It was almost dawn when Jean-Claude slipped out of bed and silently left the room on his way to his coffin. Usually he would have stayed in his bed, trusting his security, especially since he took less and less time among the dead these days. He had, at one memorable occasion when Anita had been pissed, woken to find it was only two in the afternoon.
But Anita, his stubborn, beautiful, clueless and cold Anita did not like him dead in her bed. So he left, yawning widely as he did so. He made no effort to hide his state of exhaustion. At this time of morning all his vampires were already in their coffins and everyone else fast asleep. And the night had certainly taken its toll on him.
When Miss Summers had first set foot into the Circus, he had been tempted to crush her. She was a potential danger to one third of his triumvirate and she was a rogue. Easier to just get rid of her and make it so she never existed before the Council got wind of the whole thing.
And then she had stood in front of him, looking like a rundown teenager and yet she carried herself with the grace and quiet dignity of the old ones. He had known that there resided no child in her child’s body before she had opened her mouth. And he had been worried. Worried and intrigued.
That was before she had spun a tale so crazy and outlandish no-one in their right mind would believe it. But she had not lied. He had smelled the truth in her every word, more than that, her grief and loneliness. There was the possibility that she had tricked his ability to sense the truth. If she truly believed the lie she was telling, he could not tell the difference. Yet there was no hint of insanity in her.
He had, in his days with the Council, watched several demon summonings. Demons came from other worlds, other dimensions as the modern world liked to call them. He had, on one or two rare occasions caught a glimpse into those other worlds. He knew that travel between worlds was possible.
Miss Summers was, almost without a doubt, from another world, come into this in the body of a child. He already had someone research if the body had belonged to someone else before but if it hadn’t, he did not care about that.
There had been only a small niggling doubt left by the end of her tale and he had pushed it aside to negotiate her stay and she had proved that she was older, more experienced in the world of politics that her body would have allowed. She offered too little, he demanded too much and they agreed on acceptable terms for both sides. It was a game they both won.
Anita was unhappy because she thought the agreement did not give them enough control. Richard was unhappy because he thought the agreement gave them too much control. Truth was, it was manageable. It left enough leeway for Jean-Claude to demand many things and it covered his greatest concern: How he appeared to the Council.
And then she had revealed her power.
Mon dieu, he had not seen power like this since his days with Belle Morte. His people had reported feeling the power spike as far as seven blocks from the Circus. He had realized then, belatedly, that he would not be able to negotiate further cooperation or demand outrageous things from her simply because having her within his city limits, having her power associated with his was already more than he could ask for.
She had promised help in case of a struggle, as long as no innocents were harmed. He hardly considered the Council members innocents and the next time they crashed into his city, he could simply point Miss Summers in their direction and watch them remember what fear tasted like.
Anita was, as always, not satisfied but he would have a word with her the next night. She would leave this girl alone. One does not poke sleeping dragons with big sticks. If he had read the girl right, and he knew he had, she was tired, weary and not eager to fight. She would to protect her own, as any good leader did, but when she said she had no designs on him or his people, she spoke the truth.
They would give her what she desired and it would cost them almost nothing. Non-interference. Peace.
He would get Anita to leave the girl alone, let Richard try to help her, tell Micah to let her three boys into the Coalition if they wanted. And by doing nothing, he would gain an ally that would make Belle Morte pale with envy and fear.
All in all, Jean-Claude decided as he pulled his coffin shut on the rising dawn, things were better than they had been in a long time.