Author: Yoyo-chan PM
Keagan is a mad scientist. Adriel the security guard has a strange secret. Keagan can make his own fireworks, but having someone else around can't hurt.Rated: Fiction T - English - Supernatural/Humor - Chapters: 2 - Words: 12,254 - Reviews: 18 - Favs: 74 - Follows: 7 - Updated: 10-17-05 - Published: 09-20-05 - Status: Complete - id: 2011348
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
One more class and it would be lunch time. Fourteen and fifteen year old kids filed in, milling about and talking as they took their seats in Mr. Tobias' 4th period physical science class. Today was not an ordinary day, though. Among the groans and sighs that often accompanied the last period before lunch, there were also more than a few curious glances directed at the front of the classroom.
A stranger was standing at the front of the room, leaning casually against the desk and talking with their usual science teacher. The unfamiliar man didn't look like a scientist, and he didn't look like a teacher. He barely looked like an adult, in spite of the dark blue dress shirt, black tie, black slacks, and black shoes that he wore. His brown hair was streaked blonde and spiked, and he wore a barbell in his eyebrow and a mischievous smile on his face. Even though he was obviously much too old to be in high school, he still managed to look like the type of person who would be more at home sitting in the back row of the classroom making paper airplanes than standing in the front as some sort of guest lecturer.
Gradually the chatting died down as more and more students noticed the newcomer and stopped to study him curiously. The bell rang and Mr. Tobias stood up and smiled at the class. He was a good-natured teacher in his mid 20's with blonde hair, thick glasses, and a white lab coat. "Good morning, guys," he greeted them in a soft voice. He called everyone in his classes 'guys.' "As you can see, we have a guest today. This is Dr. Keagan McCabe, a friend of mine from college and a very successful physicist."
That announcement led to various murmurs of surprise, disbelief, and disappointment. Mr. Tobias just raised his hand, smiling wider. "Now, now. Hold on, guys, this will be fun. I promise."
The students exchanged various skeptical looks. They liked Mr. Tobias, but he wasn't known for being the most exciting teacher.
Dr. McCabe smiled at his friend and stood up, putting a hand on the teacher's shoulder briefly as he made his way to the canter of the room. "I'll take it from here," he said in a friendly, slightly amused voice. He looked straight at the class for the first time. His eyes were the brightest blue and kind, with an unmistakable twinkle of mischief. "As your wonderful teacher said, I am Keagan McCabe." He paused for effect before going on. "Mr. Tobias wanted me to come in and talk about what I do for a living. As he said, I am a physicist but my job is actually a lot more interesting than it sounds. But, I thought it would be more fun to show you what I do instead."
He flicked off the lights and played a video, set to classical music, of fireworks. No dialogue, just fireworks and music. When he flicked the lights back on, the kids looked even more curious than before. "So do you, like, work for Disneyland or something?" a funny kid in the back row asked. The class laughed and Dr. McCabe relaxed a bit. "No. I make fireworks."
He went on to explain, very concisely, how fireworks are made and what exactly he did. The explanation was enough to make it sound interesting and give the class an idea of how physics can be used in the real world while not being long enough to bore them; and of course, they had a lot of questions for him at the end, ranging from "Do you sell fireworks to Disneyland?" to "How old are you?" and "Are you married?"
Dr. McCabe answered all the questions with good humor. No, he didn't sell the fireworks he made to Disney, he sold them to companies who then produced and distributed them. He was 26 years old, and he wasn't married. Then he thanked the class just as the bell rang and the kids hurried off to the lunch they hadn't thought about the entire period,
"You were great," Mr. Tobias said softly as Dr. McCabe started packing presentation materials into his briefcase. "Sorry about all of the personal questions."
Dr. McCabe smiled, closing his briefcase and dismissing the apology with a wave of his hand. "They're kids," he replied. "Kids always want to know things like that. Besides, it was fun." He glanced at his watch briefly. "I have a deadline coming up, though. Do you want to have lunch? Then I need to split."
Mr. Tobias nodded. "Sure, if you have time." He paused and then said, "Thank you for coming, Keagan."
"No problem, Evan," Keagan replied.
Finally he thought he figured out what went wrong in the equation and went back to his worktable, donning gloves, lab coat, and safety glasses before making a few test samples.
A few hours later he was sneaking out the back of the building, several fireworks in hand, heading for the parking lot. It was a beautiful night for fireworks, if a little chilly. The air was still, the parking lot was deserted, and there were no houses for miles and miles. He went a safe distance from the building before lighting the first one, standing back and watching it as it twisted into the air and exploded in a burst of colored light.
Not bad, he thought, and pulled a small notebook out of his pocket for notes. The color is good, and the circle is there, even if it's not exactly what I had in mind. It's definitely progress, but I want it about fifteen degrees higher. He made some quick diagrams in pencil and scratched out some sentences that only he could read before stuffing the notepad into his pocket and the pencil behind his ear. Then he lit the second one, repeating the process.
Definitely more like it was before. The colors are fine but the shapes and timing are all wrong. I'll have to work with the changes from the first one, because whatever I changed for this one didn't do anything.
He was so engrossed in his notes and research that as he shoved the notebook into his pocket, he didn't notice the shape approaching him. He set up the next rocket carefully, and just as he was about to light it...
"What are you doing?" came a low voice from behind him and slightly to his right.
Keagan jumped, dropping his lighter, and whipped his head around, scowling a bit when he saw who had interrupted him. It was a slight, pale young man with dark hair who looked to be about five years younger than Keagan.
Taking a few deep breaths, Keagan tried to get himself under control. His heart was beating fast. "You startled me," he said. "Who are you?"
The young man seemed unperturbed by Keagan's violent reaction. "I should probably be asking you the same question," His arms were crossed and he was tapping his foot impatiently. "Or more importantly what you're doing."
Keagan frowned and started to say something when he noticed the kid's clothes. He was a security guard. His frown melted into an amused smile. "Ah, are you new?" he asked, shining his light on the nametag, "...Adriel?"
Adriel's frown deepened. "Yes. How did you know? Do you have a badge to be on these premises?"
Sighing, Keagan pulled a plastic badge out of his pocket and showed it to the security guard. "See? Dr. Keagan McCabe. I work here."
"Hm," said Adriel, taking the badge and studying it. Finally he handed it back. "Fine. Dr. McCabe. But you still haven't said what you're doing out here."
Still smirking, Keagan picked up his lighter. "I'll show you," he replied, flicking it on. Suddenly, he winced and dropped it on the ground. "Ouch!"
"What's wro-" Adriel asked with wide eyes, just as Keagan looked at the ground, his own blue eyes growing wide instantly.
"Oh, shit," the physicist managed before pushing the shorter man back. Adriel stumbled and fell over, Keagan landing on top of him, and behind them the firecracker exploded into the air in a burst of sulfur and light.
Keagan grimaced, crawling off of the other. "Are you okay?" he asked.
But Adriel was staring at the sky, his eyes wide with wonder. "Wow," he breathed.
The world at night is for the immortal and those who think they are.
Adriel smirked into the mirror. I shouldn't be alone so much, he thought. Being alone makes me stupid. I need to stop thinking before my brain decides it's on to something profound.
He pulled his shoulder-length dark brown hair back into a low ponytail, humming under his breath and studying his reflection. Young-looking, with pale skin, a straight nose, and delicate features. Green eyes.
It often occurred to him that he was glad this part of the stories wasn't true. Getting ready for work would be difficult if he didn't have a reflection.
Finishing with his hair, Adriel studied himself one last time, straightening the collar on his security guard uniform. Blue and white weren't exactly his colors, but this was one of the better jobs he'd managed to find. There was only so much for a person to do at night, after all, especially for someone too shy to want to take advantage of the nightlife.
Satisfied, Adriel headed out. This was only his second day of work and he wanted to be on time. He put on sunglasses since it wasn't quite full dark yet and caught the bus to the large office building outside of town.
He arrived with plenty of time for the shift change briefing and did one circuit of the building to make sure everything was in order before taking his shift. In one or two offices, there were still people finishing last-minute work but overall, the building was quiet. When he returned to the main security room, he played a few games of cards with Sasha, the other guard on duty. They took turns making their rounds. Adriel appreciated how smoothly the night was going.
But while he was making his second round, he noticed someone in the parking lot. He called in to his partner on duty, wincing at the static on the walkie-talkie and then went out to investigate.
He was heading toward the stairs when he heard the first explosion, and began to run, the heavy black shoes from his uniform echoing in the stairwell.
As soon as he burst outside into the calm night air, the second explosion went off. It lit up the sky, and Adriel gasped. Someone was setting off fireworks in the parking lot! Ugly ones, if this particular explosion was any indication. Pushing all hesitation and shyness out of his mind, he marched across the parking lot toward the shadowy form of the intruder.
"What are you doing?" he asked the other's back in what he hoped was a menacing voice.
The stranger jumped and dropped something. He turned and scowled at Adriel, visibly breathing heavier. He was only slightly taller than Adriel, but the security guard was surprised at how old he was. From behind he had rather thought this guy would be some high school or college kid. Instead he was in his mid-20's and a little (or more than a little) attractive.
Adriel swallowed, schooling his expression to appear calm and collected as the other asked, "You startled me. Who are you?"
"I should probably be asking you the same question," Adriel replied, inwardly glad that his voice sounded unaffected. "Or more importantly, what you're doing."
Maddeningly, though, the other man suddenly looked amused and asked if he was new. Was it so obvious? Then he turned out to be Dr. McCabe, an employee of the company. Which was also strange, because why would an employee of the company be setting off fireworks in the business parking lot at night?
Despite this and the fact that Dr. McCabe looked pretty young for a doctor, his badge had looked genuine. Adriel didn't have a lot of experience with counterfeit security badges, but he'd scrutinized every inch of this one and could not find anything wrong with it.
Adriel sighed and asked again what the doctor was doing out here; and, to Adriel's increasing annoyance, Dr. McCabe smirked and said, "I'll show you."
And the next thing he remembered, he was lying on the ground with Dr. McCabe lying on top of him as the most amazing explosion he had ever seen occurred overhead. "Wow," he breathed.
Keagan was obviously torn between being cocky over the boy's reaction and being concerned that he'd hurt the other by falling on top of him. Concern won over, at least for the time being, and he scrambled to his feet, offering Adriel his hand.
Adriel blinked at Dr. McCabe for a few moments and then took the offered hand to pull himself to his feet. He immediately busied himself dusting off his uniform pants, trying to gather any semblance of control he had left. "Well...see that you go inside. I have to get back to my job." He turned to go back inside.
"Wait," Keagan said, offering a smile. "My office is on the third floor. 318. The next time you're going around the building, stop by. I feel bad about tackling you just now and I keep long hours."
Adriel hesitated, looking back at the other with a carefully indifferent expression. Finally he turned back toward the building. "Maybe," he replied. "I have to go. I can't afford to lose this job." He hesitated. "Are… you going to do … that… again?" he asked pointing to the sky.
"Why, do you want to watch if I do?" Keagan asked with a little smile.
"No," Adriel said. "I just…wanted to know. I'm supposed to be keeping the building safe and all." He shrugged. "Goodnight, Dr. McCabe."
"Call me Keagan," Keagan called after him. Adriel paused a moment but didn't say anything as he continued on toward the building. Keagan hesitated and then began to clean up what was left of his experiment.
It was almost midnight. I wonder if it might not be better to just put a bed in here, he thought, not for the first time. By the time I drive home it will be well after midnight and then I have to be back here at 9am. I might as well put a bed in here and stop paying rent at home. It seems kind of pointless to pay for a house I never see except when I'm asleep.
He stood up and was looking for his car keys when a knock at the door interrupted him. Wondering only momentarily what someone would be visiting him for, he went to answer the door. Then he remembered. That kid from the parking lot.
Adriel M. Locke, the nametag said when Keagan pulled the door open. He raised his eyes to meet the gaze of his visitor, noticing for the first time that Adriel had green eyes.
"Hello, Adriel," he said, giving the other a tired but still friendly smile.
He was answered with a serious nod. "Dr.- Keagan." Adriel looked away briefly after the slight stumble and went on ahead. "Are you always here this late?"
"Very nearly," Keagan agreed, his smile widening. He stepped back, holding the door open for Adriel. "It's hard to conduct my experiments during the day when it's light. I get my best research done after dark." Adriel looked at the door doubtfully. "Come in," Keagan prompted, and only then did the other man step through the doorway and into Keagan's lab.
The lab was divided into two parts; the section near the door was laid out like an office with a large desk covered with papers, a comfortable chair, and several bookshelves crammed with books. Behind the desk hung a large blackboard covered with chalk equations. The left wall sported a coat hook with a white lab coat and goggles dangling from the wooden pegs; and the back of the room featured a large worktable covered with various scientific-looking items, as well as various charts, locked cabinets containing chemical samples, and a plastic hood fixed into one of the walls for working with volatile chemicals.
The overall effect was the cluttered, lived in laboratory of a scholar and mad scientist. Adriel couldn't help but look for the body parts floating in jars that it seemed had to be somewhere.
Keagan watched Adriel with amusement. "So what do you think?" he asked curiously, wondering what the boy could be thinking.
Adriel's eyes had rested on a suspicious looking jar in the corner of Keagan's desk. Keagan followed Adriel's gaze and his smile grew wider. He picked up the jar casually. "This?" he asked. It appeared to be an eyeball floating in some sort of goo.
Opening the jar casually, Keagan reached in and scooped out the contents. Adriel wrinkled his nose. "Ew."
Keagan laughed, squishing it between his fingers. "It's fake," he explained. "Some sort of toy for little boys to gross each other out with, I think. My best friend Evan gave it to me. Said that a mad scientist like me should have body parts in jars."
The slightly embarrassed look on Adriel's face said plainly that he was thinking that exact thing, so he cleared his throat. "I uh… was thinking that, too," he admitted uncomfortably.
Keagan squished the gooey eyeball back into the jar and set it back on his desk, amused. "Well," was all he could manage, but for some reason he was pleased by that admission. "If you ever meet Evan, you'll see that he's more the mad scientist type than I am. It's always the quiet ones you need to watch out for." He crossed his arms, leaning back to watch Adriel's expression.
Predictably, he flushed and looked slightly embarrassed, like he suspected Keagan meant him as well. Keagan was delighted to see how expressive Adriel was.
A few moments later, however, Adriel surprised Keagan by clearing his throat and saying, "I think your friend is right. You seem a little mad to me, too. Are you sure all you do up here is make fireworks?"
Keagan crossed his heart solemnly, but the effect was a bit spoiled by the amusement in his blue eyes. "Scout's honor."
Keagan shrugged, taking a seat next to him at the counter. "1am."
Evan's eyebrows shot above the rims of his glasses. "Really? I thought midnight was quitting time."
"It is," Keagan replied with a tired smile. "But I got sidetracked."
"Well, it's not June," Evan said thoughtfully. "So was he a janitor or something?"
"Security guard," Keagan said and turned to the waitress. "Can I get a coffee? Black, two sugars."
Evan sighed melodramatically. "And to think, in college you couldn't get a date to save your life."
"Hey," Keagan protested, laughing. "I couldn't have been that bad. You went out with me."
"I'm lucky you were so hot," Evan teased lightly. "Not too many people want to take a chance on a guy who thinks reciting the periodic table is poetry."
Keagan shrugged. "I grew out of it. Now I realize that the real money is in doing complex mathematical equations from memory." He thanked and paid the waitress as she set his coffee in front of him and took a sip. "Anyway, the kid basically tried to bust me doing fireworks in the parking lot so I invited him to my office and he stopped by right after I quit working."
"Kid?" Evan repeated, looking curious. "How old is he?"
"I don't really know," Keagan admitted. "He looks like a college student, though. Pretty, with green eyes. Pale."
"Most college students who study are pale, Mr. Tanning Bed," Evan pointed out.
"I know," Keagan said. "Anyway, that's my theory. Like I said, I really don't know how old he is. We didn't really talk about it."
"Oh," Evan replied, and was quiet for a moment. Finally he said, "I'm curious. What did the two of you talk about?"
"Fireworks," Keagan said with a sideways grin. "Like I said, that's how we met. Actually I sat on him but that's a different story."
"And one you'll have to tell me," Evan pointed out. "It's not every day that one's nerdy best friend meets one for lunch with stories of meeting hot college students in the middle of the night and then sitting on them."
"'One'?" Keagan reached over to grab Evan's glasses. "Who are you calling a nerd, Mr. Physics Teacher?"
Evan laughed. "It takes one to know one." He grabbed his glasses back and stood up. "Come on, the food here sucks and I have a new sandwich place to show you."
Keagan rolled his eyes and tossed a few dollars onto the counter, following Evan out of the diner.
He heard Sasha answer the door and a familiar voice ask, "Is Adriel Locke working tonight?"
Adriel jumped up and went over next to Sasha, pushing the door open a little more. "Keagan? What are you doing here?"
Keagan gave Adriel a charming smile. "I talked with the security company today and they gave me permission to borrow one of the guards while I do my experiments. Since there are three of you and all."
Adriel raised an eyebrow. "Why? In case you do something illegal or damage the property?"
"No," Keagan said with a grin. "I didn't want to give you a heart attack again. Do you want to come or not?"
Adriel glared at him for a moment, then shrugged and glanced back at Sasha. "I'll be back later." He pushed past Keagan and out into the hallway. Keagan gave Sasha a smile and pulled the door closed before going after Adriel.
"That was smart," Adriel remarked as they made their way outside. "I mean, if you wanted me to watch. Because now I can stay out here however long your experiment takes, and not get in trouble."
Keagan shrugged. "You seemed worried about losing your lob, and the last thing I want to do is get you in trouble." He waited a beat and then asked, "Are you a student?"
Adriel looked at him strangely. "Why would I be a student?"
"Because," Keagan replied with a frown, "you work at night and it sounds like you need this job. And you look college age."
"Oh," Adriel said, an unreadable expression on his face as he looks away. "In that case, no, I'm not a student."
There was a pause, and then Keagan asked, "Do you mind if I ask why?"
Adriel winced slightly. "I'd rather you didn't. Not yet, anyway."
"…Oh," Keagan said, a little confused, but he just shrugged it off. Their conversation lapsed into silence after that, and Keagan's mind wandered to the young man walking next to him. He was slender and even a bit delicate, but in spite of that he wasn't as short as he seemed to be. He was shorter than Keagan, but tall enough to easily make eye contact when they spoke. Keagan liked that. The kid had pretty eyes.
Pushing that thought out of his mind as soon as it arrived, Keagan unlocked the door to his lab and pushed it open, expecting Adriel to follow. When he didn't, Keagan turned around to see Adriel standing just outside the door, looking at him.
"What are you doing standing out there? You can come in," Keagan said, with a confused frown.
Adriel winced visibly and walked quickly into the lab, closing the door behind himself. "I'm sorry," he apologized quietly. "In my mother's culture they never enter a room or building belonging to someone else without being invited. It's considered the rudest thing."
"Oh?" Keagan sounded interested. "Where is she from? Your mother."
"Eastern Europe," Adriel replied. "Romania."
Keagan looked over at Adriel, trying to see if he looked Romanian at all. Then he realized he didn't know what Eastern Europeans looked like and busied himself with putting on his lab coat, gloves, and goggles and packing up his experiment supplies carefully.
"Well, from now on you're officially invited into any of my places," Keagan told Adriel as he worked.
Adriel gave him a small sideways grin. "Even your house?"
"Even-" Keagan repeated, then suddenly felt a little embarrassed. A little early for inviting him home, isn't it? came the unbidden thought, and Keagan pushed that one away, too. Then he wondered something and decided to test it out, grinning up at Adriel and asking, "Would you want to come over to my house?"
Now Adriel looked as uncomfortable as Keagan had felt a moment ago and Keagan felt a slight triumph before he reminded himself it might not be for the same reason.
Then Adriel surprised the physicist by shrugging and saying, "Maybe I would."
Keagan must have had a stupid look on his face, because Adriel added in what he hoped was a smooth way, "I mean, it's nice to get away from my house sometimes." He sighed and added, more quietly and probably to himself, "Thirty-two years old and still living at home." He shook his head.
Keagan almost dropped what he was holding. "What did you say?"
Adriel looked up, startled and then winced again. "Keagan… I'm not good at keeping secrets," he tried to explain.
"Then don't," Keagan replied. "You said you're thirty-two. There is no way you're older than me, much less by six years."
"You won't believe me even if I tell you," Adriel said.
"How do you know?" Keagan asked.
Adriel looked for a moment like he was about to tell Keagan, but then he closed down again. "It's none of your business," he said, crossing his arms and immediately felt bad when he saw the look on Keagan's face.
"I'm sorry. You're right." He finished packing and gave Adriel a sheepish grin and a lab coat. "I'm not very good at dealing with people. My best friend is the only one I can manage not to offend on a regular basis."
"Evan," Adriel said quietly.
Keagan looked surprised. "Do you know him?"
"No," Adriel replied. "You mentioned him that first night we met, too." He paused and then added unexpectedly, "I want to meet him."
"Why?" Keagan asked.
Adriel shrugged. "Because. He's got to be a good person if he can tolerate you."
Keagan decided to let that slide. "You can meet him if you tell me your secret."
"I'm a vampire."
So Adriel had been right. Keagan was silent for a moment before saying, "Let's go outside." They could talk more about this later, and maybe after the fireworks, Keagan would have a better excuse for not believing that Adriel was a vampire.
As they went in, just under an hour later, Keagan's notes were half-complete at best, and his mouth was curved in a permanent smile.
"No problem," Keagan replied from his workbench, grinning over at his friend but doing a double-take when he saw the food. "What is that?"
"Tofu and vegetables in … sauce," Adriel replied, shoving a bite into his mouth to hide his stumble over the last word.
Keagan studied the contents of the Tupperware container. The tofu and vegetables seemed to be floating in a runny dark red sauce. He shrugged, deciding it couldn't possibly be what it looked like, and went back to his calculating. "Are you a vegetarian?" he asked curiously.
"No," Adriel answered with a small shrug. "I eat red meat. Just not chicken or fish."
"So if you're a vampire," Keagan asked slowly, "How come you eat tofu? Vampires don't eat tofu."
Adriel set his bowl down on the desk and looked at Keagan. "How many vampires do you know?" he asked.
"None," Keagan replied instantly. "Vampires don't exist." He immediately wondered if maybe he shouldn't have said that, but Adriel didn't seem to be upset. He was probably used to it.
"Then give me the benefit of the doubt, Keagan, and let's say I really am a vampire. And I eat tofu. Doesn't that mean that vampires eat tofu?"
Keagan shook his head. "Not exactly. If you are a vampire and I don't know any other vampires for certain and you eat tofu, the only conclusion I can draw from that is that at least one vampire eats tofu. One isn't a large enough test group to prove or disprove a theory." He put his safety glasses on and held a tiny bit of chemical over a Bunsen burner.
Adriel watched him for a moment. "You are a geek," he decided at last, and used his fork to transfer some of the rice into his red mixture.
"So do you work tomorrow?" Keagan asked, trying to make conversation as he worked.
"No," Adriel replied. "Why?"
"I usually have lunch with Evan. You could come with us if you want."
Adriel sighed, closing his lunch containers and setting them aside. He wasn't hungry anymore. "You really don't believe me. I am a vampire, Keagan. I can't go out during the day."
"You are not a vampire, Adriel. Vampires do not exist. They defy the laws of physics and therefore cannot possibly exist!" He didn't realize he was standing until he noticed Adriel was standing also and Keagan was looking down at him.
Adriel's eyes were narrowed to little slits as he started walking slowly toward Keagan. Briefly Keagan wondered if he had made Adriel mad before he realized he had been backing up and his back was pressing against the wall, Adriel pinning Keagan's arms down with his own hands on the wall on either side of Keagan. Despite his delicate appearance, he was quite strong.
Keagan smiled nervously. "Wh-what are you doing?" Then he gasped as he felt the feeling of sharp teeth running lightly along the skin of his neck.
"Do you believe me yet?" Adriel breathed, his breath hot.
"Are you going to bite me?" Keagan asked in a whisper.
"Do you want me to?" Adriel asked, and when Keagan didn't answer, he ran his tongue along the scientist's throat. "Don't worry, I don't want to bite you," he whispered softly.
Keagan shuddered, and Adriel grinned, enjoying the feel of Keagan's body beneath his own, the warmth of the blood coursing through Keagan's veins.
"Your heart's beating really fast," Adriel murmured. "Are you scared?"
Keagan thought about it. "No," he said at last, honestly.
Adriel looked up at him then, his green eyes meeting Keagan's deep blue and slowly, his smile faded. "I am."
He pulled away from Keagan, heading toward Keagan's desk where he picked up his things. "I have to go. I only have two hours before I get off and I can't expect that the other guys will be okay with me disappearing for most of the shift."
Keagan frowned, wondering if he had done something wrong. He could still feel Adriel's breath on his neck. "Come back tomorrow night, okay? Don't forget my invitation."
Adriel looked back at him once before he left quickly, the door closing gently behind him. He hadn't answered.