This is a new series I've been thinking about/working on for the past 2 days or so. It's going to contain both one-shots like this and multi-chapter stories, and you don't have to read any of them first, really. But right now here's this, and yes it is the first in the series - unless I do a back story on Kazuya and Damon, but we'll see. Just give it a chance, yeah? Thanks!

I will try to write another one-shot or something soon. I'm not too sure about the action in this story because I've been pretty out of it all day 'cause I only got 3 hours of sleep, but yeah, haha ;) I will maybe come back and redo that part given time, I dunno yet. But please let me know, okay? Thanks! You guys are the best!

Anyway, a summary will be posted on my profile at some point ;) And be on the look-out for others in this series!

Let us begin!


While There's Life, There's Hope

The Demon Hunters

The building was dark but twenty-three-year-old Damon Hart knew he was in the right place. Even though he was shrouded in silence at the moment, he continued into the house. Why a demon would attack this house was beyond him, but they didn't pay him to ask questions. Honestly, they didn't really pay him at all, except the bare minimum. He only got more if he completed a job that held up to the satisfaction of those in charge, but he didn't even know who they were. He just knew he reported in from time to time and got money if and when they deemed him worthy of it.

The floorboards creaked as he made his way through the empty living room. A smashed wooden chair led into the kitchen. The floor was coated in smeared red, like someone had been dragged from the room. Following the smears, Damon could make out a faint gasping sound, which he soon identified as breathless crying.

Someone was still alive.

Pulling out his twelve-inch blade, coated in silver and blessed by a priest, he followed the sound and the blood smears. Up the stairs he went. The closer he got, the more red he could see, pooled in more thick areas. The crying grew louder until it was screeching – except a little more quiet, muffled, and breathless.

The blood led to a closet. So did the screaming.

Steeling himself, Damon took a breath and grasped the knob, twisting it but it wouldn't open. The screeching quieted somewhat, more like fearful pants. Someone was definitely alive in there – hopefully just hurt, but there was way too much blood. Was there another person in there too? A dead one?

Things weren't looking too great at the moment.

The door was locked. Someone had locked them in there. Why would demons do that?

"Hold on," he called out, knocking lightly at the door. The crying quieted but then grew louder when his fist touched the wood. "I'll get you out, okay? Stand back!"

He heard a little movement from inside and hoped the closet was big enough for there to be some distance between the door and the person. Taking a breath, Damon stepped back and then rammed his shoulder into the door. The wood splintered and gave way, leaving Damon to quickly snag the knob to keep the door from flying open so much it hit something.

Then he peeked inside and felt his heart drop as light from the hallway flooded into the little room.

Blood was pooled on the ground, surrounding a brunette woman with a white face and barely parted, glazed, dead eyes. There were multiple wounds to her chest and head and probably a lot more, but right now Damon was more focused on the live person in the room.

The live kid in the room.

"Oh, shit," he hissed, quickly reaching out to grab the kid. The boy couldn't have been more than five, maybe younger. Desperate, terrified gray eyes watched him and then the kid shrank back, away from his touch, cheeks stained with tears which were still falling, the whites of the eyes red. Puffy. "Oh, kid…I won't hurt you, c'mon."

"M-Mommy," the kid whimpered desperately, and Damon's heart nearly broke.

"I'm so sorry…" he whispered, unsure as to what else to say. "Let's get you out of here, okay? Kid? C'mon, I won't hurt you. I'm here to get you out of here."

He reached out for the kid's arm but the kid stepped back and tripped over the body of his own mother, tumbling to the ground in the pool of blood. He was already covered in the red stuff, his white and gray pajamas stained red and brown. How long had he been in there?

"C'mon, please – no one is gonna hurt you, kid." He reached in again and snagged the kid's arm before the boy could move. The toddler screamed as Damon pulled him out and into his chest, wrapping his arms around the poor kid. "Shh – it's okay, it's okay."

Little fists punched at him but eventually the boy just wound up crying into his shoulder, sobs wracking the small frame. "M-M-Mommy," the kid wailed, the sound so broken Damon had to pick the kid up and walk away from the closet.

The demons were long gone or they would have approached by now, due to the kid's wailing. He didn't deal with dead bodies – at least not the bodies of humans. Demons were another story entirely.

"Shh," he whispered to the crying form, carrying him downstairs and into the living room. At least there was no smeared blood in the living room. He didn't want the kid to see any more of it.

Gently, he put the kid down on the couch but the boy didn't seem to want to let go of the death grip he had on his neck.

"Kid – c'mon, it's okay," he soothed as he pried the tiny hands away from him. The kid collapsed into the couch, sniffling noisily. Damon frowned down at him, wishing there was something he could do help, but he knew next to nothing about kids. Especially little ones like this who had been stuck in a closet with their dead and bloody mom for who knew how long.

The kid collapsed into the cushions, squeezing them to death as he lay on the couch.

Damon scrubbed a hand over his face. He certainly didn't sign up for this. Any of this, really, but especially not this, not watching some scared little kid cry over his dead mother.

Damn it…fucking demons.

Clothes. The kid needed new clothes. Being covered in that much blood couldn't be healthy – mentally or physically. Where to find clothes…his room! Probably upstairs. In his little walk through before the blood, he hadn't seen any bedrooms down here. Great.

There was no way he was taking the kid back up there. Damn it.

He released a slow breath and lightly rested a hand in the kid's hair. The boy flinched but didn't shake him off, which was a start. Then again, the kid probably didn't even know he was there, he was so wrapped up in his crying. "Kid, look – I'm gonna go to your room and get you some clothes, okay? I'll be right back. Stay here and don't move and I'll be back in a minute."

After a brief pause, he sighed and turned to leave. He would probably be back before the kid even knew he was-

A shaky little hand snagged his wrist with a surprisingly strong grip. Damon stopped and looked down at the trembling little form who was looking at him with those wide, terrified eyes.

"Hey – it's okay, I'll be right back," he assured the kid, lightly trying to pry the grip away.

"No!" the kid screeched, tone rough with misuse. "No! Stay! Don't go!"

Damon blinked. "Kid…I'll be right back, I swear. I'm just gonna go get you some clothes and…"

"No!"

Damon sighed and bit down on his lower lip. Obviously he couldn't leave the kid alone, not when the boy was this upset and scared, but he couldn't take him past the blood again, either…What was he going to do?

"Alright…I'll take you with me, but I want you to close your eyes when I say so, okay? Do you hear me? Kid?"

The boy gave a shaky nod, barely noticeable. It might have just been his head jerking with his sobs, Damon didn't know, but he really didn't have time for this. He needed to get the kid changed and get the hell out of here before the cops arrived.

Oh, crap. What was he going to do with this kid? He couldn't just leave him here with the blood and gore for the police to question and then place into foster care, but he couldn't take the kid with him either. His line of work was no place for a toddler. He knew from experience.

Crap…I'll deal with it later. One thing at a time, Damon. One thing at a time.

He lifted the kid into his arms and allowed the tiny, tear-streaked face to bury into his shoulder before he turned to march back up the stairs.

"Eyes closed," he ordered when they passed the blood, but the kid still had his face buried in his shoulder so he didn't really have to worry about the boy seeing anything. The smell, however, was strong in the air, full of the metallic scent of blood, heavy and waiting like a thick fog they had to walk through. How long had she been dead, lying there? How long had the kid been trapped with her? Poor kid.

Damon checked a few rooms for the kid's room and by the second door, he had the right place. Quickly, he entered the room and flipped on the light, releasing a relieved breath when he noticed the absolute lack of blood and gore in the room. At least the kid's room hadn't been touched. That was something, at least.

"Okay, kid," he said, gently putting the kid down on the little bed. "I'm just gonna find you a change of clothes, okay? I'm not going anywhere."

"N-No…" the boy whimpered.

"I'll be right here – I'm just looking for some clothes, okay? Can you tell me where your clothes are, kid?"

The boy sniffled and pointed toward one of the two little dressers. Damon smiled at him and then moved toward the dresser, pulling open a few of the drawers. He found a change of clothes for the kid and pulled them out. Then he turned to find the kid no longer on the bed.

He frowned, quickly glancing around. "Kid? Kid!"

The boy emerged from the closet in the room, looking shaken. Poor kids. Closets were probably going to freak him out for a bit.

"What are you doing in there?" Damon asked, approaching the child. "Here, I have you some clothes."

The kid pulled out a little backpack and moved toward him, handing it to him. Damon took the backpack with a frown. It had a plastic Spiderman logo on it, all black and red with little straps.

"What's this for?" he asked.

The kid frowned. "Away," he said.

Well at least he wasn't sobbing anymore. That was a start, at least.

"Away?" Damon echoed, not understanding. "Come here – let me get those PJs off you."

The boy stepped forward. Damon quickly pulled off the bloody garments and pulled on the clean ones.

"There you go – nice and clean."

The kid could really use a bath. His brunette hair – the same color as his mom's – was messy and dotted with little spots of blood. It was hard to make out with the shade of his hair, but Damon could tell it was there all the same.

"Away," the kid said, shoving the little backpack back into his hands.

"Away? What do you mean?" Damon asked, confused.

The kid looked from the backpack to the dresser and back again. "Away." A pause. "Pack?"

"Pack? What…Oh. Oh, kid, no." Damon shook his head and winced at the open expression on the boy's face. "No, you…I'm not taking you with me, I…"

There was no way he could take the kid with him.

The boy's lower lip trembled, the prelude to sharp crying.

"No, no, kid, wait-"

"B-But…away! Away!" the kid cried, tears leaking out of his eyes again.

Damn it. Nice going.

"Kid…" Damon sighed and pulled the kid to him. The kid fought him, shoving away angrily, but he was already weak from crying and being locked in that closet for who knew how long. He quickly stopped fighting and sank into Damon's embrace. "It's okay, kid. I just…I can't take you with me, okay? I…I don't expect you to understand me, but you have to…God, you have to stay here, okay?"

"No! Away! You said away!"

He did? He thought back.

When he was taking the kid out of the closet, he'd told him he was getting him out of there. Damn. He had sort of said he would take the kid 'away', hadn't he? Shit. Kid was too smart for his own good.

"Aw, kid…I…"

Big, soulful gray eyes looked up at him, stared into his own blue ones. "B-But….away…away! Pweeze!"

'Pweeze'? Ah, hell.

Damon bit down on his lower lip and then sighed. "Alright, okay…let me make a call, kid, and I'll be right back."

"No! No go!"

"Okay, okay, I'll just…" Damon sighed again and pulled out his cell phone. He couldn't leave the kid like this and he couldn't take him out in the hallway with him, so he'd have to just sit here and make the call.

The little boy climbed up on the bed and settled into his side as Damon draped an arm around him, bringing the phone to his ear.

"Hello?" came a familiar, welcome voice.

"Kazuya," Damon breathed in relief, listening to his best friend's voice.

"Damon? What's wrong?" Concern held heavy in the air.

Damon sighed. "Nothing, er…well, okay, something."

"Something?"

"Okay, a kid."

"A kid? Excuse, did you just say a kid?"

Damon rolled his eyes. "Yes, Kazuya, a kid. Keep up. He, um…okay, look, we need to get him out of here."

"We? And just leave him, Damon. The cops – wait, you did finish the job, right?"

"No job to finish," Damon corrected him. "The, er…they were long gone. Left the kid and his mom in…well, it's not pretty, man. The kid's terrified."

"All the more reason to leave him with the police."

"I don't think so."

"And why the hell not?"

"He's just a kid, Kazuya," Damon whispered, absently rubbing his hand up and down the kid's back in little, soothing circles. "He's terrified. The police won't know how to handle this and he'll just be interrogated and put in some sick facility for the rest of his life, and…No. He needs to come with us."

"Us?"

"I can't do this on my own," Damon murmured quietly, because it was the truth. He wouldn't leave the kid here but he was no parent – he wouldn't be able to handle this on his own. "It's not forever, Kazuya – just, you know, for now…until we find him a good home and he gets better. Okay?"

"Damon…" Indecision in his friend's voice.

"I won't let him go into the system," Damon growled. "Hell, he won't even get in the system until he's had about a hundred evaluations and the kid's been through enough. I don't want him trapped in some foster system or some asylum for the rest of his life!"

"Okay, okay, calm down," Kazuya said with a deep sigh. "We'll figure this out, man. In the meantime, get the kid's crap and get out of there. I'll handle the cops."

"You will? How?"

"Does it matter? Just do as I say and lay low for a while. And for God's sake, be careful."

"I will," Damon said with a grin. "Thanks, Kazu – you're the best!"

He hung up and pocketed his phone – which was actually a little challenging seeing as how the kid was practically glued to his side. He shifted somewhat and held the kid away from him.

"Alright, kid – let's get packing."


The kid was asleep by the time Damon pulled into the motel parking lot. He little boy was laying down in the front seat, his head on Damon's lap despite Damon's best efforts at pushing him away, or trying to get him to stay in the backseat. At a stop sign the kid had crawled over the seats and joined him in the front. At first he'd had his seatbelt on, but at some point he must have taken it off without Damon noticing, because soon the kid was leaning against him with those soft little breaths which meant he was exhausted, and Damon didn't have the heart to push him away.

Now, though, he parked the car and glanced down at the little tyke. He had no idea what to do with him, but he knew this had to be the best way. He couldn't leave him there for the police to find – not when he was this terrified, and come to think of it, Damon didn't even know what the kid had seen during his mother's murder. Did he see the demons? Did he see them kill his mom? Or just come in after the fact?

If he saw them, that could pose a whole new problem which Damon didn't want to think about right then. He just wanted to get inside and get some sleep, despite the fact it was nearly five in the morning.

He'd received the call about a demon nearby around midnight, but it had taken him a while to drive to this town and check in to the motel before heading over. He wondered if any of this would have happened had he been there sooner, but then, he doubted there was anything he could do to stop it. The mother had been dead for hour and he hadn't even arrived in town until three.

How long had the kid been trapped in that closet? What time had the mother been killed?

He didn't want to think about this anymore. It was giving him an unneeded headache.

"Alright, kiddo," he whispered to the sleeping form next to him. Gently, he lifted the kid into his arms. The boy mumbled something under his breath and promptly stuck his thumb in his mouth and began to suck on it. The kid was surely out of that stage, but something this traumatic must have set him back a bit.

Maybe more than a bit. It wouldn't be a surprise, really.

Damon juggled the kid in his arms as he keyed the door to his – their, he realized – room. He kicked the door shut behind them and then frowned.

There was only one bed in the room. Crap. He hadn't thought he'd be taking someone home from his 'job', so to speak. Oh well. Life was all about adjustments.

Murphy's Law, after all.

Anything that can go wrong, will.

Life loved to hate him. It apparently hated the kid, too.

He put the boy down on the bed and pulled the covers up around him. A crease formed in the boy's brow but he buried his face in the pillows and seemed to relax somewhat, quietly sucking on his thumb. Damon sighed, watching him, before he turned and glanced at the floor.

Looks like my back's gonna hurt in the morning…Oh well. Won't be the first time.

He wadded up his jacket and used it as a pillow, sinking down to the floor where he sprawled out.

He was out the moment he closed his eyes.


He awoke sometime later to screaming.

He snapped his eyes open and sat up, glancing toward the bed to see the kid tossing and turning, pathetic little wails slipping past his chapped lips. "Oh, kid…" Damon got to his feet and sat on the bed, grasping the kid's shoulder. "Hey, kiddo – it's okay, I promise. It's just a dream – hey? Wake up." He shook the boy and then startled when the kid sat up, gasping for breath as tears leaked down his face.

Wide eyes looked around before finally landing on him. Then the boy launched himself forward, little arms wrapping around his neck like a vice. Wet cheeks buried into the crook of his neck.

"Easy, kid," Damon murmured quietly, wrapping an arm around the boy. "Shh – it's okay, I promise. Just a dream. You're safe."

Safe was a word Damon didn't like to toss around, but it felt like the right thing to say. Plus, he was sure it was a lot safer here than back at the house. Surely the cops had swarmed the place by now, right? What had Kazuya done?

Well, it didn't matter right now.

"Why don't you try to get back to sleep?" He tried to pull away but the kid whined and clung tighter.

"No!" the boy screeched. "No go!"

No go.

Damn it.

"Kid…" He really needed to learn the kid's name at some point.

"Stay!"

Damon sighed, scrubbing a hand over his face. "Alright, fine – I'll stay. But you need to sleep, okay?"

The boy sniffled and nodded into his neck. Sighing, Damon lay the kid down into the soft bed and sat next to him. Large gray eyes watched him, staring at him as though he might disappear, before the boy sucked on his thumb again and finally closed his eyes.

Within minutes, he was asleep.


A sharp knocking at the door had Damon snapping his eyes open. Without thinking, he tugged the small, warm form next to him more against, and then remembered where he was and what was happening. The kid against him went rigid with fear when he tried to roll out of bed.

"Easy – it's okay, I promise. I'm just gonna open the door, okay? It's my friend. I'm not going anywhere," Damon told the kid. Finally the kid nodded and allowed Damon to get to his feet.

The knocking sounded at the door again, harder this time.

Damon threw the door open and smiled at the familiar face. "Kazuya," he breathed in relief, pushing the door open more so his friend could come in.

Kazuya smiled back at him and entered. "Hey, Damon. How are you and the kid?" He shifted his dark brown eyes toward the bed and then frowned. Damon glanced back to find the kid cowering under the covers, not even showing his head.

"He's, um…scared," Damon offered in explanation.

"No shit," Kazuya scoffed. "I think that's a bit of an understatement. How much did he see?"

"I don't know – I don't think he really knows what happened, just enough that…he knows something happened."

"Okay. Got a name?"

"Err…no." Damon shook his head. "Not yet. He was exhausted so he went to sleep."

Kazuya eyed Damon, his dark brown hair, touched with dark red highlights along the bangs, hanging in his face. His half-Japanese best friend sighed and shook his head. "You look exhausted too."

"I'm fine, I just…what did you tell the cops?" Damon moved back toward the bed. The lump under the covers had started to tremble, the prelude to tears and shaky breaths, and he wanted to stop it before it could start. The kid had cried enough – he was going to make himself sick.

It was then it hit him.

"Shit – he needs food and some water. He's been crying for I don't know how long," he told Kazuya as the kid poked his head out from under the covers to peer at his friend. Kazuya stared back before he finally glanced at Damon.

"Then let's go eat," Kazuya said, "I'm starving."

Damon shook his head. "I don't think he's up to that just yet. He's terrified, man – I don't know what to do."

"Should have left him with the cops."

Now Damon shot his friend a sharp glare even as the kid disappeared back under the covers. "I couldn't," he hissed, feeling a surge of…something rise up within him. The thought of leaving the kid behind caused a spike to ignite somewhere in his mind. "They'd just interrogate the hell out of him and…" He took in a deep, calming breath. "And he's been through enough. Please, just…help me with this, okay?"

"Damon…" Kazuya dipped his head in doubt, a look Damon knew all too well flashing across his tan face.

"I can't leave him behind, man. He wanted to come."

"Damon…"

"Just for now, okay? It's temporary, I swear. I just…until he's calmed down enough, I don't want him going anywhere. He needs to be watched and…and comforted, and-"

"Okay, okay," Kazuya said with a scowl, throwing a hand up to stop Damon's words from continuing to spew out of his mouth. "I get it. I'll go pick us up some food, just…calm that brat down."

As Kazuya spun and left the room, Damon looked down at the lump in the covers and noticed the rapid shaking. "Kid," he murmured, shaking his head as he flipped the covers off and locked his gaze onto terrified orbs. "Hey – it's okay. He went to get us something to eat. You hungry?"

The boy shook his head.

"Kid…you gotta eat." A pause. "Hey, you got a name?" The boy gave a hesitant nod. "You wanna tell me what it is, or should I keep callin' ya 'kid'?"

For a long moment, the kid was quiet and Damon was sure he wasn't going to get an answer, but then the boy murmured a faint, barely audible, "Camden."

"What?"

"My name…is Camden."

"Oh, well – I'm Damon."

"Da…De…Da…Demon?"

Ice hit Damon's veins. "Demon?" he echoed, licking at his suddenly dry lips. How much does this kid remember? How much does he know? he thought to himself.

"Not right?" the kid asked, frowning at him, scanning his eyes over his face. "Da…Da…De…Demon?"

The kid couldn't pronounce Damon for some reason so he kept coming up with Demon. Well…he couldn't fault the kid for trying. He didn't seem to think the word odd, so odds were he didn't know about demons. Good. At least that made Damon's job a little easier – for now, anyway.

"Sure, kid," Damon sighed, offering the boy a small smile. "You can call me Demon if you want, Cam."


By the time Kazuya returned, the kid – Cam – was sitting up in bed, looking a little better. At least he wasn't cowering under the covers anymore. It was a start.

Kazuya entered and put the bags of food down on the single, circular table in the room, off to the far side of the bed, near the bathroom door. Cam refused to move from the bed, so Damon retrieved his food and put it on the bed in front of him. It was nothing special, just a few cheeseburgers and some fries, but the kid had to be starving.

"Make any progress?" Kazuya asked casually as he sat at the little table and pulled a large cheeseburger toward him.

"His name's Camden," Damon said. He glanced over at the kid to find him scowling at his food. "Cam – you need to eat."

"Camden, huh?" Kazuya asked through a large mouthful. Damon wrinkled his nose.

"Dude – chew your food. Then swallow. Then talk."

Kazuya rolled his eyes.

Cam was watching Kazuya now, eyes beginning to grow wide with fear. Damn it. Damon quickly sat next to him on the bed, his cheeseburger forgotten at the table. "Hey, it's okay – it's just Kazuya. Remember?"

"Ka…Kaz…Kazu…Kazu?" the boy whispered, and Damon smiled and nodded.

"Yeah, kiddo – Kazu."

Kazuya sighed. "Figure out his age yet?"

"Erm, well…" To be honest, he'd forgotten to ask. Now he turned his attention to the kid again. "How old are you, Cam?"

Cam hesitated before he held up four fingers.

Great. A four-year-old had just witnessed his mom's murder and had been locked in a little room with her for who knew how long. Damn it.

"He's four," he announced to Kazuya.

"Great. What are we gonna do with a kid, Damon?" Kazuya asked, sharp eyes clearly boring into Damon's head. Damon didn't need to be looking at him to know he was getting a glare.

"I don't know," Damon murmured, scrubbing a hand over his face. "I really don't."

And that was the whole damn problem.

The rest of the day, the three of them just sat around at the motel, Cam quiet and sitting on the bed while Damon and Kazuya talked back and forth about what to do next. Thus far it looked pretty hopeless.

"What'd you tell the cops?" Damon asked, because he'd yet to receive an answer to that.

Kazuya shrugged. "Basically just lied and said there was a body in the house. Didn't tell 'em why, but they didn't really ask so I figure they must have known about the demons or something. They were pretty calm about it, went over and checked things out, got the body out and whatnot."

"And the kid?"

"The brat should be okay – for now. I told 'em you were with some family members out of state. It will take them a little time to track down all her family, so we have a few days to think of what to do without looking like little kidnappers."

"Oh."

"But hopefully the kid will be calm enough by then, he'll be ready to go," Kazuya said with a small shrug.

Damon could only nod in response. He did hope the kid would be ready by then, but he wasn't so sure. Even if he did calm down, wouldn't he break under the intense interrogation that would follow when the police got him? The kid was only four, after all – it wasn't like it would be if this had all happened to an adult. Cam saw some horrible stuff and he was too young to properly comprehend what happened.

"Does he always do that?" Kazuya asked with a small scowl, glancing toward the bed. Damon glanced over his shoulder at the sleeping form. The kid's thumb was stuck in his mouth.

"I doubt he knows he's doing it," he pointed out. "It's for comfort."

Kazuya rolled his eyes. "Whatever – he's four, he should be about over that by now."

"Like I said, it's for comfort. It's like he had a regression or something."

"Great, just what we freaking need – a broken little kid who malfunctions."

Damon narrowed his eyes into little slits and glared at his best friend. "Leave him alone, man. He was locked in a damn closet with his bloody and dead mom – of course he's gonna regress and cope with it any way he can!" He felt his hands curl into fists at his sides. It actually took a bit of effort to uncurl them.

Kazuya held his hands up in that 'alright, alright' sort of way. "You win," he said, shaking his head, and then he gave a poignant pause. "Why'd they lock him in there? What's the point?"

"I don't know – I've been wondering the same thing," Damon admitted, "but I've come up with nothin'."

"Demons don't just kill someone and stash 'em somewhere with their freaking kid. That's not their style. If anything, they would have killed her and taken either her or the kid, but to leave 'em both?" Kazuya shrugged. "Never heard of 'em doing that before."

"I know," Damon breathed in a sigh, "tell me about it. It doesn't make any sense." He got to his feet and watched as Kazuya did the same. His friend stood about two inches taller than Damon at 5'9". "I'm gonna go for a drive – watch the kid, please."

"Damon…"

"I need some air," Damon told him before he turned and grabbed his jacket off the nearest wooden chair – there were four of them around the table – before heading out the door.

He'd been in that motel all day and he really wanted – needed – to get out for a while. Besides, the kid was asleep and unless disturbed my nightmares, he seemed to sleep pretty soundly. He probably wouldn't wake before Damon returned.

That thought in mind, Damon keyed the ignition to his red 1995 Camaro and pulled out of the motel parking lot.


It wasn't thirty minutes later Damon's cell phone rang, disturbing the peaceful silence of the drive. He sighed and pulled it out, flipping it open. "Yeah?" he answered in his usual fashion.

Any real manners he had were long gone now, swallowed up by this job.

"Damon!" Kazuya said urgently, causing Damon's heart to pick up in alarm.

"Kazuya? What is it? What's wrong?" he asked, gripping the phone so tight his fingers felt cold. It was a wonder he wasn't crushing the damn thing.

"The brat woke up and now he's screaming about demons!" Kazuya growled, sounding a little out of breath. "He won't calm down!" There were sounds of a scuffle across the line – the light thud of two people colliding, the whimpers escaping Cam's mouth, the breathless way Kazuya growled low in his throat. "Ow! The stupid kid bit me!"

"Kazuya, let me talk to him," Damon said, because he wasn't entirely sure how to tell Kazuya that he was the 'demon' in question. Demon and Damon may have been one letter apart, but they didn't necessarily sound the same. Of course, Cam was freaking four, so he didn't know the difference.

"Here," Kazuya snapped, probably thrusting the phone at the kid. "It's Damon."

There was a pause and then a hesitant voice whispered, "Demon?"

"Hey, kiddo," Damon said, stopping at a red light. "You need to calm down, okay? Kazuya's just trying to help."

Doubt appeared in Cam's voice. "Kazu?"

"Yeah, Cam – Kazu. Take it easy on him. He's just trying to help and I'll be back soon. In fact I'm on my way there right now." He'd turned around at the first sign of distress in Kazuya's voice. "I'll be there in a few, okay? Now put Kazuya back on, please."

It was quiet for a long moment, long enough for Damon to wonder if the kid had accidentally hung up on him or something, and then Kazuya's voice slid through the phone. "Demon?" his best friend grunted.

"Er, yeah, about that…" Damon wet his lips. "He calls me Demon. I don't think he can pronounce Damon."

"…But Demon?"

"I don't know – doesn't really matter. I don't think he knows about demons."

Kazuya released a relieved breath. "Well, that's something, at least. When are you coming back?"

"On my way now," Damon promised. "Be there in ten."

"Make it five."

He sped up a little. "Alright – be there in five."


When he got back to the hotel, the kid pretty much latched himself to Damon's side, his thumb in his mouth, his lips chapped and dry. His eyes were red and puffy from crying. Kazuya sat at the table, shooting Cam glares.

"The brat bit me," Kazuya growled. "Hard!"

Damon glanced down at the kid. "Why'd you bite him?"

Cam buried his head into Damon's side. "Sowwy, Kazu."

'Sowwy'. Kazuya had to give into that!

The expression on Kazuya's face softened somewhat before he rolled his eyes and looked away, folding his arms over his chest. Right – of course. It wasn't in Kazuya's nature to cave. What was Damon thinking?

Kazuya got to his feet, pulling on his jacket. "I'm gonna go look around, see if I see any sign of, you know, 'activity' anywhere. You stay here with the brat."

Damon nodded. "Alright – be careful."

Kazuya flashed him a disarming smile. "Aren't I always?"

"No," Damon answered truthfully.

"Yeah, yeah. Whatever." He moved toward the door. "I'll bring something to eat on my way back."

Damon nodded. "Good idea." They hadn't eaten since earlier, around noon. It was already five in the evening and Damon could feel his stomach growling.

Kazuya nodded and left the room, leaving Damon alone on the bed with the kid glued to his side.


An hour later found Damon craving a shower but he didn't want to leave Cam alone. He'd have to wait until Kazuya got back or something. As it was, though, he was letting Cam sit on the bed and watch TV. The kid rarely moved from that spot except to go to the bathroom, but that was about it. Damon was sure he would be stiff later if he didn't get up and move around a little.

If Kazuya wasn't back in another hour, Damon would give him a call and see how things were going.

Cam seemed entranced by the cartoons and had a transfixed look on his face. It was the most normal expression Damon had seen him make since he'd found the kid, and he wasn't going to ruin that.

Instead he pulled his laptop out of his duffel and sat at the table. Every now and then he could feel pair of eyes on him but when he finally looked up, the kid was stuck on the TV again.

A knock at the door startled Damon, causing him to jerk somewhat. Cam's eyes went wide and all but hid under the covers, ignoring the TV.

"It's okay," Damon said, "it's just Kazuya."

He moved toward the door and opened it. Immediately, he was hit hard and fell backward, staggering, barely managing to catch himself. He glared at his attacker to find two demons standing before him. They looked human enough – to the untrained eye, but part of the reason Damon had even been picked for this job was because he, unlike most of society, would actually see the demons for what they were.

While they looked human to most people, their eyes were a fiery red filled with an angry promise of pain. Their skin was made out of some kind of charred scale-type substance, not exactly like a reptile, with tufts of fur throughout. One of the demons had sharp red horns sticking out of its forehead. Their claws were long and sharp, one set a translucent white color. Wickedly sharp teeth poked out from their gums, dotted with little drops of red blood. They both stood about a foot taller than Damon and stalked forward with sinister twin smiles.

"Demon!" Cam cried from the bed. Damon shot him a sharp look to find he was poking his head out of the covers. "Demon!"

"So the boy knows about us," one of the demons drawled, eying the boy like he was some meal to be eaten in the very near future. Damon felt a growl catch in his throat.

"He doesn't know anything," he snapped, his hands curling into fists. "Leave him out of this."

Haven't you already done enough to him?

"Sorry, no can-do, Hart," the other demon said.

Damon narrowed his eyes. "How do you know my name?"

"There's a lot we know. We also know it's time for you to die," a demon hissed before it suddenly surged forward and spun, kicking his leg out to catch Damon hard in the side. Gasping, Damon couldn't even stop himself as he was sent flying to the ground. Demons could really pack a punch.

"Demon!" Cam cried again, and the bed creaked.

"No," Damon snapped, "stay there!"

The kid froze mid-movement and stopped trying to get off the bed, instead shooting wide-eyed looks from Damon to the demons and back again.

A foot collided with Damon's side, causing him to groan and curl in on himself. When he next got a moment, he was going to yank that blade from his belt and kill this thing, but for right now, he couldn't risk it with the kid in the room. Cam might just get stuck in the crossfire.

And he wouldn't risk the kid's life. Not yet – not unless he had to.

A demon knelt next to him and snagged a handful of his dirty blonde hair, tugging his head up and back. Blue eyes locked onto fiery red and the demon's face opened into a twisted smirk, an expression which never should have existed it was so wrong.

"You've pissed off a lot of people, Hart."

"Yeah, well – a lot people have pissed me off, too," Damon snapped back, twisting out of the demon's grip. "But I don't hold it against them."

The smirk widened, showing off the sharp fangs. "I don't think you understand the seriousness of the situation." Claws traced patterns across his forehead and face, and then sharply dug in, breaking the skin. Damon winced and tried to squirm away, but was only hit in the head for his efforts. Little black dots danced across his vision.

"Demon!"Cam screeched, and Damon tore his gaze away from the demon to look at the scared kid.

One of the demons moved toward the kid.

Fueled by the adrenaline this sight brought him, Damon managed to knock the first demon away and charge after the second, catching it by the arm. Quickly, he pulled out his blade and rammed it into the demon's back before the thing had time to spin on him. A howling scream pierced the air as the demon fell to its knees. Damon didn't see the rest as he was grabbed from behind and thrown against a wall, being held there as the second demon pressed a bent arm up and against his throat, digging upward. Damon felt his air abruptly cut off as his feet left the ground. The knife clattered to the ground.

His hands tore at the demon's arm, scratched and clawed, but it didn't seem to do any good. It was like the demon didn't even feel it.

"Let…go!" he panted, kicking at the demon but he might as well have been hitting it with pillows for all the good it did.

"Sorry, can't," the demon said as it brought a clawed hand up and jabbed the claws firmly into Damon's chest, blood pooling hotly around the wounds.

"Ngh!" he gasped as pain swarmed through him, igniting in his chest. His nails dug into the demon's arm against his throat. "S-Stop!"

"Demon!" the kid screamed. "Dee!"

Dee?

Suddenly the kid was next to him, little fists pounding at the demon, tears slipping silently down his cheeks. "Dee!"

The claws pulled out of his chest and he was tossed side, slamming into the side of the bed to fall to the ground. His vision swam and his head throbbed as he gulped in gasps of air, unable to do more than curling in on himself at the moment. A groan caught in the back of his throat and burned as he swallowed it down, feeling blood begin to saturate his shirt.

"Deeee!" Cam screamed, and suddenly the kid was right in front of him, looking down at him. "Dee!"

"Not so powerful without your little knife, are you?" the demon who had been holding Damon up asked as it looked over at him. It bent down and picked the blade up, eying it carefully. "I think it's your turn to be stabbed, don't you?" A sinister grin crossed its face before he started walking toward Damon and Cam.

"Nooo!" Cam cried, tucking himself against Damon. "Go away!"

"Kid…you gotta run," Damon whispered breathlessly. "You gotta…run." The kid had to get out of here. Kazuya would be here soon – right? He had to be. He wasn't sure how much longer he was going to last and he needed the kid to be alright.

"No go," the kid whimpered.

"Yes go," one of the demons mocked. This one was further away from them, standing near the door, watching them as the other demon stopped to hover over Damon and Cam, the blade held firmly in its grasp. It snagged Cam's arm and all but threw him away from Damon, making the kid crash into the wall, where he released a wild yelp.

"Cam!" Damon cried. "Leave him alone, you son of a bitch! He's done nothing to you!"

"Well, well," the demon hovering over him said, grinning. "Look who got their second wind." Then he all but jumped on Damon, snagging his wrists to pull them over his head, pinning them to the ground. The added weight of the demon sitting on Damon's chest made all the harder to breathe and pain sparked through him once more. "Let's see if you make it to a third."

With that, the demon used his free hand to hold the knife at the ready, angled directly at Damon's exposed neck. Damon tried to duck his head as much as he could, but he doubted it would do much good. Demons were strong – he was sure the thing could cut through his face and stab his neck if it had to.

With a laugh, the demon shot the knife downward. Damon snapped his eyes closed, waiting for the blow, knowing it would be the last thing he'd feel before permanent darkness took over.

"NOOOO!" came a frantic cry. "Deee! STOP!"

The tip of the knife sank into his chest but didn't make it in any further than that. Damon snapped his eyes open as the demon pressed down hard, but nothing happened. The blade didn't move. It hurt, and there was blood, but it was more like a sharp prick than anything else…It could have been so much worse.

What was happening? What was stopping it from going in all the way to the hilt? He knew that was the demon's plan. Hell, it might even be able to shove it in past the hilt if it so desired, with the brute strength demons possessed. Except it wasn't and it couldn't.

Why?

"Leggo!" Cam cried, causing Damon's eyes to snap toward the kid's panicked face. The other demon was holding him back, pinned against a wall. "Leggo! Deeee! Dee! Nooo!"

Well, whatever happened could wait because the kid needed help. Damon focused back on the demon pinning him to the ground. The thing looked pissed as it growled loudly and yanked the knife free of his chest.

"I don't know how you did that," the demon seethed, glaring down at Damon, "but don't think that will stop me from killing you!"

Claws closed around Damon's throat, his wrists still pinned above his head. He yanked at his wrists, struggling to free them, twisting and turning them, but the demon's grip held fast and blood ran down Damon's neck.

I'm gonna die. I'm gonna die. Here. Now. This is it.

He was just about to close his eyes and accept the inevitable when the motel room door slammed open and he heard a familiar voice shout, "Damon!"

Quickly, he glanced over to find Kazuya standing in the doorway, chocolate eyes blaze with an inner fury Damon could remember seeing when his friend was pissed on a job. "K-Kaz-" Damon tried to utter but the claws tightened around his neck and he broke off with a strangled gasp.

"You get your sorry hands off him!"Kazuya snapped, pulling out two blades. Where had he gotten the second one? Oh well, it was hard to think at the moment, he was so freaking tired

His eyes slid closed. He heard the sounds of fighting, of flesh against flesh, blade against blade, but he was too exhausted to really care at the moment.

Sleep sounded excellent…

Darkness consumed his mind and he knew no more.


He drifted in and out of consciousness.

Heard words that didn't really make much sense.

Felt hands on him, touching, pressing, swiping.

"Fuck, Damon, don't you dare!"

Every time he fell into the darkness, something seemed to pull him back – a voice, a hand on his shoulder, rough shaking…it was always something.

"Stop bleeding all over the place and wake up!"

Sleep was better than waking, he was sure.

"Dee." A whimper.

A whine.

A frantic plea.

"Pweeze, Dee!"

His head spun. Vision went in and out. Body throbbed, heart ached.

Leave me alone…

"Damon, damn it, you wake up right now! Damon!"

So tired…

"Damon!"

"Dee!"

Sniffles. He hard sniffles.

And quiet cries. Shaky breaths. Angry pants.

His name.

"Damon, fuck it, if you die I will bring you back and kill you myself! Do you hear me!"

Sleep now…?

Sleep sounded like the best thing in the world right about now.

"Damon, stop – don't you da-"

Sleep now.

"Damon, don't you – DAMON!"


He surprised himself later by actually waking up. His mind was foggy and clouded but he at least could feel the air rushing in and out of his lungs – mostly because it hurt. Breathing hurt.

"Damon?" whispered a familiar voice.

Damon's eyes opened slightly and then he quickly snapped them shut again due to the light that flooded his vision.

Ow. What happened?

"Damon – I really need to hear from you, okay?"

He knew that voice. He did. It was…

"K-Kazu…" he murmured, wincing as his voice scratched against his raw and sore throat.

"Yeah – that's me," Kazuya said, and a warm hand landed on his shoulder. "Can you open your eyes? I need to see how bad your concussion is."

"Concussion?" Damon asked, but it was so slurred he doubted Kazuya could even tell what he said.

His friend knew, though – he always did. "It's not too bad, I don't think, but I'm not a doctor. You're all patched up and you tried to leave me alone with the brat, but I think you're safe now," Kazuya said quickly, rambling.

He did that when he was worried.

Damon pried his eyes open again and allowed them to adjust to the light. As Kazuya looked into his eyes, pulling his eyelids back somewhat before allowing them to return to normal, Damon murmured, "Where's…Cam?"

"He's okay," Kazuya assured him quickly, and Damon felt like he could breathe again. "I actually had to tear him off you, but he's okay. He's asleep." He gestured next to Damon and Damon glanced over and down to see the kid sleeping with his head on his legs. "I told him to leave your side and everything alone."

"Oh…okay. Thanks."

"Mm. What did those demons want, Damon?" Kazuya asked quietly, like he'd been running it over in his head but kept coming up empty.

"I don't know…they just showed up. I think…" Damon bit down on his lower lip. "I think they wanted the kid…at first. But then…I don't know. They saw me and decided they wanted to kill me. I mean – can't really blame them, right? They're demons. We kill demons. It makes sense for them to hunt us."

"Yeah – but not like this. If it wanted you dead…it could have just killed you the second it got inside," Kazuya told him. Damon nodded. He'd been thinking the same thing.

"So maybe it was just toying with me."

"I dunno…maybe."

Damon hesitated, biting down somewhat on his lower lip, which was cracked and dry. "The…knife."

"Huh?"

"The demon was trying to stab me with it…but the knife suddenly stopped and wouldn't go in any further," Damon explained slowly, watching as a dark look overtook his friend's face, shadows hidden in his eyes. "I don't know what happened…but the demon seemed shocked and blamed me, but I know I didn't do it."

He didn't mention how he'd had his eyes closed at the time, ready for the end to come.

What Kazuya didn't know wouldn't hurt him.

Kazuya sighed and scrubbed a hand over his face. He needed to shave and probably shower…and sleep. There were rings under his eyes and his face was pale despite its natural color.

"You look like hell, man," Damon said.

Kazuya barked out a laugh, but there was nothing happy in it. "Have you seen yourself lately?"

"No – but you won't let me have mirrors anymore."

"You keep breaking them," Kazuya said, a smirk beginning to form on his lips.

Damon smiled. "I don't, but you like to blame me anyway." He paused. "What happened to the demons?"

Kazuya's smirk disappeared. "I came in and attacked them. They died."

"You took them out…both of them?"

"Why so shocked? I stabbed the first one as soon as I came through the door. Then all I had to deal with was the second one, who was…" Kazuya trailed off.

"Who was by me, yeah, I know," Damon murmured. "So are you okay? Did it get you?"

"Nah – few cuts and bruises but nothing I can't handle," Kazuya said with a shrug, waving the issue away. "Point is, they're gone and you two are okay."

"Yeah," Damon said, smiling somewhat.

"Get some more sleep, Dana."

Damon scowled at the name. "Okay, Kazu-kun." Despite being half-Japanese, Kazuya didn't like the little add-ons at the end of names – like '-kun', '-chan', and '-san'. He'd use them if he had to when his Japanese relatives came around, but that was about it.

Kazuya grinned down at him. "That's more like it," he said with a faint laugh. "Back to your annoying self. Wait, I don't know if I like that."

Damon rolled his eyes. "Whatever, asshole."

"Bastard."

The two smiled at each other and just like that, Damon was sure everything would be okay – in time.


And there it is. It's probably crappy but oh well, I will try to fix it later - just let me know what needs fixing, yeah? And this one was kinda hard to write 'cause they all had to meet and whatnot :/ I know Cam is 4 and he acts younger, but seriously, trauma can my you backtrack in mindset and everything. But yeah ;) Thanks for reading and please review! I have a series of both dark and funny stories in mind for these three ;)

~Averick~