The Night Haunters

Vengeance Is Best Served From The Vein

Danny moaned with the dull ache of hunger as she opened her eyes slowly. There was a bright light shining in her face, its yellowed beam looked like a flashlight. Danny felt her hands and ankles bound with vervain-soaked rope as she felt the acid touch of them. Her jacket was laying next to her, and she shivered as a small draft slid across her bare shoulders. Danny heard whispered voices all around her, some she recognized and others totally foreign to her. But they all had the same pattern, the same topic. They were talking about "the girl" or the "assassin". She couldn't help but smirk for two reasons.

One was that they seemed to be extremely cautious of her, like she could break free at any moment, and the other was that she could already feel her emotions shutting off. Fear was the first to vanish, then paranoia, next was exhaustion, pain, and finally confusion. Soon, nothing was left but her hatred to these people and her determination to find a way to break out of here. She looked down and saw that her thigh knife was gone, but her smirk grew when she realized they'd missed her boot knife. And thanks to her boots, the vervain rope wasn't burning her and the hilt of the knife was close enough for Danny to lift her leg and be able to grab it. She knew she'd sharpened that knife so much that as soon as it touched the rope, it would slice right through it. Danny could escape at any moment now, but the thought of finding more information about these idiots was just too intriguing. She would string these fools along, she decided, and see how they can be.

"I see you're, awake, princess," She heard Damon say in a sickly soft voice behind her.

Danny remained silent, her smirk still wide.

She felt a fist slam into her temple in response, "Wipe that smug look off your face, or I'll burn it off with a bucket of vervain."

"Threats don't work on us, Salvatore," She said in the coldest voice she'd ever used, "At least not me anyway."

"Oh really?" Damon scoffed, "Well, then you won't mind if I do it anyway? I've always wondered if this much vervain could melt the persons skin right off."

Danny merrily waited for the corrosive liquid, preparing herself for incredible pain. Then it came, a rushing torrent of acidic vervain that burned like she'd taken a nose dive into a furnace, and it felt like she had drunken sulfuric acid by the gallon as the liquid slid down her throat. Danny gritted her teeth, hissing in harmony to her burning and smoking skin. She felt her fangs lengthen in hatred towards the low life's that were making her go through this. The vervain soaked her tank top and pants completely, leaving her with a dull stinging as the liquid lingered while the rest had burned away with her skin.

As the pain subsided, and as her skin began to heal, Danny grinned, "So was it worth it?"

"Eh," Damon sighed, "I still have half a bucket."

Danny chuckled, but couldn't contain her amusement and busted out in an evil laughter, "Bring it on, Salvatore, if you want to see what happens when I'm soaked with a bucket full of vervain then at least use the whole bucket instead of saving half of it to play mind games with me!"

My answer was the rest of the bucket. But I was expecting the pain and endured it, willing my face to show no emotion at all. In the ensuing silence that followed the singing skin, Danny heard one girl in the shadows shiver from fear. Danny smirked broadly enough to reveal a pearly white fang, and mentally pat herself on the back since she succeeded in keeping a stone-cold expression through a vervain bath.

"You done, Salvatore?" Danny cocked an eyebrow.

He blinked, "Well, I don't have anymore vervain if that's what your asking."

Danny chuckled, "And you're no closer to your information."

"We know where you live, love," A British accented voice chimed in evilly.

"Ask Stefan and Damon over here how much good that would do you," Danny rolled her eyes and chuckled at the memory of knocking out Elena.

"Oh, there's no need for that, love," The voice sounded again, amusement in it's tone. "I already know all about you and your little cult."

"Cute," Danny smirked, "how you say you know everything and still call it a cult."

"Don't be smart with me, girl," He sounded slightly agitated, "I could rip your heart out and snap your spine so fast that you would think it was at the same time."

"Threats are just as useless as torture," Danny sounded bored, "Did I forget to mention that?"

"No," Stefan said, coming into view. "But I don't think we're threatening the right people."

"Oh?" Damon said. "Like that Uncle Johnny you were mumbling about in your sleep?"

Danny made her expression surprised with just enough fear in it to be creditable. Damon, as Danny suspected, saw this immediately and smirked at what he thought was triumph. He looked past Danny and gave a quick nod. The sound of a vampire disappearing through a door instantly followed. Danny was trying so hard to keep up her facade of fear. Since she was playing them so she could avenge her brother's death, it was hard to keep from smirking. But her face remained stone-cold.

"What're you going to do to him?" Danny asked, letting just the right amount of fear and uncertainty into her voice to complete the act.

"Oh, nothing," Damon smirked in triumph, "Just leverage."

"Don't you dare!" Danny forced herself to sound scared but like she was trying to hide it, "This is between you and me, leave my family out of it!"

"If this is the only way we get what we want, then we will do it," Stefan said matter-of-factly.

Danny let out a feral growl, "Cowards."

"Watch your mouth, love," The British voice said. It came just as a strong man with a mess of curly blondish hair walked out of the shadows. He crossed his arms over his chest. Danny saw in his eyes hundreds of years of experience, and a deadly knowing look that made Danny think that he could read her mind. The man grinned at Danny, who pretended to struggle against the ropes to get away from him because of fear. He chuckled at this, his arrogance and confidence solidifying as soon as he was sure she was scared of him.

"Who are you?" Danny made her voice cold.

"Niklaus Mikelson, pleased to meet you," He bowed.

"The Original?" Danny blurted, remembering him being mentioned in the histories of the Night Haunters.

"Ah, good, you've heard of me," He said, "So you must know what I can do."

"I might," Danny shrugged, her face still stone.

"Is your emotion switch off, love?" Klaus asked, raising his eyebrows.

"What's it to you?" Danny sneered.

"I'm going to take that as a yes, love. No offense, but you don't strike me as the type of girl that can look death in the eye."

"And why do you care if my emotions are off?"

"So I can turn them back on. That way, you'll be as scared if me as you should be, love."

"And how are you going to do that?"

"Are you familiar with compulsion, my dear?" He grinned.

"Yeah, but you can compel other supernaturals, stupid," Danny rolled her eyes.

"Come on, love," He sounded disappointed. "You must know that Originals, like myself, happen to have an entirely different rule book."

"Are you saying you can make me turn my emotions back on by compelling me?"

"Bingo! Very good, love," He smirked, then he looked into her eyes to compel her, "Turn them back on, love. I want you to turn those precious emotions back on."

Danny waited for something to happen, looking into his eyes in anticipation of fear and pain rushing back to her. But nothing happened, and Danny knew why.

"Well," Danny began to lie, "This is awkward, but I think that Salvatore splashed me with so much vervain that I think I swallowed some. Sorry to disappoint, guys."

Niklaus looked furious, growling angrily, "Well then, guess we'll make you talk when Uncle Johnny comes to town, then. But, just for your smart aleck attitude, I suppose you deserve some alone time. Or starving time, as I prefer to call it."

"Aww," Danny sounded sad, but she underlayed it with a twinge of fear and nervousness, "And I was just getting used to your disgusting scents."

In response, Danny was backhanded so hard her neck almost snapped. She heard five sets of footsteps leave the dark room and a heavy door slammed shut.

The bright light shining in her face shut off and Danny found herself in an old apartment with deep cracks spreading like vines across the walls and ceiling. Old, crumbled papers and bottles were strewn about the shredded carpet floors. The furniture was rotting and in splinters, with the molding cushions sitting resolutely on the floor with their feather stuffing spilling out like blood. It looked like the scene from a horror drama show, and it would have creeped Danny out if she hadn't gone into her cold mood. With her enhanced hearing, Danny could her mice scurrying and cockroaches crawling in the walls, and the sounds made her shiver.

Close to five hours later, the door was gingerly opened as if they thought she was sleeping and wouldn't notice. A girl stepped in, the same girl she'd knocked out during their last skirmish. Elena, Danny remembered her name now, strode quietly into the room, closing the door behind her. Elena had a blank expression on her face, but there was something in her eyes that made Danny smirk evilly. It was uneasiness, the beginning of fear as far as she was concerned. And Danny would like nothing more then to see this girl afraid of her.

"Who are you?" Elena asked gingerly, pulling up a relatively undamaged chair.

"Night Haunter," Danny answered, looking her dead in the eye.

"I asked 'who are you', not 'what are you'," She sighed.

Danny just shrugged and continued to look at Elena.

"They'll kill your uncle if you don't give them what they want. I came here to reason with you before you end up getting that on your consciousness."

"From what I can tell," Danny said in monotone, but she let her eyes tell Elena how supposedly nervous she was, "You don't know what vampires with no emotions don't have remorse."

"Oh I think I know," Elena said having a sort of flashback moment, "And when you turn them back on, you'll regret it all."

"I doubt that," Danny said with a shrug. "Along with threats and torture, pleading doesn't do anything either. So, you can go now, since your presence here doesn't do anything but waste your time on a lost cause."

"Whatever those assassins did to you, I can help," Elena said as a last ditch effort.

"Hello? Have you been paying attention? I'm one of those assassins you're talking about, stupid," Danny chuckled.

"You don't have to be," She sounded as if she was finally realizing the pointlessness of this.

"You ready for the shocking truth?" Danny said it as if she was about to reveal the secret to the universe, "I chose to be a vampire and become a Night Haunter."

"What?" Elena looked shocked.

"It's true," Danny's icy blue eyes narrowed, "So quit acting shocked to hear it. You've obviously heard about us, so you know that you have to be chosen to be a Haunter, but you also have the choice not to be."

Elena looked down, then rose from her chair, "I feel bad for you. I don't know where you came from, what your name is, or what you've done, but I feel bad for you. I hope you come to your senses before you end up killing your uncle."

Danny made her face make it look like that last bit affected her, "Whatever. I don't need your pity."

"Good luck," Elena said, turning and leaving the room quietly.

Danny rolled her eyes and relaxed in her chair. She slouched as much as the restraints would allow. Danny waited many hours, hearing hoarse whispers about her and what they will do with her. Danny barely listened, and thought of only the Night Haunters and her soon to be killed uncle. She knew it wouldn't be long before either the Haunters tracked her down and freed her, or if her uncle was brought in and Danny would execute her plan. Either option would result in Danny's safety and punishment by her brother and sister Haunters. But Danny was hoping that she would be able to kill her murderer of an uncle before she was brought back to Michael. Finally, Danny's thoughts were interrupted by the door creaking open.

"Wakey wakey, love," The voice of Niklaus was unmistakable, "There's someone her to see you."

Danny's heart leaped in happiness at the sight of her uncle being dragged into the room and dropped in a heap before her. She would have her wish of vengeance.

"He won't be so healthy unless you start talking," Niklaus said, noticing Danny's spike of happiness and misinterpreting it to think she was happy to see that her uncle was alright.

Danny looked angrily at Niklaus for threatening to take her kill from her, "Shut up."

"Did I hit a nerve, darling?" Niklaus smirked.

Danny growled the most feral way a vampire could, gritting her teeth as her fangs instinctively extended and the veins under her eyes darkened with her rage. She looked at the British man with a look as cold as her icy blue eyes. She thought she saw him recoil at the look in her eyes, but he regained his composure so quickly Danny thought she was just kidding herself. But there was something in not only Niklaus' eyes, but everyone of the vampires in there. They seemed confused and shocked at something in Danny's gaze. To herself, without changing anything about her expression, Danny wondered what could have gotten them like that.

Niklaus left quickly, mumbling about a girl named "Rebekka" to Stefan as he left. But everyone else in the room either took a step back or shivered out of fear due to her cold gaze. Danny looked to her uncle, whom was petrified. He sat with the shock of realizing his niece was still alive and the terror of what she'd become all over his dirt smudged face.

"D-" Uncle John began, but Danny hissed so feral that her name died on his lips before it could be heard. He tried something else, "What did they do to you, baby?"

Danny blinked, then cocked an eyebrow, "You think they did this to me?"

He looked around the room, then looked at her again and nodded, "Yeah, I do."

"Well," Danny began, hearing a light step on the fire escape outside and readying herself for what she knew would surprise just about everyone in that room, "You'll find that you were wrong real soon."

Then it happened, and Danny's whole demeanor changed the instant it did. Two Haunters burst through the window at Danny's back, and moonlight spilled into the room. They both attacked the Salvatore brothers as Danny put her plan into action. She lifted her leg as high as she could, and grabbed her boot knife from its sheath. She thrust the blade through the vervain soaked rope on both of her wrists and slashed away the bindings on her feet. Without a moments hesitation, Danny used her enhanced speed to instantly appear behind her uncle, who looked as confused and scared as a man could. Danny put the blade to his throat and hissed with rage.

"What'a going on?" He said shakily.

"You're about to die, you pathetic piece of crap," Danny growled.

"What? What did they do to you?" He looked scared and shocked.

Danny chuckled evilly, "'They' didn't do anything to me. I'm still the beautiful little girl you remember, John, but I got rid of my weakness. Now, I'm going to-"

"Shadow," Nick's voice was dead serious as he and Jake stood over the unconscious Salvatore brothers, "Hurry up, and deal with him. We have other matters that need attending."

"Fine," Danny growled, not taking her eyes of her kill. "Count your self lucky, 'cause I was gonna make this painful and slow. Now, I bid you farewell. Forever."

Danny sliced all the arteries and veins in his neck with such speed and fluidity it looked like one motion. Blood gushed from his neck while he gripped his neck to stop the bleeding. Despite his efforts the blood seeped through his fingers in a river of crimson. Danny, realizing through her adrenaline that she hadn't fed for two days at least, ripped his hands from his neck and sucked him dry of his blood. Satisfied, Danny dropped the lifeless body of her former uncle at her feet and stepped over it to where she found her jacket and sweater. She quickly slipped on the sweater, then her riding jacket, and pulled the hood up and position that had the same effect as her Haunter jacket's wide hood.

"Alright," Danny said, everything but her blood soaked chin cloaked in shadow, "Let's go."

When they got back from getting Danny, Jake and Nick had thrown her into her room and locked her in until Michael decided her punishment for leaving. She heard muffled conversations below her, along with the usual sounds of blood being poured, vampires sparring and footsteps throughout the manor. Danny caught a conversation between Jake and Nick as they strode slowly to her room, but it died down just as they got within range of Danny's hearing.

"Hey, Shadow," Jake said as he knocked gently on her door. "I got good news and bad news."

"What's the bad news?" Danny intoned.

"Your punishment has been decided. Michael says that, though you had a reasonable reason to leave, it was still unsanctioned. So you'll be punished with the vervain mist chamber."

"If that's what it sounds like, I'm not going to shrug that off, huh?" Danny sighed.

"'Fraid not," Jake said.

"The good news is that I got you in with Savage's Branch, and Michael approved it. It's all been settled, you'll be temporarily transferred to the West Branch until further notice." Nick said.

Danny was elated at the thought of meeting, and working, with Ezekiel Matthews. Though she was still worried about the mist chamber. Danny looked out her window, her back against the door, "When are either of those going to happen?"

"The mist chamber has been decided to happen at midnight tonight, and your transfer will be tomorrow night at the same time," Nick said, "I'll be with you for both."

"You're going with me into the chamber and to California?" Danny looked at him incredulously.

"Yes," He answered solemnly, "You're my responsibility until you are fully trained, and I take that very seriously."

Danny was flushed with a weird sense of gratitude and of being impressed by Nick, "Jeez."

"Yup, that's Nicholas for you," Jake chimed in. "C'mon, Shadow, we got to get you into some clothes for your punishment. Same goes for your boyfriend over here."

"Boyfriend?" Nick shot a venomous glare at Jake, who went ridged and quiet instantly, then looked at Danny with an apologetic smile, "Sorry."

"No need to apologize," Danny said, feeling herself blush and scolding herself for it.

"Anyways," Nick said, "Let's go, we have an hour."

"Right," Danny nodded.

They went to the basement quickly. Jake showed Nick and Danny to two completely white sets of clothes. Danny got a white tank top and white skinny jeans, while Nick got a crew neck undershirt that looked a size too small and showed off his muscles, with a pair of completely bleached jeans. Nick nodded to Jake when they were ready, and they were off. Jake lead them to the barn. Danny was surprised to see Jake kneel down on the far side of the barn and open a door to a staircase not unlike the one leading to the basement under the manor. Nick and Danny were completely silent, verbally and with their movements, as they followed Jake to a open room. At the far right was a Plexiglas wall that showed the chamber in it's entirety. It was relatively simple, with nozzles in every wall in a black dot grid that stood out from the grey metal walls.

"Welcome, Danielle and Nicholas," Michael said, appearing seemingly out of nowhere in front of them, "I'd like to get this over with. I don't like punishing my family, but I also am offended that you'd leave like you did, Danielle."

Danny bowed her head in apology, and placed her right fist over her heart to show her sincerity, "I'm truly sorry for my reckless actions, sir."

"I'm glad," Michael smiled slightly, "That makes it a lot easier for you, initiate. And your trainer, as well."

Nick nodded, "Yes, sir."

"Well," Michael sighed, motioning to the glass enclosure, "Let's get this over with."

Danny and Nick nodded, silently walking into the chamber. They stopped in the middle of the decently sized Plexiglas chamber. Danny was so anxious about the pain she would soon face, that she fell to her knees and bowed her head. Her breath came in shudders, and her black hair fell over her eyes, the red streak in it was as deep as crimson. Danny sat back on her heels and clasped her fists on her thighs, her already pale knuckles became completely white because of it. Danny heard Nick slowly lower himself to the same position as she was, and appeared to struggle to breath calmly. Danny knew that he knew how much this would hurt, which scared her all the more.

"For leaving us without permission, evading us for forty-eight hours, and therefore endangering your brothers and sisters in arms, I sentence you, Danielle, the the punishment of the Chamber of Ashes," Michael said through an intercom in a purposeful, and intimidating monotone, "May the fires cleanse you, and aid in atoning for your transgressions."

Then the intercom cut out and Danny heard the nozzles breath out their acidic mists. The instant Danny sensed the fog was near, white hot pain seared through every exposed body part. Agony couldn't be but fifteen times too small a word to describe it. Soon, her clothes were soaked and now every part of her felt ablaze with pain. Danny felt saturated by it, engulfed in a never ending inferno of anguish. There was no safety net from her strange emotionless side this time. She had no way from the pain. But much to her surprise, Danny realized she felt she was able to cope with the agony suddenly. She realized she had grabbed onto Nicks arm five minutes ago and gradually found herself in his arms. Danny blinked and smiled to herself, hoping Nick wasn't looking as she did it. As the ten minute mark ticked by, Danny was still feeling as though she were being burned alive, but she felt safe and strong in Nick's embrace.

"Alright," came Michael's voice over the intercom, "That concludes your punishment, initiate. According to the orders that I have issued out, you and your trainer are to pack your bags and be on your flight to Las Angeles by this time tomorrow. Is that understood?"

Danny and Nick placed their right fists over their chests, "Yes, sir."

"Dismissed," Michael said, and disappeared with his vampire speed.

Danny went to a side room and silently changed out of her white ensemble and back into her dark clothes. As she slipped her boots on, Nick walked in, already back in the clothes her wore before the punishment. Danny nodded and stood up. Nick turned and Danny followed him back up to her room in silence. Danny immediately began packing for her transfer. Nick had brought her a suit case, but it was too big since Danny basically had the outfit she was wearing four times over. Nick was the same way, so packing for either of them was extremely easy. When they had finished, Nick took both of their bags at the door for when they were to leave.

"It's daytime," Nick said, yawning slightly, "We should rest until we have to go."

"Alright," Danny sighed, "I'll see you then."

Danny didn't really sleep the entire time. She laid on her bed in her normal ensemble of dark clothes and knee-high boots, staring absently at the ceiling. All she could think about was where she would be within the next two days, and what it would be like to meet Ezekiel. But through those bittersweet thoughts, something nagged at the edge of her mind: Nick. She'd been confused at how safe and calm she felt in his arms, yet she had never thought of him in a romantic way. Until now it seems.

Before she could think deeply about that, Danny realized it was night again and headed down stairs reluctantly. Nick was already in the meeting room saying his goodbyes to the rest of them. Danny quietly joined them, moving towards the tray of alcohol. After pouring a glass of bourbon, She sat in the same spot as when she first came into the house of her own will.

"Hey, Shadow!" Aaron exclaimed, obviously drunk, "Glad your not dead!"

"Yeah," Danny took a sip of her bourbon, "Me too."

"I know we haven't really talked," Elsa said a tad sheepishly, "But I'll miss you, Shadow."

"Me too," Danny said, nodding, "I just wish we could have had some time to get to know each other better."

"Well," Aaron chimed in, "I have barely trained you, and I'd say that you could give every one of us a challenge if you wanted to. You are a prodigy, you know that? I feel sorry for the first guy you fight after you complete training."

Danny chuckled, "Yeah, I guess."

"I second that," Tony raised a fist with a smile.

Danny rolled her eyes, "You guys have way too much faith in me."

"No," Nick's voice sounded a tad stern, "They don't. You have no idea how good you have to be to impress us, Shadow. And how impressive you are in spite of the fact that you were a weak and shy human only two weeks ago, is as astonishing to us as when we heard the tall tales about Savage and the West Branch."

Danny was shocked and extremely proud of that statement, but her humble nature covered up enough of it to make her look like she was pleased with the complement, "Thanks. That means a lot more then I can say."

"Good," Nick cracked a smile, "That settles that."

"Yup," A drunk Alex laughed, the whiskey in her hands sloshing around, "You can say that."

"You know she's gonna have the worst hangover tomorrow, right?" Mark cocked an eyebrow at Adam, who had Alex in his arms as she hugged him like a teddy bear.

"I know," Adam smirked, "But guess who's got an assignment around the time she'll be waking up?"

"Smooth." Mark rolled his eyes.

"And guess who's got guard detail when she'll wake up?" Aaron groaned.

"I feel so bad for you, my friend," Nick said in mock seriousness, clapping him on the shoulder.

"Lair," Aaron grumbled, "You're all jerks you know that?"

"Except me, right?" Danny smiled softly.

"Normal you or Queen-of-Darkness you?" Mark smirked.

"I'm a jerk when I'm like that?" Danny cocked her head sideways.

"You're bossy and terrifying when you get that way," Mark smirked.

"Shut up," Danny rolled her eyes.

Suddenly, Danny heard the old clock chimed as it struck 11:00 p.m. Nick sat up, and Danny placed her half empty glass of bourbon on to the oak coffee table. They both said their final goodbyes, Danny hugged every one of them tightly before they left while Nick just nodded to each of them. Danny already missed them terribly as soon as she stepped over the threshold of the manor. She wished she wouldn't miss them like she would never see them again, because she could already feel it eating away at her. These people, these vampire assassins, were the first people in Danny's life that had made her feel safe and at home. She was leaving the first true home she'd ever really had and it pained her to do so.

Suddenly, and much to her relief, Danny could feel that she could use her strange alter ego to suppress her loneliness. It made her wonder, if she practiced, she could use it at will. That thought scared and excited Danny. It kept her mind off of her family, her true vampire family, almost all the way to L.A.

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