Halcyon--Hal--dances around the attraction he feels for Derek, a nurse at the local clinic. The one thing stopping him from telling Derek how he feels? Kingfisher, Hal's alternate identity as a vampire killer-for-hire and everything that entails, including his inaction the night Derek's parents were killed and he was horribly wounded. Hal fears the truth will tear them apart. And it does. His honesty drives a wedge between them, but when Derek calls Hal for help, he can't refuse. He'll do whatever it takes to make sure Derek won't suffer another loss, even if it means Hal's life will be forfeit.
The city at night is too bright. It's nearly as bright as the daytime. I lined up the crosshairs of my scope with the target and then veered a couple centimeters to the left and one up. After factoring in the wind and distance, it should have been enough. Lucky I have my sunglasses. I know, right? Douchebag who wears his sunglasses at night. Hah. My heart beat steadily. I had the target. He talked to someone--I didn't care who. She would be an unfortunate witness. I tried to let my mind go blank. ... deep breath in... I breathed out slowly, let my limbs relax, and pulled the trigger. Perfect. My brain started working again when the bullet continued through the target's head and into the stone of the building behind him. He fell back with the impact. The woman screamed. I heard it above the wind and despite the distance. More voices joined in as people realized what happened, but her shrill voice rose above the others. I gathered my things and left before anyone thought to look where the shot came from.
I found the cash in my mailbox the next evening. I counted to make sure it was all there. When money passed so many hands, sometimes someone in the line skimmed off the top. But no, I had the correct amount. Good, because my stomach growled and I needed funds for this particular hunger. I tried to decide between dressing modestly or wearing something more provocative. But hell, if Derek didn't know I was coming on to him by now, he wouldn't, unless I stripped naked and threw myself in his direction. After an hour of indecision, I slid into the leather pants I usually wore for clubbing and pulled a sleeveless shirt on over it. Bright azure, because it went with my eyes. Still pretty subtle in my opinion, but I took into consideration his sensitivities and his workplace. The sun had just set when I left home. A violet hue still colored the horizon until it faded to black. I waved the sun goodbye. Even still, a wall of summer heat hit me when I stepped outside. The car radio played news about the congressman's assassination last night. The job I'd handled. The man hadn't exactly been popular in political areas like the city. In fact, his speeches were usually met with pickets and protestors. He'd probably just mouthed off to the wrong person and that person found out how to get a hold of me. Or he pissed someone off with one of his less than savory personal vices. Either way, someone had wanted him dead. The news continued to a break-in that led to a shoot-out in some rich part of town, also the previous night. I changed the radio station. Rock 'n' roll. Yes. I grinned wide enough for my reflection to show pointed teeth, vampire teeth. If someone looked at a map of the world, and pointed a finger at any spot, 'here be monsters', as the saying went. We made ourselves known to the world when I was an infant. The usual mix of equal rights and traditionalist groups sprang up from our coming out. There still were, though society generally accepted us. The guy I killed last night thought non-humans were soulless, disgusting abominations--probably why someone hired me to kill him. In addition to being a vampire, I also killed people for money, assuming the hits met my standards. People paid handsomely for the work and I excelled at my job. It just didn't make very polite dinner conversation. The clinic looked small and dingy, but Derek seemed to like working there. The normally off-white exterior walls had grayed from a thin coating of dirt and the windows could probably use a wash. The lamps in the parking lot shined, giving the cars an orange hue. The light from the clinic itself, however, shone a muted white through the tinted windows. The last of the patients were leaving as I walked to the entrance. I held the door open and the fluorescent lighting made me blink a few times before I could see again. "Thank you, young man." A small old woman, led by a younger woman that I assumed was her daughter, reached out and patted a hand on my arm. I smiled. "You're welcome, ma'am." After they exited I turned and walked up to the reception counter, where Derek typed something on the computer. I'd told Doc more than once he needed more staff and an actual receptionist. Doc replied few people were comfortable with the less-than-savory patients that tended to end up at the clinic and that I needed to mind my own business. I laughed in response and still brought my opinion up from time to time. "Derek." I greeted him, folding my arms on the desk surface and resting my chin on them. My ass stuck up in the air. If he got any ideas, well, that would be the point. Derek looked up from behind his wire glasses. "Hal, hey." His face lit up and he took the spectacles off. He only needed them for reading or while he worked on the computer. I thought they made him look handsome. He'd always blush when I mentioned it and I still liked to tease him once in a while. Now seemed a good time, but his mouth opened before I could say anything. "Oh, if you're looking for blood, we're out of A-positive. We had a patient last night who lost a lot and needed a transfusion. I swear his blood's more borrowed than his own. Sorry." I rose up so I could look down at him. "That's okay, it's your job. Besides, you're A-positive." I raised an eyebrow and touched the tip of my tongue to my bottom lip. My gaze looked pointedly at his throat. Thoughts of what I'd like to do to his skin flashed through my head, very few of which had anything to do with being a vampire. He rubbed the side of his neck nervously. A blush spread from his cheeks down to the skin currently hidden by his hand. He usually reddened like that when I flirted. I thought it was cute. I didn't really care what sort of blood I drank--it all tasted the same to me. The only vampires who cared tended to be snooty assholes that probably imagined the flavor differences in order to make their palates seem refined. I only pretended to prefer A-positive over others because it was Derek's blood type and he was fun to tease. "I know, no drinking straight from the source." He wouldn't become a vampire if I did drink from him, since we were born and not turned--same with werewolves. Most humans were just uncomfortable with the whole biting thing.