A/N: Fee-lah! Also known as filler chapter with no plot whatsoever. But it's fun. More in...five minutes? Thanks for the review lovin'.
When Anita breezed into the Circus of the Damned on a Monday evening with new confidence she was startled to find it silent as a tomb. Usually the whole underground lair was alight with movement and sound after sunset. Now it seemed cold and abandoned.
She found Jason in his room, reading quietly for once in his life. She sat at the foot end of his bed without invitation and asked, “What’s going on?”
The wolf shrugged, “Asher and Damien.”
“What about them?”
Jason closed his book, a surprised look on his face, “You don’t know? I thought Damien stayed at your place a couple of nights ago.”
She nodded. Nathaniel had brought the vampire in and tucked him into the basement, saying it was too late for Damien to go home. She’d made a point of not being home when he’d woken at night. “So?”
“They had some sort of…falling out with Elisabeth. We think. It’s not like either of the three is talking. Elisabeth hasn’t even been to school since Thursday. Asher doesn’t talk and Damien is scared of his own shadow. Jean-Claude is trying to find out what’s going on and everyone else had abandoned ship.”
“Because of two sulking vampires?”
The look the younger man gave her clearly told her she should pay more attention. “Asher can broadcast sex and lust. He can broadcast sadness just as well. Being in the same room with him…I can’t stand it, Anita. Not even Jean-Claude can. It’s like drowning. Whatever happened with those three, it hurt them all. Badly. So if you’re here to cause a stir, do us all a favour and come back some other day, alright?”
She considered defending herself and snapping at the werewolf but the tired look on his face stopped her before she could even open her mouth. With a mumbled thank you she left his room, making her way to Jean-Claude’s office instead.
“Anita,” he greeted as she slipped inside without knocking. He was lacking his usual flair. She returned the greeting with a small smile and sat across from him on a chair in front of his desk.
“Are you here for any particular reason, ma petite?”
She bit her tongue but shook her head. “No. No particular reason. Just a visit.”
He leaned back in his chair, arms crossed in front of his stomach. “I find that hard to believe.”
Anita, too, leaned back in her chair. Maybe it was the fine mist of sadness hanging in every crevice of the Circus. Maybe she was just tired. “When exactly did we become like this?”
The vampire chuckled warmly. “I do not know, ma petite. I do not know. But I do not think I can remember a time where we have not been distrustful of each other. Can you?”
She thought. She thought really hard, trying to remember a time when she had believed Jean-Claude’s words, when she had simply trusted him and his decisions. Oh, she trusted him to have her back in a fight. She trusted him to be a ruthless, pragmatic asshole. But outside of a fight?
“No. I don’t think I can.”
He nodded, having expected nothing else. “Oui.”
There was a beat of silence. Then, “Do you know what’s wrong with Asher and Elisabeth?”
She said Elisabeth, not Summers. She was being very civil tonight.
The Master of the City shook his head ruefully. “I do not. All he will say on the subject is that he wished to be loved.”
They lapsed into silence, just looking at each other, sitting still. And for the longest time that evening, they stayed like this.