Initiation (invite only)

Ran slouched against the corner of a dilapidated building. There weren't many people around; this was a place for the dying, the dead who didn't realize they were were yet. He sneered away a drug dealer, ignored the homeless addict who went crawling after the seller. A prostitute approached him, sad woman, past her time, obviously high on something. A cigarette dangled from her fingers and as she took in the sight of him her dull eyes flickered with something that once might have been spirit.

"Come on, baby. I got what'chu need," she slurred at him.

Ran smiled, the expression sympathetic.
"No. You don't," he said gently. He wouldn't drink her blood if he were starving and she were the last human left on the planet. He wasn't a snob but he did have standards.

The woman apparently realized he wasn't joking. She flipped him the bird, and even that gesture was half-hearted. Then she took a drag of her cigarette and shuffled off, muttering to herself.

It took everything he had not to jump when he heard a voice in his ear. "Did you get it?"

Ran flexed his willpower and remained slumped against the side of the building.
"Yeah. I got it."

"Let me have it."

Ran fished in his pocket for a moment.
"I want a guarantee in return."

The man behind him sighed and Ran felt something heavy fall into his other pocket. "It's untraceable?"

"Completely," Ran said. "No one will miss it."

That was true. The item he was about to hand over wouldn't be missed because Amir had given it to him.
"What's so important about it anyway?"

"Not your concern."

Ran shrugged.
"Fair enough."

He slid the small stiletto knife into the man's waiting hand and then felt for what he'd been given. A key. Perfect.

"Be there on Friday. Room 136B."

"Got it."

"You were never here."

Ran looked around, pushing away from the wall.
"I was never where?"

There was a soft chuckle. "I can see why you made it this long."

Ran ignored it, shrugged, and wandered off. He wasn't foolish enough to think he wasn't being followed so instead of going anywhere important he headed toward one of the seedier clubs on this side of town. Not really even a club so much as a bar with loud music and loose women. He stayed there for hours, only leaving when it was safe to blend and slip away, then fly.

Akahana Yoshida 10 years ago
The room was lovely for a suite in a new hotel that dreamed big but hadn't made it there yet. They were trying hard but things were still a little rough around the edges. It would take many years until they had found the best way to train their staff, create a signature reputation, and before they could roll with any situation or need as smoothly as a hotel like the Waldorf Astoria.

That was exactly why she had picked it. It looked expensive and impressive, flashy and new. It was exactly the thing that a younger vampire with a taste for luxury and glamor would have gravitated toward. Her cover was not as young as Ran's but she still did not want this group of clanless to know that she was over a thousand much less two.

So far she had kept much the same identity as she had with Mahesh. It served her purposes well since the essential story for him and his people was that she had become disillusioned with the way Anantya was handling things. She and Sorin had combed through actual Night dealings and came up with a situation for her to find morally reprehensible that had to do with command being used as Sorin felt certain that command was the reason members of their clan had been murdered.

There was a situation in which one of the members of the Night had used his command on women in order to sell them into slavery to powerful men and then return to them later and glean information from them. It was not so different from what she did except that her people were willing and definitely not slaves. Personally Akahana found the man to be despicable and his methods to be sloppy. The use of women as slaves was barbaric but hardly shocking at her age. In her considerable lifetime, she had seen men sold as well, for that matter. Rights and freedoms for everyone was a modern convenience that young people and vampires took for granted.

However, since it had been so close to her own line of work and had involved someone that she could easily loathe, it had worked quite well for allowing her to make her way into Mahesh's ranks. He told her his story of the werewolves and how they had been tragically bound by command as well, thank all the gods, her mother and the other two elders ruling at the time that they were, loathsome creatures. She had struggled to appear sympathetic to that cause and to 'make friends' with Mahesh's werewolf allies. Thankfully, there had only ever been a few around her at a time. Mahesh bought her story, and years later, considered her his closest confidant.

The same story had worked well on this bunch of upstarts. It meant one less story to remember and one less person to play, plus if the two groups of people ever met then her persona would hold up. It seemed unlikely but they were all in Nachton so it was entirely possible. She had even told Mahesh of these clanless renegades who sought to start up a clan of their own. She had suggested infiltrating their group to him and potentially helping them stir up enough of a fuss to be a decent distraction for the local members of Anantya to deal with.

Akahana smiled from her seat on the window sill. She took another sip from her glass of crisp white wine and remembered his response. "Try to keep them alive long enough to be useful. Fools have a short life span around our clan.”

And so here she was, spying on a group of clanless vampires for two different people. If she were being paid for the job then it would have been absolutely perfect.

A delicate sound that was almost a whisper caught her attention and she searched the sky beyond for the source of the quiet flutter of wings. A light tap on the glass told her ears where Ran was despite her eyes not being so useful. Reaching up, she unlocked the window and lifted the pane.

For a moment she enjoyed the cooling night air on her skin, closing her eyes and taking in the sounds of the busy city night. Hana then looked around, scanning the street and the buildings beyond before leaning back inside and closing the window. To anyone who might have seen her, she would have appeared to have been a tourist enjoying the view, to any of the clanless who might be watching her she might have appeared to be looking for exactly such people.

She moved away from the window and the lighted living room area and instead moved to the darkened bedroom. Setting her glass down on the nightstand, Hana curled up on one side of the bed and leaned against the pile of pillows against the headboard. The light from the living room gave them plenty to see by but the darkened bedroom wouldn't betray the second silhouette to anyone who might be watching the room from outside.

"And how was your evening?”
Ran Iyala 10 years ago
Ran tapped his beak gently against the window, rewarded when Hana heard him and moved to open it. He loved working with her thus far; as partners went, she was a lot of fun. He liked his job on any given day, but having someone like Hana to work with made him love it even more. He glided into the hotel room and directly into the bedroom when she let him in. Once she'd joined him he made sure he was away from any windows or lights and became visible.

On avian feet he hopped up beside her then smoothly shifted so he was lying down next to her on the bed, his head against her thigh. He smiled up at her, tonight's yellow happy-face eyes dancing as he snuggled up.

"Informative," he said. He wrinkled his nose. "Wanna shower," he added. "Something about that part of Nachton..." He let the words fade away and wrinkled his nose and stuck his tongue out in the Intergalactic Yuck Face.

Ran slipped his hand into his pocket and produced the key he'd been given.
"Got this, though. They're meeting on Friday."

He let her examine it if she wanted; they could even copy it if Hana felt like attending a clandestine meeting of rebel clanless vampires, but it would be difficult to say who'd given hers to her. Ran knew they only handed out a certain number of keys each meeting. It was part of the way they controlled their following, which was smart. Not all the 'peons' got to attend every get-together. A lot of information was passed along after, but those who were able to beg, bargain, and cajole their way into more and more meetings moved up in the ranks fairly quickly. This was Ran's first key, so it was a significant breakthrough in his attempts to ingratiate himself with the rogue 'Clan.'

He reached over and snagged one of the unused pillows on the bed, making himself absolutely at home as he nestled up against Hana with a little yawn.
"I wonder if I should bring chips and salsa," he said with a grin.

It was comfortable lying there. Hana was so unpretentious, easy to relax around. Ran didn't think twice about making himself comfortable in a bed with her. He counted her as a friend and had no reason to think the feeling wasn't mutual.

"How about you? Good night so far? How's the boy? He fretting because he's not here?"

Ran's smile grew wider. He found Jake adorable, maybe a little like a puppy, but it was hard to think poorly of him when he tried so very hard to be the perfect familiar.
Akahana Yoshida 10 years ago
The yellow smiley faces were interesting. It was like looking down at three expressions at the same time, two eternally happy and one changing. A part of her longed to see his golden eyes instead; they had life to them that the contacts hid. She listened to his mild complaint about the poorer part of the city and nodded thoughtfully. It was dirty, sad and desperate and she could understand his wanting to wash all that away.

"Bath or a shower?”

Ran held up a key and she looked at it with interest for a moment before looking down at him and his cheerful eyes. "I am to meet my contact later. He mentioned a meeting on Saturday.” That there was more than one meeting was not entirely surprising, nor was the fact that they had separated her meeting and Ran's.

A slow smile crossed her features.
"I think we should attend both.” He could do that more easily than she could but she might be able to manage it. Manipulation and verbal subterfuge was her typical game. She couldn't become invisible the way he could but she might be able to come close.

Tapping a finger lightly against his bottom lip, she thought out loud.
"Perhaps we can ambush one of them before they get to the meeting. You can help me assume that person's form. After the meeting is over we can go back to him or her and I can make sure they believe they were at the meeting and heard everything correctly.” Assuming they wanted them to believe they had heard everything correctly. Maybe a more mischievous or useful idea would come to them later.

"For the next meeting you can sneak in with much less fuss. Oh to be a little birdie instead of a fox.” Her smile said otherwise; it was as sly as her animal form was known for.

Snuggling down into the pillows, she wrapped her arms around Ran and considered his remark.
"That might be interesting. I don't think clandestine meetings of outlaw factions have a party etiquette. Bring a nice wine? Or maybe a nice blood donor...Some flowers for the hostess...” She smiled as shrugged slightly. "Maybe we should write a letter to Mrs. Manners and get her advice on the topic.”

"The night hasn't really been very eventful so far. They know that I am a more established vampire and I am still keeping up appearances within Anantya so my 'sponsor' understands that later in the evening is better for me. I have businesses to run and all that.”

Hana frowned slightly at the mention of Jacob. "No, he didn't like not being here but there are some places I cannot take him. I don't want him involved in Night business yet. Not until he is more trained.” She missed him and had already grown accustomed to having him constantly by her side. He was there waiting when she woke up, the first sight she saw and he accompanied her throughout her night, making notes, helping with tasks, asking questions. The little helpful things were wonderful but she missed Jacob's easy presence more than anything else.

"How about you? Does Mina ever want to go with you? Are you going to teach her anything special or simply keep her as a companion?” Sometimes, often really, familiars did a vampire's daytime chores. It went beyond picking up the dry cleaning, answering phone calls and guarding their sleeping bodies but what it specifically entailed for each vampire was different. Some familiars were deeply involved within the clan, highly trained and very useful. Other familiars were like beautiful pets, collector's items almost, and some were simply friends with benefits. She didn't think Mina was a pet but she wasn't sure Ran wanted her to be so active either.

((OOC: The last wasn't worded how I would like but it will have to do. My head hurts too much to think straight. *mutters about unwanted monthly relatives* ))
Ran Iyala 10 years ago
"Any or all," Ran said. "A shower might do, if you don't mind me poaching yours."

It sounded delicious, really, after scrubbing around in the Nasty District for the first part of the night. As Hana spoke a smile spread over Ran's lips.

"I like that idea," he said. He nodded as she explained, agreeing with everything she said and laughing softly when she joked about being a fox. "A fox is perfect though," he said, reaching up to playfully tug a loose strand of her hair.

He was pleased about being snuggled back; contrary to popular belief Ran didn't have more sex than anyone on the planet (well, that might be a long-term goal though); he liked a good cuddlefest as much as the next vampire. He giggled softly when etiquette came up.
"If you don't know, Miss Manners isn't going to. You have it all over on her."

Hana was everything knowledgeable when it came to etiquette and protocol. How could she not be, given her history? Ran hadn't had a chance to see her depth of expertise tested but he suspected she wouldn't disappoint. He would have liked to have known her as a geisha; she must have been absolutely fascinating. As a language buff, he recognized the art of conveying meaning and poetry without words at all and that was what geisha did, really. Hana still did it now and he wondered if she was aware of it.

When she mentioned that Jacob wasn't happy about being left out Ran laughed softly again.
"Poor boy," he said, remembering Jacob's attitude from Babylon a few nights ago. "He doesn't have eyes for anything or anyone but you anymore."

That was to be expected, but in Jake it was particularly cute. Ran was glad they had worked out, and it seemed like Hana was attached to her new familiar too. As for Ran and Mina, well - he smiled easily when Hana returned his question.

"Same, really," he replied. "I want her to focus on getting her law career going. Not that I plan on frequently breaking the law - or, uh, not more often than usual anyway."

Ran had an inherent disregard for laws and rules, and he had to admit he probably broke more than his fair share.
"I don't want her involved in this either, not yet. I think eventually she'll be great but I need her focused on her career for the moment. You never know when you're going to need a good lawyer."

He closed his eyes and sighed happily, content and moving nowhere fast even though the bathroom and shower were close by. He was enjoying Hana's company. He could always fly on home to the Manor in a bit and shower there.
Akahana Yoshida 10 years ago
"Of course not.” Akahana smiled down at Ran. She didn't mind him using her shower at all. The thought of watching, and perhaps helping, him get clean was far from an imposition.

She shrugged softly when he disagreed with her about a difference in form. She was a fox and wishing differently really wouldn't change anything. Some people, like many in her village, would have said she had been a fox before she had been a vampire. If that had been the case, she could honestly say that the form must have been locked away incredibly deep because she had never managed to find it until Mai had gifted her with a new life. Still there was no arguing that it suited her. Jin was a tiger and she was a fox. Their mother possessed the only form that had ever seemed somewhat odd to her but then Hana supposed Mai looked like a harmless little girl, barely a teenager, in her two legged form and, just like her animal form, that assumption would be a gross underestimation. She had seen Mai hunt coyotes, wild dogs, cougars and other prey much larger than herself as a stoat for the fun of it. Perhaps Mai's animal form made perfect sense after all.

Ran told her that Miss Manners wouldn't be able to help them if she herself did not know the answer. She laughed prettily and then gave him a thoughtful hum.
"Another question would be how does one dress for such a meeting?” Clearly they were going to two different ones but she wondered if it was grouped by social status, age or some other organizational system. Finding that out might be useful. It would be clear if they went on Friday and everyone looked like a street thug but she suspected that it was more complicated than that. The truth was that these clanless vampires were actually frightfully well led and efficient. They had not been glaringly stupid yet. Unfortunately for them, they needed to trust more than they should if they ever wanted to grow their power base and that left them vulnerable to people like herself and Ran. So far neither of them had gone beyond the beginnings of trust but the door was open, just a crack.

Her companion mourned Jacob's emotional state and she poked him lightly in the side of the ribs with one slender finger.
"Poor Jacob assures me that he is quite content having eyes only for me.” Hana told him with a hint of playful righteousness. "I don't believe that it is torture having to wake up next to me every day but perhaps you would disagree?”

Her eyes half closed as she regarded her fellow Nightsman thoughtfully. "Or perhaps it is the being taken with one person so completely that you pity him for?” Hana stroked his chest soothingly and then hugged him a little tighter. "Poor Ran, settling down would be terribly tragic.” She leaned over and kissed his temple lightly. "Luckily we cannot have vampire familiars so you are not in any danger and besides clipping your wings would be a great pity.” He was easy to enjoy, even care for. Akahana suspected that it would be easy to even love Ran but that best kind of love was freeing as far as she was concerned. For Jacob being solely hers freed him to be himself; he craved belonging to someone, wanted someone to care for with all his heart. For Ran caring for him would be allowing him to be himself and letting him fly where he chose to fly, knowing that he would come back on his own. It required more trust but no one ever said love was easy.

It was her practice to understand how to love people, to find out what they needed, wanted and had to give. Ran was more complex than a human, more complex than many vampires but some things about him were similar enough to herself that they struck a chord deep within her.

When their talk turned to Mina, Akahana listened carefully. She nodded when Ran said that he wanted his familiar to concentrate on her career. In her own case, she had several businesses and there was plenty of accounting to keep Jacob more than busy with just that if he wanted to concentrate on it. However, she preferred him being close to her and helping her in a more personal capacity. She wanted him to keep an eye on the book keeping, occasionally go over them and make certain that they are straight and expertly tended but she knew that he would not have time to devote himself completely to them and do everything else she asked of him. He would try if she let him but she would like him not to be worn out before he reached thirty.

"Are you expecting your brother to leave you dangling should you need a lawyer?” Akahana raised delicate eyebrows and the corners of her lips turned up in humor. "The bond of family must be strained indeed if you needed to go out and get someone else to represent you...just in case.” She had not spent much time around Bao but his reputation and the stories from Claire suggested a personality so different from Ran's that she could not see how they could see eye to eye on much of anything.

((OOC: She's not saying she -does- love Ran just that she thinks he would be an easy guy to fall in love with. Leaving broken hearts all over the world for centuries. ))
Ran Iyala 10 years ago
"Yay," Ran murmured softly. "I'm on it. Right away." He nuzzled into Hana's hold, feeling unaccountably snuggly.

Hana asked about dress code and Ran grinned.
"Doesn't matter to me. I'll dress however I want."

He raised his hand and gave a snap-snap of his fingers, but the attitude was hard to convey when he was doing a passable impression of a teddy bear. As the conversation moved toward Jacob Ran closed his eyes, happy to be held. He was naturally sort of physically affectionate. Sex didn't have to enter into it (not that he'd hesitate if Hana implied it would be welcome). Sometimes it was just enough to cuddle like this. He loved it.

He chuckled softly, lazily, when she teased him about waking up next to her.
"Yes, a horrible horrible thing," he said, poking her gently in return. "You're so difficult to be close to." He nestled closer. "Really hard to curl up with." He curled up a little tighter, impish smile on his lips.

"Dunno why I can't be happy with one person," he said, not conveying terrible angst or anything. He knew who he was. "Just so many of them running around and plenty of me to share."

He had shared plenty of himself in the Maldives, after all, but with far more tangible results. It was probably for the best that being a vampire came with a built-in birth control system.

Bao came up and Ran wrinkled his nose. Just the person to shatter his ultra-snuggly mood.
"No, the familial bond isn't strained. It's just nonexistent. Bao's stick is so far in the mud it's never gonna be found. God, that guy needs to relax. Maybe I should take him out and get him drunk."

He smiled up at Hana, wrapping one arm around her little waist and hugging her.
"I just want Mina to have a happy life, a healthy one. Same as you do for Jake. He looks good, Hana. Being with you has been great for him. I'm afraid of what might have happened to him without you. You do damn good work."

He didn't hesitate to praise his Clanmate. Jacob really was ecstatic to be her familiar and it showed. The boy just wanted to belong to someone, to know he'd pleased them and done his best to make them feel good. In a way Ran knew how it felt to want that. He craved praise himself but he sought it differently and showed his feelings differently. His insecurities were buried deep inside.

Moments like these, though, were worth gold. True intimacy was different than sex. Hana was beautiful, attractive, intelligent, funny, but if Ran just lay here with her all night never doing more, he would be more than content. And they had never discussed more. He was thrilled to be close to her like this. It fed something inside of him and he hoped it did the same for her. Life in their profession could be very lonely but they had ways to get by.

"What are you going to do with Jake?" he asked her. "Keep him? Turn him? Let him go?"

He looked at Hana again.
"Not that last one please. It would probably kill him."

Ran was serious about that; no joking at all. Jacob was so very attached to Hana, it might actually kill him to be set free.
Akahana Yoshida 10 years ago
Akahana hid a smile when Ran said that the dress code meant nothing to him because he would wear whatever he wanted anyway. She wondered how his expressive nature dealt with undercover assignments that required a certain amount of fashion restraint for more than a night. Did he wear crazy underwear, mismatching socks or a load of deviant piercings underneath whatever monkey suit he had on at the time? Maybe the Night just didn't give him those kinds of jobs. No, someone somewhere, her brother included, would make a point of giving Ran the straight laced role at least once or twice to see if he could do it. She would bet money on Ran any day and would also expect that for weeks following the end of the assignment that his clothes would be even more vivid and eye catching then usual.

She was deemed hard to snuggle up with while he was snuggled up with her. Hana nodded solemnly and sighed softly.
"It is such a burden that Jacob lives with but he does an admirable job of hiding his torment.” If she didn't have years of training in schooling her expression into whatever she wanted it to be then she might not have been able to say that with a straight face. Her familiar looked far from tortured most of the time; though he hadn't been pleased with her not allowing him to come on this job.

"You are a very giving person.” She said, her voice still solemn when he commented about not being able to settle down and instead wanting to share himself with others. This time however a smile did tug at the corner of her lips and she let it show.

Her hand came up and rested lightly over her mouth to cover the quiet giggles that spilled forth as Ran talked about Bao with less than loving descriptions.
"I suspect that it might require more than you are willing to give, My Lovely.” Hana meet his gaze and then let her attention flicker lower down his body before returning to his face. "For serious repression there tends to be one sure cure, repeated often until all the muscles unclinch. I don't think alcohol would suffice.”

The talk returned to their related familiars and she listened to what he wanted for Mina. It was caring of him and exactly what she expected. This was the same man who went out of his way to find Jacob a home. Ran asked her what she planned on doing with Jacob and she smiled softly, her eyes losing their focus as she thought of her familiar and plans for the future.

"Have no fear, He is well and truly kept and I have no plans on returning him for a refund.” She smiled, glancing down at him briefly so that he could see the seriousness behind her teasing. "I could not find someone to replace him even if I wanted to try. He is the most earnest, hardworking and willing familiar I have ever had. I come from a very duty bound, hard working people who take pride in even the most mundane of tasks. I have had familiars who performed flawlessly everything I asked of them but Jacob puts a joy into it that is beyond priceless. If there is a way to put love into making the bed then he has managed to find that way. He isn't even half trained yet and he's already a blessing in ways both small and large.”

Going back to answering the initial question, she said. "He prefers being by my side. I find I prefer it also. Perhaps it wastes some of his accounting genius this way but he has already become quite the proficient personal assistant. I would like him trained as some of my best escorts are trained. In not just sex and foreplay but in reading people, remembering details, seeing truth, evasion and lies in body language. He may never need some of it but I know that even if he never helps in our line of work on his own that he would still be a very useful observant second set of eyes and ears when he is with me. We both know how to draw attention to ourselves and I think Jacob would be well suited to watch the reactions that I cannot focus on while being the center of attention.”

Tilting her head to the side, she gave him a slight shrug. "Perhaps one day he may wish to be turned. I cannot imagine refusing him if he wanted it eventually.” It would be a poor repayment for years of service if she did not grant him the potential for immortality. "I think I would keep him at my side even then, longer perhaps than most children are kept.” She didn't expect that Jacob's personality would change over night and even being made a vampire and being free of his bond to her would not make him different. It was kind of comforting to think of Jacob still being with her centuries later though she suspected he might eventually wish to go his own way. "It would be poor judgment to do otherwise.” You didn't turn someone with a submissive personality and then set them free with new powers to learn and a new life to try and understand. Jacob would be eaten alive or become the property of someone else and she wouldn't allow that to happen.
Ran Iyala 10 years ago
Ran giggled softly at Hana's modesty on Jake's behalf. He wondered if the human knew just how lucky he was, and then immediately answered himself. Of course Jake knew. He had told Ran how very happy he was, and how grateful and fortunate he felt.

It was Ran's turn to affect false modesty when Hana called him a giving person. He nodded, trying to look humble.
"I gave lot when I was still human, figured I may as well keep on giving."

He was tempted to pull Hana's hand away from her mouth when she giggled over his opinion of Bao; her laugh was adorable. Delicate, musical. He did reach up and tug on her hand.
"Nice laugh," he said with a sleepy smile.

He hadn't been particularly tired when he'd come in but lying here, talking about everything and nothing, was so very comfortable and he had nowhere pressing to go. In fact, he couldn't really be seen for a while at all after what he'd done earlier; he'd rather kill time here with Hana than anything else right now. Maybe he'd go see Pak later, or Mina, but even them he wanted to leave alone for a while. It was bad enough he was already associated with them; no one else needed to know how much they meant to him.

Ran listened quietly when Hana spoke about Jake. Her affection for him was genuine; it was nice to see. More than nice. It really was beautiful. There was something almost like a dance in the way they were around each other, in tune together, vampire and familiar. Mistress and servant. Both happy to be that way.

He smiled when she brought up the idea of turning him someday.
"I think he would stay forever if you wanted him to." He lifted the one shoulder that still had free movement and wasn't tucked against Hana. It wasn't his business; he couldn't predict whether Hana would want a permanent submissive vampire in her life.

"It would be interesting," he said. He closed his eyes briefly and gave a soft sigh. It wasn't interesting enough to dwell on much longer. He considered what it would be like to turn Mina. Would she like to be with Jacob? They were very good friends, lucky to have each other as cousins. Mina would be an adorable vampire. Cute and blonde and perky, vicious in a court room.

A few minutes might have passed; Ran drowsed lightly before opening his eyes and looking up at Hana.
"Sleepy," he said, with another little smile. "Can I stay here for a little while? I'll get out of your hair in a bit if you want."

His other option was to go be bored at the Manor. While there was more to do, there was also every chance that Amir would track him down and attempt to beat him senseless in the dojo. Ran needed the practice, but he took slacking to an art form.
Akahana Yoshida 10 years ago
"Thank you.” She smiled down at him and squeezed his hand gently. Her original hand gesture was a habit of cultural modesty that was perhaps a little outdated but still second nature. It certainly hadn't been very many decades ago that lack of such a gesture would have been considered bad manners.

Ran's opinion was that Jacob would stay with her forever, even as a vampire if that was something that she desired. Perhaps he was right; it certainly seemed that way right now but until he was no longer a familiar that would be something that could only be guessed about. He had been intrigued with her before becoming her familiar and he had certainly been attracted to her but what would he be like without the bond after knowing her so intimately for years? Would he slowly realize that she had lost her mystique or would their relationship be strong despite the lack of blood between them? And perhaps it would start as one thing and become something different. Maybe Jacob would stay close for a while but drift away later? Vampires did change and grow and it was possible that he would eventually want a different lifestyle from the one they were building together.

Musing about the potential future vampire Jacob leaving her made her a little sad. She pushed the thought away and concentrated on the present, which thankfully included a familiar that would be happy to see her some time later in the night.

"I would not kick you out of my bed without a very good reason.” She smiled and scooted the rest of the way down so that she too was laying on the bed. "Even if all we were doing was sleeping.” Akahana smiled but sighed. "I will need you to at least hide later. I don't think my contact would appreciate seeing you here with me when he arrives.” The man had been all business so far but he was slowly warming to her charms despite his determination to keep their relationship platonic. Seeing another man in the bedroom would definitely set that effort back quite a bit. Plus, even though they knew that she and Ran knew each other...or at least they should know, the clanless seemed determined to keep the two of them separate.

((OOC: You can out them if you like or we can continue. ))
Ran Iyala 10 years ago
Ran smiled at Hana; he was just telling the truth. Hana did have a pretty laugh. Pretty everything, really. Personality, body, soul. He liked being around her.

She slid down beside him; he moved enough to let her get comfortable and then nestled back up against her. Ran wasn't always the clingy type. Hana was just approachable, he supposed. It had been a long time since he had a real, close, true friend. He thought he and Hana were on that path.

"I'll do my best not to give you a very good reason," he promised.

She mentioned he'd have to hide if he remained, once her contact got there. That went without saying. He was surprised she'd let him stay.
"You don't mind? I'd rather hang out. I'm good at hiding."

Tiny invisible birds didn't draw a lot of attention, after all. Ran would happily eavesdrop. It wasn't that he particularly needed to watch or listen, so much as the fact that in their line of work it was often beneficial for a partner to know what exactly went down. People could go missing. Words could be missed. Nuances, small gestures... more eyes than one were always useful and Ran was happy to provide that service.

He settled his head on the pillow, facing Hana, gently touching his nose to her cheek.
"Naptime first though? It's something about hotels... ah. Wait."

Ran sat up, glanced a little self-consciously at Hana, then rolled onto his arm away from her and stuck his fingers in his eyes. He slid his contacts out and tossed them in the garbage; he had others. He often slept with them in but he didn't like to. There were few people he took them off around, though, so most of the time in company he made do. He didn't see a need to keep them in with Hana.

He lay back down, an almost shy smile on his face, and cuddled back up. He didn't look at his own eyes very often, but he saw Hana's regularly and he thought they might be about the same color. He felt more naked now than he had when bare-assed and bound in rope though, so he tucked his face against her shoulder once more.
Akahana Yoshida 10 years ago
Akahana smiled softly at Ran and snuggled her cheek against his hair. "Yes, interestingly enough you are very good at hiding.” Her eyes sparkled with mischief. "My mother believes that our abilities come to us because they are what we need or they best suit what we are...It seems that somewhere deep inside you knew that you would get yourself in trouble.”

She sighed softly "Of course I have my own ways of getting out of trouble so I imagine that somewhere deep inside I knew the same thing.” She would have loved Ran's ability to go unseen. It could save her from crowds in ways that her command could not. She held him close and pushed the thought of crowds and werewolves away.

He leaned over and took his contacts out. They were not the most comfortable things to sleep in especially if they were the cosmetic kind which let no air through to your eye. Waking up with them on was like waking up with a pair of stinging pokers in your eyes until moisture seeped around them again. Once or twice she could not afford to sleep without her contacts in and learned the price of wearing them. Now thankfully, they made colored contacts that were meant to be worn for weeks at a time but she had not seen those softer more permeable contacts in the more costume oriented eye wear because there was little call for spirals, smiley faces and eight balls to be worn for weeks at a time.

Ran slid his head back onto her shoulder, tucked away where she couldn't see his eyes. It seemed almost deliberate but she wasn't entirely sure. Ran being shy just seemed so unlikely that she figured that she had imagined it. She leaned up on one elbow enough to turn a bit and look down at him. She had wanted to see him as himself without the strange smiles staring back at her before and now that desire was stronger, especially if Ran was being shy about it.

"Look at me, please.” She asked him quietly while placing a finger under his chin and tilting it up toward her. Bending down she placed a tender kiss on his lips. "It is so rare for either of us to be able to be seen as we are.” Thankfully these days most people assume her natural eye color to be contacts. The little inventions had been such a wonder because of all the freedom from stares that they allowed her. When she placed in brown contacts she looked ordinary, another Asian face among many in Nachton and in her homeland she was simply one with the crowd.

She kissed him again, a slow tender exploration of his lips. Nibbling the lower one gently, Akahana pulled away.
"I want to see the smile in your eyes that is real.” Instead of the somewhat eerie smiling faces with their frozen expression.

((OOC: I have no idea why she didn't like those contacts but apparently she really didn't. All his other choices have been perfectly fine but the faces were not a favorite. ))
Ran Iyala 10 years ago
Hana saw the irony in Ran being a good hider. "I know, right?" he said, flashing her a grin with his oversized fangs. Usually he stuck out like a sore thumb. Maybe his abilities made him push the over-the-top fashion because he was so easily hidden. Or maybe it was the other way around. He was no psychologist.

Once his contacts were out and he had nestled back against Hana, she gently requested him to raise his eyes to her again. No issues there, she was wonderful to look at. So he did.

He smiled into her soft kiss, enjoying her taste. Her words were just as sweet as her lips and Ran knew he was hearing Hana as Hana. Not Hana the Order of the Night, not Hana the courtesan, just Hana. His friend. He had precious few of those so he was going to savor this.

Apparently so was she, because he was kissed again. He gave as good as he got, tugging her close with a strong arm around her little waist. Just being like this near her was enough to have him aroused, but Ran didn't think twice about it really. Frankly, he could get it up with anyone. Or no one. No, there was something even more special about sharing time with Hana that went beyond sex, and that was saying a lot for Ran. It was something he got a little bit of with Pak, and a lot of with Mara (who was never available that way anyhow), something he cherished because it hadn't happened a whole lot in his centuries.

"I can smile all night for you," he said with perfect honesty, and the expression did touch his eyes. "You're very good at making me feel that way."

He rested his head down again, a little dreamy smile on his lips, but didn't close his eyes even though it was tempting.
"So I'll admit I'm nosy. What do you have planned for your rendezvous tonight?"

His eyes sparkled impishly now; Ran wasn't ashamed to ask, any more than he was embarrassed to watch if he was welcome.
"Maybe I'll get some ideas."

Regardless of what Hana planned, it was always nice to see a fellow co-worker in action, as it were.
Akahana Yoshida 10 years ago
She could have said that making people feel good was simply what she did or that she had many years of practice at it but Ran knew all that already. Besides, it wasn't what she wanted to say. There was no need to be coy. Ran wasn't flirting, or at least not trying very hard. He was being honest, himself. She had told him that they so rarely got to be themselves and that statement was true for more than their unusual eye color. "I am glad. I like seeing you happy."

Ran asked her about her plans for tonight and Hana shrugged slightly. "I had some information that I had given him earlier about an Anantya run business. The business itself isn't important to them and if they are smart then they will simply stay away from it but they wanted to know that I was willing to give up intelligence on our clan." Of course the ones running the business knew that it was compromised for the greater clan good. They would continue for a while as though ignorant to the information leak but once the mess with the clanless was over then they would quietly sell it to some familiar or another and move into the background, if they continued running it at all. They might just sell it and back out completely.

"By now he should have verified that the information was valid. He said that he would meet me tonight and let me know what was next and that there was a meeting." Akahana snuggled close to Ran and closed her eyes, wishing that she could just spend the rest of the night with him instead of working her contact.

"He is trying not to be interested in my small advances but I can tell he is interested. So far we have met in more public venues. I will see if I can't use this more private location to my advantage and compromise his judgement a little." She smiled softly and turned her head so that her lips brushed Ran's hair. "You are welcome to stay and watch." It might be more amusing to know that he was there. It would make a standard evening of seduction more interesting.
Ran Iyala 10 years ago
"The feeling is mutual," Ran pointed out comfortably from his reclining position up against Hana. He liked seeing her happy, too.

He nodded as she spoke about the contact she had been grooming; clearly a more sophisticated sort. Ran was working on getting in with the little guys, the small fry, the grunts who worked the very bottom rung. Hence the theft of Amir's knife, a piece that had been in his possession for centuries. Ran didn't think it was coincidence that the knife had been specifically requested.

Given that Amir's name was not widely known outside of Anantya, it actually helped narrow down the possibilities of specific higher-up individuals working with these clanless vampires. The slight possibility did exist that it was random chance, as they were studying up on their Anantya for sure, but to Ran it still seemed suspicious.

He smiled again when Hana mentioned a meeting. Maybe her contact would also arrive with a key for her and they could simply attend the same meeting together. It was known that the two of them were acquainted with each other; Ran was posing as a clanless outcast himself and Hana as a sympathizer. They'd initially met some of these vampires together, so it wouldn't be a big surprise if they talked to each other during one of these meetings. Ran liked having a partner.

Said partner mentioned wearing down her contact's resistance, and Ran snorted inelegantly.
"He'd have to be a eunuch not to go for you, Hana. And even then..."

She repeated her offer to let him stay and he nodded and grinned at her again.
"Oh I'll stay. It's always nice to watch you work, even if you're not working on me."

Being bound by her had been a lot of fun; Hana really did know what she was doing. That said, Ran knew there was still time to close his eyes for a few minutes and he did just that. If he'd told any of his acquaintances he had spent several hours with Hana, in her bed, and his pants had stayed on, they never would have believed him. But just being near her was relaxing.

Before too long, he was busy playing blended bird, perched out of the way on the bureau, with a clear view of the bedroom. He was silent enough on the wing to coast out to the living room as well. It was going to be a very enlightening night, or so he hoped.

((ooc: we can out them there if you like, unless you want to do Hana's meeting ))