I was standing next to Orlando: waiting for Middy and Crystal to arrive. When she did appear I tried to hide my smile. She was wearing a Paracel and Crystal had one on too. I was so focused on Middy I barely registered Brook's presence. I remembered the Demon's plea to keep Middy away from him then wiped all my thoughts from my head.

I watched as Brook and Crystal joined Orlando and I. Middy stood up on a bench so everyone could see her. She radiated beauty and power.

"Listen up vampires and Pixie," Middy aimed her smile at Brook. She continued to speak but I was too dazzled by her looks to notice her words. When she was finished she lightly jumped down and I darted over to offer her my arm. I expected her to reject me but instead she took my arm and smiled at me, surprising me. It pleased me: her acceptance.

"Well, let's be off then," Orlando called and we left the grounds: Crystal, Orlando and Brook leading with Middy and I behind them. Middy was whispering something and the next second Brook was suddenly there.

"I know, Middy, I know," Brook said and the two girls giggled. We all glanced at them in confusion but they didn't explain.

We walked swiftly and silently, apart from the occasional murmur. Me? I was silent because of how vividly aware I was of Middy walking beside me.

"The hotel's just ahead, we can cut through the trees," Orlando announced suddenly. Crystal turned to stare at him and murmured something: she wasn't happy but we agreed with Orlando. Everyone was moving but Crystal stood still. I moved to her side.

"What's wrong, Crystal?" I asked. She remained silent. "Crystal?" I prompted. Then her eyes glazed over and she fell into me. I caught her, "Crystal!" I was alarmed and didn't know what to do - a first for me. Just as abruptly her eyes focused again and she looked incredibly weak and thirsty.

"Crystal, what is it?" I demanded. Her next words made me feel cold.

"Vampire slayers. Hiding in the trees. They're going to attack us!" She moved so my arm fell away from holding her, "Four men, in the trees, we have to go and warn them!" She sprinted off with me close at her heels. Then Brook screamed. Brook was screaming? We burst into the little area where they all stood and one had Zuri.

"Get your hands off her!" Orlando snarled. The man holding Zuri smiled and the others began to pull stakes out. I supressed a snort. Orlando and I pulled out swords. The fools headed for us but we moved quicker. Middy used her power to make two others fly back. I smiled in pride but then was distraced by one of the others. It was all confusion but I definately heard one of the men cry out in pain. I was chasing some of the men trying to slip away. I decided to let them live and headed back. he second I reached them they stared at me.

"Have you seen Midnight?" Brook asked. Middy? I opened my mouth to shout at them for losing her when we heard her growl and an idiot's laugh. Crystal closed her eyes briefly then ran off with us following. I was intending to murder anyone who touched Middy but she seemed to be doing fine on her own.

"Back off!" she growled: looking like the vampire she was. She used her power and they were flung back.

"This isn't over!" the older one yelled as he and the other fled. We were silent then Crystal ran over to Middy.

"O'my god, Midnight! Are you OK?" she cried as she headed over.

"I used my power," Middy beamed. She was so pleased with herself. I was proud of her too. Brook headed over to the two girls much more slowly. Was I the only one who saw a flicker of self-shame? I resisted smiling but couldn't stop my lips twitching slightly. Brook was powerful - incredibly so -  but she'd missed the slayer's approach. She caught the movement of my lips and shot me a quick glare.

"Are you OK Zuri?" Crystal demanded as soon as Brook reached her.

"Yes, thank you Crystal," Brook said sincerely.

"For what?"

"Saving me," Brook clarified, "If you hadn't come when you did, I don't know what would have happened."

"But you did something to the nature didn't you?" Crystal said to make Brook feel better, "Besides, we're friends right?" Brook looked surprised at Crystal's declaration but smiled.

"Of course we are." The three of them joined Orlando and I. We walked to the hotel again. Brook pulled me to one side as we walked. No one but Middy noticed and suddenly struck up a conversation with Orlando and Crystal to keep them from noticing. I saw Brook nod and smile at her.

"What?" I whispered. She didn't particularly like me nor I her but we respected one another - at least I respected her. Brook had a reputation among those in the 'know'. Ice had been well known for her determination, success and power until Brook came along with the Demon. Ice hadn't been heard of since.

"Middy and I need to talk to you later," Brook breathed as sofly as butterfly wings, "It's important and now is the best time when... Things can't here," she shuddered delicately. I pondered over my response. If it had been just Brook needing answers but since it was Middy too...

"Alright," I agreed, "Later." We moved back over to the others. There was a shift in nature and I glanced at Brook but her face was smooth. When it faded, Middy shot a grateful smile at me that warmed me inside.

We signed in to the hotel and I gave the girls instructions before going to our seperate rooms.

The End

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