Mona stumbled into her hotel room. Her whole body ached and her head pounded. Meeting the other hunters hadn't gone quite the way she had thought. She had hoped that they would be like Boston, the only other hunter she had ever known. He had been so kind, so sweet, and he had cared about her. He had wanted to keep her safe. These other hunters weren't. They were all about the death. They seemed to want nothing more than to destroy every supernatural thing that they could find. Mona had no such interest. She just wanted answers; answers about herself and about the supernatural itself. That was why she had made the deal she had. Weeks ago, when the young blonde named Micah had come to her representing an elder vampire known as Talley, he had offered her just that. She would tell him everything she could find out about the hunters and in return he would answer all of her questions as best he could. If she did well, he had told her that there was a chance she might get to meet Talley one day and he would be able to answer all questions.

She sat on the edge of the bed and tugged her boots off, fumbling through her jacket pockets to find the cell phone. At last she got hold of it and dialed Micah's number. It went straight to voicemail as it sometimes did. Mona wasn't worried, he always called back. She kept the cell phone in hand as she trudged to the kitchenette to flip on the coffee pot and then on to the bathroom. She placed the phone on the counter while she turned the shower on. The water pressure in the cheap hotel was never good, but the water was hot and that was enough for her at the moment. She pulled her t-shirt over head and kicked off her pants. Stepping into the water, she just barely remembered that her hair was still tied into a bun. She slipped the couple pins out and let her thick chestnut hair tumble over her shoulders. People had always told her how pretty she was with her hair down, but it was just too much for her to bother with even before the supernatural had come into her life.

Mona tilted her head back and let the water run over her, working the tension out of her back and shoulders and feeling the bruises on her body slowly start to ache a little less. They were a physical group and even though she was a fit woman herself, she had not been able to keep up when they had tried to teach her some fighting to, as they put it, protect herself in an emergency. She had been knocked to the ground so many times and taken so many hits to the arms and shoulders that it felt like she'd been in a real fight. Looking over the slightly swollen and purpling bruises on her arms, maybe she had been. Her back ached as well and she was sure there was another massive bruise covering it.

By far worse than the fighting though had been listening to the others talk about vampires as if they were nothing but monsters had made Mona hate every minute of being around her own kind. Having to agree with them had made her sick and it had taken all of her willpower not to correct them using Micah as her example. They had talked about how all vampires were bloodthirsty, manipulative, sociopathic killers, but Mona knew better. Micah had been nothing but kind to her. He had talked with her when she was scared, and he always came to her hotel when she called, even when she had no actual new information for him. He was joking and as unsure of himself as she was of herself. They were friends and partners thrown together on this mission to discover the truth about hunters to help Talley make sure that none of the crazy hunters could do any damage. Mona wasn't looking forward to having to tell Micah that this group in Wichita was completely violent. There was no chance he'd be able to make them the same offer to them that he had made her.

Mona was glad that they had sent her in first to find out if the group could be approached. She couldn't stand the thought of them attacking Micah. Of course they'd never be able to really harm him, not with the powers she'd seen him use but that wasn't the point. He was her handler and as much as it was his job to keep her safe, she felt it was her job to make sure he wasn't injured trying to do so. Mona signed as she ran her fingers through her hair. She knew that her worry for Micah was undue. She'd never be able to protect him from anything and she knew it was pointless to try. She couldn't deny that during these couple of weeks with Micah she had gotten rather attached to the young blonde. He had such a natural and open feeling to him. He never got angry with her and he laughed at her quick flashes of fiery temper that most men found so off-putting. He poked fun at her inability to understand technology and he expressed such sorrow for her that she had gotten stuck being called as a hunter. The first time he had met her, he had said that he didn't feel she deserved this; that she had suffered enough trials in her life. Mona had never forgotten the sympathy in his voice that first night they had spoken.

Mona realized that she had been standing in the shower for quite a while and that the water falling over her body was cold. She turned the tap off and stood for a moment in the shower. There was no sound in the hotel room besides the drip-drip from the tap. She toweled her body off and checked her phone for Micah's number in case she hadn't heard it over the shower. And there it was; 3 times! She'd had the fucking phone on silent again.

"Sonofabitch." She muttered as she wrapped the small towel around her hair and slid on the thin robe that always hung off the bathroom door. She hadn't thought to bring other clothes into the bathroom with her and she'd sooner stay naked than put back on the sweaty t-shirt lying in a heap on the floor. Mona walked out of the bathroom still tying the robe one handed, with her head down as she dialed Micah's number. The phone ran in her ear before going straight to voicemail.

"Damn it, Micah." She said, preparing to type his number in again.

"Maybe you should try picking it up when I call you then." A smirking voice said from the bed.

Mona knew it was Micah, but she couldn't help her reaction as her hunter instincts kicked in. Before she could stop herself, she'd already flung the cell phone at him with all her strength and was trying to remember where she'd put down the closest gun. Micah caught the cell phone easily and gently without even moving from the bed.

"I can always tell when you've missed me." He said, looking at her with mischievous eyes. "It's when you feel the need to throw something instead of just saying hello." He tossed the phone back to her and chuckled when the woman who had just tried to take his head off a moment ago fumble in her nervousness to catch even a gently lobbed phone.

"So, what've you got for me?" he asked, eyeing her up and down. Normally Mona was all business. She'd been a librarian before getting dragged into the life of a hunter and she had never quite dropped that look. Although she'd finally moved out of long skirts and blouses, she still tended towards large sweaters and business pants. She almost never had her hair out of a bun and he wouldn't have been at all surprised to find out she owned a pair of wire framed glasses. Seeing her in this level of undress, he knew, was extremely unusual for her and he planned to savor her rising discomfort as long as possible.

Mona felt his eyes rove over her in the thin robe. She knew that he had no real interest in her body underneath but was just curious how far he could push her before she would back down. He was always playing little games like that. Well, this time she had no interest in backing down. She reached up to the towel that still bound her hair and pulled it off, shaking out her still damp hair.

"A little." She answered, moving to the small kitchenette and the smell of mediocre coffee. "The others are… serious. They were bloodthirsty and a little inhuman." She was pleased to have gotten to use their own words back against them. She could feel Micah's questioning glance and began to relate her tale of the day as she poured herself a cup of coffee she didn't really want at the moment. She was only making it because Micah always got such a wistful look on his face when he saw her eat or drink and if he wanted to play his staring game at her body, she could play another game right back.

When she turned around, coffee in hand, Micah hadn't moved from the edge of the bed. Mona continued to recount everything she had seen and heard. Their beliefs about vampires and the supernatural in general, what their hideout looked like, what kind of weapons and training they seemed to have, everything she could remember. She eventually moved to one of the lumpy and badly upholstered chairs in the room, crossing her legs carefully. She was surprised when Micah's eyes lingered there for a moment too long, and she glanced down to make sure she wasn't showing a whole lot more leg than she thought. Immediately she understood what his eyes were on; there was a large yellowish bruise that covered one whole side of her leg from mid-calf to where it disappeared under the robe.

Micah stood up finally and made as if to move towards her for a second but seemed to think better of it and made a vague gesture that almost looked like he was beckoning. Mona attempted to tug the robe down but it was beyond futile. The bruise went well past the hem in both directions.

"How'd you get that?" He asked, and he gestured again, this time obviously beckoning her over. Mona wondered if her temper would flare for a moment, but he wasn't demanding she come to him. He truly seemed worried but didn't know how to express it. Mona stood up and walked towards him. She hadn't realized until standing up how sore her knees were. They'd probably be bruised in the morning too. She flinched slightly as she walked and she cursed in her head for not hiding her pain better as he clearly saw her flinch. She stopped walking just out of his reach, a couple feet from the edge of the bed where he stood.

"Sit." He said, pointing at the bed. Mona opened her mouth to say something. "No arguing. Sit." She knew that he wanted to try and force her to sit but was controlling himself, so she did as he asked. She sat on the bed, now looking up at him. He was cute in the way that men like him always are; High cheek bones and laughing blue eyes, sandy blonde hair and a slightly crooked smile that was always really more of a grin. Now though, he was serious. He knelt at the bedside, on the floor. Mona was silent. She had no idea what to say to this. Micah flirted with her on occasion but it was always so he could revel in her startlement. He was never serious like this and she wondered for a minute whether she was going to have to tell this immortal twenty year old that she didn't want him. Then he looked up at her and it wasn't lust in his eyes. Was he worried? No, he was sad. He was sad for her.

Micah reached down and took hold of her ankle. He lifted her foot to rest on his knee. Mona could only stare as he wrapped his hands around her calf. She had always been a tiny woman and he had those long tapered hands that young men sometimes have if they never do hard work with them. His hands were cold and he pressed them gently against her bruised skin. He held them there for a minute and then moved them up, covering a new part of her bruised leg. He did this for long minutes, slowly moving his cold hands up her leg until her reached her knee. This he did not wrapped his icy hands around, but instead pressed his thumb gently against the joint and massaged. Mona felt pain and pleasure shoot up her leg and she let out a low gasping moan before she could stop herself. Micah looked up at her and she saw the first play of impishness in his eyes again.

"Sorry." She whispered, feeling her cheeks burning. She was so embarrassed but at the same time she would have said anything for him not to stop rubbing the soreness of her knee.

"You know, most women don't apologize after I make them moan like that." He said with a wink.

Mona felt her cheeks flush again and he laughed at her, although still rubbing her knee carefully. His other hand surprised her when it lifted her left leg onto his knee and he began to massage the opposite knee in the same fashion. That leg had not suffered the same bruising but the knee was just as sore. This time though she managed to bite onto her lip instead of making any other embarrassing sounds. Micah caught her all the same and gave a little snort of laughter.

Mona leaned back onto her palms as he continued, the soreness leaving her gradually as Micah increased the pressure of his hands. Her eyes were half closed when she felt him hesitate and his hand left her left leg to move back to the bruised one. After a seconds' pause, his hands slid just slightly above her knee and she realized that he was once again cooling her bruises with his hands. His hands moved up again and she soon felt his fingertips against the hem of the robe. He was still within a decorous area of her leg, but just barely. He seemed to realize this and removed his hands although he stayed kneeling on the floor.

"Micah?" She asked, opening her eyes to look at him fully again. She had never seen him look so young or human. He did not have any of the usual cocky swagger about him. His eyes rose to meet hers and a part of her noticed that this was the first time they met eyes that she was not raising hers to his.

"Tell me how you got this." He said, gesturing to her leg. Mona shrugged.

"The other hunters." She said. "They fight. I don't. They decided I should learn. Turns out I wasn't very good at it."

Micah lowered his eyes again. "Some hunters are less human than many vampires."

Mona laughed quietly. "Funny. That's the same thing I thought about them when they were talking about vampires." Micah smiled up at her and stood a little abruptly, his eyes suddenly roving over her.

"Are there more?" He asked.


"More bruises."

Mona hesitated for a moment. She knew there were but she could tell in his stance that he would want to see them.

"So there are." He said, reading her hesitation correctly. His reached out to her shoulder and Mona fought her initial instinct to grab his hand before he could touch her. It would have seemed so wrong to stop him and she hated that the hunter inside her thought it was wrong to let him. His hand touched her shoulder and he pushed the robe just barely to the side. He exposed no skin that one wouldn't have seen if she were wearing a tank top, yet it was the movement of it that seemed so familiar and intimate. Mona couldn't help herself now. She stopped his hand and stood. Their bodies were awfully close together and she turned away from him. He seemed about to say something, but stopped when she loosened the robe so that she could still hold it in front of her while letting the back slide down.

Her back exposed inch by inch until she felt the robe reach about her waist. It was more of her body than she'd shown anyone since she'd been married years ago, which she was sure Micah knew. She jumped when she felt cold fingertips against her skin. Micah was brushing her long hair over her shoulder, leaving her back completely unobstructed.

"How bad is it anyway?" Mona asked, not turning her head.

"You haven't seen it?" He asked, and she realized that his mouth was rather close to her as his breath ghosted over her shoulder.

"No. The mirror in the bathroom isn't long enough. It feels pretty bad." She admitted.

"It's pretty bad." He replied. "And this is going to be cold." He pressed his hands flat against her back. He was right; it was cold as fuck and goose bumps raced over the skin of her back and arms. His hands rested there momentarily before moving to a new part of her back. She could only assume that he was moving over the bruises, not knowing for certain where they were. He could have been touching her back wherever he wished and she wouldn't have known, but she trusted what he was doing. His cold hands felt good and she only tensed as they moved lower and closer to her hips. He sensed her discomfort and pulled the robe back up and over her shoulders, his hands resting there for a moment. Mona sighed, and was surprised when she felt her back lean against his chest. She wasn't sure whether she had leaned back into him or whether he had gently pulled her back by the shoulders. Perhaps it had been both. They stood there for a long moment, Mona feeling her lungs expand her chest while his did not.

"Lay down with me?" She asked and shut her eyes tight immediately. Had she really just said that?

"Talley would call that fraternizing with the enemy, I'm sure." Micah said, his cheek resting against her nearly dry hair and his thumbs running slowly over the curve of her shoulders. His voice was mocking again, although this time it seemed directed more at himself than at her. Mona laughed.

"Live a little, vampire." She said, surprised again at her courage. Micah laughed as well and his hands slid down her arms.

"On the bed then, hunter." And he released his hold on her completely. Mona wasn't bold enough to turn around and face him though, kneeling forward onto the bed instead. She didn't want to crawl across the bed and wound up shuffling to the other end, retying her robe to make sure she would be covered. She could feel Micah's eyes on her as she pushed the thin flat pillows around before finally working up the courage to turn and look at him. He wasn't still at the end of the bed where she thought he would be, but was at the side, although she hadn't been wrong about the watching her. He was watching her movements carefully as she lay down slowly and he moved onto the bed, one hand touching her shoulder again. His body slid next to hers uncertainly. He didn't seem to know quite what to do now until she rested her head against his shoulder. Then he pulled her tighter against him, and rested his chin on top of her head. One of his arms slid under her and the other over her ribs and around her back. Mona let her own arms wrap around him in turn; One resting carefully on his forearm and the other around his waist. Mona felt like every muscle in her body was tensed. It wasn't that she didn't trust him, she did, probably more than she knew she should have; she just hadn't been this close to someone in years. She sighed and looked up at him.

"This is weird isn't it?"

"Really? I thought you were taking quite well to cuddles with creatures of the night." His voice dripped with sarcasm during the statement and she laughed at him. He smiled at her, seeming to be pleased that he had made her laugh at that moment. "Now shut up and enjoy your fondling."

Mona gasped at him in mock offense and he gave another one of those flirtatious smirks before pulling her back against him, his hand against her hair now. She sighed as his fingers began to trail through the softness of her wavy hair and his other hand rubbed her back. She relaxed against him. Mona had not been prepared to admit it to herself until that moment, but she had been in desperate need for someone to just hold her. As she lay against him, sleep tugged at the edges of her consciousness. She was no longer thinking about whether the robe covered her or whether she was lying in such a way as to make sure he couldn't see anything she wasn't willing to show. She didn't think about the hunters or the fact hat she'd have to go back the next day. She didn't even think about the fact that the man in her bed was a preternatural creature. She just enjoyed the feeling of having someone with her.

Micah continued to lay with Mona until her breathing evened out and she began to snore very quietly. He slowly extracted himself from around her, making sure not to jostle her awake. Once he was no longer next to her, she wrapped her arms around the pillow where he had lay and pulled it against her. Poor stupid woman, he thought. No hunter should be that trusting, but at least if one had to be, he was glad it was the one he was assigned to. Should make turning her into one of Talley's puppets just that much easier. And here he'd thought he was going to have to fuck her to manage that. Talley had warned him about how cunning and angry all hunters were, how they were all ready to kill the undead at the drop of a hat. Turns out this one just needed hugs to shut that instinct up. Micah snorted to himself as he left her hotel room. Hugs and some flirting and she was all his.