It got more and more crowded the further down into the castle we got, causing our conversation to die down.
It only took a few minutes before I discovered that Xander was way more serious about this than I had initially given him credit for.
You couldn't tell just by looking at him, but I could see the shifting of his eyes through the crowd, steering clear of both human and vampire that wore the attire showing they worked for the castle.
He was surprisingly good at this, effortlessly weaving us through all of it, and quickly switching directions when needed without making any of it too obvious.
It must just slip my mind occasionally that he does in fact have the ability to accomplish things in a timely and well-detailed manner.
The way he held himself during instances like this as well.
Confident posture and each movement altered with that vampiric grace.
The calm concentrated expression he held when he frequently looked back at Marcus and me to make sure that he wasn't moving too fast.
It only took us about six minutes before we made it to the extensive parking garage and over to the ones specifically designed for long-distance travel.
Then two minutes more for Xander and Marcus to solidify specifically which one we wanted to take, and he wanted to drive.
They made their decision and Marcus grabbed the key from where it was hidden behind the back-left tire, leaving us to load up our stuff while he got things started on his end.
Xander settled our instruments in the trunk, situating them in a way that would leave them with minimal space to move around during the drive.
"You wanna keep that with you?" He asked, pointing to the tote bag.
"Yeah, I will," I replied, "It's got that book in it to keep me busy during the drive."
A yawn crept over me, and I leaned sideways into him through the weariness I haven't been able to kick yet.
"That is if I don't sleep through the whole thing," I added quieter, closing my eyes for a brief moment at the feeling of being against him.
I felt his chuckle through his body, his arm snaking around my back to hold my waist.
"You and me both," He admitted, using his free hand to shut the trunk, "Need me to carry you in?"
I knew the question was a joke, but I still briefly considered it.
Getting out of this city was the first thing on my mind, and the second was crawling back into bed beside him.
I may be tired but I still had my pride... in a social setting such as this.
Even though there was practically no one near this section of the parking garage at this hour...
I don't know... I was mostly fine with those kinds of things behind closed doors, but out in the open like this with people we know about to show up just felt different.
"Nah. Not yet anyway." I played along.
We didn't part from each other while we took the five steps to the door, the engine sputtering on as we did.
"It kinda sucks that we didn't grab something to eat first," I brought up at the sudden feeling in my stomach.
Xander tore away just enough to open the door for me, "Yeah I know. I underestimated how long we'd have between Nico calling me and when we had to leave. We can probably stop somewhere real quick on the way, we just need to get out of this territory first and foremost."
I accepted his answer and stepped into the already warmed space with him right behind.
This one was... very nice.
Nice wide leather seats went all the way around the tall rectangular cabin like one continuous couch, absolutely perfect for laying on.
"Wait," Xander spoke with a gentle hand on my shoulder, stepping past me with his nose turned upwards.
He took a few slow steps further in, turning his head and sniffing the air.
Like a dog.
I followed behind him after setting down my bag, both curious and entertained by his strange behavior.
He paused in front of the leather cushions, tilting his head as he skinned the underside of it.
His fingers hit something that clicked and we both froze.
That is until the pushed upwards and the cushion opened, exposing the hidden compartment within it.
The gasp he let out was an excited one, forcing me to quickly step beside him to see what he had just discovered.
Within it sat a wide variety of drinks, the actual compartment itself being chilled to keep all of them cold.
Water, juices, sodas, and such.
"Well, this is new," he disclosed. though you could hear the satisfaction behind it.
I guess this was the difference between the regular vehicles and the ones meant for long travel.
A prompt idea quickly switched my attention.
I rushed over to the seat that sat opposite of that one, repeating Xander's previous actions until I felt the metal latch hidden under the leather.
And just like the other one, the cushion lifted away to grace me with a very extensive assortment of snacks.
"Xander!" I quickly called him over, not taking my eyes away from the treasure trove of food I had just discovered.
"Oh hell yes!" He celebrated beside me, setting a knee on the seat beside him for support.
I quickly grabbed the first thing that caught my eye, the small cookies kept neatly together in a bag being the thing that looked most appetizing to me.
I could feel the warmth radiating through the bag as if these were freshly baked and this just got re-stocked this morning.
Xander on the other hand snatched up and tore open some sort of breakfast bar.
"Nice choice in limo, Xander," I commended, knowing it wasn't entirely his choice, but giving him the win for how he got us here so effortlessly.
It showed through the purr in his chest and the oh-so prideful look on his face.
"Why thank you," He added a humble bow of his head, "looks like we won't have to stop after all."
The quicker we get there the better.
We both continued searching through this compartment just to see what our options were, Xander holding the bar in his mouth with his fang so he could use both hands to do so.
Our excitement only grew with the more we found.
The freshly baked goods, then enclosed bowls of assorted fruit, pre-made sandwiches.
Jeez, we were really set.
All of which came to a halt the moment we heard the door open again, our heads turning towards it.
Khloe and Nico mirrored us the second they saw us, a strange silence taking over the space.
Actually, the only sound that filled it was the quiet movement of the wrapper as it slid off the bar Xander had in his mouth.
We all just stared at each other, like they had caught us doing something we shouldn't have been doing.
Nico finally broke it as soon as Marcus began to drive.
"What the hell are you doing?"
Those words weren't new coming from him, but even then I could hear the difference in the way he spoke to Xander now.
"Dude!" Xanders previous excitement broke through again, taking the bar out of his mouth "I got us the best limo ever! There's so many snacks in here! And the other side has all kinds of drinks!"
The pure elation, the un-haltered expressions with no feigned emotions or nerves in sight as he talked to him.
I know that I saw it briefly earlier, but each interaction just further showed how much their relationship had improved.
The amused smile on Nico's face further proved it.
I don't think I've seen that look on Nico, well, ever.
It caused a warm pressure to build in my chest.
I wasn't sure what exactly it was, but it felt close to pride.
Khloe too looked up to see the look on his face, and I wondered if the difference in how they interacted meant anything to her.
I think it did. We'd only interacted a few times, and never under the best of circumstances, but the look in her eyes looked familiar to what I was feeling.
There was a thud from Nico tossing his bag into the seat beside him before he disappeared.
The breeze that followed was the only thing that lead me to turn my head to the other side of the cabin, seeing him sitting comfortably in the chair there.
With a very familiar bar in his hands.
"Good job Xan," took a quick bite, " You actually did something right for once."
Khloe struggled to keep her laugh contained, myself also falling victim to a quiet giggle as Xander stared at where his food once was.
I secretly relished her reaction as well. The absence of any sort of fear or caution around Xander from her making me feel a bit better about that whole situation.
My attention turned back to the brother's stand-off.
Was this what their relationship was like before all of this went down?
It was such a different side to Nico but if anything, it felt natural to both of them.
"Wha-? Hey!" Xander snapped, turning to face where he now resided.
The look Nico then gave was one that even I could distinguish, and I didn't have the weird vampire mindset telling me what it meant.
The slight lowering of his head, furrowing of his brows, and the smirk that intentionally showed off his fangs.
He was inviting Xander to a fight of sorts.
Xander had mentioned once how these types of playful tussles were common amongst vampiric siblings and happened quite a lot in his youth.
Which is most likely the only reason I knew what was going on here.
Though he did also mention never having won one of them...
He tried to mask his excitement through the serious expression he put on in reaction to his brother's look, slowly shutting the compartment.
I followed his quick gesture to sit there, lowering myself without a second thought.
If anything, I was intrigued by what they were engaging in.
The space went silent and filled with a tension unrelated to me.
"You really wanna do this in a limo?" Xander asked, lowering his stance and matching Nico's expression almost perfectly.
It sent that familiar heated shiver down my spine.
Red hair caught the corner of my vision, and I quickly turned to see Khloe meet my gaze. She looked confused by what was happening, but her quick acceptance as she plopped herself down by Nico's bag told me she was just as willing to see how this plays out as I was.
Another chomp of Xanders breakfast got stolen, Nico's typical cool composure shining through with the calm, tormenting confidence he spoke through, "I'll kick your ass anywhere Xander, especially when we have nine hours to kill."
Xanders's eyes narrowed as a quiet snarl passed his lips.
I was surprised at the lack of claws just given how easily they appear from him.
The goal wasn't to hurt, just to subdue as far as I knew.
A few more seconds of that building tension before they both blurred through their speed.
And it was over embarrassingly quick.
I heard myself gasp, a hand moving to cover my mouth at the thud of Xander's body hitting the ground.
Nico sat over his lower back with a knee on either side, keeping Xander there with a move that looked very similar to how Xander handled Layla against that wall.
Except Nico had both of Xander's hands pinned behind his back.
I guess now I knew where Xander got it from...
"Hey, I wasn't ready!" Xander proclaimed, wriggling uselessly against Nico's hold.
Even if he might have... painfully lost, I knew he was still cherishing this moment
Nico's smile mirrored what I was feeling.
"I don't think you can tell me that you weren't ready when you made the first move," Nico casually commented.
I nearly rolled my eyes at that.
Xander's struggling became more intense, muttering incoherently with a few colorful words here and there.
"Wha- I didn't-" He gave up rather quickly after not being able to form a proper sentence, burying his head into the floor and letting out a long groan.
A softness I wasn't expecting showed for a moment behind Nico's eyes at Xander's antics.
He missed this too.
"Do you give up yet?" he then asked.
"Hell no!" Xander spat, turning his head to the side to meet his brother's eye.
He then began full-on flailing, kicking his legs in a futile attempt to hit Nico's back.
Nico let him get away with it for a little bit before he began slowly lifting his wrists further up his back.
My stomach did a little twist as I imagined what that would feel like for him, and I had to catch myself from moving to do something about it.
Luckily Xander gave in not too long after.
"Okay! Okay! You win!" He exclaimed, ceasing Nico's movements with a victorious grin before letting go of his wrists.
"Damn right I did." He breathed out, getting his feet back under him to stand.
Xander stayed on the floor, wallowing in his defeat with a small pout.
His eyes lifted to me as Nico strut over to reclaim his spot as well as the bar that was once Xander's
A smile just barely pulled at my lips, raising a brow to question his fast defeat.
Undeniable embarrassment grew from his features, his eyes flickering towards the ground.
'I let him win', he mouthed.
Ah, lip-reading. We haven't done that in a while.
I did roll my eyes this time.
'Always a bad liar.'
He just gave me a small, surrendering nod before finally beginning to push himself up.
"Next time Nico," Nico's eyes turned back to his brother from where they previously looked to be at Khloe, "Next time I'm winning,"
Nico just shrugged as his brother eventually got to his feet.
"Whatever you say, dude."
I scooched myself over off of the cushion that held the snacks beneath as Xander trudged back over towards me, figuring he'd want something else to munch on since his original food got stolen.
He lifted open the compartment again and grabbed the same thing, closing and sitting upon it right next to me with a hefty sigh.
I tossed one of the tiny cookies into my mouth to keep myself from reacting too much to his grand show of dramatized defeat.
He may have lost... terribly might I add, but I personally considered the fact that the interaction even happened to be a win.
I caught myself hesitating to lean against him as the side of his leg placed itself against mine.
The tiredness throughout me was practically begging for me to do so so that I could get comfy and fall asleep, I wasn't so sure about doing that sort of thing somewhere outside of a room we slept in.
I couldn't say exactly why, but the thought gave me a spike in my nerves
My eyes followed Nico and Khloe as they made their way to each other to sit across from us, Xander eyeing Nico in a way that lead me to believe he was already fabricating some sort of revenge.
I think this had the potential to be a very interesting drive.Doe's POV: