Chapter 13 – Twist of Emotion (Acceptances and Anger)
“You’ll dance with the demon tonight
Between good and evil”
- Bloodbound – Crucified
The only light in the room was cast by candles. Randal stood directly in front of Rupert, and the rest of the circle was loosely gathered around the outside of them. The atmosphere in the room was tense, but also full of anticipation. Only he and Deidre knew all the stakes. Randal had his own goal, and for the rest of them, this probably wasn’t much more than a game.
It would be interesting to see how long that mindset would last for, once blood started flowing. It was hard to see something as a game once that happened. Rupert felt dirty even considering it, but he knew enough about sacrifice to know that sometimes people had to wade through the shit to get what they wanted.
He had set a trapdoor spell, something that would allow people into the room, but not out of it. There was every chance that they would need it, too, if anyone was left with enough sense to pay attention to what was going on once the ritual started. Sex had a habit of being rather distracting, and the highly ritualized magic that they were going to be casting would help create a false sense of intimacy. There was also the fact that after swigging on the potion he had made, they would all be pretty out of it.
It was finally time to make one more push for freedom, possibly the last one that he would make. If the spell succeeded then he would be free, and if it didn’t, then he doubted he would ever have another chance at this. He would probably be dead, or kept under constant supervision by Ethan.
It was cold, far colder than it should have been. The candles gave off more than enough light, but they didn’t do anything in the way of heat. Goosebumps had erupted over the skin of his arms and legs to try and keep the heat in.
He let his gaze wander over the others, as he reached down. He grasped the hip-flask that was on one side of him, and removed the lid with a flick of his thumb, and then picked up the jar that was on his other side. Holding it out towards the light he poured in roughly half the mixture, only stopping when the flask began to steam from the top.
He cleared his throat, “Only take a sip. Any more that that and you won’t be complaining about the effects tomorrow morning.”
“Huh?” one of the men enquired.
“Very, very potent. Too much and you’ll be dead inside the hour,” Rupert clarified, “As it is, you won’t know up from down, nor left from right. Also strips inhibitions more efficiently than any drug.”
One of the blokes giggled at that.
Raising the flask Rupert took a small swallow of the brew, wincing at the acidic, bitter flavour and the way that it burned down his throat. He handed it over to Randal, and after Randal had taken a swallow he handed it out, around the rest of the circle. By the time that it had done the round and was handed back to him his hand felt as though it was disconnected from him, almost like it was moving through water.
Rupert focused on Randal’s eyes, as he let his sense of power play around him, plucking the strings of magick in the room as though he was weaving a tune out of the air. Blackness flared up in Randal’s eyes, and Rupert focused on the power that branched out from himself, and from Randal, spreading through each of them in the room. He tugged at each string, testing its strength, hunting for any discord amongst the whole, as sounds and sights spun around him.
A muted background of flesh-tones and the smell of musk danced around the edges of his perception. Apparently it didn’t take much to get a room full of high, horny youths naked.
When he had finished weaving the power in the room together, and was certain of the strength in the pattern, which was something the Ethan had taught him to check, he tugged at it with everything that he had, a single, sharp, violent movement. Randal’s eyes flashed from black to a sickly shade of green for the briefest moment, and he wasn’t particularly surprised that it was Lawrence who fell forward, crossing the line between the inner circle and the outer one.
If he had doubted they’d had Eyghon’s attention before then he didn’t doubt it now. In a movement that looked a lot smoother than it felt, he grabbed the man by the hair and forced him up so that he was on his knees in front of the dragon’s skull bowl that was there, and pulled his head back. He felt that great gaping chasm between himself and his morals, as he pressed the knife to his throat.
He looked at Randal again, at his face which was flicking between human, the demon race he carried blood from, and something so old that it looked reptilian. The others in the outer circle had frozen the second poor old Lawrence had gone over.
“Do…” he cleared his throat, and started again, “do you hear me?”
Randal’s features stopped flickering, human again, but his expression was cold and uncaring, and his eyes gave the demon away, as they were far darker green than was humanly possible, and glowed in the shadows.
“I hear.” The voice was grating, like the words had been formed by a throat that was unaccustomed to human speech, and didn’t to anything to dispel the impression of great age. This beast was something that had been old when humanity was a distant future dream, “I hear children that want to play with a power they don’t have a chance of comprehending.”
All of a sudden Rupert felt very, very young. He could see a faint outline outside of Randal’s body, something that was far larger than the man himself had ever been.
“Are you going to feed me, little anchor?” the voice sounded mocking, but somehow still indifferent, “If you don’t think you have the guts, then I’ll show yours to you. I need a life, and I can just as easily take yours instead.”
Rupert felt a distant pain as hands scrabbling at his forearm, nails digging in, as Lawrence tried to free himself. He locked eyes with the demon again, and fighting to keep his hand steady he drew the knife across the throat of the man in his hands. Blood ran down along the blade of the knife and over his fingers, shocking warmth against his skin, and he held him as he struggled to draw breath through the hole in his throat, making a gargling that he could only have described as thick. It was a sound that he knew he would follow him to his nightmares.
He held him for a moment longer, keeping him over the bowl that sat between him and the beast, letting the blood run into it. His struggles became weaker and weaker, and when they stopped he cast the body to the side, ignoring the dull eyes that stared accusingly, and that gash in his throat that was twisted like a mockery of a smile, leering up at him.
Dropping to his knees, Rupert grasped the bowl with one hand and held it up to the demon with his head bowed. It was lifted from his hands, and he heard the sound of swallowing, felt the power flowing into the demon that stood before him.
This time the demon’s voice sounded less like gravel, and more like the rumble before an earthquake. Rupert stood, still not looking to either side, to his companions who seemed strangely still. It seemed not everyone had known what was on the table after all. Looking up at it again, he saw that the human features had started to fall away once more. It grinned, to reveal knifelike teeth, as it dipped a thumb into the bowl, and traced a mark on his forehead in blood that was still warm enough to feel unnatural, and then looked around at the shocked humans gathered around.
Mostly shocked, Rupert amended. Deidre hadn’t flinched, which showed Rupert her true colours better than any conversation ever could.
“You pretend at innocence so well,” it spoke to the group as a whole this time, “but you have no need to pretend with me. Do any of you think that I have not looked inside each on of your minds since you took my sign as apart of your flesh? I knew all you darkest fears, and all your greatest dreams before you ever set eyes on me. I weeded out the weakest amongst you myself, and your dreams are what mine are,” it paused, “for a price. Everything has a price,” it purred.
There was no response, only a feeling of fear that Rupert could almost taste.
“Did you think I only walked among the dead? I am the Sleepwalker, Lord of Humanity’s darkest hour. If you swear your allegiance to me, then you have nothing to fear, and everything to gain. Who out of you will be the first to swear it?”
“I am,” it was Deidre of course “I swear my service is yours.”
“You think that I only want your service? I want you very life, girl.”
Deidre lost some of that cocky confidence of hers, as she went pale, but she slowly nodded, “Forgive me.”
“Of course, daughter,” it reached out a hand, and smiling, cupped her cheek, like a parent might a child, then its eyes flashed dangerously, “but if it should happen again, then I will not be so forgiving.”
She winced, and when it pulled its hand away there were several gouges in the flesh of her cheek.
“And the rest of you children?” it asked, in a voice that was falsely sweet and alluring. One by one the others followed suit, obviously having taken their cue from Deidre, drawing their courage from hers.
It turned its attention back to him and took a step closer, the movement sinuous, again making him think of something reptilian, like a fucking snake looking down at a mouse. He was far from helpless, though.
“Then there was one,” it said to him, “and I don’t know your dreams. You haven’t let me in that head of yours,” it laughed, and the sound was even more like grating rocks, “but not to worry, soon you won’t have any, and I’ll have another body to feel the world through.”
He met its gaze, “No, you won’t. You said it yourself, that I’m your anchor. I – I called you here, and I have the power to send you back. You’re o – only here as long as I live, as long as I let you. That means that you have to work with me.”
Its smile widened, which wasn’t exactly the response that he had expected.
Rupert felt like a mouse that had just walked into a trap. He was used to fear, but what he felt now was more akin to terror. The eyes of the other people around them were glazed, as stoned on the magic and potion as they were.
“You are my anchor, you have that right. I tie myself to this world by using feeding on your magic and your life-force.”
It flicked a clawed hand towards him, and in those few seconds before the world fell away he had just enough time to realise just how badly he’d screwed up.
It felt like the air was being torn from his lungs. A massive hand was inside his chest, was on it, crushing his ribs and squeezing at his organs. A thousand needle-sharp claws tore at his heart, and fire raced through his blood, fire that got worse with every breath he struggled to take.
He felt clothing being torn off, cold air on his body that didn’t do anything to cool the fire inside him. He knew what it was; his magic being torn out of his soul, and forced into his body. Claws drove into his shoulders, and he wasn’t aware of going down although he must have, because the ground was under his knees. The fire, white-hot where its claws were driven in, intensified as he felt its already-considerable power piercing his skin, forcing even more out of him.
He couldn’t think beyond the pain. His throat was raw from screaming, although he couldn’t remember doing that, and his face was damp although he wasn’t sure whether it was from tears or blood spilled by the knifelike energy that was caressing his face. It didn’t matter.
He wanted to yell for help, but couldn’t form the words to do so, not through the pain. The world was wavering, going fuzzy at the edges. That was good. He wanted this to end.
Then there was only silence. The weight lifted from his back, claws ripped from his flesh, and he wasn’t sure why it was letting him go, unless it wanted to savour its meal. He couldn’t hear anything through the ringing in his ears, couldn’t see anything through the white haze in front of his vision.
The pressure on his heart vanished, although he could still feel the fire burning under his skin. A cool hand touched his shoulder, and the world went away again.
Ethan pressed a pair of fingers to the side of Rupert’s neck to measure his pulse properly, and then looked at the people in the circle, who were coming out of the trance. The last time he had felt anger like this he had wiped out an entire village before the feeling had been sated.
It had been easy, to snap the neck of the boy who had been possessed, if only because the beast wearing his skin had been distracted. He only wished that he had been able to take his time, and make the fool scream, the way that his young idiot here had been screaming.
He had heard the mental scream for help, and felt the danger that Rupert had been in from five blocks over, where he had been hunting. He would have felt it a country away.
His eyes narrowed as he stood and leaving Rupert where he lay advanced on the people that stood there looking like frightened sitting ducks. He was in full game face, and wouldn’t be dropping it for a good while yet.
One of them, a female with a little more backbone than the rest launched herself at him, spinning into a high kick. He caught her foot easily and threw her to the ground, twisting it savagely until he heard the sound of something snapping. There was a look of absolute repulsion and contempt on her face, in spite of the pain she must have been in.
“I’ll only ask this once. Which one of you worthless pieces of flesh own the book that this spell came out of?”
There was no reply from any of them. His fingers found the spot where the bone had snapped, and it squeezed hard, twisting the limb again. A shrill, piercing scream rose from her, and the sound sent some small measure of satisfaction through him. He eased the pressure, after drawing a proper breath she spat at him.
“Very well, then. How about a different deal? You tell me what I want to know, and I won’t turn you and leave you locked up in a room with your friends here. Instead, I’ll give lot of you a quick, clean death.”
The contempt was still there in her eyes, but there was a healthy measure of fear there now, too.
“Going once. Going twice.”
“It’s mine,” said the girl at his feet, in a shaking, thin voice, “it’s mine.”
“Bring it along tonight, did you?”
“Bench,” she whispered, closing her eyes, as though if she couldn’t see him then he wasn’t there. It was rare that he saw a human so pale.
He glanced towards the bench and saw the grimore sitting in the far corner. The moment he looked away one of the males made a dash for the door, and grasped the handle, twisting and tugging at it. When that was ineffectual, he leaned back, putting all his weight into it.
“I’m no fool,” he spoke in a scathing tone “One more question, before I let the lot of you go. Whose idea was this?”
He wasn’t particularly surprised, although it added to his anger if such a thing were possible, when all gazes turned towards the girl at his feet, and the boy at his side. The boy at the door spoke this time.
“Dee sounded us out, but the idea was both of theirs.”
“Thank-you,” He crossed the room in a flash, and grasped the girl who was between the two men who were still standing there. He sunk his teeth in deeply, nicking the jugular, and fed quickly.
“You…you…you said you’d let us go,” the boy at the door said.
Ethan dropped the body, “That’s exactly what I’m doing. Soon you’ll all be gone.”
He stalked purposefully towards the huddle of boys.
“Now,” one of them yelled, and they charged him as a group, still obviously hoping that at least one of them might get out of this alive. He sidestepped the one in the centre, and then tripped the one on the left, grabbing his head as he fell, to give him some extra momentum. His skull made a wicked crack against the concrete, and his heart stopped instantly. It was quick work to snap the necks of the other two, before he turned back to the girl, Dee, who was simply laying there with a look of resignation in her eyes.
He grabbed her by the hair, and hauled her up to eye level, as she gasped, “I should make you scream, and beg me to kill you. That sort of pain adds such a spice to the blood. Fortunately for you, I haven’t the time for it.”
Dropping her again, he went to his knees so that he could slip an arm under hers and pull her back against his chest. This time took his time to feed, savouring the flavour of her blood as he did. It was smooth, and sweet with just a hint of fire, a whisper of her promise of power. The energy that it sent coursing through his body was incredible.
Letting go of her he turned his attention back to Rupert, who was on his back on the floor, drawing shaking breaths in through his teeth. Drawing a hand back, he slapped him across the face reasonably gently all things considered, and he drew a massive gulp of air, and opened his eye for a second, before closing them again.
“…hurts…” Rupert’s voice was weak, and clear streaks cut through the blood that had seeped out of several of the pores on his face.
He tried to roll over, and made it as far as his side. Ethan could see that his back, shoulders and chest were also a mess of fine, leaking lines, and the area where the beast’s claws had been driven into his skin was black at each of the penetrations. It would take a lot of effort to keep an infection from setting it.
“Oh, I’d believe that. I suppose you realise how incredibly stupid this was as well.”
With one arm he picked Rupert up, and held him to his chest as he stood, which meant that Rupert’s next words were spoken into his ear, “You’ll pu…punish me again.”
It was a statement that he could still hear fear in, even with the pain that Rupert was already in.
“No, not this time,” he crossed the room, and grabbed the grimore from where it was sitting, and then shifted Rupert so that he was in both of his arms.
“Don’t think you’re getting off lightly. There will be several times over the next few weeks when you’ll wish I had killed you tonight as well,” he headed towards the door, and opened it with magic, rather than trying to use the handle “Your own power has to drive every last drop of that demon’s essence out of you. It will be like a fever, it will have to burn it from you. The pain that you feel now is going to get a lot worse before your life-force starts to heal, and with you as tainted as you are, adding my blood to the mix would kill you.”
Still holding Rupert as gently as possible, he looked down the street for a car that he could take.
Rupert didn’t reply, and although his eyes were shut Ethan knew that he would be in too much pain to sleep.
Xander rested on his side, staring at the wall through blank eyes, mind churning and trying to process everything. He thought he’d known himself, but that was obviously wrong. Apparently he hadn’t even known what he was, let along who, when at least two people had,
He could hear the rain beating down on the roof, rain that he couldn’t see through the blackened windows, and it felt like it was a million miles away, something that he would never be able to touch again.
He wasn’t sure how he was meant to react, or respond. Anger seemed like a good place to start, but that seemed beyond him. He felt let down; by his parents for not being all that they had claimed to be, by his own body, and by Rupert himself, who he had began to look up to and trust, right up until that incident in the library anyway. Even that was something that he had begun to work through. The realisation that Rupert was human had come as a shock, but not as much as this had.
For once his suspicion hadn’t been stupid. It had been right on the ball. Something had been wrong with him.
The fucking collar felt like a lead weight around his neck, chocking him and restricting him, holding him down and forcing him to stay still. It had warmed to his body temperature, but it still felt so unnatural. It wouldn’t do to say that some tiny part of it made him feel protected. That was just another betrayal, this time stemming from his very mind.
What seemed worse was that he couldn’t summon any hatred towards Rupert. Resentment, sure, and a hell of a lot of anger, but nothing as simple, as straightforward as hatred. He was sure that his friends must have noticed that he was avoiding the man, but neither of them had said anything about it. The last thing he had wanted was to drive a wedge into the still-healing relationship between Slayer and Watcher, and since Rupert had promised to start teaching Willow about runes he could do no wrong in her eyes. Anything to do with wacky knowledge was a deal-sealer, as far as she was concerned.
Of course, this wasn’t just a toe that Rupert had stepped on.
The sound of footsteps on the stairs startled him. He had registered the fact that he could no longer hear raised voiced from somewhere outside the room, but he hadn’t thought about what that could mean. He slunk down under the covers, and tried to make himself as tiny as possible. If that fucking chain had had enough length to it, then he would have curled up under the bed, even though the length of chain running down to him would have been a dead give-away.
He felt tiny. Vulnerable, like stripping him of his clothing had stripped all his defences away as well.
The footsteps came off the stairs and into the room, closer. Xander gripped the blanket, holding it over his head, a frightened child telling himself that if he didn’t see the monster then it wasn’t there. It didn’t make a difference, as the blanket was tugged out of his grasp and pulled down.
He found himself looking up at Ethan. This, now this was something that he could hate. A hand came towards him, and he grabbed it, shoving it away, but Ethan simply grabbed both of his wrists with the other hand and pinned them together above his head, then reached for his throat. In that moment Xander braced himself to die, a victim of a monster’s jealousy. He got the feeling that Ethan wasn’t the type to gratefully tolerate an affair, which made it all the more surprising when Ethan grasped the collar and he felt it loosen. It removed its hand and the leather fell away to either side of his neck.
He was free, but where the hell was he going to go? Unless of course Ethan had simply freed him so that it could drink from him, which pretty much put him right back at square one. It let go of his wrists, and took a step back. Xander’s mind went around and around, and came back to the same point.
“H…,” he swallowed around the lump in his throat, “how bad will it hurt?”
Ethan’s eyes narrowed, “How bad will… oh, I’m not going to drain you,” it chuckled, and Xander felt like he was reading from the wrong page in a script, that the scene had been changed without him knowing about it, “If I drained you any time over the next couple of weeks, it would leave me as sick as a dog. Even now, when Rupert’s done no more than mark you with his scent, you smell… well… unappealing. You wouldn’t be safe to drink from until you hit full maturity in a few weeks or maybe a little less.”
Those words made him felt even more scared than he had before. Did it mean that Ethan was going to keep him around for three weeks, tenderizing him like he a vampire’s version of Hansel? Until he was safe to drain?
His breath was becoming harder and harder to catch.
“What…what are you...?”
“Oh, stop looking at me like you think I’m going to eat you,” Ethan sounded like it found the whole situation endlessly amusing, “I’m not, you know. Rupert may be loath to admit it, but he likes you. If keeping you distracts him, and makes him easier to handle, then that makes my life a lot easier. I’m not going to drain you. I’m going to train you. You are young enough to learn obedience, and a few tricks.”
Obedience and tricks? Like some sort of a fucking dog?
“Hey! I’m not some lap-dog that you can manipulate with pats on the head, and the occasional treat, and if you think for one second that I’m not going to tell Buffy, so that she can plunge a stake through your heartless chest…”
“You can’t,” it smiled at him again, and Xander felt like he was the only one not in on a joke.
“What’s going to stop me?”
“The binding that I placed on you will do that. You can’t talk about this to anyone that doesn’t already know what you are, and now that Rupert has started to play with you, you’ll smell neutral to a lot of the vermin in this town, for now. Only those with the power to challenge him will find you attractive, and that will be very few of them.”
It ran its fingers through Xander’s hair, and the gesture felt more like a cat licking a mouse for the reaction than anything else.
“Now go and clear out. Kill part of the day, talk to Rupert. He needs it, and I want to rest for a few hours.”
Xander felt like refusing to move, simply for the sake of it. If Ethan wasn’t going to kill him, then why should he listen?
Its eyes flashed with a reprimand, “I don’t have to kill you to make you wish that you were dead.”
The scariest thing about that was the tone that it said it in. There was no fire or anger. This was simply a cold statement of fact. Ethan was the sort that would take a person apart simply for the sake of entertainment to see how many pieces it could make.
Xander wished desperately that it would step out of the room, but it wasn’t moving. Moving quickly to minimize his exposure Xander rolled away from it and swung his legs out from under the bedclothes. The floor was cold enough to elicit a shiver. His nipples hardened instantly at the exposure, while the rest of him withered, as he dropped to his knees and grabbed the top that he had worn under his poncho yesterday, and his pants which he fastened with shaking hands, before getting out of the room as fast as he possibly could.
As it closed the door behind him he wondered how easy it might be to stake while it was resting. If he did that, then by default he would be out of this situation, and…and possibly into one a hell of a lot worse he slowly realized.
Ethan thought that he was young enough to be trained. That was scary enough. But in a few weeks, then if he was out of this, then he might start smelling good to other things, and there was pretty much no chance of that scenario ending well. He’d seen pictures made from woodcuts in those old books in the library, of humans kept by demons. They were nothing more than sophisticated pets or showpieces, something to be taken out and passed around for a bit of entertainment at demon dinner-parties.
So, yeah, it could be a lot, lot worse. But he sure as hell didn’t have to like it, and he wasn’t just going to accept that this was his lot in life.
Rupert may be loath to admit it, but he likes you. You’re young enough to learn obedience and a few tricks.
No, he didn’t like any of this.
Rupert was pacing the lounge restlessly when Xander came down the stairs, and slunk into the room, looking at anything except for him. The second the boy stepped into the room he stopped in mid-stride and slowly turned towards him, taking in the tension in his body with a glance.
“Alexander,” he used the boy’s full name hesitantly, and bit his lip at the face that he pulled.
“I’m sorry, I…”
“Just don’t,” Xander cut him off, “only my grandmother ever called me that, and it was reserved solely for when I was in trouble.”
Raising a hand to fiddle with his earring he tried to think of something that would be a safe topic, “Th…there’s a…a shower in the bathroom down the hall, if you wanted to…to clean up. I can rustle up a sweat-shirt and some track-pants that you’d be comfortable enough in or…”
“Do me a favour and shut up. I’m not hungry, and I’m not thirsty, and I don’t want to do jack-shit.” Rupert swallowed, and took a couple of steps backwards, to perch on the edge of a chair, looking up at Xander who was still standing in the doorway. “Would it have fucking killed you to open your mouth and say something along the lines of you’re not quite human? To have given me some time to…to, oh I don’t know, deal!? Before any of this shit!?”
Rupert wasn’t surprised that the boy was yelling. He was surprised that he wasn’t swinging at him yet.
“Did I say I wanted you to talk!? Last night you said you’d give me time, and a choice,” Xander’s tone became strangled, as he lowered his voice, “and you told me that you would have chosen to die, if you’d been given the chance. What in sweet fuckery made you think that maybe I wouldn’t have chosen that, to this fucked up thing you’ve thrown me into? Your boyfriend thinks he can train me, like I’m some performing fucking poodle, and you didn’t hear a thing I said after you came up last night with your eyes black, did you?”
Rupert’s hand twitched towards a drink that wasn’t there, and he wrestled down his own anger which surged up in response. He took a deep breath, giving the boy a chance to start yelling again, and when that didn’t happen he fought to keep his voice reasonable and level. It wouldn’t do either of them any good if he were to simply match the boy’s anger with his own. There was one thing to address before anything else, out of all that, too. It would mean that his stress and distress of last night was for naught, but if he truly wanted it, then he owed it to him.
“I…if you really wanted it, then I know a spell. Well, several, actually, but this one, it… it’s painless. You’d just…go to sleep, really.”
“If you really wanted to…to die, then I’ll let you go.”
“Christ,” Xander shook his head, “did you know that that actually sounds tempting? But no. This… this is… I’m scared of it, but I’m more scared of not living,” Xander paused, “so how much of a coward does that make me?”
“It doesn’t. It takes a stronger person to live with it, when life’s screwed you over,” Rupert kept his voice gentle, “and it could be a lot worse.”
“Believe me, I’ve already thought about that one,” Xander gave a shaky laugh, which sounded completely forced.
“I…I truly am sorry, Xander.”
“Doesn’t change a thing though, does it?” he snapped.
“The first reason I didn’t tell you, was because I didn’t want to concern you unduly.”
“Looks like it would have been pretty fucking due, from where I’m standing.”
“The second is that I’d hoped you would naturally fall in with someone that could protect you, someone that you would have chosen.”
He watched as Xander opened his mouth, like he was going to say something, and then bit his lip, frowning.
“So, this training thing? What the fuck is that about?”
Rupert swallowed. He wished to whatever twisted god that was laughing at him that Ethan hadn’t said that, but it had, so it had to be dealt with.
“Ethan never really took to the pack way of life. It… I imagine its lessons will revolve around taking care of yourself for the most part, because it won’t want to have to take care of you for the rest of your life and it won’t want me to. It will want obedience, and a quick study. Then, there’s possibly a chance that it will…err… integrate you into its family. Ethan is actually rather well-known, for its practise of training human.”
Xander stared at him, “I’m guessing you don’t just mean a Godfather-style cake and a card that says ‘Welcome to the family’ on it?”
“No.” Would Xander be more pissed off if he did, or didn’t tell him everything right now? Ethan marked those that it adopted, whether vampire, human or otherwise, but there was only one way that the mark had any meaning when it was worn by a human. It was just a symbol, otherwise. Without it the protective workings that were tied into it, it wouldn’t take.
As Xander uncrossed his arms and stormed down the hall, then Rupert heard the sound of the bathroom door slamming and being locked, the question was taken out of his hands.