After Nick confessed, Brook had sat for a while and talked. She found out that Nick was actually way older than seventeen and some more interesting facts, such as he couldn't sleep. His coven; the group of good vampires, was working over time, they couldn't help enough people, as more and more of the 'opposition' as Nick called them, became bolder, and attacked in broad daylight. This was bad news, as Nicks coven was far too small to take down the opposition. They had tried to group together with another cover, but no-one would dare to take on such a large coven.
After that, Nick walked Brook to the North gate, and waved over a taxi. He helped Brook in, and told her to go home and sleep. She needed it. She was tired. Nick nodded goodbye, and stood on the curb until the taxi was out of sight. Brook watched him disappear into the crowded street. She arrived home and paid the cab driver. She stumbled inside. Dakota greeted her with whins and pawing at the door. She plunked her handbag down on the bench and opened the door. Dakota skittered through the door, and covered her in licks.
"Hello, nice to see you as well." She said, smiling faintly. "Come on, dinner." She put some chicken bones and rice with dry food into his bowl, and left him there to eat.
She had another long shower, put on her favourite flannelette pyjamas, and slippers, and walked back out to the kitchen. Dakota had finished his dinner and was now lying on the floor next to his bowl. A cold breeze blew into the kitchen from the open door, and Brook closed it. Dakota looked at her.
"Come on, you can sleep in my room tonight, it's a little chilly out." She said, walking to her bedroom. Dakota followed, his nails clicking against the floorboards. Brook climbed into bed, and watched as Dakota collapsed into the pile of pillows next to her bed. He positioned himself so that if anything came through the door, it would have to go through him first. Brook chuckled, but could not stop the small chill of fear lurching into her head as she remembered what Nick had said about his coven being so small compared to the opposition. She shivered and was grateful for Dakotas's protectiveness. She slipped into a deep sleep, Nick's words haunting her dreams.
As Brook slept, she dreamt.
She was walking past were she had partied, and someone was chasing her. She couldn't see who, she just felt a deep panic. She started to jog, and suddenly a car screeched around a corner. Before she could stop, it hit her. But when she opened her eyes to see if the car had actually hit her, she met the gaze of a pair of cold black eyes. A high pitched, chilling laugh echoed around her, and she struggled to get away from those terrible, cold eyes. She struggled to her feet, and sprinted away. But wherever she ran, darkness clouded around her. The eyes followed her, and a low, hissing voice called her.
You know you can't beat me…I'm too strong, too fast; you can't get away from me…
Brook ran only faster. Then, ahead of her, she saw light, a warm white light. She ran towards it but it never got any closer, but grew instead. It illuminated her surroundings. A dense forest of dead, black trees and cold black snow. And the light was coming from somewhere ahead. Brook ran towards it, dodging trees, and then, suddenly, she burst into a clearing filled with pure, warm sunlight. The sun shone through a break in the clouds. And whatever the sun touched, like the snow, began to show new life. The trees grew leaves and the snow turned white and melted to reveal lush green grass. Behind her, branches rustled. Brook spun around to see the two coal black eyes staring at her from a bush.
Silly little girl. You think the sun can defeat me?
Then came the cold chilling laughter, and the eyes seemed to draw darkness to them. Then, the darkness took form of a tall person, cloaked in the darkest black. The same cold black eyes peered out from under the hood of the cloak. Two bare feet with skin whiter than snow stepped out from under the hem of the cloak as the person took a step forward. Two hands reached up and pulled the hood of the cloak off to reveal a thin face with the same black eyes and white skin. The person, maybe a he, hissed at the sunlight before lunging at Brook. Before she had time to move a muscle, the thing had hit her.
Brook woke with a cold sweat running down her arms. She gasped when something moved at the bottom of her bed. When that something jumped onto her bed, she stiffened. The thing plodded clumsily up to her face, and she met the gaze of two clear brown eyes.
"Dakota! Stupid dog. Scared me half out of my head!" She said. The loudness of her voice seemed harsh after the silence of the night. Dakota, satisfied that she was in no danger unless she scared herself to death, jumped off the bed, and settled down to sleep again. Brook rolled into a more comfortable position and drifted back into a dreamless sleep. She woke to the morning light drifting through her curtains. And to something standing on her chest. She opened her eyes to see a wet black nose and a lolling pink tongue.
"Oh, so you're up early for once?" She said, pushing the heavy German Shepard off her chest. He barked once, and skittered out of her room. Brook groaned. "I get it, breakfast."
She heaved herself out of bed, and into the kitchen. Dakota was standing at his food bowl, looking at her expectantly.
"You pig. All you think about id food. And tearing my backyard to pieces." She said as she served him breakfast. Brook stumbled into her bathroom, and had a long shower. She got out and pulled on jogging clothes. As much of a pain Dakota was, he still needed exercising. She grabbed his leash of the coat rack, and went to get her joggers out of her room. After she had, she walked back down the hallway, but she stopped at her father's room. It was light by a soft, warm light. It was as neat as it always had been when her father was still alive. He was neat, she was too. The room was so achingly sad, yet strangely comforting.
Brook hesitated, then walked in. She walked slowly, putting each foot down softly, trying not to disturb the room. It smelt so much like her father. She ran her hand gently over his pillow. She sat on the floor between his bedside table and his bed as she always had. Brook looked at his bedside table. A photo of her, her mother, her father and her sister, all smiling as they stood with their arms around eachother. Dakota padded down the hallway, and stopped at the bedroom door. He walked in, but slowly, as if it pained him to walk into his former master's room, and sat down next to Brook. Brook wiped a solitary tear of her cheek, and stroked Dakota's shoulder.
"He was more than a master to you, wasn't he? He was a friend to you, maybe even your family." She said, her voice chocked with pain. She understood how Dakota must feel. Her father had insisted that dogs had the same feelings as humans, and were just people with fur. Brook believed him now.
She stood up and stepped lightly out of the room, with Dakota at her heels. She clipped his leash on, and walked out the side gate. The crisp morning air was enough to wake her up as she jogged towards the park. As she jogged, her thoughts trailed off to Nick. She was sure last night was a dream, it had to be. Nobody believed there was such a thing as vampires. But Nick hadn't been hurt by Dakota, and when he fought, his eyes were black. She stopped at the corner of her street, and looked twice, after last night's dream; she was a little on edge. After checking there was no car, she jogged across the road. She headed towards the North gate, and into the shade of the park.
The walkways were populated with the joggers or walkers, and a few other work people cutting through the park to save having to walk across three sets of traffic lights. Near the centre of the park, the number of people dwindled to less than the occasional jogger.
Brook slowed to a walk, and enjoyed the Sunday morning. Then Dakota gave this little growl. Brook looked at him. His hackles weren't up. He tugged at the leash, giving a short bark. She walked forwards, and Dakota tugged even harder towards the corner. She increased her pace by a second, and Dakota was almost hauling the leash out of her hands.
"Dakota! Heel!" She barked. Dakota immediately stopped pulling at the leash, and dropped back so he stood beside her. "You are acting really weird, what's up?"
Dakota just looked at her, the back at the corner. Brook sighed, and walked around the corner. As she walked down the path, she scanned it for anything that might have been causing Dakota to chuck such a mental. Nothing.
Paranoid dog. She thought. She scanned the path ahead. Nothing abnormal. But Dakota gave this aggrieved little whine, and sped up a bit. Brook gave the leash a tug and he settled down. She walked on, and ignored everybody but herself. Before long she was lulled into a dreamlike state and no longer took notice of her surroundings.
Then she accidentally bumped someone.
"Whoa, sorry, I was kinda off in my own world." She spluttered. The person she had bumped into laughed.
"That is certainly not your normal 'Back off or my dogs gonna attack your arm' greeting, but it'll do." He said. Brook started, realising that she had bumped into Nick.
"Oh, Nick! Sorry, I guess I am out of it! So what was that about my 'normal' greeting?"
"Oh, nothing." Nick waved his hand as if to wave away the question. "I guess I'm just lucky Dakota didn't decide to attack me."
Brook faked outrage, and tugged at Dakota's leash. "You offend me sir. I shall now unleash my hounds on you! Go hellhound, go!" She cried in a mock angry voice. Dakota, thinking it was a game, leapt for Nick's face, covering it in licks. Nick toppled over and play wrestled Dakota. To Brook's amazement, he didn't seem to hate Nick at all.
"It looks like you've won Dakota's trust for the time being." She said.
"It does too." Nick said, whilst Dakota pushed him over. It didn't seem so to Dakota, who gave up on the game, and sat down near Brook's feet. She patted his head, rubbing his ears where he liked it best. It seemed to soften his mood, and he allowed Nick to scratch his head.
"Wanna walk?" Nick said, gesturing to the path.
"Well, that's what I was doing until bumped into you." Brook answered, and headed down the path with Nick, Dakota trailing happily behind.
"Why is it that you seem to spend most of your time in the park?" Nick asked her. She shrugged.
"I have always felt safe here, I don't really know why."
"Even if you're being chased by some psychotic stalker?" Brook shuddered, remembering last night's events. And the confession. Nick seemed to remember it too. Brook looked sideways at Nick.
"So are you really a…" She let the sentence drop. She didn't want to say it.
"Unfortunately, yes. You don't have to believe it, but yes."
"It must have been hard for you to tell someone."
"You have no idea."
"You must really trust me if you told me. Is that true?"
"Well, I couldn't let you try and wait till I was fifty, so I thought it better to tell you now." Nick said, and Brook noticed the slight teasing tone in his voice.
"Like you are ever gonna get to fifty."
"I guess that would be in, what, another two, maybe three millenniums? And maybe by then, Dakota would trust me."
"He kinda trusts you now, because you haven't tried to harm me in any way. Now all he has to see is you saving me from some evil thing."
"Well, trouble seems attracted to you, so that shouldn't be long." Brook faked anger again, and whipped her hair over her shoulder.
"I don't know what you mean, sir." She said. Nick tittered.
"You have the most way out sense of humour of anybody I've ever met." Brook playfully punched him on the arm, and ended up getting sore knuckles. Nick laughed.
"You forgot that bit, didn't you?" he said, eyes shining with laughter.
"Yes." She muttered. Dakota pulled slightly at the leash, signalling that he was bored with walking, and wanted home. "Brook sighed. " Well, I better go, Dakota's getting bored."
Nick nodded. He reached down to pat Dakota goodbye. Dakota turned his head, and tipped his ear back slightly, but allowed Nick to scratch behind his ears. "See you round, okay Dakota?" He said, looking directly into Dakota's eyes. Dakota huffed and shook his head, as if clearing sleep from his brain. "All right then, I'll see you at school."
Brook groaned. Today being Sunday meant that tomorrow was monad, and that meant uni.
"Bummer. I guess you will. Bye then." And turned for home.