Playing With Puppies
Augustus did not expect a vampire's greeting from Orion. He knew from past association, that Orion did not care for such things. When they had first met, back in the 1850s, he'd been shocked at how Orion ran his kiss -or court, as he called it. Still, they had an amenable relationship. Right off, Orion had told him that he had no interest in taking over the city. He just wanted to live there with his people and as long as Augustus didn't bother him, he wouldn't rip him into tiny shreds. He could still remember Orion saying that, perfectly practical, with not even a hint of humor. It caused chills to run down Augustus's spine because he knew that Orion could do it. He'd heard stories about it. He left Orion alone, and after about a hundred years, Orion left, taking his court with him.
Now that they were both in the same city it seemed only natural for them to reconnect. Especially since Augustus knew Orion had moved to Los Angeles and taken over.
Giving him a firm handshake, Orion led him into the hotel room. "I'm glad you could make it."
"How could I not? It would be rude to refuse an invitation from an old friend."
"Of course it would!" He gestured out at the people in the room. "Let me introduce you. This is Lan and Maddy. Over at the table are Kale and Trever."
Augustine interrupted him. "The princes of Los Angeles?" He'd thought that Orion killed them. That's how a master became a master of the city. But there they were, the twin redheads unmistakable.
"We merged courts," one of them said.
"It seemed practical at the time," the other added.
"Better for business."
"I see. Though I can't understand how come you would submit yourselves to him so easily. So... willingly," he said carefully.
The twins shrugged. "Business." Kale repeated.
He held his tongue. Any sort of disapproval might cause bad things to happen. Four thousand years of annoyed vampires would cause very bad things to happen. Instead he took a moment to look around the room, noting the typical high standard penthouse. And then noting the two vampires on the floor playing video games.
As if noticing his glance, Orion said, "The redhead is Kev and the other one is Alec. They're not involved in the business." His voice and tone completely dismissed them as unimportant. For now, Auggie decided to ignore them as well. At least pretend to.
"And how have you been enjoying St. Louis and the Ballet?" Auggie asked, curious to hear their report on the so called drama that Merlin and his troupe caused. If they even noticed it.
"Oh, we left just after the beginning," Lan said off-handedly. "Went and saw Mozart's Magic Flute instead."
"Alec attacked the first violinist!" Kev called out cheerfully from the floor, clearly indicating that he wasn't as absorbed in the game as he appeared to be.
Pressing his lips together, Lan said, "Yes, he was a bad puppy."
"Puppy?" Auggie repeated. Vaguely, he remembered that Orion called his human servants 'puppy'. But Alec was a vampire. Wasn't he?
"Yes, puppy," Orion agreed. "Alec, come here." Eagerly, Auggie noticed, Alec went over to Orion's side where he was pulled into the Master vampire's lap to be petted. He felt the twin's gazes and he looked over at them with a raised questioning eyebrow.
"It's amazing," Trever said, "How that initial bond between sire and fledgling is so strong, isn't it?"
"But at least it goes away. Unlike other bonds." Kale smiled toothily at him.
Auggie shifted, knowing what they meant. Even now he could feel the ardeur pulling at him, making him want to go and prostrate himself at Anita's feet, do anything she or Jean-Claude wanted just to feel it again. The puppy devotion was nothing compared to what he felt. He looked at Orion, but the icy blue eyed vampire looked like a statue, giving nothing away. Not even a hint of affection to the boy in his lap who he petted absently.
"I knew what I was getting into," he said trying to shrug it off.
Lan gave him a meditative look. "I wouldn't think one such as yourself would willingly give himself into slavery. But..." his voice trailed off.
They were up to something. They were going to offer him something, Auggie realized. "But?" he prompted.
"There are ways to fix it."
"How?" Lan smiled at him, sending a chill down his spine. He had a feeling that this might cost him almost as much as his deals with Anita and Jean-Claude. After all, being beholden to Orion was a dangerous thing.
|More Plotting ~ Fan Fiction ~ Change of Plans|