Demon Gates (Helena Hawthorn Series #2)

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A Simple Threat pt. 3

Helena woke up to the quiet murmurs in the room. She kept her eyes shut, trying to listen in to the conversation between the hunters.

“…we do with them?” Ben asked with a low growl.

“We don’t need the second vampire, and it looks like he won’t last much longer. The blonde has been crying for hours now. I’m guessing she is his donor or a lover,” Maya replied.

“We only need two of them alive.”

Helena glared at the hunters in the hallway. “You will not hurt anyone here!”

“Looks like you’re awake, at last,” Maya said with a smirk.

Helena scanned the room. She was on the sofa. Lucious lay unconscious on the ground next to Hans. His clothes were torn at the knees and chest, and the link was dead between them. Not a shred of emotion or a single vibration passed through it. She tried getting off the sofa. Her legs gave way and pain to shot through her kneecaps. She eyed them. Nothing was wrong with her, but Lucious was bleeding.

Laura and Hans were asleep. Perri’s eyes were swollen, and Helena gave her friend a quick hug.

“It’ll be okay,” Helena whispered.

Perri didn’t respond and kept looking at Hans’ pallid face. Since he hadn’t turned into a mummy or dust, it meant he was alive—the sole good news so far.

Maya knelt next to Helena, offering her hand. “We took the bullets out of your vampire. You should be fine now, right?”

Helena smacked her hand away and crawled to Lucious’ battered body.

“What are you doing? He’ll kill you!” Maya snapped and yanked her shoulders back.

“Let me be and untie my friends,” Helena shouted.

Maya let Helena go. “Your funeral.”

Ignoring the hunter’s words, Helena closed the distance between her and Lucious. She touched his cheek. The dark stubble under the pads of her fingers prickled her skin, and his eyes shot open, glowing with a dull blue flame.

He studied her with obvious hunger and turned his face away. “Move aside, Helena. I cannot control myself right now.”

“You need to feed,” she whispered and cupped his face, forcing him to look at her.

“I am fine.”

Helena combed her hair away from her neck and leant forwards in an open offering. “Drink.”

“It will hurt, my dear. I do not have enough energy to take away your pain,” he said and his eyes focused on the jumping pulse on her neck.

“Do your worst.”

Lucious planted a soft kiss on her jugular, sending a pleasurable shiver through her system. The link awakened again, trembling with suppressed emotions.

“I am sorry,” he said and bit into her.

She stifled a cry of pain as his fangs pierced her flesh. And, like the time Andrew was dying, the pain did not disappear. It coursed up and down her neck and slowly spread out before numbing her body. She could no longer stay up. She relaxed against his chest, permitting him to become her support.

Lucious’ words filtered in through the link. “So sweet, so good. More. Must. Drink. More. A growl escaped him, and he tore away from her.

Sighing, she lifted her head to see the blue flame in his eyes returning to its usual intensity.

“Are you alright?” he asked.

She managed a smile and glanced at Hans who, from up close, seemed much worse. “We need to help him.”

“You cannot possibly feed two vampires,” Maya stated. “Feeding one is disgusting as it is.”

Helena glanced over her shoulder. “I don’t care about your opinion on the matter. They are my friends.”

Past Maya, Perri and Laura were being untied by the male hunter. Once Perri’s restraints came off, she jumped out of her seat and fell on her knees before Hans.

“Hans! Hans! Please, oh please wake up…” Perri begged.

When he didn’t respond, her tears intensified, and she shook him by the shoulders. “Master Vincent will not be happy if you die here. I won’t be happy…”

Maya pointed her gun at both of them. “Vincent of the Council is your master?”

Helena jumped in front of Perri, blocking Maya’s shot. The rash movement made her dizzy. “No, you can’t shoot them!”

“They are expendable,” Maya barked. “They work for the Council. Why did you let such trash into your home?”

Helena’s eyes narrowed. “How many times do I have to say this? They are my friends.”

Lucious was at her side in an instant. He was bleeding, yet he managed to undo his ropes fast enough.

Ben pointed his weapon at them as well. “Don’t you move, vampire.”

The tension in the room grew with Perri’s sobs in the background. Helena touched Lucious’ arm and shook her head. “We mustn’t fight. Michael sent them here for a reason.”

“Your guardian has abandoned you. What urges you to believe he sent them to protect you in his stead?”

“Please, help Hans for now.”

Lucious grumbled something unintelligible and complied by kneeling next to the vampire and studying his wounds.

Helena remained in place, her attention on the gun pointed at her chest. “Put the gun away. There is no need for any more violence.”

Maya’s eyes narrowed. “Are you also working for the Council?”

“No, I’m not,” Helena replied, frowning. What did it matter if she worked for them or not? She couldn’t imagine being in the same room with Eliza willingly. That woman had too much power and too little remorse.

“Step aside and let us finish this,” Maya ordered.

Helena spread her trembling arms out, shielding the others. Her mind screamed for her to get out of the way, but she fought against her instincts and rooted her feet to the ground. Her voice wavered as she said, “Leave them alone.”

“Do you seriously think I can’t get a shot at them because you’re in the way?” Maya asked with an unnerving smirk stretching her lips.

Helena knew what she was doing was stupid. These people were professional killers, and she was an obstacle. Knowing that didn’t rekindle her self-preservation.

“Move!” Maya shouted.

Something inside of Helena snapped. She was fed up with everyone restricting her and telling her what to do. Would it kill these people to sit at the table and have a normal conversation for once? Why did it matter if they were vampires, Council’s servants, hunters, or human? She lowered her hands, fisted them at her sides for a single shred of courage, and marched over to Maya. The cold barrel of the gun pressed into her chest, and she met Maya’s unwavering stare with one of her own.

“Lower your weapon,” Helena spoke through gritted teeth.

“Helena!” Lucious called behind her, but she ignored him.

If they were going to spend the next millennia in this pissing contest, they may as well get it out of the way now. She squared her shoulders and eyed the hunter in front of her. “The demon doesn’t care if we are ready for him or not. If you don’t lower your gun, either kill us or let us tend to him.”

Maya’s piercing stare bore into Helena as if trying to measure her worth. Seconds ticked by at the slowest pace possible. Cold sweat made the fine hairs on the back of Helena’s neck stick to her skin as her heart raced ahead.

The hunter lowered her weapon. “Deal with the wounded vampire yourselves. Ben, let’s get some lunch, I’m starving.”

“Alright.” The male hunter holstered his gun.

As the duo headed for the door, Maya called over her shoulder, “We’ll be back in thirty. If you’re not around, I’ll understand.”

Once the front door closed behind them, Helena fell to her knees. A nervous laugh escaped her, and she buried her face in her hands seconds before her tears flowed freely.

She felt Lucious’ presence behind her, and he wrapped his arms around her shaking form. The warmth from his body permeated into her, and she desperately wished to remain in his embrace and forget about everything that happened in such a short amount of time.

“You did well,” he whispered into her ear.

He bit into his thumb and smeared his blood over the wound on her neck. She winced automatically, even though her body felt numb.

“We should leave.” He started to rise.

Helena clutched his arm for stability. “No.”

“What do you mean ‘no’?”

“They may be what we need to get rid of the demon,” Helena reasoned.

He scoffed. “Has the blood loss made you irrational? They will kill us the second we are no longer useful to them.”

She couldn’t disprove his reasoning. Glancing at the floor, she heard the shuffling towards her.

Laura stumbled into Helena’s arms and sobbed into her shoulder.

Wrapping her friend in an uncompromising embrace, Helena sighed in relief. She had forgotten Laura knew nothing about the situation with the vampires. “I’m so very sorry, Laura.”

Laura sniffled and pulled back. “They had guns, Hel. Guns. And he bit you. He drank your blood. What is going on? Am I dreaming? Tell me this is a nightmare.”

Helena wiped Laura’s tears away. It tore at her heart having to see her friend this upset. She never meant for her to be introduced to this dark world. She should have changed apartments long ago.

“I’m sorry, Laura. I’ll explain everything to you once we take a look at Hans. Please, wait a bit more,” Helena said and found Lucious scowling at her over Laura’s shoulder.

“But, they’ll be back. We should go. We should run!” Laura urged.

“Lucious, do something about Hans. I’m going to look after Laura.” She took her friend’s hand, helping her into a standing position which seemed to be difficult for both of them as they wobbled on their unstable legs.

At first, Lucious didn’t move. He stared at her with evident disbelief. It didn’t last long. He shook his head and squatted next to the sobbing Perri who was trying to shake Hans awake.

Helena led Laura to the sofa. She brushed the rope from the seats aside and helped her friend sit. Joining her, Helena wrapped her arm protectively around Laura’s shoulders.

“Who were those people?”

Helena’s grip tightened on Laura’s arm. “Hunters.”

“What do they hunt? Why did they come here?”

“They hunt vampires and other creatures. I think they came here to help me,” Helena replied with strange calmness.

Laura gave a slow nod. “Is your boyfriend a vampire?”

She let out a soft laugh. Leave it to Laura to start questioning her relationship with Lucious right after she told her that the supernatural exists. Laura’s curiosity was endless. “He’s not my boyfriend, but he is a vampire.”

Laura’s expression became serious. “What really happened to Andrew?”

Helena’s heart sank at the mention of his name, and she looked away, breaking their eye contact. Should she tell Laura the truth about him becoming a vampire? Would she accept it?

Her hand fell away from Laura, and she clutched the material of her T-shirt. “Andrew died and became a vampire because of me.”

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