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Shadows Beneath

CHAPTER FOUR

Raziel meandered through the college's gothic-style halls, his attention completely absorbed by the huge moth-eaten tome he held in his hands. It seemed as precious to him as the book of the great Angel he was named for; the one tossed to the sea out of the jealousy of the angels over the fortune of man. Perhaps that was what the Fall was all about. He turned a page of the book, passing it over slowly and carefully- the thick paper was old and prone to cracking. It had long since dry rotted, it was just waiting for a reminder Raziel himself didn't want to provide. The tome itself was in reality a grimoire, one he himself had found in the school's library when he began teaching. It had almost called for him to pick it up- and being what he was, Raziel couldn't resist. After all, what innocuous Occultist could be blamed for curiosity? Or even a teacher of Thaumaturgy. What a shame. Only being able to teach the bare-boned theory of it all. But there are so few with the talent and will power to actually teach the art- not to mention the risk of weak-minded fools wreaking havoc with such knowledge… We humans are such warp able creatures.

No wonder most of the students called him the youngest old man on campus; his thoughts suited the outlook of a slightly jaded elderly grandfather watching over a pack of naive grandchildren. He chuckled at the image of a grizzled hound observing the rumpus of overexcited pups. That's the perfect life for you, old dog. Too bad no woman would be interested in an old maid like yourself. Now that wasn't exactly true. Plenty of women had tried to capture his heart and failed, because of his distance. Others had succeeded and made what would have been an open heart into a shy and wincing one. He didn't believe himself to be beautiful- once a woman had told him he was like Gucci; a symbol of status and attainment, and nothing more. He was so interested in books he had become one himself. Perhaps it hadn't been the scholarship, but that comment, that had made him accept the offer to teach here. I am just an old soulless man. One day I'll match my books on the inside, too.

Autumn rolled her eyes as she and Trevor walked down the hall. “Give me a break! You say that every time I give out my number.” As they walked, she pulled out a map of the building to look for her class number. Thaumaturgy was a completely random subject, but Trevor and her parents thought it might be a good lesson for her. It was probably the only thing she had let them give her advice on. “Not every guy I meet on the street turns out to be a demon, you know. Jeeze… it happens once, and you never let it go!” That “once” was a complete fiasco. Autumn was only 13, it was the first time her parents had allowed her to date. Of course, they had allowed to date guys her own age, not a 17 year old that had a bad habit of hanging around clubs and smoking two packs a day. It's not like she was psychic and could have known he was a vampire!

Autumn stopped at the door of her Thaumaturgy class and turned to Trevor. “You can come with, if you promise not to attack the professor. Last thing I need is to be embarrassed on my first day in class, okay?”

Trevor shot Autumn a bewildered stare. “Attack the professor? What kind of anti-social nut do you take me for?” he griped, putting his hands on his hips. “Besides, you know me–I can tell when there are demons and stuff around. Hell, I can tell just by looking. It's in the eyes. All I need to do is look at a guy, and I can tell whether or not he's a demon or a vampire or whatever. “I bet that last guy was possessed or something,” Trevor muttered, looking back down the way they had come. “Talk about weird characters. I don't know about him, Kris. Maybe you should let me check him out, first. Remember what happened last time? You got chained up in a basement, and me and dad had to come bust you loose.”

“Last time!” Autumn scoffed. “That wasn't last time, that was over ten years ago! Any other time has been completely unrelated to me giving out my phone number.” She poked him square in the chest giving him a wary stare. “I bet you're jealous I've got an admirer, and you're gonna be stuck too busy chasing ghosts to get a date!” Autumn leaned against the class door, with a triumphant look on her face. It was locked, and it seemed she was a little bit early. She wasn't concerned though, it was nice to be early for once and not jetting down the halls like she had something nipping at her heels.

“Say what?!” Trevor snapped, his jaw nearly hitting the floor. “You must be losing your mind! First of all, I'm way too cool to be jealous of anyone or anything you could possibly name. Second, I just so happen to have the name and number of the most sizzling-hot babe on this entire dumpy island.” Trevor turned his back to Autumn, and folded his arms across his chest. “Yeah, it's tough when you're as awesome and totally badass as me…I mean, if it's not the girls dropping down in front of me, it's all the legions of the damned I need to slay, day in and day out. In fact,” he said, looking over his shoulder at Autumn, “I bet I get all the way to third base before you and your new pretty-boy even start to break the ice. I'm so damn smooth, it's almost scary, y`know?”

Autumn laughed out loud. He sounded like an arrogant jackass, and maybe he was. She knew he was just out to get approval from his dad, though she couldn't even begin to understand why he cared. As much as she loved her own parents, she had always been sort of distant from them. “Well be my guest, hot shot. I'm not here to get dates, I'm here to get a degree! Maybe you should take classes too, so when you slay all your the demons, you'll have something to fall back on!” she laughed to herself again before taking notice of the man coming down the hall. He had his nose in a book, and couldn't have been much older than herself. She assumed her must've been another student also early for the class. Autumn slid behind Trevor to peer over his shoulder, as she often did when she was curious but didn't want to get caught staring. She was far from shy, but she never seemed to notice the strange habit to hide when she found herself deeply curious. He had the most wonderful look about him, and she was compelled to pull out her camera and take a picture. But it was tucked away in her pack, she wouldn't of been able to get it out and take the shot without getting spotted, and then the whole mood would have disappeared.

Raziel continued on his diagram-absorbing journey back to his class room- it's strange to be able to think that now, soon I won't notice, my class room– and slid smoothly into the door around a few students. He didn't know exactly how many students would be in his class today; the enrolled list was rather small- ten or fifteen, he hadn't but barely glanced at the paper- but there were always the unenrolled students who came. Those were oftimes the most interesting ones. He slipped into the desk, noting a young lady and her friend at the door enough to give them a friendly smile before zooming off into the nevernever land of his ancient book.

Trevor couldn't help but smile at Autumn’s ribbing. Demons, vampires, and the hordes of darkness seemed to be a million miles away when he talked to her. Anybody who had known Trevor for even a short length of time might have been amazed at how quickly his mood changed–paranoid and hostile towards strangers, but he seemed the exact opposite, now. “I think I'm going to take off,” he said, waiting until after the tall guy passed by with a smile. Finally, somebody without an attitude, Trevor sighed. “You be a good girl, okay? Share with all the other kids,” he cooed mockingly, patting Autumn on top of her head. “Don't start any fights, and for the love of gawd, don't get captured by a demon, okay? I didn't come all the way out here just to watch after your bony butt.”

Autumn wrinkled up her nose in child-like irritation. “You're such an jerk, Trevor!” She peered into the classroom after the man who had entered. He must be an apprentice of the professor to help get the class set up before the lesson. “I'll be fine… Been here three days, an not an incident yet till you got here!” Sticking out her tongue, she waved him away as he left. Conveniently leaving out the fact he sort of was there to keep an eye on her. Her mother was completely nuts sending her off to Europe to research family history, but both their parents seemed to be wary of having her go alone. Beyond a few weird people, she didn't see what the big deal was.

As Trevor left, Autumn quickly slinked in to the classroom. Her curiosity was still piqued about her classmate, and she didn't wish to disturbed him. Again it was something uncharacteristic of her. Earlier she had no troubles speaking Daman when she was interested. Now instead of openly chatting and asking for a picture, Autumn found a seat in the front and set her pack down on her desk. She quietly as possible pulled out her camera… Perhaps she could sneak a quick picture…

Raziel turned a page of the book slowly, trying to burn an image of the complex diagram before him into the inside of his eyelids. For a wonder, he succeeded. The parched paper of the page made his fingertips feel like dried papyrus; the cellulose was drawing out all of the natural oils of his hands, and would if he wasn't cautious discolor the page. He would have to place a cleansing protection spell upon the grimoire; all of its wards had long since died with the passing of their caster over a hundred years ago. The book was concerned with souls; that much was quite abundantly clear. So far it only given Raziel the most haunting and tantalizing of clues that it might hold such secrets as he desired within its deeper nether regions, within the dark cream and midnight sapphire interior. Perhaps it had an answer for him, just one, on the difficulty of his soul. Or, rather, the difficulty of the lack of soul. The grimoire was a necromancer's tale.

Adjusting his glasses on his straight, gentle nose, he felt eyes upon him. His own light blues looked up slowly to see a ruby among gems- a red haired girl with deep eyes, like the rich steadfastness of mahogany or even the warmth of red oak. Raziel was somewhat astonished and felt warmth rising in his skin as a bright flash of light erupted from something in her hand. A supernova of white reflection shot off of the scratch-resistant lenses of his glasses, piercing his own eyes and making him jerk back. When his sight returned, fuzzy little neon dots danced around his vision, and he had to fight the compulsion to reach out and snatch at them. Light-dazzle.

“Do you make a habit of blinding all your professors?” He mumbled, the former moment of… something… blasted to smithereens like Hiroshima after an American bomb. Vaporized was the word he was looking for. Bleeding son of Mary!

“Professor…?” It took Autumn a few moments to realize she just flashed-photoed the professor not a student, or assistant. “Holy hell! I'm sorry.. it's just that.. I was.. ah.. sorry.” She felt very much the fool but couldn't help the itch to curve her lips into a smile. Looking down at the preview image of the photo her smile vanished. It wasn't… normal! Typically pictures out perfectly clear… though sometimes she'd get a glimpse of a ghost, or unmask some demon's illusion… this was just kind of… weird! Twitching her nose up, she decided it was just simply the camera acting ugly. After all, Trevor didn't get weird and try to attack him, so it couldn't be anything else. But… it wasn't just a camera glitch. It was like a pure aura being smothered in shadow. She scowled to herself, now feeling just as paranoid as Trevor. Sliding her camera back into her pack she quickly clasped her hands together to watch the professor. He was a little young to be a professor in an highly esteem college. And her photos were typically never wrong! Curiosity was getting the better of her…

“You don't look like a professor… Well, you do, but I guess I mean young for a professor.” she asked, with just a slight bit of suspicion. “This subject you teach… it involves magic spells, right…?” Last time she flat out asked someone if they were demon, she was responded to with sharp objects. His was going to take delicate prodding…

Raziel smiled slightly, with the slightest air of condescendence. He heard this question far too many times in the two years he had been teaching; he'd hear it until he retired. “No, this course only involves the theory of magic. After all, a religious establishment such as this could hardly allow its students to study such a thing, even if magic was admitted to be real. You'll learn more about the theory and the history of it, more “in depth” into the personal side of religious mythology, some of my fellow professors would say.” He pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose, gazing at her curiously. “I don't usually see such young ladies as yourself,” he said. “I apologize for my lack of manners. I am Raziel McCoullagh, your professor for this course, assuming you're not an unenrolled attendee.” His demeanor was once again far more serious than anyone of his few years. “I have been sponsored by this college to teach in exchange for my graduation and diploma three years ago. That is why you have such a young teacher.” A little of that submerged humor appeared as his lips quirked into a half smile that was more easy and familiar.

“May I ask why you are taking this class?” He couldn't say, but something bothered him about this girl. The camera in her hand, the small square of the photograph… It seemed like something he had seen before. Probably just the memory of a tourist, he decided. She was obviously American; and those oversea tourists had the tendency to carry cameras about like an extra appendage.

Beltrán slid inside with the last students that were making their way into the classroom, trying not to catch attention. One or two students were surprised to see him there, since they were in his earlier class. Beltrán found himself a seat and waited for the class to start. He wasn't sure why he had picked this one, but it was as interesting as strangely soothing to take a class under Raziel. Again. Beltrán watched from his seat as Raziel spoke to… Autumn. Beltrán bit his lip slightly and opened his agenda. Despite he was looking at the pages, he was thinking of other time and terrible possibilities.

He called her young lady! She wanted to laugh. “Autumn Kristof… Kris, please.” She tilted her head, watching with a silly “school-girl” type smile. He was adorably cute, and reminded her of a little boy pretending to be grown up. At the same time she had the weirdest sense of deja-vu, like she had tried to unravel this same sort of mystery before. “My parents asked me to.” She replied honestly. “They're big on my learning stuff related to our family history.” Autumn really didn't want to talk about herself though. Or her mother's twisted little family stories. Having her camera safely tacked away in her bag, she still couldn't help but glance at the preview image and back at her professor, trying to ponder the reasoning behind the distortions.

“Why did you decide on Thaumaturgy to teach?” Obviously he was some sort of wizard! Or sorcerer! He must've chose the class as some sort of front to sacrificial spells. Or maybe her imagination was getting out of control again. “Do you have.. personal involvement?” It was a baited question. She watched his reaction in hopes of getting some sort of clue.

As Trevor rounded a corner in the school's hallway, the slender figure of Jadziin moved out in front of him. While not angered or disturbed, she did look serious–she always looked serious. It was very rare for Jadziin to be jocular. She waited until Trevor saw her and registered her presence before speaking, adjusting her glasses as she did. They were uncomfortable, but needed to correct her eyesight. A hunter should not be caught off guard by a demon merely because they can't see them. “I could've been here sooner, Trevor, but my means of transportation were limited. I managed, however. I assume you've spoken with Autumn already?” Jadziin asked quietly, subconsciously tugging one of her blonde strands back behind her ear.

“It's nice to see you, too,” Trevor said, putting his hands up behind his head. “Y`know, you should try wearing contacts. Glasses don't suit you.” He beamed at her, but Joz was sometimes even more of a stiff than Kris. Why is it that all the women I meet are weird? Trevor stuffed his hands into his pockets. “Yeah, she's fine. She's got another class, though, so I figured I'd just go out and see what else this pompous, over-inflated island has to offer. Wanna come with?”

Jadziin let the comment about her eyewear drift past, ignoring it. She'd learned to deal with Trevor's personality, and she honestly didn't care whether the glasses didn't “suit her”. Contacts might be more practical in battle, however… “While what you suggest doesn't sound at all appealing, I believe I shall accompany you. This island gives me a strange feeling…one I can't quite place. I will stay with you in the case that something wishes to bring harm to you. I can not waver from my duty to you…” Jadziin said with a hint of compassion. Were anything to happen to Trevor, she would be dishonored, for his protection was her primary purpose right now…and without purpose, what did she have?

“Not interesting? Come on, this is history here. My family roots go back here hundreds of years.” Trevor pushed open the doors leading outside, and jumped out in front of Jadziin. “Maybe we can go see the site where ol` John sealed up Azazel,” he said, smiling. “You know I've always wanted to see it. It'll be fun! Besides, what else is there to do around here?” Without waiting for an answer, Trevor turned back around, and started off down the stairs towards the sidewalk. A sudden and sharp wind kicked up, carrying a cold shiver within it. Trevor's eyes tingled as the cold forced him to squeeze them shut. The unmistakable smell of ether was suddenly very apparent in the air. Something unbelievably worthless had just been called from the darkness. Trevor looked back at Joz; she could feel it, too. “It was a powerful call,” he muttered, looking up at the sky. “Made by somebody who didn't care whether to not they were found.” Or maybe they're baiting us…

“I'm going to take a look around.” He pulled his gun from inside his jacket, and loaded a bullet into the chamber. “You go back to Kris' classroom, and keep an eye on it from the outside. Let me know if anything weird happens.” Trevor tucked his gun away again, and ran back inside the school.

Jadziin nodded, and turned on the heel of her foot, moving back down the school's hallway. As Trevor had said, something had been called from another world to this one. Something evil drew near. Jadziin approached Autumn Kristof's classroom, and stood outside the classroom, on her guard. She did not have her bow with her, but did have her sword tucked in its sheath, hanging from her belt, obscured by the large coat that Trevor had given her to wear. Her native clothes would make her stick out here, in this urbanized area, and possibly give both herself and Trevor away. She felt unsure about leaving Trevor, as she would not be there to protect him should anything assault him…but if he needed her to watch 'Kris', then she would. He could fend for himself, after all. Jadziin waited outside the classroom, ready for any sort of surprise that might be flung her way…

Raziel watched Ms. Kristof as she spoke; she seemed to have an easy manner of someone used to attention; a popular person out of virtue of beauty and friendliness. Not out of money or blood, though one or both of those had to be true for her to be taking classes at a college on a wholly different continent. That accent sticks out like a cockney in the Birmingham Palace. Ms. Kristof was obviously trying to bait him into something with her question.

“Because it's a fascinating subject.” Raziel's smile was innocent and enigmatic. You weren't named for the angel of mysteries for naught, now were you. “And I needed a course to fill the time between Victorian History classes. What better than to teach something so filled with intrigue and so controversial?” Raziel shifted his smile to Professor Beltran in greeting, saying nothing and deciding that, as he had come into view the class, he would be treated as a student and not selected arbitrarily to parade around. He closed the grimoire carefully and put it in a drawer that clicked into locked as it was closed. There were other artifacts in that drawer; all minor. He would remember to take that grimoire home to his tiny little hole in the wall apartment that evening; otherwise, it would have to face the ravages of the curious student body. “You came in rather early. Class starts in… Oh, less than ten minutes.”

Belial smiled in reply, more grateful for the simple greeting than Raziel would imagine. Beltrán put the agenda away and pulled out a notebook. He opened it and distractedly wrote the date on top of a blank page. Belial loved blank pages. They were always waiting to be filled with knowledge and cryptic signs. He was curious about what the class would be like and what would Raziel teach this time. Belial was there as a student again, despite he is the Master of the Dark Arts. He did not expect Raziel to reveal the deep truths of the mechanism of the universe, nor the alter life that flows within sigils of power or their kaleidoscope of ancient languages, or the contemplative verses of the angels of Knowledge. Coming to it, he was there because he felt lonely. Plain and simply, he longed for the acceptance he enjoyed in the old days – old days nor a human would remember. Perhaps all he wished to get was a reminiscence of his old existence, when Raziel was his Teacher.

“Oh, I won't make a habit of it. ” Autumn grinned broadly. “I'm almost always late.” She took little notice of the book he put away. Autumn was curious, but not enough to want to come back and snoop later. That was more Trevor's thing. The professor, she didn't think she'd get used to calling him that, seemed oblivious to her baiting, which gave her the distinct impression that maybe she was getting a little paranoid about the picture…

Raziel smiled broadly to his desktop as he rearranged it to his liking, pondering today's lesson. It was nominally a term beginning for him, so he ought to give a speech- but he had decided a week in advance not to; to launch fully into the teaching. Ignorant questions could be answered as the lessons went along; he had no patience for the illusions of those who came merely to criticize. “I hope,” he replied to Ms. Kristof quietly, “that you are not late to mine.” He would share no great secrets of the universe; those were for the students who truly wished to be initiated, those who seemed that they would not be corrupted by the powers. Sometimes, as he taught on the podium, it felt deeply satisfying and familiar… When he touched an old tome of magick, or some article of ancient and strange knowledge, he felt something akin to memory, though no true memory came with it. He sighed and wondered if any more students would be joining his class today; a small group.

For such a large school, very little in the way of students came into the class. Not that Autumn minded, she always preferred intimate setting. It was much easier to ask questions and get individual attention. The professor immediately launched into teaching instead of giving a beginning semester speech, which she appreciated much. She's heard enough of the newbie basics from Trevor, not that she ever practiced… but hearing it again would have been dull.

As class began and quickly ended, she frowned at the red light flashing on her phone. One throwaway, dead in the record room. Keep an eye out for more trouble. Keep Joz close. Be back soon. Kris rolled her eyes, stuffing the phone back in her bag. How irritating! Not even here for two hours and he was already chasing around demons! And she was here too. Kris wasn't sure just why she hated the girl, although it might've been the fact she was beautiful, strong, talented, and had no sense of humor… but she couldn't stand to be around her more than five minutes. If Trevor thought he was going to leave the stuffy chit following her around London, he had another thing coming.

Stuffing the rest of her things in her bag and scribbling down the nights homework assignment, she gave a friendly smile and wave to her professor (a class she definitely decided she would -never- be late to), she quietly slipped out the side door to avoid Joz. It was brilliant luck that Jess was getting out of her own class. “Jess!” Kris laughed as she linked arms with her friend and quickly turned her around before they headed in Joz's direction. “We're going out… You are most definitely correct, the professors are worth the tuition alone!” Both girls giggled as they headed down the hall… promptly deciding a night of clubbing was in order. After all, their favorite band Forsaken was playing…!

Belial stayed in his seat till most of the students left once the class was over. Despite he intended to enjoy the class, a part of his mind continued to brood on the recent encounters. The three demon brothers wouldn't succeed unless the special item was found, and they didn't seem to even know about its existence. The gathering that was taking place – all the souls were returning to the place of the sinister events in the late 1800 Century – was unnerving, yet not unexpected. Belial was worried and he didn't know what role he was to play this time. He was still on trial. He probably would be on trial for the rest of his existence. The only comfort he received it was Azrael and he hadn't seen her in a long time.

Besides, something else further dampened his mood. To the eye of the Necromancer of Auld, Raziel had adopted a different shape and a different, terrible shift. Why had this had to be? Rishta the half-angel had died and her mission had passed to Azrael… but why Raziel came back soulless…? Belial couldn't yet see the reason. The class was over. It was time to go back 'home'. Belial picked up his belongings to leave the classroom as the last students were leaving.





Ana gracefully made her way to the back of the room, picking out a violin and beginning to tune it. The man who came in caused her defenses to raise, only for a second- she had to fight back the urge to quickly draw Lux and Ater and wake them from their sleep. Sure, they would be cranky- but that was just something they would have to get over. The man coming in actually made her jump. “I didn't see you…I just decided to come in here and play a little bit. I'm on a tour of the college…” She couldn't help but check him out as he reached for the cello- but the thoughts were quickly pushed to the back of her head. What on EARTH would Alistaire think about her actually -liking- a demon? That would make killing him all the more fun for her partner. “…what brings you here early?”

With an eased motion, Daman plucked the cello off the floor and carried it to one of the chairs in the back of the classroom. As he began to rub resin on the bow, the demon spoke in a melodic lit to the girl. “I'm just in between classes. Nothing special. I usually come here on days like this to play some music…” He tossed his silver-black hair over a shoulder as he steadied the instrument between his thighs. Peering up through his bangs, he gave the woman a randy grin. Yes, the encounter with the demon hunter before had given him confidence and stride. “And to think, that the girl I met before believed that all cello players are, as she called it, dorks.”

Daman did not offer his name or any other personal information before he began to play the cello. The stringed instrument was perfectly tuned, for some odd reason, and seemed to mold itself into its user's body. At first glance it might not seem like this was the correct instrument for the demon; however, that was all proved wrong as he played. Deeply harmonic notes splashed themselves around the room, tinged with melancholy. The tune was unlike any other heard, shallow on the surface, but intensely bittersweet at its core. If anyone had said that the cello and Daman were an unlikely pair, they were most definitely proved wrong with his playing. The bow seemed to be an extension of his hand as he expertly ran it across the strings. It was for certain that he was no amateur. As the song took on a quieter and milder melody, he asked Ana, in a voice that matched the cello's baritone quality, “So, what is your name, demon-girl?”

Ana shifted her stance and listened to him play; she didn't want to feed his ego any more than she already did- this boy had her attention. His playing made her close her eyes and begin to move her hand as if she was directing it; something that she always dreamed of doing. As sad as his music was it made her heart flutter; even in darkness Ana found light. “D-demon-girl…that's a bit…”

“…rude? Creepy…evil…Ana- this man is a demon.” Lux had to intervene, the demon was obviously trying to have his way with his master. He knew that even though he warned the girl- there was nothing he could do to change her mind. Ana didn't even have to answer Lux, and he went back to being silent.

“I'm Ana. Ana Gordon…who might you be?”

With a beautifully dissonant chord, Daman ended his song. He leaned down and rested his chin upon the instrument, staring up at Ana through his hair, gray eyes vague and unfocused. At the mention of his name, the demon smiled smoothly. “That's a bit…what?” He paused, as if reluctant to give up his name. Briefly he wondered if he was to give a pseudonym, but for some reason he felt as if he could trust the girl. “Daman. Daman Winters, if you want to be precise.” He felt something odd about her presence. She was part demon, all right, but more human than so. But that hadn't been it; something else felt almost wrong with the girl, something that Daman couldn't place. He couldn't tell if it was right or wrong; yet it seemed as though there was something more to Ana than what was on the surface.

Daman held the bow poised over the cello, its strings begging to be played. He held off, and then asked Ana, “Well, demon-girl, I saw you tuning that violin back there. Would you mind to accompany me with a duet? Violin and cello aren't usually used together without the viola somewhere in between, but…” He shrugged nonchalantly. A sudden thought came to Daman's mind, and he put on a rather coy face. “You do recognize me for a demon, do you not?” He had no idea why he said it; it just seemed to have wanted to be put out onto the open. With that, Daman began to play the opening chords of Vivaldi's “Winter,” a song cold yet full of life. The notes seemed to call to Ana, as if begging her to play along too. Ah, that persuasive demonic charm!

“Draw…just draw on him and shoot- save yourself some trouble.” Ater could sense his brother's annoyance, and soon he too grew impatient.

“You're going to have to do it later…save yourself the work. Just kill him right here.” The demon was toying with her- and his ego needed to be deflated; that was something Ana could easily do if she would just listen and fill him full of her holy-lead. For once, Ater and Lux wanted to make life easier on Ana's partner- the poor, abused Scottish storm. Alistaire would go insane if he were to see this.

“Just pick me up- and paint him silver.”

Ana nearly dropped the violin in her hands as Daman spoke to her; goodness, she almost forgot that was there. Getting a hold of herself, she placed it on her shoulder and readied to play. “Rude- calling me that is just rude, and I would appreciate it if you would call me Ana….Daman.” That right there was her sorry attempt to deflate him; always hearing Lux and Ater tell her how to run her life was a bit strange- so she tried to indulge them. As he began to play she started to go along with it, not even tapping her foot or swaying to keep on with the pace. She knew exactly how it would go, judging by how he moved. Ana didn't stop at all when he pointed out that he had been a demon, but began to take control of the music- and even rush him to play along now.

“Yes I did, but if you knew about me I am sure you wouldn't be so open.” He had been honest, and so was she- but the girl wasn't going to press that matter any further. She would hate to draw blood in the music hall and he had sparked her interest- much to Lux and Ater's dislike.

The demon merely smiled serenely and exclaimed with mock astonishment, “Why, am quite sorry for not appearing the gentleman, my dear. Excuse the rather uninspiring pet name,” Plucking the strings in a pizzicato fashion, he locked his gray eyes with her green. “Ana.” There was something final in the way that he said he name; something chilling in a good sense. He felt her try and run away with the music, to call it her own, to warp it to her liking. Daman didn't bother to keep up. Instead, he changed his melody into basso continuo, playing running sixteenth notes underneath her melody. The effect was very startling and unique, with Ana's own tune the main melody. He kept on playing in that fashion, and arched an eyebrow delicately as she made her comments. “Was that a threat, then? You should be happy I'm keeping conversation with you. It's not usually my thing.” He dropped the cello's tone into an ear-vibrating register as the song ended, and smiled at her. Such a vague and indistinct smile, one that could mean so many things. “I fear close to nothing. Except those in higher rank above me on the demonic plane. Other than that…” Daman's tone was confident, but his hand absentmindedly brushed upon the silvery teardrop upon his neck. The scar was old, but it hadn't faded. There had been power behind that blow, and the demon couldn't help but recall the agony he suffered from that angelic blade.

Adding as if to prove a point, Daman said, “Besides, I already can tell there's something odd about you. Something not right. Or maybe it is right, who am I to judge? My perception of the world is different from the next person.” He wrapped his legs around the base of the instrument and gazed up at the hunter. “So, why don't you tell me a little about yourself, Miss Ana?” Punctuated with that easy grin.

After a few minutes of playing, Ana recalled that at this moment- she was the calmest she had ever been since they all first arrived in London. Losing her bags in the airport, getting stopped by the security guard that didn't speak any English and then being forced to -unstrap- Lux and Ater from her back… The week so far had been like a trip to hell. Now everything was somewhat settled; her bags were safely stored at the hotel- all except for her “undergarments” bag, but that could easily be fixed with a credit card and a trip to lingerie stores. She might just have to do that on her own- the last she was waving her lacy unmentionables in Alistaire's face, something almost happened. Even as she stood there, conversing with someone that wasn't her partner and was quite attractive- Ana couldn't help but think about how close she and Alistaire had been.

Her mind was quickly snapped back into line when Daman spoke to her, and she sighed before setting the violin down. Her fingers itched to release Lux and Ater and show him a completely new thing to fear, but she just couldn't. He seemed unarmed, and wasn't going to attack her. “Oh…w-well, there really isn't much to tell…I'm a historian, and I just moved here.” Ana loosened up a little more and leaned against the back of a chair, resting her behind on it. If he were to even try- just a little bit, Daman could see up her skirt. She knew he wasn't going to try; next time- she would have to come to the college in jeans. Why was it always cold in the music rooms? “Wrote books…I was a college professor before…uh- Now, I just came here for adventure. You know- something fun and different. I'm here to check out the night life…”

As he listened to Ana tell of how she came to be at the university, Daman couldn't help but notice the way she shifted her weight. The move was slightly alluring; the demon knew that if positioned himself just right, he would have a clear view of her undergarments, and perhaps a bit more. Sniggering in his head, he abstained from the free look, however. Ana seemed to be a classy lady, and Daman wasn't the leering jerk to take pleasure in looking at an acquaintance’s unmentionables. However, her words did spark some interest in him, and he stared up her, gray eyes giving off excited sparks. “A historian? Really then…I myself am a history major here. I have as much a passion for history as I do for the cello…and a few other knacks as well.” A slightly conceited look overtook Daman's face. He snapped back to attention in a few seconds, though, and simply said to Ana, “Well, I bet you could show me a few tricks yourself,” he paused dramatically, “Professor.” Here he was, working his charm and charisma to full effect, and although it didn't show, Daman felt slightly uncomfortable. Flirting was not exactly his thing, and here he was, in an empty classroom conversing with perhaps one of the most beautiful demon/humans he'd seen in a while. Yet the demon seemed to be able to allow her to get a little closer to his world, understand him as he thought he could understand her. After all, she was a demon, and there was nothing to hide from others of his kind, was there?

“Are you going to tell me a bit about yourself?” came Ana's voice. Daman paused for a second, contemplating what to tell her. “Well,” he said smoothly, “That's rather confidential information now, isn't it? All you need to know is that I'm studying here as a history major, live in an apartment off campus, just a few blocks from here. My past…” Memories sprang into his head and he blocked them. No need to delve into much more serious issues at the moment. He suddenly hoped she wouldn't connect him with his old self. After all, Rage was gone with the past, merely an urban legend now. And that was in Canada, this is London. The chances are next to none, Daman thought to himself. Flashing a toothy smile, he finished, “Is not worth mentioning.”

Adriel pushed the door open and entered, followed by Alastaire and Connor. She glided across the room, her feet did not make a sound as the little Irish girl chose a place to put her things. Raising her green and gold eyes, she saw a couple in the far end of the chamber. A shadow lingered on them, but Adriel didn't seem to care. “Good morn!”, she greeted with a smile.

Alistaire walked as if he was being dangled from a piece of rope from the top of his head, his entire body loose. His step was more or less no more than an arrogant saunter, or so one would think. It was actually a walk to be used to shown his looseness, but at the same time, be ready for any attack. So if some crazy woman decided to come charging at him, he'd be ready. Or if those god awful vibes turned out to be something else… well, he'd have hands on two different guns, both locked and loaded with anti-Hellspawn bullets. He'd only be able to get off a few shots and maybe dodge the first attack from a vampire or a demon, but if he placed the shots well…

He yawned and stretched his arms back suddenly and looked around, admiring the halls and the design of the building. “Know how old this place is?” He asked idly as they turned a corner. They continued walking a bit, and he hoped they would be coming up on this room quickly. He was getting a sudden awful twist in his guts. They arrived at a large door and Adriel pushed it open. This must be it, he thought with a relieved sigh. He followed her in with Connor to his side, both of them flanking Adriel to the side and rear. He looked around the room with interesting eyes and shuddered, feeling the cold and even more pressure here in this room. This school is full of bloody wrongness…, he thought idly. He suddenly heard the little Irish girl say cheerfully, “Good morn!”, and he looked over her shoulder. He saw both Ana and another man, both sets of their eyes on the group. He eyed Ana, then put his gaze on the man, then put his eyes back on Ana. His brow furrowed and he opened his mouth to say something.

It was funny how someone who seemed so uptight and cold, ended up actually being not all that bad. Ana used to think she was a good judge of character, but she had to admit- at first glance, she thought he was a stuck-up brat, who wouldn't give anyone the time of day. So far, he wasn't that bad at all. She smiled softly and watched him talk, even the words he chose to use were graceful. Daman was almost too perfect- there HAD to be something wrong with him other than his demon blood. The historian had a knack for diving into people's minds, and even after a few minutes- she could tell whether they chewed on pens, bounced their knees or grinded their teeth while they slept. For example, Alistaire grinded his teeth when he was sleeping- meaning he was constantly under stress.

“Most people don't like to speak about their past- it's sad, really. Once you come to terms with what you've done, it'll be easier on you when you pass on. People have the ability to change, they just don't realize it until it's too late.” Ana was cut short, but even though her words stopped- her glare didn't. She was reading him, whether he would like it or not. She turned around to look at whomever was coming into the room- and she almost giggled happily as she saw Ali. “Hi!”

Connor stuffed his hands in pockets after setting Adriel's bag and his backpack down, eyeing Daman. He had sensed something distinctively heavy in the air as he walked into the room, and now he sensed the heavier source – for he knew the girl next to him gave out heavy vibes, as well. Like two rocks tossed into a pool of quiet waters. Adriel greeted them, then the woman greeted back. There was recognition in her eyes towards Alistaire. Connor stayed near Adriel. “Good morning”, Connor said with a small smile, watching and waiting.

Alistaire's wide open mouth was ready to attack Ana with a verbal attack, but– when she said “Hi!” to him the way she did, it killed off any malicious thoughts he had. Instead, he stood there, quiet, with his mouth hanging open a good, long, stretched out moment. After realizing the silence, he shut his mouth and 'ahem'd!, straightening himself and regaining his composure. His eyes still sharp towards Ana, he grumbled out. “Hello, Ana.” He smiled half-heartedly, still wanting to bash Ana with his words, but not finding the drive to. I'll tell her later…, he grumbled in his head. He looked around the room at all the faces and sighed. Then his gaze fell again on the man Ana had been in the room with and his eyes focused sharply.

“Dunnae believe I got yer name…” He said finally, taking a few steps over. His hand glide down his side and rested on his waist, giving him the best position to draw his .45 handgun should the need arise. This fellow gave him the bloody creeps, and that was hard to do. The hair on his neck stood and the young demon-hunter's blood was boiling. He tried to keep himself in check. “Me name's Alistaire MacCoule.” He glanced to Ana. “Knowin' her, I dunnae think she told ye me name. Hell, I dunnae think she even mentioned I bloody existed!” He cocked his head towards her, but kept an eye on Daman.

Adriel blinked and her eyes opened wide – she could easily read the tension in the air, and Connor's watchful look enhanced her own worries. Adriel as ever tried to be conciliative. “Is this the person you've been looking for, Ali?”, she asked, trying to infuse some cheerfulness in the cold atmosphere. “What a coincidence we found her already…” Adriel tilted her head, looking at the woman. Her clothes made her look older, or maybe more precisely, too formal for a student. “Are you a new professor, ma'am?”, she asked her.

Oh yeah- Alistaire was mad. It didn't take a rocket scientist named Ana Gordon to figure it out; later on she would get a Scottish verbal lashing, and maybe if she just cried- he wouldn't be as angry later on. Lately, Ana had to admit that she was being a bad best friend. Leaving him back at the hotel was a mean thing to do- mainly because he wouldn't have anything to do; they just moved here for Christ's sake. The least she could do was stay there with him and keep him company…and busy. He would get too mean when they would hang out too much, but he got upset when she took time for herself. Either way, she was still very happy to see him. And that girl who asked her if she was a professor. There was the possibility that Ana could get her job back, but until then she would settle for interviewing Morris and dilly-dallying around in the college as a guest. Getting her job would mean leaving her hunting behind, and the girl didn't know if she was ready to do that. She wasn't smitten to that…was there something else?

“No m'am, I'm a guest. Ana Gordon, nice to meet you.” She smiled cheerfully to the girl and then back at Ali, nodding a few times. Leave it to Alistaire to get upset that she was talking to someone; if he would have known that he was a demon, there wouldn't be any talk at all. Only killing.

Adriel grinned. “I see! My name is Adriel Oscar; I'm a member of the chorus and this is my friend Connor McFadden”, she said motioning to Connor. “We met Alastaire this morning…” Adriel cast a curious look at the man with the cello. She sensed something distinctive about him. “I thought you'd be part of a cultural exchange program”, she continued with a smile. “We've got some professors from abroad”.

Connor flashed a brief, fierce grin. After the introductions, Connor gave some excuse and dragged Adriel to the announcements board, where they took some notes about the schedule for the next chorus meeting and other miscellany. Connor was rather annoyed as the atmosphere in the building had become strangely heavy and yet most of the odd 'presences' he perceived were gone, he suddenly felt the huge spaces tight and heavy in a sort of claustrophobia. “Let us go. We don't have more classes for the day…”, he muttered. After some time, Adriel and Connor left the Campus in Adriel's bike.

By BroodingDarkness

Before the birth of man there were the angels. The purpose of the Angelic Host was to keep the balance and guide man through it’s evolution… but many did not agree. This stand became known as The Fall and those that apposed the Host were known as the Fallen.

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