Guardians of The Demon Slayer(6)

By: Ruby Raine

"Can be."

"Let me guess," retorted Michael. "Good to know when someone's lying to you, but also sucks ass to find out someone is lying to you?"

"I imagine our gifts aren't so different," Annie replied with a tight grin. "Except mine works on the living and the dead." Unlike Michael's.

The roots of the Power Source began to shift and open. They all twisted to see Mathew exiting. Lucas couldn't help himself and greeted the Guardian's short absence with a kiss. He really was setting himself up for a world of hurt because the surprised and too eager gleam in Mathew's gaze warned they were both in deeper than either new how to deal with.

"How's my brother holding up?"

"Riley is—riled. Like the rest of us," Mathew replied. "No major changes. He just senses it's coming soon. I think he could use a friend who's a little less anxious—erm—talkative—than I am," he admitted. "I'm the worst today." Mainly because being around Lucas made him feel so much more human. And needy. And Mathew always blathered on when anxious.

Lucas laughed lightly and kissed Mathew again. "I'd much prefer to hear your voice than my own."

"Ugh, don't encourage me. I'll never shut up and you'll rue the day you said that." He laughed nervously and shifted uncomfortably on his feet. And it wasn't just Lucas' closeness that was making him all twitchy.

Michael came over to him.

"Good to know even Guardians can't always keep it together. Maybe there's still hope for me yet."

Mathew waved him off like Michael was crazy, because he was great at his job.

"It's just, I've never been in a situation like this," explained Mathew. "Neither have my Elders—where we feel utterly useless. We have no knowledge to offer. None! I can't recall such a circumstance in all my years as a Guardian."

"But you have you, to offer," reminded Lucas.

"And that's a hell of a lot," Michael added.

"Thanks. I will do my best not to disappoint. Anyway, I think Riley could use a little company." But instead of sending in Lucas, he aimed his gaze at Annie. "Would you mind hanging with him for a little while?"

"Not at all. Can you show me where to go?"

"Of course." He gave Lucas a too chaste kiss than what was on either of their minds, and escorted Annie to Riley.

Courtney pushed out a deeply frustrated breath after Annie left.

"Someone's happy the other vampire is gone," Michael noted with a smirk. "And no, my empathy didn't just start working on vampires." It wasn't needed, only the vexation on Courtney's face.

"That's not—she's not—" she just grumbled and let her denial fall off. "She makes me—edgy." She finally pushed out in a huff.

Lucas and Michael got a good chuckle out of that.

"Because of the truth thing?" assumed Lucas.

"Or because she's a lesbian vampire?" Michael shoved right out there.

Courtney huffed again. "And that—that—that—what? Makes us some automatic match made in vampire freaking heaven?" she snarked. "I need that like I need another set of fangs," she mumbled grumpily.

Hell, she'd just said goodbye to Bree! Who'd warned her something, not someone, was coming, but Courtney did not want to believe for a minute it was a vampire girlfriend. She was so not ready for that. Only tracking down Bree's murderer.

"We're just giving you a hard time," Michael explained, almost sorry for the vampire. "It's a bit thick around here," he chimed, using Courtney's own words from when they first met.

"Damn straight," she agreed. "Annie is—pretty. I'll give you that much." And a lot to live up to. Miss Freaking Perfect, never once messed up and drank any human blood. I mean, c'mon! No one is that freaking perfect!

"Ah, so there's the crux," Michael said, his tone bemused. Lucas had to hold back a laugh.

Courtney gasped and grumbled even more because those were supposed to have been silent words, in her head. But they dropped the subject to give Courtney a break, and hushed, listening to the sounds around them.

Birds chirped, insects hummed—for now, all was right in the park. If deadly silence took over, well, a battle would soon follow they imagined.