Daybreak Ch. 01bypurefire©
"This is fucking ridiculous."
Jameson turned his head to look at his brother as they slowly patrolled the nearly deserted street. As one of the most patient of his family, he was used to his brother's lack of patience and incredible temper, but the absolute lack of beings in the street was another matter. Though he and his brother walked the deserted portion of town, there was always a demon or witch that could be seen. He'd been told by Nadia, the newest edition of his family, to go out and patrol, and that he would know why she sent him when he heard it. Three hours later, there was nothing. What the hell was he supposed to be looking for?
As part of The Brethren, an elite group of demon hunters and slayers, Jameson had quickly learned to expect the unexpected. But as his brother said, this was ridiculous. "Nadia wouldn't have sent us out simply to go walking, Liam." Her eyes had gone white and glowed brightly as she told him to search the night for the sign. There was no way he could deny something like that.
Liam scoffed as he said, "Well, it's not like we can ask her now, now can we?" Nadia and his brother Andraemalek, the only half demon in the family, had been summoned by the High Council, the group of powerful beings who'd created The Brethren. The summons meant that the couple would be out of the human realm until their meeting was over. "And what the hell is up with her sending us to hunt a group of Mordecai? We don't deal with those piece-of-shit, want-to-be vampires." The Brethren specifically dealt with powerful demons, not the considerably safer soul sucking animals Liam liked to call Mordecai. "Why aren't the Nariko out looking for them?"
Jameson shook his head as he continued to walk. There was a reason for Nadia's instructions. Unlike Liam, he wasn't about to question it. "Calm down, brother. We'll figure it out." They had to; he didn't like having to walk the streets at night like a leper for no apparent reason.
"We'd better. We could be out hunting some real demons right now."
Leave it to his brother to abandon logic when his temper flared. "Mordecai are demons."
"But not worth our efforts." Liam adjusting his black gloves as he flexed his hands. "Fucking ridiculous."
"Yeah, but-" Jameson stopped when he heard the terrified scream. He didn't bother to look at his brother to ask if he heard the scream as well; he took off running, ready to help whomever was in danger. The screams led them to a back alley placed between two abandoned apartment buildings. Five Mordecai surrounded a lone woman who clutched a grocery bag to her chest. Their unmistakable, overly bronzed skin and red eyes were evident even from the distance between them. Jameson held a hand up for Liam to keep from rushing into battle when he heard the demons conversing amongst themselves.
"He said he wanted her alive."
"That doesn't mean that we can't have a little snack."
"He'll kill you if you take too much."
"Not if we kill you first." Jameson smiled pleasantly as he walked forward. All five Mordecai eyed him speculatively, giving him the advantage he needed. He knew that they thought him to be human, and because they outnumbered him and Liam by three, the odds were in their favor. "You should really learn to pick on people your own size."
The tallest of the Mordecai, a blonde with a neck so thick that he looked like he was all shoulders, pulled the amazingly quiet woman to him as he said, "Kill them."
Finally, the moment he'd been waiting for. Jameson raised his hand to blast the band of idiots with a fireball but stopped when Liam shoved him out of the way. "What the hell, man?"
"I didn't wait all this time to watch you burn the bastards!" Liam stepped forward and grinned when the uppercut he delivered sent one of the Mordecai flying into the side of the building to the left. He'd been itching for a fight and would settle for these idiots. As two others came at him, he blocked their blows a split second before allowing the retractable blades strapped to his wrists to protract. With one swing, he'd embedded one of the blades into the heart of the rail thin demon and relished its tortured scream as it began to molt and degenerate in front of him. He looked to the other one and smiled wickedly when it began to back up. "Oh, no you don't."
Jameson ducked a scant second before the body was thrown over his head. He wasn't too concerned with the fight; the woman held captive dominated his concentration as she kept her gaze centered on him. The intensity in her pale green gaze, as well as the look of wonder she gave him caused something inside him to shift. The shift broke his focus on the fight and gave one of the Mordecai enough time to land a solid blow to his back. Jameson rolled forward and just as he was about to blast the bastard with fire, Liam stepped in and flipped the demon over. The two men nodded to one another before Jameson gained his feet and faced the leader. "Either you let her go or you lose your life when I take her from you."
"I'm not afraid of you," The Mordecai said. To prove his point, he sunk his razor sharp teeth into the woman's neck.
Rage poured through Jameson when he heard he tortured scream. He grabbed the knife he kept hidden in the waistband of his pants and threw it. He'd landed his mark, lodging the blade in the demon's neck. The Mordecai let out a strangled cry as it released the woman and fell to the floor where it immediately began to molt. Her grocery bag ended up flying three feet into the air before crashing down on the ground. Jameson paid no mind to the demon as he lifted the shaking woman into his arms. A cold burn went through his body as he carried her, but he ignored it, determined to get her to Liam. "She's been-" His announcement was cut short when the familiar sirens of police cars approached. They couldn't risk exposure, not this early in the game. Jameson ran to the truck Liam had parked nearby and handed the woman to him as he slid into the backseat.
"What the hell was that?" Liam grumbled as he handed the bleeding woman to his brother. A chill raced up his spine, making him both uneasy and slightly nauseous. "Make sure she doesn't bleed all over my car," he said as he shut the door.
Jameson rolled his eyes and quickly bent to the task of putting pressure on the wound to ease the bleeding. The woman's skin was pale and slowly growing colder. He stared at her lifeless face and frowned at the gnawing feeling in the pit of his stomach. Her round face was accentuated by her wavy brown-red hair. Thin but straight eyebrows highlighted the pale green eyes he remembered and they led to an impossibly straight nose. Full cherry red lips were slightly down-turned.
"Is she all right?"
Jameson looked up and connected eyes with his brother though the rearview mirror. "She'll be better after you heal her."
"I just bet she will," Liam grumbled, "Shit, there's blood on my sweater."
"It's just a sweater."
"No, it's not just a sweater. It's my new Armani sweater." Normally Liam wouldn't care about something so trivial, but he'd really liked that sweater.
"Liam, stop bitching and get us back to the manor." Jameson shook his head as he looked out the window. The empty streets seemed eerie, dead and unmoving. What was going on out there?
The woman's sharp gasp for breath had Jameson looking down at her. Her eyes flickered for a moment before they closed and he frowned at the flush that visibly took over her skin even in the dark cabin of the car. He pulled his hand from her wound when he felt it shift. "Holy shit."
"What?" Lam looked at his brother through the mirror once more and noticed the shock. "What's happening? Do I need to pull over?"
"No." Jameson glanced up as he said, "She has your ability."
"She's healing herself." Even as he spoke, he watched the tiny tooth marks on her neck close on their own. "No wonder Nadia sent us to find her."
"And it saves my car," Liam added as he continued to drive. He remained silent, unsure of what was going on. "You sure we should take her to the manor?"
Jameson nodded as he said, "Based on what those Mordecai were saying, she wasn't meant to be dinner. Somebody wants her. And until we figure out who and why, we can't leave her alone, especially since Nadia's gone." He looked down at the sleeping woman in his arms, confused; not only because of the interest the demons had in her, but because of the dull sensation in the pit of his stomach. He'd never had such a feeling before. Had he been human, he would have simply called it a case of indigestion. As part of The Brethren, he was immune to sickness. There was only one explanation for the sudden feeling.
Who was she? Where did she live? Why was she walking through the roughest area of the city by herself? What would possess her to do such a stupid thing after sunset? And how had the police known to show up just as he'd saved her life?
She carried no purse. Either that or she'd dropped it during her struggle. Why did she stop screaming when he'd arrived? She'd even stopped fighting the Mordecai that held her captive. They didn't have the power to mesmerize so her actions were virtually inexplicable.
Until he could get them from her, anyway.
Endless questions flooded Jameson's mind the entire ride home. Even as he carried the woman to the solarium to lay her down on the large chaise, he asked himself what her name was.
"Looks like she doesn't need my help anymore."
Jameson turned to look at his brother, who was uncharacteristically calm as he pulled his gloves off. "Looks like." He turned to look at the woman a moment before he moved to stand beside Liam. "I guess all that's left now is to wait for her to wake up."
"However long that may be." Liam walked to the fireplace and made quick work of lighting a fire to keep the woman from freezing. "Do you think she's a human with an ability or a simple half-breed?"
"Does it matter?"
"If she's a human, we won't have to worry about having to figure out what clan she comes from."
Jameson didn't admit his brother had a point. If the woman was only half human, then her paranormal counterparts would raise hell trying to find her. Having to deal with the Mordecai was enough for now. He waited for Liam to stand up before he asked, "Got any idea how we're going to explain this to her when she wakes up?"
Liam shrugged as he said, "Give it to her straight. She'll see the bite scars and we have to keep her here anyway so it's not like we can say we found her passed out on the street and decided to help." He looked at the woman sleeping on the couch and could only laugh cynically as he said, "Humans. Always were the biggest groups of idiots to ever live."
Jameson frowned as he looked at his brother. "What makes you think she's all human?"
"What half breed with a sliver of sense walks Filburn Street by herself after sunset?"
"She could just be a stupid half-breed." Even as the words left Jameson's mouth, he couldn't believe them. He didn't know the woman from atom, but something told him that she wasn't dim-witted.
"Even the stupid ones-" The sudden thud had Liam looking toward the chaise. He raised a brow when the woman jumped up and frantically looked around. She was taller than he'd expected; she looked to be taller than Nadia, and the plump task maker stood at an impressive five foot nine. "Good morning, human."
The rich, velvet voice had her staring at the red haired man for a moment. He was frowning at her, but his blue eyes were curious as he stared at her. After closer inspection, she realized that he was actually quite a catch; a strong, square shaped face framed full lips and a perfect nose. Ralph Lauren seriously needed to give this man a call.
The raven haired man who stood beside him made her stomach flutter. His stormy grey eyes bore into her and made her nervous for a moment. When she looked at him, it felt as if something within her clicked into place. The feeling confused her, mostly because it made her want to go to him. When she brought her eyes back to his strong angular face, she found herself staring at his mouth. Christ, the man was beautiful.
"Think she speaks English?"
She looked at the redhead again and gasped when she noticed the bloodstains on his grey sweater. Fear pulsed through her as she looked from one man to the next, noticing the weapons they carried, the stern expressions on their faces, and the fact there were two of them - and only one of her. "What the hell is going on here?" She stepped behind the chaise when the taller, midnight haired one took a step forward. "Who are you? What am I doing here and how did I get here?"
How the woman went from confused to curious to terrified, Jameson did not know. What he did know was that he had to calm her down before things got out of hand. "You were attacked in the alley off Filburn Street and my brother and I helped you."
Brothers? Yeah, right. She looked more like the one who spoke to her than the redhead did, and she looked nothing like the man. When he took another step forward, she grabbed the first thing she saw for protection; a pillow. What the hell was that going to do for her? "Don't come any closer."
"Listen, I know you're scared, but if you'd just-"
"No!" She took another step backward. Vaguely, she remembered being cornered in the street, but she didn't remember any faces. These two men could have easily been part of the group of men set to hurt her. But there was something about Grey Eyes... No, she would not let a pair of beautiful eyes break her resolve. "I want to leave."
Jameson shook his head as he said, "I'm sorry, but you have to stay."
She'd been kidnapped! Oh, God, they were going to rape her. Then kill her. Rage and fear pushed her to launch the pillow at the man. A second pillow followed, then a third, and had she the strength, she would have thrown the chaise as well. "Get away from me!" she screamed, "Don't touch me!"
Jameson looked at Liam, who strained to keep from screaming at the woman. Her high-pitched screams annoyed him as well, but Jameson reminded himself that she'd gone through a trauma that would have killed her had she not had the ability to heal herself. "I know you're upset-"
"You don't know anything!" She frantically searched for an escape route. There was a window to the left, but she couldn't tell what floor she was on; the glare from the lights only allowed her the reflection of the room. There was a door on the right, but Grey Eyes was closer to it than she was; he would easily catch her if she made a run for it. "I won't let you rape me!"
"What the fuck kind of men do you think we are?" Liam screamed. He'd received his fair share of accusations before, but rapist?
"Liam, calm down. She's just-"
"The bitch just-" Liam looked at his hand in horror when the fireball he'd accidentally thrown blackened the glass vase that was placed behind the woman. When he'd thrown his hand to motion to her, he hadn't expected that.
There was a tense moment of silence in the room as the three people stared at each other. Jameson looked to the vase as he asked, "What the hell just happened?"
"I don't know." Liam looked to the entryway where two men, own with a hawk perched on his shoulder, walked into the room. "Maybe one of you-" he stopped again when another blast of fire shot out of his hand. The man with the hawk on his shoulder stepped to the side just as the hawk flapped its wings to gain height before it became someone's dinner. Liam immediately balled his fists and kept them at his sides.
She watched as the man who'd had the hawk on his shoulder glanced at her before he turned to the other men in the room. With unruly dark brown hair and eyes, he looked meaner than the redhead, especially with the sickle-shaped scar on his cheek. A goatee and mustache completed his look, but it did nothing to calm her. More men in the house meant more people to have to fight to get out.
"What the hell is going on here?"
"What's up with all the yelling?"
She screamed and jumped at the voice that came from behind her. Two sets of hands reached out to steady her as she stumbled, and she screamed again, more from rage than fear. If they really thought that they could just sneak up on her...
"Drake, Roman, I suggest you step away from her," Jameson warned. Had there not been so much chaos, he could have embraced his twin brothers. Years had passed since he last saw them. As usual, they looked no worse for wear. Their cream-and-coffee colored skin was slightly scarred, but other than that, they both looked as he remembered; short black hair and blacker eyes highlighted their think noses and full lips. Roman had his ear pierced, he'd noticed, but it was a trivial change. Jameson waited for them to stand beside Alexis who nodded a greeting to them before he said, "We have a bit of a situation."
She looked at the blonde haired man who'd walked in with the brown haired man and would have stopped to appreciate his flawless features and misty green eyes as she not been terrified. There were now five men in the room and with the exception of the redhead, they all stood near her only way out.
She was going to die.
"We're not going to hurt you."
"Save the lines for the movies, Brad Pitt." She ignored the laughter that came from the twins, who, she had to admit were quite attractive as well. Why was she thinking about the way they looked? She was about to get raped, murdered, and then thrown in some-
"Hold on just a second," the blonde said, "We are not going to rape you."
"How did you-"
"Oh shut up!" Liam roared. "Shut up before I really - son of a bitch!" He'd forgotten about his hands and angrily pointed at the woman, which caused a bolt of fire to blow in her direction.
"Drake!" Jameson yelled as he stepped forward. He knew that his brother had the power of lentation - the ability to slow moving objects down. Based on the fact that the woman stood frozen in place, the ability was much needed. Jameson watched as his brother threw his hand up to slow the fire down and only gaped when he only vanished into thin air. "What the hell?"
Roman, who'd noticed his twin's disappearance, threw his hand up to throw an invisible force field around the woman and only frowned when the fireball moved at a snail's pace through the air. "What the..."
Jameson looked from Liam to Roman and back again before he looked at the woman. He looked down at his hands and turned to the fireplace. Throwing his hand out, he made an interested grunt when nothing happened. He turned to look at the woman again and realized that she'd calmed down considerably, which only meant that Caleb used his mental abilities to ease her distress.
And that was when realization dawned on him. She had the ability of power transference. She hadn't healed herself; he'd done the work while in the car. "Holy crap. That's a nifty little trick you have there."
Alexis, who'd remained silent during the chaos, suddenly shouted, "What the hell is going on?" In the span of five minutes, he'd found a strange woman in his house, witnessed his brother who acted as the family healer throw fire, and watched as the twins switched powers.
Jameson used his chin to motion to the woman was he said, "Meet the charge Nadia sent me to find."