Home > Crimson Death (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #25)(13)

Crimson Death (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #25)(13)
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton

“No, it’s not. I think most people could use a little good therapy.”

He nodded, but more because he thought he should than because he meant it, as if he was already thinking about something else.

“What’s wrong, Damian? You asked for this meeting days before I knew I needed to ask you about Ireland.”

“I’m having nightmares.”

“Vampires don’t have nightmares,” I said.

“I know.”

He blinked those impossibly green eyes at me, then tucked a strand of that equally impossibly red hair behind one ear. He was so nervous that it showed in the tightness of his muscles as he moved, or tried not to move and betray just how nervous he was. For once, I didn’t need to sense anything from him to know exactly how he felt.

“How bad are the nightmares?” I asked.

“Bad enough.”

“Are they memories?”

“Some, but most of them are modern-day, and I don’t recognize most of the people in them.”

“I’ve had dreams like that, where it’s like you’re guest-starring in someone else’s dreams,” I said.

He nodded. “Yes, but they are violent, awful dreams.” He stared at his hands, shoulders slumping this time, as if he was beginning to hunch in upon himself. “I wake up and Cardinale is still dead, cool to the touch, and I’m burning up like a fever.”

“Vampires are hard when you have daymares,” I said.

He nodded. “I guess it is a daymare, not a nightmare.”

“Either way, when your lover is cold to the touch, they can’t hold you while you scream.”

“No, she can’t. She keeps saying, Why aren’t I enough for you? But she doesn’t understand.”

“You need someone there who can wake you up, hold you, be warm for you,” I said.

“Yes, I do, damn it. I do.”

“What did Jean-Claude say when you told him?”

“He doesn’t know.”

“You’re telling me first, before your king?”

“You’re my master, Anita, not him. I’m supposed to tell you first.”

“We’ll debate that later. Are you dying at dawn?”

“Sometimes, but most of the time I curl up beside Cardinale and I sleep until the nightmares wake me.”

“You should be dying at dawn, Damian.”

“Don’t you think I know that? When I woke this morning I had sweat blood, Anita. It’s like I have a fever, a human fever, but I sweat blood. It’s like I’m sick.”

“Vampires don’t get sick,” I said.

“If I’m not ill, then what is it?”

“I don’t know, but first we have to tell Jean-Claude,” I said.

“And then?” He gave me a very direct look.

I met the look with one of my own. “What do you want me to say, Damian? We’ll talk to Jean-Claude. Maybe I’ll talk to my friend Marianne; she’s a witch—maybe she’d have an idea about where to start.”

“I think this is happening because you, Nathaniel, and I almost never see each other. You’re a necromancer, I’m your vampire servant, and Nathaniel is your leopard to call, but the three of us have almost no relationship.”

“You say that like it’s normal for a necromancer to have a vampire servant the way a master vampire has a human servant, but it’s a first in all of vampire history. The fact that I can make moitié bêtes like a master vampire is even weirder, because that has nothing to do with my necromancy.”

“You gain power through Jean-Claude’s vampire marks, through being his human servant.”

“Yeah, but that doesn’t explain everything I can do.”

“You came with your own power, Anita.”

“I’m sorry I accidentally bound you and Nathaniel into a triumvirate of power.”

“You saved my life more than once with your power, Anita; I don’t regret being bound to you. The only thing I regret is that you grew closer to Nathaniel than to me.”

“You and your lady love, Cardinale, asked me to back off and let the two of you be monogamous together. I respected the request.”

“You had already fallen in love with Nathaniel, and were so not in love with me. Don’t blame that on Cardinale’s relationship with me.”

“I’m not, but we were lovers before you and she went monogamous.”

“You slept with me less than you sleep with Richard now.”

“Look, I’m sorry you’re hurting, or scared, or sick, or whatever, but it wasn’t just me that contributed to whatever is happening, or not happening, between us.”

“I know that.”

“Do you? Because you don’t sound like you do.”

“I could say you’re my master, so responsibility ultimately lies with you, but that would piss you off and I don’t want to do that.”

“You’re doing a damn good job, if that’s not what you want, and Cardinale hates me. I don’t see her letting you and me get closer in any way.”

“She’s not happy about anyone being near me who isn’t her, but I can’t go on like this, Anita. You keep saying that vampires don’t sleep, or have nightmares, and you’re right, but vampires also don’t have human masters, not even necromancers. I believe that whatever is happening to me is tied to the triumvirate not working the way it should.”

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