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What do we say to the god of death? Now, Please.
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If it’s even slightly possible, I ship it.
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This procrastination is real, rn.



"𝟡+𝟙𝟘" || 𝔹𝕖𝕤𝕥 𝕕𝕒𝕕 || 𝕀 𝕔𝕒𝕟 𝕨𝕣𝕚𝕥𝕖... 𝕜𝕚𝕟𝕕 𝕠𝕗

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𝓣𝐢𝐦𝐞 Around 10:00 𝒜ℳ
𝓛𝐨𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 Grand Hall, Tepes Island
𝓘𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 each other, mentions: @ineffable@QueenNugget@Tootsiepop
@Altered Tundra@Hoekage@Sempis

There was only one thing better than a strong drink while watching the entertainment of children acting like adults, and that was a free strong drink. The smooth Gin did little to remind him of its ailments as it slid down his throat leaving just the faintest of burns as mostly disinterested eyes scanned through the room, there was still no sign of the princess he had spent the majority of his night with, but the fiery locks of a familiar gorgeous comrade brought a smug smile to his lips. The connection of their eyes was brief but he saw the annoyance in them, and as his own blood stepped into his view and offered a lame attempt at conversation Octavius could only reply with quiet laughter.

The laugh was genuine, and it was applicable to everything within the last thirty minutes or so, especially the king’s speech. What a way for the king to break up his biggest threats while masking it as a handout for the less fortunate of their world.

what a joke.

A small scowl replaced the smile as his vision focused on the shorter male standing across from him. A rare sight it was to see his only full sibling in the flesh and blood and even rarer at a “little” vampire soirée. Well, at least Dominic was smart enough to heed the warnings of his older brother. Octavius’ hand on Dom’s shoulder wasn’t nearly as crushing as it appeared and carried the affections he was allowed to share between his family,” I’m glad you still listen to me some of the time Dom. Have you been having a good time so far? No trouble?” The latter one of the two questions was pointed and quieter than the first, an older and wiser light flashing in the youthful appearance of the well-known troublemaker, ” Can we get my cute little brother here a drink?”

“I’ve been getting by,” he remarked taking the drink offered to him. It was clear, which gave him a good idea of what it was. Taking a sip from the glass, his guess was confirmed to be true as his lips had quivered from the bitterness of the drink. “Does this place have anything less heavy than gin?” Dominic made it a mission to keep his displeasure with hard liquor to an absolute minimum so he didn’t seem like a complete burden. “I’ve been keeping to myself mostly. I don’t think anyone here cares for me all that much, though. I’m sure the word about what I do has reached some here.” He was only guessing. He had no way of knowing if the vampires here actually knew what he did.

Octavius chuckled at the displeasure his brother seemed to be fighting to not appear as a brat, but what were little brothers for? “Gin is good for a man's body, Dom, it’ll make you strong and desirable. For instance look over your left shoulder, you remember Andrie? Well, she’s been looking for me all night and this morning, probably to suck my soul out… or blow my brains out, who knows?” The second part was added as an afterthought but it was all quickly dispelled with the order of drink more suitable for a soft boy like Dom. With their drinks figured out and small talk complete, it was time for business, and with his younger brother adamant about staying out of the family loop there was a lot of it to go over. “Dad stepped down from the Head position a couple of years back and gave it to Stef.” That bit went down with a large swing of his liquor, no amount of time would ever make that news bearable for Tavi, but he pressed on anyway.

“You know Stef is less than delighted to have any Zeno’s straying from the family business. While this little stunt our lovely king is pulling may seem like a handout, it’s 100% a power move. Our dear older brother has been stepping on Dmitri’s toes for too long, and now the King is doing us the favor of reminding that insufferable asshole his own little brothers are thorns in his sides. You happen to be the bigger thorn of us two.” There was a pause given for Dom to digest what he was saying and hopefully start piecing together what this whole shebang meant for them,” I’ll lose my place in the Mob as a formality, but none of those men would turn against me—if they did they’d die anyway. But you, you’re free for the taking Dom, and not the kind you’d enjoy. I know you hate our world, but you have to become involved now to protect yourself, I can’t do that for you anymore.”

He said nothing. Dom didn’t know what to say that wouldn’t make him sound like a cliche. The reason he broke away from the family was due to his intense disagreements with how his family -- hell his kind -- handled their treatment and opinion of the humans. He understood why they felt that way, but he was far from accepting of it. Tavi had done everything he could to protect him. Being the oldest had a few perks, but now… Everything, as they say, was fucked.

“I’ll just leave New York then. I’ve lived under the radar once before. I can do it again.” Dom was all talk right now. He was reacting like he normally did to news he didn’t quite like and maybe it was a bit of his fear setting in. “Not like anyone in the family will give a damn about the human sympathizer of the Zeno family.”

The reactionary snort was humorless and carried the bite of the coldness that had seeped into his bones over the past two centuries. A little devil on his shoulder urged Octavius to just let things be what they would be and accept the fact that if Dom ended up getting himself killed then that was just Natural Selection doing its handiwork. The insistence wasn’t enough this time around, the loyalty he had to his little brother wouldn’t be bested by the whispers of his demons.

A strong hand clasped Dom’s shoulder in a sort of reassurance that paired with a less than reassuring chuckle, “Leaving isn’t going to save you this time, you’ll need to put yourself into a position of security. You need to make powerful allies, right now there’s a room full of people that don’t know you, but definitely know about the Zeno name. Andromeda can probably be talked into helping you out, she’s more useful than most people give her credit for.”

He tried to be positive about it or, at the very least, be positive for his brother’s sake, but right now Dominic wasn’t exactly feeling it. For that to happen, the immediate future would have to be abysmal for Dominic to not see the light at the end of the tunnel. “Wonderful,” Dominic said as hopeful as he could make it sound.

At the back of his mind, he knew it wasn’t likely that they would turn him away at the mention of his name. Dominic Zeno carried some weight, even if he was just the youngest son. He wasn’t no Octavius Zeno or even the other Zeno’s out there, but hell be damned if Dom actually wanted to continue to lay low as he had been doing for years -- decades, even.

Yeah, he hated this new normal but he knew Tavi was right. He hated it and wished it wasn’t the case, but he knew he had to make at least some effort. “Fine, you win this round.” Dom scanned the room and all of the potential allies seemed poor. “Who do I even begin with? Should I just go for the top of the food chain and try and sway the Tepes Princess to be a friend?” Dom wasn’t trying to convey himself as a smartass. He was wholeheartedly serious.

” I wouldn’t say that’s the best strategy right out of the gates.” The pointed voice came from behind Dom as the short redhead pushed her way through a group of boisterous vampires. She frowned as one stepped on her shoe, wrinkling her nose. ” Not that you’d have much success with that plan anyway.”

Her eyes traced Tavi’s figure coldly, her mouth set in a thin, displeased line. ”I’m not going to even start laying into you about last night.” No matter how many times she tried to scold Octavius, he rarely paid any attention. Some days Andrie wondered why she even bothered trying to get his attention anymore. ” I hope I’m not interrupting anything, though. I just thought I heard my name being thrown around over here. As for you,” She turned to Dominic. ” Going after the biggest fish in the sea isn’t the best idea, but not having anyone behind you is an even worse plan.” Andrie had only ever heard of Dom, never actually seen him. It seemed everything about him didn’t take after his brothers, especially his personality.

Probably a good thing, if she were being honest.

”Besides, you want people useful to building your house. While social traction is nice, skill is even better.”

Octavius’ lips quirked into an amused smirk upon hearing Andrie’s voice and feeling the ice in her glare. The mentions of last night were met with a questioning raise of his eyebrow. Apparently, the missed text messages were more serious than he thought, not that it would have changed anything they were both busy with other people. Despite her obvious displeasure with him, Tavi couldn’t help but pull the beauty towards him and plant an exaggerated kiss on her cheek, “I’m here now Andrie, so forget about last night, yeah? You look stunning.” the last part was a quiet whisper in her ear before he back off allowing her space and set his eyes on the group he had excused himself from moments ago. Andrie glowered at him halfheartedly, wiping her cheek.

“I wouldn’t go for the crown family. The Tepes are traditionalists, they're in it to preserve their family name. Niklaus and Kasania don’t care about the name nor the traditions but Niko is too young to protect you and Kasania mostly tolerates Milo and me because of Niko. Well, I’m sure there’s love in there somewhere but she wouldn’t bat an eye in throwing us under the bus if it meant saving her brother.”

Octavius took a moment to let his eyes travel to the newcomers to the table looking them over from the distance. The conversation with them would have given him more of an opportunity to form a more complete impression, but the introduction was enough for now.

” As for the other girls that approached the table... Avyanna’s my pick, she’s young but confident, and she has the same look in her eyes as I did when I first migrated to America. There’s potential in her, she could be groomed to be extremely useful. The other one, she’s the Artois’, a hidden gem in the art house. Obviously pretty, but she can’t keep her eyes off The Dog, and Milo will more than likely want to play with her, so she may very well soon be off limits...” The volume of his voice drifted with his eyes moving back to Dom, “What will you do little brother?”

That was the million dollar question.

What was Dominic going to do? He wanted to continue to just not doing anything but what he had been for the past fifty years or so. He didn’t want to get involved in the politics of people he no longer cared for nor had an interest in knowing. The only people in the vampire world (or at least those involve with vampires) he seemed to give two damns about was Tavi and his silent partner who helped his clinic stay afloat and stay under the radar. Yeah, staying under the radar was exactly what he couldn’t do anymore and honestly? Dom hated it. He hated it all and he should have just stayed in New York, consequences be damned.

“I have no earthly idea.” He could only laugh at just how the choices were slim at best of them being successful. “I figured going for our family’s rivals would be my best bet since I’m not exactly close with the Zenos,” he looked at Tavi, “well except for you.” Then came another laugh, followed by a deep sigh. “What about the other Artois? I’m not a complete moron. I know that they at least aren’t like the Tepes family. What are the odds of me striking a partnership or whatever that needs to happen with one of them?” He asked Tavi and the redhead.

Andrie broke her gaze from the pair of princes, letting her eyes scan the crowd for faces she recognized. While business often didn’t cross lines with members of other houses, she was smart enough to do her research. There was one face, in particular, she was trying to pick out.

” If I may...” Andrie chewed on her lip pensively, turning back to Dom and Tavi. ” Despite being a pureblood, I think Irene might be a viable ally for you. I may not know much about her- or you,” She added, pausing to give Dom a quick once over. ” But from what I’ve gathered of the two of you, you might share some of the same ideals. Plus, she didn’t seem drawn to the asshole type when she was talking to your brother here.” She punched out her words, reluctant to admit she hadn’t let Tavi too far out of her sight, despite her annoyance with him. “I doubt she’d like the methods Tavi and his friends use to get what they want. And, people don’t talk much about you, but I’ve heard you aren’t too fond of the way we do things around here either. You might be able to see eye to eye on more than most other Zenos here.”

She shrugged, dismissive of her own opinion. If there was anything she knew from her years serving the Zenos, few of them liked to be told what to, and she wasn’t too keen on crossing any of them, regardless of their position. Better safe than sorry, for the sake of self-preservation. ” But most of that I’ve pieced together from watching her and bits and pieces of what I’ve heard. So take my advice with a grain of salt, if you will.”

“Of course you have my support, but it goes as far as advising. I’ve played this game already and I could care less about changing anything within our world so I won’t be much of a participant. I think Andrie has a good idea, Irene might not be the next in line but she has powerful family members you could work your way getting close to.” There was another Artois in the estate that could offer Dom a great deal of help, but Tavi wasn’t inclined to start throwing her name around in the case others were listening to their conversations. Following a strong pat, Octavius motioned to the path leading to the youngest Artois, “No better time than now, yeah? Just politely pull her away from the group, strike while the iron is hot, and all that.”. The serious tone of their conversation had lifted with the small chuckle and the order of his second drink, “Take Andrie with you if you need back up.”

The jolt of force on his back only reinforced the idea that Dom started to build in his head that his brother was starting to get impatient with him. Or at least wanting Dominic to make an attempt to get something going before this first party was over. Whichever it was, he rolled his eyes but surrendered to the path that he was now on. There was truly no excuse to use now. He had asked his questions and were given detailed answers. The two potential allies he saw was the black beauty who he couldn’t help but notice was incredibly attractive and the equally alluring, Irene.

He took in a deep, though short, breath. “Well, then let’s see if I still got the charming pleasantries that father drilled into me all those years ago.” Playful as it was, Dom winked his brother’s way as he nervously approached Irene Artois with Andrie there beside him for support ...whatever that meant.


Matt @Legion020 Yessi @Hoekage Collab

The stars were looking clear and bright out in the middle of nowhere, if Astraia looked hard enough she could imagine herself flying amongst them. A vivid thought that made her believe her body felt so light because she was actually floating, but no matter how insistently she tried to go higher her position with her ass planted on the soft grass remained unchanged. No amount of high or drunkenness would ever take away the pouty disposition of the spoiled princess, in fact it might have magnified it. Moving her eyes from the stupid stars to look around at the stupid people that had gathered she noticed some new stupid faces had joined, and realized she was no longer holding the joint.

When did that happen?

There wasn’t much time to ponder when Sami had taken the joint from her hands because the swirling of her favorite liquor caught her wandering eyes. With unexpected grace, she practically glided to the boy who had previously been the victim of her icy treatment and easily plucked the bottle of tequila from his hands offering a lilted “Thank you~”, and lifted it to her lips, sort of dancing away from the campfire as Sami begun whatever story he had to offer the group of wayward teens.

If it was anyone else, Matt would’ve clutched the bottle hard. No-one takes his liquor unless he offered it. Unless it was Yessi and this time, it was Yessi. As a habit he let loose. His drunk, delayed brain only realized a moment later that he was supposed to be angry with her. Except he wasn’t. At least not right now. All his drunken mind could think about was the extremely hot girl moving in front of him. The way her hips shook and her entire body followed, it entranced him. So much even that in that moment he lit a cigarette not because he wanted to but because he wanted to look just a little less conspicuous as he watched the private show.

But he also wanted booze. Despite being very, very drunk already he felt like he had to go deeper. So he went towards Yessi and with the same grace as she did, he went through her fingers and took the bottle from her. He gave her a smile, a genuine one, before throwing back the bottle. Then he fell backwards.

Through some miracle he was lucid enough to straighten the bottle as he went horizontal. Not a drop was spilled. There was no pain, then again he was far too drunk to even feel it. The grass below him felt very soft though. “That wasn’t supposed to happen.” He then looked up, towards Yessi standing over him. “You’re beautiful, you know that?”

The bottle leaving her hands was the last thing she expected, so a quick complaint left her lips as she turned around quickly with furrowed eyebrows. The annoyance turned into amusement as she watched Matt fall backwards into the grass, being a man’s man and saving the Tequila over his own head.

“You didn’t have to tell me that Matty.” Yessi replied in a light tone she hadn’t directed at him in a while. Even through the high and the increasing buzz from the few stolen sips she could forget the strain she put on their friendship. The compliment he gave her made her laugh and she lowered into the grass laying down beside him and looking up at the stars, “I think I’ve heard it a few times, but I wouldn’t mind hearing it a few more.” She teased easily her voice carrying off as a gentle silence fell between them.

When looking at the stars didn’t interest her anymore she turned on her side, propping her head on her palm and just looked at Matt.

You should apologize. That’s the right thing to do, Ass.

It wasn’t so much the apology that she was hesitating on, but he was drunk, really drunk. Shouldn’t she just wait until tomorrow when he was sober to have this conversation? After she did apologize what would happen next?
Just do it. If you don’t now, you never will.

“Matt-“ Astraia sighed softly giving in to her smarter inner voice, “I’m sorry… for everything. For being petty. For being a bad friend and not talking things out with you. For not having your back. For all of that… I’ll make it up to you in whatever way I can, but I just want to be back to the good ol’ times.”

Matt had chuckled when she said she wouldn’t mind hearing it a few more times. Resting the Tequila on his chest, he looked up at the stars. He was the furthest thing from an astronomer so he really couldn’t see the constellations. Instead his mind was mostly just focused on how nice this all felt. All trouble was gone and for just a night he was absolved of all sins. He didn’t really expect anything better to happen. The night had already given him far more than any other in the last month or so.

But it was a night that kept on giving. He was too drunk and far too spaced to notice Yessi had turned on her side, facing him. But when she apologized, he grabbed the bottle and turned towards her. A warmth washed over him as his smile widened. He wanted to just lay there forever without either of them moving but he knew he couldn’t. There was one thing that even in his drunk mind that had to happen.

The talk.

He gently put the Tequila against her lips and let her own fingers take back control of the bottle as he said: “So what needs to be talked out?” It was a horrible question that could ruin the mood but if he didn’t ask it, whatever feelings remained in the undercurrent would come up further along. They were friends and they needed to resolve this. Besides, Matt knew well enough that he wasn’t innocent.

The gulp of tequila was necessary to keep her lips from doing other things, and she was grateful for his kind gesture. Though it was time for business and honestly finding out the truth worried her, but they’d never mend anything if she allowed her worry to control. A deep breath was all she needed to gather the courage and the words she needed.

“The party, what the hell happened? Initially I thought there was no way you would be involved, like you’re an asshole, but not that kind of asshole. Then it just kept looking worse, and worse and you were so vague about everything. It was conflicting because I know you but you were acting so… shady. So just tell me what’s up, and be real with me.”

He was a liar. It came natural. Too natural. When she asked, his first impulse was to lie. To weave a story she would believe. That his friend stole the drugs from him. He would show remorse and he had no doubt that in her altered mind she would’ve believed him. But now he didn’t want to lie. She came to him and apologized. That was no small feat. If she could muster the courage to do that, he could muster the courage to be honest.

He took the Tequila bottle back and took a big gulp, then laid back on his back again. He didn’t really want to see the reaction on her face. “Not that kind of asshole indeed.” He started. “My friend said…” His words got caught up in his throat. As if his own body didn’t want him to tell the truth. He powered on. “He wanted to experiment. I was stupid for believing him. So I got the stuff and sold it to him.” Thinking back on it, he wanted to hit himself in the face. Over and over again. Beat some sense into him. That wouldn’t make things right though. “It’s been killing me ever since. If I was just smarter or a bit more suspicious it never should’ve happened. But it did and there isn’t a day I hate myself over it.” He was fully prepared for Yessi to fly into a rage. Hell, she would be justified. If she hit him, he wouldn’t even fight back.

Yessi watched him intently as he returned to his back there was a flash of something in his eyes that made her heart drop. The sounds of voice, accented with that slight quiver of the feelings and thoughts he carried on to this day were hard to hear. Sure, there was an anger at his stupidity, but he was doing a favor for a friend, for someone he trusted. Matt couldn’t be blamed for being taken advantage of, and the honesty in his tone was enough to stamp out the easily lit Spanish fire.

“Why didn’t you tell me back then, Matt?” Her voice was soft, by his body language she could tell he was surprised, “Look at me Matthew. Yeah, you have some part in this fucked up issue, obviously, but it’s not like you knew what he was going to do with any of the shit you sold him. You didn’t conspire to hurt Naomi, I can’t be mad at you for being a bro.”

He turned his head when she told him so. Matt didn’t know what felt more freeing. Telling her about what he did or her accepting him still. Nevertheless, a massive weight lifted from his heart. A weight he was so used to that he thought it was a part of him. He turned on his side again, almost happy. He didn’t say anything. He just looked her in the eyes. For years he thought they were brown but he was wrong. They were jade.

“You’re beautiful.” He said, pushing some of her hair around her ear and letting his hand rest on her cheek. Before he inched closer to her lips.

The road trip thus far had not gone how any of them expected. Their group had doubled in size, old friends were reunited, strained friendships reached their snapping point, and seemingly the night nurtured the suggestions of romance. For Yessi, this was the last place she expected to end up, given the events of the day. Though there was just something about laying under a waning moon, with the crackle of a fire and the echoes of excitement in the background that just felt… right.

“You’re still an asshole” The whisper was paired with a soft giggle as she closed the distance between their lips and let herself just get lost in the moment... Just this once with him.

Eagerly lost in a night like this.

The initial reluctance to face off against The Devil and The Clown of King’s Academy in a wholesome game of beer pong was quickly swept away. No longer was she Yessi, the number one thot patrol officer who failed miserably on avoiding the infamous asshole standing across from her. No, now she was Astraia the fearless warrior who was a master of wielding the great ball of pong and conqueror of the pride of the men who underestimated her. So when the fifth ball was thrown from her delicate hand with an expertly performed flick-of-the-wrist and bounced once against the table to land in the amber liquid of the red solo cup, the crowd that had grown around the intense match roared with excitement.

A high five was given to her teammates and number one supporters and she threw a pair of a wink and an exaggerated blown kiss to her opposition, “Well I hope you weren’t expecting to actually win bebé.”

The use of the old pet name Yessi had given him made Santiago bristle. It had been years since he’d last heard it-- back in the days in which things were nothing but absolute bliss between them. He’d always pretend to hate when she called him that, groaning or making faces every time he heard the word fall from her lips. But in reality, it made his pathetic player heart melt.

Now? It stung like adding salt and lemon juice on a fresh wound.

“Let’s just focus on playing the fucking game, okay?” he growled through gritted teeth, scowling at his ex-girlfriend.

Turning his attention back to the pong table stretching out in front of him, the boy took a deep breath, locked his bitter gray eyes on the easiest target, and flicked his wrist. The ball effortlessly bounced off the table- but for the slightest second, it looked like it would miss the cup. Thankfully, after an agonizing second, the white ball found itself making a satisfying splash inside the red Solo cup.

“You’re up, Big Boy,” Diablo told Max, jerking his head in the direction of the beer pong table.

Max who had been focused on a group of girls standing just behind the sliding glass doors. This group containing his ex Kellie-Anne laughing at something that the others had said. With a weird sinking feeling in his stomach, he whipped his head towards the table where his friends stood waiting. He shook his weird feelings off and plastered his signature wide smile on his face before taking the ball from Yessi's hand. Before taking the shot he put on his Roman helmet and let out a chuckle at how ridiculous he must look.

"Kobe!" The blond boy cried out before throwing the small ping-pong ball so it flew in an overhead arch towards Aiden and Santi's last cup. He could almost feel his whole team holding their breath as they watch it soar through the air. Finally, it landed in the red cup with a small splash.

There was a moment of silence before he realized he had just won. But as soon as it sunk in a loud roar left Max as he raised his arms over his head. He turned to his team high-fiving Sawyer and lifting Yessi up and spinning her around, not realizing the way Santiago tensed up as if poised to tackle him.

The scoring throw had Yessi equally cheering with the crowd, an enthusiastic fist in the air paired with her ‘Fuck Yeah!’ was echoed throughout the crowd. Only a moment was spared for her to childishly stick her tongue out at the grumpy looking Devil before she was swept up into the strong arms of her best friend and twirled around. The concentration of defeating her opponents washed away and the giddiness of her crossfade kicked in as an honest sound of sparkling giggles erupted from her mouth. “Max! Max! Put me down!”

Sawyer watched with equally bated breath as the rest of the crowd watching as Max sunk the last pong ball into the red solo cup. The boy let out a whooping howl and slapped his teammate’s hand, smirking as he lifted Yess up into the air into a spin.

”Fine ass job, man!” he congratulated Max, a smug smile on his face as he turned to face their opponents, glad his mask hid his expression. ”Better luck next time, boys.”

With both feet firmly planted on the ground Yessi’s attention was pulled away from her fellow champions and demanded by the crowd of adoring fans. Born a star she easily satisfied their desires, partaking in their conversations and jokes, but only half-heartedly, there was an obvious tension between two pairs of previous beer pong opponents still standing around the table. Those deceivingly drunk looking green eyes of hers flickered frequently between the faces and observing their nonverbal communication. Something was bound to happen.

Aiden, on the other hand, dramatically ragdolled to the ground with his limbs splaying awkwardly as he pretended to sob. “My grandma had one wish before she died! And it was to beat those no-good doers in beer pong. Alas, mawmaw, I have let thee down. The only way to fulfill my filial duty is by committing the sudoku - er, sepurku. Well, the word that means Japanese honor suicide!”

With a ‘hlegh,’ Aiden jabbed himself in the gut with a stick as if he were being stabbed by a sword and convulsed on the ground in a mockery of a death scene. It was only when he received his due amount of laughs that he easily bounced onto his feet and prowled the beer pong table for leftover alcohol.

”Bruv!” Sawyer nearly jumped. Everyone around was cheering and being loud as hell but not as loud as Gavin’s voice rang in Sawyer’s ears. He whipped around to see his brother pushing his way through the crowd, swinging an arm around his shoulder to lean in close and talk into his ear. ”You good, man? I text you when I got here.”

Sawyer rolled his eyes and nudged his brother off of him. ”I’m good, Gav. As you can see, just having a bit of fun.” Sawyer pulled the helmet off his head to look his brother in the eyes to further prove his innocence. ”Can my Keeper cut me some slack? I don’t need to be watched like a child. I’m good.”

Gavin threw his hands up, being sure not to let his cup of punch spill. ”Alright, alright. I’ll let you get back to it, then. Was just checkin’ on ya. I’m gonna scoot before Astraia sees me and has a massive fit about me lying about not coming tonight.” Sawyer nodded, his lips pressed into a thin line. He was fine. He wasn’t a toddler. He could handle himself. Sawyer turned back to the crowd of people cheering and rejoined the excitement of the win while Gavin made his way off into the sea of people to find someone else to pester.

Aiden had stalked around the beer pong table, only finding a few full solo cups which he promptly chugged, and his route ended right next to Sawyer. Aiden didn't care much about whether he won or lost the competition - either way, he was coming out drunk and doesn’t that count as a win? Aiden wasn’t much of a sore loser, but ever since the boy band broke up, Aiden found it especially important to crawl under Sawyer’s skin.

“Sure you could handle that, Twelve Steps?” Aiden jokes, wrapping his arm around Sawyer’s neck - it was more of a chokehold than an embrace, and an underlying hardness to his tone broke his carefree facade.

Sawyer grunted as Aidan wrapped his arm around his neck, his lip curling up slightly over his grit teeth. He didn’t particularly care for the name he’d used to address him. ” You know, I really don’t see this working out. See, I like girls, and uhh... I’m usually the one who does the choking, man. Plus, you already had fun with one Lockwood.”

Sawyer paused a moment, letting out a dark chuckle, ” Which you have yet to pay for, I might add,” with all the force that Sawyer could muster, he cocked his arm forward and slammed his elbow directly into the boy’s gut, hoping to at least stun him long enough to get himself out of Aidan’s grip. He wasn’t too worried about starting a fight with the overgrown prick who currently had him pretty much dead to rights. I mean, come on... What’s a party without a little violence?

Aiden fell to the ground with a grunt, a bit stunned but mostly impressed. He began to howl with laughter at the thought of little old Sawyer Lockwood gut-punching him. His hand slapped his knee repeatedly as if he were a hillbilly that heard a good joke and, once he quieted his laughter down to intermittent chuckles, propped himself up on his elbows.

"Little Sawyer Lockwood! Whatever would your mom thi– oh." Aiden began to crack up again at his accidental faux pas. He hadn't meant to make a low blow, sometimes he says things thoughtlessly like that, but he had a hard time caring about it.

Sawyer was his friend and he turned his back on him – friends don't do that. Aiden bashfully looked at his foot which he twisted side-to-side, "Is violence the thirteenth step? Sobriety sure is making you a funner person."

Sawyer could have easily brushed off the “Little” comment, but the mention of his mother left him with the feeling as if he’d just been punched in the gut. All emotion left his face as he stared at the howling hyena on the floor. Sawyer’s lip curled up as his face twisted in pure rage, his hands balled up so tightly his knuckles were starting to turn white. He could see Aiden’s mouth moving but there was no sound coming from it, at least Sawyer hadn’t heard what the boy had said.

Sensing the tension rising between the two boys stepped in closer to try to defuse the situation but it seemed that he had arrived too late. All he could do was to put a reassuring hand on Sawyers' shoulder to show compassion but also hold the smaller boy back.

Sawyer’s entire body was tensed as he took a step towards Aiden, his voice low and ‘calm’. ”Don’t ever speak of my mom again. That is your last.. and final warning,” animosity seeming to drip from his every word as he spoke. Sawyer stood there another moment as he towered over the boy on the floor where he lay before turning away to push his way through the crowd of people. It took everything in him to walk away. Truly. He’d celebrate the small victory at another time. For now, the boy needed something stronger than beer to relax the tension within him.

“Was that really necessary?” Max asked as he pulled Aiden up on to his feet.

Aiden snorted, “Is breathing necessary?”

There it was, a little something to spice up the night but Yessi wasn’t interested in her friends being the origin of that spice. So seeing Sawyer stomping away had a quick fury building in her stomach as she abruptly excused herself from the crowd and pushed her way towards the idiot getting to his feet.

But before she could take more than a few steps, Santiago grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her closer to him. "You are coming with me, Astraia. It's about time you and I have a fucking talk," the boy growled in her ear, not bothering to wait for an answer before dragging her away from the crowd.

The internal groaning of her annoyed soul quieted the snark that danced at her tongue and she matched the quick gait Grump of the Year used to drag her away from the noise of the party. “Not that I mind the rough treatment… especially from you but I would have followed if you asked nicely. Also, can you wash your face off before we have this talk, your little Juggalo getup is giving me anxiety.”

Max reacted instinctively when he saw Santiago approach Yessi and drag her away. He quickly followed them and grabbed the Latin boy by the arm and pulled him close to him. "Are you sure you want to do this now? April might be here." He whispered almost like a hiss nodding his head toward the glass doors through which you could see two-thirds of The Unholy Trinity dancing and having fun.

Furious, Santiago whipped his head around, fist balled up and ready to be smashed into the face of whoever had dared to grab him. However, his slight hesitation gave Max the opportunity to count his blessings instead of giving him a free ticket straight to the ER. It didn't, however, absolve his friend from finally hearing all the pent-up words he'd been holding back for the past week.

"So now you're suddenly worried about me again? After blowing me off all damn week to hang out with Yessi here? Real fucking friend you are…" the young man spat, with nothing but venom in his words. "I know for a fact Lils isn't here: I told her to stay home to avoid anything happening to the b- to her. So do me a favor, won't you? Fuck off and mind your own damn business, Max."

Taken aback with the animosity in his friend's voice, Max took a step away from Santiago, “Oh, I blew you off all week?! Check your phone, douchebag! If you bothered to answer when I called you, you would know what the fuck was up!” He shoved his finger in his face feeling anger rise in his voice. “Grow the fuck up, Santiago! Take responsibility for your own damn actions for once in your goddamn life. I’m fucking done!” he growled before turning on his heel and storming off leaving the pair standing there stunned by his unusual display of anger.

“Take a deep breath, Santi.” Yessi finally piped up after a moment of her stunned silence. Sure, neither this time nor this place was an ideal setting for their talk, but nothing really worked in the world of ideals so they’d make the best of their circumstances. “C’mon let’s go talk somewhere with fewer interruptions.” Yessi didn’t wait for his answer before she grabbed his hand and led him back inside the crowded house and towards a host of vacant bedrooms.

@Dirty Pretty Lies @Spooner okaaay after the long wait.

Time: 14:00 ⇒ 14:15 EST
Location: Café comfort
Interacting with Khione Crusch@Hoekage & Alexander Tepes@Legion02
Alexander arrived at the strangely spacious looking café. The place seemed modern, yet just a touch out of place. Like it came from another time and tried to settle here without sacrificing too much of its old identity. Though Alexander couldn’t really place where it came from. At the counter he ordered his tea with a delicious looking apple pie slice. As the people behind the counter prepared his order he looked around. His eyes counting the few people present. He smiled. The stage was set. With a polite yet cold nod as he received his order, he took a seat in the back. Though with his back against the wall, so he had a clear view of everyone who would come in and approach the counter.

The morning seemed to be just the beginning of a long day of nuisances for Khione. Phone calls from the order, summons from the NYPD’s Supernatural Unit (that she chose to ignore), and then to top it off another summon, but from someone more powerful than she (this one she couldn’t ignore). The young huntress entered the cafe, in a casual yet flattering outfit that matched the trends amongst the few people coming and going as she walked to the counter. The exchange with the girl at the register was pleasant and quick, and Khione found herself setting the tawny colored americano on the table and filled the vacant seat slowly.

Face to face with the man who shouldn’t know who she was, wasn’t as unnerving as she thought it would be. There were probably a lot of people, and vampires, out there that wanted to kill her. At least this one was showing his face.

“Alexander.” Was the simple, curt greeting she offered as she took a sip from her second iced coffee of the day.

Alexander looked up to face Khione. “Miss Crusch, I presume.” He returned with a warm, almost fatherly smile. The moment he saw her, he began to compare her with the description he was given. “I must say, our mutual friend has done you no justice with his description.” He said as he vividly remembered the blood choked account of Khione: ‘Black hair, darker skin tone. Bit of Latino look. Cold gal. Distant.’ He outstretched his hand, an invitation to take and shake it. A sign of good faith. “I’m so happy you could make it. Apologies for the last-minute invitation. I was held up by a certain royal before I could dispatch the letter.”

“Most people don’t.” Khione replied her tone trailing off as calculating dark eyes trailed over the stranger across from her. Alexander was handsome, but she never came across a vampire who wasn’t. The smile on his face was neutral but there was something in his eyes, maybe it was just the age, but she knew better than that. Despite that she met his invitation, yet again, and placed her hand in his giving him a firm handshake,” I have a flexible schedule, as you can imagine. Though today happens to be a busy day for me, so if you wouldn’t mind I’d like to get to business.”

Alexander was somewhat surprised by the firm handshake. Then again, she was a Daughter of Aeternum. That alone made her stand up from the common rabble that humans usually were. “Ah, very well.” He said as he lifted his cup of tea. “Let us proceed to business then. Though perhaps we should first get some privacy.” He said, then he took a sip of his tea as he lifted his left arm and snapped his fingers once.

All around them several chairs began scrapping over the ground. Everyone sitting in the back of the café, a total of fifteen people, stood up at the snap and moved towards the exit. Much to the surprise of the girl at the counter. When Alexander lowered his cup again, they were nearly all alone in the back. “Much better. Now, I do understand you are pressed for time but I insist that I do introduce myself. Even though I am fairly certain your people have extensive archives. My name is Alexander of House Tepes. Elder and trusted advisor of King Dimitri Tepes. Now, with that out of the way, let us proceed to business.” He took out his phone and quickly tapped a few keys. It took a moment, though he continued talking: “Under normal circumstances I would only invite you as a courtesy call. As my king insist on amicable relationships. Sadly, as of this morning, terms have changed.” He passed her the phone. On it was a picture of two young people. A man and a woman. They looked like they were in a nighttime bar. Together. Happy. “You will find them in Central Park. Dead. Murdered, I might add. They were… associates of mine. I find the circumstances of their death quite troubling.”

The uniform movement of the people around them was slightly surprising and she turned her head to see the emptiness of the lobby. The bewilderment of the nice girl at the register made Khione crack a small smile as she turned back to face the man. “Cool party trick.” The statement was promptly ignored, at her request he sped things along, but, not without an introduction.

Alexander of House Tepes, Elder of Dmitri who was already an annoyance with hundred of years under his belt. There was plenty of information on Dmitri in the records of Genesis, but nothing on an Alexander. Was he lying? The thought was brief as she remembered the seal that had been stamped into the letter mailed to her, no not lying, but to remain out of the Orders eyes from the beginning of Genesis and until now? Khione hasn’t said a word as she lost herself in her thoughts, perhaps it was rude she didn’t offer an introduction in turn, but he knew who she was, and she was rude.

Only when an artificial source of bright white was placed in her line of sight had she come back from her thoughts. Blinking in the familiar faces of the couple found dead this morning in Central Park had a coolness awash her senses. Not a trace of the tension in her muscles or chaos in her head showed in her facial expression nor the more difficult to control signs like a heartbeat. An outwardly nonchalant shrug was given in response to his concerns about the nature of losing his associates, but inside Khione was stewing with anger. This was the fourth time that day the annoying and very fuckable hunter on the verge of termination had managed to slip up in her conversations.

Khione wasn’t sure how much Alexander knew, unluckily for her, there were several reasons he had to choose from to justify calling her here. Not that he needed any justification, knowing her name and address practically put her life in his hands. This was the exact situation she never wanted to find herself in, yet here she was. “I heard something horrific happened in Central Park but decided not to get involved on my day off, seems like I made a good decision.” The best way to lie was to always tell half-truths, it was her day off, but she knew about the incident, and knew about the previous incidents similar to this one. “What about their deaths is troubling? It’s a big city, everyone has enemies here, unfortunately, it seems like your associates had enemies with money. I’ve heard the relations between your kind can be pretty volatile, but I guess that’s where the Zeno’s rack in all the cash? Well, besides arms and drugs.”

Alexander took his phone back and began to swipe through it. “I know my people. While they weren’t saints, they most certainly weren’t criminals. Death is an unjust fate for them. Furthermore-“ He said as he once again slid the phone towards Khione. This time the picture on it was far more morbid. The corpse, sitting against a tree, clutching his stomach. It was burned completely. “-this is an unusually brutal way to kill. That is a sentence given only to the worst transgressors amongst the Tepes. So I highly doubt it was a vampire that killed them. No, I believe it is a human. One with an exceptional hatred for making such a torturous kill.” He took a quick sip of his tea, draining the last of it as he let Khione observe the picture a little bit in silence.

“However, I am not here to tell you about the killer. The police will surely know more by tomorrow.” He said, after which he took his phone back. “But I have an obligation towards my people, Miss Crusch. Retribution.” There was no emotion in his voice. No sadness, no hate, no rage. He was simply, coldly, stating the facts. “I will find whoever did this. I will find who houses them. Who helped them. Trained them. Then I will right this wrong.” He stated his intentions as one would state facts. His words were frigid, immutable prophecies. “I will give you one chance, right now, to tell me if you know who this was or could be. If I leave here without a name, there will be no leniency.”

‘Retribution’ the single word almost made her laugh, humans were ugly beings, but finite in their existence. Unlike the vampires, who always danced just on the edge of meeting justice with their powerful existence and hundreds of years of manipulation. Khione didn’t hate them, not all of them, but she’d doubt killing one wouldn’t have served for an injustice sometime in their past.

The threats were a poor treat paired with the already bitter coffee, she should have ordered something sweet like a caramel macchiato or a white mocha, to really savor them. The true Khione was rearing her head in that moment, as she leaned forward, aware of the dipping neckline of the tank top she wore,” Alexander… if I didn’t know better, it sounds like you were threatening me. I can appreciate a male who knows the importance of foreplay and I am interested, but I’m afraid I just don’t have the time to play with you today.” A pout played at the lips of the young woman who was burning with rage inside, she had come across vampires like him. Old and arrogant, they never paid her any attention more than stating their demands, and never looked at her with a hint of lust their younger kin could be tempted into.

Ah, to be underestimated once more.

Alexander answered her seduction in kind as he inched closer to her as well. A small, hungry smile formed on his lips. As he got closer he first looked into her amber eyes. Then he trailed down towards her pink lips and then lower. “Then how about I make you scream tonight?” He whispered playfully. His hot breath falling upon her bare neck. He was but inches away. Something inside of him wanted to give in. To lower his fangs into her skin. To take her then and there in a bloodied embrace.

As suddenly as he had leaned in, he pulled himself back against the chair. The coy teasing stopped immediately. Replaced once more by the friendly smile. “No leniency then. Very well. Then I am afraid I must take my leave.”

He took a last sip from his though and began to shuffle sideways to get out of the boot seat. Though halfway out he stopped and checked his watch. “Ah, how foolish of me. I have forgotten the most important thing.” He looked up towards Khione.“It is to my understanding that this city is somewhat of a… hotbed for the youngest generation of vampire royalty. As we are speaking now, my gracious king is announcing a change in all of their lives. They are expected to form a house of their own, while they are cut off from their original bloodlines.” He got up- “Enjoy your day off, Miss Crusch. I suspect it will be your last for a very long time.” And he walked away.

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