with us as a family."

"Some among us my try your patience more than others. My son Michael tends to sneak out often, as do my brother Minhea and my uncle Mircea. Keeping up with them could try your patience. And the callers for Jina and Lisa." Vlad rolled his eyes. "You may not have time for visits with such charges."

Kahtenny sobered. "While everybody's in a good mood, I wonder if I could get an answer to an unusual question?"

"Mmm?" Nait blinked glazed eyes, head jerking up again. Falling sleep would be impolite right now, so the Seraph fought to stay awake... and not keel over against Radu.

Radu braced himself for what he suspected was inevitable, then answered, "Go on. You may ask what you will."

"You are vampires, aren't you?" Kahtenny asked.

Radu held Naitachel close, ensuring he wouldn't fall if indeed he did fall asleep. "Yes, Mister Eagle. We are," he answered after a moment. "Does that bother you?"

"Well, not all of us," Vlad corrected. "Obviously Naitachel isn't. Nor Soraya."

"They are," Nait agreed quietly, "but Vlad is correct..."

Kahtenny nodded. "Yeah, I could tell that right off. No, it doesn't bother me. I just wanted to be sure. I met a Count Robescu in Kosovo a few years ago... he hauled my butt out of a crossfire. So I knew some of the signs."

"Marius Robescu?" Vlad asked, sounding surprised.

The Seraph sighed discretely in relief. It beat John throwing down his resignation or offering to stake someone. That whole "Buffy" craze hadn't been a good influence on the world.

"That's him. I got shot up a little, and spent a couple of weeks hidden away in his house. Had a good looking daughter, too. Hilda? No, Hulda."  Kahtenny momentarily seemed lost in memory.

"Hulda," Radu smiled. "Marius had tried so hard to convince my nephew Min she would be a good match for him. Sadly for him, neither were in the market for such permanence."

"No, permanence wasn't really her style," Kahtenny agreed.

"Min's not a big fan of it, either," Vlad laughed. "But they didn't seem to mind temporary rather often."

"Hmmm... well, that's none of my business," Kahtenny said. "But it makes me feel better to know for sure about the family. I knew you could handle yourselves, but this makes a big difference."

"Does it?" Radu asked curiously.

"Unfortunately, to some... perhaps far too much of one. Our enemies..." Nait trailed, not sure he should elaborate further.

"Our enemies seem to be aware of this as well," Vlad cautioned. "It is our own nature they learned to isolate... and use to our detriment." He glanced at his uncle. "I'd rather not see that happen again."

"We do not know who may be next," Nait agreed unhappily.

"I meant you won't have to be coddled, like the average civilian,” Kahtenny answered.  “Do you mindspeak, too, like Marius and Hulda did?"

"How do you think I warned them you were coming?" Vlad asked with a laugh.

The Seraph just blushed warmly again.

"No, there will be no need for coddling, though I do ask you remain careful of Brianna and Matthias," Radu agreed.  He glanced at Vlad in disbelief. Had he really said that out loud? "Matty can be somewhat detrimental to himself at times," Radu elaborated. "Depending upon his mood."

“And my daughter is the most obvious target for most who would attempt harm simply because she is the youngest," Vlad continued.

Kahtenny nodded. "Brianna and Matthias, Soraya and Naitachel will be under surveillance at all times, and will be accompanied when they leave the house. I know Matty gets broody. We'll try to see it goes no farther than that."

"They are a bit more sensitive," Nait added in gently. "And... I fear there will be times you cannot follow myself... though perhaps Kristov may try..." He made a face. "At least I have had no reason to yet, but those times shall come." <I have no missions yet, but they will be sent eventually again.>

Kahtenny made a mental note to plant a tracer in Nait's clothing - or his crutches.

"Kris or Kat can follow if they are aware you are going. If you would but try not to disappear without warning," Radu sighed.

"I do try, but at times the call is swift and sudden, and what you hear is all the warning I receive myself," Nait sighed.

"That will have to be one of the new rules. Nobody...nobody leaves without notifying at least one of us," he said. Sheepishly, Kahtenny added, "Maybe someone else better explain that to Mircea."

Vlad laughed uproariously at that, and Radu's smile broadened. "Indeed. I suspect there may be some issues with the enforcement of such a rule with my brother," he warned.

"Perhaps... perhaps I may," Nait volunteered sheepishly. <I should also inform him that Archer is aware of certain workings of his, and would very much like a hold on him.>

"He's a big boy, he can go where he pleases. I'd just like to know where, in case I have to clean up behind him," Kahtenny said.

"We don't usually have to do much of that anymore," Vlad blurted.

Making a face, Nait nodded at that idea. Mircea had been known to be... rough... Well, with so much as a mugger.

"Still, I'd like to keep track of everyone, and he's no less susceptible to poisoning than any of the rest of us. Or to kidnapping, for that matter."

"Poisoning perhaps," Vlad agreed. "I don't see anyone successfully taking Uncle Mircea."

"It could happen," Radu disagreed quietly. "He is calmer than before.  Just be vigilant, Mister Eagle. My family is very important to me, and I am... less able to protect them now, I fear."

"I would not have guessed anyone might be capable of grabbing Soraya, either--but that was from right next to us," Nait pointed out uneasily. "I would rather put nothing past our enemies, lest they gain ideas."

"Will do, sir. They're important to me, too," the former Seal replied.

"They know how to hurt Uncle Radu already, so keep close track of him," Vlad countered. "There are none among us who could bear that loss."

"Will you have some tea, Mister Eagle?" Radu asked as Anya brought in some quietly. "I fear it is the one indulgence, even now, I am hard pressed to let go of." He touched the bit of ribbon in his pocket, remembering a brilliant child with whom he'd enjoyed this ritual before.

Naitachel nudged for Radu to move towards where they might all be seated. He very much wanted to be sitting instead of standing, himself. If he dozed off, at least it would be more discrete that way.

"Now, Vlad," he chided, "how could they hurt a dead man?" Then soberly, "You know I will." To Radu, "Tea? Love it. Thank you."

"Hence the reason he must remain dead," Vlad agreed, shooting a warning glance at his uncle as the tall man poured tea for all of them.

"Uncle Radu!" Brianna called happily as she bounded into the East Wing, followed by a smiling Soraya.  "Oh, oops," the girl said, stopping mid-stride when she realized there were several individuals already engaged in a discussion. "Sorry."

Radu picked up Brianna and swung her as high in the air as his long arms and 6'7" frame would take her.

"It is quite all right, Brianna," Nait reassured as he settled comfortably at an angle on a seat.

Brianna giggled happily as she swung, and Soraya greeted those here. "Sorry to interrupt. Bri just had some news to share that had her quite excited. She ran all over looking for Vlad, but when she didn't find him, decided Radu was the next target on her list," she explained.

"Hello my little one." Radu put her down quickly and took up Nait. "One moment," he told her as he tucked Nait in, putting a footstool over for his feet and tail feathers and laying a soft blanket over him. Then he picked her back up and swung her in the air again. "What news, my love?" he asked her as soared above him.

"Hi Mr. Eagle!" Bri greeted belatedly.

"Well you found us both," Vlad laughed. "And John and Nait to boot. So what's this exciting news?"

Kahtenny gave her a smile and a wink, his mouth full of tea.

"I got the part!" she then said breathlessly, a grand announcement. "I get to play Wendy in the new Peter Pan play!"

Soraya grinned and shook her head at John Eagle. The man seemed to love tea, as far as she could tell. She couldn't help but be amused.

The Seraph just chuckled and sent Radu a warm burst of amused affection, like a wave of sunshine. He snuggled up in the blanket a bit more, and set his tea down carefully in his lap. "Congratulations, Brianna!"

"Good for you. That's a better part than Peter Pan himself," John Eagle said.

"Well you've got the flying part down," Vlad quipped, setting his own tea aside. "I think, though, that we might start some asking questions if we all remain here in the forbidden wing too much longer. Why don't we go give uncle Radu and Naitachel a chance to rest and you can tell mister Eagle and I all about it in the dining room?"

"She is a little young for the typical portrayal of the character, but the director had to have her," Soraya commended proudly as Brianna beamed.

"She'll be brilliant," Radu beamed, proud of his little niece.

A crease formed in Brianna's brow. "Will you help me learn my lines?" she asked Vlad and John Eagle.

"It's not so much the age, as the stage presence," Kahtenny said. "Help you? Certainly. I might even remember some of my own," Kahtenny answered her.

"Okay! Can I have some of Crystal's pie in celebration?" the girl asked as she squirmed out of Radu's arms.

"One piece," Soraya answered.

"I'm sure we can help. John'll even read Peter, won't you John?" Vlad winked in the great Indian's direction.

"She will certainly steal their hearts," Naitachel laughed. "And you do have flying experience, yes, Brianna?"

"I do!" Bri laughed, then skipped toward the exit happily. "I bet you make a great Peter, Mr. Eagle!"

Kahtenny returned the wink. "Peter?... I don't know. I did Captain Hook in school."

"Pie and lines. She must be in heaven," Soraya commented, smiling in thanks to John Eagle before following after Brianna.

Bri stopped dead in her tracks, and thought a moment. "Oh! Okay! So Daddy reads Peter and you be Captain Hook. That works." Without missing a further beat, she dashed out toward the kitchen.

Vlad laughed and shook his head. "Well come on, Captain. Let's go have pie and do this then."

"I will be Tinkerbelle, then," Soraya smiled, linking arms with Vlad on the way out. Yes, she knew Tink had no lines.

Radu watched them all head out before sitting down and taking his tea, contemplating the new addition to their family. Somehow he couldn't help but think the addition of the great Indian would be a blessing for his own.

"Aye, me hearty... Hark! What's that tickin' sound I hear?" Kahtenny chuckled as he followed Vlad out the door. "It's been an honor to meet you, Mr. Prince. I'll be back, soon."

Naitachel waved after the lot of them, shaking his head, and set his tea aside on a nearby table with a yawn. Leaning a shoulder against Radu, he decided he would just close his eyes a moment.  One moment became a full minute, then two, and the Seraph relaxed against his mate, contentedly dozing off...

"I'll look forward to it," Radu replied honestly. He looked down at Naitachel as he moved closer and promptly fell asleep. Carefully, he lifted the seraph and took him to bed, tucking him in and lying down beside him... just for a moment...

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Tightened security Empty Re: Tightened security

Post  Soraya on Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:02 am

Kahtenny awoke to a buzzing sound in his ear. The control paddle for his security system was flashing. Intruders! Quickly he checked the screens on the main console. Someone was coming over the fence to the east of the main gate.

Switching to infra-red, Kahtenny panned the camera till he caught sight of a head coming over the wall, followed by a pair of shoulders. The man pulled a ladder up and set it inside the fence, easing the way down for himself and his cohorts.

In fact, it was more than just one someone. A handful of someones in dark, plain clothes and soft shoes. They snuck close to the building, the quiet and less occupied east wing, and waved signals to each other. One took a crowbar and a wired battery, using the crowbar to lever up a window just slightly, enough to snake the wire in and try shorting out any sensor there...

Keying the intercom, Kahtenny whispered to Radu, "You're about to have visitors."


Soraya was wide awake, her latest nightmare running through her head. She didn’t have them as regularly as she once had anymore, but they still plagued her often enough. She had snuck out of bed and down to the kitchen, hoping that the old remedy of warmed milk and honey would put her racing mind to rest.

Yawning, the redhead poured her drink into a mug and shuffled back toward bed.

Naitachel was in a dining-room, table spread with papers and files, pouring over them with no thought to the hour. Now and then, his hand hesitated blindly over one, then another, before moving on to grab something else. It was like watching someone play solitaire... only with files and papers and personnel records. And in a way that made no sense to anyone but himself. Was he even using a tarot card spread?

On her way back, however, Soraya wandered through the dining room. "What are you doing?" she asked the seraph sleepily.

Naitachel started, and straightened on his stool. "Oh! My pardon, Soraya--I did not hear you come in. I..." He hesitated, glancing back at his papers. "I am trying to determine patterns, connections... Well, a bit unfairly, I admit, but it helps in determining how many teams we play against, as one might say."

Soraya nodded and slumped into a chair across from him. "You know, things have been quiet for awhile. You can probably relax a little," she said.

Naitachel sighed and ran a hand through his hair to push some out of his eyes. "I am not certain I may relax. The extent of what we face... I do wish I knew of it before it grew so large. On the good side, at least they do not seem to work together."

The redhead's ears perked as she thought she heard shuffling. "What was that?" she asked, standing and moving to go make sure Brianna wasn't sleep walking again. One would think vampires would avoid this affliction, but not her daughter.


Radu sat in his easy chair a charming tale written in old Gaelic - a newly aquired gift from his brother - in his hands. Reluctantly, he set his book aside. "understood" he replied before moving to a darkened corner, fading into the shadows to listen and watch.

Slipping into pants and moccasins, the Apache padded out the door, at the same time contacting Min and Vlad. "Visitors in the east wing. Shall we take them inside, or as they come out?"

"Inside," Vlad replied, considering then dismissing the idea of notifying Mircea. If they wanted to keep the intruders alive, it might be better to keep him out of the loop just this once.

Having made sure any alarm sensor at the window was fried, the thieves pushed open the window quietly and snuck in one at a time, helping each other... but leaving one man standing guard in the bushes outside, to also help hand out any larger items.

The camera on the window panned over each face, recording them individually.

A hand gesture, and the thieves split up in the first room they entered, quickly riffling around for important papers (like bills), grabbing small and easily portable antiques... tossing them into pillowcases or wrapping them in table-spreads for safe transport.

"There's one outside. I'll take him first and come in the window behind them. You two move in through the door," Kahtenny instructed them.

"Understood," Vlad agreed as he hurried to join Min in the East Wing.

Radu moved soundlessly to the shadow nearest the window, prepared to stop them if they got that far.


"Pardon?" Nait asked Soraya, surprised. He frowned slightly, listening.

Soraya glanced sideways at the seraph. "You cannot drive yourself mad with searching for them, either. Much as we want to be ready, it is no life to spend all of your days looking at your enemies rather than your loved ones." She nodded toward the East Wing. "I think Bri is sleepwalking again. I will go check on her, if you care to join me." Or maybe it was just Radu.

Moving like a ghost, Kahtenny slipped into the dining room. "Shhh," he warned Naitachel and Soraya. "We've got company." Disabling the alarm, he quickly went out the front door and slipped silently around the east corner, approaching the thief from the rear.

"Company?" Soraya asked after Kahtenny, only barely managing to stifle the yelp at his appearance.

Nait followed Soraya, only to start as Kahtenny joined them to pass on a warning. "Company?" he asked, concerned, and glancing at Soraya. <That is easier when one mustn't hide looking at loved ones,> Nait sighed. <I may as well put my free time to good use and keep gaining us a bit more breathing space.>


Vlad and Min slipped in together, following their uncle's example and keeping to the shadows. They moved toward the window, waving their uncle back then. No point in giving himself away to the intruders now that they were there.

Radu moved back out of the room, so that the light would not find him should they chose to employ it, but listened closely in case he was needed nonetheless.

Min and Vlad flanked the window and watched with great disdain as the intruders gathered their uncle's belongings and made ready to exit.

Suddenly a massive hand fastened itself around the thief's throat. In seconds he was unconscious. Like a snake, Kahtenny wriggled through the window behind the other would-be bandits. "Evening, boys, find what you wanted?" His deep voice rumbled in the room.

A couple of the thieves moved to head deeper into the building, but at Kahtenny's entrance they all whirled for the window... followed by the sounds of handguns being drawn. "Shit," someone swore.


<I am not suggesting you stop the search, merely that you make sure you take care of yourself lest you drive yourself crazy in the process. You can easily spend more time with Radu by claiming you need solitude to mourn now that all is quiet, you know,> Soraya answered Naitachel belatedly. She glanced toward the stairs, then at the direction of the East wing, where she detected the commotion, unsure of what her next step should be. To check on the children or to see if she could help to ensure their safety?

Nait nodded, shrugging. <I think both he and I will be able to enjoy each others' company more if we are under a bit less immediate threat, at least,> Nait compromised. He nodded for Soraya to head upstairs. <Best you check the younger ones. I will stay down here and help as needed, but I am certain Brianna would be more reassured with you near.>

Soraya sighed, knowing the seraph was merely trying to protect them. She simply hated that he did it to his own detriment when he could allow himself a bit more breathing room. Still, she headed upstairs without another word, suspecting that Brianna was still soundly asleep.


"Out of the way, an' nobody's gonna be hurt... Ain' nothin' done yet, capieche?" one thief suggested calmly.

"I recommend you put those away if you'd like to keep it that way," Vlad's voice came at them from the shadows, though neither he nor Min were yet visible to their "guests".

Suddenly, red dots appeared on the foreheads of two of the thieves, shifting directly into their eyes for a second, to get their attention, and returning to a spot between and just above the eyes. ".40 cal makes such a nasty hole, boys. Undertaker wouldn't be able to make you pretty."

"Shit--they're good," another thief whispered. Still, guns moved towards the sound of Vlad's voice easily enough in the dark. "Nah, you won' be wantin' gunfire in a house, do you?" the first reasoned. "Can always misfire, you know, hit wrong... Goes through walls pretty damn well these days, an' all. Don' want to be firin' and hit someone sleepin', you know, kids an' such. Firefights indoors are a baaaad thin'"

"So, how's you just let us be wanderin' off, and' we all pretend nothin' ever happened?" the first thief suggested.

"Put them away if now or I promise you won't make it out of here alive," Min warned simply. He wasn't about to play nice with these men after everything that had happened lately. <Uncle,> he nudged Mircea. <Are you busy at the moment?>


Michael, it turned out, was still out somewhere. Tommen was up and keeping ears on the scene downstairs, and Soraya felt frustration coming from him for which all she could do was kiss him atop the head. She knew how he felt. Brianna, as she had suspected, was still soundly sleeping. All that was left, it seemed, was to wait.


"I ain' going to jail!" one of the other thieves yelped, sounding almost desperate. "I don' care what anyone says, I ain' going back!" Maybe someone has a looong record.

<Not terribly,> Mircea answered as Vlad alerted Tommen to be ready.

<Could you join us in the east wing. Quietly,> Min asked Mircea.

Naitachel edged a bit closer to the wing in question, mentally listening to the tense situation, and waited by the door uneasily.

<If you do not sleep, come to Uncle's study now,> Vlad told Tommen.

Min smirked as he sensed Mircea's entrance, though neither sight nor sound accompanied it.

“Shut up!" the first thief told his near-hysterical buddy. "Now do be movin' over quiet-like, an' we'll be gone a'fore you blink..."

“You'd rather go to jail than face what you're about to," Mircea told the protester. "Choose quickly."

<Well, this is a good way to test our new security guy's rocks,> Tom sighed as he glanced backwards to ensure his mother and sister were safe, then dashed downstairs, clinging to shadow.

Unaware of any of this, Kahtenny kept his guns trained on the two thieves. "Move, and you won't go back to jail. You won't go anywhere."

"That's just not how this is going to go down," Vlad told the apparent boss of the team.

"I don' think we're goin' to jail, an' best you be movin' over a bit." The first thief grinned. "You can be takin' some of us down, but not 'fore shots go wild." His gun gestured at the creaking of floorboards above.

<I would rather we not be picking bullets out of people afterwards,> Naitachel sighed to the others. <Even if you do heal fast.>

Mircea didn't wait for another threat. He bore down swiftly and silently upon the man. His hand closed down upon the man's gunhand, aiming it down as he sank his bared fangs into his throat.

"You might want to aim at someone else," Vlad whispered to Kaht. "Uncle won't like getting hit while feeding."

The first thief shrieked, his cry turning into a gurgle. At that, however, his fellows panicked, some aiming at him and Micrea and firing blindly in horror at the vampire, others just shooting at anything that moved, even imaginary shadows.

"It's monsters!" one thief shrieked. "Holy shit!" cried another.

Min cringed on the man's behalf at he sound of snapping bones and slurping that filled the room amid the gunshots. Min moved swiftly to place himself between Kaht and the shooters.

One fled for the window, another for the door.

The gunfire drew a startled girl's cry from upstairs. Brianna's fright was enough to spur Tommen into action, who promptly sank his own fangs into the attacker headed toward the door.

Vlad swore, moving to intercept the one going toward the door, trusting Tommen to grab the one fleeing toward the window.

The one by the window screamed as not one but two sets of vampire fangs dug into his shoulders, one on either side.

Naitachel tried to refrain from slapping himself on the forehead. "Heavens," he sighed.

Vlad released him quickly, leaving him to Tommen and headed for the door, assuming Kaht and Min could handle the remaining two.

Snapping off the laser sights and reversing his pistols, Kahtenny caught one trying to slip past, pistol-whipping him to the floor.

"No, Bri. We stay," Soraya might be heard by any vampire ears from upstairs. Was Soraya, for once, trying to be good, though her daughter was apparently taking her cue from her mother’s usual character.

Min caught the last, whispering but two words in his ear before snapping his neck. "Told ya."

Tom sent a wordless apology to his father for the confusion, though his grip tightened on his own prey.

A bullet zinged through the floor and busted the ciling light in Brianna's room.

Vlad dove onto the man, taking the gun and aiming between it's owners eyes, before baring his fangs at him. "Bad move," he told him simply before tossing the gun aside and dragging him back into the east wing where he could finish him without undo commotion in the house.


Bri screamed again, this time flattening herself instinctually against her mother, pushing her backwards into the wall. Even this small, she'd taken on the other vampires' tendencies to take the brunt of danger. She could, after all, come back. Soraya couldn't.

Of course, Soraya immediately began scolding her daughter. "What are you thinking?" she asked, lifting Brianna into her arms and flattening her against the wall for safe-keeping.

Brianna didn't often use her vampire abilities to her advantage against Soraya, but this time, she wanted to see what was happening. Quick as a rabbit, she ducked out of Soraya's grip the moment it loosened and dashed downstairs, the redhead calling exasperatedly after her.


The one headed for the door fired wildly at the chaos in the room without much care for his fellow thieves, having turned to run through the rest of the house when Vlad grabbed him and dragged him back... Naitachel blinked, only a few feet away and to the side, and shook his head sadly as he watched them return within...

Tom fed briefly from the man whom he held in his clutch before snapping his neck. "Where's the last one?" he asked aloud, frowning at the sudden realization one was missing.

"Got one here, one outside, both alive. You want to keep them that way?" Kahtenny answered.

"Not particularly," Mircea growled.

"Of course we do," Radu corrected quietly.

"Fine," his brother grumbled before telling Kaht more loudly. "It seems we do whether we do or not."

<I take it all is clear?> Naitachel asked quietly. <Are all well, or is anyone hurt? Do we still have a room intact, as well?>

Kahtenny chuckled. "Mircea, you remind me more and more of the Baron. Except he would have called in the rest of the family for a feast."

Mentally checking the situation, Naitachel dared slowly open the door and peek in. "Is everyone all right?" he asked again.

"Uncle doesn't share his meals, though we occasionally are granted leftovers," Min teased. "We're fine, Nait. Our guests, however, are a bit worse for wear."

Dropping out the window, Kahtenny grabbed the other thief by the scruff of the neck and threw him into the room. "Here's the last one," he said, hopping back in and closing the blackout curtains.

Mircea turned a bloody visage at him and smiled, teeth still bared. "Oh good...I was wanting dessert," he told the man.

"Uncle," Min laughed in spite of himself. "You know B Negative gives you indigestion."

"Could you hold off a minute or two?” Kahtenny requested of Mircea. “I'd like to find out just where this little flock of dickiebirds came from."

"Oh." Naitachel looked at the carnage, the bodies and blood on the floor, and drooped a bit unhappily at the loss of life. He held his one arm tightly with his other hand, and made a face at Min's joke. "Please, I would rather we had enough death for one night?"

"I suspect this once it would be worth it," Mircea answered Min before nodding to Kaht. "Be quick."

Tommen dropped his own kill limply at his feet, glaring down at the heap angrily. His family had been through enough recently. This was the last thing they had needed.

Brianna dashed past Naitachel, calling brightly, "Hi Uncle Nait!" before stopping just inside the doorway, the picture of blue-eyed innocence in her night dress taking in the carnage. It wasn't long before her own fangs protruded at the scent of blood.

There will be no need to kill this one, provided he tells all truthfully," Radu's voice floated toward them from seemingly nowhere.

Soraya sighed as she finally emerged, silently cursing not for the first time her human limitations. She glanced at Naitachel dejectedly, though her voice was stern. "Brianna, you get back upstairs, now. You and I will discuss the consequences of this in the morning." <Are you alright?> she asked the seraph silently.

Vlad set aside his own kill and moved to gather his youngest in his arms. "You heard your mother," he scolded gently. "You're not supposed to be down here. I'll get her back to bed," he told his wife, offering a peck on the cheek as he hurried their baby back up the stairs.

"But I wanted to see," Brianna protested, trying to peer over Vlad’s shoulder.

Soraya nodded, though she herself averted her eyes from the carnage in the room she had hoped not to witness. <Thank you. The little devil decided she would out-speed me. I think she might lose her tv privileges for a week,> she confided in Vlad.

Kahtenny picked up the 'outside man' by the shirt front and threw him into a chair. Turning on a small lamp, just enough to light the room dimly, he growled, "Look around, punk. See what your buddies got you into? That's you lyin' there, unless you answer straight. Who are you working for?"

<Mostly tired,> Naitachel returned to Soraya’s question. <One could wish for a bit less excitement for a while,> he added wryly. As Kahtenny began interrogating, though, he retreated a few steps into the shadows as well, not wanting to be seen.


The woozy thief groaned. "I... uh... wha...?"

<Is there ever a dull moment around here?> Soraya asked Naitachel wryly, settling for a seat on a mostly decorative chair in the hallway outside where she could hear but not see.

"I said who are you working for?" Kahtenny’s big hand moved smoothly, almost gently across the theif’s face, rocking his head. "Awake now?"

< It does sound as if punishment is warranted,> Vlad agreed with Soraya. "You know better than to outrun mother," he scolded Bri. "Anything you're supposed to see will be brought to you."

Brianna's defiance wilted at Vlad's chastising, and tears welled in her eyes. "Sorry," she said weakly. "But it was scary upstairs, and there's glass all over the floor..."

"I understand, but mother was right there. You needed to stay there where it was safer, rather than charging down to where the bad men were being dealt with." Vlad finished. "Now you stay up here with Matty. Daddy has to go back down and help clean up."

"But Matty's not here," Brianna answered as she settled back into her bed. "And now Mommy's downstairs too." Still, despite the excitement and her protests, she yawned broadly and rubbed at her eyes.

Vlad frowned, but tucked her in carefully. "I'll find him. Mommy will be back up here soon. Now, goodnight, precious. Sweet dreams."

"Good night," Brianna answered sulkily.

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Tightened security Empty Re: Tightened security

Post  Soraya on Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:04 am

<I would hope the dull moments begin about now,> Naitachel replied to Soraya tiredly. He leaned against the wall in the shadows, not wishing to step into the light by opening the door to leave.

"I... uh... work for? It's Benny's gig, man!" the thief stammered, still somewhat confused. "Ask him!"

<As would I,> Soraya answered Naitachel in an equally exhausted tone.

"Which one is Benny?" Kahtenny asked. "The unconscious one, or one of the dead ones?"

<At least this crisis can be rated as minor in our books?> she suggested. <And has been handled by our new head of security and our vampires? Always think positive, Naitachel> the redhead followed-up mischievously.

Drip... drip... It pattered quietly on the wooden floor.

<I think I am?> the Seraph chuckled. <In any case, you are correct, the worst of the crisis is over.>

"Naitachel, what is...?" Soraya asked, comprehension slowly dawning on her. "What happened? Did you get hit by a bullet?"

A few silvery drops gleamed on the floor where Naitachel had been standing earlier, and a few others were dripping where he stood now. <A stray. It is nothing so terrible, but I would like the bullet removed before I heal up. I would rather not carry mementos of this occasion.>

"Stay," Mircea barked in case Radu was considering coming out into view of the would be robber. He left the room moment and returned with a few surgical tools, some gauze and rubber gloves.

"Um..." The thief looked around a bit wildly, still somewhat dazed. He tried gesturing at one, but the attempt was vague and hard to follow in this state. "The guy who kind of was boss?" he tried to explain.

Mircea gestured with the scalpel at him. "So what did he tell you? And make it good." He drew on the gloves and smiled a slow, humorless smile.

"And who did Benny take orders from?" the Apache persisted.

The thief eyed Mircea with the gloves and tools, and blanched. "I'll talk! Jeeze, man, what the hell?! I'm not like some kinda spy or nothin'!"

"Uncle, perhaps you should practice your dissections while I take Nait to Dr. Kelly,” Min suggested.

Playing 'good cop, bad cop,' Kahtenny remonstrated with Mircea. "Now, wait, I think he'll tell us what we want. No need to hurt him... yet."

"Just this guy came by the bar, said he wanted us to hit a spot!" the thief explained quickly, eyes wild. "Said he wanted some old shi*. What do we care? We're good at breakin' and grabbin', so hell, why not? Plus the guy gave us a wad of cash, to have first dibs on what we got. Said credit card numbers and stuff'd be nice, too, an' tho that ain' out schtik, hell, why not?"

"What kind of guy, what did he look like?” Kahtenny questioned.

Mircea continued to stare at the man, that mirthless smile upon his face as he tested the sharpness of the scalpel.


Soraya sighed. <Well, at least you are in a houseful of doctors. Unless you want us to take you to Dr. Kelly?> she asked, then more seriously, <Does it hurt very much?>

Nait shook his head. <No, I do not think I require the good doctor. 'Tis not a big wound, and just in my arm. Once the bullet is gone, a bit of bandaging and I should be well enough in a couple days. I heal here, too, after all.>

<I know, but...> Soraya frowned, <you need someone to remove it.>

<As you said, a house full of doctors. It is easier removing such than the old arrowheads. Those oft had to be cut out, and deeply so,> Nait chuckled, amused. <A steady hand and tweezers should do.>

"Uh..." The thief eyed Mircea warily, cringing. "Uh... you won' let 'em scalp me, will you? I mean, c'mon, we were set up!"

"If you don't answer me, and talk straight, scalping is the least of your worries," Kahtenny said. "Now what did he look like?"

"Nait...let's take care of you first. It might be too dull later." Mircea intoned, still staring at the man.

Min shook his head. "No way you’re touching him looking like that," he told his uncle. "Come on, Nait. I'll get you fixed up."

Soraya nodded in Mircea's direction. "Best do it sooner rather than later, then. Go get stitched up," she insisted to the seraph cringing.

<Make sure you wear gloves,> she reminded Min. <We hardly need you accidentally sickening from Naitachel’s blood.>

<My blood is not so deadly to touch... but gloves would still be wise,> Nait agreed. "Very well," he told Min, pushing off the wall to follow.

The thief glanced around, worried who Mircea was addressing, before his eyes shot back to Kahtenny fearfully. "Like... not very tall, brown hair... middle-age guy. I don' know what to tell you--I don' look at guys much and he talked to Benny! Some white dude, smelled a bit funny, though, like he came from a heap... but not a garbage heap, you know? maybe he does cleaning stuff... hell, how would I know? Just chemical guy. We laughed about him scarin' chicks that way later."

Kahtenny looked at Mircea and Vlad. "Sound like anybody you know?"


Min drew on gloves and set to tending Nait's arm while Mircea moved closer to the spooked man, seemingly inspecting his Adam’s apple, scalpel still in hand.

Naitachel winced as Min probed about the wound for the bullet. <Just remove it. I am already healing, after all,> Nait advised.

<Hang on,> Min said, looking close and trying one last time. "There," he said at last, extricating the bullet and applying gauze to the wound.

"Thank you," Naitachel told Min, using his free hand to grasp the gaze and keep pressure on the wound, stemming the flow of silvery blood. <The rest, time shall cure.>

The thief whimpered. "Hey, c'mon, I told you all I know! What more do you want of me?!"

"Is this him?" Vlad asked, holding up his phone to display a picture of Adam Archer.

"Possibly," Mircea answered, eyes narrowing at the man as Vlad showed him his phone.

The panicked man took the quickest glance, distracted by what Mircea was up to. "Yeah, yeah, though could also be his cousin--you got options? Cops at least give a guy a line-up, and hell, I'm not sure what my own mom looks like right now!"

"I doubt you will get much reliable information from him," Soraya interjected as she stepped into the room, still averting her eyes. "He is scared enough that he would say anything to appease you."

"Well then," Mircea leaned close to the man. 'I suppose your usefulness has ended."

"I don' wanna die!" the thief hollered.

With a wink, Kahtenny waved Mircea back. "She's right. Let him relax a minute. All right, bud, just take it easy. Take good look at the picture. Take your time and be sure. There's no wrong answers. Is this the guy or not?"

"Settle down and look at the picture," Kahtenny repeated.

The thief cringed, eyeing Mircea fearfully a moment, then nodded nervously as he eyed the phone's picture again. "He looked kinda like him... I really can' be too sure, you know? Benny and he did all the talking while the rest of us were drinkin'... But yeah, looks like him....”

Kahtenny gave Vlad a questioning look. "So who is he?"

"His name is Adam Archer. He and a few of his have been trying rather single mindedly to get their hands on several strains of our research, including some we aren't even doing,” Vlad replied, not noticing when Mircea flinched at the last of his description.

Kahtenny noticed Mircea's reaction and filed it for further consideration. "Archer, huh, he's the one you think..." Mindful of the outsider, he did not finish the sentence.

Vlad nodded, certain Archer was in some way involved.

Turning back to the thief, Kahtennyt asked, "Where were you supposed to meet him with the stuff?”


Refusing to look at the carnage, the redhead removed the robe she wore in favor of her tank-top and pj pants and used it to begin cleaning up the silver that had pooled on the floor. The staff couldn't find that.

<Thank you, Soraya. That is a wise move, likely.> The Seraph edged out of the way of her work, keeping his injured arm up and across his chest to keep from dripping everywhere.

Min grabbed more gauze and an ace wrap. "Here, Nait. Let me wrap that."

"Just get yourself tended to and healed," the redhead answered absently as she continued wiping the mess, swallowing hard against the direction the conversation nearby had taken. She tried to repress the images of Ashley that threatened and wiped at her cheek with her shoulder.

Naitachel nodded and held out his arm for Min to wrap up, smiling as the vampire tied it off swiftly. "Thank you." Glancing over at Soraya, and sensing her sadness and extensive guilt, he sent a mental touch of condolence. <We do not know that what you saw was true.>


The thief looked from one to the other, clearly not recognizing Archer’s name. "He wanted us to hit the joint an' see what we got, that's all. He was gonna find us at the same bar later... tomorrow, not tonight. Behind it, really--to give him what we got."

"All right. What bar - where is it?" Kahtenny queried.

"Uh, the ol' biker bar, Drake's." The thief seemed to shrink into the chair. "Hell, he'll know I sold him out, if you show! He's got to be as nuts as you guys if he's after you like this!"

"What exactly were they hoping you would bring him?" Vlad asked. "And would he recognize the rest of your group?"

"I don' know! He just said to get stuff and come back! Papers, fancy old stuff, anything old he said he'd pay real good for, the older the better... an' yeah, he saw all of us though he didn' like shake our hands or nothin'. If he asks around there, he'll find us easy enough--we're regulars."


Soraya shook her head and stood, having managed to clean the area as thoroughly as possible. <I know,> she answered the seraph, trying to smile at him. But logic didn't always dictate what one felt, as much as one tried. She chucked the silver-soaked garment into a nearby trash bin, and, confident the thief was occupied enough with the vampires, set it ablaze. A controlled blaze, of course.

The fire lit up the room like a fireplace. It gave hints to the shadowy corners...

The thief looked around and cringed as if trying to sink through the chair. "Aw hell...! You're like--I mean, I thought monsters were just in movies an' stuff, but... hell!"

Radu was visible for the barest of moments before seeming to disappear once again, swallowed by the still existent shadows.

Mircea laughed. "Monsters? You've one scratched the surface, my friend. Let me show you MONSTERS!"

The thief screamed.

"UNCLE," Vlad intercepted. "We don't have to kill him."

Naitachel blanched and headed for the door as swiftly as he could. The emotions in the room were hitting a painful point, and he could not stand to be there with death looming.

Soraya cringed at the thief's scream, and kept her eyes riveted on the embers in front of her.

"No, we don't have to," Mircea agreed. "But are you sure we don't WANT to?"

"Dammit, Mircea, I was just starting to get information from him," Kahtenny protested.

"You will spare him." The edict from the darkened corner rang out.

"I don't want to!" the thief hollered, trying to get as far away from Mircea as Kahtenny would allow. As if his opinion mattered.

"Then quickly, tell us everything you are now withholding, you fool, lest I decide not to hear the ghost in the corner." Mircea spat.

"I don' know what else you wanna know!" the terrified man wailed. "I told you everythin' I could think of!"

"What time are you supposed to meet the guy tomorrow night?" asked Kahtenny.

"Around four," the thief admitted. "Said he didn't want to be out late, had stuff to do an' shit."

"Four in the afternoon?" Kahtenny asked the thief.

"Yeah." The thief made a face. "Hell, everyone'll know we screwed up, if we don' go in early for some celebratin'..."

"Hmm... that complicates things. Why would he want to make the transfer in daylight?" the Indian pondered. "This is going to take some thought."

"How will he explain going in alone?" Vlad wondered.

"Maybe we should send Kris and Kat with him. Or you," Min suggested.

Naitachel had gone back to his earlier stool to sit, and took a moment to purify his own blood off himself neatly.

"I can go," Soraya offered, knowing already what their responses would be.

"Or how about we all go?" Mircea rolled his eyes. "We can make a party of it."

The thief looked from one to the other, still scared. "Why don' /you/ lot go meet him, all sudden-like when he gets there? Leave me out of it! I don' want nothin' to do with any of this anymore!"

"Yes, well, you see the problem with that is that he's expecting you. So he sort of NEEDS to see you there, don't you think?" Mircea prompted

"That might work, Mircea. We can take the van, let him drive, and the others in the back," Kahtenny pondered. "Not everyone, of course, but maybe Min and Tommen with Kris and me. That should be enough, unless he has an army with him."

"What's in this for me? You're plannin' on killin' me anyway!" the thief cried.

"Didn't you hear the ghost?" Mircea threw his hands in the air. "YOU get to live....maybe..."

<Must he continue to refer to me as a ghost?> Radu asked.

The thief half-glared at Mircea. "Man, you're batshit crazy, man! I don' hear nothin'...!"

Kahtenny turned on the thief. "What's in it for you? Your life, for one thing, and maybe a plane ticket out of the state. IF you follow orders."

"Well, why NOT everyone. It could be FUN," Mircea continued to rant. "And YOU don't hear anything because YOU are mind-deaf fool without the good sense to avoid breaking into manor houses in the dead of night where there is SURE to be security because you ARE STUPID!"
The thief cringed again, and muttered to Kahtenny, "Hell, fine, I'll do it--just keep this freak away from me!"

Soraya's fire dwindled swiftly...

"I'm going to go look for Matty," Min announced quietly to the room, thinking perhaps it might be better to leave his uncle to his own thoughts, or at least not be in the line of fire.

The thief cringed again, and muttered to Kahtenny, "Hell, fine, I'll do it--just keep this freak away from me!" Kahtenny slapped a big hand on his shoulder, holding him in the seat. "Good. Now just sit still and don't make any more noise. Maybe he'll forget you're here."

The thief rolled his eyes at Kahtenny, but complied.

Mircea walked across the room and seemed to begin to converse quietly with...nobody.

He stood facing the darkened corner, talking to himself, though he appeared to be pausing to listen to responses.

Vlad began to usher everyone out of the room. "Put him in the room adjacent to yours tonight. His friend, too. We'll find out who they're meeting tomorrow. For tonight, let us try to have some peace."

Mircea stepped away from the corner and stormed out of the room without looking back, clearly not having received the answer he was hoping for.

"Right. Sorry I had to wake the household, but I thought you'd want to get a look at these guys. I'll just fry the next ones as they come over the wall." Kahtenny laughed as Vlad left the room.

Soraya hugged herself, having lost her defense against the chill as she exited the room, knowing the already elusive sleep she had sought was all but gone tonight. <Good night, then> she sent to the others.

Vlad drew Soraya into his arms as he made his way to the stairs.

<Best if we all rest, I suppose,> Naitachel agreed with Soraya's example. <Good night.>

"All right, hotshot," Kahtenny told the thief, "on your feet. Pick /that/ up," indicating the unconscious man "and bring it along." He watched as the thief struggled with the dead weight, then gave him a little shove. "Out. Take a right up the hall, third door on the left."

In the empty room, Kahtenny took the sleeping beauty and dumped him on the floor. Turning back to the conscious man, he snapped a pair of handcuffs on one wrist. "Sit down. On the floor." Flipping back a corner of the rug, he exposed a stout ring set into the floor and snapped the other cuff on it, then repeated the process with the other man.

Satisfied that neither man is going anywhere, Kahtenny left them to return to the side yard. Climbing the ladder against the wall, he found another on the far side, and an older model van parked nearby. Pulling up the outer ladder, he carried both back to the house and deposited them by the front porch for attention in the morning.


Min entered the boathouse silently and stood watching his youngest brother curiously.

"Did he send you?" Matty asked without looking up from the screen of his laptop.

"Nobody sent me," Min answered.

"Then he failed." Matty shrugged, slamming his laptop shut and rising to tuck it under his arm.

Min sighed. "He's been otherwise occupied tonight."

Matty shrugged again. "It doesn't matter. He's supposed to be the one on top of all of this, right? That’s in his job description. I should know. I wrote it."

"Matty," Min began only find himself addressing an open door and an empty room.

Matty entered his room again the same way he'd exited it and went to bed.


Naitachel settled on his stool and began to meditate. After all, it was the best way to heal swiftly, for him. His papers would have to wait until morning, it seemed.

Back in the house, Kahtenny checked the alarms to be sure all were set. Hmm, a glitch in Matty's room. Quickly making his way upstairs, he eased the door open and flashed a small light at the window. Cute. The kid had bypassed the alarm. Hearing a noise outside, he doused the light and watched Matty enter. "Good job, kid. You gave me another angle that needs to be covered."

"And it only took me being in the boathouse for two hours for you to catch that. Gee, Mister Security man, sir. I'm impressed," Matty drawled, climbing into bed and pulling the blankets up to his chin.

"Thing is," the Indian replied, "you missed a good meal. While you were out playing, we had visitors in the East Wing. Quite a picnic. Everybody but you got a bite."

"I know," he answered without turning back to face him. "I watched." he gestured toward his laptop. "Your encryptions need work."

Kahtenny chuckled. "Didn't think anybody would be interested in our home movies. Maybe you could give me a hand at some of the finer points."

"They're trying get at the family and steal our research. I think it's safe to assume they're interested in what we're doing." Matty replied, turning to face Kaht. "I added some layers to it, but it's not enough. We're going to have to work on it."

"Good. I'll appreciate your help," Kahtenny said, "but maybe it could wait till morning?"

"Sure," Matty answered, laying back down, sounding abruptly bored. "Morning's good."

"First thing, then. Goodnight," he told the boy.


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Post  Naitachel on Wed May 07, 2014 8:30 pm

Naitachel had flopped onto the couch on his belly with an ice pack on his head after finally, finally getting everything tax-related finalized for Brightflights as well as Dragon Industries. Heavens, why did humans--and worse, their laws have to be so frustratingly convoluted, confusing, and downright insane? The things the accountants had needed, demanded, and lost half the time... Radu's "death" had left a larger legal tangle than he'd ever dreamed of, but it was finally ironed out. On the bright side, the accountants and attorneys had assured the Seraph that it was only this year that needed untangling and all righted to his own name. <Love... next time, please clarify your will,> Nait muttered to Radu with a sigh. <By the way, Vlad and Soraya are now my heirs...>

Radu began then shook his head. <Didn't Jeffrey bring the final copy to the funeral? Sensible enough, though pray do not forget to assign a guardian for Matty should it become necessary to cease. He is, after all, a 'minor' so far as all are concerned.>

<Jeffrey did. A copy almost fifty years old...>
Nait returned wryly, puffing a sigh of relief as he let the cold of the ice try working on his headache. <I think Vlad was passed Matty's guardianship as well. Fear not for him.>

<Jeffrey has a will less than two years old,> Radu sighed. <Fool... I should have hired a new attorney decades ago. Forgive me, beloved.>

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Post  Naitachel on Wed May 07, 2014 8:32 pm

Soraya was in the kitchen, washing the lunch dishes in the sink. It was true they had staff, and it was true they had a dishwasher, but sometimes it was nice to do something for yourself the old fashioned way. She hummed quietly to herself when she sensed Brianna behind her. "Hello, Sweetling," she called happily over her shoulder.

Brianna's response actually took a few moments, and when she spoke, it was with some hesitation. "Mommy, who's Sabrielle?"

The question stopped Soraya dead in her tracks, and she blanched visibly, before slowly turning to face her daughter. "Where did you hear that name?" she asked, swallowing hard. She hadn't actively hidden her past from her children, but she'd never been keen on discussing it with them either. It drudged up too many memories she preferred to keep locked away. Besides, it had been so long that there had been no real need to discuss matters in a long time.

Brianna looked genuinely confused at Soraya's question. "You did," she answered. "Last night, remember?"

It was Soraya's turn to regard her daughter in a confused manner, a cold pit settling in her stomach. "I... did?"


<Well, it has since been clarified, filed, made public, and my own created along similar lines, filed, and set nearly in stone and gold it sounded like. I had them pass a copy of mine to Mircea at that for neutral keeping.> Mentally, Nait peered Soraya's direction, confused by the emotions she was emitting. <Is something wrong?>

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Post  Naitachel on Wed May 07, 2014 8:34 pm

"Did what?" Matty asked as he wandered in to fix Soraya's laptop.

"Yeah!" Brianna answered emphatically, nodding her head, then, noting Soraya's expression, quickly defended, "Out loud! You said it out loud. I didn't listen!" When Matty entered, Brianna looked at him, as if for someone to confirm her story. "She came into my room last night and woke me up and told me that she had a message I had to give to Sabrielle, but not to ask any questions right then..."

"I did?" Soraya asked weakly. She had no idea what to think. Sleepwalking, maybe? Brianna was usually honest, but she had no memory of these events, nor of ever using the name Sabrielle around her, but the girl sometimes overheard thoughts without meaning to...

"Why would you need to give a message to yourse..." Matty began then stopped, realizing that something was amiss. "Are you sure it was her?" he asked Brianna.

<I... think everything is fine,> Soraya answered Naitachel, trying to get her bearings. She didn't want to make a bigger deal about this than she had to.

Brianna nodded at Matty. "I was tired, and I thought she smelled a little funny but... Who else would it have been?" she asked Matthias, getting more confused by the moment. "She told me to tell Sabrielle hi and that she's still just as impossible to keep out of trouble, even with all these people looking out for her... and she says that she had to warn her that this time the trouble was from someone she's letting get too close and that she..." Brianna paused to think for a moment, then quoted, "'Shouldn't let him get too close?'"

The redhead was rather taken aback by Brianna's, "message." Soraya had always teased her that she got into trouble all the time and that she had to be watched all the time, an opinion she was sure Vlad shared. But too close? Who could she be referring to? And who had been in Brianna's room? She looked at Matty helplessly for guidance.

Matty knelt before Brianna. "Think carefully, Kiddo. Are you sure it was her? What did she look like? What was she wearing?"

Brianna shrugged at Matty, growing more frustrated at this resistance she was meeting. "I was sleeping!" she argued. "She was... Like Mommy. Who else would it have been?" she asked again. "I don't remember what she was wearing," she finished lamely.

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Post  Naitachel on Wed May 07, 2014 8:36 pm

A knock at the door, a ring of the bell, an impatient tapping of toes and fingers...

The Seraph glanced at the door with a frown of dismay. <Do we have anyone with us tonight, or are we on our own?> He didn't know if they'd any servants about. He just had come home and flopped on the couch.

Katarina entered. "Pardon, Mister Naitachel. You have a visitor."

Naitachel groaned and sat up on the couch, setting his ice pack aside. "Heavens... What do they want? Where are they?" he asked Katarina.

Katarina stepped back out a moment, then back in, followed by a slick looking man in a three piece suit carrying flowers. Jasper Kent, assistant to attorney Jeffrey Meadows, stood there, attempting a sympathetic expression with only marginal success.

"I'm so glad I found you home. I know today was a very difficult and grueling day with Jeff so lost. I just wanted to make sure you were alright."

The Seraph blinked, giving Jasper a confused look, and idly wondered what the flowers were for. "Mister Kent? My pardon, but... there is nothing wrong, is there? I do appreciate your concern, but now that we are finally finished with all the legalities, I feel it is a wondrous relief." <I thought I might escape them, but perhaps not. Must this even follow me home?>

Radu asked curiously. <What do you mean?>

<I thought the wills and taxes were straightened out, but if he is here, surely something was missed?>
Nait told his mate, concerned.

Jasper set the flowers aside and took Naitachel's hands. "I know how difficult it can be to set a loved one's final affairs to rest. Especially for someone in your position." Jasper moved in closer. "I thought you could use someone to lean on. Someone who wasn't also in mourning." He put an arm around Naitachel. "This isn't the time for you to have to support anyone else."

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Post  Naitachel on Wed May 07, 2014 8:38 pm

"It's okay, Bri," Matty assured her. "I'm sure it doesn't matter anyway. What was the message? Who was she talking about when she said 'him'?" he clarified.

"I dunno," Brianna answered, looking at Soraya. "She didn't say. Who did you mean?"

Brianna’s question seemed to bring Soraya out of her daze. "It is alright, Matty," she interceded, then knelt in front of Brianna as well. "Sweetling, thank you for remembering my message. I must have been sleep-walking. But I'll take the message myself, now that you've told me. Maybe we can just keep this between us, huh?" <No point in pressing the issue,> the redhead told Matthias. <I must have simply been dreaming.> She didn't know how else to explain things.

Matty wasn't so sure, but he wasn't about to press the issue and risk sounding stupid for his own suspicions. <Okay.> He turned his attention back to Bri and smiled. "Now you've played western union, you wanna help me fix her computer?"

Soraya smiled warmly, trying to shake off her own misgivings, and kissed Brianna. "You did well, Sweets," she assured her, before standing. It seemed they had company. <Matty, if I may ask... could you please keep this between us as well?> She didn't know why she was feeling protective of this information, but for the moment, she wanted time to simply think about what had happened, to logically reason it out for herself before she found herself forced to explain it to anyone else.

"Yeah!" Bri called happily, grabbing on to Matthias's arm happily.

At his lack of response, Soraya insisted, <Please, Matty. Between us.>

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Post  Naitachel on Wed May 07, 2014 8:39 pm

Golden eyes widened, looking first at the grip on his hands, then the man sitting beside him. Naitachel tried slowly edging away before the man could end up sitting on his tail. Couch or no, it would still hurt. "Lean... Ah... Mister Kent, the family supports me, I daresay... Er..." He edged away a bit more uneasily. "Pardon, but I am handling it fine, thank you..." Other knocks were a welcome distraction.

"Of course you are," Jasper patted Naitachel gently. "You're handling it magnificently for having so recently become a widower, but I know you need more than what you're getting here. I saw you today. I want to help." He drew Naitachel's head to his shoulder somewhat insistently. "Let me help you."


A soft, tentative knocking sounded on the front door, followed by another, each done in polite little sets of three. "Oh for heaven's sake," the woman growled, reaching out and ringing the bell.

A petite blond woman with dark black eyes opened the door and took in their visitors. "May I help you?" she asked.

Little red-haired Henrietta Smith looked up at her mother. She looked almost ghostly in her straight black dress, her little arms wrapped awkwardly around a large bouquet of white roses, her clear green eyes wet and her face forcibly composed, though signs of mourning could be found in every micro expression of her face.

"We are here to offer our condolences," Henrietta said in a soft, mechanical sort of voice.

Katarina took in the tiny little red haired girl and the severe woman who accompanied her. "Of course, Miss. Madam. If you'll step into the parlor I'll inform Mister Prince. Who may I say is calling?"

"I am Henrietta Smith," she said, reciting word for word what she'd been told to say. "I am the head of a team in Ra-... The Prince's Cybernetics department."

"Of course, Miss Smith. I know Mister Naitachel will want to see you right away. One moment," Katarina excused herself.

"You almost slipped," Mother scolded.

"I am sorry, Mother," Hattie said, staring down at the roses in her arms and swallowing the lump that had formed in her throat.


Katarina cleared her throat. "Pardon, Mister Naitachel. There is a sweet looking little girl named Henrietta accompanied by a rather nasty creature she calls mother here to see you."

Naitachel pushed at Jasper insistently, trying to get away from that unwanted position. Katarina's interruption was a desperately-sought answer. "Thank you, Mister Kent, but as she said, I have a young visitor I must see to, if you would please excuse me..." <And make yourself scarce, while I am gone too, please...?> he added silently as he struggled to get to his feet, scrambling for crutches in his eagerness to escape.

<Make yourself... what? Nait, what's going on?> Radu demanded. <Are you alright?>

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Post  Naitachel on Wed May 07, 2014 8:46 pm

"Remember your place, child," Mother reminded her. "You were his employee. Nothing mo..."

"Hattie, what a surprise," Mircea interrupted, entering the room. "Mrs. Smith," he addressed her mother.

"Mister Prince," the sharp faced woman held out her hand. "My daughter and I came to offer our condolences."

Mircea took her hand, nodding to Katarina as she entered. "Thank you, Mrs. Smith. Kat, please escort Hattie in to see Nait. I know he'd love to see her. Mrs. Smith, while you're here, perhaps you and I could talk..."


She paused at the sudden thoughts emerging from Naitachel; Soraya's thoughts were diverted. <Why should I make myself scarce and where are you going?>

<I won't say anything to anyone else,>
Matty agreed reluctantly at last.

<Thank you.> With that, she pushed thoughts of what had just happened out of her mind to focus on more important issues. It seemed Brianna had already moved on and was engrossed in whatever she was doing with Matt.

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Post  Naitachel on Wed May 07, 2014 8:52 pm

<Alright, yes, but we should likely look for new attorneys very soon,> Nait told his mate hastily. <Henrietta is here with her mother, too.>

<I thought we'd already agreed to that. Jeffrey is too old and Jasper is a fool,>
Radu concurred.

Katarina led Hattie in to see Nait and waited. "I'll escort Mister Kent out now," she announced without waiting to be asked.

<Sooner might be better?> the Seraph suggested, embarrassed. <Er, I am right here, Soraya, and my pardon. I was wishing Mister Kent's swift departure, is all.>

Jasper opened his mouth as if to protest, but was silenced by the narrowing of the petite blonde's eyes. "Right this way, sir," she said in a stern tone.

Hattie had promised herself she wouldn't lose it... but... "N-Nait!" she cried before the other man could even be escorted out. The flowers dropped from her arms and she ran to him, burying her face in his stomach and crying. "N-Nait! R-Radu...." she wept, unable to say anything else for a moment.

"Thank you, Katarina. Pardon, Mister Kent, but perhaps we might chat another time. Hattie, how good to see you!" Naitachel told the child brightly. He hadn't any need to feign enthusiasm for her. He wrapped his arms about her in a gentle hug, letting his soothing influence drop over her with the embrace. "Ah, poor child... I know... Trust me, I do know..."

Katarina's expression softened at the sight. "Poor child," she sighed as she all but dragged Jasper Kent from the room and to the door.

Soraya entered the living room just as Hattie's display began. Her heart broke at the sight of the girl, and she bitterly wished she could stop her tears, though she knew that would never be possible. Not knowing what else to do, she silently walked to a nearby table and collected the box of tissues there. <Out of the pan and into the fire?> she asked the seraph as she handed him the box so he could dispense some for the girl.

<Oh, my poor darling,> Radu said, sounding heartbroken by the scene.

Soraya glanced in the mother's direction, then, thinking she might hear Hattie cry.

"He... he can't be gone, Nait..." she cried softly, her little shoulders shaking with grief. "I... I k-keep expecting to see him, Nait... I want to be strong, but I... I miss him so much... I d-don't know what I'll do."

<I would consider this less of a fire, however. Poor dear child... And we cannot tell her, either...> he mourned. He accepted a handful from the box, passing them to Hattie. "Here, now... I am sorry, Hattie. I miss him a great deal as well, so I understand... But one can hold on to the hope that someday, even if not this world, one might meet again. Until then, it is all right to miss him, and have a good cry over it."

<We should keep her. And tell her,> Min suggested from upstairs, where he'd been silently listening up until now with great amusement to the goings on in the room.

<No, lest we put her in great danger from those people who have led us to this situation to begin with,> Soraya agreed. She would have offered to hug the girl herself, though she knew that was likely not a welcomed gesture, and instead settled for placing a caring hand on Hattie's back. "It is alright to cry, Hattie. Better to have it out than keep it in. But in the end, remember Radu with happiness. He would prefer that."

Radu paced in the east wing, devastated to have caused the poor child so much sadness when she had brought him only joy.

"That's the problem..." Hattie said, looking earnestly up at Soraya. "I was never so happy before. What will I do now without him?"

The redhead sighed and crouched to peer into Hattie's eyes. "Oh Sweetling." She genuinely had no answer to that, no way to fix that, though she wished she did. She glanced at Naitachel sadly, before offering all she could, "It may seem hard to believe now, but you will find happiness again. Sometimes things are bleak and hopeless, but there is always some sort of light at the end of the tunnel. We must simply trudge on until we get there. And if between now and then, if you need us, ever for anything... We may not be Radu, but know that his family still cares for you and would be here for you. Always."

<We cannot keep her, I agree. We are having difficulty protecting ourselves--she would immediately become a target and be more vulnerable than with her current dragon,> Nait agreed unhappily. "I fear I am but a poor substitute, Hattie, but as I have been dropped into his shoes, I can but offer myself to aid," he told the child gently. "Perhaps you might help me in finding a way to fit his legacy? His shoes have ever been rather uncomfortable for me to try, though--they pinch a bit," he added in hopes of cheering the girl up a bit. "As Soraya said, we are still a family, and we like to consider you part of us."

<Remind her to join you for tea,> Radu prompted, <and that our promise still stands. You will keep it in my stead. Please. And please tell her... I still have the ribbon. It will forever remain in my possession.>

The little girl managed a faint smile, pulling her red hair back out of her eyes and reaching down for the bouquet she'd dropped in her haste and extended it to Soraya, knowing it would be uncomfortable for Nait to take it.

Soraya smiled and accepted the bouquet. "These are lovely. Thank you," she smiled, giving Hattie's shoulder a squeeze, then standing to place them in a nearby vase that had just been vacated that morning. "I will put them where everyone can see them."

"Besides, who else might I carry on his tradition of tea with?" Naitachel continued, mentally nodding at Radu's requests. "Radu still holds the gift you gave him, and I would very much like to keep his promise with you alive. It means a lot to myself as well."

<Thank you, beloved,> Radu whispered.

Min entered the room. "Hey there," he greeted Hattie. "I heard you were down here. I thought you might want this." He held out a notebook. "Uncle used to sketch when he was thinking. It helped him clear his mind." The notebook he offered contained sketches of the designs they'd discusses and a few of her as well.

Hattie smiled politely at Min... She had only met himself and Mircea once and she didn't quite know what to think of him. "Thank you," she said, hugging it to her as though it were a teddy bear before even thinking to look inside. Then she smiled with a gentle sort of affection at Nait. "I would like that. Tea was..." she paused, inhaling deeply to keep herself from crying again. "Tea time is always my favorite part of the day..."

Min stepped back and watched. "It was always his, too. Especially after you joined the company."

<No need to thank me. I am quite glad to do so. She is such a sweet child.> "Good," Nait told Hattie, beaming brightly at her acceptance. "Do you know how hard it is to find anyone this side of the ocean that prefers tea over coffee? And you were the light of his day, then, believe me."

Hattie smiled softly at Nait, and then at Min too, her eyes misting over a bit as she thought of Radu more clearly than she'd allowed herself since news of his death. "He was always so nice to me... we were going to try velvet cake next time because I haven't had it before..." She struggled with herself again, determined not to fall apart like a... a child... with her mother just in the next room. "He was always bringing things for me to try. Then we'd go to the cybernetics lab and I'd show him what I'd done. One time..." She glanced around as though afraid she'd get caught. "One time we 'played hookie' and he took me to see a movie about a princess."

Min smiled. "He told me about that. He smiled about it for days afterward. Thinking of you always made him smile."

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Post  Naitachel on Wed May 07, 2014 8:53 pm

Matty finished fixing the computer, then turned to Brianna. "Hey, kiddo. Want to help me with something else?" he asked her, his mind still on the Sabrielle specter of earlier.

Bri grinned at Matty. "Sure!" she called.

"Great. Here's what we're going to need. An EmF, a camera, an EVP recorder..." Matty continued making the list, more to ensure he'd remember than because he expected her to.

Bri grimaced at Matty's sudden list. "What is all that stuff for?"

"Just something for fun," Matty answered Bri evasively.

Bri looked at Matty a few long moments before shrugging. "Which hat should I wear?" she asked, referring to her penchant for dressing up for the part, whether it be detective or mechanic or even doctor.

After a moment’s thought, Matty suggested, "How about I get you a new one for this. A special one, just for our activity."

"Okay!" the young vampiress beamed. Who could argue against new hats?

"So, one EMF200 Gauss Meter, one Remote Infrared Thermometer. One motion detector alarm. We can probably borrow one of Kaht's. And an EVP recorder. A notebook. And hats." He smiled at Bri. "Definitely hats."

"Are we hunting Santa Claus or something?" Brianna asked facetiously. "Are we getting Christmas hats?"

"We're not hunting Santa Claus. We're hunting something else," Matty told her.

"Elves?" Brianna persisted.

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Post  Naitachel on Wed May 07, 2014 8:56 pm

Hattie hugged the sketchbook closer to her chest, stroking the edges with the tips of her little fingers before a cloud fell over her expression. "I... I had better go for now. Mother will be wanting me to come back. She doesn't like waiting."

Naitachel chuckled quietly, also glancing towards where Mircea was still with the girl's mother warily. "Well, I can see about the cake, at least?" he offered hopefully. "You truly helped him endure the day there, Hattie. So we must continue the tradition, yes?"

Soraya looked sadly at Min. <I am usually one who tries not to judge on various parenting styles, but this so-called mother of hers...> She shook her head and looked away, trying to hide her anger.

The Seraph reached out to pat Hattie's shoulder gently, and crouched down to her eye level. "I am certain Mircea can keep her busy if need be. Only when you feel ready, Hattie," he told her softly, winking. "One always needs a co-conspirator, yes?" <A dragon of sorts,> Naitachel agreed with Soraya. <Not the friendly kind, either.>

Hattie stepped toward Nait, giving him a gentle, warm hug of the sort only little children can deliver. "I would like that very much..." she said, her little voice fraying a bit around the edges. Then she stood back, tugging her shirt straight and putting her hair back in place behind her shoulders, her face transforming before their very eyes... from a child's face into a mask of blank near expressionless control.  "I wish I could, Nait, but Mother's been talking strangely lately. I don't think it's a good idea to keep her waiting." She patted Nait's cheek then as though he were the child that needed to be comforted, projecting her own emotions on to him. "I will look forward to seeing you for tea."

"Uncle Mircea has her absolute attention right now," Min confirmed. "Kat will escort her in here to you when they're done, so that she can pay her respects then go if you want."

Hattie's expression unfroze then, though her eyes darted behind her just to make sure. "May I sit down?" she asked, gesturing to the couch.

"Of course," Min replied, astounded at the transformations from child to composed Stepford scientist and back again.

Naitachel nodded at Hattie and straightened back up, tucking his crutches under his arms again. "Well, by all means, Hattie, go ahead." He waved her to choose as she liked. "If your mother is concerned, she needn't fear any changes in your position or activities. Though I may have to send Min here in to see your results instead of I, lest I... cause unwanted results?" he admitted sheepishly.

Min laughed. "I'd love to have a peek if you'd allow it," he admitted. "Uncle was so excited about it all."

The little girl walked up to the couch, adjusting her vaguely ugly black dress around her so that it covered her knees. "I don't think mother is worried... she simply gets angry..." the child said vaguely, unwilling to air her various theories, all of which were centered in there being something wrong with herself as a child. "Oh. I would love to show you. I could introduce you to Andy."

The Seraph moved to sit on a chair nearby, though he always found such uncomfortable with tail and wings and had to sit at an angle. "From what Hattie managed to rescue of my files, I shan't be surprised with anything she accomplishes in there. So, that is settled then--Min, you get to be the liaison for results in Cybernetics." He smiled cheerfully. "I can still enjoy learning of your work over tea, Hattie, though you may require... 'dumbing it down', so to speak. I am not nearly so well versed in such as Radu."

"Maybe you could teach him," Min suggested to Hattie. "After all, someone probably should since he's heading the company. Right?"

Nait glanced at the flowers Jasper had left, and quietly shifted an ornament to put it out of sight for the moment.

"It's all much simpler than you'd think," Hattie said, a bit of sunshine peeking through the clouds of her mourning. "We managed to make it nearly as simple as human physiology. We've even got a really good theory for the brain, though we haven't tested it yet..." Hattie paused, noticing she'd been referring to Radu as though he were still here. "Well... I'll show you with Andy. Radu helped me install his new brain a few months ago. It's not as good as the one that I should be able to make using the model we created more recently, but he has basic reasoning."

Blushing, Nait chuckled, "You might try... I cannot be certain about how well you might succeed, though. Science is... hardly my strong point." <My knowledge is piecemeal, you might say, and not information I am permitted to share.>

"It's okay. I'll show you videos of the work in the lab. You won't have to touch anything and you'll still get to see it. Though... I can't take videos of some of the details because they could fall into the hands of bad people... and I don't want to make war robots."

Raising his eyebrows, Nait nodded, smiling. "That sounds certainly like progress, however!" he praised. "Amazing, Hattie! Though yes, I agree, I do not need details as I likely cannot follow such anyway. And I understand about keeping such information from misuse. By all means, do what you must in regards to safeguarding your work--from others as well as my own jinx--as you know your work best."

Soraya settled for sitting in a nearby chair and listening in. She knew nothing on this topic. There was a reason she had gone into counseling rather than joining DI. Hers wasn't a scientific mind. At least the girl seemed to have perked up.

Kat escorted Mrs. Smith in, and the woman's eyes narrowed at the sight of her daughter sitting there as if she were one of the family. "Isn't this quaint," she spat.

"Mrs. Smith, how kind of you to join us, and to allow Hattie to visit," Naitachel greeted, pushing up to grab crutches and stand in welcome despite the woman's hostility. "It has been consoling to reminisce a bit."

Hattie's eyes widened and she jolted to her feet, startled by her mother's sudden entrance. "Mother," she said, all expression draining from her face with that single word. "Mr. Prince will be taking over the company. He asked that I fill him on the developments in the cybernetics department. This Mr. Prince," she said, gesturing to Min, "will be the new liaison for the company."

Soraya stood as well, eyes narrowed. She wanted to scold the woman, to put her in her place. How dare she refuse to let the child mourn, to simply let her be a little girl? She feared, however, that any words to that effect might only make matters worse for Hattie. "Indeed, Hattie has been most informative."

"Otherwise, I thought that it is best not to alter a good thing," Naitachel added. "Hattie has already explained there is great progress underway. I would observe her results myself, however." He gestured at his crutches vaguely. "As you might guess, I would be about as useful there as a bull in a china shop."

"Of course," Mrs. Smith replied coldly. "My condolences on your loss." Turning to her daughter, she said in a voice very cold and unfeeling, "You seem so at home here, Henrietta. How sad it must be for you that we must be leaving."

"Thank you," the Seraph returned, withholding a sigh at the sheer lack of sincerity from the cold woman... and nearly utter lack of feeling, at that. "So soon, Mrs. Smith? You have just joined us..."

"Why would I be sad, mother?" she asked, her voice now so polite and professional one would hardly imagine she was the same crying child from earlier. "This is not my home. If Mr. Prince has no more questions about the department I am well prepared to take our leave." She turned, curtseying formally to Naitachel, Min, and Soraya. "My condolences for your loss. If you require anything else please let me know." She seemed almost like a stranger except that the flesh around her eyes was very slightly red from her crying earlier.

Min rose and nodded. "Thank you for stopping by, Miss Smith. Mrs. Smith."

Nodding formally back to Hattie, Nait sighed softly. "Thank you again... and you as well, Mrs. Smith. I shall see you at Dragon, then, Hattie."

The redhead stood as well, eyes narrowed at the elder Smith woman. She suspected this one had several underlying psychological issues that were being transferred onto her daughter, and the result was poor Hattie suffering for it. "Thank you for the flowers. And Hattie, remember our business deal," she said.

"We've work to get back to," Mrs. Smith replied, donning her hat and turning to take her leave. "Come, Henrietta."

"It was very kind of you to take the time to visit. Goodbye," Nait added.

Henrietta didn't reach for her mother's hand. She knew that most of the time her mother would refuse, and when she did allow it the icy grip was more like a vice than anything else.  She cast them a smile and a sad wave when her mother's back was turned and then hurried out after the woman. "Yes, Mother."

Nait winked at Hattie as she hurried after her mom.

"You've embarrassed me," she spat at the child under her breath once they'd reached the porch. "Behaving as if you owned the place. I will not allow you to do that again. Do you understand?"

"I am sorry, mother," Hattie said, internalizing the blame as any child would. Yet, she couldn't help but feel that something wasn't right... She had been invited after all, and Nait had been happy to see her. But still, her mother's anger was a hard thing to deal with.

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Post  Naitachel on Wed May 07, 2014 8:59 pm

<Heavens, what an icy dragon she is,> Nait mused of the child's mother. Naitachel sat on the chair again with a sigh, setting crutches aside. "Now for a quiet evening... one can hope."

"As if," Min said under his breath just as the doorbell rang again. Winking at Nait he announced, "It's for you," before sauntering out of the room.

"What? Again?" Naitachel squawked, looking to Soraya for help.

Soraya's mind had briefly wandered away from the room to consider things earlier discussed before the knock at the door brought her back to the here-and-now. She shrugged and rose to answer the door. "I can only promise to try to run interference. My presence usually does little to dissuade them. I am sorry."

Kat entered, an oddly amused expression on her heart-shaped face as she announced. "It seems you have gentleman callers, Mister Naitachel. Shall I send them in one at a time, or would you prefer them all at once?"

"Could I merely have them all sent home, do you think, or would that only encourage them?" Nait asked instead, making a face. "Just do not leave, Soraya. I fear Jasper was rather forward in private. I would rather the possibility of a witness help them maintain some manners?" <You seem concerned. What happened earlier?> he asked Soraya.

"Seems like the old days, does it not?" Soraya teased. "I should hope whoever these are, they are less persistent, however." She glanced at Kat, and suggested, "Perhaps we can see them all at once. They may keep each other in line."

"Or give us a chance to flee, unnoticed," Nait added quietly under his breath to Soraya.

Kat smirked, though she tried hard not to. "Of course, Miss Soraya," she agreed, exiting to lead them all in.

The redhead shook her head, not quite sure of how to even bring up the subject. <Brianna mentioned something that troubled me. About... well, my name. She must have accidentally overheard a thought or perhaps I was sleepwalking. I am sure it was nothing, it merely caught me off-guard.>

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Post  Naitachel on Wed May 07, 2014 9:03 pm

Five men entered the room, each bearing something for the grieving widower. Three brought flowers, one brought wine and chocolates, and one a GIANT teddy bear. "Misters Stephen Chalmers, Nathan Newman, Theodore Grace, Lucas Christenson, and Victor Drake." Kat announced them, gesturing to each in turn.

At the entrance of the would-be suitors, Soraya barely contained her laughter. <I am sorry,> she apologized to the seraph quickly, <but they simply look as though they are coming home from one of those terrible little carnivals, winning giant stuffed animals and such.>

"Do you mind," the first barked at the second in a loud stage whisper. "I’m sure he doesn't want all of you here right now. He's grieving, remember?"

Kat left quickly, looking as if she might laugh at any moment as well.

"How original," the last said to each of them, looking with disdain at their bunches of flowers. "And really... wine? What were you, hoping to get him drunk and take advantage of him in his distraught state?"

"Right, because a cheesy stuffed toy is SOOOOO original," the wine-bearer retorted.

Nait's eyes widened in alarm at the onslaught of visitors bearing gifts. <I think your view on it is astonishingly close to the mark. I do hope they do not think I intend to be the "prize" of such,> he agreed ruefully. <As for Brianna, have you been sleepwalking of late? Or has she?> The Seraph fought the urge to roll his eyes at his guests, and settled on being polite. "Ah... good evening?" he told them uneasily. "Pardon my not standing... I am present gentlemen, and I assure you this is unnecessary."

While the others were arguing, the third man stepped forward. "I'm so sorry to charge in on you like this, Nait, but really... this is madness. Let's go somewhere quiet, away from these leaches and let you just breathe, shall we?"

"As if he'd go anywhere with you," the first man spat. "Shall I show him out for you, Nait?"

<Not that I was aware of, but then, one is not usually aware of their somnambulism. Vlad may know,> she suggested. Aloud, she said, "Please, as you all have mentioned, Naitachel is clearly mourning. Though your thoughts are greatly appreciated, perhaps you can simply leave your gifts and allow him some time alone with his grief?" She knew the odds of it working were slim to none, but she had to try.

"I wouldn't dream of leaving him alone at a time like this," the fourth man protested. "I'm here for you, Nait. Whatever you need."

<Perhaps you should ask him. You may have been speaking of the past or mingling it with the present if you have... Or Brianna may be picking up something from you when you both sleep.> "Gentlemen, please. I assure you I am fine," he tried, hoping to stop the snapping back and forth. "As Soraya said, while this is all appreciated, I would rather have a bit of quietude, if you do not mind."

<Possible,> Soraya answered, relieved. Though her own thoughts had strayed to that possibility, it was comforting to have someone else confirm those logical explanations for her. It made it less likely that whatever had happened had really been, well, supernatural.

"But I only just got here, and I thought perhaps dinner and a movie to take your mind off things," the fifth man protested.

The Seraph could feel his headache return at all the emotions this lot was exuding. Naitachel coughed at the idea of an outing as well. <That is supposed to help when one is mourning? That sounds more like a date,> he mused to Soraya. "My pardon, gentlemen. This is all a bit... surprising. I was not expecting anything of the sort, I fear. This just... does not seem a good time?"

"ENOUGH!" Mircea bellowed as he entered the room. "You heard him ask to be left alone."

The men seemed to cringe in unison.

Soraya grimaced, glad for Mircea's intervention, but clearly hoping matters wouldn't escalate further. <A date indeed. The sharks circle,> the redhead agreed.

"We appreciate your condolences. Thank you for your kind thoughts, etcetera etcetera, now GO HOME!" Mircea growled as he herded them all out.

<Thank you, Mircea,> Nait said.

The men hurried out, none willing to risk Mircea's oft touted temper, though the last man did gesture with his hand as if he held a phone to his ear and mouth the words 'call me' on the way out.

Naitachel turned scarlet and reached up to rub his eyes. "Heavens," he groaned. "Sharks indeed." <Poor Radu...>  His mate was stuck in the other wing during all this.

"Perhaps you can make a quick escape to the East Wing?" Soraya said, "While we have no callers?" She understood Nait's desire to check in on Radu after all of that.

Mircea returned, a frown upon his face. "Vultures, the lot of them."

"I do miss Dexter at times like these," Nait sighed. "Do you think it still unwise to accompany a large bear, even in this enlightened age, when going places?" But Soraya's suggestion made him brighten, and he struggled to his feet, reaching for crutches again. "That sounds like a wonderful idea. Thank you, Soraya."

Soraya smiled. "Of course." She laughed at his mention of Dexter. "I would think in today's society one needs permits and such... not to mention one might come across animal rights activist who would clearly not understand the bear's place and, well, it would all be a grand mess. Perhaps try pepper spray instead?"

"Or a pistol," Mircea chimed in dourly.

"I could hardly shoot one of them," Nait protested to Mircea. "But pepper spray sounds like a viable solution. A shame I might harm a Taser."

"Hence the reason I would not suggest that. I might also have suggested developing lack of personal grooming habits and perhaps more ingestion of garlic, but that would not work for you, either. Nor would we want to live with you if you did," she teased.

Naitachel made a face, frowning at his crutches. "If I were to slack on my appearance, I fear for being considered mentally incompetent along with my 'disabilities'. And, as you say, it would make company of loved ones rather unkind, as well. No, pepper spray shall have to do, then. At least it might smell nice after?" he tried hopefully, with a bit of humor.

The redhead's eyebrow rose. "Yes. Pepper spray smells fabulous."

"I'll shoot them for you," Mircea offered, opening the wine that had been left.

"Thank you, Mircea, but no, we do not need more trouble. Given time, they are certain to lose interest," Nait hoped.

"Of course they will. Just as quickly as my brother did, no doubt," Mircea shook his head.

Shaking his head, Naitachel smiled wryly. "Ah, but there is a difference there. I was interested in him, as well. Speaking of which..." He nodded towards the east wing. "I think I shall go visit some memories, if you would both excuse myself?"

Mircea nodded, pouring a glass of wine, contemplating it a moment, then handing it to Soraya before walking out with the rest of the bottle.

Soraya looked down at the glass of wine, realized there was more in the kitchen, and glugged the glass down. At least that should keep her until she could ask Vlad if she had been sleepwalking. Looking at the emptied glass pitifully, she headed toward the kitchen to seek out one of their other bottles.

<Thank you both for your help,> Nait added as he clicked towards the east wing, then opened the door and ducked inside.

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