Amir followed Shades to the back room on the bottom floor of the building that housed the club and many small apartments. He'd been here so many times before, for different reasons. Tonight, though, he wasn't sure what Shades wanted from him. He had always felt his ancestor's eyes upon him but Shades had never really said what was on his mind. Amir hated feeling like a child when he was with the older man. It made him bristle, just the thought of it, with indignation.
Amir closed the door behind them; not all the way, just enough for anyone approaching to know to knock. Shades sat in the old comfortable armchair, leaving the sofa for Amir. He sat, on the opposite end that Shades was closest to, and looked at the big man with something akin to wariness.
"Oh relax," Shades said with a pearly white smile. "I'm not going to eat you."
"I'm not afraid of you," Amir said defensively. Then he immediately regretted it. This was how Shades made him feel, damn it. He drew himself up, crossing his arms over his chest.
"That's better. Show some spirit," Shades said. Then the man bent down, resting his elbows on his knees and interlacing the fingers on his huge hands. "For what it's worth, I don't think she should have done what she did to you," he said. Even at its softest, his big voice filled the room.
Amir sat up even straighter. "You knew?"
That was news to him, actually. Shades had known what Subira was doing to him, and he had let it happen? He felt anger. Anger that the one person who could have helped the most had not done so. Amir hadn't wanted to spend two thousand years in thrall to Subira. He had thought they were to be equals. For a time, they actually had been. When Subira was sane. Shades... he could have stopped it before it had gone too far. And he hadn't. Amir felt a sense of betrayal from this man, who was supposed to be a father to all of them.
Shades shook his head. "I know you're wondering why I let it happen," he said. Amir didn't even try to argue that. He was wondering. Shades continued. "You weren't mine, boy. You know how I roll. Some things you don't interfere with. How would you have felt if Subira tried to undermine your own influence with your children?"
Amir scowled. He understood, although he didn't want to. He was still coming to terms with the fact that he had been a victim himself, when he'd thought he was so very much in control of his own fate. He didn't like victims. They were weak. They were preyed upon. They were hunted, not hunters, and Amir was himself a hunter.
Shades hadn't interfered because it wasn't Shades' way. Sadly, Amir did understand. And he would have been angry beyond words if Subira had messed with Amir's children. She had, in a way, by screwing him up in the head, but Amir was proud of the vampires he'd Created. Every single one had taken something from him and become more than what they'd been in life. Even Kiamhaat, although he'd taken his sweet time.
"I get it," Amir finally said, clearly and succinctly.
"Good," Shades said. "Don't be angry with me, boy. It wasn't my call. Although I will admit, it was getting to a point where I'd have done something."
Amir bristled; after two thousand years Shades was considering intervening? And yet, a bigger part of him said see? I didn't need your help after all.
"You were smart, with your kitten," Shades said.
Amir knew that. Mara was his oldest, his closest, she knew him best when he was still mostly himself. "I needed an anchor," he said after a long silence. "I didn't... want to drift away."
Mara had always reminded him of who he was.
Of course Shades would want to know if his plan had worked. Amir gave it some consideration before responding. "Almost," he finally said. "I'm still a little off course but I know where I'm headed."
Shades smiled. "Don't worry about her," he said casually. Amir knew who he was referring to. "I've got my eyes on her."
Amir didn't bristle. He actually felt... grateful. "Thank you."
"People care about you. Your Elder, she looks after you too."
Amir looked down. "I know. I'm lucky."
He had always had some kind of luck, in one form or another. Maybe he was just good at exploiting opportunities. Whatever the case, Amir was well aware that he had a lot of people in his corner, somehow.
Shades nodded his agreement. "Lucky, maybe, but you're smart too. I like how you think. There's a place for you here, boy. There always has been."
"Will you stop calling me boy?"
"It's not likely."
"I'll think about it."
Shades smiled and gestured to the door, allowing Amir to leave. "That's all I can ask. Boy."
Amir scowled at Shades and left, with the booming sound of the big man's laughter at his back the entire way.
((ooc: Amir out))