Disclaimers: see Chapter 1
Chapter 9 Hallowed Darkness
It was well past 11am when Annie turned over and looked at her watch. Cerys was entangled with her body to the point where the writer wasn't sure where her body ended and that of the Warder began.
Cerys was still asleep, at least Annie hoped the vampire was sleeping. It was hard to tell when your lover didn't have to breathe and you couldn't feel a pulse. Cold skin didn't help either. Annie untangled herself slowly and quietly, not wanting to wake the vampire during the day. The writer had no idea how a vampire would react when startled awake. Annie had read too many horror books and seen too many movies of vampires jumping up with fangs extended when their sleep was disturbed.
Annie took a quick shower and stepped outside the hotel to discover the day was overcast and drizzling. Thanks to the baseball cap she had worn the day before, the rain didn't bother her much.
The writer wanted some time to clear her head. It was the first time in two months that she had felt human again and it felt wonderful, even if the weather was cold and biting.
"Biting," Annie muttered. "That's a good word." A rueful grin on her face.
Almost every part of Annie's body was sore and aching. It had been a long night and both human and vampire had been determined to make up for the time apart from each other. Given the fact they hadn't been sexual until last night, Annie figured that added up to a lot of sexual frustration and they had spent almost every minute of the night working that out.
That included finding places on her body that Annie hadn't considered erotic before, enhanced enormously by the presence of fangs sinking into her skin. Annie could see how someone might get addicted to the eroticism of the feeding.
Not that there had been much feeding the night before; just a lot of incredible sex. Annie smiled to herself.
The writer trotted downhill to the Cliff House, joining what few tourists had roamed out to the Point on a weekday. There were some die-hard Japanese and German tourists from the sounds of the bits of language reaching her as Annie made her way into the restaurant. Annie found a place by the windows and sipped a coke while she waited for her food, watching the ocean crash against the rocks below her.
Annie tried not to think that she only had just over 24 hours left with Cerys. The Warder had told her that she'd probably wake up around 3pm, not sleeping the entire day through like their previous time together. Cerys wasn't wounded and near death this time; she was just exhausted from great sex. Annie had been surprised that the vampire wouldn't sleep the entire day away, but Cerys had explained that she needed only several hours of sleep and to stay out of the sun the rest of the time.
Annie knew Jeannie would show up just past 6pm and let them have the car while she watched their hotel room. The writer was so grateful; she knew the risk Jeannie was taking and knew she could never repay the editor. Just to protect themselves, the blonde knew the Watcher Council would kill both her and Cerys so as to not risk Cerys changing her mind and staying in the human realm.
The food was good and Annie felt better than she had in a long time. She wandered outside and leaned over the railing in the rain, the sea breeze whipping her hair around. Only a handful of brave tourists dared the wind and rain to grab quick pictures of Seal Rock before heading back either inside the Forest Ranger store, gift shop or restaurant. They looked at Annie like she had lost her mind.
The writer laughed at herself. Annie knew she was already soaked to the skin on some parts of her body, and it was a decent hike back to the hotel. The turtleneck and leather jacket she was wearing was protecting her nicely, but her legs and head were wet and cold. Annie decided to walk back to the hotel through Sutro Park. One main stopping point for the writer was the statue of Diana, the Huntress. The statute had been repaired in the last couple of years, but it was already showing signs of wear and tear again. To discourage visitors from getting close to her, the park officials and gardeners had planted roses around the base of the statue,S but Annie could see that local and visiting pagans were determined. Offerings of sea-shells, beads, coins, and flowers had been tossed or placed at the base of Diana's feet. Candle wax and burned down incense sticks showed where rituals had been held.
Annie worked her way carefully through the thorns to place her own offering of a picture of her and Travis. She said a quick prayer for things to work out, even though she had no idea how the hell it could.
Despite her determination to stay 'up', Annie found herself getting depressed as she walked through the rain towards the hotel.
"How the hell am I supposed to let her go?" she argued and wiped at her tears as she punched the button for the elevator.
Annie grinned when she opened the door and found Cerys sitting on the edge of the bed, apparently just waking up.
Jeannie smiled as she started to knock on the door and hesitated. Feeling like a voyeur, she listened for a moment as moans behind the door came louder and then turned into a long scream, startling the Watcher.
She wasn't sure which woman that had been but the scream definitely was one of pleasure. Jeannie waited a moment and pounded on the door.
Jeannie could hear muffled curses on the other side of the door and bodies stumbling around. She was grinning from ear to ear when the door was opened by Annie. The writer was clad in a t-shirt and a pair of sweat shorts, and the t-shirt was on inside out.
She glared at her editor as Jeannie broke into a laugh when the woman entered the room. Jeannie could hear Cerys fumbling around in the bathroom.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Annie grumbled but with a smile. Jeannie noticed several bites on Annie's neck and the calm energy about the writer. Cerys walked out of the bathroom, and Jeannie's eyebrows raised in surprise at the sight of several love bites on the vampire as well.
Cerys grinned as Annie blushed.
"I'm not the only vampire around here," Cerys teased as she sat down next to Annie on the bed while Jeannie sat down on the other bed.
"Looks like it!" Jeannie agreed. "So what's the plan for tonight? I brought the latest book I'm editing and my laptop. What are you two going to do?"
"We haven't talked about it," Cerys shrugged, looking at Annie.
"Looks like you haven't been doing much talking at all!" Jeannie grinned.
"Witch!" Annie grumbled.
"Any sign of Watchers or Warders?" Cerys asked, wrapping an arm around Annie's shoulder. The writer sighed and leaned on the Warder's shoulder.
"No," Jeannie answered, getting serious. "My husband left home with the kids. Anybody calls and the machine says I'm in the shower or playing with the kids. I've been left out of the loop about this opening of portals and I'm pretending that I'm upset, but that it's no big deal."
"Good," Cerys said softly. "I don't want Annie hurt after this."
"The Council will find out. I think we should tell them after you're gone," Jeannie suggested. "The danger will be over and they'll see that Annie isn't a threat to them."
"They'll hang you," Annie growled.
"Probably for helping the two of you out without telling the Council, but we'll handle it," Jeannie smiled. "I might be fired but they'll keep Annie around and protect her."
"Gods, I hate this!" Cerys snapped and Annie sat up abruptly and pulled Cerys into her arms.
"We agreed, no more tears about this," Annie whimpered. "Not until tomorrow night."
"I know, I just feel complete when I'm with you," Cerys whined. "Everything is lifeless unless I'm with you."
"I know, I know," Annie whispered, holding her lover close as Jeannie shifted uncomfortably.
After a moment Cerys sat up and wiped at her eyes wearily.
"What would you like to do tonight?" she asked the smaller woman holding her.
"I don't know, I just want to be with you," Annie said sullenly.
"May I suggest dinner and a drive?" Jeannie smiled gently.
"Sounds good, or is eating a problem?" Annie smiled, sitting up.
"You'd be surprised how no one ever notices that you never finish a Caesar salad," Cerys grinned.
"Well, I'll probably need food again in about an hour," Annie agreed. "What do you suggest?"
"Something to replace the iron you've lost and about to lose tonight," Cerys said, her voice lower and husky with arousal.
"Do you want me to leave?" Jeannie teased and Annie threw a pillow at her head.
"No, let's go out for a little bit," Annie said.
"Anything for you," Cerys said softly.
"God! You two are sickening!" Jeannie protested with a laugh. "Get out of here!"
"Steak house then?" Cerys suggested with a laugh as Annie grabbed clothes to wear and headed for the bathroom.
"Sure, nice and rare!" Annie yelled.
Annie couldn't help but glance around frequently as they settled in a booth at a local steakhouse. The place wasn't expensive but it wasn't cheap either. The writer found that she was very hungry, even after the big lunch earlier in the day.
Cerys grinned as Annie ordered a large steak with everything and a salad to go with it. The Warder ordered a Caesar salad and an ale.
The vampire noticed Annie's frequent and nervous glances.
"Looking for Watchers, Warders or vampires?" Cerys asked softly, reaching across the table to hold the writer's hand.
"All of the above?" Annie smiled with a shrug.
"Well, no Watchers," Cerys said slowly, glancing around the restaurant. "Over there by the window is a vampire. He's putting the moves on that young woman."
Annie glanced that way carefully. She hadn't gone through any of the Watcher training yet because of her illness but Annie discovered that, if she looked closely, she could see certain things that set the man apart from the other people in the place. He was too pale, but that could be dismissed in San Francisco, a popular place for lack of suntans and vampire wanna-bes. But the man's paleness was natural, and he had an aura of hunger about him that rolled off him like a wave.
"Over there near the door are two Warders, watching him," Cerys said calmly. "When he leaves with his prey, they'll be waiting in the shadows."
Annie bit her lip to keep from spinning around in her chair to look at the other Warders.
"Do they see you and me?" Annie asked, her heart in her throat.
"They did and dismissed me as being out of my territory, probably with my Watcher," Cerys shrugged. "I don't know them personally; they must be from a different region at home."
"Oh God, what if they're looking for you?" Annie demanded.
"They're not," Cerys said softly. "The Warders won't be looking for me unless I stay here past tomorrow night."
"Isn't there some way?" Annie pleaded and drew back as their salads arrived.
"No, Little One," Cerys said softly as the waiter left. "There isn't. The best magick users and schoolers in my realm have looked for answers and didn't find one."
"We're even more helpless over here when it comes to magick," Annie complained.
Cerys shrugged in her casual way that Annie found either charming or frustrating, depending on her mood. Right now she found it charming and smiled at the dark haired, blue eyed woman in front of her.
"What have you been doing the last two months?" Cerys asked, hoping to distract Annie from the obvious desire rising in the writer. She wanted Annie to eat dinner and if the young woman kept looking at her like that, the Warder knew they would never make it through the main course.
"Suffering," Annie said and immediately regretted her words as Cery's eyes became wounded. "I'm sorry. I was sick and kept getting worse. Jeannie took me to a gypsy woman and she told us that I sick because I wasn't with you."
Cerys looked down at her salad, her face pained.
"I know," Cerys said softly, her eyes filling with tears as she looked back up at Annie. "Our mages saw that. We're a soul bound couple; our souls are meant to be together or we both have to reject that bounding."
"If I let you go tomorrow then we won't get sick again?" Annie asked, frowning. "I don't believe that, I'll be lost without you!"
"Keep it down, lover," Cerys suggested, glancing around quickly as Annie tried to compose herself. "And I'll be lost without you as well but we'll survive. We won't be happy and we'll probably never find anyone we want to mate with again but we'll survive. The only hope is that one of our souls crosses the realms after we die and we can join together in the next life or in the afterlife."
Annie wanted to scream and she wanted to throw something very badly. She gripped the table tightly as she struggled to bring herself under control.
"It was a nightmare without you!" Annie growled and then calmed down. "I met with a couple of other Watchers and another Warder. Some bitch named Karsla."
"Ah, yeah, she is a bitch," Cerys agreed with a soft laugh, feeling her heart melting again and again at the sight of Annie. "I spent the time with mages and scribes, looking for answers and letting them keep me balanced. It was probably easier on my side because of our magick users."
"So what happens next?" Annie demanded, trying to keep the bitterness out of her voice but failing.
"We go back to the hotel, make mad passionate sex all night, sleep part of the day away and meet Jeannie at the portal tomorrow evening," Cerys said truthfully.
Annie frowned as the waiter brought her steak. She felt miserable again, but couldn't deny her growling stomach.
"Go ahead, you need the food," Cerys urged. "I…I need…"
"You need to feed tonight?" Annie asked gently.
Cerys actually managed to blush and nodded.
"Good," Annie grinned and Cerys looked surprised. "I like those fangs," Annie admitted.
"It won't just be the biting," Cerys warned. "It'll be like last time; draining."
"I know, just wait until we're exhausted and can't take another round of sex," Annie suggested and watched Cerys' eyes wide in surprise at Annie's forward manner. The writer laughed and ran her tongue over her fork suggestively.
"Oh gods," Cerys mumbled. "Annie, if there was a way, I'd fight through your heaven and hell to fix it."
"I know, me too," Annie nodded, serious again. "I can't leave Travis. I could maybe handle the ghoul thing but I can't leave Travis and I don't want that for him on your side."
"I know and I wouldn't ask that," Cerys said firmly. "Ghouls are thought of as worse than the lowest creature in my world. It would be a nightmare."
"Just take me out of here and hold me all night," Annie said softly, fighting back her tears.
Jeannie frowned as she looked up from her laptop. "Who could be knocking?" she asked the empty room softly. The Watcher pulled a Glock automatic pistol from her purse and slid the action back, chambering a round as she went to the door.
"Yes?" she called out loudly, not even opening the door on the chain.
"Mrs. Carson," a female voice called through the wood. "I'm a Warder, a friend of Cerys. May I talk with you?"
"Cerys isn't here right now," Jeannie responded, wondering what the hell to do. Cerys said the Warders weren't after her yet, then why was one on their doorstep and how did they find Cerys so quickly?
"Mrs. Carson?" the voice called.
Jeannie debated but knew if the vampire wanted in then there was nothing to stop her. The hotel was a public place and a Warder or vampire could come and go as they pleased. The hotel door and locks wouldn't stop them either. The Watcher reached into her book bag and unsheathed a machete and held it in her other hand.
Jeannie undid the locks and opened the door cautiously. Standing in the hallway was a tall woman with golden eyes and a regal bearing about her. She was dressed Terrain style in black slacks, a white turtleneck and a tan raincoat. The woman looked familiar somehow.
"Do I know you?" Jeannie asked.
"No, you know my daughter," the woman answered easily. "I'm Cerys' mother, Janska."
"Oh wow," Jeannie muttered and moved aside to let Janska enter the room. The Watcher quickly locked the door again and turned to face the visitor.
"I watched them leave, they'll be gone for a bit," Janska commented.
"Cerys doesn't know you're here?" Jeannie asked, offering a seat on the edge of one of the beds.
"No, not yet," Janska said.
"I read about you in the case files, one of the most successful Warders," Jeannie commented.
"Yes, I made many trips to this realm and I've trained many Warders, including my own daughter at times," Janska smiled.
"Wait a minute!" Jeannie frowned, "You retired because one more trip would mean a permanent spot on this side of the portals. How can you be here?"
"I'm here because I'm going to ensure Cerys isn't hurt before she gets back to the portal tomorrow night," Janska said easily. "I can cross back once more."
"Oh God, there's no hope?"
"There's always hope but it might be a battle finding it," Janska added.
"As usual," Jeannie muttered.
"I had our mages gifted with Sight watching your Watchers," Janska said. "They are suspicious of you and have your house under watch."
"I was followed?"
"Yes, they know Cerys is here and are just waiting to see what happens," Janska explained.
"Oh hell!" Jeannie muttered. "Cerys plans on going back, don't they realize that?"
"They aren't sure," Janska shrugged. "They're going to play a wait and see. So far my daughter hasn't grabbed her lover and boy and headed to the hills yet. By renting this hotel for only two nights and since they don't have the boy with them, it looks like Cerys is only staying for a visit. Not a mad lover's dash."
"No, Cerys plans on going back," Jeannie confirmed.
"There might be hope," Janska said slowly.
Jeannie felt and knew she looked like she had been hit with a baseball bat.
"Tell me!" she demanded softly.
"It's long and complicated and the details really don't matter, you just need to make sure that Cerys and Annie don't do something crazy and are at that portal tomorrow night," Janska said.
"Cerys will be surprised to see you," Jeannie muttered.
"I don't want her to know I'm here," Janska answered and Jeannie looked surprised. "She'll know something is up and I need her surprised and off balance tomorrow night."
"You're not telling me something," Jeannie suddenly frowned.
"You're right," Janska smirked. "There's danger and several of us might end up dead. The Warders from my side may have decided to eliminate any future danger of Cerys crossing back over and your Watchers might decide the same with Annie and you."
"Annie?" Jeannie demanded.
"I hope not. The ones in the most danger will be myself and Cerys," Janska tried to reassure the editor. "Tell me about Annie."
"What about her?" Jeannie smiled. "She's the best!"
"My daughter is bonded with her. I'm a typical mother," Janska smiled. "I want details on the woman who stole my daughter's heart and soul."
"She's a writer, very cute, wonderful personality," Jeannie began. "Well, she can be stubborn and irritating at times."
"Good," Janska laughed softly. "I know they're bound by the soul but are they in love?"
"Very much so. I've never seen someone suffering like Annie did without Cerys," Jeannie said seriously.
"I know, Cerys almost died," Janska nodded thoughtfully. "Tell me about her and Travis."
Jeannie settled in with a smile to talk about her favorite writer and son.
Annie chose to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge and stop at the Vista Point on the other side. Since it had been raining that day, the night was clear and the view of the Gate and The City was magnificent. It was dark, windy and cold and so they were alone.
The writer leaned back into Cerys' arms as the Warder wrapped arms and a large coat around Annie.
"I love you, Annie," Cerys finally said.
"I love you, tall one," Annie smiled. It felt like heaven being in Cerys' arms, and Annie found that she didn't want the moment to end.
The small blonde woman turned in Cerys' arms and leaned up to tenderly kiss her Warder. Cerys whimpered and welcomed Annie's lips and tongue as the writer melded her body next to the vampire.
Annie wasn't sure how long they stood there kissing; it felt like forever and yet only a moment in time. All the blonde knew was that it ended too soon. It seemed as if they had been wrapped in a shell of warmth, in which time had stopped. When Annie pulled back it was like time started again; she was cold and feeling miserable. Every minute moved them closer to saying goodbye.
Cerys held her love close as Annie began to cry softly.
Annie frowned when they stepped out of the elevator. She yelped as Cerys grabbed her by the collar and pulled the writer back. The Warder pulled a Glock pistol from a shoulder holster, and Annie pulled one out of a belt holster.
"Something's wrong," Cerys muttered. "I smell blood and gunpowder."
"Our door is slightly open," Annie whispered. "The light is on."
"Stay behind me," Cerys ordered.
"You were forgetting who took on half the vampires with you?" Annie grinned but let Cerys first move out of the elevator into the hallway. She proceeded to the corner of the walkway leading to their hotel room.
Annie advanced to where Cerys had been standing as Cerys travelled out onto the walkway, moving closer to the room. Annie noticed that the Warder held the gun down along her leg but moved with the carefulness of a trained warrior.
Cerys cautiously opened the door, her gun at the ready. The Warder looked in behind the door and moved inside slowly.
The writer dashed forward into the room and closed the door at a hand signal from Cerys. Annie blinked as she watched Cerys place a hotel towel over Jeannie's stomach and press down. The blonde knew that Jeannie was alive from the moans and look of pain suddenly crossing her face.
"Should I call 911?" Annie demanded in a soft voice.
"Wait a moment," Cerys instructed as Annie knelt by her friend.
Jeannie opened her eyes slowly, and the writer whimpered at the amount of pain in the Watcher's eyes. Cerys wiped away the blood flowing from Jeannie's mouth and shook her head at Annie.
"She's been shot with a shot gun," Cerys said softly. "Jeannie, I don't know if medical help can save you."
"I know," Jeannie whispered. "Your mother…waiting at….gate…tomorrow night…Watchers…Warders…after you."
"Call 911 and grab your stuff," Cerys said firmly.
Annie grabbed for the phone on the nightstand between the two beds as Cerys stuffed their things into backpacks. The writer turned to her lover with a frown.
"We can't leave her until they get here," she protested.
"Say your goodbyes, Annie," Cerys snapped.
"No, damnit! She's the only friend I've got!" Annie countered.
"She's gone!" Cerys growled and threw Annie's backpack at her. "We can't afford to answer questions all night at a police station. We also have to get out of here and get your son before the Watchers grab him. They'll use him to draw you out."
"Oh God, Trav," Annie whispered and knelt beside Jeannie again. "Jeannie?"
"Get out of here," Jeannie whispered.
"I love you, my friend," Annie said softly and went to the door, standing behind Cerys as the Warder opened the door, Glock in her hand at the ready.
Annie followed Cerys into the night as they headed down the stairs and blended into the shadows as sirens sounded on the street.
Once in the car, Annie allowed a couple of tears to escape from her eyes as they drove along the San Francisco streets.
"Why didn't someone hear a shotgun?" Annie demanded.
"The hotel clerk probably had a gun to his head while they attacked Jeannie and my mother," Cerys answered, keeping an eye on the traffic, watching for anyone following them.
"Your mother? Your mother?" Annie squeaked, trying to concentrate on her driving and not attract the attention of anyone, especially a police officer.
"That's what Jeannie said," Cerys commented. "I wouldn't put it past my mother to have something up her sleeve. The problem is that the Watchers and Warders obviously feel that we're up to something with my mother being here. To play it safe, they're going to try and kill all of us."
"What can your mother have come up with in one day?" Annie snapped.
"I don't know," Cerys admitted. "Maybe she's just to make sure I cross back over tomorrow night and not drag you down with me."
Cerys glanced around.
"Can we make it to Travis?" she asked.
"We don't need to," Annie said calmly. "Steve took them to Disneyland, no reservations, no plans, no nothing. Travis is even calling him Dad for the next three days."
"Very sneaky," Cerys said, admiring the planning. "Where are we headed?"
"There's someone that Jeannie trusted," Annie said seriously. "Maybe he can hide us for the day. I don't think the Rrom will be very happy that Jeannie's dead."
"Rrom? Jeannie was gypsy?" Cerys asked in a surprised voice.
"Yup, sorta," Annie nodded. "She married outside the Rrom so they didn't consider her a true Rrom or something but they still helped her when they could."
Annie fought back the tears as she drove.
Annie had been right; Jeannie's friend Tech was visibly upset at the news that the editor was dead. In fact, he tore the room apart. Annie finally let her feelings overcome her and wept in Cerys arms while Tech destroyed several computers he and the other absent geeks had been working on. After a few minutes, the Rrom sat down heavily on the floor of the office, staring at his shoes.
Annie felt Cerys hug her encouragingly and turned to the young man.
"Tech, I'm sorry," she said softly.
Tech looked up and nodded. "We all knew it would happen someday."
"Yeah, but not from her own Watchers," Cerys said bitterly.
"She walked a fine line," Tech countered. "Jeannie knew if she tried to help Annie that she might pay for it. You can stay until tomorrow evening. I'll pull your car into the warehouse and I'll bring food during the day for you, Annie."
"Tech, do the Watchers know how close you were to Annie?" Cerys asked softly.
"No, she always down played our contacts," the young gypsy male shook his head. "She wanted to keep her contacts among the Rrom to herself and we prefer it that way."
"Things will change among the Council, Tech," Cerys commented.
"You plan on sticking around and changing things, vampire?' Tech's head snapped up, his eyes flashing.
"Jeannie died telling us to be at the portal tomorrow night, whether that meant crossing back to my realm or staying here with some new answer, we'll find out tomorrow night," Cerys answered truthfully. "I hope there's an answer. I'm a Warder, that makes me a realist and I know there probably isn't one."
"They'll be looking for a portal in the area," Tech grumbled.
"Yes, any way they can find it before tomorrow night?" Annie asked.
In answer, Tech got to his feet and went to his favorite computer.
"There's a room back there with a queen-size bed," he pointed to a nondescript door. "Clean sheets in a box at the end of the bed. No windows, vampire safe."
"Thanks, anything we can do to help you?" Annie asked.
"Yeah, I'll hack into the Watcher's system on that other computer in a moment," Tech answered as his fingers danced over the keyboard. "I'll key you into their files, you can look for any references to Sutro, Cliff House, Sutro Park, Sutro Ruins, stuff like that. On this computer, I'm going to hack into their system and see what the reports over the last 24 hours say and who gave the order to kill Jeannie."
Within minutes, Annie was hovered over a keyboard with Cerys sitting next to her, watching the workings of the electric marvel. Tech muttered occasionally from his side of the room but glared if Cerys got anywhere near him.
It was another two hours before Annie stretched and looked over her notes. Cerys hugged her for a quick moment before the writer turned to Tech.
"The Council doesn't seem to know about the portal Cerys came through," Annie said wearily. It was close to dawn and she was getting tired.
"Good," Tech muttered. "The reports show they followed Jeannie to the hotel and saw you two leave. The Watchers panicked but put the place under surveillance."
"Then what?" Cerys asked.
"You confused the hell out of them," Tech continued. "Which isn't hard for those stuffed shirts."
"Tech," Annie scolded in a soft voice.
"You didn't grab Annie and head for the hills and only rented the hotel for two nights," Tech added. "They decided to sit back and watch."
"So what pissed them off tonight?" Annie asked, resisting the impulse to look over Tech's shoulder.
"Another Warder showed up," Tech said slowly. "One that sent the Watchers into an absolute need of diapers."
"Come on, spill it," Cerys growled.
"Your mother showed up and it freaked them right out," Tech snapped. "They know she can't stay without becoming a permanent vampire, not even a night. They think she's here to help you go on the run."
"My mother?" Cerys asked softly.
"Yup," Tech nodded. "They don't know why she's here and you obviously don't either," he smirked.
"What the hell is going on?" Annie demanded.
"I don't know," Tech shrugged. "The Watchers decided the safest course of action was to eliminate any possible threat: you, your mother, Jeannie and Annie."
"Young enough to be ignored," Tech muttered.
"Terrific," Annie muttered.
"I'll print you a list of names of everyone involved and copies of the reports," Tech said slowly.
"What are their plans for tomorrow night?" Cerys asked.
"Setting up teams around Sutro," Tech frowned, pulling up a map on the computer. "They know the portal gate must be around there so they're going to post teams until they spot you. If the vamp goes through the portal then they'll move in and grab Annie."
"What do they intend to do with her?" Cerys growled.
"As they put it, debrief and determine the viability of keeping her in the fold,'" Tech quoted.
"They kill Jeannie and expect me to work for them?" Annie snapped.
"It's either work with them and be part of the team or be eliminated," Tech shrugged. "That's always their way of thinking."
"So if we don't show up then they'll hunt us down," Cerys said thoughtfully. "If I cross back through they still may kill Annie. Why is this whole thing a no-win?"
"I don't know, lover," Annie said wearily. "I'm not having fun here at all."
Cerys pulled the smaller blonde woman into her arms.
"I suggest you try and get some sleep," Tech said calmly. "It's almost dawn."
"Tech, why are you helping us?" Annie asked, turning her head as she clung to Cerys.
"There's an ancient thing among the Rrom, something no one will ever reveal to an outsider," Tech said slowly. "We protect vampires, werewolves and other dark things when they come to us for shelter. The reasons, I can't tell you."
"Is that why the old gypsy woman tried to help and protect Lon Chaney JR in the Wolf Man even though he killed her son?" Annie asked, her face curious and puzzled.
"Yes, someone knew what they were writing when they did that script," Tech nodded.
"And why the gypsies protect the werewolves in the book, the Howling part 2," Annie said thoughtfully and shrugged at Tech and Cerys' surprised expression. "I'm a horror writer; of course I read and see all of it."
"Okay, I'll pull the car in and tell my hack partners not to come in today or this evening," Tech said as he got up and stretched. "I'll whistle when I come through the door."
"Thank you, Tech," Cerys said softly as he headed for the door.
"They killed one of ours and are trying to kill a good vampire," Tech shrugged off her thanks. "We owe them."
"We all do," Annie said grimly.
"Let's get a few hours sleep," Cerys insisted. "It's going to be a long night."
"Always is with you around, lover," Annie smiled a small smile, the weariness and grief hitting her again.
Annie opened her eyes reluctantly and glanced at her watch. She felt the tears building and turned away from Cerys, trying not to wake the Warder as she began to cry.
Strong arms wrapped around her and drew her near, Cerys holding her tightly.
"I know, I know," the vampire whispered.
Annie turned in her arms and buried her face in Cerys' shoulder, clinging to her lover.
"Make love to me, Cerys," Annie whispered.
"Annie," Cerys choked on the building emotions, they both knew it would be the last time.
The Warder lifted Annie's chin and gently kissed the blonde's lips, her own tears spilling over from her eyes.
Annie closed her eyes and guided Cerys' head to her neck as she melded her body with that of the vampire.
Cerys entered her slowly as the vampire's fangs pierced her neck again.
Annie moaned, her body arching against Cerys as her body and mind drifted until nothing existed but the energy and love.
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