Author Topic: An Ill Wind  (Read 6800 times)

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Offline Existentially Odd

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An Ill Wind
« on: August 05, 2006, 04:27:42 PM »
The vampire a mortal had dubbed \'Tom\' when challenged to give him a name, strolled casually into the club (that had been named Risk who knew how long ago) a couple of hours before midnight.  The smell of blood emanating out of it was fairly subtle... but noticeable enough that he\'d turned his wood-heeled boots in the direction of its entrance the second he\'d picked the aroma up.  His thumbs were hooked into the front pockets of his faded jeans - since he was wearing a brown leather belt tonight - elbows angled back in such a manner that they drew his calf-length coat away from his torso, revealing the navy blue shirt (top three buttons undone) fitted across his broad chest and tucked snugly into his denim pants.

He eyed the bouncers as he sauntered between them, left corner of his mouth twisted up into a sly grin, but they didn\'t stop him.  It was almost insulting; most bouncers these days liked to be sure he wasn\'t carrying a weapon beneath his flapping coat, but the vampire didn\'t argue with them.  The smells were only growing stronger, making deep, dark parts of him burn, so his pace didn\'t falter as he crossed from bitumen to carpet... until the noticeboard caught his eye, that was.

Then he stopped.  And gaped.  Pinned right out in the open was a notice about rules for vampires... and shifters... and demons and... his gaze flicked back to the vampire rule sheet.  "Well, fuck me drunk and bury me pregnant," he breathed as he stood, reading the piece of paper - stuck so innocently to a corkboard just like the ones found in most every other club in the world.

It made him suddenly nervous.  He paused to look about himself before he continued reading, belatedly sensing he\'d missed something very significant when he\'d walked past those two bouncers.   They weren\'t looking back at him, though; for which he was grateful.  He\'d been about to turn out of the entrance tunnel - which was maybe three metres long - and into the club\'s main area when he\'d seen the board.  It seemed positioned to get attention.  These things usually tended to have harmless photos of the hottest chicks that had come to dance there, or any celebrities or fun nights that might have been hosted in the place... not a fucking set of supernatural community announcements!  What the Hell sort of city... club... was this, anyhow?

He glanced at Reed as he walked up to him, not giving the mortal a chance to speak.  "Check this shit out!" he exclaimed, chin indicating the rules notices.  His usually-deep voice was showing the strain of his anxiety as he also stared at the weird pieces of paper.  What the fuck was a shifter, anyway?

Offline Trillian

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Re: An Ill Wind
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2006, 05:41:17 PM »
Reed had been eyeing off the queue before Tom even reached the doors of Risk.  He\'d found himself observing the keen almost tryhard quality of everyone standing in line on one side of the footpath, while others just sauntered up and were allowed entry.  There was a difference between those standing in line and those who merely entered - though there wasn\'t anything terribly similar about the ones who found entry into the club.  While Tom was being captivated by smells, Reed\'s mental alarms were going off, though frustratingly he couldn\'t put his finger on as to why.  He had observed that not only beautiful people were allowed in, which was usually how bouncers made their choices, though there were huge differences in the body language of those that entered: aggressive, skulking, intimidating, diminuitive, frowning, smiling... then there was a moment where Reed found himself alone on the pavement, right outside the muffled beat of some very good music.  Industrial rock.  Considering they were in an industrial area, he quirked a smile.  Figures.
 
He wasn\'t far off behind Tom\'s lead but one of the bouncers grunted and stood in front of him, separating him from his friend.
 
"C\'mon," he seethed, "you can see we\'re together."
 
The bouncer made a pfft sound but the other one put up a hand to silence his co-worker and waved him through.
 
"He knows," was all he said, and Reed mistakenly believed he was telling him about his working comrade knowing that he and Tom were together, not that he knew a certain something about Tom.
 
Reed didn\'t give it a second thought - even later he didn\'t go back to that one tiny incident and work it out.  Once he was through he focussed on speeding up his walk to catch up with Tom, while trying to look as though he was just casually strolling.  It wasn\'t cool to run after others.
 
He ended up standing beside his friend whose attention had been caught by the notice.  Tom read it and once again made a mistaken calculation about what it meant.
 
"It\'s just a joke."  For it to mean more would be unsettling.  "Could be one of those fake clubs," he said.  He meant the vampire clubs where humans would pretend to be vampires, buy blood to drink and then try not to throw it up all over their date.  He found them foolish, but they were usually called things like Fledgling, or Gothica or something equally tryhard.  He hoped Risk wouldn\'t be like that.  "Look, there are signs all over the place.  It\'s simply part of it," he said all-knowingly.
 
He was eager to see what it looked like inside, the music was pumping much louder and it was a beat he was eager to get out onto the dancefloor with.
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Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: An Ill Wind
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2006, 09:08:46 PM »
Tom\'s nostrils flared as he gazed thoughtfully down at his mortal companion; the shorter male had a point, but the blood was, without a doubt, real.  The scent was much stronger now, he could nearly taste it.  He licked his lips as he considered Reed\'s words, weighing up the possibility of this establishment being a fake.  He supposed the vampire rules read as fairly standard, but what about all the other species listed?  Why would Fae need rules posted here, if it was a vamp poser club?  It didn\'t quite gel, but there was only one way to be sure - enter it.

"Yeah... but what about that Oligarchy stuff?  Seems a bit... elaborate, don\'t you think?" he mused, a frown creeping onto his forehead as he raised his final argument.  He shuffled on the spot, turning to face the club main, now that he\'d read his fill.  He was committed to going in but the music filtering out to them was so loud he knew they wouldn\'t have a chance to discuss anything inside - and he didn\'t feel like waiting \'til they got back to the fancy hotel they were staying at.  They\'d only been in the city long enough to find acceptable accommodation, then they\'d hit the streets.  Risk was literally the second place they\'d walked into - and they hadn\'t even got in to it yet - but it certainly left a lasting impression.

Offline Trillian

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Re: An Ill Wind
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2006, 04:55:16 PM »
"The fastest way to find out is to go in," Reed said impatiently, wondering what the point of hanging around here in front of a notice was when the answers were just around the corner. It was a club, and people were now pushing past them. He turned his head to see an anemic looking youth barely eighteen (hadn\'t he been carded?) move past them and disappear around the doorway to the right. That kid certainly hadn\'t been a vampire, he looked a bit drawn - like a junkie.
 
"C\'mon," Reed urged again. The drug scene wasn\'t one he was into because he preferred the natural rush of adrenalin coursing through his veins, but it was almost synonymous with nightclubs and he didn\'t mind it around him as long as it wasn\'t too in his face. He laid a hand on Tom\'s arm, to guide him in, but it wasn\'t as pushy as he would\'ve been with anybody else. Tom wasn\'t the type to get treated that way and Reed wasn\'t the type to push his luck with someone like him.
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Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: An Ill Wind
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2006, 07:38:21 PM »
The vampire took a step at the mortal\'s urging, but shook the hand off as he did, preferring to enter the place without... attachments.  He smoothed his expression to get rid of the frown but wasn\'t nearly at ease enough to launch the smile that customarily sailed about his mouth.  The thought of a council in power - beyond the usual government - in this city was almost as nervewracking as it was intriguing.  He wasn\'t quite sure what to make of it until he found out if it was true or not, but his emotions were certainly siding with excited anticipation at this point.

He stopped again just inside the main entrance - too soon for Reed\'s liking, he knew.  He hadn\'t really intended to stop, but the scents that assaulted him had caused the reaction.  As mortals were able to open a small room or cupboard and detect the musky odour of mice living somewhere inside the space, so too could he smell all that was unusual and unnatural within the cavernous club.  No-one stood out specifically, but the stench of long-term supernatural visitation was undeniable; it was in the ducted air and swiped along the bar, it lingered on the seats and in the booths, it was being exuded in the sweat of the dancers and their audience.

More than the undercurrent taint of unnaturalness though, was the scent of blood.  His gaze flew from where it wafted down some sort of hallway to his left, to the bar, where drinks were being served... drinks lacking the cute little umbrellas that declared them frivolous cocktails; served in ornate but sensibly-sized glasses, the liquid within a deep, viscous red that caused a lurch of desire within him as he stared.  Movement down the corridor caught his eye then and he turned to see a well dressed and fairly pale man supporting another along the carpeted walkway.  There was no outward sign - no seeping blood or ragge bitemarks - but somehow... he knew that it was a vampire and victim that was coming towards him.  Before he had a chance to smell and verify his claim, though, they turned off and walked into the wall (where there was obviously a door or a set of stairs or something), out of sight.

His grin returned and he looked down at Reed, eyes glittering voraciously as he declared, "It\'s not fake!" in a voice carefully modulated to be heard above the din.  He set off then, a red-haired giant stalking his way amongst the crowd, head swivelling eagerly as he looked at all the customers, trying to ascertain who was what... and how the fuck this all worked.

Offline Trillian

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Re: An Ill Wind
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2006, 10:08:19 PM »
Tom was correct in his guess that he\'d stopped too soon.  As Reed was a full head shorter than his very tall companion, Reed felt his frustration retaining a physical presence in his chest as muscles tensed.  He could still see however, for the doorway was wide enough to let two people through (as long as both persons were narrow shouldered, for Reed would have to angle himself to slip through the opening Tom had allowed).  He was not going to squeeze past like some wispy little girly limboing her way to the bar around more prominent bodies.  If he had to get somewhere, he\'d elbow or shoulder his way through - but as previously with the lack of strength and dominance in his guiding hand, so too did he not wish to push past Tom in such a manner.  He wasn\'t exactly going to make submissive accomodating movements either.
 
A scoffing sigh from behind him told him they were holding other people up by standing in the doorway like this.  Fuck them, he thought, they can wait.  If they dared say something, he would turn and snarl, otherwise they could be ignored.
 
When the declaration of the club not being a fake was voiced, Reed kept his expression blank but a new kind of tension worked its way into his body.  The only vampire he\'d known about was Tom.  To think that there were many more of them in this city to warrant a nightclub meant that this was a different kind of dangerous situation - not the kind of danger he was addicted to.  He trusted Tom\'s vampirism (to a degree), but he didn\'t know about anybody else.  Vampires were predators, in the most essential sense of the word - he\'d survived Tom, and would continue to survive Tom, but others?  Who knew what they were like? Who knew how they would view the human species?  Who knew how they would see him?  Would they take time to know him as Tom had?  No.  Especially not here, in a place like this.  Risk.
 
Risk?  That was another thing.  Risk what?  His blood?  His life?  He\'d seen a sign which he\'d thought was decorative but now he wondered.  It had said "Risk it all" among the industrial hazard signs and danger warnings.
 
Thinking of that sign had him thinking about the rules now, and this hit him hardest, now that he knew they were probably just as true as this vampire club and what he had to risk being here.  The idea of a council that named itself an Oligarchy (and what kind of fucked up word was that anyway?  He\'d have to Google it) was a great deal worse.  This meant there were so many vampires (and other shit, species he\'d glossed over but would now go back to read on his way out) that they needed a bunch of them to make sure they didn\'t... what?  Impede the natural resources?  A cold chill ran up his spine that made him stand straighter.
 
His gaze flicked to Tom who was grinning at him like he was about to go base jumping - he had that look in his eyes (and only a second had passed since Tom had spoken to him and the jumble of thoughts and realisations flew through his head).
 
Well, fuck.  Reed\'s heart sank.  Tom, of course, would want to investigate this city to the fullest.  Reed himself didn\'t want to hang around at all, he wanted out, right now, before he even went in, but he couldn\'t leave without losing face.
 
"What the fuck are you waiting for?" Reed said, grinning back manically, the forced smile feeling like a grimace and rubbery on his face.  It was a smile he practised in the mirror though, and he knew that it would pass for what he called his \'crazy-fuck grin\', the one that would likely mirror Tom\'s own.  "Let\'s rock!"
 
Adrenalin began to course through him as he faced his fear.  A real fear.  Nothing he felt when about to jump or climb.  This fear tasted oddly sour instead of crisp and fresh.  He found he didn\'t care much for it, but damn if he was going to let it get the better of him.
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Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: An Ill Wind
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2006, 10:42:11 PM »
It was a surreal thing, to walk amongst strangers and find them - smell them - as like him, in numbers he wouldn\'t have even considered feasible.  Why here?  Why this city?  Why the fuck hadn\'t he ever heard about this place?  Still... did he want to be where the competition for kills was high?

Except... there was no competition; the Oligarchy was seeing to that.  Death was to be kept to a mimimum and always subtle (if it couldn\'t be avoided altogether), according to the rules he\'d just read.  Did that mean he\'d be in deep shit if he killed someone in this city?  How would they even find out?  What was he supposed to do if he needed to fee- he recalled something about pets and permission even as his agitated mind contemplated how he\'d get fed.

Damnit, he had so many questions and no way of answering any of them!  He stopped again, beside a table that had a barstool and no patrons sitting at it - out of the walkway this time.  His right hand rested on it, fingers drumming as he watched the people around him, mortals and undead and who-the-fuck-knew dancing and chatting as friends.  They all looked like they knew what was going on and how the rules were to be followed, but he felt strangely alienated.  He wasn\'t used to feeling out of his element; he looked to Reed for some semblance of normalcy.  His expression was its usual insane one, making him feel slightly better.

"This is fucking crazy!" he yelled at the mortal, a wry smile emerging.  "You wouldn\'t believe the stuff I\'m picking up in here!  I dunno\' whether to ask one of them how this shit works... or just... do my thing!"  By his \'thing\' he ment scoping the room and finding something cute and willing to either eat or take home, while Reed danced his ass off and found himself a meat packet to amuse him for the night.

Offline Trillian

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Re: An Ill Wind
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2006, 11:09:02 PM »
Reed was pleased to finally be allowed entry into the club fully, rather than in the entryway.  He stuck to Tom instead of peeling off and heading for the dance floor, due to the fact he was scared out of his wits from whatever might grab and drink from him.  He understood Tom\'s ways (though each time the vampire drank from him, it tended to advance to a slightly different level, as though Tom was experimenting), and knew that each time his blood was taken Tom was conscious and thoughtful to the degree that he gave a shit if Reed came out of it alive (though Reed always went into it with a knot of trepidation in his stomach).  With blood all around them, and a club like Risk full of eager victims, would they even look at Reed twice who was obviously just interested in dancing?  Probably not, but Reed wasn\'t going to risk it, despite what the club was called.
 
"Bartender will know!" he yelled back to be heard above the music, though it was a matter of habit rather than necessity due to Tom\'s ability to hear an abnormal amount of things considering his heightened senses.  He took the stool beside his companion and nodded at the barkeep for attention, getting a glance and a raised index finger indicating there would be a minute before he\'d get his order taken.
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Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: An Ill Wind
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2006, 11:27:55 PM »
The vampire\'s head tilted as he followed Reed\'s gesture, catching the bartender\'s in return.  "Clever," he commended the mortal, offering him an approving nod before his gaze slid away and back into the crowd.  He was frustrated to see very few women in the place, and none of the ones that were there appealed, particularly.  Most wore grimly coloured clothing and very serious expressions.  Perhaps that was the way it was in clubs where the dance music was so... hard core, rather than something light enough to inspire sinuous movements (the kind he liked best on a girl)?

When the barkeep stepped towards them, leaning on the bar as if listening for an order, Tom moved determinedly over to him and struck up the hastiest conversation he could - the man wasn\'t all that interested in small talk on such a busy night, but the vampire left him no choice.  He got a few strange looks but he came away with a lot of answers, a glass of human blood and the most exhorbitantly expensive screwdriver Reed would ever drink.  He walked over to the table he\'d left his friend at and placed the alcoholic beverage before him, trying not to stare at his own drink as he cradled it.  It felt downright weird to be holding a glass of warmed blood - especially when his gut was clenching with the demand for him to down it - but he fought the urge off in order to share what he\'d learned.

He leaned close to Reed\'s ear to speak, wanting to be sure he was heard the first time.  "Alright, here\'s the deal; this club\'s owned by a vampire.  Mortals come here only if they know about supernaturals.  Ones that are willing to be drunk from have a tattoo if they\'re regulars - they\'re not to be killed.  Basically all mortals are supposed to be fairly safe in here, killing\'s discouraged.  The alcohol is fucking expensive and there are drugs available too - for vampires to purchase and feed the ones they want to drink off.  The \'tender offered me some."  He pulled back, his eyes growing bluer by the second as he gave Reed a rather dazzled look.  Oddly, the approval of it all was as exhilirating as he usually found the naughtiness of what he was.  It made everything... open.  Alluring.  He glanced at the dully-dressed girls around the room with new appreciation.

Offline Trillian

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Re: An Ill Wind
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2006, 11:38:38 PM »
Reed drank all the information in like a person discovering a new flavour, one that might\'ve been explained as an \'acquired taste\' and he couldn\'t decide how he felt about it yet.  The sourness wasn\'t gone from his mouth yet though, and he sipped at his drink instead of commenting.  It might\'ve cost over the twenty dollar mark, but there sure was a hell of a lot of vodka in it, enough so that he blinked at the ratio of alcohol to orange juice.  A couple more of these and he\'d be wasted.  Deciding that this was going to be his last alcoholic beverage (for being drunk and uncontrolled in a place like this would be most unwise), he didn\'t even realise how much he was saving Tom\'s wallet (though they mostly lived off Reed\'s constant and ridiculous allowance anyway).
 
One comment got most of his attention: Expensive drugs and alcohol to give to the mortals to feed from.  Tom was immortal, his blood healed him, drinking blood helped speed up this process, he knew that already.  He\'d not ever asked about alcohol and drugs, or what impact they would have on Tom, because he didn\'t normally delve into that side of things.  Healthy living, active lifestyle meant he probably was quite a good drink to Tom.  He\'d not really thought about his blood that way - as a commodity.  Looking at the glass in Tom\'s hands and pulling a face of distaste at it, he had to ask the question that was forming in his mind ever since hearing the comment about drugs and alcohol.  "Does that mean the blood is spiked?"
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Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: An Ill Wind
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2006, 11:49:18 PM »
Raising an eyebrow, Tom maintained eye contact over the rim of the glass as he drank, licking his lips as he lowered it.  "Nah," he drawled, unable to resist taking another generous swallow before he continued speaking.  His smile was far more languid - now that he was getting a handle on how things ran - his expression approaching satisfied as the blood worked its way into his system and warmed him in some beautiful places.  "It\'s pure - though they offered some additives.  And different blood groups," he laughed, his deep voice booming out in a rolling chuckle as the amusement of this struck him.  Blood on tap!  Any type he liked... as if he had a favourite!

He finished his drink in the next long swallow, placing the glass on the table top between them, unfazed by the red sheen coating the inside of the glass.   It cleared slowly, as the blood pooled at the bottom.  "That was a fucking hot appetiser," he leered at Reed, not really meaning that he would now continue with his mortal companion... but he wouldn\'t say no to some... additional sustenance, that was for certain.  "You going to dance?" he asked, eyes glittering as he weighed up the option of finding some other blood type to warm him, or hanging with his friend until he\'d finished his beverage.

Offline Trillian

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Re: An Ill Wind
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2006, 11:55:47 PM »
Different blood groups?  Reed\'s eyebrows lifted slightly upon hearing that, then he blinked slowly while smiling at Tom\'s mirth, trying to join in with the fun though it disturbed him.  Funny, when he\'d found out that Tom was a vampire he\'d known it meant there were more of them in the world, but he\'d thought them so rare and isolated that he paid it no real mind - until now.  He felt a little like how a rabbit must feel in a den of foxes.
 
The tension was still evident in his muscles and movements, though he was hiding it fairly well.  Dancefloor?  There were a few common nicknames for dancefloors that was particularly unappealing if used in this club - such as \'the meatmarket\'.
 
He shrugged instead of answered, behaving as though he didn\'t care whether he danced or not.  This was out of character and he hoped Tom wouldn\'t make a big deal of it, or draw attention to the fact that he wanted to stay here, hiding himself away, clinging (figuratively speaking) to his friend.  If accused, he\'d have to stand his ground and prove otherwise, and he madly hoped that Tom would just leave it be.
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Re: An Ill Wind
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2006, 12:09:57 AM »
Frowning when Reed seemed non-committal about venturing out into the crowd - which wasn\'t like him at all - he looked at the drink he was nursing.  "Anything wrong with that?" the vampire demanded, indicating the screwdriver with a flick of his hand.

Since the limb was already in motion, he followed the action through by reaching around to his back pocket and extracting his mobile phone.  Bringing it out from the depths of his coat - other hand still hooked into his front pocket - he flicked the device open to see if he\'d missed any calls or messages in the past hour, glancing from the stagnant screen to Reed when he spoke.  He replaced the phone in his pocket as he stared hard at his friend, trying to figure out what was up.

Tom rarely ever danced - he was only in a club to check out the local talent - but this was not even close to the truth in Reed\'s case (who\'d mentioned numerous times that he wanted to dance in every club that ever existed before he died).  There had to be something up for his ass to remain firmly planted in a stool.

Offline Trillian

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Re: An Ill Wind
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2006, 12:18:33 AM »
Reed was glad for the subject change from the dancefloor to his drink.  He\'d thought he\'d got away with not running out to pound the floor with his moves, figuring Tom was probably too caught up in the peculiar atmosphere within typical nightclub surroundings (making it even more surreal, something unnatural found somewhere completely natural) to realise how uncomfortable Reed was feeling.
 
"It\'s potent," he said, managing a wry grin and a wink for Tom\'s benefit.  His normality felt strained but he was keeping up the act anyway.  Just because he felt a little bit stiff with how he was feeling and acting didn\'t mean that it was coming across that way.  Tom was usually observant, but he had a lot of distractions here.
 
He took another sip of the drink, feeling the alcohol playing music with his nerves, trying to artificially sedate him.
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Re: An Ill Wind
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2006, 12:31:41 AM »
"Uh huh," Tom mused, shifting position so that he was leaning on his elbow on the table, looming over Reed despite his attempt at a casual pose (probably, if he hadn\'t been so tall, he might even have pulled it off, but he only managed to look oddly constrained as he leaned down onto the black-topped bit of furniture and stared directly into his companion\'s eyes).

"So if they haven\'t spiked your drink - beyond making it strong - what the fuck\'s keeping you here and not out there?"  He lifted his chin towards the dance floor as he said his final word, a knowing grin curling his wide mouth.  He was a bit too distracted to pick up on the subtleties of Reed\'s \'normal\' act, but the blatant stuff was enough for him.  He wondered if it was the fact that he\'d be dancing among vampires if he hit the dance area that was bothering the mortal.  He wondered if Reed was scared.

It was an odd and entirely delightful prospect, really.  Reed was the craziest son of a bitch Tom had ever met.  As mortals went, he had to be the most insane fuck on the planet - he\'d never found anyone like him in all his undead years, that was for damn sure.  He\'d completely given up on a mortal measuring up to his standards, until he\'d found Reed and realised that he was the hottest shit around.  The guy was cool as fuck.  Tom would never admit it openly, but he\'d come to respect Reed and even he was occasionally awed by the stupid shit the mortal threw himself into - without a backward glance!  He either had the hugest deathwish or absolutely no capacity for fear... or so it had seemed, until now?