Then again, maybe not. It was much easier to kill someone you didn’t feel sorry for. Easier to think of things in terms of black and white.
Good and evil.
"Let’s go see Phoebe," Cassandra said, taking his hand and leading him toward another corridor. "She told me I could drop in on her any time."
It didn’t take long to reach her sister’s apartment. Phoebe’s side of the city was a lot busier than theirs.
Wulf stood to the side, watching the Apollites walk hurriedly past them while Cassandra keyed in the code for Phoebe’s lock.
Cassandra was doing her best to not think about the future. Or to think about the officer who was spending her last night with her family. Just as she would do one day all too soon with Wulf.
How she needed to push him away. To keep him at bay so that her death wouldn’t hurt him too much.
She focused instead on the fact that she still had one of her sisters with her.
The door slid open.
Cassandra started into the room, then froze. Phoebe was on her couch on top of Urian. Their bare skin was set off to perfection by the dull light of candles that had been set around the room.
Cassandra gasped to find them in flagrante delicto.
Phoebe jerked up, her mouth coated in blood.
Mortified, Cassandra stepped back and closed the door. "Oh, that was really bad timing."
"What?" Wulf asked as he turned toward her.
Grateful he hadn’t seen them and gone berserk over the way most Apollites fed, Cassandra grabbed his hand. "I think I’ll talk to her later."
Wulf didn’t budge easily. "What happened?"
Cassandra didn’t want to share her experience with a Dark-Hunter who would judge her sister harshly for feeding.
The apartment door opened.
"Cassie?" Phoebe was now wearing a thick blue bathrobe. Her face and mouth were clean, but her hair was completely disheveled. "Is something wrong?"
"Nothing that can’t wait," Cassandra hastened to assure her. "You go finish and I’ll talk to you later."
Her face flushing, Phoebe went back inside.
Wulf burst out laughing. "Let me guess. Urian in there with her?"
Cassandra’s face flamed even more than her sister’s.
He laughed harder.
"It’s not funny, Wulf," she snapped at him. "How would you feel if someone barged in on us?"
"I’d have to kill them."
"Well, there you go. I’m sure Urian feels the same way. Now let’s go back so I don’t have to think about the fact that the image of them nak*d together will give me nightmares for months."
As they headed down the corridor, a little girl came running up to Wulf. She craned her neck to look up at him accusingly. "Are you really going to kill my baby sister tonight because she didn’t wash behind her ears?"
Both of them were aghast at her question.
"Excuse me?" Wulf asked.
"My mommy says Dark-Hunters kill little boys and girls when they don’t behave. I don’t want you to kill Alycia. She’s not bad, she just doesn’t like to get her ears wet."
Wulf knelt down in front of the little girl and brushed her hair back from her face. "Little one, I’m not going to hurt your sister or anyone else here. I promise."
"Dacia!" a man snapped as he rushed forward. "I told you never to talk to anyone with dark hair." He scooped his daughter up and ran off with her as if terrified that Wulf really would kill her.
"Hasn’t anyone ever told you people that we don’t hurt Apollites!" Wulf shouted after them.
"Sheez," he said under his breath. "And all this time, I thought Christopher was the only person I terrorized."
A passing man answered his words by spitting on Wulf’s shoes.
"Hey!" Cassandra snapped, going after the man. "There’s no need to be rude."
The man raked a repugnant glare over her. "How could you let something like him touch you? I say we should have left you to die by the Daimons. It’s what a whore like you deserves."
His eyes darkening, Wulf slugged the Apollite. Hard. The Apollite staggered back, then charged him.
He caught Wulf about the stomach and slammed him back into the wall. Cassandra cried out at the sight, wanting to stop them, but she was too afraid of hurting the baby to try.
Suddenly, Apollites came out from all directions to break them apart. Even Urian came out of nowhere.
Urian was the one who pushed Wulf back. His skin tone was ashen and it was obvious Urian was extremely weak. Even so, he put himself between Wulf and the Apollite and kept a hand on each one.
"Enough!" Urian roared at the two of them.
"Are you all right?" Wulf asked him.
Urian released both men. The Apollite was taken off by the others, but he cast a parting malevolent glare at them.
"You need to stay out of sight, Dark-Hunter," Urian said, his tone much kinder than it had been earlier. He wiped a hand over his sweat-covered brow.
"You really don’t look good," Wulf said, ignoring his warning. "Do you need something?"
Urian shook his head as if to clear it. "I just need to rest for a while." He curled his lip at Wulf. "Can you stay out of trouble long enough for that?"
"Uri?" Phoebe asked as she joined them. "Did I take too much?"
Urian’s face softened instantly. He pulled her against his side and kissed the side of her head. "No, love. I’m just tired. I’ll be fine."
He pulled away and started back for their apartment. He staggered.
"Bullshit," Wulf said. Before Cassandra knew what he was doing, Wulf had Urian’s arm slung over his shoulders and was headed back for their apartment.
"What are you doing?" Urian asked angrily.
"I’m taking you to Kat before you pass out."
Urian hissed at that. "Why? She hates me."
"So do I, but we both owe you."
Cassandra didn’t speak as she and Phoebe followed after them all the way back to their apartment.
Kat and Chris were playing cards when they entered.
"Oh, jeez, what happened?" Kat asked as soon as she saw Urian.
"I think I took too much blood from him," Phoebe said, her beautiful face lined with worry.
Wulf laid Urian down on the couch. "Can you help him?" he asked Kat.
Kat pushed Wulf out of the way. She held up two fingers in front of Urian’s face. "How many fingers do you see?"
She popped him on the side. "Stop that. This is serious."
Urian widened his eyes and tried to focus his gaze on her hand. "Three… I think."
Kat shook her head. "We’ll be back."
Cassandra watched in awe as Kat flashed them out of the room.
"Now why didn’t she do that when we were being chased by Stryker?" Chris asked.
"She’s taking him to Kalosis, Chris," Phoebe answered. "I doubt any of you want to go into a realm ruled by nothing but Spathi Daimons and one really pissed-off ancient goddess who is bent on destroying the entire world."
"You know," Chris said. "I really like it here. Not to mention, I can now look at Kat’s hand." He picked up her cards and cursed. "I should have known she wasn’t bluffing."
Cassandra watched her sister closely. In spite of the worry on her face, Phoebe looked a lot better than she had before. Her cheeks were pink, her skin bright.
"I’m so sorry I interrupted you two," Cassandra said, her face growing instantly warm again.
"Please don’t be. I mean, don’t make it a habit, mind you, but if you hadn’t come in, I might have killed him. He has a bad tendency to not tell me when I’ve taken too much blood. It scares me sometimes."
Wulf crossed his arms over his chest. "So Daimons can die from blood loss?"
"Only when it’s being sucked out of them," Cassandra answered.
Phoebe gave him an arch stare. "Are you planning on using that against us?"
Wulf shook his head. "I’d rather die myself than suck on another man’s neck. That’s disgusting. Besides, didn’t you tell me that’s how Apollites can be changed into Daimons? It begs the question that since Dark-Hunters have no souls, could they be made Daimon too?"
"Yeah, but DH blood is poisonous to the Daimons," Chris said as he shuffled his deck of cards. "Isn’t the point of that so that no Daimon can feed off or convert you guys?"
"Perhaps…" Phoebe said. "But then disembodied souls can possess a Dark-Hunter, and since Uri and I share souls, it makes you wonder if perhaps a Daimon and Dark-Hunter could share one too."
"Let’s hope we never find that one out," Wulf said as he moved to sit on the couch in front of Chris.
Phoebe turned back toward Cassandra. "So what did you want when you came to see me?"
"I’ve been putting together a memory box for the baby. Notes and pictures from me. Little mementos to tell him about our people and family, and I was wondering if you would mind putting something in there from you."
"Why do you need something like that when we’ll be more than happy to tell him anything he wants to know?"
Cassandra hesitated, not wanting to hurt her sister’s feelings. "He can’t grow up here, Phe. He’ll have to be with Wulf in the human world."
Her sister’s eyes snapped fire. "Why can’t he grow up here?" Phoebe insisted. "We can protect him just as well as Wulf. Probably more so."
Wulf glanced up as Chris dealt him a hand of cards. "What if he’s even more human than Cassandra is? Would he be safe here?"
The indecision on Phoebe’s face said it all.
No, he wouldn’t be. They had seen enough of Wulf’s treatment tonight to verify that. Apollites were no more tolerant of humans than humans were of Apollites.
At least they didn’t tie each other to stakes anymore and set fire to them.
At least not often.
Wulf looked meaningfully at Phoebe. "I can protect him and his children a lot easier than you can. I think the temptation of having a human soul here would be way too much for some of your people to handle. Especially given how much they hate Dark-Hunters. What a coup. Kill my son, get a human soul, and take revenge on the very thing all of you despise most."
Phoebe nodded. "I suppose you’re right." She took Cassandra’s hand. "Yes, I would like to add some things to the box for him."
While Wulf and Chris played cards, Cassandra went to the bedroom and retrieved the large silver-inlaid box that Kat had brought with them from the house, along with paper and pens.
She and Phoebe wrote letters to the baby. After a while, Phoebe left her alone to run a quick errand.
Cassandra sat alone in her room, flipping through the pages of notes and letters she had made for her son. How she wished she could see him grow. She would give anything to glimpse her son as a grown man.
Maybe Wulf could contact a Were-Hunter and have one take her forward in time. Just for a quick glance. Just to let her see what she would miss.
But then that might be even worse. Besides, pregnant women couldn’t travel through the time portals.
"I hope you look like your father," she said, rubbing her stomach gently as she imagined the little baby inside her. She could easily see him with dark, wavy hair like Wulf’s. He’d be tall, hopefully muscular.
And he would be forced to grow up without a mother’s love. Just as Wulf would be forced to watch her die…
A sob caught in her throat as she reached for another piece of paper. She wrote quickly, holding back her tears, telling her son just how much she did love him. Letting him know that even though she wasn’t with him physically, she would be with him spiritually.
Somehow she would find a way to watch over him. Always.
She finished the letter, placed it in the box, then took it to the living room where the guys were still playing cards. She was afraid to be alone. Her thoughts had a nasty way of torturing her whenever she was by herself.
Chris and Wulf were champions at keeping her mind off the future. At making her smile even when she didn’t feel like it.
Chris had just dealt Cassandra into their game when Phoebe returned with a book.
"What’s this?" she asked as Phoebe added it to the box on the couch next to her.
"It’s a book of Apollite fairy tales," Phoebe said. "Remember the one Mom used to read to us when we were kids? Donita sells them in her shop so I went just now and bought one for the baby."
Suspicious, Wulf picked the book up and flipped through it with a frown. "Hey, Chris," he said, handing it to his Squire. "You read Greek, right?"
"What’s in here?"
Chris started reading silently, then burst out laughing. Hard.
Cassandra cringed as she remembered some of the things her mother had read to them when they were children.
Chris kept laughing. "I don’t know if you want the baby to see this if you’re the one raising him."
"Let me guess," Wulf said, narrowing his gaze on Phoebe. "He’ll have nightmares that Daddy is going to hunt him down and rip his head off?"
"Pretty much. I am particularly fond of the one called: ‘Acheron the Great Evil.’" Chris paused as he turned to another story. "Oh, wait… You’ll love this one. They got the story of the nasty Nordic Dark-Hunter. Remember the story with the witch and the oven? This one features you with a furnace."