The Night Haunters

Three Is A Crowd


Nathaniel was losing his mind. He was being tormented by a voice inside his head. That voice, he decided, was a sort of manifestation of all the evil inside of his soul. That was the only thing that make even remote sense to him. Every time he tried to make a decision, the voice only suggested and pressed for the option that would spill the most blood, regardless of whether it was strategically viable. It's voice was like a psychotic demon's, always acting like Nathaniel's crazy and freaky attitude, but on steroids and with a dark, sick twist. He terrorized Nathaniel in his dreams, bringing him always to this destroyed castle, with fire and corpses littering the grounds and blood painting the stone walls crimson. Bodies would be crucified to the stone walls with arrows and nails of bone. It was not always castle, but sometimes it would be a whole city.

That city's tallest buildings were destroyed, leaving ten story skeletons of what they once were. Blood flowed like a river, since there were so many body's laying stiff in death on all of those cracked concrete streets. The faces of the dead bodies would shift sickeningly until they formed into the faces of Nathaniel's loved ones from both the present, and the past. Pillars of smoke rose high into to sky, tainting the grey, ominous clouds that blocked to sun. The smoke came from fires that engulfed whole buildings, other times they came from ten foot high piles of dead bodies as they burned. There was no sun in this city, no moon, and yet, no night. Just the grey clouds that covered them up. There were scraps of twisted metal everywhere Nathaniel looked, whether they were embedded in a dead body's neck, or in a crater of asphalt, he could always see pieces of destroyed buildings. Shards of glass blanketed the area in front of storefronts, where the widow sills still had a few jagged bits of glass in them. There were huge crevasses marring the streets, some big enough to have buildings in them, with many having fires in their depths that bellowed black smoke. Some of the buildings still had power somehow, their lights flashing behind the haze and smoke caused by the desolation around him. In the distance, there was a black Colosseum that emanated the sounds of a thousand souls screaming in torment. The whole world this voice brought him to, whether it was this city or a medieval version of it.

And every time the voice would appear in the form of a strong demon that was made of black smoke clad in a set of alien looking armor. And every time that demon would challenge Nathaniel to a fight. Every fight was difficult, which Nathaniel actually didn't mind since he enjoyed a challenging opponent. But every time either of them was about to strike home with the finishing blow, the world they fought in would vanish and Nathaniel would wake up in the strangest of places with a body or two drained of blood with their necks torn out.

Nathaniel knew he would have to consult his brother on the matter, since he had five centuries of experience with alternate personalities manifesting and trying to kill him while he slept. Savage had told Nathaniel, in detail, the process he had to go through when his Ripper formed when they both had been new bloods. He remembered how out of it Savage had been, how much the matter bothered him even though he was a master at hiding how he felt. Shadow was the same as Savage, but Nathaniel wasn't wired that way. Instead on folding in on himself and only talking to his closest friends and family, like his brother and sister, Nathaniel's way of dealing with upsetting matters usually involved something or some people being destroyed utterly. The fact that only two or three people perished when he was out was a sort of blessing. From the pacifist point of view, anyway.

"I really need a drink," Nathaniel groaned, picking himself up as he awoke from another fight in another strange place.

He was in an abandoned warehouse that looked like his home at the West Branch. No, wait, it was the West Branch Warehouse. The bodies, luckily, weren't Haunters. If they had been there would have been repercussions.

Humans were okay to kill by the laws of the Night Guardians. At least for Branch Commanders and Lieutenant Commanders. In the case of Nathaniel and Savage, and soon to be Shadow if she maintained her current progress, there were specialized rules that applied only to them. The other Branch Commanders, of the South, North, Central, and East, were aware of Nathaniel's nature. They even admitted that they were actually afraid of them. They didn't like the fact that Nathaniel had so much strength, as well as a brother whom was a vampire assassin of assassins, or the fact that he was the second oldest vampire among the Commanders of the North American Legion. Nathaniel possessed too much power to be left to his own devices. The same went for Savage, whom possessed the same amount of power as Nathaniel but chose to dedicate it to speed and weapons skill. Rumors were already being spread far and wide about Shadow's new powers, which meant that there were now three vampires whom the Commanders had to keep tabs on in case they decided it was a good idea to betray the Night Haunters. But Nathaniel knew, as well as the rest of the Commanders, that if he wished it, he could easily send Savage and Shadow to kill a third of them each while Nathaniel killed the rest. They only had to worry about vengeful witches, Hybrid and werewolf bites, and the Originals.

The thought of what they could even do to Nathaniel, or his brother and sister was comical. Savage had no real weakness besides Nathaniel or Shadow's well-being. The same was true for Nathaniel. Shadow now only had Savage, Nathaniel and Nick as weak points as well. All of this was no secret. These "weaknesses" were actually strengths if one thought about it long enough. Because those same weak points were actually the remaining two strongest vampire warriors, arguably, in the world.

The weakest link in this web of faults was Nick, whom was an example to all Haunters on loyalty to the cause. He survived two werewolf wars, and had been tortured for five weeks because he wouldn't breath a word about the Night Haunters to his captures. Nathaniel had trained him well when he had been transferred over to the West Branch for "better training". Now he was a Lieutenant Commander, the same rank as Savage. Funny how that works.

"Sir," A new blood Haunter stood before Nathaniel, his right fist over his heart in salute, "With all due respect, what happened to you?"

Nathaniel cocked an eyebrow and looked down on himself. He was wearing a shredded t-shirt, and was soaked in blood. The t-shirt might as well not even have been there, since it was so tattered. His black pants were a little more fortunate than his shirt in that they only were barely ripped. His boots were not all that effected, besides the mud that was caked on the soles. There was blood on his chin, some bits of flesh still lodged in between his teeth. He was breathing uncharacteristically raggedly, his eyes were glancing at everything in a haze of paranoia. Nathaniel looked into the Haunter's eyes, then shrugged, "Doesn't matter, who are you again?"

"William, sir," The Haunter responded.

"Right, well, William, I suggest you get back to whatever you were doing." Nathaniel said, standing up and moving towards his office. He ignored the lingering look of the vampire in his wake, since new bloods tended to think of Nathaniel, Savage, and Shadow as legends nowadays anyway.

In his office, Nathaniel sat at his desk and thought of his next move. The North Branch had fallen, its borders threatening the Central, East and West Branches. The South Branch was currently being fought for, most of New Mexico and Texas being controlled by the enemy. The difference between the advantages of the South and North is that the South made the weapons for the entire Legion, had an endless supply of witch allies, and had a Prodigy and Lieutenant Commander currently on assignment to sabotage the enemies advance. Yet, with all of that, half of their territory was under enemy control. It was irritating, to say the least, to Nathaniel that he couldn't do anything about it until one of his siblings returned to the Warehouse.

When he finally made it to his office, which as soundproofed to vampire standards, and took out an untraceable cell phone. He hit the speed dial for Savage's phone and put the device to his ear out of habit.

Having technology had its uses and benefits, but Nathaniel preferred when one had to use their own two feet to deliver a message, since he could send his brother or himself to spy on them as they delivered it. Nowadays, his enemies had taken to using cell phones and other forms of communications to relay information.

Savage had learned how to hack computers and make it to where a phone could be untraceable since it was possible and seemed to be able to adapt those skills to each of the new technologies that were unveiled. Nathaniel had learned as well, but he saw it as sabotage and an excuse to not fight with ones own two fists and did not get too advanced with the skill. But neither of them had had the chance to use their tech skills in war yet, and they planned to keep it that way.

"Have you reached her?" Nathaniel said into the phone.

"Affirmative," Savage's cool, indifferent voice came back, "And there have been some...unwanted developments that concern the Originals."

"Sadly, I have similar news," Nathaniel said with a sigh.

"You first, Commander."

"The Hybrid has found a way to make more of his kind," Nathaniel said, ignoring the way Savage addressed him, "He found a powerful witch, possibly a Traveler, and had it search the world to find the next Doppelganger girl. Needless to say, he found one. It was a baby, probably a year old, and he took it and made a way to have a constant supply of its blood. He can make as many hybrids as he wants as long as he has werewolves."

"And he has a ready supply of those things now that we're at war," Savage said.

"Right," Nathaniel said, "And he already has an entire army waiting in Mystic Falls."

"Latest intel on his whereabouts show that he actually moved to New Orleans," Savage reported, "A few witches allied with us have given up their lives for that information to be passed onto the Haunter spies in the area."

"Does the Hybrid know of our existence?" Nathaniel pressed.

Savage waited a good minute to respond, something he only did when he knew that the information he was about to pass on would have catastrophic results, "You see, that's where my developments come in."

"Yes?"

"The Hybrid compelled Nick to kill Shadow," Savage said in a low tone.

"What."

"He tried to get Danielle with her boyfriend as the weapon," Savage said.

"Where are you right now?" Nathaniel growled, anger welling up inside him uncontrollably. He was twitching, becoming his old self once again.

"Near the frontlines, slightly west," Savage said, "Don't do any thing stupid, Brother. Our existence must not be revealed to the world, or it might be thrown into chaos."

"I don't care, Savage," Nathaniel, "I will rip this world apart with my bare hands before I let you or Shadow die."

"We're as immortal as you can get without being Silas or his girlfriend," Savage said, going against his nature and putting a pleading tone as well as emotion into his voice, "She fought him off, and the only reason she got wounded is because Nick attacked her while she slept during the day."

"Wounded?!" Nathaniel yelled into the phone, "He attacked my sister while she slept?!"

"Brother," Savage said with warning tone.

"No, I'm not listening any more."

"Brother."

"I'll see you in a little bit."

"Broth-"


Savage was cut off while Nathaniel crushed the phone to dust with one uncontrolled twitch of his grip.

"Crap," Savage said, mumbling under his scarf, "I knew I should have waited."

"What now?" Danny asked, still staring at Nick while he slumped in his chair with the restraints still tight around his limbs.

They had tied him up and interrogated him like any other prisoner, forcing Danny to tuck her sentimental side deep into her conscious and let her ripper control her body and emotions while she talked to Savage in a cool, calm voice with a slight ghost like sound to it.

They knew where the new Hybrids were now, it wasn't that hard to find that out once they found where Klaus was now living. They still didn't understand why he would target Danny at all, since she had only met Klaus just once ever. The current theory was that he was angry that she had made a fool of him and escaped his grasp without so much as a scratch, not to mention that she had killed his hostage in the process. There were many reasons from their first and only encounter for Klaus to be angry with Danny, she knew, but to have her first love betray and almost kill her to get back at her was too much for a little pay back. Either this Original had the world's worst temper, or Danny had offended his pride tenfold more then what she originally estimated.

In any case, they now had an Original Hybrid targeting them. And they had just found out that this Hybrid also had an army of his kind at his disposal. Nathaniel seemed to have uncovered their numbers, but had failed to mention them in their prior conversation over the phone. Even ten Hybrids would be a terrible threat to Nathaniel, Savage, and Danny. They knew that they could use their bite to mortally wound them, one with the only cure being the blood of the Original Hybrid, one that surely would not give them the antidote without some sort of price. But the way Nathaniel had told them of the Hybrids, that had unsettled Danny. IT felt as if there could be hundreds. With those odds, there was a very likely chance that they could get a lucky bite in a battle.

"He's our superior, both in strength and rank," Savage said ruefully, "Which means that he is the only one that can defeat you and I in combat. There's an unspoken rule in the West Branch that you would have learn sooner or later, and that's the strongest are the ones that give the orders."

"What do you mean?" Danny asked, "That if I didn't like an order that a Haunter with a higher rank, I could just not listen to him?"

"No, you would fight him until one of you lost consciousness," Savage explained, "I have purposefully chosen to be a low ranking Haunter because I would be allowed to be on a Kill Team and in the field. Commanders and Lieutenant Commander's generally don't go out on assignments because they are too busy worrying about the other missions that they oversee."

"So why did you get promoted to Lieutenant Commander?" Danny asked.

"Because the one before me gave me an order I didn't want to listen to," Savage said, "He and I never really liked each other. Well, he didn't like me and I just didn't care. Anyway, when the time came for me to carry out that order, I refused and he challenged me to a duel for supremacy. I easily defeated him in one move, almost out of reflex really. When I had him on his knees with his tendons slashed, with barely enough strength to stay upright, and a sword to his throat he yielded. After that I left to go and do the assignment the way I wanted done. When I came back, the West Branch had voted me to replace the Lieutenant Commander. I had no choice."

"So you out ranked Nathaniel?" Danny blinked, cocking an eyebrow.

"Technically," Savage shrugged, "He was always better in a fight, even when we were human. And when he was Turned, it only got worse. So anytime I would tell him to do anything, and he refused, I left it at that and did it myself. The Commander at the time noticed that and asked me to explain myself in not so polite terms. I simply listened, but I didn't care what he said because I could have killed him without a second thought."

"Then what?"

"He tried ordering Nathaniel around himself," Savage said, "And I think you can guess what happened next."

"Right," Danny said, "The guy was dumb enough to challenge Nathaniel to a duel."

Savage nodded, "And what all that boils down to is that he easily order us around because he is that strong. And now he's coming to find us. So it's in our best interest not to make him look too much longer then he has to."

"How long do you think we have until he gets here?"

"About three days, since he has his bike," Savage said, sitting down on the motel bed and beginning to sharpen on of his boot knives., "So a day and a half since he'll be wearing his ring."

"His ring?" Danny asked, a hand unwittingly flying to the ring she had in a chain around her neck.

"Yes, his Daylighter Ring is what he and I call it," Savage expertly honed the blade while he spoke, "The ring I gave you is another one of them."

"I can walk during the day, too?" Danny said, astonished. It had almost been a year since she had seen more sunlight then the brief glimpse at sunrise before she would have to sinking into the shadows.

A brief nod from her brother made her heart swell with unexpected excitement, "That's right, you can be a semi-normal person again and sleep at night for a change."

"Is it day time now?" Danny asked hopefully.

"No, it's actually midnight." Savage said.

"Crap," Danny shook her head, clutching the ring as she flung herself onto the surprisingly comfortable motel mattress.

She held the ring tight to her chest, the chain that held it around her neck bit slightly into her skin. She treasured the antique, priceless piece of jewelry as if it were her very life. Which wasn't all that far from the truth. To Danny, the ring was the embodiment of all she had gained in the past year. When Savage had given it to her, she had worn it on her ring finger. But she felt compelled sometime later to literally keep that ring as close to her heart as possible. So, with a feminine, yet strong looking, chain Danny had hung it from her neck. She always made sure it was there when she felt anything even remotely unsettling, so that she could hold it and pretend that Savage or Nathaniel were right there with her and lending her their strength. She knew that sounded cheesy, but it was one of the very few ways she could explain to herself why she grasped at the ring. Now, that ring could free her from the spell that kept her from feeling the Sun's kiss. She could enjoy its warmth, instead of cowering from it like it was death itself. She smiled, truly smiled, at that thought. Yet again, her brothers had made her life that much more bearable.

They waited for a long time after that, with Nick waking up periodically just long enough to get some more information before the vervain and lack of blood knocked him out again. Danny and Savage talked for most of the time in between those interrogations. Danny loved being in the company of her brother, and the feeling of safety that came with his presence. She eventually fell asleep, having downed an entire blood bag, feeling confident that Savage wouldn't let her get hurt while she did so.

She dreamed that she was in her inner world. Well, more like went there while she was unconscious in the real world. Shadow appeared on the hard packed sands of the desert, the tattered cloths that were her clothes strangely paler then the last time Danny had seen her. Her red eyes were the same intimidating shade, but there was something different about that was well.

They were glowing. Her fangs were completely extended, her lips curled into a smirk. Her strong, lean and curvy body moved towards her purposefully. Her ebony hair flowed dramatically as a breeze swept through the world, interrupted slightly by the lock of her bangs that was dyed the same color as her eyes. Her scarf, a red so dark that it was mistaken often for black, was wrapped around her neck in such a way that it covered her mouth from view. The ends of the long scarf flowed in the wind along with her hair. She was as strikingly beautiful as always, with a razor sharp edge of menace that made her seem untouchable. Her tank top was ripped up so much so that it was basically a bra since it exposed so much of her midriff. Her pants were torn, exposing parts of her legs but not anything too close to her crotch. Her pale skin nearly reflected the pale moonlight that made the sands seem like snow. The only place that it was not flawless with the slightly pink scars from the red-hot chains that had gripped them seven or so months ago. This, Danny knew all too well, was exactly what she looked like nowadays.

"Long time, no see, Princess," Shadow said, stopping just before Danny and crossing her arms over her chest.

Danny shrugged, "I guess you have something to tell me if you dragged me here without asking politely first."

The Ripper laughed, "Me, polite? God, you get more bearable to exist with everyday with those stupid jokes. And yes, there is a few things that are on my mind that you need to be here for."

"Well, what are they?" Danny said, unconsciously crossing her arms in the exact same way Shadow had. It was like there was a mirror between them as they stared into each others eyes.

"Well, there's three things," Shadow said, "The first is that we are almost done combining into one soul."

"What exactly does that mean?" Danny asked, raising an eyebrow.

"You see anything different about me by any chance?" Shadow asked, using her right hand briefly to gesture to herself before crossing it back over her chest, "Maybe two big things, and a smaller one?"

"Just cut to the chase, Shadow," Danny said, not wanting to drag out the guessing game, even though she knew exactly what she was going to say.

"Well, the two obvious ones should be the fact that my eyes are glowing, and my clothes are grey now," Shadow said, managing to look disappointed and menacing at the same time without difficulty, "And try for the smaller difference."

Danny shrugged, "You are more annoying then the last time I met you in here?"

Her ripper's expression went blank, while she blinked and cracked an empty smile, "No, you just can't stand me as well as you used to."

"Then what?"

Shadow sighed, "I'm getting better at dealing with you, actually. Once this thing is over with, you will basically be me, remember? Well, I can't really be annoyed with my soul like I would everyone else, right?"

"So my eyes glow when you start controlling my...our body?" Danny asked.

"The next time, they should," Shadow nodded.

"That's...interesting," Danny said, sighing as she processed the new information.

"Pretty soon, we will be one again, Danielle," Shadow said, "And when we are, I will no longer really exist as a separate entity from your soul. Basically, I'll disappear."

"Really? But you said that I would be a small part of us when we do fuse, so wouldn't I stop existing, too?" Danny asked, slightly confused.

"That's right, I will be the majority of our new being because I am the stronger one," Shadow nodded.

"So what then? Will we just call ourselves 'Shadow' then, since that's basically what we'll be?" Danny said, irritated but not really showing to what extent it reached.

Shadow shrugged, "I don't see why not. It's what your brother did when he merged with his ripper."

Danny sighed, wanting to change the subject before she got a little more then 'irritated', "What were the other two?"

"The second was that once you were done merging with me, you'll be a lot more powerful then you are now," Shadow said, "And knowing you, I already had that power translated into your skills in speed, stealth, and agility. You are basically Savage in a nutshell. An Assassin through and through."

"And the third?" Danny said, trying to keep the conversation moving along.

"The last one was that Nathaniel is more like you then you first thought." Shadow said.

"What do you mean?"

Shadow looked like she'd rather not answer that directly, but before she could answer she stopped. She looked around, actually showing a form of anxiousness that was a little too uncharacteristic of her.

She looked up into the sky and then back down into Danny's eyes, a smirk cracking across her features, "Okay, Savage is on top of you, I think to test how you'll react to the same situation with Nick earlier. If you grab the knife you have sheathed at your shoulder right when you wake up, you be able to get him right before he reacts."

"And you're telling me this why?" Danny cocked an eyebrow.

Shadow chuckled, "I just want to see how he'll react, that's all."

"Right," Danny rolled her eyes, "Fine. Thanks for the information."

"Not a problem, Princess," Shadow grinned.


Of course, Shadow was exactly right.

The expression on Savage's usually placid features was absolutely priceless. With a knife dug deep in his shoulder, gouging into his shoulder blade, he held a look of total shock. His startling dark, cobalt eyes widened. They turned a glowing red, exactly like Shadows were moments ago, the pupils shrinking to a pinprick for a millisecond before dilating back to their normal size as he realized what happened. His features relaxed, irises returned to normal as he slowly closed his eyes. He sighed and pulled the knife out of his shoulder as calmly as if he were pulling out a small splinter. The wound started to mend just as he did so, the sickening sound of tissue reforming and veins slinking back into place filled her hyperactive hearing. Savage had never truly smiled in Danny's presence, almost like he wasn't able to do so, which was why he was grinning now. Or was it a smirk? In either case, it was the closest thing to a smile Danny had ever seen. He moved so that he sat at the edge of the bed next to where Danny's body lay, a splatter of blood staining the covers over her chest because of his wound.

Danny looked at her knife, and its blood soaked blade. Her brother's blood. In a way, it was her own blood. She had a strange urge that was at least a little explainable. She touched the blood with her free hand, her fingertips in turn coated with the blood. Without thinking, she touched the blood to her lips. Savage was watching intently, with a strange look in his eyes.

The blood tasted better then any before it. There was no comparison to the sheer pleasure that taste brought with it. It was as if all the good things that Danny loved about her brother had been morphed into something she could taste. She felt warm inside, and totally safe. A smile, almost as rare as a smirk or grin from Savage, touched her lips as the blood flowed down her throat. She licked the blade clean of her brother's blood slowly, to savor the invigorating taste it brought her. Savage was still looking at her, with an extremely strange look on his face. Was he blushing? He actually seemed flattered, honored in fact.

"What?" Danny said, looking with curiosity at her brother.

He looked away, "Drinking another vampires blood is a very...intimate act."

It was Danny's turn to blush slightly, "Wh-what?"

"It's supposed to be very enjoyable if you care deeply for the one whose blood you drink," Savage said, still looking away from Danny, "I would know, since I had woman very dear to me share her blood with me in exchange for my own..."

"What happened?" Danny said, looking away from Savage in case he turned to see her.

"My blood..." Savage said, "Killed her."

Danny blinked, "What?"

"It was the Curse, Shadow," Savage said, "Our blood has a Curse on it, placed by over a hundred witches and bound to the Sun. It forces anyone who drinks it to change into a Prodigy. In the case of humans, it will turn the into a Prodigy if they are Turned with it in their system. But if they aren't strong enough, they will be consumed by their newly born Inner Rippers and perish. They became nothing more then animals with the face of what they once were. They become enemies to our existence. Enemies that are to be killed before they reveal that we do live among the mortal world."

Danny closed her eyes and sighed in sympathy as she realized what Savage was saying, "You had to kill her yourself. Didn't you, Ezekiel?"

Savage turned to her, his eyes slightly glassy from extra moisture. This was the expression that showed his deepest sadness, which was nothing more then a misty-eyed, slightly crestfallen look. As if he had failed to remember an important anniversary, or something of mediocre significance. This was the most emotional face that Savage could muster. Danny could almost pity him, but she was the same way. So she would be pitying herself in a way, and she was not the type to do such a thing. But what she did though, was hug her brother in a comfortably tight embrace. She felt his strong arms wrap around her smaller frame. She lifted her mouth to his ear and spoke ever so softly, "Just so you know, your blood was the best thing I have and will ever taste. You are everything to me, Brother, you saved me from myself and gave me a home where I truly belong. For that, I will be eternally grateful to you."

He chuckled, "I'm glad you feel that way, Danielle."

Danny just sighed and stayed in her brothers arms as her way or saying "Thank you".

But their little heart felt moment was interrupted by seemingly both of their Rippers saying the same exact thing. It was the only word that could have made their hearts sunk to their feet so suddenly. A word that reminded them of what was reaching their senses, and what that meant for their current situation.

Nathaniel.

"Oh, crap," Danny muttered, using her speed to disappear from Savage's embrace and reappear on the other bed while Savage leaned casually against the wall that framed the motel door. Danny pulled out a knife and began to sharpen it slowly to take her mind on what her brother was going to do once he arrived. His voice that Danny had overheard on the phone was strained, like he barely had control of it at all. He sounded actually freaked out, but the only reason Danny knew that was that she was really good at seeing what kind of emotions her brothers were trying to hide. Though he was hiding it well, Danny knew something was terribly wrong with her brother.

They heard the engine to Nathaniel's bike pull into the parking lot then cut off. Footsteps followed. Strong, powerful steps that belonged to arguably the strongest vampire in existence, whom was not even trying to use is standard stealth skills to mask them. He had such strength that Danny could sense it through the walls as he mounted the steps the second floor motel room they were in. The wooden boards that made up the walk way announced Nathaniel's arrival to the front of the door. Danny unknowingly held her breath as she waited for Nathaniel to open the door.

No such luck.

The door imploded as Nathaniel's booted foot slammed into it dead center in a Spartan kick. Splinters and shards of the door few into the room and impaled the walls and furniture. Some got to Danny, but she subconsciously dodged them without a second thought. Nathaniel stood in the doorway, sunlight silhouetted his muscular frame. He was breathing raggedly, his pupils dilated. But as he laid eyes on Savage He lifted an accusatory finger and shouted, "Explanation. Now."

Then he laid eyes on Danny and trotted over to her. He gave her a huge hug, a crushing one at that since it did crack one of her vertebrae. Her eyes glowed red as she ignored the pain with her abilities as a Prodigy. Nathaniel grinned like a mad man, "Hey, Sis!"

Then he turned back to Savage and gave have a patient look while he gave the gesture that meant, "Go on."

Savage blinked, "Explain what?"

"'Sis'?", Danny looked up at Nathaniel's face, still trapped in his strong embrace.

He looked at them both, "What?"

Savage looked at him square in the face, "Have you been hearing voices in your head?"

"What? No, of course not!" Nathaniel shook his head, then suddenly looked to his left, where there was no on there at all, "Shut up, idiot."

"I'll take that as a 'yes'," Savage stated, "And as for the explanation, what do you want me to start with?"

Nathaniel glared at Nick, "Him."

Savage sighed, slouching even more on the wall as he spoke, "He was compelled by Niklaus to kill Shadow. Needless to say, he failed. I showed up with him tied up just like that, and I started to interrogate him to find out what was wrong with him. When we found out we knocked him out with vervain. Then you called. And now we're here."

Nathaniel looked down into Danny's face, "Did he hurt you?"

Danny nodded, "But he-"

Nathaniel didn't even stop to listen before he turned and upper-cutted the unconscious body of Nick. He surged into the air and back flipped once before flying out the window. But Savage appeared at the window and caught him by the chair leg to bring him back into the room. When he put Nick back down, Danny gasped at how much damage that one punch had dealt. His neck was a good inch longer then it should have been, a vertebrae pushing out from the inside skin. The entire area was already one giant bruise, the veins and arteries all severed and leaking precious blood out on the flesh of his neck. He would be unconscious for much longer now thanks to that, Danny knew. She was strangely unaffected by the utter annihilation of Nick. A part of her was crying on the inside, praying for Nick's safety and for him to not suffer any longer. The human part of her would have been outright angered at this response by her brother, to be so suddenly cruel to her first love. But that part of her was so small and frail at the moment, almost nonexistent somehow. It was almost dead it seemed, like it was just a memory of how she had acted as a frail human. She seemed so neutral about it that it had startled her.

She cared for Nick as much as she did for her brothers, and that was saying something to be sure. He had been the one that had rescued her from a fate she would never have wanted to live in. Without him, she would have been a Hunter that killed what she currently held dear. Without Nick she would still be a frail, weak and childishly naive girl shying away from everyone in a high school where she was revered for fake strength. She would have undoubtedly shared the fate of her father, whom had made the grave mistake of challenging the two five century old vampires that she now knew has her only true family. She never would have fallen in love if it hadn't been for Nick and the gift of his blood. She was grateful that he had given her a painless death, since her frail mind wouldn't have been able to handle that well without the the help of her ripper like in the early days of her being a Newblood. He had been the one to help her become strong enough to do the most amazing things, which had contributed to her reputation as the third most powerful vampire Haunter in existence despite her short time as a vampire. And for all those things, Danny felt a deep gratitude towards Nick, and loved him deeply.

So it wasn't that she felt nothing for him, but because she really had lost the ability to really display any emotion very well. The reason she didn't feel the same as she would have if she were human, and the reason why she didn't get angered with Nathaniel's outburst was two-fold. A realist side of her knew that Nick was already unconscious and wouldn't feel a thing, and the fact that she had lost a lot of her ability to convey emotions other then anger and killer intent.

This was why the one statement she made was, "Hey, we still need him with his head on, idiot."

Nathaniel looked down on his sister and smirked like his usual crazy self, "Sorry, but he deserved it for trying to kill my sister."

Danny hooked a finger in her black scarf and pulled it up so that it covered the tip of her nose down, and leaned against a wall as she shoved her hands in her pockets. She shut her eyes, groaned in slight annoyance at Nathaniel's easy-going attitude, something Savage seemed to do a lot now that Danny thought of it, "We've already tortured the guy for three days before you even got here."

He shrugged, but Danny didn't open her eyes to see it and only knew that he did so becuase she heard her clothes rustle as he did it, "Whatever. It's not like he felt it or anything."

"Well, there is the fact that you almost killed him," Danny said, putting in an irritated tone to her monotone voice, "And the obvious fact that he is my boyfriend."

"Yeah," Nathaniel said, suddenly angered, "Ad he didn't ask for my blessing in that relationship, so I say it doesn't count as a relationship. Which means he's been all over my sister for no reason, which means that he needs to be punished for that too!"

Danny couldn't hope to stop Nathaniel from hurting Nick again, she remained as she was, but she did look up with her now red eyes as she spoke softly in a menacing tone, "Fine. But if he dies I'll make sure you regret it, Brother."

Nathaniel chuckled, but the look in his eyes showed that he got the message, "How adorable that you get so protective of this guy."

Nathaniel turned and plunged his hand into Nicks gut. He continued to rip out every cord of his intestines and dislodged one of his kidneys. Blood pooled on the floor, and flung everywhere while Nathaniel worked slowly. A droplet actually landed on Danny's cheek, which she wiped off with her thumb and put it to her mouth. The same amazing taste, but slightly different exploded in her mouth. Under her scarf, where Nathaniel or Savage couldn't see, Danny smiled as she tasted Nick's blood. With Nick's guts on the floor and Nathaniel grinned over them, Danny did feel a pang of hurt as she empathized what had happened to Nick. She let out a loud, irritated sigh, her signal to Nathaniel that she thought that that was enough.

Nathaniel let out a disappointed sigh himself, and shrugged his reluctant agreement. He turned back to his siblings and gave them a questioning look, "So could wither of you explain to me why I have a voice inside my head that is acting like my psychotic side and is annoying the crap out of me twenty-four-seven? I mean, you both have a lot of experience with that don't you?"

Danny looked at Savage with a knowing look, "Could he be-?"

Savage cut her off with a nod, then he looked at Nathaniel and sighed, "Brother, there is a secret I have been keeping from you for a long time?"

Nathaniel cocked his head, "What?"

"You are actually a..." Savage trailed off.

"A Prodigy," Danny finished for him.


An eerie silence. A deadly pause.

A series of disbelieving looks from Nathaniel aimed at his siblings. A Prodigy? He knew it made sense, since he had more power then he knew what to do with when he was a Newblood. He had been able to do many things, commit many crimes that should have been too horrific to leave one unscathed, because of his unparalleled strength. Savage had matched that strength with his speed, which as as astonishing as Nathaniel's strength. But Savage had always been a Prodigy.

When they had first become vampires, Savage was so blood thirsty that Nathaniel had jokingly called him that name. When that blood lust continued to show, the name stuck, and soon the rumors and legends of Savage had begun to plague the world. Nathaniel had earned the name 'Ares' because of the fact he embodied war perfectly. He used any kind of weapon, and anything as a weapon for that the battles he fought in a blind rage that he never understood why he felt he would slaughter entire tribes of barbarians. He didn't even remember how he killed them, only flashes of memory that were of his body and the land around him soaked in his enemies' blood. He sometimes held a battle ax in one hand, his war hammer in the other, even though they were both two handed weapons. Savage was always in everyone of those memories as well, always with his sword deep in the neck of the final enemy.

They had been a curse upon the European land. No one dared challenge them or try to enslave them. Savage became an assassin, taking payments for his killing nobles and aristocrats. Nathaniel became a mercenary, an army of one for hire that would take payment for the killing and clearing of entire peoples for various purposes. They were one of the big reasons why vampires were so feared among humans. Savage feed on the targets he assassinated, while Nathaniel would feed in the middle of battle, their fangs displayed for all the world to see. This would terrify any on lookers, which Nathaniel and Savage tended to leave alive so that they could spread the legends of their exploits so that their jobs would be that much easier when they were recognized as the manifestation of their enemies nightmares.

All of this was thanks to Savage's and Nathaniel's being something more then regular vampires. They were both Ripper's.

Nathaniel felt someone poking his head, which he knew was Shadow since no one else in the world could get away with it. He heard Shadow's unsure voice ring in his ears, "Uhhh...I think you broke him, Bro..."

"No, I didn't," He heard Savage deny, "At least, I don't think I did..."

"Idiot." Shadow groaned.

"How?" Nathaniel said, still in a daze.

"When the witches cast the spell on us, a year after we became vampires and Rippers both," Savage explained, "They blocked the memories of your becoming separated from your Ripper. They placed the Curse on both of us, but they locked your's away because of two things. One, they wanted to have you watch me die because of my Ripper killing me from the inside, something that obviously didn't happen. And two, they knew that you had more then enough will power to control and subjugate your Ripper, and they didn't want you to be roaming the Earth with that much power."

"So they were scared of me?"

Savage shrugged, "I guess so."

"Why did you keep that from me, then!" Nathaniel suddenly yelled. Shadow jumped back, hand instinctively on a blade hilt.

Savage looked at him with his usual stoic expression that was underlayed with menace.

"I'm outta here!" He yelled, just as loud. Nathaniel blurred as he used his vampire speed to race through the door and out onto the parking lot. Savage and Shadow hot on his heels.

Danny raced after Nathaniel, using her far above average vampire speed to close the distance. She was easily keeping pace with Savage, though she wouldn't be surprised if he was just using a portion of his actual speed. They quickly caught up to Nathaniel and tackled him to the ground beside the highway in the middle of the desert sands of Texas. Danny held down his arms, using all of her strength to do so. Savage secured his legs, seeming to use all of his strength as well. Both of their eyes were glowing red, their scarfs covering the bottom halves of their faces. The daylight hurt Danny's eyes, but the ring protected her. Nathaniel struggled for a good fifteen minutes, during which Danny almost lost her grip three times.

"Let go of me, I'm gonna go kill that stupid Hybrid for trying to kill my sister, then I'm gong to beat the crap out of both of you for keep that stupid secret!" Nathaniel yelled hysterically.

"You aren't strong enough to take on the Hybrid all by yourself," Savage responded calmly, not letting Nathaniel's limbs move an inch now.

"Yes. I. Am." Nathaniel said, kicking and punching with each word.

"No, you aren't," Savage said.

"But you can be..." Danny said softly, unsure if what she said had any truth to it.

"What did you say?" Nathaniel said through gritted teeth.

"If you train to be a Prodigy, you will be strong enough to challenge Niklaus Mikelson." Savage said.

"Really now?" Nathaniel said.

"Yes, and I will train you if you promise to not go on a suicide mission as soon as we let you go." Savage said, glaring into Nathaniel's eyes.

"Okay, fine," Nathaniel said, a little too quickly.

"Promise me that you will not run as soon as we release you." Danny said, warning in her tone.

Nathaniel groaned.

"Brother..." Savage said,

"Brother..." Danny echoed.

"Give us your word, Nathaniel," Savage said.

Nathaniel groaned, "Fine, I swear that I will stay and train with you two."

"Good," Danny said, letting off his arms while Savage released his legs.

They helped him up, and started to walk back to the motel room. Danny heard something that made her blush violently under her scarf.

"I know my sister is hot, but shut up, you idiot!" Nathaniel was saying to no one in particular.

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