The Night Haunters


Danny moved as quickly as her vampire speed would allow her, her grip on her knife tightening as she gritted her teeth from pain.

She was dodging both real and wooden bullets as she dueled a werewolf with a long sword. The fact that he had such a large blade was useful, since all Danny had to do was stay in extremely close combat with him. Since she only had her knife drawn, and not enough time to reach for the sword strapped to her back, Danny would have to maintain that closeness until she either killed the werewolf in front of her, or disarmed him. Either way she would get that large sword to use against the wolf's comrades, whom were currently taking pot shots at her like cowards after they had seen her decimate five of their kind with ease. Every time Danny would get close to a killing or debilitating blow, a bullet would be fired and she would have to either dodge or pivot the werewolf somehow for him to take the projectile. The only wound Danny had sustained was a cut parallel to her cheekbone as the sword tried to decapitate her about five minutes ago.

Danny was deathly silent, and had been through the entire battle. Even as they had taken out her kill team she had been sent with, she had not uttered a word. Danny could tell that freaked them out. To see a black clad figure, scarf wrapped around her face and a hood covering her eyes, destroy half of your team, and lose the entire squad she had with her, yet remain as silent as her namesake. The loss of her team had made her angry, not woeful or scared, and had only fueled her muscles as she had cut down those five. Now the stupidity of this situation just plain pissed her off.

"You aren't gonna win, bloodsucker!" A gunman said as he shot yet another bullet from his side arm.

"Yeah, you might as well give up now!" Another said.

Danny merely sighed. She sighed at the pitiful and cowardly attempt they were trying to kill her with. It was so quiet that Danny herself barely heard it, as Danny rolled her eyes from underneath her hood. The wolves were getting unnerved and skittish, resorting to verbal attacks along with the bombardment of side arms. It made Danny wishing she could just end this and move on to the next group, as she dodged another bullet just before her blade could connect with the werewolf's Achilles Tendon.

Any suggestions? Danny asked her inner Ripper, whom was more ticked off then she.

Throwing knives? She tried, Or does this doggy boy have a pistol we can...borrow?

Danny looked at the werewolf before her, parrying a horizontal slash with her knife. She saw a pistol, alright, and she had three throwing knives in perfect position as she hatched her plan. As soon as her inner ripper realized what she was planning, she was smirking, just like Danny was as she waited for the perfect opportunity. The werewolf's stance was low, his knees bent as he was crouching. The pistol was in a shoulder harness, and was eye level with her thanks to the werewolf's stance. When he lifted his blade high and brought it down with all his might, Danny executed her plan.

She flipped her blade around from its reverse grip, so that the knife was held like most people would with the blade facing the other way, and prepared herself. As the monstrous sword bared down on her, she knocked it aside with her own blade, and planted a foot on the werewolf's knee. As the sword buried itself into the ground, Danny used his knee like a step and hauled herself into the air. As she did so, she quickly used those three throwing knives with almost casual flicks of her wrist, and all three unsurprisingly struck home. As she felt bullets whiz by her head, Danny flipped her combat knife back around to reverse grip and aimed it at the wolf's head. Gravity did the rest, as she fell and the knife plunged into the skull of her enemy. Blood gushed from the wound and splattered her face, which was now exposed with the scarf hanging around her neck and the hood somehow ending up at her back, useless.

Before she could feel the hulking werewolf's body strike the ground, Danny ripped the pistol from the now dead man's holster and trained it on the remaining two werewolves. She noted that the left one was out of ammo, the open chamber of his side arm smoking from repeated use. Danny's eyes were their instinctive red, which happened no matter what if she was feeling threatened, angry, startled, or in battle of any kind. She still had that blood splatter on her face, with the excess dripping from her cheek. She stared down the one whom had a loaded weapon and aimed her weapon at the one who was empty.

"What are you?" The one Danny was staring at asked, clearly freaked out though his voice was strong.

Danny squeezed the trigger. Out of the corner of her eye, Danny saw a neat hole where his right eye had been. She'd missed by less than an inch. Disappointing, Her inner ripper and Danny thought at the same time.

The remaining werewolf blinked, glancing quickly over to his fallen comrade. He looked like he wanted to scream, to cry, to be any where from there as he realized how hopeless his situation had become. Humbled, the werewolf gritted his teeth in rage and dropped his gun. Danny, seeing what he was doing, nodded and dropped hers as well. The werewolf wished for a final duel, an honorable way to end his life. Danny did not feel the need to slaughter senselessly, and obliged.

Danny calmly, silently turned to the large sword that was still sunk into the ground beside the werewolf she had been fighting not a moment before. She took the sword from the ground with out effort on her part. The large sword should have been heavy to its wielder, but with Danny's seemingly boundless strength as a vampire, it weighed as if she were holding a four and a half foot stick. Wordlessly, Danny walked over to the werewolf, whom was observing her closely with a weary eye.

As she drew nearer, the werewolf tensed, as if he expected her to lunge at him with the enormous sword and strike him dead where he stood. But that didn't happen. Instead, Danny tossed the blade up, adding a flick to her wrist so the sword would rotate in the air, then caught it by the tip effortlessly. The handle within arms reach of him, the werewolf gingerly took the weapon from Danny's hands. Satisfied that he had control of the weapon, Danny vanished and reappeared ten feet away, her right hand slowly reaching back for her own sword.

It was a katana with a black hilt, and a thirty nine inch blade. She had gotten it as a gift, mailed in from the West Branch a month ago from Nathaniel and Savage. Black scabbard, with a thick, black leather strap that fit perfectly across her chest. Danny had been practicing with it since she got it, thinking that if her brothers had sent it, they would want her to know how to maximize it when the time came. Now, it seemed that it would pay off really soon.

"What is your name?" Danny asked, the rasping of her sword almost covering up her soft voice.

"Peter," Peter said. "What about you?"

"I am known to most as Shadow," Danny said just as softly as the first time she had spoken, "Before we continue, I want to ask you if you are certain that this is what you wish."

"What other choice do I have?" Peter sounded exasperated, "It is either die with my honor, or to be taken away as a prisoner."

"Fine then, Peter," Danny said in a quiet monotone, "But let me offer you a deal."

"What?" Peter raised his eyebrow.

"If you win this duel, you may choose whether to let me live or die. That choice will be your's to make," Danny explained, "But if I win, then you must leave here and tell your friends and comrades of me."

"You won't kill me?" Peter sounded skeptical. "But it would be shameful to come back after losing to you in a duel."

"Then leave that out of what you tell them," Danny shrugged, "Tell them that you watched a duel between me and one of your friends, instead of you. It doesn't matter to me. As long as you tell them the truth."

"You swear you won't kill me if I do as you say?" Peter asked.

"On my word," Danny nodded, "But that is only if you lose. If you win, then it will be you who chooses who lives and dies."

Peter nodded. He hefted up the enormous sword and charged at Danny with inhuman speed, though not as quick as a vampire's. He brought up the blade and slammed it down in a cleaving motion. Danny sidestepped to the right, pivoted on her right foot as she whirled around to aim a slash of her katana at the tendons of his sword arm. Peter leaped out of the way, bringing his sword up to parry the slash. Their swords clashed, but Peter was already pushing back against Danny's blade and aiming a kick with his left leg. Danny brought up her own leg and kicked at his sword. She redirected Peter's strike vertically with that blow, so that he went off balance.

Danny seized her opportunity and surged forward. Bringing her katana up, Danny slashed diagonally at Peter's chest. His eyes widened as he tried to dodge the blow. He was partially successful, scraping by with only a swallow cut that sliced through his clothes and bit into his skin. As he jumped back, Peter's new wound was already beginning to heal. It was a shallow cut after all. Danny charged, sword raised, trying to catch Peter off guard. His eyes widened, seeing Danny's emotionless face surge towards him, the terrifying absence of actual human characteristics, as it was replaced with killer intent and a grim look. Their blades clashed again, leaving them both in a deadlock.

Peter had the advantage of height, but not much else. Danny could over come the leverage he had with shear strength easily. But she was limiting herself on purpose, so that Peter would think that he had the slightest chance, instead of hopelessness and defeat. Danny had seen enough of that in her enemies eyes, it was always present when the odds where stacked against them. Danny, unlike almost the entire world, wasn't discouraged when she was out numbered. In fact, she found it easier to win when there were more then just one enemy to fight.

"How did you get like this?" Peter suddenly questioned, breaking the deadlock and dodging a subsequent side kick aimed at his right side.

"What do you mean?" Danny asked, using a touch of her vampire speed to appear behind him in an instant.

"You are extremely skilled, powerful, and strong," Peter said, whipping around and blocking a slash that was aimed at his back. "How did you become so...detached?"

Danny shrugged, parrying a blow that Peter sent soon after asking the question. "They found me in the wake of losing my brother. Then they Turned me and began to train me. I wanted to at least see my parents at my own funeral, but I was captured. Long story short, I killed my uncle, then six months later, I watched my father die and learned that my mother was dead too."

Danny slashed low at Peter's shins to try and disable him, all the while her voice was even and void of any noticeable emotion. Peter blocked the blow and swung horizontally at Danny's chest as he spoke with heavy breaths, "You lost your entire family within six months?"

Danny nodded, "I believe my father's last words to me were something like, 'You are aren't worth the image of my daughter.' After that, I just felt empty. I suppose it shows."

Danny batted away Peter's sword, sending a round house kick to his kidney, which connected. Peter coughed up blood, but continued to fend off Danny's attack's, "I'm sorry to hear that, Shadow. Is that why you became strong? Was it your family?"

Danny shook her head, whipping her blade out to parry an attack from him as he spoke. She just shrugged dismissively as she spoke herself, "I trained during those six months in between my uncle's and father's death. I trained with the two most skilled and deadly Haunter's in the world. I had to be stronger if I were to keep up with them."

Peter nodded, assaulting Danny with a barrage of relatively quick attacks. Danny blocked all of them on instinct alone. She went on the offensive herself, attacking with her vampire speed. Peter blocked about half of the blows. A quarter were too shallow and healed quickly. The remaining quarter struck home, hitting either a certain muscle that was needed to fight properly or was a deep cut that bled heavily. Peter looked shocked at the damage to his body, the pain making his features contort in pain. One on the muscles slashed was his calf, the Achilles tendon was cut just enough to debilitate Peter, but it wouldn't cause any permanent damage to the tendon. Peter grimaced.

"I am sorry," Danny said in a ghostly voice, "But I will have to cut this short. You have been a worthy adversary, Peter."

Peter blinked, "Wha-"

He was interrupted by Danny using her vampire speed to assault him from every angle. His arms, legs, and torso almost instantly obtained numerous cuts. Blood gushed from the wounds, as Peter seemed to forget about the sword in his grasp.

Soon, he was in the ground, fighting to stay conscious from the ensuing blood loss from all the multiple cuts. His mouth was agape with shock, his eyes bulging. He looked down and saw Danny, to see that she was now covered in his own blood. She looked utterly terrifying, with her grim expression, red eyes, and blood splattered complexion. Then he fell into the black void of unconsciousness.

Danny stood over the out cold body of her opponent. His cuts were already healing, thanks to his being a werewolf. She took the sword from his limp hand and took it with her as she turned away. She felt almost bored now, having no one to give her a challenge without her having to restrict her abilities. Only the Commanders and Lieutenant Commanders of the five Branches could give her that satisfaction. And they were all too busy with the werewolf plague to spar with her.

"Shadow to Outpost Seven," Danny said in her usual eerie, ghostly monotone.

"Go ahead, Shadow," A voice broken up by a slight static came back, "This is Seven."

"I need some back up," Danny requested, "My kill team was ambushed by some wolves."

"Right away, Shadow," the voice came back.

Danny cut the transmission and exhaled in a long, drawn out sigh.

It had been three months since she had been sent to aid the East Branch, and it was spent doing menial chores like picking up extra blood bags from the hospital in exchange for some of her vampire blood. Nick was extra busy, being Michael's Lieutenant Commander, doing missions all along the East Coast helping with the various Haunter Outposts. It irked her that she hadn't been able to spend enough time with Nick to really further their relatively new relationship, since she had only been able to see him in the small overlap of both of their respective rest periods between missions. The werewolves were attacking each one of the Branches with a flurry of strong attacks before escaping back into the wilderness. Danny had been busy as of late, tagging along with Haunter patrols to see if she could find the enemies seemingly endless hideouts.

But they had only found about ten, with very small amounts of werewolves to speak of. Danny had tried to interrogate them, but none seemed to know where any other hideouts were, because they were never told of them. It was all extremely frustrating to Danny, whom preferred to be the one in the shadows. Now the enemy, like they dogs they were, hid in the wilderness like cowards. Nick agreed that the war would be over a lot quicker if the wolves would just come out of hiding and fight like men. Even her inner ripper was agitated that they had not been about to fight the enemy without first looking for a week and a half to find one.

"They should be arriving now, Shadow," the voice crackled in the small headset in her ear.

Sure enough, two truck engine roars reached Danny's ears as they came within range. Danny, in a fluid motion, sheathed her katana at her back. She transferred the great sword from her left to her right, then let the blade rest on her shoulder. The trucks drew closer and Danny used her free had to draw up the scarf around her neck to cover her face again, but felt no need to cover her remaining features with her hood. With the arrival of the reinforcements, Danny could feel her eyes transfer from there menacingly red to their calculating ice blue. The Haunter's trucks arrived soon after.

They fanned out of their trucks, knives drawn as they stealthy checked the perimeter. Then, as they were certain that it was safe, they approached Danny cautiously. They had heard of her reputation, of course, which had spread even more rapidly in the East Branch since she was now working with them. They treated her as the West Branch treated Savage and Nathaniel, with respect and fear, and also a relived look in their eyes as if they were glad that she was on their side. They drew closer and saw the dead bodies of both their comrades and their enemies alike. The Haunter corpses all having neat holes riddling their bodies and hearts having been caused by wooden bullets. The werewolves, however, were be-headed just to be safe. Save the unconscious body of Peter, whom Danny had made it very clear with her body language that he was not to be disturbed. Danny, satisfied that they wouldn't disturb her opponent, went to retrieve her throwing knives from the three werewolves heads.

"How-how did this happen, Shadow?" The leader of the patrol asked after clearing his throat, following Danny.

"Ambush." Danny answered simply.

"How did you not notice them?" The leader sounded irritated.

"My team was complaining about the lack of fighting, and I couldn't focus on the mission," Danny shrugged, sheathing the final and third throwing knife.

The leader rubbed his temple, "You let my men die, Haunter?"

"No," Danny turned on the leader, her ice blue eyes glaring in irritation, "That was not what happened. But I suggest you drop it before your head does it that in your stead."

His hand rubbed his neck apprehensively, as he muttered something about insubordination. But Danny could care less as she started towards her bike. Haunters stared after her as they loaded the dead bodies of their comrades, visibly wondering what she had done to irritate their leader. Danny shrugged off the attention, she was used to it thanks to the West Branch. She just didn't care as long as they would not get in her way.

What now, Princess? We gonna take another order from the Old Man? Shadow chose then to voice her bored opinion.

Don't know, what do you want to do? Danny mentally shrugged as she drew closer to her awaiting bike.

Kill, slaughter, destroy losers, She sounded bored, Y'know, the usual Ripper stuff.

Danny rolled her eyes at the comment, You don't want to see Savage or Nathaniel again?

Why would I want to see your crazy family, Princess?

I dunno, just a suggestion, Danny shrugged as she reached he bike and put on her helmet and riding gloves.

Whatever, Shadow said dismissively, effectively ending the conversation.

Danny silently mounted her bike and started the engine, the resulting roar followed by the subsequent purr of the bike filling the night air. The headset in her helmet relayed the radio chatter of the East Branch, since there were about two or three operations still currently being completed. Danny changed the frequency of her radio to one used by Michael. It was deathly silent, which was exactly why she tended to switch to that frequency. Danny always was irritated with how many requests for aid were sent across the radio, as if they weren't trained killers taught to never need any help other than what they were initially given. Michael, Nick, and now Danny were constantly asked to send aid or to help them themselves. It irritated Danny most when they called for her aid, and when she arrived the problem was one or two werewolves and they had gotten scared at the amount of casualties those aforementioned werewolves caused. Such problems were over in five minutes, and Danny felt a deep disappointment in those Haunters she had helped.

Danny drove down the road that had lead her to the werewolf hideout back to the outpost. The road was secluded and unused for the most part, the asphalt littered with deep pot holes. Danny had to weave around them so that they wouldn't topple her bike, but eventually she made it back to the Outpost in half an hour. It was still dark, around one in the morning.

Danny pulled into the Outpost's parking lot. A roadhouse in which the Outpost was in was a small one, with only five or six parking spaces to speak of. It was always guarded by at least two Haunters topside and three in the basement, where the command center was. Danny entered the roadhouse after taking off her helmet and gloves. Her boots struck the hard wooden floor boards of the roadhouse, seeming to command the attention of everyone in in the place with Danny's eerie presence and unsettling aurora. Most conversations all but stopped as she entered the roadhouse, as the customers couldn't help but notice her entrance. The katana hilt looming over her left shoulder didn't help the situation. Mortal costumers' bodies seemed to shiver as if they knew that something terrible was nearby, even though their owners merely attributed the strange response the the chilling breeze that accompanied the strange girls arrival.

Danny, merely noting the response but generally ignoring it, turned towards the bar. She took a stool and waited for the human bartender to come to her. This particular bartender, a pretty eighteen year old girl, knew of the secret to this warehouse. An ally of the Haunters, she worked as a spy for any intruders, in case those intruders somehow knew who was human and who was not. From what Danny knew, the girl had a boyfriend that had recently Turned and had been trained as a Haunter after he displayed the fortitude and strength all new bloods must display. Since she wanted to be with her boyfriend, the girl made a deal with the Haunters. When she turned twenty-one, they would Turn her and train her to become one of them. Though most were uncertain at best if the girl had the mental strength of being a killer on a regular basis, both for her assignments and to sustain herself, they knew she could still be of use to them because of her devotion to her boyfriend. In the meantime, the girl would capture the trust of any nosy Werewolves, Rogue Vampires, Hunters, and Witches, then either lead them astray or to their doom at the hands of waiting Haunters.

"What can I get for ya, stranger?" The girl's slight Southern accent brought Danny back from her thoughts, and reminded her that she was in Georgia.

"Some bourbon and fries," Danny said through her scarf, which she had wrapped around the bottom of her face before she entered.

"Comin' right up," She said cheerfully. As she left, Danny caught a glimpse of her vervain necklace.

It reminded her of the ring Savage had given her before she left the West Branch. Because she feared losing the priceless heirloom, Danny had hung the beautiful ring on a chain around her neck. The chain was long enough so Danny could tuck the ring into her tank top, so it wouldn't fling around when she fought during her assignments. But now that she was thinking about it, Danny felt her hand subconsciously rise and lift the ring from her tank top and clutch it tightly in her palm. It was a new and deep set habit of her's now, since holding that ring was like being with her beloved brothers. It comforted her just as much and Nick's warmth and smell did. The lapiz stone set in the ring reminded her of when Savage's eyes sometimes got that color, making Danny smile to herself behind her scarf.

As the bartenders smiling face revealed itself in her peripheral vision, Danny dropped the ring from her grasp and it fell back down to hang in full view from her neck. She gave Danny a tray of fries, and a glass of bourbon just as she ordered. But the receipt had a little more then the price of her food. On the back was a coded message that made Danny smile. She looked around to make sure no one was watching her, then looked back over the message to confirm it.

There's a couple of Dogs in the third booth that have been looking at you, it read, I asked the Boss and you can do whatever you want to them. Just make sure they don't come back.

Danny calmly went back to eating her fries. But she shot glances at the third booth. She caught the eye of all three of the werewolves sitting there. All three with a smug look, like they were going to be the one to win a contest. Danny shook her head, since she was once again the prize in men's womanizing contests. She finished the fries then went work on the bourbon, which was fortunately still cold. Downing it in one gulp, Danny placed the glass back down on the counter and spun the bar stool on hundred and eighty degrees, then leaned back to rest her elbows on the bar counter. She again caught the eye of all three werewolves once again with a beckoning look in her ice cold eyes. When she was sure they would follow, Danny hopped off the bar stool, the red streak she dyed in her hair catching the light as she did so.

"C'mon," She heard one of them say, most likely while smirking, "She's waiting..."

The other two chuckled, and soon Danny heard three heavy footfalls almost instantly after. She shoved back out through the door. Moving to her bike, and leaned on it as she awaited the arrival of the three wolves. The foot falls drew closer, Danny's hood went up. They stopped in front of her and looked at her with a smug looks. The leader of the group, crossed his arms as the other two shoved their hands in their pockets. The leader had a evil look in his eyes, like he thought Danny had no chance of surviving and now all he had to do is figure out what to do with her. But Danny, of course, knew better then that.

"A Haunter in the middle of no where? All alone, with only a sword?" The leader faked being astonished, "I thought they taught you bloodsuckers better then that."

Danny remained silent, knowing that they couldn't see the impassive look she was giving them from under her hood. The leader growled at the silence, while one of his friends chimed in, "You don't have anything to say before we rip your heart out, girlie?"

Another deadly silence in response. Another growl of irritation. Another werewolf tried his luck, "You think your so tough 'cause we can't see your face? I bet your scared of of your mind, bloodsucker, and you glad that we can see it."

The last pregnant silence as replay hung between them. Danny, calling the last wolf's bluff, lifted her hand to the hood and took it off. The three of them blinked in shock, trying to mask their fear in rage. Danny some how knew her eyes had turned their menacing red once again, the color matching the red streak in her black hair. In those eyes, Danny held a look of a death glare Savage would have been proud of. Killer intent oozing out of her gaze, while she awaited their move.

It was over quickly, of course, since Danny didn't feel like drawing it out and risk being exposed to daylight and in the process endangering her existence. The lead one snapped first, surging towards her with fingers curled menacingly like claws. Danny threw a knife at the charging werewolf. It "missed" and sunk into one of the two remaining werewolves skulls with a satisfying thunk. Thinking Danny was aiming at him, the leader charged on, increasing his speed. A punch to the throat put him out of action, the leader dropping to his knees as he made a gurgling sound as his throat was crushed. The third one whipped out a gun, training it on Danny's heart, and fired.

The bullet struck home in Danny's shoulder, the hollow point round shattering the bone. Her throwing arm disabled for the time being, and a new flood of rage and adrenaline flooded her system, Danny used her vampire speed as she surged towards the remaining werewolf. His eyes widened, both at Danny's speed and at the fact that she had sunk her hand into his chest without seeming to flinch at the wound on her shoulder. Danny grabbed a rib from the werewolf's chest and yanked. Howling soon followed as Danny felt the bone give way and she was left with the wolf on his knees. He clutched at his chest where the rib had been, grimacing in pain. Danny stood over him with the rib still in her grasp as she felt the leader finally rise to his feet.

He charged again, most likely fighting with all his might to ignore the pain, at Danny with a knife. Without turning to look at the charging enemy, and using only her other four senses, Danny's free hand went to the hilt of her sword. In one fluid motion, just as the werewolf reached her and the blade a blur as it raced towards her, Danny whipped out her katana and swung it in an elegant arc. Catching the knife almost perfectly, Danny sent the weapon from her enemy's grasp onto the ground ten feet away.

"How-" The pained eyes of the other werewolf widened at the display, while he still held his chest as the pain continued to assault him. But he cut himself off as he saw the rest.

With the leader disarmed and now off balance, Danny finished her counterattack. She dropped to one knee, and continuing to twist with the swing of her sword, Danny brought the rib she still held in her hand, and rammed it into the werewolf's heart through his rib cage. The leader's eyes went wide as he realized why his chest suddenly hurt. He fell to his knees, choking on his own blood as he gasped in agony. He died in less then ten seconds.

Blinking, in fear now that Danny trained his eyes on him, the last werewolf scrabbled back in an attempt to get away from her. Danny, as silent as she had been through the the entire ordeal, disappeared and reappeared behind him. The wolf slammed into her legs, then froze completely, sweat running down his cheek. He turned and looked up at Danny, daring to look into those deadly red eyes. He opened his mouth to say something, but when no words came, he shut it. He just stared, dumbfounded, at the murderer of his friends.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity to him, the werewolf spoke with a shaky voice, "Wh...who are"

The fight over, and seeing no resistance from her remaining opponent, Danny's eyes transitioned back to their ice blue. She looked at him with her usual detached, stoic gaze, "Shadow."

"So...the stories were true..." The werewolf sounded defeated, "Are you going to kill me?"

Danny shook her head as a response.

"Your letting me go?"

Danny nodded.

"Nothing in return?"

Danny spoke quietly again, "Only don't ever come back here."

The werewolf nodded, a relieved look in his eyes even though his face contorted in agony from every breath he took.

"I promise I wont even think about coming near this place again," The werewolf promised, his breath catching.

Danny nodded her approval, then, as far as the werewolf was concerned, disappeared from sight. Leaving the werewolf out in the parking lot with his two friends, laying in pools of their own blood.

One month after the incident at the Outpost with the three werewolves, Danny found herself back at the Mansion of the East Branch. She welcomed the chance to return to some place with some decency and peace, leaving Outpost Seven in the dust of her bike as she sped for the highway. Receiving the letter of transfer of duty station with the signature of Nicholas helped too. Danny was out the door practically as soon as she saw that name. The Outpost personal was sad and relieved to see her go. They had, after all, seen the victims of her skills. Her kill count was triple that of anyone there, and it made some of the Haunters rather jealous. The fact still remained, of course, that Nick could be waiting for her at the Mansion.

You're hopeless, you know that, Princess? Her inner ripper sounded almost like she was pitying her.

Whatever, jerk, was Danny's quick and only reply.

With that, the entire trip was spent with Shadow pointing out how pitiful she was for attempting to have a relationship at all. That she would subjugate herself like that. Danny, of course, ignored the rude and snide remarks. It made the trip twice as long, and twice as irritating. The long days spent hiding from the sun's rays spent with Shadow's almost nagging complaints. Danny just ignored her in general, though some of the things she said ticked her off. Eventually, she found her self in the motel she had stayed at on her first mission. That made her feel a little better.

Were you watching when that happened? Danny asked Shadow, interrupting her ramblings.

Yes, I was, Shadow chuckled at the question, and I knew that you were secretly freaked out by what you were doing, too. It was actually pretty funny.

Uh huh, Danny rolled her eyes as she sank into the bed of the motel room.

Well, anyways, Shadow sounded bored now, her rant losing its steam, I guess you should get some rest, Princess.

Yeah, me too, Danny nodded, already feeling her self drift into unconsciousness. As she did so, she thought she heard a vaguely familiar foot fall. But, just before she could fall into a light slumber, the door imploded.

Shooting up from her bed, and into the shadows, Danny watched with cocked eyebrow and an abnormally high heart rate. The scarf she always wore now was wrapped around her neck. She was still wearing her jacket, but the hood wasn't up. That's when Damon Salvatore walked to the room, amazingly oblivious to the sun's rays. He stepped forward, and Danny saw that he wasn't alone. Stefan was right behind his brother, with Elena and their blonde friend as well.

"Well," Damon smirked triumphantly, "Look who we have here."

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