"He gonna wake up so we can question him?" I asked staring intently at the vampire we had captured a few hours before.
"He'll wake up soon," Calvin assured me. "We just gave him enough blood to regain consciousness, not heal."
"You better be right Calvin," I growled. "We can't keep playing around anymore. The Council of the Blade wants answers and results, not more excuses."
"The Council of the Blade doesn't do any work!" Calvin snapped angrily catching me off guard. "Those cowards send us out with no idea what it's really like out here."
"Watch it Ross," I growled. "The Council keeps us strong and united. You're talkin' some heavy shit that shouldn't be touched."
The vampire moaned drawing our attention to him. "You woke him up Morris," Calvin chuckled sauntering over to the vampire. "Good morning bloodsucker! Sleep well?"
"I'm dying," the vampire groaned weakly.
"Yes, but you're not dead yet bloodsucker," Calvin pointed out. "Now are you going to answer our questions?"
"Go tae Hell hunter," the vampire snarled weakly.
"Wrong answer," Calvin said calmly. He grabbed the vampire's side and pressed down so hard on the wound that even I had to wince. The vampire's ethereal scream nearly burst my eardrums. It slowly subsided into a soft whimper. "Now let's try that again vamp. Are you going to answer our questions?"
"I w-willna betray my coven...you...murdering...bastards."
Calvin drew his hand back and I caught it. I didn't want to see this human-looking thing touched by my fellow hunter again. "Obviously brute force ain't workin' Ross. Move aside," I ordered. Calvin reluctantly moved allowing me to face the vampire. "Look, we'll help you die painlessly if you just tell us where we can find the coven. We need this or it's our heads."
"I willna betray my own. Ye wouldn't. What would make ye think that I would?" The vampire asked looking up at me. In those eyes, I thought I glimpsed more humanity than I had ever seen before. Then it was gone.
I sighed. "I can understand not wanting to give up your own, but you have to think of it from our perspective. You vampires kill humans. We have to fight back and protect our own. You can't blame us for that can you?"
"You pompous bastards," the vampire snarled. "Do you truly believe yerselves to be so superior? You killed an innocent man. He was a good man who never did harm to anyone. He had a niece who he loved dearly. He was the last family that she had. You took that away. And fer what? Because he believed that no all vampires are evil. Nay, if anyone here mus' be stopped, 'tis all of ye."
"Well," Calvin said walking over. "That was a very stirring speech." Then Calvin struck quickly. He hit the vampire in the face before I could stop him. I winced for the vampire. It was irrational of course. Why should I care if a vampire felt pain?
"That's enough for now Calvin. We need to tell the council we have this son of a bitch."
"Of course," Calvin said shrugging. "Let's just hope it doesn't die on us while we're gone."
I was sitting in one of the parlors with Nick. Nick was the big black vampire I had met the first day I had come to the coven. He was so gentle and still very childlike, but I was teaching him how to read and he was an eager learner. Right now, we were working on Nick reading some of Aesop's Fables. He was doing very well actually.
The door to the parlor swung open and a very worried looking Clara came in. "Lee lass! Have ye seen Seamus?"
"No," I said slowly shaking my head. "What's wrong Clara?"
"I donna' ken where he is Lee. He went tae fetch the school mail a few hours ago, but he hasna been back since."
"Where's Hiram?" I demanded instantly on my feet. I had a churning feeling in my stomach. I hadn't been with the coven long, but I knew Seamus. He wouldn't make his wife worry like this. He loved her too much for it.
"What's the matter?" Hiram stood in the doorway with a confused Evan by his side.
"I'm worried aboot Seamus me lad. He's been gone fair too long." Clara said turning to Hiram.
"What do you mean?" Hiram asked. Evan had visibly paled.
"He went tae check the school mail and I havna seen him since. That was nay on three hours ago."
"Evan, isn't that your job?" Hiram asked. His voice was cold and hard.
"Yeah...I asked Seamus to go for me because I was supposed to have a date tonight, but it got cancelled. That was after I asked Seamus to check the mail for me though." Evan confessed talking so fast that his words almost ran together.
"Evan, come with me now," Hiram ordered quietly.
Clara, Nick, and I were left to wait, wonder, and worry. Three things that I did not want to do at that moment. I tried to go back to teaching Nick to read, but neither of us had the heart to do it. The fact that Seamus was missing was too great of a distraction. It was an eternity before the front door opened again to be slammed shut moments later. Evan was swearing up a storm and Hiram was deadly calm as he walked into the room.
"We believe that two hunters have taken Seamus," Hiram said softly after Evan had finally finished speaking. "One is the man who killed my father. The other was his companion from the high school," this time he was looking straight at me.
I fell back into the chair behind me, put my face in my hands, and groaned. "This is my fault. I shouldn't have ever allowed you guys to take me in."
"Donna ye fash lass. 'Tis no yer fault. Hiram will save our Seamus, I've nae doot of it." Clara said rushing over to my side and trying to comfort me.
"It's not your fault Baker. If anyone's to blame for this, it's me," Evan said leaning up against the doorframe. "I'm the one who asked Seamus to do my duty."
"It's no one's fault." Hiram snapped. "The only one's to blame are the hunters and they must be punished accordingly this time. When we catch them, they will understand vampire justice. But first, we have to find Seamus. There was blood in that house and it was all Seamus's. They shot him and I doubt they've given him any blood. He'll need it and time to heal soon or he's dead."
I stared up at Hiram in shock. He had completely taken on the role of the Coven elder. He was taken charge in an emotionless manner so that things were getting done. I didn't deserve his friendship...or his care.
"Nick, go get blood, three or four packs will have to do. Evan round up Frank and Matthew. We leave immediately."
"And what o' me laddie. Ye canna expect me tae wait here fer me Seamus?" Clara said leaving my side to try and stare Hiram down.
"I do Clara. I want you to stay here with Lee. I already know what you're thinking Lee and we aren't going to let you run off." Hiram said looking at me over Clara's hair.
"Why shouldn't I?" I demanded standing up. "This is my fault. You all keep putting yourselves in danger because of me and I won't allow that if I can help it."
Hiram strode over to me and put his hands gently on my shoulders. "It was our choice to make you one of our coven Lee. We will not give you up now or ever. Don't you ever think that we would or that we'd allow you to run away either."
"Hiram, I want to live, but not at the expense of all of you. It's not right. The only reason they could have known to find Seamus would have been to look at the school records. They never looked before because they didn't know. Don't you see? I have to go. I have to protect all of you."
Hiram chuckled softly. "Oh Lee, you don't have to protect us." Then he surprised me by leaning down and brushing his lips against mine. "We're protecting you." He whispered. Then he was gone in a whirl of wind and I was left alone in the parlor with Clara.