I heard footsteps on the stone slabs beside the pool. I was still a shark and I was still slightly pissed off.
I felt the water move around me and lift me up. I turned back into the real me and glared at the only person I knew who could do that. The water from the pool supported me and moved forward to put me down on the stone. I dripped, completely soaked. The man who had got me out of the water looked at me and the drips that fell off my hair and my clothes seemed to be pulled back to into the pool.
The man stood with his hands in his pockets. His straight, white-blond hair reached his shoulders and a few strands from the front were tied back. His brown eyes seemed to look right through you and his pale lips held a playful smirk as always. He had a tattoo down the left side of his face, a curving line that reached from the corner of his eye to his chin.
"Long time, no see," I hissed at him, making his smirk widen.
"Lovely to see you too, Ace," he said in his strong accent.
"What do you want, Zevran?"
"Just to talk." His eyes swiftly glanced at Zoe, so fast I hardly noticed.
Zoe was staring at him. "Who are you and what do you want?" she asked with a hint of venom in her voice.
Zevran glared at her, the playful glint in his eye and the smirk on his face vanishing instantly.
"Zoe," I said, "a little hint: try not to piss off elves, especially this one."
She looked at him as I walked past her. I led Zev into the living room and shut the door behind us. I sat down on the couch and gestured for him to sit opposite me.
"I hear you're coming to council tomorrow night," he commented, sitting down on the couch.
"News travels fast," I said.
"It does indeed. You know what I'm going to ask, Ace."
"And you know the answer's going to be a no," I replied quickly. "You'd be better off asking Darran."
"But it's not him we want, is it? He doesn't even like his gift. I at least have the dignity to accept it."
"Darran doesn't want to be a Shade. Just like I don't want to be an assassin."
"Why not? There's good money in it, it's a travel opportunity. You get to meet new people, and then kill them. What's not to like about it?" He sat back, smirking again.
I scoffed. "I'm quite happy just being a shape-shifting vampire."
"And a coven leader. And the Mistress's Messenger," he reminded me.
I grimaced. "Can we not talk about that right now? Besides, this isn't the only reason you've come. You could have waited till council and you knew it would be a no anyway."
"Am I that transparent?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.
"No, I just know you. So what are you here for?"
"I've heard of your... exploits with a certain half-blood."
I laughed quietly. "I'd hardly call them 'exploits'."
"Nevertheless. You do know Afanasya is still in love with you?"
"She was never in love with me in the first place."
He smiled. "You keep thinking that, Ace."