The Night Haunters

The Last Step

Nathaniel stood before Jonathan Johnson, his sister's abductor. Her torturer. And he was going to pay. His goons had fled, like he knew they would, carrying a dead body along with them. Nathaniel let them go, allowing a kill team to follow them and observe what they did.

While she was untied by Savage, she'd immediately whipped off her hood and mask and told him a big secret that would make for an interesting night. Nathaniel immediately ordered the Haunters surrounding the building to go back to the Warehouse and wait out the day, then continue with their missions as planned. He left a veteran Haunter in charge of them until he returned. Nathaniel had two Haunters fetch plenty of blood and vervain for the three of them.

The Haunters obeyed and did as they were told. Shadow's kill team was ordered to leave as well. Now Shadow had made herself a sort of perch. She had hefted a large log from the vacant lot adjacent to the apartment building and jammed it into the corner of the room so that she could watch from a high place while she sharpened her blade. Savage pulled a small couch under Shadow's perch, and was now lounging in it, also sharpening a blade casually.

Nathaniel chuckled at how well Shadow had adjusted to everything that had happened to her recently. Here she was, after a run in with a witch, being tortured, and having to see the side of him that he never showed, and she was relaxing with two brothers she didn't even know existed until six and a half months ago. She was resilient, he had to give her that. Strong, powerful, and deadly, that's what she was. And she had earned her place as his sister. Just as Savage had all those years ago.

Nathaniel looked at the transitioning vampire before him. He was pacing slowly, wondering which method of torture should he start first. That was one of his many talents. And he enjoyed it completely, much to humanity's dismay. Nathaniel took vervain soaked rope and tied the man's wrists to the exposed rafters of the building. He tied them so that his body made a T, and his feet were a foot above the ground. Nathaniel got blood bags ready, and loaded some squirt guns with vervain water. He took his war hammer and dusted off some rubble it had caught when he'd flicked down that wall. They had moved into another room so that there wasn't any sunlight shining through, which meant that they could stay here as long as they wanted.

"What're gonna do to him?" Shadow asked, her mask and hood down, her eyes still having flecks of red in her ice blue irises. She closed her stone's case and put it away as she sheathed the blade she had been sharpening.

"What he deserves," Nathaniel grinned. "Don't you want that? Even if you still cared for him like you did, it would be a mercy to kill him since he has lost everything. But he has hurt my sister, my family, so I won't go easy on him just because of who he was. So don't get any ideas, alright?"

"..." Shadow looked away with a sad expression in her eyes. At that moment she looked as harmless and fragile as an ice sculpture. Her pale skin was glowing in the dim light, her arms were hugging her chest defensively while she leaned her back against the wall and drew up her knees. Her black hair hung around her eyes, the bright red streak in her hair was apparent, and her gaze cast downward in thought. She frowned slightly and looked at Nathaniel. The sad look evaporated and was replaced by a hard, determined look. There was more red in her eye this time, like Savage when he wanted to be absolutely sure that he wouldn't show anything he didn't want to be seen. She nodded. But that nod must've been the hardest thing she had to do for a long while. Because that nod meant truly letting go of her past, of her old family. With that nod, she gave her new brother permission to end the life of the last family member she had from her old life.

Nathaniel knew she must've just realized that she hadn't really let go of her family as easily as she must have she Turned. That she now realized that she still missed her family terribly and would miss them for a long while. She found out today that her mother had died, meaning her father was the last of her family. That must've been hard to take, even for Shadow, who was basically the female version of both Nathaniel or Savage if she wanted to be. So to let go now, meant to let go forever. And that had to have hit a soft spot.

Nathaniel nodded back and turned his attention back to the man hanging in front of him. He was starting to Transition, Nathaniel could just sense it. He moaned and his eyes fluttered open as he awakened. His gaze seemed unfocused, as if his eyes were trying to get a clear picture. When they did, he looked at Nathaniel with a gaze filled with hatred. But the effect was lost since he was cringing from the background rasping of Savage honing a combat knife. Any light made him squint, and he seemed to have a migraine.

"Welcome to the land of the dead," Nathaniel said, looking him in the eye with amusement.

"What have you done!" The man said, a frantic and truly petrified look in his eyes, "What did you do?"

"Oh, I heard you hated my kind so I made you one of them," Nathaniel grinned, "So I Turned you to help you see the world in a whole new...light."

"So," Savage said, shaking his head, "Of all the methods you know, you decide to torture him with your terrible jokes?"

"No one asked you, idiot," Nathaniel sighed, shaking his head.

"Only an idiot makes those stupid jokes you do," Savage chuckled, rolling his eyes.

"And only a street beggar like you would have to resort to being a smart aleck."

"Ouch," Savage cringed, "Did it hurt to think up that comeback?"

Shadow laughed hard through the whole thing, clutching her stomach while she laughed, "You two are priceless."

"Anyways," Nathaniel said turning his attention to a confused expression from the man before him, "What?"

"Did I just hear my daughter?" He whispered to himself, but they all heard it thanks to their vampire hearing.

"Maybe, maybe not," Nathaniel shrugged.

The man groaned, "Let's just get this over with vampire. I have things to do."

"Oh, really?" Nathaniel cocked an eyebrow, "'Cause last I remember, you're dead. And going to die again."

"What can you d-" Shadow's father was cut off by a punch straight to the jaw. Nathaniel only put enough strength in it to be on the verge of snapping his neck. The transitioning vampire groaned in pain, rolling his neck before hanging his head. Nathaniel grinned and punched him in the gut. Because only his hands were tied, the man's body swung up and slammed into the ceiling. Nathaniel stopped his body as it swung back down with a solid punch to the chest. The man moaned, and looked up at Nathaniel a stern look; he was a defiant one.

Shadow had stopped laughing the instant the assault started, staring from her perch at her father's back. Her eyes were almost all red now, blue flecks interrupted the sea of bright, blood red. She was clenching her jaw, a sad look in her gaze. Savage glanced up at her, concern laced into his calculating, menacing cobalt blue eyes. Shadow noticed they were both looking at her and smiled apologetically, waving off their concern. Savage and Nathaniel had stopped everything to look at her with that concern.

Shadow's father was confused and trying to turn to see what was behind him that was making Nathaniel look slightly worried, but that ended with a kick to his shins that almost fractured his bone. The man gritted his teeth in pain, cringing as he growled in agony. This was only the beginning, Nathaniel knew, and that was making him giddy with excitement. It had been a while since he had a prisoner that had attacked his family, which gave him a reason to release all his anger into someone. Since most enemies weren't worth the time it took to perform this art of torture Nathaniel had learned over the centuries, he never really got to use it. But today was different.

Today, this man was going to pay the highest price for harming his sister.

Danny felt mixed emotions towards the torture of her former father. She felt like her heart was being torn open when Nathaniel punched him into the ceiling. But at the same time, she was angry that he would torture her for an entire night, and not to mention that he had lied to her her entire life. Danny found herself staring at her father, trying to keep her emotions off her face like Savage did so easily. Nathaniel and Savage had given her a concerned look, and in the middle of a torture session. She had dismissed their concern silently, sinking deeper into her inner Ripper's abilities. No doubt her eyes were almost completely red by now.

Hours went by, and Nathaniel only increased his intensity. Pulverizing bone, tearing flesh, burning it to stop the bleeding. Method after method was used with brutal efficiency. Some things made Danny's stomach queasy, while others just flat out made her look away. They still hadn't fed him blood to make him transition, and it was starting to show. Her father was getting sluggish, acting as if in slow motion. He had a drinker look in his eyes, cringing every now and then from a pang in his head. He looked as if he had overdosed and was about to cave.

"Alright," Nathaniel said, "Let's get you a drink."

Savage hopped off the sofa that was under Danny's little perch, and headed to the blood stock that had slowly been shrinking due to the three vampires in the room. Savage grabbed a blood bag and tossed it to Nathaniel. He caught it and teared it open. Nathaniel jammed the bag into her father's mouth, and squeezed all the contents into his throat. He choked, swallowing the blood in between gasps. Fangs extended, the veins under his eyes darkened, his skin paled, and his eyes blackened out his green irises. He hissed ferally, all of his wounds starting to mend, and his strength returned. The places where the vervain rope gripped his wrists started to make burning sounds now that the vervain had an effect. He looked at Nathaniel, his ire written all over his face.

"What now? I'm one of you," He said bitterly, "What are you going to do to me now that you've done every thing but kill me."

"Oh," Nathaniel looked over to Danny and nodded, signaling her with a secret hand signal, "I wouldn't be sure about that."

Danny sighed and sheathed the blade as had been subconsciously sharpening, and put away her stone. She pulled up her cloth mask and her hood, hopping gracefully down to the ground. Nathaniel beckoned her over to him and then looked back smugly at the new blood before him. The new vampire was annoyed and defiant now that the blood he had taken had partially healed him. As Danny stood beside Nathaniel, she saw the confused look in his eyes.

"What's the girl have to do with anything?" He asked ignorantly.

Nathaniel gently drew down Danny's mask from her face and let it rest on her neck like a scarf, "Look familiar?"

"What are you getting at, vampire?"

Nathaniel sighed and Danny felt his grip in the brim of her hood right above her forehead. Danny steeled herself for her father's reaction. Would he be surprised? Angry? Relieved? He believed that his daughter had died, left for dead by vampires in an alley with a bite mark on her precious neck. How would he react to the sight of his daughter being alive and dead at the same time? Danny didn't have to wait long, as she felt the hood start to draw back from her head by her brother, the shadows that cloaked her features retreating.

As first her small nose, then her now red eyes, and finally her black, red streaked hair was revealed, Danny's father's eyes only grew wider. His lips parted to speak, but no words made it past his lips. He was rendered speechless. A notorious hunter no doubt, and he was left speechless. Danny kept her stringy faced expression of indifference with menace laying just under the surface. His gaze was eternally fixed on her. Nathaniel was no doubt grinning triumphantly, having broken his prisoner with one move. While Savage was standing behind her father, unable to see his reaction, so he remained stoic and indifferent.

After what seemed like an eternity Nathaniel, with a sarcastic disappointed tone, said, "Is that anyway to greet your daughter?"

"Danielle?" Her father uttered, still shocked, "How are, not you. Anyone but you, sweetheart!"

Danny flinched, fighting back tears at the sight of her father so bloodied, and looking so sad. But that weakness was suppressed by her inner ripper before it could make the tears flow and display her fragility. Her father looked at her. His gaze was changing, hardening into hatred as pure as it can get. Unadulterated fury was etched into his eyes, his lips curled in a sneer, newly made fangs peeking through and glistening in the dim light. She had never seen him this furious, this vengeful. That look in his eyes froze her in shock, that look of pure ire. And it was aimed towards her.

"You monster," Her father growled, "How dare you defile my daughter's memory! How dare you take her body and make her into a demon!"

Nathaniel sent a sudden roundhouse kick to his kidneys, rupturing them and shattering his spine with his overwhelming strength. Her father choked, gagging on blood as he coughed it up. Danny could already hear the bones in his back start to regenerate, making sickening cracking and groaning sounds as it did so. The corner of Danny's mouth twitched in disgust, the sounds making her want to puke. Her father looked up at Nathaniel, breathing raggedly, his breath hitching every third inhale.

"I hate you," He groaned, entering another coughing fit.

Nathaniel moved in close to his face and hissed menacingly into his face, "Good. Because I hate you more then you ever will hate me. You've done three of the things I find unforgivable. You've killed my comrades, and blackmailed me. But there'a one last thing that you did that makes what I'm about to do to you only a fraction of what you deserve: you harmed my family."

Her father blinked, "Your family? What family is a murderer and a copy of my dead daughter."

"You tortured that 'copy', idiot," Savage added, angry at the notion of Danny's torture.

"She deserved it," the man sneered.

Then suddenly his head snapped to the side, his jaw shattered. Nathaniel and Savage looked at Danny with a mixture of surprise, and pride. Danny ignored them, only looking at her father with a sad and hurt expression, but one that still had the subtle underlay of deadliness. His head slowly turned towards her, all the while her father groaning in pain, as Danny drew back her fist and glared at him.

"What kind of a 'father' says it's okay to torture his own daughter? What have you become, Jonathan Johnson?" Danny spoke her father's name with such disappointment that she thought she heard him sigh through his broken jaw.

But whatever love Danny still had for the man, and whatever respect she'd had for him in the past was extinguished with the next words he spoke, "You are not my daughter, Night Haunter."

Danny shook her head, almost in pity for the man, but she felt anger rising in her chest like bubbling lava. She could feel her feelings for him dissipate, disappointment was settling in her stomach. She looked at Nathaniel and nodded solemnly at him, a nod that told him she was finished, but then she turned around to face her father one last time, "Too bad, new blood, that was your last ticket out of this."

Her father blinked, then blinked again confused by what she had meant. There was such hurt and disappointment in her voice that confused him. But he did have long to think about it. Because as soon Danny was clear of him and resting in her makeshift perch, Nathaniel rammed his massive war hammer into his gut. Over and over Nathaniel pummeled him with his hammer, breaking bone, liquefying organs, destroying flesh. It was extremely gruesome, and Danny cringed away slightly at some of the things Nathaniel did to her former father. But every time he was near passing out from the agony and the damage to his body, her father was given just enough blood to heal him and keep him from regaining consciousness.

Eventually, Danny found herself bored, along with Savage, after the dusk of the day settled in. They began to use kids squirt guns filled with vervain water and shooting Danny's father with them. His skin burned, sounding as if she had shoved him down onto a hot stove. When their guns ran out, they switched to throwing knives, seeing how good both of them were. Savage, of course, won that, but at the cost of close to twenty individual blades in her father's back from both of them.

As the dawn of a new day broke on them, Danny decided to get some more information. She gingerly took control of her father's torture and began with taking a knife and sinking it into his thigh forcefully. He yelped in agony and gritted his teeth. His new fangs extending uncontrolled, his eyes becoming black with the veins darkening. She viciously twisted the serrated blade. His fangs retracted and his eyes returned to normal as his while face contorted in pain. Danny sighed, unable to believe that she was using her abnormal talents on her father.

"Who are you?" Danny asking in a eerie monotone.

Her father chuckled, "A disgrace to this world now, Haunter. An abomination."

Danny punch him in the gut to wipe the grin that creeped up onto his face, "Who are you in the Inner Circle."

His face solidified quickly, "Its former commander."

"Why former?"

"I'm dead. I can no longer command without a soul." Her father looked into her red eyes.

"What are they planning?"

"To destroy all of you, and now I am among that kill list. They want the Haunters and every other vampires to die."

"What about werewolves?" Danny prompted, remembering what her father had told his goons before this had happened. He looked at her and blinked. Nathaniel shot a sideways glance at her, suddenly interested in what the man had to say. Savage had stopped mid-stroke while honing his blade, looking over in their direction from the couch under Danny's makeshift perch. Danny looked into her former fathers eyes and saw the look of indecision.

"You find out soon enough, Haunter," Was all he said.

"They're back aren't they?" Savages gruff, ghostly voice asked.

Her fathers silence was their answer. Not even fazed, Savage finished the stroke of the blade with the metal making a distinctive ring as he ended it with a flair of finality. He sheathed the blade and put away his stone. Savage rose and joined Nathaniel just behind the man's back as he hung there by his wrists. Savage and Nathaniel eyed him meticulously, and with a look of interest.

"How soon?" Danny asked her father.

"Sooner then you think, Haunter."

Danny looked past her father and looked Nathaniel in the eye, nodding promptly. Nathaniel slipped into her place as Danny had been, while she went to Savage's side. Her father sneered at the sight of Nathaniel. Nathaniel only smiled evilly back. Then Nathaniel started to get into what looked like a boxing stance. Then he proceeded to comically use Danny's father as a punching bag for fifteen minutes. Blood soon gushed from her father's nose and mouth. He coughed, gagged, and groaned in pain through the whole ordeal. Nathaniel only grinned.

But then his face went from it's usual creepy-happy-go-lucky expression that seemed to run chills through almost everyone's spine, to a stoic expression that was much like Savage, showing no emotion. The only difference between Savage and Nathaniel's face was that Nathaniel's eyes still held their melodious glee. "By my authority as Commander of the Night Guardians North American Legion, West Branch, I hereby order the executing of the vampire Jonathan Johnson for his transgressions against our Order. The execution of this criminal shall be carried out by the Lieutenant Commander of the West Branch, and the lead executioner, Ezekiel Matthews. The Savage."

Savage nodded and his hands fluently moved to the general area if where Danny knew that he kept his throwing knives. Soon, with two almost casual flicks of the wrist, Savage sent two knives into the bindings that held her father up. They effortlessly sliced through the ropes, and Danny's father subsequently collapsed onto the rotting wood floor boards that were stained with his own blood. He shakily began to rise, but Savage viciously ripped him off the ground and held him aloft by his collar. Then he slammed her father into a chair.

But before he could lift a finger Savage drew a stake from out of no where and sunk it deep...into her father's wrist. As he screamed in agony, Savage impale the other wrist, having both stakes driven through his flesh and tacking them to the chair. Next was his two feet, through the Achilles tendon and into the legs of the chair. More screams followed, but these were much more anguished. Then his elbows and knees. Then there were more screams as Savage regressed.

Danny was confused. Having steeled herself for her father's death, almost completely relinquishing control to her ripper in the process, she was stunned that Savage hadn't finished the job. In all the time she had known her silent brother there were a few things that she had noticed that never seemed to falter. Whether he was wearing his mask and hood or not was irrelevant, since he had an aura around him that instilled fear and respect to everyone. Next was that when he talked, it was generally only to give orders, then he would regress back to silence. Only when they were together on personal time, hanging around in the catwalk at the foot of her hammock high above the Warehouse, or with Nathaniel, did Savage open up and talk freely with her and his brother. And lastly, whenever Savage did something, it was done with brutal precision, and it was done as fast as possible. Savage was the opposite of Nathaniel, in the sense that Nathaniel drew things like torture out because it was entertaining to him, while Savage tended to swiftly and promptly execute his orders.

And now Savage had stopped in the middle if what looked like staking his victim to death, and regressed to stand by the window, which was boarded up to prevent the dawn light from penetrating the room.

The light? Sunlight! He's going to burn him alive with the sun! Danny realized.

Then Savage ripped off the boards from the window and slowly made his way back over to Nathaniel and Danny. The dawn had snuck up on Danny, as she realized that she lost track of time during her interrogation with her father. Now its rays peaked into the room through the window and slowly, very slowly made its way over to her father. He saw what was coming and started to panic, looking into Danny's now completely red eyes. She had retreated into her inner world, only controlling her eyes to watch reluctantly as this occurred. Her inner Ripper, whom Danny decided to name Shadow because without her she probably wouldn't have that name, had completely taken control of everything else. Danny could feel Shadow make her lips curl up in a smile that was a hybrid between Nathaniel's eerie stomach-churning grin and Savage's menacing smirk, her fangs extending and sticking out from under her top lip. Danny knew her eyes held all the negative emotions she had ever felt towards her father, while Danny was left to deal with the guilt, pain, and loss that came with the news of her father's execution. She cried in her inner world, wailing and sobbing while trying to grit her teeth to stop. All the while, on the outside Danny was cold, intimidating, cruel, and evil looking with her eyes red color and her scary expression.

"You'll all burn in Hell, vampires!" Her father cried, looking at his daughter with fear in his eyes, a pleading look. A look that made Danny want to regain control of her body, to stop this and save her father. But Shadow wouldn't let her.

Not until this is done, Danielle. Shadow's thoughts echoed through her inner world.

Why? Why can't I save him!? Danny's voice cracked with hoarse emotion.

It's your weakness that wants to save him. I left all your weaknesses in there with you, so that you wouldn't try that. No matter what, I'm not letting you back out until this is done. Your free to watch. Shadow seemed empathetic, a shred of sympathy towards her was there, which was the most compassion she had shown Danny ever. But Danny couldn't help but watch, whether she wanted to see what was happening or not.

Then she felt something slip onto her ring finger. Savage had slipped on a beautiful ring, with diamonds all the way around the band with a deeply set and beautifully cut stone of some sort of blue gem. The gem wasn't ice blue like Danny's natural eye color, and it was a deeper blue then Savage's cobalt eyes. It was beautiful regardless and it fit perfectly. Shadow made her body turn to Savage with a puzzled look on her face.

His cobalt eyes held an embarrassed look, or as embarrassed as Savage could look considering his usual expression of stoic indifference, "I'm not good with gifts, but I thought that I'd give you that heirloom. It belonged a good friend before she was killed by some hunters. I hope you like it."

Danny's mouth smiled and she wrapped her brother up in a hug and gave him a peck on the cheek just to see his reaction, "I love it, Brother. It's beautiful."

His reaction was priceless and as rare as anything on earth: Savage gave her a genuine, heartfelt smile. The first she must have ever seen(or the world, for that matter) "Good."

"Only Savage is awkward enough to give a girl a present while her father dies before her, but somehow you made it work," Nathaniel shook his head and rolled his eyes.

"Shut up," Savage growled, his smile vanishing just as Nathaniel looked at him with a knowing look.

In her inner world, Danny watched these events unfold and was flattered by the gift, blushing slightly. But Nathaniel's comment had snapped her back to reality and she had felt guilty.

Her father's screams of pain broke her train of thought, as the sunlight had finally reached his body. Smoke rose from his skin, and burns began to form in his skin. As the sunlight crawled at a mind numbly slow pace, soon his legs were practically on fire. Then he ignited. Flames locked at his clothes, his hair, and his skin. His voice cracked over and over from the constant screams of agony. Soon it was over, as all that was left of Danielle Johnson's past life was gone forever.

"Come sister," Nathaniel said, breaking the enduring silence, "We have to prepare to leave as soon as the sun sets. There's a lot to be done in a short time. And your going to be a big part of it."

Dusk approach and Nathaniel, Savage and Danny all mounted their bikes. They all slipped in their helmets and revved their bikes' engines. Danny found it fitting that they all looked to alike, like siblings, as they all wore their Gear boots, pants and jackets while they all say on black sport bikes and wearing shaded visor helmets. Danny couldn't help but chuckle.

"Shall we?" Nathaniel's voice called from the headset in Danny's helmet.

"Let's," Danny called back into the microphone.

Then they zoomed off towards the Warehouse, slipped through the traffic of the high way at high speeds. Cars and lights flashed by in a blur as the three of them reached close to seventy miles an hour. They ended up in a formation, with Danny to Nathaniel's left and slightly back, and Savage to Nathaniel's right and even with Danny. Danny smiled inside her helmet at how she had gotten this far. Sure, she had lost the last of her family, but deep down, Danny had accepted that they would have at least have passed with age anyway.

Now she had two brothers that cared for her completely and cared about her wholeheartedly. It flattered her that they had accepted her and opened up to only her while they continued to be the cold hearted commanders of the Night Haunters' most notorious branch. And that she was treated like she was worth something by the other Haunters, who respected her like they did Savage and Nathaniel. Instead of the kid in high school that was allied with the group that got bullied so forcefully that she got a share of it as well. To go from an outcast to the humans to a vital asset to such powerful beings such as the Night Haunters, made Danny feel humbled almost. But she knew that the curse she had unknowingly been born with was partially to blame. Due to the training Danny had been doing every hour she could, she didn't actually need to rely in her ripper anymore for combat.

She had actually received the power's of her inner ripper while she was being tortured by her father not long ago. She had sent a pleading thought to relieve her from the pain before she could show any weakness towards her captures. She'd then blacked out as woken up in her inner world, with Shadow's smug face looking down on her. After that, after Danny had recited a simple phrase, Shadow's power had flowed into her. Her power had done two things, the first being that she had at least tripled her strength, and the second being that Danny could switch places with Shadow. That meant if she was faced with an enemy that she didn't want to show any emotion to, or she couldn't defeat him by herself, Danny could replace her demeanor with Shadow's(which as basically Savage's expression of stoic indifference), or let Shadow take over her body and use her ripper strength to defeat the enemies.

Danny snapped out of her revere as they pulled into the Hangar, their motorcycle engines growling. They pulled into their parking spots and shut off their bikes, placing their helmets in the seats. Then the three of them strode towards to Warehouse. Nathaniel merely waved as the Haunters cheered for his return. They found themselves in Nathaniel's office, with Nathaniel sitting behind his desk as Savage and Danny sat before it in fold out chairs. Danny shrugged off her jacket and sat comfortably in her boots, pants, the cloth around her neck and her tank top. All black of course. Savage followed her lead, taking off his jacket. It clanged as hidden blades hit each other, and his chest had at least four strapped on by special holsters.

"They're back," Nathaniel suddenly said, as serious as she had seen him in a good while, making her turn her gaze from Savage to look at him inquiringly, "The werewolves are back. Our mortal enemy."

"So what?" Danny blurted, "There can't be anymore then ten. We can easily kil-"

"That's enough, Danielle," Savage said softly, in a respectful tone. "There are many things that are in the history books and studies you've done that have been ripped out or lost. Werewolves are not a trivial matter. When there's one, there's always a pack nearby. And they are like a virus, almost. They can go dormant and fly under the radar, growing in strength, then they can become active again, and then you've got a plague on your hands."

Danny nodded, her outburst dying on her lips, as she turned to Nathaniel, "What can I do, Brother?"

"I'm going to need you to spread the word and head up support once your done with that."

"What do you mean?" Danny asked.

"I want you to go to the other four branches and tell them that the werewolves are back, and to prepare their Haunters for war. Then I want you to go to the East Branch's Manor and stay there to help them prepare. The East Branch has the least amount of Haunters right now. So I want you to aid them and compensate for their disadvantage."

"Of course, Brother," Danny saluted with a fist over her heart and turned to leave, but Savage had grabbed her wrist gently to stop her just before she could leave, she looked down at his rather handsome cobalt eyes as he spoke in an earnest tone, "Whatever you do, Sister, please don't take that ring off, okay? As a favor to me?"

Danny blinked at his rather perplexing request, then smiled warmly, "Of course, Ezekiel. I would never take it off regardless."

Danny could almost swear she saw a blush appear on Savage's face, "Thanks."

Then Danny left the office while Savage and Nathaniel started to babble about tactics. She had grabbed her jacket on the way out of the room and slipped it back on. Then a realization hit her. She was going to go back to her original home, back to the city where her mortal life had ended, back to the first family she found in the Night Haunters. Back to Alex and Elsa, to Adam and Tony, Mark and Jake. But the thought strangely enough gave her butterflies in her stomach, both from excitement and nervousness, was that she was going to see the one that had selected her. Had given her a new life, and released her from the restraints of mortality.

She was going to see Nick again.

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