Allies Of The Undead
Danny looked to the vampire that had broken her fall into unconsciousness, the only worry in her mind was one. And that was a combination between how Damon had found her, and what he was planning to do with her. She was trapped in that motel until dark, which was at least ten hours away. Damon, Stefan, Elena, the blonde vampire friend of theirs stepped into the light, all completely unaffected by the light. Behind them, there was an African American girl with a stony expression and a fearful look in her eyes that only Danny seemed to see. Everyone else was looking at Danny with distaste, Damon with triumph mixed with hate, Stefan with a conflicted look in his eyes. They fixed her with a glare that would have made her skin crawl with pure fear had she been human. But, Danny wasn't human, not so weak, not so pitifully hopeless that she would show these vampires an iota of any emotion.
Danny focused on what was causing the knot of confusion to settle in the pit of her stomach. There, before her, were four vampires standing in daylight and they had not caught on fire. In fact, they had tans as if they had been able to pull off that impossible feat for a long time. Danny knew that Damon and Stefan were at least 160 years old, but Elena and the blonde were a mystery to her. But they couldn't have been Turned too long ago. It made Danny almost jealous that they had an ability she didn't, but that jealousy morphed into detached curiosity before it could cloud her judgement. Jealously turned to contempt, and contempt turned to anger, and anger turned to rage. And when any Prodigy felt rage, Danny knew from her own experiences and from what Savage had told her, there was no strategy, reason, or thoughts. Just desolation.
"Trapped like a fly in a web," Damon chuckled, "Well, more like a vampire in my trap, but that's beside the point."
"Good to see you Stefan," Danny said, forcing her eyes to remain there cold, icy blue, "Elena. Who are the other two behind you?"
Elena turned and blinked at Danny's uncharacteristic polite tone, "Oh, well-"
The blonde stepped up, "I'm Caroline. Remember me? You sent your dogs after me as soon as Stefan was down."
Danny nodded, "I remember. But, to be fair, you were assaulting my home."
The mocha skinned girl stepped forward, cutting off Caroline's retort, "Hi, I'm Bonnie."
"A pleasure to meet you, Bonnie," Danny nodded from her crouching position in the shadows, "May I ask what you are? Judging by the fact the idiot next to you said the word 'vampire' right in front of you, you know what's going on."
Damon growled and Bonnie sighed, "I'm a witch."
Danny frowned, memories of the woman that had tried to contain her strength, "I don't have a good history with your kind."
"The feeling's mutual," Bonnie grunted, nodding.
"Well, then," Damon started before anyone could try and interrupt him, "We've told you quite a lot, so it's only fair that you tell us about yourself."
Danny shrugged, "I suppose so. I have time to kill."
"Good," Stefan butted in, "Then you can start by telling us your real name."
"Why would you want to know that?" Danny sat down, cross legged with her back to the farthest wall away from the light.
Stefan looked at her, "So we'll know who to ask for if we run into your... friends."
"My real name is Shadow," Danny said.
Stefan's gaze hardened, his voice displaying irritation, "That is not your real name, it makes no sense."
Danny fixed him with a hard stare, "When you become a Night Haunter, the first thing to change after your loyalties is your name. Once it is chosen, you cannot change it. Some shorten their original human names for convenience, others neglect to change it and keep their names. I chose to shorten it. But there is one exception to that rule, and that's when the entire Branch agree on the change and the name."
"And they chose 'Shadow'?" Caroline asked, with a confused expression, "How did that happen?"
"I'm the third best in the entire North American Legion," Danny replied. "My brother's name is Savage."
"Your brother is a vampire too?" Elena stared, wide-eyed.
Danny nodded, "Both of them. They command the best Branch, and are the only two that are more powerful than me."
"What are you, exactly?" Bonnie asked. "Because I don't think you've been a vampire for too long, but you say that you are one of the strongest?"
Danny shrugged, "Literally, I am not the strongest, and I apologies if I mislead you. But what I meant was that I am the third deadliest. I am more skilled, to put it another way."
"But what are you?" Bonnie pushed.
"I don't know if I can honestly answer that question," Danny sighed, "I don't know that much about it myself."
"No one cares," Damon growled at them, raising his voice so everyone else would be silenced, then he turned his gaze to Danny. As he had silenced those around him, Danny had drawn out her portable sharpening stone and started to sharpen her right boot knife to vent some of her trapped up irritation and anxiousness.
"So, Shadow, what are you doing in Mystic Falls," Damon said in a drawn out, menacing tone.
"Stefan, am I correct in assuming that you are siding with me?" Danny looked past Damon to the vampire in question.
Stefan gave her a look, then almost mumbled as he nodded, "...Yes."
"Good," Danny said before Damon could shout again, then turned back to the Salvatore, "And do you understand that if I were to tell you anything pertaining to the Night Haunters, you would have to be either an ally or on your death bed?"
Damon blinked, then growled, "Are you saying you'll tell Stefan, but not me?"
Danny shook her head, sighing as if it were obvious, "Yes, that's what I'm saying. If you want to know, and still live long enough to do something about it, then you will have to agree to be an ally of mine and the Night Haunters."
"Fine," Damon growled.
"You know that means that you have to take orders from my kind and I, right?"
Damon groaned, "I know! Now tell me what you are doing here!"
Danny smirked, "I'm on my way back to New York to receive orders from Michael. I stopped here because it was dawn and I'd rather not burn alive."
"So, where have you been for the past three months?" Stefan asked.
"Georgia, Alabama-ish, I have a war to fight, for your information," Danny responded, "Can you all come in? I'm not going to try anything, though if I did I wouldn't be the one with a snapped neck."
Elena spoke up before both Stefan and Damon could respond, "That's fine with us."
The Salvatore brothers, never daring to deny their obvious love interest, stepped inside along with Bonnie and Caroline as Elena shut the door behind them. The girls sat on the bed closer to the door, while the Salvatore brothers pulled out two fold-able chairs and sat. Danny moved to the other twin bed, moving her pack out of the way as she sat and faced her unexpected visitors. She continued to sharpen her knife, though she'd all but forgotten she was doing so, while the group from Mystic Falls got settled. When they seemed they were ready, Danny gave them a look that said 'I'm all ears'.
Elena was the first to speak, "You said you were in a war."
Danny nodded, "Right."
"Werewolves," Danny answered simply.
"How could the werewolves fight a war, there's barely any of them left," Damon said dismissively.
"Wrong, they've been growing like a virus for a hundred years in the woods and national parks," Danny quickly responded.
"What about Hybrids?" Caroline seemed frantic, worrying about something specific, "Are they fighting? Who's side?"
Danny held up a hand, "I have no idea what you're talking about. Niklaus Mikelson is the only hybrid in existence."
"No," Stefan explained, "Klaus made more hybrids with Elena's blood before she Turned."
"You were a doppelganger?" Danny turned her attention to Elena.
Elena nodded, "Yes, I was."
"Well," Danny shrugged, "I didn't see that one coming."
Damon spoke up next, "Now, what exactly were you doing in Georgia?"
Danny looked at Damon now, "Do you what the long or short version?"
"Short, I guess."
"Killed about a hundred Werewolves, Witches, and Rogues. A Hunter here and there." Danny said nonchalantly.
"How many werewolves are there?" Caroline looked dumbfounded. At the implication that there were more Werewolves or at Danny so casually talking about how many she had killed, Danny had no idea.
Danny shrugged, "We don't know."
There was a heavy silence, with Danny waiting for the next question and the Mystic Falls entourage thinking of another question to ask. Stefan looked around the room, his eyes falling on the pack resting next to Danny. Motioning to it, Danny's gaze was drawn to it as well. Sticking out the side was the hilt of her katana, most of the scabbard in the pack. Stefan gave Danny a questioning look, which Danny interpreted that he wanted to know what was in the backpack. Danny, shrugging, grabbed hold of the strap and dragged over to her side. The bag had two compartments, the main one and the smaller pouch sewn on the front meant for pencils. She unzipped the main part of the pack, and started to remove the contents. First was her katana, then her spare knives, and the handgun she'd taken from the werewolves back in Georgia. With her change of dark clothing as well, but she decided to leave that in there. In the small pouch she removed two blood bags, her back up supply in case she had to hole up and couldn't drink from a vein. She also left the extra sheaths for her knives in the bag as well.
"Do you really need that many?" Stefan cocked an eyebrow, a confused expression on his face.
"When you're what I am," Danny responded, "It's a necessity."
"Have you even used that gun?" Bonnie asked.
Danny glanced at the side arm, "No, not yet anyway."
"So," Elena said, "What can we possibly do to help you if we're your allies?"
Danny looked at her, "Mystic Falls is a supernatural hot spot. I have no doubt you know this very well from personal experience, but with the wolves coming out of hiding, there will probably be a lot of them coming here."
Elena nodded, "And you want us to capture them?"
Danny laughed, an evil chuckle more then a laugh, causing the three girls to look at her with worried expressions and the Salvatore brothers to tense and Damon to growl. A good five minutes passed before Danny stopped laughing, and then she spoke, "Good one!"
"I'm serious," Elena said flatly.
Danny's expression went from amused to a serious expression, "Your job is to get as much information out of them before you slaughter them. No prisoners, only interrogations. If you have one with you as a captive, you can't let him think at all because of the pain you'll cause him. Or her."
Bonnie looked like she was about to hurl, "You can't be serious."
"I couldn't be more so," Danny said.
"And what if they don't tell us anything?" Caroline said, equally sickened.
"You still kill them. The werewolves must all be killed. They must lose so many of their friends that they go back to the woods they came out of, and never come back," Danny said with finality, "Now, what else would you like to know."
"What about your 'kind'," Damon said, using air quotes, "What happens if they try to attack us?"
"Say you're with me," Danny shrugged, "The mere mention of my name scares just about everyone now. It's kind of sad."
"And if they don't listen to that?" Damon said.
"Then you're screwed," Danny said. "Just another one of the risks you agreed to when you allied yourself with me. Now my turn."
"What?" Damon growled.
"How did you find me out here?" Danny asked.
"Oh," Damon said, smirking slightly, "I compelled that inn keeper who runs this place to give me a call if you ever showed up her again."
"Clever," Danny looked at him, "And why did you bring everyone with you?"
"We told them about what happened the last two times we saw you, and Bonnie insisted on coming for protection," Elena said.
Danny looked at Bonnie with an amused expression, "You think you can protect them from me?"
Bonnie looked irritated by her bemusement, and stretched out her hand just like the first witch had done to Danny in L.A. A twinge of pain, like someone pinched the skin on her temple a tad too hard, hit Danny's head. Her eyes turned red instinctively, as her ripper took the brunt of the brain bleeding spell. Bonnie recoiled at the startling change in Danny's eyes, which were a shade lighter then the blood that was flowing from Danny's nose. She must have been equally surprised at the fact that Danny hadn't flinched at the pain, which was the same spell that had brought Damon to his knees in pain. Danny stared at Bonnie with a hard look in her eyes, as Bonnie regained her composure.
"What the heck?" Bonnie breathed.
Danny cocked an eyebrow, and asked with an innocent tone, "Was that supposed to hurt, Bonnie?"
Bonnie stared, dumbfounded, "That didn't affect you at all?"
"Oh, it did, whatever 'it' was, but I am a lot more resilient then I look, witch," Danny smirked.
"Oh yeah?" Bonnie challenged, "Then what about this!"
Shooting her hand out towards Danny's left arm, Bonnie made her fingers curl into claws. Then, with a squint of concentration, clenched that hand into a fist. The action, somehow, caused Danny's forearm to break in two places. Grunting, Danny's red eyes flicked to her now broken arm to see that the bone was now sticking out of her skin. The white bone was only a shade or two lighter then Danny's own skin,whom hadn't seen the suns rays kiss her skin in almost a year. Her Ripper yelling curses at the witch that had done this, Danny soundlessly reached over to her broken arm with her other. With the group of vampires tensing, already forming a barrier between Danny and Bonnie, Danny pressed a thumb down on the bone. With a sickening, sloshing like sound, the bone slid back into her skin as Danny pressed it into place. Danny grit her teeth to keep herself from hissing curses like her Ripper was so eloquently doing, and pressed the bone back into place. With her enhanced healing, the bone was already starting to mend slowly. The pain, though still intense, ebbed away with each passing minute. Danny's red eyes gazed at her arm as it healed, while her visitors were anxiously awaiting her response to the assault.
"Well," Danny said, cutting through the tension with her razor sharp tone of anger, "How interesting. What'd I do to deserve that?"
Bonnie was astonished, "I don't understand."
"What's there to understand?" Danny cocked an eyebrow, "Is it that hard to get that I am not normal by many standards?"
Stefan looked at the clock on the wall, while Danny looked at it through the reflection in his eyes. It read 6:54 P.M. It will be dark soon, and he knew it. Stefan looked back at Danny, who had busied herself with repacking her backpack, "We better go. We have things to do back in Mystic Falls."
"Right," Caroline nodded, jumping off the bed.
Elena quietly rose with Bonnie, who was still a little flustered at what Danny had just done, and followed Caroline as they slipped through the door. Damon, grumbling as he did so, followed after them. Stefan lingered, turning to face Danny, "What you said last time we met, about you being a Ripper."
"Yes?" Danny nodded, recalling the occasion quite clearly.
"When you said you 'embraced' it, what did you mean?" Stefan asked.
"I meant that instead of drinking animal blood and sheltering myself so I wouldn't hurt anyone, I went out and used it to help me kill my enemies."
"But how did you control it?" Stefan prodded.
"It's slightly different for me, Stefan," Danny said, "Because the Ripper part of me is a half of my soul, and it has a conscious. I can control it because its a part of me."
Stefan stared at her, "So there's no way I can control it?"
Danny shook her head, "No, there is. You just have to adjust to it, slowly drink more and more human blood over a long period. You won't have any increase in your abilities, but at least you won't be a weak vampire despite the fact you are ten times my age."
Stefan nodded, "Thank you, Shadow."
"Sure," Danny said, "Now get out of here, I have work to do."
Stefan left without another word.
Danny arrived, finally, back at the Mansion. She sped forty miles an hour above the speed limit so she wouldn't have to crash for another day at a motel. The cool night air blew her hair, the moonlight making her pale skin seem almost like porcelain. The light's in the windows cast shadows of the surrounding vegetation, and the soft sounds of activity inside the Mansion echoed in the forest to Danny's ears. The breeze smelt like dew and dirt, but it was as refreshing as a splash of water in summer. Danny stepped up to the big oak doors of her second home, and pushed them open. The warm air and citrus smell of the Mansion hit her as soon as she crossed the threshold. She breathed it in for the first time in three months greedily, drawing out her exhale in a long, satisfied sigh. Danny could hear the other Haunter going about their usual business, milling around in the kitchen, or chatting in the meeting room, two were down in the Basement. But Danny had a good idea who those two were.
"I'm home!" Danny called in sing sing voice.
Alex and Elsa appeared to Danny's right, having used their vampire speed from the kitchen. They smiled, while Alex spoke, "Good to have you back home, Shadow."
"Good to be back," Danny returned the look, pulling down her scarf from her face so they could see her smile back, "What's with the looks?"
Elsa's smile widened, "What looks?"
Danny smirked, "You know something that you'll think I'll like but you're not allowed to tell me?"
Elsa made a dramatic show of shaking her head, her blonde hair flailing, "I have no idea what you're talking about, Shadow."
Danny looked at Alex with a raised eyebrow, "What's up with her?"
Alex shrugged, smirking more then smiling, "I don't know, she's acting more and more like her air head stereotype for a good while now."
"How can you tell?" Danny asked.
"Cause I've seen her take vervain instead of blood bags couple of times and drink it," Alex snickered.
"Hey. Hello?" Elsa waved her arms, "I'm still here, and that was only once!"
"Well," Danny said, cutting off Alex's retort, "I guess I'll go see what I was sent for. See you guys later."
"See ya," Elsa said.
"Later, Shadow," Alex said, turning back to Elsa as they continued their argument.
Danny made her way to the Basement, the floor boards and creaking wooden steps announced her arrival once she stopped caring about the volume of her footfall. Nick and Michael were discussing strategy in such eloquent and articulate language that Danny was reminded that Nick was still a two century old vampire, and may have been raised to speak in such a manner. Michael, probably three hundred years older then Danny, was also speaking in that same way. But she had expected that of Branch Commander's. Save Nathaniel, since he had filled her in on how he and Savage were raised. But Danny could tell from the tones and use of his words, that Michael was an exceptional strategist with a multitude of experiences to draw from. Maybe he had been an officer in the wars sometime in the past. Danny finally reached the bottom of the stairs as she focused away from her thoughts. Nick looked over to her and a smile shattered the concentrated mask he'd been wearing.
"Shadow," Nick said softly, though his eyes said 'Danny', "Good to have you back."
"Good to be back, Nick," Danny gave him a secretive smile and turned her gaze to Michael, "Sir, I am sorry for the delay."
"It's nothing, Shadow," Michael gave her a dismissive wave of the hand, still concentrated on the maps and information crammed on the huge desk. His tone told her that he was busy, but not mad with her. Danny understood that he had a lot to deal with at the moment. He spoke again, minutes later, as he closed a log book he was using, "I have new orders for you, Shadow."
"What are they, sir?" Danny asked.
Michael turned to face her with weary eyes, "You are to go with Nick to reinforce the South Branch. The werewolves have crossed over from Mexico and have over run most of the outposts in Texas. I need you two to resolve the situation in anyway you see fit."
Danny couldn't help but smirk, "You're speaking my language, sir."
Michael grinned, "I know, Shadow. Your reputation precedes you. The same is true for the entire North American Legion. So when they receive news that you've been called in, I want you to take advantage of their shocked reactions and skip the formalities. I need you in Dallas and behind enemy lines so we can destroy the wolves."
"Is there any specific time table for this assignment?" Danny asked.
"As soon as possible, Shadow," Michael said, "And I have a request."
"I want you to do what ever you can to solidify your reputation. As I understand your brother, Savage, has already done many gruesome actions to scare the werewolves into working from the shadows instead of out in the open. They won't come out of hiding until day break. I want you to do that to the South Branch's territory. I want our enemies in that region so scared of the thought of you that they would barricade themselves until they were absolutely certain it was day. And even when it is day, I want them to be so afraid that they will see you in every shadow in sight."
Danny could only grin, "And what about Nick?"
"He is an accomplished leader and skilled fighter," Michael explained, "He is being sent with you as an escort into the enemy's territory, but also so he can relieve the leadership of the South. Werewolves managed to blow the top off their underground command bunker and they all burned from the sun. Or they were captured."
Nick nodded, "Yes, sir."
They left soon after that. Danny had dawned her specialized gear, complete with many hidden pockets and sheaths, and stuffed her pack with her blades and essentials. She had a small black duffel bag with her spare clothes in it and small things like a tooth brush. Nick, with his one knife sheathed at his thigh, had also slipped into his gear and met Danny at the front door with a single backpack slung over his shoulder. Nick was smiling at her, both of them just standing there and not wanting to be the one to exit the Mansion first and into the night. Nick's blue eye gazed softly into Danny's irises of ice, his short dirty-blond hair swept up with gel. While they both sighed and turned to the door at the exact same time, their smiles remained.
Silently, the two vampires broke into the cool night air.