“You see" Austin said uncomfortably "There’s a bit of a problem."
"Of course" Domingo sighed "Proceed."

"Well, it's a funny story actually" Austin said grinning impishly "You see my sisters best friend, kinds saw me drinking some girls blood. . . and well now she knows were vamps"
Austin stopped smiling when he saw Domingos grim exspression "Okay, so maybe it wasn't that funny."

"No" Domingo said sternly "It is most certainly, not funny. Do you realize that by bring careless you could tip people off to who you really are. You could-"
Austin cut him off "Dom, can we save the lecture for later? We kinds have a crisis" he pointed to me.

I walked closer to them.
"Your right" Domingo muttered "Your right."

"Of course I am" Austin said "Now, Domingo meet Becca. Becca meet Domingo."
Domingo reached out and shook my hand "Domingo, werewolf, Austin's bodyguard" he greeted me formally.

"Rebecca, human, unemployed" I said, slightly mocking.
He smiled a little.

"So what do we do" Austin asked.
"First, I have to take you to the Council and we can move on from their" Domingo said.

"Your kidding" Austin said, agitated.
"I'm dead serious" Domingo said.

"Are you trying to kill me?" Austin moaned.
Domingo went stone-faced "I'm your guard. I've been protecting you since you were 4. It's my purpose in life to make sure your safe. And if I have to make you miserable to do so, goddamnit I will."

Austin didn't seem to have the energy to argue.
He sighed "Fine, let's go."

We walked out of the alley, heading in the direction of Bellonna, I thought.
Austin was kind of dragging. He looked paler and had circles under his eyes.

"Austin" Domingo asked, concerned "When was the last time you fed?"
Austin thought about it for a second "About 6 hours, but I only had about half my usual intake."

Domingo nodded "Once we get to the Council we have to get you a drink."
Austin lazily flashed him the thumbs up sign.

"And, Austin" Domingo continued "Did you sleep at all last night? 'Cause you were getting your ass kicked out there today."
"God" Austin muttered "Are you my bodyguard or my mom?"

"Austin" Domingo rebuked "Its my job to protect you, the Council trusted me to protect you. And ever since you burned yourself when you were 4 I knew it wasn't going to be easy. And I've busted my ass, time and time again, to keep you safe. And I'm not gonna let you get killed cause your half asleep in the middle of a fight, now answer me. Did you sleep last night?"

"No" Austin muttered "I was at a party 'till like 4, and then I was watching paperview."
Domingo rolled his eyes "Teenagers" he muttered.

"And how old are you" I asked skeptically.
"27" he answered.

"But you look 17" I countered.
He shrugged "One of the perks of being immortal."

We walked quietly through the streets of Ate, that were teeming with life I couldn't see.
Austin was dragging, his eyes closing every so often and then opening with a start.

"Wake up, Austin" I said snapping my fingers in his face "This isn't nap time."
Austin rolled his eyes "Go play in traffic" he muttered.

We were laughing when we saw her.
We stopped short. "Finally, their you are. Would it kill you to pick up your phone, Austin?"

"Kate" I squeaked.
Up untill now, I had almost forgotten Kate existed.

She looked different now.
Maybe it was her outfit or maybe It was because I was seeing her with wiser eyes.

She had her long blond hair flowing around her.
She wore skinny jeans and a leather jacket that would have looked corny on someone else.

She didn't look like Kate Kardigan, my smart-ass BFF who could use sarcasm as a lethal weapon, who broke hearts on a volunteer basis, and was probably the smartest dumb blonde ever.
She looked like Hekate Karodaurus, mysterious vampiress.

She looked annoyed but her exspression faded into concern and she tranformed into the old Kate.
She rushed towards me and hugged me.

"Becca, OMG are you okay? I'm so sorry! I'm sorry I lied!" she was almost crying now "I'm so sorry."
"Its alright" I promised "I understand."

She pulled back to look at me
"Really" she sniffed.

"Yes" I promised "I know that you had to lie to me, it's okay"
"You have no idea how happy I am to hear you say that!" she sighed.

"Ugh" Austin interrupted our BFF warm and fuzzy moment "Just out of curiosity, what are you doing here?"
"Looking for you" Kate answered "Duh."

"Great" Domingo said "Your just in time to come see the Council with us."
"Oh hey Fido" Kate said "Didnt see ya there. Been a while. So, how are things in the Doghouse?"
He laughed tolerantly "Good thanks."

"Cool. . . So were going to see the Council?" Kate asked.
"Sadly yes" Austin mumbled.

"Goodie" Kate muttered sarcastically.
We continued walking through Ate.

Kate was lecturing Austin about letting me see him drinking.
However, I doubted Austin heard any of it.

He was piratically sleep walking.
So much, that he tripped in his daze.

Domingo snagged his wrist before he could smash his head on the concreate, though.
"Thats it" Domingo said "Were stopping for now. Austin needs to sleep. And Becca could use some rest too. We'll stay at Tora's place for the night, it's right over here."

Austin moaned unhappily but didn't argue.
Domingo veered off the given path and down a different street.

We followed, Kate towing Austin by the arm.
We arrived at a red brick building, just like the others.

It was about 3 stories tall. The shutters on the windows were closed, and the black door had some heavy locks.
Domingo knocked on the door a few times before it opened.

A pretty women with long dark hair answered. She was tall and tan. She wore a simple white tank top and naturally faded jeans with holes. She looked like a trailer park princess.
"Tora" Domingo said formally.

"'Ey Dom" she said casually.
Then she caught sight of the rest of us.

"Oh, and I see it's true" she sneered "The little runaway's back."
"And let's not forget who's fault it is that I left" Austin snapped tiredly.

That shut her up.

"Can we come in" Domingo asked.
"Sure" she muttered.

The inside of the house was full of simple and slightly cheap furniture.
She led us to the kithen where we all sat down at a table.

An array of guys entered the room.
Four of them, they all looked about in their late teens.

Their was a muscular brunette boy with playful dark eyes.
And a dark haired boy with a mishevious gleam in his eyes.
The tallest had black hair, and looked like a bouncer.
And the last one had auburn colored hair and was smirking.

They basically looked like your everyday Juvenile Delinquents.
Only, ridiculously attractive.

They all greeted us casually.
Except Austin.

Who they greeted with playful teasing, pleasantly surprised voices, and an assortment of questions.

"'Ey Count Blondie, your back!"
"And the Blue Flame has returned, hallelujah"
"Where ya been all this time, Blondie? It's been super boring around here without you"
"What were ya doing all this time? Selling drugs or something? Screwing the Arthasian princess? C'mon give me something interesting!"

"Not now" he muttered dismissively.
They all shrugged and took their seats at the table.

"So, whats the deal?" Tora asked.
Austin propped his head up on his hand.

"I'm not in the mood to explain" he said "Becca, take it away"
So, I told the story about me discovering vampires, coming to Hades, and so on.

When I got to the part about the pixie, Tora interrupted.
"Wait a minute" she said "I think I know her. Wait, what color hair did she have?"

Austin answered.
"Black" he muttered, and then paused for a minute smirking "The color of your soul"

The guys around the table laughed.
"The old Austin is back!" the red-headed one cheered.

Tora smiled indulgently "Anyway, yea I know her. Thats Tilsa . . .annoying little twerp"
"Yep" I agreed.

I continued till the part with Vesper, then Domingo took over.
At the part where Kate showed up, Kate took over as narrator.

When the story was done Tora said "Wow, good work Blondie. You had to wait 'till a human found out you were a vamp before coming back? Did you even realize their were people worried about you? Like, an entire city of people, maybe? Did you even care? Of course not, why would you? You just wanted to leave all your problems behind. Running away can't change that. You'll always have your powers. You were born with them, and nothing can change that. Just accept it, and face it like a man. Instead of running away like a scared little kid-"

"Ugh" Austin moaned "Wake me when your lecture's over"
He put his head down on the table, resting his forehead on his arm.

Tora ranted a little bit longer.
About how it was wrong to runaway, and a bunch of crap I didn't understand.

When she was done I shook Austin's shoulder.
"You can wake up now" I teased "She's done"

He didn't move.

"Hey" I laughed "He's actually sleeping"
"Not surprising" Domingo muttered "Kid's been dead on his feet all day"

"Ralph" Tora commanded "Put him on the couch"
The bouncer looking one, Ralph, slung Austin over his shoulder and carried him to the living room.

He placed him on the couch.
He didn't stir.

"We should all get some rest" Kate said.
"Yea" Domingo agreed.

I slept in the little rocking chair.
Domingo and Kate slept on the 2nd couch, looking awfully cozy.

Austin slept soundlessly on his own couch.
And Tora and her little gang of guys all slept in their rooms.

I fell asleep quickly.
Despite the fact I was in a strange place, in a strange house, and my family was probably worried sick about me.

But I didn't care, I was exhausted.
And besides, the real drama wouldn't start until tomorrow.

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