Vara's hand crooked, nails pressing against my cheek. Her eyes hardened, her face becoming a mask. "You are home," she whispered, holding my gaze rather than looking at the boy.
He laughed, giving me a squeeze. "No I'm not. But I'm going to be." Steven rested his hand against mine, and I chewed my lip. It's like he was trying to provoke the mistress into attacking me. The mean part of me wanted to just leave him for trying to set me up like that. As Vara's nails began to sting, I knew I'd leave him behind if I could.
She drew away from me, suddenly smiling and friednly-looking. "But if you leave, how can I love you?" She held her hands out for a hug, tipping her head to one side. It was disconcerting to see a naked killer acting like a concerned big sister.
Steven softened, his arms falling to his sides. He stepped toward Vara as if enthralled, and I grabbed his wrist. I frowned as he continued approaching the vampire. "You love me?" the boy asked.
"Of course I do, sweetie." Vara sank to her knees, hair pooling around her, and wiggled her fingers in enticement. "I will always love you."
"What are you doing to him?" I asked, glaring at her. No point playing nice since she'd already decided she was mad at me. I'd become her enemy because of Steven, and I didn't even know why he was so special.
The vampire didn't take her eyes off the kid. He started struggling, trying to pull from my grip. "Nothing. He's doing it all himself." Steven began whining, his struggles becoming frantic. If he kept at it, I might hurt him.
I glared at Vara, releasing Steven. He darted to Vara's embrace, giggling as she bundled him into a hug. Our eyes met, her face lit with triumph. I let myself collapse back on my heels, dumbfounded. "What the hell is going on?" I muttered.
The mistress was rocking Steven, stroking the back of his head. Her smile deepened, revealing fang. My fists clenched as I thought about her feeding in the little kid, and I sat helplessly, my thoughts reeling. I kept asking myself what was happening, and no answers were forthcoming.
The she-vamp rose, holding Steven close. The boy crooned, wrapping his legs around her waist, his hands buried in her hair. "Steven is a special child, with special tastes. I give him the love and attention he needs, and he gives me what I need."
I was frightened of the answer, but I needed to know. "What does he give you?"
Her smile was lecherous, causing my skin to crawl with revulsion. "I get to feed on his powers." Vara kissed his cheek, letting her tongue dart out to his skin. "After I get him settled in, I will find out what Martel was talking about."
My heart sank as she walked away. I'd been working for Balance for nearly a decade, and I hadn't felt this frustrated since my first few missions. I didn't know if killing Vara would break Steven from her thrall. Wouldn't do us any good if he was too traumatized for me to rescue him.
I rose to my feet, steeling myself for a fight. I would find wherever Vara had gone, and make her give me the kid. Once I had Steven, I'd take him where the Grey Lords sent me, and see him off.
Turning to retrieve my necklace, the little symbol of my bond, I found Martel kneeling, staring reverantly at me. he didn't try to stop me as I went to the moonsilver necklace, but I never took my eyes off him as I moved. I'd start my battle here if need be.
The moment drug out, silence building between us as I finished reclaiming my stuff. I began to grow uncomfortable under the weight of his stare. It wasn't hungry or dangerous. I perceived no threat from him, and was reluctant to kill him in cold blood.
His look was one of devotion and awe. It felt like he was worshipping me, and I didn't like that. Gritting my teeth, I tried to make myself angry. "What do you want?"
"Let me help you," he whispered harshly, his neck still bruised.
"Why would you do that?" I frowned, shoulders slumping.
"I have to help the angel."