Chapter: 18 of 35 - Repercussions
Pairings: Asher/Anita/Jean-Claude, Anita/Nathaniel, Harry/Nathaniel/Draco, Harry/Draco, Anita/Micah
Rating: R/15 or NC17/18
Summary: Harry Potter could find trouble in paradise and when Draco sends him to St Louis for a holiday it's not paradise and there's lots of trouble. With dark magic, vampires, lycanthropes and more, who else could sort it out but Anita Blake?
Chapter listing: click here for other parts, publishing schedule and A/N
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling and Laurell K. Hamilton, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books, Orbit books, Time Warner Book group, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Warnings: This story is set post Harry Potter and the OotP and post Incubus Dreams and therefore has SPOILERS for all previous books. If you don’t want to know anything that went on in or before HP book five or AB book twelve do not read this story.
Chapter 18 Repercussions
Anita found herself sitting on the floor, head aching and the last few seconds missing from her memory. Nathaniel was holding her very gently, but a quick look at his face explained why, unlike Jean-Claude, who was kneeling and being held upright by Asher, she had ended up on her rump. There must have been some feedback through the second triumvirate from what was going on in the first because Nathaniel appeared dazed.
"What was that?" her pomme de sang asked quietly.
Not sure her voice would work the way she wanted it to, Anita tried to gather her thoughts and found her eyes travelling to where Harry was lying sprawled on the floor. It must have cost the kid dearly to pass on the information he had so soon, and she did not want to waste it. The experience had felt like a flood gate opening and then being slammed shut again as Harry passed out, but she was pretty sure it was as bad, if not worse from his end. Forcing her mind into the closest she could manage to normality she concentrated on the image that had come through the marks.
"Harry showed us where they are," Anita said, shaking her head to clear the last of the backlash. "Jean-Claude, did you recognise what he saw?"
Jean-Claude looked thoroughly dazed and was obviously having trouble returning to normal. There was blood running down his chin and an empty look to his eyes, but as Anita spoke to him she saw life returning to the midnight blue orbs.
"Non, ma petite," Jean-Claude replied slowly, "but I do not believe this city will have many establishments called 'Frankie's Cocktail Bar', especially close to a 'Mama Maria's Motel'."
Anita mentally kicked herself; she had been so busy trying to identify the skyline that the names of the businesses outside the window had completely passed her by.
"Anyone have a computer?" she asked, leaving worrying about Harry to the rest of the room.
"I do," Jason said straight away and offered her his hand.
Time was of the essence; they had no way of knowing how long the bad guys would stay put and Anita's first priority was to find their current hideout. She accepted Jason's hand and then followed the lycanthrope out of the room as fast as she could. When she walked into Jason's room and watched him walk to the corner and pull out a laptop case from behind the table, the warm presence beside her alerted her to the fact that Nathaniel had followed her.
When she glanced at her pomme de sang his face was still paler than normal, but the spark was back in his lilac eyes. With silent accord they moved over to where Jason was flipping open his laptop and turning it on.
"Internet connection?" Anita asked, hoping that this was going to be easy.
"It's wireless," Jason replied as he logged in. "Jean-Claude may not be the most technically minded vamp around, but he knows what this place needs to run smoothly. The technology's not obvious because it would spoil the image of the place if the customers saw it, but it's there."
Anita was impressed, most vamps were technophobes and it took them years to adapt to what humans just took in their stride. She guessed it was something to do with old dogs and new tricks; not that she would say it to Jean-Claude's face any time soon. It was as she opened her mouth to tell Jason what to do that she realised the werewolf was way ahead of her, as a street guide to St Louis popped onto the screen.
"'Frankie's Cocktail Bar' and 'Mama Maria's Motel', right?" Jason clarified even as he was typing.
"Yes," Anita replied as she watched as Jason's fingers flew across the keys.
First he looked up the Bar, and there were actually three. Then he opened another window and looked up the motel; it must have been a chain because there were seven, but when Jason put the searches side by side, only one had the same area code as the bar.
"Gott'em," Jason said with a grin of triumph, and Anita was already reaching for her phone.
"Dolph," she greeted as soon as the other end picked up, "we've got an address on the perps."
Anita really didn't care how she parked the Jeep as she turned off the ignition, jumped out and just about remembered to lock it before she headed for the building that was crawling with police. There were uniforms as well as members of RPIT around the scene, but she did not waste any time and her badge got her right past the cop on duty at the door. Even as she stepped through the door she could smell blood on the air and the tingle of black magic ran up her spine.
This was definitely the place and she walked into the room where all the activity seemed to be, determined not to be disappointed if they had missed the bad guys. The first thing she saw was a robed man on the ground, cuffed and subdued and she could not help the pleased smile that crossed her face. She chose to ignore the murderous thoughts that occurred to her at the sight of a helpless prey.
She had insisted on coming to the crime scene alone because she had known how Dolph would react to any of the others, but she had not been happy to leave. Harry still hadn't come round by the time she went to do her job, and the kid had looked even more like death warmed over than when his vampire was out. Anita did not take well to those in her care being put into conditions like that.
It was not such good news when she looked around the room to find that the man was the only prisoner and the rest of the space was virtually empty.
"Hi, Anita," Zerbrowski greeted with a smile, and then gave her a once up and down that set her teeth on edge. "Somewhere nice were we?"
"None of your business, Zerbrowski," she growled back.
Going to crime scenes dressed up to the nines was not the most advisable thing to do, because a, you were likely to ruin your outfit, and b, the cops were bound to take the piss. The fact that Zerbrowski looked like he had dressed in the dark at least gave her a come back.
"Maybe if I was a clown I'd take style tips from you," she said and dared Zerbrowski to respond to that.
"You'll never be a clown, Anita," he said sweetly, "but I'll bet money you've been to the Circus tonight."
Anita just glared at her friend and indicated the cuffed prisoner with her eyes.
"Anita Blake," Zerbrowski said, obviously pleased that they had a break in the case, "meet Jon Doe. We caught him trying to wipe the place down, and he had some fun accelerants to play with once he was done."
The prisoner stared straight ahead and did not even seem to be paying attention. If Anita had not seen the same type of fanaticism before it would have been disturbing.
"If you're really lucky," Zerbrowski said, leaning close to the robed man, "we won't leave you alone with the Executioner. She gets upset when people like you set up in her city."
That caused the tiniest flicker in the man's eyes and Anita gave her best, evil smile. Sometimes it helped to have a reputation as a cold, heartless bitch.
"I'm not that annoyed, Zerbrowski," she said, voice as cold as her smile, "yet."
Another flicker; it was fun scaring the crap out of bad guys and Anita was in a vindictive mood. She was about to add to her performance when Dolph walked into the room. Where he had been she had no idea, since she hadn't seen him outside, but she didn't think he'd take kindly to her intimidating the prisoner until after he had had a go.
"The rest are gone," Dolph said shortly, giving her a quick scan with his eyes and then pointedly ignoring what she was wearing.
A 'Hello, Anita, thanks for the tip, Anita,' would have been nice, but the reality was what she had been expecting.
"Any more information that might help us figure out where they went?" Dolph continued, straight down to business as usual.
"You know everything I know," Anita replied with a shrug.
She saw the look on Dolph's face and knew where he was going before he even opened his mouth.
"And don't start," she said firmly. "The kid is unconscious and you can't speak to him. No one, and I mean no one, gets to see him until at least the morning."
She fixed her one time friend with a glare that would probably have killed a lesser man, but only made Dolph glare back. Saying anything else in front of one of the gang members would be foolish and from the look Anita saw in Dolph's eyes, that was about all that stopped him telling her exactly what he thought of that idea. If Dolph could only get over the fact that his new daughter-in-law was a vampire, Anita and his working relationship might improve again, but at least he wasn't trying to throw her out of crime scenes anymore.
Last time she had spoken to Dolph's son, he and his wife were thinking of looking into a surrogate mother so that they could have children. If that happened, Anita was pretty sure Dolph would mellow somewhat. The whole becoming a vampire issue seemed to have gone away for now at least, which was why Dolph didn't yell at Anita on sight anymore. Not that this was her fault, but when you were sleeping with the Master of the City anything vampire came back to your door eventually.
"Let's get Mr Doe here, down to the station," Dolph said after a very awkward silence. "Forensics will tell us if they find anything."
Anita was in full agreement about that. Her expertise might be able to give some details about the ritual, but this scene was not within her realm of speciality, and she did not think this was going to take long. It would give the police just long enough to warm up the suspect and then she would be there to see the results.
Waking up with Draco snuggled next to him was more than Harry had hoped for, but it rather focused him on the fact he must have been unconscious for some time. Last time it had only been a few minutes, but you weren't put to bed with your boyfriend by your side unless you were out for much longer than that. The fact that he did not feel like scrubbing his skin away was also a good indication that it had been some time.
There was the faint smell of herbs in the air and Harry assumed someone had been burning incense to help clear the residue black magic. It was a pleasant smell and he lay there for a while just enjoying the warmth and comfort of the dark room. It was a change in Draco's breathing that alerted him that his boyfriend was awake.
"Do you know how long I've been out of it?" he asked quietly as Draco stirred.
"You'd been asleep about an hour when I climbed in," his companion replied, running a gentle hand up Harry's body, "but I don't know how long I've been here. Didn't mean to drop off, sorry."
"I don't think it's after midnight yet," Harry decided, not sure how accurate his internal clock was, but knowing that, these days, he could sense dawn approaching and it wasn't even close yet. "Did I steal someone's bed, or is this a guest room?"
That drew a small laugh from Draco and his bed companion sat up.
"Only you would be worried about that," the Slytherin said and Harry could make out a smile on Draco's face by the tiny amount of light coming under the door. "It's a guest room. No one was sure if you'd wake up before morning, so Jean-Claude found us a place to stay."
That was, at least, a relief. If there was one thing that Harry hated to be it was a bother, and he thought he was quite enough of a problem for those around him as it was.
"Did they find the place I saw?" he asked, finally brave enough to ask the question that had popped into his head the moment he opened his eyes.
"Yes," Draco replied and squeezed his hand as if he knew exactly what Harry was thinking. "They did an, I think they called it 'Internexus search', or something like that, and then Anita went off to find it. She called after we had put you to bed to say that they found the site and caught one of the ritualists."
"Internet," Harry offered helpfully, although he could not help being disappointed with the news.
He had been too slow; if only he had found more information they could have reached the place quicker and caught all the robed figures he had seen.
"Harry," Draco said and he looked up to find his boyfriend looking at him sternly, although he was pretty sure Draco did not see that well in the dark, "I can hear it in your voice, stop being a martyr. They caught one, and that's a hell of a lot better than nothing and all because you managed to give them a location. If they don't get anything out of the arse they have in custody we can always sneak in and dose him with Veritaserum."
"He's a Muggle, Draco," Harry said, although warmed inside that Draco was trying to make him feel better, "or at least not one of us. Veritaserum works using the magical centres of the brain; it probably wouldn't do anything except make him sick."
"Good god," Draco said with mock shock, "there is something between your ears other than air."
Harry swiped at his boyfriend, giving him a friendly slap on the arm, but the comment had done its job, he felt himself smiling. For a few moments he let himself enjoy it, but then he sobered. He had come to the Circus with the aim of talking to Jean-Claude once the Council had been dealt with and he had not yet managed to do that. It was the middle of the night, the most active time for vampires and he hoped Jean-Claude would be available to talk to.
"Do you fancy finding Jean-Claude and seeing what he has to say about the marks?" he asked, flicking his hand at the light switch before he thought about it.
The resultant sparks were very pretty until the switch eventually gave in and flicked on.
"Remind me not to do that again," he decided as he eyed the control suspiciously, hoping that is would not do anything else.
Electricity and magic in the same vicinity was not a good thing, so casting spelling on objects with electricity flowing through them was to be avoided.
"As long as you don't turn on any more lights," was Draco's dry reply.
It had been easier to find Jean-Claude than Harry had expected; whatever business the Master of the city had had planned for that night seemed to have been put off thanks to the visit from the Traveler, and Jean-Claude had been relaxing with a book when Harry and Draco found him. Harry had to admit that he liked Jean-Claude, even though the vampire was almost unreadable sometimes, and the idea of asking Jean-Claude about things no longer held the apprehension it had when Harry had first met him. Dealing with Jean-Claude was like dealing with a Slytherin, but then he had had plenty of practice with that.
Small talk was not one of Harry's strong points, but Draco had taken up the slack as Jean-Claude played host and made sure they had drinks and were comfortable before the real discussion began.
"Human servants," Harry finally said once they were all settled.
"Quite a complicated topic, mon enfant," Jean-Claude replied with a small smile, "is there anything particular you would like to know, or should I simply start at the beginning?"
It seemed that the master of the city had decided to be straight forward on this subject, which Harry took as a sign that it was indeed very complicated. He had noticed over the years of dealing with Draco and his house mates that if a subject was simple they enjoyed making it sound somewhat more difficult, but if it really was difficult it was possible to extract a straight answer out of them. Snape's teaching methods were a prime example: Harry had found some of his earlier years in the man's class impossible to understand, but once he'd made it to N.E.W.T. level the whole emphasis had seemed to change.
"The beginning is probably a good idea," Harry decided after a quick glance at Draco.
Jean-Claude inclined his head in acknowledgement and sat back in his chair with a thoughtful expression on his face. It was the type of expression Harry had seen on Dumbledore many times and seemed to be half recollections, half innate wisdom. For a moment Harry wondered if there was a class for giving sage advice or if it was just something one picked up when one passed a hundred years old.
"Many who know of our kind believe that a human servant is any human who is bitten," Jean-Claude began eventually. "Much of our power to control is in our eyes and, for some, the voice, but the bite does allow added sway over most mortals. One who allows a vampire to feed may be partially controlled, but is not a human servant. In truth the marks remove the ability of the master to roll the mind of the servant."
Harry felt appraising eyes on him and nodded at the master of the city to indicate he was following the explanation.
"A master vampire must give of himself to bind to a human and, from a certain perspective, a human servant may be considered a liability," Jean-Claude continued. "However, it is my firm belief that the benefits far exceed any perceived disadvantages."
"Why a liability?" Harry asked, wanting to understand the cons before the pros of the situation.
In his experience the cons were usually the most important part.
"A human servant is, most often, not as strong as the master, ma petite and quite possibly l'amour de sa vie being exceptions," Jean-Claude explained with a gesture of his hands and a smile at Draco. "It is possible that the passing of a human servant would precipitate the end of the master vampire, or such an event could weaken a master enough to allow his destruction by another's hand."
"So a human servant is seen as a soft target," Draco summarised succinctly.
"Oui," the vampire replied.
Well so far the explanation was making sense, which in Harry's opinion was quite surprising. Some vampire ideas seemed almost illogical in their complexity, but the human servant issue appeared to be, at least on the surface, comprehensible.
"So what exactly balances out the risk?" he asked.
From what he had seen, vampires did not place themselves in unnecessary jeopardy.
"Taking a human to yourself and marking them requires power and a certain risk," Jean-Claude replied in what appeared to be a completely honest manner, "but the power is returned many times over."
There was a look in the vampire's eyes that made Harry think Jean-Claude was remembering something about Anita and it was one of those times where he could almost sense the connection between the two.
"Each mark increases the connection between vampire and human," Jean-Claude continued, eyes still fixed inwards as if locked in a memory. "Within the partnership the human is the first to see an advantage. Even should you ever wish to, mon enfant, you have relinquished any power to roll the mind of your chosen match. Physical damage is also less debilitating. Only with the gift of the second mark does the power become truly two way."
Since this was where he and Draco were, Harry sat up straighter in his chair to find out the consequences of his actions. He did not mind the fact he could not use vampire powers on Draco, in fact it made him feel at least a little more comfortable with the situation, but with him there always seemed to a nasty surprise around the corner so he was listening carefully.
"Mon enfant, have you perhaps, felt unexpected sensations during the day?" Jean-Claude asked, looking Harry in the eye.
Figuring that it was an important question, Harry considered his answer, but he was still not used to everything his change in status threw at him, so it was difficult to tell. When he could feel his beast reacting to everything around him it was not easy to know if anything else was happening as well.
"Not really," he replied eventually, unable to put his finger on a specific sensation. "Maybe a little more, hmm, aware."
"Bon," Jean-Claude replied with a nod, "it is possible the true effects are partially asleep along with your vampire nature. The second mark allows you to receive strength from your human servant and to savour the flavours they experience. Food is one of the pleasures in life that a vampire must forgo, but a human servant may return this joy to us."
Since he was only a vampire sometimes Harry could see no advantage in the second revelation, but the first bothered him.
"I can take strength from Draco?" he asked slowly, thinking it through and trying not to imagine the worst case scenario, but not really managing it. "Can he stop me if I try and take too much?"
Jean-Claude appeared thoughtful, his midnight blues eyes regarding Draco seriously.
"I do not know," the vampire replied after a few moments. "In most cases it is an irrelevant question, as the marks remove the ability to resist, but ma petite has the ability to block the connection and it is possible the same may be applied to your bond."
Harry nodded and shared a glance with Draco. At least it hadn't been an outright 'no'; Harry was uncomfortable with the whole idea of taking anything from Draco and he would prefer if his boyfriend had some control.
"The second mark also opens the way for us into our chosen one's dreams," Jean-Claude changed tack and Harry began to pay attention again, deciding he could brood later.
"Dreams?" he was familiar with Legimency, but dreams were a whole other question.
Voldemort had been able to invade his dreams and the idea that he could now do the same with Draco was unsettling.
"It is a skill which not all vampires may master," Jean-Claude replied, "but I find it sensible never to underestimate you, mon enfant. If you choose to complete the marks then your conscious minds will touch also."
"No," Harry said very firmly.
The whole making Draco his human servant had been a mistake born of ignorance, there was no way he was going to make it worse. He could see understanding on Jean-Claude's face as well as a little sadness, when he looked back at the master of the city. It was quite clear that Jean-Claude did not consider the master servant relationship to be anything to be avoided, but Harry was not comfortable with it at all. If Draco showed no nasty side effects then he might be willing to delve a little deeper into the can of worms he had opened, but for now he didn't even want to look over the edge.
"You are bound, mon enfant," Jean-Claude said sympathetically, "until death. The third and fourth marks would strengthen that which you cannot break."
Harry frowned; he was sure it was not that simple.
"If you wouldn't mind," Draco cut in before Harry could say anything, "could you explain the consequences of the marks. I don't think either of us is ready to make a decision as to how to proceed at this time."
Jean-Claude nodded as if he understood, but Harry suspected the conversation would occur again at some point.
"The third mark opens the path between conscious minds as the path of blood is opened between master and servant," the vampire explained without his previous persuasive tone, "and the fourth mark binds master and servant together eternally, giving the servant of the master's immortality and dissuading any corruption of the physical form. This requires the blood of the master to be taken by the servant, sealing the bond between them completely."
It seemed that when Jean-Claude knew he could not win an argument outright he became somewhat more cryptic. Stepping through the big words, Harry tried to make sense of what had just been said.
"So for the third mark I would drink from him, and the fourth Draco from me. Are you saying if all the marks are used, the human servant can't die?" he asked, not quite clear on the details.
"Not quite, mon enfant," Jean-Claude replied, "but the fourth mark raises the mortal to almost immortality. Should the master die, so would the servant. The servant is also endowed with greater strength and resistance to injury, but not invulnerability."
It sounded so good for both sides that Harry was instantly suspicious, but he really did not want to push the issue now. He knew what the marks meant, he even had a vague idea of how to create them, but he needed time to assimilate the information before he could truly comprehend it.
"So what was it Anita wouldn't say today?" he asked, hoping that the change in emphasis would give him time to think. "She avoided telling us something, didn't she?"
Jean-Claude did not seem fazed by the question, not even the tiniest bit, but Harry did find himself on the business end of a very appraising stare. For a moment he thought the vampire might steer the conversation back in the direction they had been going, but then the midnight eyes blinked and the moment of tension was gone.
"Oui, mon enfant," Jean-Claude said after a few moments, "ma petite did wish to consult with me before she mentioned a further possibility."
Harry sat back in his chair, pretty sure that if Anita had needed to talk to Jean-Claude about this then it was serious. If she had told them about the marks and kept something back, the part she had kept back had to be important.
"I know you have heard mention of a triumvirate," the vampire said slowly, looking from Harry to Draco and then back again, "but I believe none has yet seen fit to explain what one may be."
Harry nodded, he had heard the word several times in relation to Anita, but there had never been the time to go into details. Other subjects had so far been far more important.
"I assume it is something to do with three," Draco said from where he was now gracefully lounging in his chair.
There had been tension in the Slytherin through most of the conversation, but now, as far as Harry could tell, his boyfriend had relaxed somewhat. Maybe Draco needed time to process what they had heard as well.
Jean-Claude inclined his head with a smile.
"That would be a correct assumption," the vampire replied. "A triumvirate is a joining of a vampire, a human and a lycanthrope, through the vampire marks. Usually this means the triumvirate is a Master vampire, their human servant and a lycanthrope that matches the master's animal to call. The triumvirate of which I am a member is myself, ma petite and our wolf, Richard. This joining increases all our powers because we may share our strength with each other."
There were times when Harry knew he could be dense, but now was not one of them; it did not take him long to realise the significance of what he was being told.
"And you think Draco and I may be a triumvirate because I'm a vampire and a lycanthrope," he said as Jean-Claude stopped talking.
The vampire nodded again and then turned his head to one side thoughtfully.
"Having ma petite as my human servant strengthened both she and I," Jean-Claude explained, midnight blue eyes flicking to Draco and then back to Harry again, "but it was not until we included Richard that the changes became as significant as I believe Draco's have been already. I do not believe that two marks are enough to warrant the enhancement of ability which you reported to ma petite this morning."
"So we're a triumvirate of two," Draco sounded as if he was quite willing to believe the conclusion, but Harry didn't think it was going to be that simple; "what exactly does that mean? Does it change anything?"
Jean-Claude was looking thoughtful again, sitting in the perfect stillness that only vampires seemed to be able to achieve.
"I once believed that a triumvirate was only significant due to its underlying nature in that it required three beings," Jean-Claude said, shrugging as if putting the notion aside. "I no longer believe that to be true. Ma petite is a most unusual woman, and her position within our three may have something to do with the shifting of the energies within us, but I do not believe that is the only significant element."
"Combining different magic together usually produces a gestalt," Harry offered; yet another fact that Hermione had managed to cram into his head before the final exams.
Jean-Claude nodded and gave another small smile.
"Exactement, mon enfant," the vampire replied. "I believe the combination of the three types of energy causes a truly incredible reaction. I have been a master vampire for many years, but it was the joining with ma petite and our Richard which made me what you see before you. I have gained aspects of both of them through the marks and it is likely you will gain parts of each other as well. The bond between vampire and human servant can cause a reflection of this, but it is as nothing to what I have experienced from the triumvirate."
Harry looked over at Draco, not sure what his boyfriend's reaction would be to that. Gaining some of Draco's analytical ability did not seem so bad to Harry, but from a Slytherin point of view, gaining anything from a Gryffindor might be somewhat off-putting. To his surprise, Draco gave him a small smile.
"I will resist the urge to jump in front of the next rampaging dragon to save the damsel," the Slytherin said dryly.
"It is possible we are in error," Jean-Claude said as Harry failed to think of a comeback. "This may be a natural consequence of your magical status before entering into this, but I have always found that it is to a person's advantage to be aware of all the facts."
Harry was pretty sure Jean-Claude would never be able to understand quite how much he agreed with that statement. All he did was nod and try to wrap his mind around everything they had been discussing. The first two marks were done; there was no way to reverse them, but at least now he knew exactly what the other two marks required and he could make very sure not to do anything stupid. Whether he and Draco were a triumvirate or not, they had some things to discuss and a lot to adjust to, but now that it was no longer a mystery it did not seem quite so daunting.
"Thank you," Harry said and tried to convey just how grateful he was.
Anita walked back into the Circus and straight into Jean-Claude's bedroom. The fact that Jean-Claude and Asher were currently both naked and engaged in a very passionate moment did not pass her by, but she was annoyed enough that she didn't care. Well almost didn't care; she would have had to have been dead in a very permanent way not to enjoy the view just a little bit. She saw them break apart and give each other a knowing look before she turned her back and sat down on the edge of the bed.
"Ma petite," Jean-Claude asked, moving up behind her, "is something wrong?"
"The suspect isn't talking," she said, expressing her anger by hitting the bed and narrowly missing Jean-Claude. "And by that I mean not talking at all; not a peep. The bastard has been sitting in the interrogation room staring at the wall as if none of us were there."
Asher moved up on her other side and she felt his hand rest lightly on her shoulder.
"Perhaps if someone were to speak to Lieutenant Storr and arrange a short visit with Jean-Claude," Asher suggested in such a way that Anita thought he was being very careful. "He is after all involved in the case."
Anita gave him points for trying, but she really didn't think that was a good idea or would work.
"If I thought that we might have a hope in hell of getting that past Dolph, or that is might work I'd try," she said and leaned in to Jean-Claude as he stroked a finger along the side of her neck, "but we're dealing with a fanatic. Dolph was so desperate an hour ago that he let me in there alone with the suspect. You know I can be scary, right?"
Both vampires nodded without any hint of hesitation as she looked from one to the other.
"Well he flickered, four times, and that was it," she admitted, perplexed.
Dolph very rarely let her near suspects, it was bad police procedure, but when he was pushed to the line, Anita was his plan B. They had been on plan H at least by the time Dolph had sent her home, promising to contact her if anything came up.
"Then I would suggest, ma petite that this man is more afraid of something else that he is of you," Jean-Claude said reasonably, "or he is under the influence of another mind."
"I didn't feel anything from him," Anita said, thinking back over everything she knew about the suspect.
There had been magical residue on him, but nothing that set off her alarm bells.
"Not all bonds are visible even to you, ma cherie," Asher said quietly beside her ear.
Both vampires seemed to be moving closer and closer as they spoke and Anita was having major trouble ignoring that they were both male and naked. She was annoyed and she wanted to stay annoyed, but she was being distracted.
"Dolph said he'd call if the suspect breaks," she said, trying to keep her eyes on the far wall.
"Then, ma petite," Jean-Claude said, placing a light kiss on her temple, "I would suggest you come to bed. We have time before dawn."
That sounded like such a good idea that she almost gave in there and then, but her rational brain decided to make itself known.
"What about Harry," she asked as worry replaced lust for a moment, "is he okay?"
"Mon enfant is once again sleeping," Jean-Claude replied, without trying to push her away from the subject. "He was unconscious for nearly two hours, but seemed unharmed when he sort out myself once he woke. I and the young wizards were engaged in a long conversation about the marks Harry gave l'amour de sa vie. I believe I have given them much to consider. They returned to the room I have set aside for them, and Jason reported that they were sleeping peacefully when he checked a little over an hour ago."
When he had finished his report he nuzzled her hair and gently kissed her neck. For a split second Anita considered remaining annoyed, but her mind filled with the image she had seen when she barged in, and reason lost out to lust. Turning to Jean-Claude she caught his mouth in a passionate kiss and allowed Asher to help her start removing her coat. It seemed it was her turn to be tag teamed.
End of Chapter 18
On to next chapter