A/N Short chapter sorry. More to come very soon. I'm a bit nervous about Jonathan. First impressions of him anyone?


As I stumbled backwards away from the man, materializing out of the shadows behind me my first thought was: his eyes. My god, his eyes. Blood-shot, worn. He looked like he was been strung through a ringer, his once probably clean suit speckled with blood and dirt, his hands caked with dried mud. He raised an eyebrow at me, mouth slightly open.

Mick?

"Scream any louder and the human guards will know the exact location of your heart," he said, a low note of warning in his voice. He took a step closer towards me.

His eyes were soft-green, his hair a rumpled mess of ginger. Not Mick.

I glanced towards the entrance and the smell of what I thought could be a prison. Coraline had disappeared. Convenient timing for her.

I didn't know whether to be relieved or afraid that she wasn't here. Was I their appetizer tonight or something else? I shuddered to think what the something else could be.

He towered over me. The lanky man with bloodshot eyes certainly seemed like a vampire. Although, he looked a little disheveled. I decided to take the initiative. I held my ground and stood up straight, and stared him down. He stopped, blinking.

"Where am I?" I asked, not letting my voice shake. There was still dirt in my hair. I could only hope that his loyalties lay with Coraline and her clan. I wasn't about to get sucked dry by some soft-green eyed vampire.

"The fortress Duvall," he said dryly. "It seems she's lost none of her old world style." -He wiped his hands ineffectively on his pant legs—"and I believe they are having dinner." He smiled wickedly at me when he said the word dinner. I balked at him. He smiled even more, showing his teeth.

I turned back towards the entrance. Coraline stood there.

"So nice of you to join us, Jonathan."

"My lady," he replied, and bowed, a mocking bob towards the dusty floor. More dirt fell out of his hair.

The edge of Coraline's lip curled. He pleased her. So much the better, anything to keep her eye off me, I thought.

My legs shook imperceptibly to the human eye, but with Jonathan and Coraline they picked on it right away. I was exhausted. Jonathan took hold of my arm after I tried feebly to struggle, like a moth against a solid oak door.

I was shoved into a wide-open room, sunlight dancing through the leaves outside the high barred windows: a forest, quiet and impenetrable. No one to hear any screams.

I was right about it being a prison. Pits lined the floor in quick secession with thick iron hatches. They were empty now, but I could guess how many years and how long there had been occupants by the sheer stench.

I sidestepped them all, carefully, as I was half-pushed, half-led through that maze. A table, heavy wood of some kind, was set for four on the other end.

The man named Jonathan, now impatient, dragged my cautious human feet and me across the rest of the way to it and sat me down roughly in a chair. There was not much on the table but a couple of wine glasses, a fork, and a blunt butter knife.

Jonathan and Coraline took their seats and sat silent, waiting. Waiting for what? Waiting for the right moment to kill me? I knew they would be asking me about Mick, Josef, about the vampires of Los Angeles, maybe even about Anna. I had to come up with an answer to satisfy them, but I couldn't think of anything but the truth that would. They had their own way of getting the truth from me. Centuries of hearing lies would see through my petty attempts to distance myself from their world and their battles. I was caught up in it, with or without Mick.

Then suddenly a man seemed to materialize, dramatically for my benefit, in the chair beside me. It was Lance.

I cursed underneath my breath.