She opened the door to the cafe softly; her grace from her vampiric life had followed her into this one. She had followed his scent to this place; after all, once Amber had calmed down they got rather bored. But as she turned and saw Lazarus sat with Kito she bowed her head slightly, “Oh, I’m sorry. I wouldn’t have come if I’d realised,” although, she cursed herself for not picking up Kito’s scent too. She shrugged and put it down to knowing Lazarus longer.
"Its fine," Kito shrugged as Lazarus pulled out a chair for her to sit down.
"I couldn't impose,” they say you can’t teach an old dog a new trick and her ways were set. She was taught never to but in and she never planned to after her leg had broken. Her father was a strict teacher.
“Its okay, we weren't really talking about much anyway," Lazarus muttered.
She looked at him doubtfully for a moment before sitting in the chair he had pulled out. "Still, I'm rather sorry."
"Never any need to apologise," he smiled, "come to some kind of peace with Amber?"
She smiled back as she confronted her own words, "yes, she's just very...energetic and stubborn but she's listening; it's a start."
"I'm sure she'll calm down after a few cycles," Kito chuckled, "I forgot how energetic pups were."
She smiled, "I didn't mean to come in, but, daylight hours are still strange to me and I find myself getting bored." She left out the fact that she was bored more often than not day or night.
"Surely there's more to do during the day to keep you entertained?" He laughed
"Well, I'm accustomed to boredom, human, vampire or wolf." She smiled weakly, "I suppose there are things I could do... I dunno," she shrugged.
"I'm sure Paris will offer plenty of entertainment if you look in the right places," he smiled back.
"It was a dream; I guess I should be living it..." she sighed, "So... how many people are in the pack? I mean... roughly."
"Hmm, about thirty, I suppose. Not all members are around all the time, so it gets hard to keep track. Some of us live in one apartment block on the same floor, others like to have their own places like you two, and others live a little further out."
"Thirty...?" she repeated, shocked.
"Compared to the coven, thirty is a small number," he shrugged, "what are you going to do about that, by the way?"
"A good question, I dunno.” She shrugged, leaning on the table slightly. “They have no leader, so no doubt they would be fighting between each other but...I can't go back there, not like this."
He nodded thoughtfully, "we should keep an eye on that," he glanced at Lazarus, "shouldn't be too hard with two wolves suited to the beta role in the pack now."
"...what?" She asked, the words catching her off guard and she can’t say she liked what she heard.
"Lazarus' wolf, had he been a part of a normal pack would naturally have been a beta wolf. Living alone forced him to take on the role of alpha at the same time," he explained quickly with a shrug, "him and Albert will just have to play nice." The thought of Albert and Lazarus tearing each other apart... ‘No, no’... She couldn’t let that happen.
"Marvellous," she growled. "Just, marvellous," her hand tapped on the table as she thought of the idea, her nails clicking irritably. "Anyway," she smiled, covering up her anger as she brought her hand back from the table. "I saw you in the bar the other night with your mate."
He nodded, "yeah well her family own the hotel. I wanted to go see the new pianist. I didn't know it would be you, though," he laughed slightly, looking at Lazarus.
"He's quite something hmm? Musically gifted," she smiled at Lazarus, avoiding Kito's eyes in case she tore into him for pitting Lazarus and Albert against each other further.
"Yeah... I was surprised that you settled for bar work, Lazarus," he arched an eyebrow slightly, "you should be playing concerts or something."
"I used to," Lazarus replied, "It didn't work out so well, I guess. I'm happy with working in the bar."
"You should push yourself higher, Lazarus, You're amazing. But, what makes you happy," she shrugged.
"Thanks," he gave her a small smile, his cheeks flushing for a moment.
She laughed slightly, her smile widening, "I should get a job... might fix my boredom," she laughed again.
"Well, the pack is pretty well connected. Let me know what job you want and I'll see what I can do. Same goes for you, Lazarus. I'm sure I could get you back into the concert halls if you wanted." Lazarus pretended to consider the offer, looking at Melissa.
"I could never decide," she shrugged.
Kito laughed, "Indecisive and easily bored?" he shook his head slightly, "well were you ever interested in any particular career direction?"
"I never really had to think, my job was to get married have kids, die. I even failed that one," she sighed, rolling her eyes.
"But over the years? Didn't you ever consider it in the last... however long it is you've been alive?"
"Four hundred years and not really, I've been fighting my way through life... that's a long story, I hardly even got time to practice."
"Ah," he nodded, "well the offer is open, if you ever manage to decide."
"If," she laughed, "Perhaps if I find something I'm good at, I'll work it that way," she looked at him, "thank you, Alpha."
He smiled slightly, "call me Kito. Some people call me Christian, though. Just so you don't get confused," he stood up and dropped some coins on the table, "I should get going, I'll see you later."
She smiled, "Good bye, Kito."
Lazarus echoed her as Kito nodded and walked away, disappearing into the constant flow of people on the pavements. "He needs to work on his first impression," Lazarus muttered, "He’s not as bad as he seems, I guess."
"Beta..." she repeated, "Why? Why the hell did ..." she finished with a growl, clenching her hands together.
"It's not his fault, Melissa," he murmured calmly, "it's not a role he assigned me or anything, it's just what I am. Like I told him; Bane and I are quite happy to be civil and 'play nice'. It's really up to Albert how easy he makes his life."
"Oh, you best be prepared to fight." She pushed herself up from her chair, "He's a walking book of dark secrets, Lazarus. Please, take care."
"I am prepared. I'm more concerned with preparing to let him win; I'm not about to upset the whole pack by beating the shit out of him first cycle."
"You underestimate him, sweet. This time you both have something to fight for. Don't let him taste blood."
He sighed and stood too, "how's about I just leave it to Bane?"
"I'm scared for both of you, you just don't understand," she swallowed, "Whoever turned him was a fool." He opened the door for her, but his question made her mind freeze as memories overwhelmed her.
"Why? He's perfectly capable of defending us and himself."
"If I was a vamp, I could show you. He's an animal; I don't mean that you're both wolves either,” she shuddered, walking out of the Cafe and he followed shortly behind.
"Well I'll just have to have faith in Bane and myself for this won't I?"
She whimpered, "I just want this full moon over with."
"Two weeks and five... four days... I dunno. I've lost count."
"It's too long, I'll be tearing myself apart till then."
"Since I clearly don't understand the fear, why don't you enlighten me?"
"I... Lazarus I..." She swallowed and breathed deeply, "You know already of Lilly, well... he was so wonderful. But he acted so well, Lilly wasn't the only person he killed and, he was brutal. It wasn't quick, it wasn't easy and damn it... for Lilly, it certainly wasn't painless,” she paused, “The story's a lot deeper than that, however.”
He shook his head slightly, "I guess this is going to be one of those things I'll never understand."
"He thought they'd tear us apart, they knew about us... they were going to tell my father. How could I love a killer like him? I guess... I don't know. But, I'm glad his knife never touched my neck." She laughed slightly hysterically, knowing she was twisting the truth and she stopped, as did he.
"Mmm, I'm glad too," he murmured, putting his arms around her protectively.
She swallowed and smiled weakly, "Yeah..."
"Look, I'm not going to let him hurt you, or me, or our wolves, okay?"
"I trust you; just... my neck hurts sorta thinking about it,” She sighed, she never lied, but she never told the whole truth either. She didn’t want to lie, but she didn’t want to add fuel to Lazarus’ and Albert’s fire.
"Y'know, suddenly I'm a whole lot more willing to put him in his place next moon."
"NO!" She shouted, before collecting herself again, "I mean, no, let's not rush hmm?"
He brushed a hand through her hair, placing a soft kiss on her forehead. "I'm not rushing. The moon's far from being full."
"I want to stop feeling his hand around my throat, I do. But I don't want you to be a bigger fool than you already are."
"I know I'd much rather avoid a fight when I can, but four hundred years of fending off packs of hostile wolves and vampires does pay off. I don't like killing, but I think you underestimate me sometimes, my love."
She looked at him, her brow furrowed slightly and her lip quivering, "I... no...Lazarus..."
She put her hands on his shoulders, "don't, please."
He sighed and closed his eyes for a moment. "What do you want me to do then?"
"I don't like fighting, you know that but after having his hand round my throat and gazing into his cold eyes I realise, it's the justice he deserves." She looked away, "do as you wish," she pulled herself from his arms and began to walk down the street again.
He followed her a moment later, catching up so he was walking beside her again. "I'm not planning on killing him, Melissa, nor am I going to be the one to pick the fight."
She stopped, "no, you'll have no choice. If the Alpha stops you at full moon he shall kill you later. He will not lose, you die, or he does. That is how it will work."
"Then I shall apologise in advance for killing the man that once had your heart."
"I don't think it will be that easy, my love. But I don't want to think about it, I just hope you really can protect yourself."
"I'm sure I can find some kind of proof if you really want it," he shrugged, "I wasn't entirely useless for the first half of the twentieth century, after all."
"Some kind of...proof?"
"Don't sound so surprised. I wasn't about to let my home town get bombed to buggery in the world wars, was I?"
"What? How could you...?"
He laughed slightly, "Well I served in the army. I s'pose it wasn't really a choice the second time around, but I still did it."
"Oh... Lazarus, fighting humans... it's different!"
"Walking over the front line with nothing but the uniform on my back towards a bunch of angry or terrified humans with machine guns? I suppose so, yes, but I wasn't the nicest soldier you could come across. Fancy being given a medal for your brutality, hmm?"
"I can't stand it! How can you kill so freely? All those people... they didn't choose to fight!"
"Oh, hey, I never said I was proud of it. When you're being fired at and you're the battalion's best weapon, you just do it."
"How many people? How many souls?"
"I dunno," he sighed and rolled his eyes, "I shouldn't have said anything."
"You shouldn't... why? Why do every time you tell me something, you take it back? Will it come to that where you won't tell me anything!?"
"Well I didn't want to upset you by telling you I fought in the army!"
"Why does everyone have to hurt, for something they want? Why must they fight? Why must they bleed?"
"I don't know. I wish I did, that I could find some way of getting through all this without fighting, but it's up to Albert to let it slide."
"I want it to stop."
"I have seen too many of my loved ones handed to the slaughter, I shan't see you go too!"
"You won't," he told her, quietly confident.
"It hasn't been long enough." She swallowed, "My love."
"We have forever, I promise,” she looked at him, still wary, "All I ask is that you have faith in me," he told her, meeting her gaze and she stayed there, staring into his eyes, the whole situation overwhelming her before she finally nodded.
He kissed her on the forehead softly, "let's go home.” She nodded, taking his hand weakly.