Hear No Evil

Returning home was -not- running away. Thérèse reminded herself of that at least a dozen times as she drove back to Shady Pines. She had studiously not looked in the mirror as she drove, not until she parked. Only then did she take a quick look. The small over head light in the car was not flattering. The blood at the corner of her mouth was smeared along her jaw line, the left side of her face was in the process of bruising and swelling a bit, another less notable bruise was on the right side of her jaw and just to top it off her right wrist was turning purple. Well at least it was jammed rather than broken. Thank god for small favors.

She made her way back to the rooms she had adopted in one of the wards, fortunately it was late enough that people were either out or already tucked in. It didn't matter which, so long as she wasn't noticed. Her intention had been to take a shower and go to bed. However, her temper was still up and her body still full of adrenalin, sleep was not going to happen any time soon.

Thérèse paced for a while, she attempted to get some work done, but all she could think of was him. The threats he'd made, the 'job' she had to do. Angry and upset did not begin to cover her feelings, but she didn't cry. It wasn't how she'd been taught to deal with things like this, it wasn't who she was. She took action, she did something about things like this, but he'd hobbled her. She -couldn't- do any thing no matter how much she wanted to.

Finally her eyes fell on her violin. Yes, that would help. But not in here. She might wake some one. It was cold out so she did dress warmly but that didn't stop Thérèse. She followed the paths and got as far away from the buildings as she could. Alone with the stars she found someone else's old fire pit. She quickly cleaned it out and though it was a bit of a challenge to find kindling and dry wood it gave her something else to think about. Soon enough she had a small fire started and a small stock pile of wood, enough that she could stay here a while. The fire was less for her and more for the violin, if it was too cold when she played it, it could be damaged and she wouldn't do that for anything.

With a satisfied sigh she tucked it under her chin and began to play. It was soft but the music followed her thoughts. Some times it was mournful and distant, some times aggressive, and others wistful and lonely.

Vaughn Emiliano 13 years ago
Vaughn padded quietly to the edge of the woods around the asylum. It had been a late night of working, as usual, and he needed some sort of release from the overwhelming feeling of being chained to his desk. He had gone to the forest around the compound in order to run for while. Run, not think, not worry, not decide.

He ran; it felt good.

Rejuvenated, Vaughn had returned to his clothes. There he heard music from just beyond the treeline. It sounded like a lone violin; the player was quite talented. The violin sang with the musician's emotions; it voice was rich and complex, sad but oh so sweet. Intrigued, he shifted back into his human form and walked towards the enchanting sound.

He had walked towards the small light of the little campfire. Now out in the open, he realized with a start who the violinist was. Therese!

His paterna habits had betrayed him this time. Normally he thought nothing of walking around without his clothes amongst his own kind. The change quickly caused one of his kind to lose unnecessary modesty; running with the pack meant seeing most of them naked in moonlight before they shifted.

However, he felt different about Therese and, at the moment, somewhat vulnerable. A part of him feared the possibility of seeing himself found lacking by those intense green eyes. There was no help for it now; Vaughn knelt and untied the bundle he had made with his shirt.

Speaking quietly, he said.

"I hope I am not disturbing you."

The night air was cold but he had been running hard. Vaughn hardly felt the bracing wind on his back as he pulled his jeans out of the mix. The weather would still be an excellent excuse for dressing quickly. Pulling on the jeans, vaughn grabbed up the thick light grey sweater and slid it over his head. He hooked a couple of fingers into the heels of his shoes and came over to where Therese stood by the fire.

Now, clothed, he was in no hurry. Vaughn looked up to see what reaction his presence might have garnered. He could see her face clearly by firelight; the dancing flames flickered over dark bruises and a swollen cheek and jaw.

He had crossed the distance without noticing, his hands reached for her without any conscious thought. Vaughn halted the gesture before he touched Therese, despite yearning with all his heart to pull her close.
His hands lingered in the air for a long moment before he let them fall back awkwardly to his side.

The other burning desire was to know who had done this and where he could find them.

His voice, was quiet but hoarse with the effort of restraint.

"What happened?"
Therese 13 years ago
Her thoughts and feeling were always so much clearer, simpler, when she played. It typically didn't last beyond the music, but at least temporarily it was taking the edge off. Even once she stopped, at least she'd be able to sleep. Thérèse had been so engrossed in her playing she had not noticed anyone approach. The feeling of his hand around her throat was far too fresh. While she didn't drop her instrument, Thérèse did react more abruptly then she would ordinarily, reflexively assuming a defensive stance. Realizing who it was she immediately relaxed, looking a little sheepish about her reaction.

"Non, non. Of course not, I did not mean to distract you from your run."Â?

She had been part of the pack for far too long to be shocked of even confused by a lack of clothing on a cold night. There were very few reasons for it. While nudity was something Thérèse didn't even always notice among her brothers and sisters in the pack there were times, she reflected, it was not a bad thing. She was glad she'd taken the time to light the fire, even if manners and propriety kept her from fully enjoying the few. Quickly she found something to busy herself with giving him a moment to dress.

She smiled encouragingly, pleased to have his company for a few moments. Although, there was a twinge of pain in that smile, he had not been gentle. Thérèse would count herself lucky if the bruises faded by morning. She did not want to explain them to her staff.

She wanted, very much wanted to take his hand but couldn't. No, not only was he married this was not the right time for it. Still she very much wished for a gentle touch, something soft after that meeting. Even without that tough she held his eyes and smiled faintly again.

Thérèse hesitated, just for a second. Part of it was pride, she did not want to admit that she had been beaten by a vampire, but her pride was nothing. He was a threat to the pack, he had to be at least identified. She longed to tell her alpha of him.

But it wasn't to be. She couldn't tell the man or the alpha, he'd seen to that. The tone of his voice gave her some hope though. She didn't know if she had the man's attention or the alpha's or both but this was noticed. It was a start.

Fishing up a handy lie she placed a hand on her own cheek and smiled a hollow smile that didn't reach her eyes.

"Mon Dieu, I must look frightening in this light. It is my own fault though, a misstep while running this evening. I landed face first in some old pallets. It is rather embarrassing."Â?
Vaughn Emiliano 13 years ago
Vaughn watched Therese carefully when she answered his question. If someone was tough enough to rough her up then they were formidable enough to be a continued threat to her. She might be too scared to say anything. Her smile didn't reach the bewitching green eyes that he was so intently focused on.

He nodded, feeling there was nothing he could do for the moment but take her word for it. Giving Therese a crooked smile, Vaughn reached up and pushed a stray strand of hair back from the non bruised side of her face, tucking it gently behind her ear.

"And what had you so distracted that you ran into these pallets?"

She had been far too graceful on the dance floor for him to believe she was naturally clumsy but accidents did happen to even the most agile. Finally pulling his gaze away, Vaughn noticed that he had interrupted her playing.

"You are amazing."

He gestured to the violin, in explanation. Finding a nearby log, Vaughn sat down to put his shoes on. Once he had finished he leaned forward towards the fire and then looked up at her.

"You sure you don't mind sharing your fire?"
Therese 13 years ago
She wanted to scream. She needed to say something. To tell Vaughn about him. Granted his focus right now seemed to be the other pack, but still. But she couldn't, it was impossible. At one point Thérèse had even tried to write it down and couldn't. It was maddening. It was as if parts of her, did not belong to her any more, almost as if she were two separate people.

Instead of explaining the situation as she should, Thérèse only smiled softly. It was a much more genuine expression. Not wanting to inadvertently challenge him she closed her eyes for a moment as he brushed back some errant hair.

"I was thinking of some research I have to do. Nothing terribly interesting in retrospect."Â?

Another lie, and like the first it touched on the truth. Which made it all the worse. She could almost say things but not quite. It was like the horizon, you could see it, but never reach it.

She flushed slightly at his praise, it did not help her appearance.

"I am an amateur. It helps to keep us entertained, it helps me to think but it is... how do you say? What it is."Â?

She was quite pleased when he didn't stand again. Thérèse was certain he was married she'd seen the ring. He had children. But he didn't speak of her, she'd not been introduced. Thérèse quickly weighed the possibilities against her own wants and decided that his company was more than worth the risk right now.

"Of course not, fires are better when shared. You can tell me of your run, it appears to have been pallet free."Â?

And vampire free. Yes it was weak and slightly pathetic and Thérèse knew it but it was a start. It gave him an excuse to say and talk. If she was lucky it might be a chance to hint at him again.
Vaughn Emiliano 13 years ago
Vaughn could understand completely being lost in thought or worry over work. He relaxed a little bit, perhaps it truly was nothing. There was no need to ride in on a white horse and be the hero. He wasn't very good at it anyway.

Therese was being far too modest in his opinion. He quirked an eyebrow at her and shook his head slightly.

"It sounded wonderful from what I could hear."

There was feeling to what she had been playing. So many times the professionals lost the love of playing; they became technically superior but lost the heart and soul of the music. Therese had been pouring emotion into the piece. The cry of the violin had sounded lost and alone. Vaughn wondered at her choice of music, again becoming somewhat more suspicious. whatever it was the she had been considering didn't seem very happy.

He smiled in response to her comment and patted the log next to him.

"There is not much to tell. I suppose I came out here to get away from work. Being indoors all day and then coming home to do more of the same. It becomes overwhelming sometimes." He blushed at telling her his problems. "Sometimes I just need to put it all out of my mind. To focus on nothing but the running."
Therese 13 years ago
"Merci monsieur."Â?

She chuckled slightly. Thérèse was realistic about her playing and it had its good points and its bad but it wasn't in her nature to totally shun the compliment. Although she did think that he was being rather too kind.

To say her feelings were mixed right now would be an understatement. To have so many conflicting thoughts and feelings and needs each pulling her in another direction. It was enough to send her into despair. But to fall into that darkness would be to let him win and so she rallied her spirits some what and carefully tucked the violin and bow into their case, the instrument was too precious to be careless with, before seating herself next to him.

"That sounds far too familiar."Â?

Thérèse knew that was why she ran, perhaps that was why when running on two feet she preferred free running, with the added challenges, scaling walls, jumping ditches, and so forth there really was no way to think about anything else. Just the running.

Right now any one's troubles were preferable to her own and she smiled a sympathetic and sportive grin.

"Are they troubles you can share?"Â?

Thinking she might have been a bit too forward she added,

"Or are they simply a collection of the every day?"Â?
Vaughn Emiliano 13 years ago
He considered for a moment dismissing his problems as unimportant but if something were truly bothering Therese then it might help to talk of something else first. She might not feel like she could trust him with her situation, if there was one. Sharing his own every day concerns might convince her...what? That he was an ordinary guy? That he could be trusted? She had no reason to know that no matter how much he wanted her to understand that he'd do anything he could for her.

In truth Vaughn was at a loss for what to say. He wanted to tell her that it was okay to speak with him. He would promise to listen, to not judge, to be whatever she wanted or needed him to be for as long as she would let him. If only those were promises he could express.

Picking up a nearby piece of wood, Vaughn pulled out a little knife from his pocket. He began removing the outer bark from the piece as he spoke.

"I suppose they are every day problems. My campaign chairman has been pushing me to increase my public appearances before the re-election. There is a whole truckload of minor decisions to be made or avoided which can break a career should it be the wrong one."

Vaughn lifted his pale gaze from his hands to look at Therese.

"And trust me when I say that if the position were not helpful to the pack I would gladly let whatever politician who wanted the job to take it."

He sighed and went back to shaving little pieces off the wood.

"Something you might find odd." Vaughn paused his whittling and turned to her again. "Remember Sofia? The woman at the Halloween Party? She said she would send someone by on that following Monday. No one ever came. I thought that was kind of strange considering how interested she is in her cause."

Dismissing the strange woman and her bizzare behavior, Vaughn said "I sent the money to the shelter anyway, but I was surprised."

He cut away a couple of large chunks in silence, getting an idea for what he wanted to carve and what he wanted to say. He was so much better at listening than speaking.

"There are pack members missing. I've no idea who took them. There's been no sign of them in other cities so I have to assume the worst. If more of the R'asa here come to harm then less will come. Some will probably leave."

Vaughn turned to Therese and asked with doubt in his voice.

"Are you sure you want to hear all this?"
Therese 13 years ago
Thérèse was slightly envious of Vaughn's abilities to talk about what was on his mind. She couldn't even effectively run from her problems. And now she had to track down this male. Bad enough the mulo was making her miserable, putting her in danger as he expended his orders he came closer and closer to risking them all. Thérèse didn't know if she could live with that.

For now she determinedly shoved thoughts of that meeting and her upcoming assignment away and focused on the man next to her. Granted the list of complications was just as long, but at least her mind was her own in this case.

"Oui, I can see where shaking hands and kissing babies should become tedious. But, so long as you do not get the two mixed up it is only until after the election, at least the bulk of it?"Â?

Her expression softened and she looked to his fidgeting with the knife for a moment.

"But it is good to have such a foothold, almost necessary."Â?

Power and influence was necessary, it offered some protection and she tried to encourage him.

While she had no overwhelming concern for the woman, who had been a bit... well Thérèse had not really cared for her, but still that was quite odd. She had done her fair share of fund raising and schmoozing for donations and that was wrong.

"That is quite odd. It was kind of you to send the donation, but I cannot imagine someone who's organization is dependant on donations dropping the ball so badly, and with such a public figure."Â?

Thérèse would skin her staff alive for something like that. When you had a fish on the line you did -not- cut bait. Especially not these days when people were so reluctant to donate to anything. She wondered if the vampire had anything to do with that, but shoved that idea aside. She had determined not to think of him right now.

Not at all unsettled by the momentary silence she only stood and silently turned one of the logs and added another. She had no gloves and as she wasn't playing her fingers were starting to stiffen in the chill. Sitting back down her stomach turned, twisted into a knot. God in heaven she needed to say something, she had to he had to be responsible, or possibly know who was. But she couldn't even open her mouth, literally. Thérèse resolved to ask him what he knew, perhaps he would tell her. Rubbing her jaw she knew he probably wouldn't, they would probably have a repeat of tonight if she got impertinent again, but she would risk that. After all, it would heal.

"That is unsettling. You think it has something to do with them?"Â?

There were others, she could think of them, speak of them. And in this case she considered the jackal and the stoat. He at least had not been happy with the idea of letting her alone.

She let an unspoken offer of assistance hang in the air. For Thérèse that was implicit she would do anything possible to help him, to help the pack.
Vaughn Emiliano 13 years ago
Vaughn chuckled at the campaign advice.

"Don't shake the babies. Understood."

He smiled at the interpretation of Sofia's situation by Therese. He suspected the Arch now had a fierce advocate for garnering support. He knew that it wouldn't require great arm twisting on her part to convince him to donate. Dinner, to discuss the museum, would be nice. Turning his thoughts back to the shelter, Vaughn supposed a number of things could have happened but they had to be pretty noteworthy. He could just imagine Sofia calling every hour on the hour to the shelter even while in a hospital bed. He really didn't want to ponder it any deeper; that was probably wrong of him but the pack had its own problems.

The conversation followed his thoughts and Therese went straight to the cause. He turned to her and shrugged slightly.

"The vampire or the Kadzait. I can't think of anyone else likely to kill werewolves."

Human hunters existed, of course. They were rare and they didn't last long before someone managed to take them out. If the humans had a large enough organization to be dangerous then there were usually signs of it. It was difficult to move a large group of people without others noticing.

That seemed like exactly their problem. Someone had noticed.

Vaughn looked back at Therese. She had encountered two vampires on her first night in Nachton. They had let her alone. Why? Could they have followed her to the compound? He doubted it; they seemed to have been on foot and no one outran a Vyusher on foot.

Maybe they were of this other group that he had recently met. That would explain why they let her be. Vaughn felt hopeful that he had made the right choice in going to Alfarinn. There were decent vampires out there and these didn't harm Therese. Perhaps he could ask after the stoat and the jackal when next, IF, he spoke with the Elder of Evenhet again.

"I have recently found out that there are different factions of the vampires."
Therese 13 years ago
It was an old joke and one she had, and was certain he had, heard many times. Still, she was encouraged that he had responded to the slight bit of humor.

Thérèse barley even noticed that the subject of the other woman had been dropped. It was an oddity and perhaps at some point she might make a call to the shelter. He had told her to start thinking for herself, and it was certainly extremely odd that this kind of fund raising opportunity would just be lost.

But it wasn't her first concern. He was.

With a bit of a half nod Thérèse agreed. It could be the other pack. She'd not had many dealing with them. Once in a great while her family and some of theirs would encounter each other. Reactions were mixed, sometimes violence, sometimes they simply ignored each other. But Vaughn was right, they, as a people, were too sturdy and resilient to be easily killed off.

This, however, might color her investigations into the Kadzait male. Perhaps she could get information from him. Hopefully peacefully, or without him knowing it. She did not fancy the idea of tangling with him. As a whole the Kadzait tended to be on the huge side.

"I would not have considered the Kadzait, but perhaps I am biased it is easier to consider the vampires being behind something like this."Â?

Thérèse was amazed she'd been able to say so much. Of course, having said it her mind skittered off in another direction preventing her from thinking that way or saying anything else along those lines.

It was hard to tell if that was good news or bad news. On the one hand it meant there was disagreement somewhere and perhaps they could be set against each other. On the other, it meant they most likely worked cooperatively within these packs.

"I would not have thought that. It isn't as if one needs to move in a pack to hunt one little human. Are there many?"Â?
Vaughn Emiliano 13 years ago
"To be honest, the vampires are my first guess as well. While the other pack could be responsible we haven't had any conflict with them in the city as of yet. That is why the Legion and I found a mulo to 'question'. He gave us the information about the different factions."

Shrugging in answer to her question, he said.

"I don't know. I think there are more than we have considered. They don't have to, however they..., procreate often. Living forever, even with deaths, would still amount to a lot of them."

Vaughn decided that he should try to explain his conversation with the Evenhet elder to Therese. She was intelligent and resourceful; if she were against the idea of an alliance then he might have to rethink it.

"I met with a leader of one of their...they call them clans."

Delicately carving around a knot in the wood, Vaughn paused afterward to focus his attention on Therese. He wanted to explain this well.

"They believe in working together with humans." Holding up a hand, he chuckled. "It sounded crazy to me when I heard it but after speaking with their leader. I don't know." Vaughn shook his head. "You believe he means it. He seemed to understand that it would take patience but they have plenty of time."

Looking into her eyes, he spoke softly.

"I spoke with him about the possibility of an alliance."
Therese 13 years ago
Oh and how she would have loved to have been a part of that expedition. Thérèse could find no sympathy for whatever had befallen the vampire at the hands of the Legion, not given her current situation.

Her eyes widened in shock, he'd met with one? And come out in one piece? Thérèse could only assume that since they were having this conversation Vaughn's mind was still his own. Although, for all Thérèse knew all the mulo could control them, this leader of theirs could be leading the pack to the slaughter through their alpha.

With out realizing it she worked her jaw some, trying to relieve the stiffness, as she shook her head.

"They play with their food? Non, they have years and years to become good actors too..."Â?

Thérèse wanted to believe Vaughn, she wanted to trust him but right now she had far too much evidence to the contrary. Although perhaps she was being too narrow minded. Perhaps this other one could help her. She doubted it, but perhaps. But it didn't matter, not really, she couldn't say anything, nothing either good or bad. Every time she attempted it the words just didn't come out her mind couldn't hold them.

Frustrated she curled up on the log drawing her knees to her chest and resting her chin on them.

"And what did he say?"Â?
Vaughn Emiliano 13 years ago
"Yes, and he was quite old. I do not believe he was lying. For one thing what he said matched the other one exactly. Secondly, I don't know. Perhaps I don't want to believe I could be so easily duped but he seemed genuine."

He watched her as she stretched her jaw; it must be hurting. They should probably go inside and see if there was something for the pain. Vaughn was reluctant to give up on the conversation just yet though. Still her comfort was more important to him, even than this.

Reaching out, he gently brushed a finger along the bruises.

"We could go inside, get something for that if you like."

Therese shook her head at him, and he nodded. Returning to her question, Vaughn replied.

"He was honest. His clan had not been around when the war between our kind happened and that most of his people did not even know of us. It explains why we've come across so many mulo that have been shocked by us."

Vaughn began making features onto the thing taking shape in his hands.

"Though he did say he was alive then." Glancing up, He smiled at Therese and confessed. "I found that quite intimidating really. I tell you, I was ready to run screaming from the building right then."

He was never going to look like a heroic knight at this rate. Vaughn supposed it was another example of why he wasn't suited for the job. Sitting there with Alfarinn had been terrifying, for his sake, but mostly for what it could mean to the pack.

"He told me that he was not one of the ones who...'cursed' us. Though he was also good enough to explain that it was because he couldn't so it was never a choice he had to make."

Vaughn had a hard time believing that the man he met would have been willing to do such a thing. Perhaps Therese was right and Alfarinn was a very good actor; he had seemed so forth right. It was difficult to imagine the man being manipulative.

"He is going to speak with others and he will contact me again. There is very little for them to gain by an alliance, or at least very little that I could see. It could mean a war among their kind. Apparently another clan does not much care for us."
Therese 13 years ago
"Perhaps... it is difficult to be objective some times."Â?

She was certain he'd understand. They all had memories, some clearer than others, some only half understood but they were always there.

Thérèse shook her head, she wasn't aware she'd been flexing her jaw and so was surprised by his reaction. Although she was confused by the statement she was warmed by his concern and even as she shook her head she smiled softly. Really she would much rather think about this than vampires.

Arrogant bastards. They won and so they felt they could afford to forget? It was insulting. How could they not tell their 'children' certainly they must teach their offspring. She frowned trying to make sense of this idea. It didn't go well.

Glancing down at his carving Thérèse tried to guess what it was, but between the dark and the flickering light and shadows couldn't.

"I cannot even comprehend living that long."Â?

It was impossible. Their extended life spans was enough. Not that she was in any hurry to die but it certainly did make them more alien. More monstrous.

She smiled sympathetically, not thinking any less of him for such a confession.

"I certainly don't blame you for that. Walking into the lion's den and then finding out the lion is a thousand or more... any one in their right mind would be."Â?

It was hard, she didn't want to ruin their hope for the future but honestly she didn't believe any of them could be trusted. And that belief was not from some half remembered memory, it was experience.

They couldn't all do this? She could only hope that was true. It wasn't an immediate help, but maybe she could find away to use that information. Of course it could be a lie too but if it wasn't... She opened her mouth to comment about this, to question him but couldn't. -He- wouldn't let her. Thérèse flexed her jaw again, frustrated.

"With these other clans of theirs or his people?"Â?

Let them war with each other, let them wipe each other out. It would save the pack the trouble. It would keep them safe.

"Which one takes issue with us?"Â?

If Vaughn thought the one was worth speaking to he probably wasn't one of them. But he could be part of this one that had held a grudge. Maybe, just maybe she could find him.
Vaughn Emiliano 13 years ago
Vaughn nodded seriously, considering what Therese had said. She was so much more calm, so much more easy to talk to than... He stopped himself right there. It wasn't fair to either of them and he felt vaguely guilty for even going down that road. He should be having this conversation with Etta. Even though he knew she'd have never wanted to even consider what he was thinking...It would have taken many long nights of 'discussion' to convince her to give Alfarinn and his people a chance to prove they were different.

Of course, they had no reason to feel they needed to. He hated feeling like they were the ones coming for the handout.

He added some finishing lines to his carving and said.

"Nor can I. Sometimes I am amazed at the shortness of human life but how quick must ours be to them as well?"

Vaughn looked up and smiled at her for being sympathetic to his confession. It had been something he had said without thinking. Therese was so easy for him to be open with; he was simply himself, not the Alpha. If he had been thinking more like a leader then he would not have confessed such a weakness to one of his pack.

Scooting off the log, he moved closer to the fire and looked around the base of it. Vaughn found what he wanted. There was ash from old fires on the outside of Therese's smaller fire. He stuck his finger into the soot and began rubbing it on the little carving.

Talking over his shoulder while he worked, Vaughn explained.

"With these other clans. There was an older one. Ann-ahn-tcha or something like that. and a younger one." He smiled at the name for that clan. Vaughn understood its meaning. "They are called Tacharan. It means orphan in gaelic."

He finished up his job with the ash, and then wiped his fingers off on the side of jeans. Crawling back over to Therese, he sat cross legged on the ground in front of her.

"The older one does. I didn't press for details but perhaps in time we could learn more."

Vaughn held out the finished carving to her. It was a little wolf, slender and graceful like a Vyusher, sooted a dark grey except for the muzzle, tips of the ears and tail.

"A pocket protector." He smiled kindly at her. "To ward away any more aggressive pallets."
Therese 13 years ago
How old was he? Was he young? Did their young have weaknesses or was he as old as this one Vaughn had spoken to? This was the most she'd been able to think about things since her first meeting with him and all this was doing was raising more questions. She still couldn't think about him, not in any detail but as long as the conversation stayed on a higher level she could manage. Unfortunately all this was doing was raising more questions.

And she was certain that she couldn't think clearly about this. All she knew is she wanted to shout to Vaughn not to trust them. Not at all. Even if this one couldn't get in their had others could. It was all a trap. Again her jaw worked as she tried to come up with some kind of answer, some warning but again she couldn't.

"Orphans? That is not encouraging. Neither of the other two will take them in? A clan of lone wolves, could be dangerous."Â?

Not that she knew a thing about these clans, but just their name suggested that. Lone wolves were unpredictable, potentially dangerous. She didn't trust them.

"I should like to know more."Â?

She said quietly. But she let her attention drift from the topic of mulo to Vaughn's crawling about and playing in the fire. She lowered her legs and with a little cocked her head at him curiously. She took the carving, her fingers brushed against his and she wished for a dance floor, something appropriate. Instead she laughed softly.

"Thank you, it is lovely and I can certainly use all the help I can get fending off pallets."Â?

After all one should always hunt in a pack. It was also very sweet of him. She couldn't quite say that, but did her best to convey it in her expression.
Vaughn Emiliano 13 years ago
Vaughn nodded to Therese, saddened a bit by her misgivings. She was much more calm than many of their clan and if she thought this was such a horrible idea then the others would never understand.

"He did say that the younger clan was unpredictable."

Perhaps it was, as she said, a group of vampires that no one else wanted. They didn't know that for certain. It could be a bunch of upstarts who didn't like the way their elders did things. Teenage vampires? He didn't know if they had named themselves, perhaps in rebellion , or if the other clans started calling them orphans as a derogatory name.

Somewhat encouraged by her request to know more, Vaughn asked.

"I'd like you to go with me next time. Would you?"

He shouldn't risk her and if he felt that it was a danger then Therese would be the last person that he would ask to accompany him.

She took the little wolf from him, her fingers gently brushing over his. Vaughn repressed the little shiver of excitement in that brief touch. He wanted to tell her that the little wooden wolf was only a substitute because he couldn't be there all the time to protect her like he wanted.

Vaughn looked at the figure in her hands. He couldn't but others could. Running the right and wrong of that thought forming in his mind, Vaughn climbed back up on the log to sit beside her.

"The Great Canus, Protector of Museums. He used to be a bull but, well, you could see how that wouldn't work so well."

He smiled to her. They had spoken plenty about his worries and troubles; Vaughn was more interested in her's.

"Now, tell me what you were thinking about when you ran into these pallets?"
Therese 13 years ago
Unpredictable, immortal, and several other less than flattering adjectives she could think of, wonderful. That sounded just wonderful. If the other vampires were calling these unpredictable.

"Perhaps we should avoid them, for now."Â?

Fighting a battle on more than one front was never a good idea. Maybe he was one of those? She didn't know, there was no way to tell it wasn't as if he opened himself up to her. She knew his name and that was it, only his first name at that and she could not actually say it.

His request startled her. Thérèse was torn. On the one hand she wanted nothing to do with them. Nothing. And what if he was there, god how would he react to her appearance? But running and hiding was not her preferred style. No, she might loath these creatures on more levels than she could count, but this was an opportunity to find out something about them. Maybe, just maybe she could gain an advantage.

"Oui. I will. I cannot claim that I will like to, but I think I want to."Â?

That he was interested in her opinion was extremely flattering too. She wanted nothing more than to help the pack and to be given this opportunity was very exciting.

She laughed slightly at the reference.

"All things considered I would rather keep bulls away from the sculptures. He will do a much better job."Â?

Thérèse knew without a doubt the small wolf would take its place among the few personal items on her desk. While her personal taste was well represented in the office as a whole, she kept the desk clear except for a few small items that were important to her.
He did get points for being persistent. That was certain. She, however, frowned trying to find an answer that was both true and irrelevant. She smiled weakly,

"Just a meeting. One I would have rather avoided but was necessary."Â?
Vaughn Emiliano 13 years ago
If there was a reliable way to avoid any of the vampires then he might consider that option. The problem was the mulo had constrained his people, made them slaves to their ancient will and -that- he could not live with. Not that he liked cities, Vaughn was fairly certain that he would continue to prefer living on the outskirts of them. But he would see that his people had the choice.

Therese said that she would go with him. He was happy, excited and somewhat scared. What if he was wrong? Was he willing to risk her life on his good judgment? He made the offer and now he couldn't really rescind it. Alfarinn hadn't spoken with him again yet, perhaps they could meet somewhere else. That might make him feel better about the idea of bringing the person who haunted so many of his spare thoughts into a potentially dangerous situation.

Smiling slightly, he reached over and clasped her hand. Giving it a slight squeeze, he said.

"I would be grateful. I value your insight."

He listened to intently to her answer about the accident earlier in the day. Her response seemed short. Perhaps it was a lover and she did not want to tell him. Vaughn suddenly felt embarrassed for asking and once the thought had entered his head he couldn't push it away. The reluctance to speak of it, moving onto other matters. Therese probably sensed his attraction and wasn't comfortable bringing this kind of problem to him.

Vaughn felt like a horrible leader. His own desire was getting in the way of being the support one of his pack needed. The thought he had earlier, about having someone watch her for her own safety. He couldn't have just anyone watch her now. If the pack found out that he was placing Legion to watch someone for his own personal peace of mind they would not be happy about it. Still if the boyfriend had been the reason for the bruising then he was strong enough to really hurt her. Vaughn wanted to know about it. If this potential boyfriend were real and one of his pack. He'd see that he never hurt Therese again.

Quietly, personally, permanently.

He looked down and realized he was still holding her hand, rubbing the cool fingers beneath his own as he considered how best to see to her safety. If this was a lover then she would probably not approve of his involvement. Vaughn resolved not to let her know. Accidents do happen after all.

"I have had some of those."

Standing, he bowed slightly over the hand that he still held. He pushed the thoughts of which discerning loyal Legion member he could put to the task to the back of his mind.

"Would, Madamoiselle, care to join me for some cheap white wine?"

Vaughn gave her his best grin and hopeful puppy dog eyes.
Therese 13 years ago
That small squeeze conveyed a great deal, she could only hope she wasn't reading too much into things. She though she sensed concern in it and wished for a good way to tell him that one mulo aside she would be fine in such a meeting, as long as he wasn't there. She had served time in the legion, her father and grandfather had seen to it she was quite proficient in hand to hand.

Instead though, she flushed slightly at the compliment and once again shoved thoughts of his wife out of her mind. Undoubtedly he should be having this conversation with her, taking her to the meeting. And yet he'd asked her, that was a good thing, wasn't it?

"You flatter me."Â?

With a smile she returned the small gesture, hoping to convey as much to him.

She was both relieved and upset by his lack of response. Granted she hadn't given much of an answer, she couldn't. And it certainly would have been awkward if he had chosen to peruse the topic. But she also didn't want to give the wrong impression. Complications aside she was interested and did want to tell him about that meeting.

At least he hadn't released her hand. That was promising and she certainly made no effort to pull away.

She hoped his bad meetings were more ordinary and didn't involve vampires controlling his actions.

But those grim thoughts didn't last as his expression made her giggle. She couldn't help it, although she did try.

"Perhaps we can upgrade to something more enticing? My mother sent me a bottle for the New Year, a family tradition, but I had not wanted to drink it alone. It is already chilled."Â?

She, in turn had sent a bottles back to her family. The tradition held that local wines should be exchanged if a family member wasn't present. It had taken some time for her to find a regional wine she was stratified with for her family who was now back in France. On the upside, they were back in France and Thérèse was quite certain the bottle she had been sent would be exemplary.