Chapter 5 – Power plays and other Games
Destiny made her way back to Lawson’s loft, she didn’t know why she was going back there, she supposed it was because besides the hotel it was the only place she really knew in the city. She’d spent most of the afternoon with Angel and Cordelia going over some of the sights she’d seen so far and some of the area’s to avoid if at all possible.
Angel had made sure to tell her more about vampire culture, from the perspective of a vampire, so she wouldn’t be caught off guard, it was sweet if a little paranoid. The highlight of her day had been when Cordelia had offered to take her shopping for some new clothes, she couldn’t wait for the next day to finally come so they could go. She may have been a girl raised in another dimension but she was still a girl after all.
The loft was dark, but she knew that he was still there. She could feel him.
“Lawson.” She made his name more of a statement than a question, it wouldn’t do for him to think he could ever sneak up on her after all. He may be nicer than she’d first assumed he would be, but he was still a vampire after all and if her talk with Angel had taught her anything today it was that vampires were all about the power games.
“You came back.” He stayed in the shadows, his voice echoing off the walls so it seemed to surround her. He was trying to un-nerve her. He would have to do a lot better than that.
“It seemed easier than finding somewhere else to stay. I can just as easily go if you like.” She didn’t want to act like she owned the place, and could come and go as she pleased, it was his home after all. He would have the final say in if she stayed or left.
“You can stay here as long as you want. It’s nice having someone else around again. Especially someone who isn’t trying to rule over me.” He sounded almost resigned at the thought that she would try to dominate his life. She felt the sudden urge to reassure him.
“Yeah well, vampire power games aren’t really my thing. It’s your home I’m just a guest in it. For now.” She tacked on the last to make it clear that she could go just as easily leave as she could stay. It wouldn’t do her any good for him to start believing he had her at a disadvantage. She had other options and he needed to know that up front.
“What an enlightened way of looking at it. It’s almost refreshing.” She could feel him moving around the room, even though she still couldn’t see him. What was he up to now? Not that she was overly worried, she was beyond certain that if it came down to it she could take him in a fight without even breaking a sweat.
For all that vampires could so easily overpower humans, she could easily over power everyone. She was stronger and faster than any vampire could ever hope of becoming. A baby vamp under a century old was no threat to her at all.
“Almost?” She was beginning to like this game, it was a war of words, no strength only wit and skill.
“Well it’s also to be expected that you wouldn’t be big on vampire games when as far as I can tell you aren’t a vampire. Or are you? I’ll admit you do drink blood as we do, but as far as I can tell that is where the comparisons stop between us.” That was true enough, from what she’d seen she did have little in common with the vampires of this world. Though being born of two of them she supposed she could still be called a vampire herself. Or maybe she was something else entirely. A new breed of vampire. Which was both exciting and depressing, being a one and only could get lonely fast.
“Does it matter what I am?” Did it matter to him? Was that why he was letting her stay here, was he trying to understand her? To figure her out?
“No, I don’t suppose it does.” She could feel his breath on the back of her neck he was so close to her now. Without thinking about it her instincts kicked in, a threat was close, she just reacted. Spinning in place she grabbed him at his neck and the base of his skull before she threw him over her body and across the room.
Oops. What now?
“Sorry. So sorry. I didn’t mean to do that. I didn’t hurt you did I. You were just so close, and I couldn’t see you but I knew you were there and I just… reacted. Really though, if you think about it that was all your own fault. I mean you started it, with your trying to be sneaky and everything. Don’t do that!”
She could hear him laughing, he started to somewhere in the middle of her little speech. Laughing was good she supposed, it was better than anger after all. But at the same time… hey he was laughing at her. That was so not funny.
“It’s not funny!”
“As the one who landed on his ass I have to disagree with you on that, it was a little funny. Besides I wasn’t laughing at you darling, I was laughing more at myself. There I was telling you how I hate vampire power plays and then not ten seconds later I go and try one on you, and I fail miserably at it. Then you started your little rant and I just couldn’t help it, you’re just so cute when you’re miffed.”
“Oh, okay then. What now?”
“Well, if you’re still alright with staying here after the stunt I just pulled, I would suggest a game of sorts so that we can get to know each other better.”
“What sort of game?” She wouldn’t mind getting to know Lawson better, but at the same time she had to be careful about what she revealed about herself. If she gave too much away she might just have to kill Lawson, and she didn’t want to do that to her first sort of friend here in this new world. That would be a bad example to set.
“So you’re still fine with being here with me, even after I was such an ass?” He seemed almost relieved, like he’d been certain she would leave before and was now trying to catch up to the fact that she was staying instead.
“Sure, why wouldn’t I be? I mean you failed after all.” She saw him wince and wondered if she had maybe thrown him a little too hard, but he didn’t seem to be having any trouble walking around so she figured whatever it was his vampire healing would be taking care of it before too long.
“Point to you on that one I guess. Well the game I have in mind is a bit of give and take. Still interested.”
Angel sat in his room and looked at the sketches he’s made of his children, both as infants and what they looked like now. He wished more than anything that he’d been able to watch them grow up, to help them understand the world. Now it was too late. No matter what he taught them they would be making their own way in the world, making their own decisions both good and bad.
They would be making connections, both good and bad.
Connor hated him with a sort of fiery vengeance that is learned over too many years to counter easily. He knew deep down that he would likely never regain his son, not completely. There would always be a part of Connor that would be held back from him no matter what he did. A part that would be waiting for an excuse, any excuse to go in for the kill. For some shred of proof that Angelus still existed. That was if he could even convince him that he wasn’t currently Angelus to begin with.
Destiny was more willing to at least give him a chance at proving himself. Something he was beyond thankful for, but at the same time that willingness had estranged her from her brother and made her more vulnerable to the manipulations of others. People like this vampire she was all but living with. No matter how many times or how many ways he’d asked she’d refused to tell him a name to go along with this bloodsucker. He would find out eventually, he just hoped it wasn’t too late for her when he did. For all of her experiences in that hell dimension she was still very young, and far too easily fooled in a world that she didn’t understand well enough yet. He’d done what he could to explain vampire dynamics to her, to try and prepare her for any mind games this guy might try but he knew sleep would be a long time coming for him.
Cordelia stood outside of Angel’s room and she could practically feel his worry through the door. She understood it, she really did, they were all worried about Destiny and Conner, but she knew there was really nothing they could do about it at the moment. To help people, first they had to trust you, to truly believe that you only wanted what was best for them, and at the moment neither of them felt that way. All they could do was wait, worry, and make sure they knew that if it all became too much for them they would be here ready and willing to help if needed.
Lawson was sitting in his living room for lack of a better term and thinking about Destiny. They’d put off their game until later, she’d wanted a shower and a quick hunt first. He could understand that, what he couldn’t understand was what he was feeling for this girl. She’d kicked his ass without even really trying and yet he still wanted her here. Still wanted to be around her. If anyone else had done that, his pride would have demanded that they find somewhere else to rest, but not her.
She was something different, something special, he felt a connection to her that he couldn’t explain. Hopefully their little game would help him come to grips with it, whatever it was.
His thoughts were just about to go through another confusing loop about Destiny when he heard a crash from the ally outside. Normally he would just ignore it, but he could smell Destiny nearby and he was worried. He got out to the ally just as the rain began to fall and was stunned by what he saw. There was Destiny and she seemed to be fighting with some boy about her age, but that wasn’t what was stunning him into immobility. It was the speed of their attacks that left him unable to move. They were each moving so fast they were just a blur of motion, how was that possible?
Lilah stood in the shadows as the two teenagers faced off against each other. There had been reports that Angel’s offspring had returned, but they had been unconfirmed. Until now. Turning she walked swiftly back towards her car, she needed to report this back to her boss. Not only were the rug-rats back but they were no longer children and they seemed to be at odds at the moment. Maybe they could capitalize on that somehow. Divide and conquer. Even if they couldn’t get them both, getting their hands on even one vampire born child would be a major win for the firm.