Last call

Lavender Heights 
outfit, but no fabulous color pop tie

It was right around time for bars to close, an ideal hour to be hunting. The night was cool and foggy, the latter offering a sort of blanketing effect to Beauregard's footsteps as he walked.

He sincerely wasn't sure what the outcome of this little excursion would be. Ophelia held her cards close, and he was uncertain she would take particular interest in any role. Beauregard found somewhat unexpectedly that he did like her, spotting some keen intelligence even in the face of clumsy mistakes. In the end, she hadn't allowed Aiden to go unpunished, and she hadn't let the incident send her into hiding.

Early as always, he took a very voluntary breath of misty air, waiting for the other vampire to appear out of the fog.



 At least in the social sense, if life could be equated to an agility course, it felt like she was clipping every fucking ring on the jump through. Managing but skating on ice so thin that you could hear it crack underfoot with every slight movement. Ill-fitted attempts, but she kept getting up to try again because resilience was - well, because she was stubborn. Because when it was all boiled down to bones, she had little interest in closing herself off and hypothetically waiting for the sun to take her.

 Undone by an overripened child and a couple inferred misfortunes - not today, not ever. Still, it was like pulling teeth to convince herself that blowing off Beauregard of all people was a massive misstep. What would she even say? She was sick? Besides, she supposed, it would be a good use of her energy, the pent-up power that rattled the lid of her control and threatened to burst through. It felt worse and better all at once as of late, a lot of red tape and yet also a good deal of confidence gained as she woke with a second wind one sunset. Stronger (or so she thought), more tuned in - the slightest nudge to the left of a stereo knob and suddenly everything was clearer than ever before.

 All the same it was cold and foggy and somewhat of a cliche, but she welcomed it all the same and kept her jacket held tightly around her. The silhouette was familiar enough, the lack of a heartbeat outright telling even before she was able to make him out properly. "Evening, I hope I'm not running late ..."

He felt her drawing nearer, and it was a sensation he still found novel. Beauregard thought often back to Margaux's assessment of him, the den mother. Certainly he'd grown since then. Sometimes he thought he regretted not seeing her again before her untimely passing, but truthfully, he did not doubt that she could manage some ugly damage to him if it inspired her.

Mad bitch.

To her comment, he shook his head.

"We have all the time in the world," he said. But there was something else more notable, something he'd perhaps missed in the thrum of the party. Beauregard began to walk, assuming she would keep pace at his side, and spoke with some smile in his voice.

"You're stronger, now." His voice fell some. "Do you have an animal form yet?"

 Time jokes, familiar but all the less a bit unnerving when one got too wrapped up in the fine print. In the world, namely - the fact that a time would come in the very distant future where even that long and sordid life would come to a close. She made no remark on it, slowed down enough to fall in beside him, perhaps a single stride behind at any given point as she glanced over her shoulder out of cautious habit alone before the conversation turned to her.

 "I thought perhaps that was in my head." Some sort of mental second wind that saw her trying to fortify and build herself up, surely not any great stride where power was concerned after so many years of the same. "I'm glad to hear it's not." The idea of being able to move freely as anything but herself had always been an enviable one, but all the same, the question made her chuckle. "Not to my knowledge? I wouldn't even know how one goes about finding that out."

outfit, the bar she popped out of is one block down and she's heading towards them

Last call! Formally known as the worst time of the night, when you could no longer drink like the Finn you are and you must instead return to the world of consequences.

Rika had been killing it at an open mic karaoke bar, and stumbled out with her friends still giggling amidst the chorus of "I Want It That Way" that they'd started when the bartenders announced the bar was now closed.

Feeling warm and happy and almost one hundred percent certain this was going to end in the world's worst hangover and possibly barfing, she gave them both friend kisses on the cheek as she bid them farewell for the night and started heading down the other way.

Feeling hyper focused in a way she absolutely was not, she stared up at the "Don't Walk" sign defiantly and walked a little catwalk across the street like it couldn't tell her what to do.

She was just really lucky it was like 3 AM and there didn't happen to be a car vrooming up ready to run her over.

Oooh, she hadn't yet discovered it. Beauregard found great delight in that, knowing the many clumsy ways a form could be discovered. There was little knowing what she could be; such abilities had no requirement to match preference or personality.

"Accidentally, usually," he said with amusement. "Attempting to utilize one power and stumbling into another."

Perhaps he could try to compel it from her, though Beauregard was uncertain that would work. Would she have some deep inner sense that would allow her to comply?

Speaking of stumbling, however, there was some drunk little creature stalking toward them. Dinner, perhaps, and fangs threatened already.

"You take the lead," he said quietly, a smile on his face as he watched the woman. "I will assist in any way you'd like."

Only a small test. Beauregard was not a lazy hunter, but he did enjoy watching the natural inclinations of others in his clutch.

 The idea of trying to force the truth out of someone and accidentally turning into a dog in the process was about the furthest thing from appealing. She grimaced, wondered how much footwork it would take to smooth that over and decided that the answer was, probably, a hefty amount. "I'll let you know if anything changes - not too close." Rushing out the words, a low mumble as she quickened her pace to something a little brisker - not a run, just enough to make a bit of a gap between them.

 Briefly she glanced up, looked at the red of the crosswalk sign and then glanced to the woman, mapped her pace and trajectory and set her own based on the hope they'd meet at the sidewalk. It worked, more or less, keeping her head down for the sake of distracted appearances and skirting quickly to the side to avoid knocking into the poor - it was almost immediate. Psychic, as good a premium sticker slapped on a cut of meat.

"Shit, sorry."

Wow was that a person coming towards her? They were just going to have to move out of her way weren't they? Rika almost was tempted to increase her speed, so she did a little because thinking about it was enough.

Until suddenly... no collision. But it was a close clip, and she fought with a brief flare of undeserved anger at the other woman before she gave a cheery little smile.

"Not a problem!" said the drunk, her gaze kind of glazed over as she waved a hand dismissively. "Have a goooood night!"

Oooh, stay back. How lovely. Beauregard was willing to oblige, staying relatively put, pulling out his phone and fiddling with it using an expression of confusion reserved for gentlemen his age navigating a touch screen. (Quite notably, it was an act, of course. Beauregard had become quite adept at thumbing out messages.)

He kept the pair at the edge of his vision, taking an ambling sort of step here and there, perhaps impatiently waiting for a taxi.

His closest watch was kept on the emotions of both of them, so much as he could reach them from here. Waiting for some tick, some moment from either of them that indicated the party had started.

 All the background signs were there that the woman in question was less than sober. But if by chance there had been any doubts at all, they were all quashed as she spoke. Polite and cordial, she nodded her hear once in response to the farewell, didn't make a fuss about it. The slightest dip to test the waters before she would let her smile ahead the slightest bit on her merry way.

 She didn't glance back because she didn't need to, could simply sense him behind. Regrettably it had the feeling of a job interview, took some of the leisurely fun out of turning the sides of a Rubik's cube.

 She supposed she could have leaned on the usual, painted him as a creep and weren't women great and safe. But that was dating itself in this day and age and she was drunk enough that it felt like a whole lot of unnecessary fuss. So instead she counted to fifteen slowly in her mind, slid her hands into pockets and felt about. Keys, wallet, phone. Well, between the three she supposed phone would have to make due.

 "Uh, excuse me, ma'am!?" She raised her voice the slightest bit, kept a brisk pace to reclaim some of the distance she'd grown between them. Searching for her eyes as she palmed the phone to cover most of it, held it up and close to the side of her head to hopefully draw her attention up. "Did you drop this?"

She was off on her drunk merry little way, just starting to hum again when she was suddenly called out to!

Rika paused, eyebrows all a flutter with confusion, and she gaped as the woman clearly had something rectangular in her hand. What was that.

A phone.

"Uh! Wait!" Rika started, then looked into her purse, feeling and ruffling about the abyss of papers and items for wherever her phone might be. Damn things were always so hard to find, weren't they?

 Well, you worked with what the universe saw fit to give you. The mask of polite concern fell as the drunk stranger bowed her head and started digging through her things. She did not glance back, slowed the brisk jog she'd used to catch up to the woman to the slightest shuffled inching forward. Quietly, carefully, she slid her phone back into her pocket and waited, studied what she could make out of the top of the woman's head and the side of her face. The words ready but held for the time being.

Not so long after: "Nope! Got mine!" she shouted, holding it up and making eye contact with the other woman even though it was night time.

There was some delight in watching another vampire work. The drunk girl, if nothing else, would be the sort of meal that would making standing up afterwards something of a task. Terribly drunk, apparently psychically talented.

He moved forward a step or two along the side walk, eyes still on his phone, ambling a bit. He was curious to hear Ophelia's choice of suggestion, assuming she could make eye contact.

What things could be learned from observation.

 It was an exact science, the whole business about striking while the iron was hot - she caught her gaze for a split second and jumped on it. "You will not cause a scene." The friendly warmth gone, the way she rushed the words a bit sloppy but she felt strangely secure in their weight all the same. Calmly, she slid her phone back into her pocket and briefly glanced back over her shoulder. The work of it hardly done, but a start - the tug of the line before reeling in a meal.

Suggestion One - success


The other guy might as well not have existed. The other girl said some words and Rika rose a brow as she slipped her phone back into her purse.

"Uhhh, I wasn't planning to?" she answered with a playful half grin, like she was talking to a buddy and not a total stranger.

Still, she totally wasn't planning to anyway, thanks to the magic in the air.

It was impossible to determine whether or not another vampire's suggestion had succeeded, even with all the power that playing Dominus gave him. But Ophelia's glance back felt a hint promising, and so he casually looked both ways and began to cross the street after them, paying no particular visual attention, but listening quite keenly.

Fangs prodded from his gums, greedy things. Patience, patience. He wasn't even being tasked with doing the work here.

 She flashed her a tiny smile, closed-mouthed and just enough that the corners of her eyes wrinkled as she nodded curtly. "That's good!" Pleasant enough as she kept her hands from her pockets and took a couple cautious forward steps. "You'll follow me." But it felt cheap and thin, lacking in the same weight of moments prior. She built what she could to cover it, keep it from ringing any alarms in present companies less than sober mind.

"I mean, you should follow me." She leaned a bit to the side, tilted her head cautiously to nod towards a certain Dominus who'd come across and was still casually approaching. "Safety in numbers." And if she had a nickel for every time she'd ever fed someone that line, she'd have quite the full purse for it.

Suggestion Two - fail


She'd follow her whyyyyy? Rika made all sorts of confused faces with her eyebrows, at least until the woman made sense of it. A glance to the man, and she blinked.

Safety in numbers. "Whoa, hold on," she said, quieter than she would have liked, but uncharacteristically averse to making a big scene this late. "Is this guy bothering you? I can — I can do something about it. Hang on, just watch."

Her eyes shined a pale pink immediately as she looked to the dude, and she sought for that other power, the messy one that she didn't quite... have much control over. Still. Worth it to try.

She hoped to harness something in his gut, make it multiply past happy balances, maybe make him shit himself. And look, okay, she was doing just as told. Not making a scene. You didn't have to when you could quietly magic someone into diarrhea.

Except nothing was, like, happening. Not that she could tell. Maybe she just needed more time.

That suggestion perhaps was successful. That was at least Beauregard's guess until the woman turned to face him, glaring over unpleasantly pink-eyed.

Beauregard, bothering! How rude. He met her drunken gaze and frowned, seeking to block whatever nonsense she was attempting as fangs pressed from his gums.

He would prove unsuccessful, but there was another route, regardless.

"Follow the woman," he said flatly, and the words would stick, at least. Only half a failure today, Beauregard.


 If it weren't for who was accompanying her on this particular late night hunt, she would have laughed - nearly scoffing as the woman tried to jump to her aid. The slight grating of fangs against her gums as she bowed her head just so and glanced sideways toward Beauregard, the humor seemingly lost on him regrettably. "Come on," Trusting on his sway as she crooked a finger at the less than sober young woman and started to lead her to the alcove between two storefronts - a little narrow but not undoable by any stretch of the imagination.

 In the dim it was hard to meet her gaze, all the same, she spoke clearly and softly. "When we leave you'll forget all about both of us - about everything that happened from the very first moment you saw either of us to the last."

Suggestion Three - Fail. Fuck.


Nothing was happening. Why was nothing happening? The man approached and he was incredibly tall, and she wondered if her new tall friend could appear and punch him in the face? Since she could reach him.

He approached and told her to follow the woman, and she nodded compliantly without even thinking about it but wasn't he a problem or something? Why wasn't her power working.

She followed obediently into a damn alley nonetheless, but when the other woman said what she said, her blood seemed to run cold.

They were. They were telling her to forget. That they had ever met her. Which meant... which meant she was being told that if she said anything, it would be a problem.

Which meant.

Her drunk brain stumbled for a response that fell in the unknown confines of not making a scene, and Rika nodded obediently.

"Got it. I'll forget you guys when you leave," she promised, looking from them to the street. What were they going to do, were they going to rob her or something? Worse?


Ophelia's last suggestion was an obvious one, but it didn't need to be subtle at this point in it all. Beauregard tapped the tip of his tongue to his fangs, feeling some hint from his empathy that perhaps the suggestion hadn't stuck, but unwilling to attempt to redo her work without better prompting.

Such clumsy powers they had.

"Ladies first," he murmured to her, waving a hand as he sought to largely back the view of anyone who might walk by and peer over.

 In the past she had a style, a preference for the soundtrack of fear in the form of a thudding heartbeat. She liked the rush, the slight thrill of knowing you had a life under your thumb, the knowledge that the ball was in her court and that was that. And perhaps if the girl had a chance to put up a fit and curse and slap and scream, maybe that wouldn't have changed.

 But as it stood fear for fear's sake felt like a poor and sad man's play at power, like tormenting a creature trapped in a cage. So instead when she was given the green light she looked the woman in the eye, kept her voice low and calm. "No one is going to kill you, you are going home tonight and tomorrow you'll be hungover but otherwise fine." If it could be helped, at least.

 The rest was the same old song and dance, three fingers pressed firm but not viciously to the girl's jaw, turning her head before she moved quicker than before. Hooked her fingers into the collar of her shirt to keep it out of the way and didn't hesitate as she sank her fangs down and into her neck.

Ladies first. Like. What was—

She caught it in a staggering glance from him to the woman as she spoke next. Fangs. Vampires, real actual vampires, here, about to suck her blood. As if beckoning them, her heart would beat incredibly faster in her fear. The woman laid a cold, cold hand on her face and she found herself shuddering in her breath.

And then...

Nothing, really. It hardly felt like anything, for all she gave a voiceless kind of whimper. Really just felt like gross cold lips on her neck. It was weird, though as those lips warmed to her skin maybe she could convince herself it felt... okay? Draining, and she reached a hand to rest lightly on the woman's shoulder.

She said she wouldn't be hurt. So. Rika would have to hold to that, that they wouldn't kill her after they were done.

And. Close her eyes and make a small noise that was difficult to interpret, but held some discomfort with the idea that maybe she was relieved that it wasn't terrible.

Images of what she could only assume were other vampiric pursuits came into her mind, saccadic and unclear and unintentional. Mixed with drunk brain, it...

Well, it was something of a trip.

 She felt it but she didn't do anything to encourage or stop it - the slightest touch of the woman's hand on her shoulder. Not a shove but something hesitant, easy to ignore. Really the most important thing was to read the little ticks and signs: her pulse, the rhythm of her breathing, her stance. Normally she was content to toe the line of what could be considered a fair share, but with the present company in mind, it felt better to play it safe and so she let go somewhat quicker than she would normally.

 All muscle memory as she knicked the tip of her thumb and brushed the thick and dark mess against the two small puncture wounds that interrupted the girl's skin. The slightest clearing of her throat to take up watch and allow him free reign.

Beauregard didn't care for sharing, typically, but this was some exception for the sake of this excursion. Having some... more thoughtful, clutch based conversation through the high that would follow had the potential to be a bit of a challenge.

But perhaps it would loosen Ophelia up a bit.

Given his cue, he recognized that now was not the time to be greedy, a rather grand disappointment for a delightful meal. Alas, there would be others, thousands of them, Beauregard.

Mindful that her hair was not in the way (he loathed having it in his face), he found his fangs to her skin and relished the warmth, one hand supporting the other side of her face to keep her still. He fed on the opposite side as Ophelia, and it would be a very quick nibble, far less than his typical portion.

It was still enough to feel rather warm and lovely, and as he stepped back, he sought her eyes again, willing to offer some kindness if she had the strength to look at him.

That was it. And then it was the man's turn, and she tensed naturally, if only very little. The cold of his lips elicited a tiny little inhale through her teeth, before she hummed in acceptance. And he was as... painless as the woman had been, and she found her hand wandering to his shoulder too.

More images here; of different faces, of a boy going up in flames, catches of words she couldn't place spoken to so many people. If only she wasn't drunk, she could process them better. They could have been dreams for all she knew.

Discomfort mingled in some sort of appreciation for the fact that she was still alive and... not in immense pain. Any pain. And as he pulled away, it was like going to the doctor and being assured she was alright after all.

Eyelids droopy, eyes back to their normal pale blue, she looked unfocused at his chest. In all it wasn't too much, it wasn't too bad.

"Nex'time you guys don't. Don't have to lie about it," she mumbled, some kind of assurance that she wasn't gonna be trouble, wanting very much for them to just be done with so she could keep her weirded out but relieved feelings to herself. Forgetting their faces wouldn't happen, but.

She could... not talk about this whole thing, at least not to the wrong ears.

 She readily swapped spaces, took up the duty of guard without any fuss as she slid her hands into the pockets of her coat. Warmer for it and with the slightest buzz of energy that felt close to living. Leaning back onto the heels of her shoes and scraping against the asphalt all over again as she turned to assess the girl when she spoke some time later.

 "Next time then." As if it was agreed upon, some sort of intent behind it even if the whole night would live in isolation - a memory only for some of those involved. She came over, sighed to herself as she closed in and calmly fussed, smoothed out the neck of the girl's clothing and stepped back to briefly assess her work. "Stay warm."

What a kind affair this all was. The girl was tucked in warmly, and Beauregard himself felt rather delightful.

"Take care, dear," he said, turning away and running two fingers over his lips to ensure he didn't have anything lingering.

There was further talk to be had now, of positions within the clutch and all sorts of politics. He'd let the high fade a bit, fleeting as it was, and put some distance between them and the drunk woman first.

 She had no intention of stalling or spending more time on this mess than she had, but there was some lingering sense that something was amiss. A silent sort of confusion - a picture match, the differences so subtle she couldn't pinpoint them at once. It was easy to blame it on the high, as nice as the waves of warmth and ease were.

 Talking felt like a chore and a gamble so close, so she closed her eyes on the straight path ahead of them and listened to a whole lot of nothing. "Refreshingly easy." Clearing her throat after she broke the quiet at last a few more storefronts down.

It was cool and quiet this late, the last few drunks of the night having spread out into the wider area.

"Indeed," he agreed, sighing in a content sort of way. It was good, he supposed, that psychic blood was not utterly plentiful. Beauregard would spend some terrible amount of time high.

Another block, and he found his wits about him. Time for the actual purpose of it all.

"I don't know much about your history, I admit. Your interests. You strike me as very sharp, and I am curious as to what your ideal place in all..."

A slight hand wave. The buzz wasn't entirely absent.

"...this might be, in your mind."

 And there they were, back to that feeling that this was some sort of ... interview, she supposed - though they did not want for anything as far as she could tell. There were grooves for everyone, places to fit in - some snugger than others. Her arm's length, mostly self-propelled if she was being honest. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes not.

 "Previous homes, I'd be more inclined to fight then roll out a welcome mat - I don't think I could recommend myself for the front desk." Even in the ungodly hour at hand, mindful of her choice in terms. "My history is a violent one, depending on how far back you're looking." A roundabout way to address it. "I wouldn't say I'm out to pasture these days or anything quite that melodramatic, but I'm ... settled."

 Not opposed, not bloodthirsty in any way but the literal - some sort of static middle ground. "Do we have any pressing concerns, were altercation might be concerned?" Mindful of her tone.

Violence wasn't especially surprising. She had created Aiden in quite a show of it.

He listened as she spoke, head nodding. Funny how it was the women of the clutch seemed feistier than the men.

There was something on the horizon, perhaps. The threat of a threat.

"Shifters seem to be growing tenser. There may be coming a time in the not so far away future where we quietly pick them off as it is convenient for us. I wouldn't call it imminent, but in the scheme of it all, it's on the horizon."

A pause.

"Have you spoken much with Raziyya or Greta? A guardian and a soldier-to-be, respectively."

They left, and Rika spent some more time hiding there like a... well, like a mouse kind of, that had been toyed with by cats and instead made it out somehow when they got bored. But she didn't want to leave too soon; risk catching their attention again.

Warily, she stepped out. They were gone by now, and she blinked against her tipsiness to be sure.

Yep. Definitely.

Rika would fumble around on her phone, opening literally eight apps before she got to Uber and decided a ride home was a better move than public transit at this hour.

 "In passing, perhaps - but not in any real way." If asked to point them out in a photo, she could. Recalled a certain historical costume and the serious woman who'd attended a particularly important execution. "I suppose I should do that." A way to acknowledge where this seemed to be drifting. She kept her hands in her pockets, thought about the possibility of trouble that was starting to form just around the bend.

 "In the meantime, in a pinch or when I might be of use, I'm happy to assist." The physical of course, although she wagered there were others just as if not more competent from the sounds of it. Rather, more geared towards gifts impossible to see - a good way to get to the bottom of any discussion - to make sure the truth was forced from an interaction even if persuasion missed the mark.

He nodded to her supposing. Beauregard could only suggest clutch mates interact so many times before it inspired the opposite effect.

Ophelia had put all of her eggs in a basket rendered ash now.

"I will certainly keep that in mind," he said.

His voice lightened some.

"You'll have to let me know what animal form you come upon. You'll be able to take a peak at the sunrise now, if it interests you."

Ophelia would hopefully have the sense to be careful.

 It felt a lot like being shoved behind the wheel of a car for the first time, completely blind and left with a wealth of new information to process and act on. Talking to someone would be fine - easy enough once she pulled together the mental energy needed to at least feign pleasantry. The rest though - that felt like a bigger and more daunting task that she didn't allow herself to get too tangled into. Apparently, one day soon she might stumble her way into some sort of four-legged or two-winged animal. And then there was the ability to draw the curtains a few minutes later, to peak into a life she was only privy to once every few years typically.

 "Oh?" And Dominus or not, there was a healthy measure of skepticism even if she was well aware he and a fair number of others could mill about during the daytime. "A good safety net to have if nothing else. I'll let you know if and when it comes to me." Hopefully soon, hopefully at a good time that wouldn't lead to too much hassle. "I appreciate you taking the time tonight." Happy enough with the almost suspicious ease of it all, content to take what insight she'd received and go back to dissect it accordingly.

Skepticism was, sincerely, the appropriate response. Beauregard hadn't used his animal form to witness the sunrise even once before his most recent advancement. (Though he had used it perhaps once or twice in emergencies after the end of the night.)

Ophelia was sensible. He hoped she would act in a way that could inspire her to grow.

"Of course," he answered simply to her appropriate thanks. "I look forward, sincerely, to whatever comes next for you."

As he'd already witnessed within Eventide, his leadership seemed to have a way of aiding in the advancement of others.

Ophelia had considerable room to grow in the absence of her fledgling mistake.

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