Drunk Discussions

Manhattan - Purgatory

Trendy and popular, Purgatory boasts a sleek, modern look and feel. The theme is freedom and boundlessness and everything from the cool blues and chrome finishing to the airy open spaces speaks echoes it. Purgatory is a fair sized club built out of gutted old office building. Blue and white tubing lights and runners high in the ceiling provide a light airy space in the center of the club which houses the dance floor and near the bar. Lights spark and flash and run beneath the floor, winding their way beneath and between the booths and tables. As one nears the back of the club and outer walls, the lights grow dimmer, the shadows more and the booths, tables and couches there are shrouded in a shadowy sort of privacy.

The bar is white, chrome and blue, reflecting the dcor of the club, and blue neon runners pulse around the bar, splashing it with flickering color. Behind the bar is a mirrored drink area and shelves filled with bottles of liquors and spirits; wine and martini glasses hang from chrome racks in the ceiling for ease of reach, and to easily compliment the interior, the flashing lights spraying the bar and bar stools with prism reflections.

While the music is loud and one can feel the bass throbbing beneath one's feet as the lights pulse in time, the acoustical setup of the club somehow makes the music more bearable than in other clubs. Near the bar and along the back walls, conversations can be held without shouting to the point of hoarseness; on the dance floor, near the speakers, the music becomes blisteringly loud but no one complains.

If Purgatory is the waiting room, then it's only fitting that the two VIP areas are Elysium and Abaddon.


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Brooke Bishop Serafine Roche

It's been nearly a week. Brooke's been absolutely not dealing with the information for the entire time. Other than her panic attack at her sister's shop, and talking to Rhett in the Undercity, she's been keeping herself absolutely busy with work. The only time she's bothered looking up from it, or not running out for a client, has been when Bridget's stopped by with food and made sure that she ate.

Mother Henning at it's best.

The kicker of it all is that she's still not spoken to Regina. Mostly because as long as Regina doesn't call her, then it means that she's got time to think about things (which she's not thinking about).

But she has been calling Sera. Every day for the last week. Trying to meet up with her. To, well, warn her? See what she knows? Perhaps both. Finally, they've set a 'date' for Purgatory. Brooke would've gone elsewhere, but her other club of choice is one run by a sorcerer and at least she knows Kieran's got two other businesses to run and the chances of him being here tonight are slim.

She hopes.


In truth, Serafine has been avoiding Brooke. It's been a lucky thing that they've been playing telephone tag and she's had a few legitimate nights of 'business' and other things to occupy her time. She knows why Brooke is calling, and the vampire doesn't know what she wants to tell her. She'd been hoping that the meeting with Bryn and his research would unearth something to let them know how Brooke slipped Kieran's glamour and if it means she would remember more. So far, however, there's been no news.

Her concern is that weaving another web of lies will just make things worse if Brooke gets her full memories back. Kieran insisted that he didn't reveal Serafine, and she believes him, but she thinks it would have been easier if he had.

Kieran will be at Purgatory tonight, but he'll keep his distance. She warned him that she was meeting Brooke for drinks, and though he was non-chalant, she reads him well enough to know he wasn't unaffected by the news.

The vampiress isn't certain where in Purgatory to meet Brooke, but she figures the bar is a good start. After getting a few dirty and envious looks as she walked up to the bouncers at the door and got in with huge smiles of recognition and greeting, and making her way past a few regulars who sidle up to talk, flirt, or try to wheedle a dance out of her, that's where she heads.


The bar is good, because that's where Brooke happens to be. Flirting, or at least attempting to, with the younger-than-her bartender. She's managed to get a smile or two, but she doubts that Owen (per the name tag) is actually going to hit on the boss' girlfriend. Which is part of the problem. She told Kieran to leave her alone, and she's got no clue where he thinks the relationship stands at the moment.

Hell, she'd be lying if she said she knew where things stood.

She's on her second shot of tequila when she notices Sera walking in. She watches the authoress for a few moments, then glances at Owen. Ordering two of the house specialities, she gives a wave to the other woman.


Halfway to the bar, Sera spots the red head there and veers in that direction. Sidling up to the bar, she gives Brooke a bright smile and pulls her in for a friendly hug and kiss on her cheek. "Brooke! Love the top and the hair. You look great." Stepping back her smile turns apologetic, "Sorry it was so hard for us to connect this week. Busy, busy, you know how it goes."

Turning to the bar, she gives Owen a bright smile, and lifting up on her arms, leans over the bar to give a friendly, chaste kiss to the werewolf's cheek. "Hey, Owen. I'll have my usual martini." Apple-tini, spiked with absinthe. Normally, she'd start with a glass of house red mixed with whatever bagged or bottle stuff Kieran has stashed behind the bar for them, but she's not going there yet.


Sera seems to be fine. Brooke notes how cheerful she is and exhales a sigh of relief. She didn't figure Kieran would hurt the authoress, but it's nice to know that her assumption was correct. "That dress is gorgeous. I could never pull it off, but it looks like it was made for you."

Smiling, she slides the two shotglasses back across the bar, and then says, "I ordered us two house specials, but, Owen just switch one out for Sera's drink?" It's not like they're made yet, considering she just ordered them.

"It's a bit loud up here to talk."


The vampiress would laugh if she knew what Brooke was thinking and what her concerns were. Even were she still human, by this point, she wouldn't have been in any danger from Kieran. He doesn't put time and effort into things he wishes to hurt or destroy. She gives a little twirl in the dress, "Thank you. It's not as skin showing as some of what's out tonight, but I like the sort of almost modesty it has."

Her gaze slides around, looking for some sign of Kieran and then turns back to Brooke. He's being well hidden tonight. "Did you want to go upstairs?"


"You don't need to be showy, Sera. It's perfect. I'd say tantalizing even. Giving just a hint of skin, but enough to turn eyes without being smutty." Which really suits the authoress. Brooke smiles at her, and glances upstairs.

"Yes, either up there, or down to one of the rooms in Abaddon. I know that's not what they're generally used for but it'll afford more privacy for conversation." Not that she can't cast a privacy spell right here and tell Sera everything, but she's trying not to give her secret away.


Well, you knew you couldn't avoid the conversation forever, Serafine tells herself. The vampiress is still undecided as to how to approach it all, but her best bet at the moment is going to be letting the witch take the lead. Serafine is very good at improvisation and thinking on her feet. Usually. Unless there are dark haired, light eyed Welsh men involved and then all bets are off.

She laughs and nudges Brooke with her hip, "It's a good thing that you have to have access to the downstairs. Otherwise, people might talk." No question, those downstairs will talk if they see two women heading toward one of the private rooms, but it'll be the sort of racuous talk that men get up to when they start having fantasies involving two women.


"I do have access to downstairs."

When Owen places the drinks in front of them, she picks hers up and takes a rather large gulp of it before grinning. "Wherever you're more comfortable, Sera. I mean, it's not like I'm going to throw myself at you. I really do just want to talk, but I don't want you uncomfortable at all while we're doing it." Talking, that is.

Brooke bites her lip and glances upstairs. "I suppose we could go up there if that's better for you?"


Sera gives Owen a smile and a flirty wink before picking up her drink. She takes a delicate sip from it and blinks at the witch, before smiling again. "I'm fine with whatever you want to do, Brooke, and wherever you want to go. I really didn't think you were proposing anything other than conversation." She didn't mean to give the impression otherwise, and isn't quite sure how she did.


"I'm not afraid of downstairs, I have a keycard too." The vampiress gives the other woman a wink. There's another beat and she sobers, "I do have an idea of what this conversation is about, so the more privacy we can afford, probably the better."


"Downstairs then."

Brooke glances at Owen, and drops her credit card on the counter. "Can you let them know we want a room, and then have them send in more drinks once it's ready?" She looks nervous, and she's sure Owen's going to get the wrong idea, but she shrugs it off. Let him. Let him get the wrong idea and run to Kieran. She doesn't care.

Only there's a part of her that does.

"We can dance downstairs until it's ready."


Serafine thinks that the chances of Owen getting the wrong idea are slim, though not impossible. The werewolf knows Sera and her relationship with Kieran, and while he might report back to the elder vampire, it'll hardly be in a gossiping fashion. However, she's unaware of Brooke's thoughts and can't say anything to soothe them at the moment.

"Dancing it is," Serafine chirps. She is keeping things incredibly upbeat until they have to get serious. Drink in one hand, she winks at Owen again, and then begins to lead the way toward Abaddon. The vampire is bold and proud, and not trying to hide anything. Except that subtle nod toward Owen that says he can put the room on her tab, not Brooke's.

Manhattan - Purgatory - Abaddon

Downstairs, Abaddon is the belly of the figurative beast. It's theme is meant to reflect sinful and guilty pleasures and it does so with the dark and black paneling, dark woods and nearly obsidian trim. The black is complemented by deep crimsons and pale golds, with pale red lighting to cover it all. The furniture is expensive leather, in red and black.

While Abaddon has its own dance floor and bar, the center of the downstairs VIP area is the stage. One large stage is buffeted on each side by a smaller stage, above which are suspended cages. The cages house exotic dancers, who move in and out of the cages on a rotating basis. The main stage is for the featured dancer of the night.

The servers are beautiful young women, either topless or very scantily clad, the decision left to the servers themselves. There are a handful of male servers, and they are typically behind the bar or only come out when requested by the occasional table of women, or on alternate Thursdays when there is an all-male revue.

Once downstairs, Brooke quickly finishes the rest of her drink. She knows that it's going to hit her hard and all at once because of how quickly she drank it. It's not as though she needs the liquid courage either. Brooke is drinking the house specialty in order to get drunk. She plans on indulging in a few more this evening, though she'll likely drink those much more slowly.

The empty glass is set on a table, and she dances her way to the middle of the room. She plans on throwing all her excess energy into having fun until the room is ready.


Serafine finishes her drink at a much more sedate pace. She's not drinking the house specialty, and it will take a good amount of anything to get her drunk, if that were a goal for her.

The vampiress watches Brooke for a few moments from the side of the dance floor, before dancing out to join her, drink still in hand. She belatedly thinks she should have told Bryn she was meeting with Brooke tonight, but it's a bit too late for that now.


Because Brooke looks like the type that might cause trouble in Kieran's establishment? She'd laugh at that, really, but instead she just grabs her hair at the nape of her neck and pushes it upward as she dances to the quick pace of the music. Twirling once she crooks her fingers at Sera, then dances a little more. This she's doing to let out all the nervousness, so that when she talks to Sera she can do it with little to no stress.

"So is he here tonight?"


It's not trouble Serafine is worried about. It's just that Bryn is a comfort for her and he did offer to be with her when she told Brooke the truth. She might not do so tonight, but she might, and she'll be entirely on her own if she does such a thing.

Serafine joins the other woman on the dance floor. She's moving to the music, though perhaps not as enthusiastically as she might if she didn't have to be careful of spilling her drink.

"Somewhere, I'm sure," Serafine says with a shrug. "I haven't seen him, though." Kieran did say he'd be here, but again, he's doing good at hiding in the shadows.


"I'm surprised. I was certain he'd come say hello to you." Then again, Brooke was certain Kieran wasn't a vampire less than a week ago too. Maybe Bryn's just here with a client, and doesn't want to involve Sera, and that's fine.

The two shots of tequila begin hitting her about then and she gives her head a bit of a shake.

"How have things been going for the two of you?"


Confused, Serafine blinks. "No, he doesn't always say hello when I stop in. Sometimes we hang out and have a few drinks or dance, but it's not like it's a regular sort of thing or even required." Kieran doesn't have a reason to hover over Serafine, though she doesn't mind if he does it. It just depends on his mood and hers.

After giving that answer, and Brooke continues, Serafine's eyes widen in understanding. "Oh! You meant Bryn!" She laughs and shakes her head. "No, he's not here tonight? Why would he be? He's not really into the club scene although … damn, would he look good doing it."

Her thoughts and imagination wander for a few seconds as she finishes off her martini, and then she forces her attention back to Brooke, realizing the woman is still waiting for an answer. "Good. Very good. I couldn't ask for better."


"Yeah, I meant Bryn. Who did you think I meant?" Brooke knows full well who Sera thought she meant, but she's not going to say his name lest it summon him.

"I'm glad the two of you are getting along well," she says with a smile. It's nice seeing the authoress so happy, even if it is with her ex. "He's far too… British to enjoy himself at a club. The only type I could see him at would be one of those gentleman's clubs with a glass of scotch and a comfortable chair."


Serafine gives Brooke a pointed looked. "Kieran." She's not above saying his name, and knows her Maker is giving the witch the distance she requested. He could be watching them right now, but he's not going to make himself known.

The gentleman's club imagery plays over in Serafine's mind and she giggles. Yes, she could see Bryn there. She can also see him in one of the private rooms here with her dancing for him, but she's not going to divulge that stray thought or even entertain it for long. Not right now. There's plenty of time later.

"I'm glad too. I really like him."


"Why would I be asking about Kieran?" Brooke manages to maintain a calm demeanor outwardly, but her heart does start racing. It's both a little anticipation, and fear.

"Good. I'm glad. I could tell he really likes you too." Brooke allows herself to spin about once more, and then grins. "God I love dancing away everything. It's like I can breathe for the first time in days."


"Because it's his club?" Serafine volunteers easily enough. She senses the change in Brooke, catches the heartbeat and that tiny spark of fear. She does a little twirl, allowing her gaze to move across the room, subtly sniffing the air for a hint of Kieran. Neither seeing or scenting him, she assumes that it's Brooke's instinctive reaction to thoughts of the man. "Why would Bryn be here?"

Serafine giggles and crooks a finger, waving her empty glass at one of the servers. Not topless, thank goodness, but wearing a barely there bikini top that barely holds her in. She's trying to imagine Bryn down here, and failing miserably, especially as the young server literally bounces up to them and takes Serafine's empty glass before weaving away. "I've found it can be a good stress reliever."


"Oh, right. That." Brooke rolls her eyes and has no doubt that Kieran is around somewhere but she wasn't actually asking about him or being curious. "True enough, but I wasn't wondering if he was here." Though she does glance subtly around as she dances. She's not sure if she wants to see him, or she's just anticipating seeing him.

"Because you are," comes the reply.


"You aren't going to see him," Serafine replies quietly, barely heard over the music. "Unless it's an emergency or a natural disaster." That's not to say that he might not be lurking, but he's good at lurking. "Unless you want to see him?" It's curiosity more than anything else.

"Serafine is confused by Brooke's answer but laughs it off with a twirl and a shake of her hips. "I don't keep Bryn Blackwell in my pocket and he doesn't keep me in his. We don't see each other all the time." Not nearly often enough for Sera's liking, but she respects Bryn's work and his need to have time to take care of it.


"He told you that I'm upset," Brooke says with a sigh. She should've figured that the first person he'd talk to would be Sera. "I honestly don't know. Honestly? There's a part of me that does want to see him."

Grinning, she laughs. "True. I don't think anyone could keep Bryn in their pocket. He likes to be able to disappear whenever he wants to."

A server comes up and hands them each a new drink, and a key to one of the back rooms. Giving them a knowing look, she wanders off.


The key couldn't come at a better time. The conversation is getting to be bit heavier and it's not one to be held on the dance floor. Unless Brooke wants to cast a privacy spell, and Sera suspects the witch wants to keep that part of her identity hidden.

Sera lifts her drink and tilts her head toward the back rooms, "Shall we? Or did you want to dance a bit more?"


"There's music in the room if we want it," Brooke replies. Yes, she has been in there, and she's fairly certain that Sera knows she's been in there. It's enough to cause a bit of heat to her cheeks, as she remembers just what she was up to in there with Kieran. "We can dance in there while we talk because if you're bringing up Kieran…"

Then they should likely get the conversation done, before Brooke really gets drunk off the absinthe laden drinks.


"There is," Serafine nods. She has been in the rooms as well, and there's no shame in admitting it as far as Sera's concerned. She gives nothing away, about knowing whether or not Brooke had been there before or knowing what went on in there. Though the blush is a give away, even if Sera wanted to spare the woman the embarrassment and play dumb.

"You're the one that wanted to meet with me and talk," Serafine reminds the witch lightly. "I assumed it was about Kieran, but if it isn't …" The vampiress trails off with a shrug. "I think one of the male bartenders tonight is a dancer. We can always invite him back and enjoy the show."


"What? No, it's fine. Talking I mean. I just thought that maybe talking about the owner of the establishment out in the open isn't a good idea…" Brooke hooks the key around wrist chain with the VIP card attached and then takes a sip of her drink. When she's done that, she's ready. Reaching for Sera's hand so that they don't lose one another in the crowd, she nods.

"Let's go talk, because I don't think I'll be able to do it after this drink."


When he can hear every word if he wants? Probably not. Never mind that Sera will probably report back to him every word as well, good and bad. She does know how to handle Kieran though, and will deliver it all the best way she can.

The vampiress allows the witch to lead the way, following behind her through the crowd. The hand holding doesn't bother her or even raise an eyebrow. Once they're in the room, she kicks off her shoes. There are two small love seats, and Serafine puts her drink down long enough to settle on one comfortably.

Still, she's not at all sure what she's going to say.


Brooke doesn't bother kicking her shoes off, though she does set her drink down on the little table off to the side. Dropping back on the other loveseat, she dangles her feet over the arm so as not to spoil the material with her shoes.

"Do you know what Kieran is?"

No, she's not going to waste time getting into the conversation, because she really needs to know what Sera knows.


"Yes." Serafine doesn't miss a beat before she answers. If Brooke wants to jump right in, she'll do so as well. "He's a nearly four hundred year old vampire." The last is added for clarification, just so Brooke knows that Serafine really is having the same conversation as Brooke is.

"You found out and that's why you asked him to stay away from you." Not the whole story, certainly, but the gist of it is all there.


"So then, you never really knew each other as children? I bet you had a lot of fun concocting that story though." There's something there. In the back of her mind. Like she's remembering having heard that before. Frowning, she rubs a hand over her temple and sighs.

"Sorry. I'm not accusing you of lying to me. Just embellishing the truth, which I guess can be expected from an author."


Serafine sips her drink and nods her head slowly. "No. Kieran was what he is when I met him. I did know him when I was younger, however." That is not a lie. She did know Kieran when she was younger. More than a century younger, but also a few years younger than her apparent given age. When she was human.

"We are close, Brooke. Kieran has always been good to me. Protected me. Taken care of me." Again, not a lie. He did those things when she was human, and has continued on since turning her. "He doesn't age, doesn't change, and he needed a background to accomodate him. I was more than happy to help."


"I think he's grooming you," Brooke says suddenly, sitting up. "To become a vampire like he is. I just… I thought you should know. I just… even if you weren't my favorite author, I'd like to think that we're becoming friends, and I don't want to lie to you." Taking a deep breath, she nudges her shoes off and curls her feet under her. Then she reaches for the drink and sips from it.

"How are you not afraid of him, Sera?"


Sighing, the vampiress stares down at her drink. How does one respond to that while maintaining the human facade? 'Yes, I know that he is,' or 'No, you're insane,' or any range of answers in between. She knew before Kieran turned her that he was doing precisely that, but in the end it was her choice. She asked it of him. He simply let her know ahead of time a good bit of what she would be getting into.

"I think … that it's entirely possible, but … it's not something he'll force." That's as truthful as she can be without showing her full hand and giving her status as a vampire away.

She takes another sip from her drink and sighs. "I've never had a reason to be afraid of him. I grew up aware of the supernatural world. My grandmother was a seer, my mother was a seer-empath. It skipped a generation."


"My grandmother and mother knew things and people and had connections. Witches. Sorcerers. Werewolves. Vampires." Serafine shrugs, "I met a few of each while I was growing up … Kieran was what he was. When I found out, I was a little afraid at first, but then I remembered that he'd never hurt me. He had plenty of opportunities if he'd wanted to do such a thing, and never did."



Brooke drinks from her glass again, and then sets it down. "You're not worried about him wanting to turn you? To make you a vampire?" She's tempted to cast a truth spell, but knows that she'll only get the truth as Sera sees it anyhow. If she believes Kieran is safe, then that's not going to change.

"I'm not supernaturally challenged, but I can definitely say that I've never had opportunity to meet a vampire before."


"That I was aware of."

The problem still remains that even with the week of not seeing Kieran, with being afraid of what he is, she wants to see him. That's disturbing the hell out of her.

"I don't know how much you know of them, but I was discussing the er… situation… with a very discreet friend. He said that he'd had a relationship with a vampire years ago, and that she was fairly human. Caring even. Is Kieran able to care about people? In an actual manner, and not like he'd say he loves a steak, or a puppy?"


"I've known Kieran for years, Brooke. I can't convince you that he's not going to wake up one morning and slaughter all of New York City if that's what you chose to believe about him because of what he is. I know that I didn't judge him based on what I'm told to expect or what others are supposed to be like."

Serafine drinks half the glass in a single swallow and gives another delicate shrug. "At the end of the night, it's not his decision. It's mine." It was hers. She made it will full foresight and knowledge of what she was agreeing to and what she was asking for. Granted it was a little more than a century and a half ago, and her other option was die from the cancer that was slowly - and painfully - killing her unless she kept ingesting Kieran's blood. Funny thing about the healing power of vampire blood, it doesn't rewrite genetics. Once cancer has invaded the body, it keeps coming back. It can be held at bay, but not iradicated.

"I know that I've never felt like a steak or a puppy," Serafine says honestly. She worries her teeth over her lips, "I think that some vampires are a lot more human than others."


"I guess so," Brooke comments about what vampires are like. She really wishes that she hadn't come to the realization about Kieran because it makes a mess of things. Mostly because of the Coven. She's got a choice, stay with the Coven and stop seeing Kieran or keep seeing Kieran, and turn her back on the Coven.

That's what's distressing her the most.

"Honestly, I never got the impression that he wanted to hurt me… but I guess I just don't understand why he'd bother with a normal relationship. What does he see in it? Get out of it?"


"Are you sure that you're okay with Kieran being what he is? That he's not glamouring you or coercing you into becoming a vampire?"


Serafine swings her feet around and pulls them under her. She's no longer lounging but looking seriously at the witch. "How many vampires do you think that there are in New York City? A hundred? Two hundred? How do you think that they increase their numbers? Why?"

She's quiet for a minute, wondering how much she can give away without spoiling her own secret. "It's all very political. Trust is a hard thing. It gets lonely and they want companionship. Finding a companion, a human companion that's someone that can be trusted and respected and treated like an equal? That's a very, very rare thing."


"They're not soulless Brooke. They still feel things. Strongly and intensely. Sometimes more so than as a human. I can't tell you what Kieran got out of the relationship with you. He's not big on discussing his feelings. He does like to be the big bad vampire and pretend that they don't exist. But I know that he is conflicted, and that somewhere beneath that indifferent facade he does like you."


Serafine gives a half-laugh, "I suppose that if he is doing such a thing, I'd hardly know it, would I?"


"I have no idea, Sera. I really don't. I really don't want to know either." Brooke knows Kostas exists, she knows Kieran exists, but she doesn't really want to know about every vampire in the city. "They groom them, they…"

Eyes widening, Brooke stares at Sera. "You don't think he's trying to groom me do you?" That would really make things a lot more complicated than they already are.

"Christ. Between you and Rhett, I get the feeling you're telling me to relax and give Kieran another chance."


"I think he was trying to date you, Brooke. You know, that thing that consenting adults do when they go out and spend time together?" By legal definition, Kieran (and Sera) are more legal, consenting adult than most of the population of New York City.

She shakes her head and tries not to laugh. "I'm not - " There's a momentary pause as she hears the name that Brooke says and it registers. There's only one Rhett that Sera knows, and she's both surprised and relieved that he spoke so highly of her and didn't give her away to Brooke. Unless the witch is that good of an actress.

"You'll have to tell me who Rhett is later, but I'm not trying to convince you anything just …"

Sera worries her teeth over her lips again. She wants to be completely honest with Brooke, but at this juncture, she's certain that would blow up in her face. "I can't tell you what to do. I just know that from where I was sitting, Kieran seemed … strangely calmed and settled with you."


"Was trying." Brooke wants to laugh that off. At least that's telling her where Kieran sits on things, which may make the decision that much easier. Grabbing her glass, she downs the drink again. She doesn't know who to call for more, so she sets the empty glass on the table and does her best to stay focused.

"I met him at the Shakespeare Gala. I was pretty sure Bryn introduced you."

No longer wanting to sit, she gets up and paces the room. "I can't tell if I've screwed up, done the right thing, or just panicked and needed space. I'm guessing it's over, and I don't blame him for that, considering I told him to leave me alone, and I don't even know what I want."


As Brooke sets down her empty glass, Serafine walks over to the small telephone on the stand by the door. She dials a quick three digit extension, orders more of the same and returns to her seat. She watches the witch pace the room for a few moments before saying a word.

"Oh yes, he did," Serafine says with a sheepish smile. "I suppose I was just a little enamoured of my date." That and soothing Bryn and letting him know that whatever and however she knew Rhett Harper in the past was in the past and long ago done with and over.

"He hasn't given up on you, Brooke, but … look, I know you're going to be upset, but he told me. What you are."


"And as long as we're throwing it out there, yes, I know that Bryn is a sorcerer, too." Serafine tugs a hand through her hair and follows Brooke with her eyes as she paces the room. "Kieran isn't going to force you into a relationship that you don't want. He knows that it will complicate things with you being a witch, and he says that's why he made you forget everything, so that he would take the blame for the relationship. Because he is enough of an asshole sometimes that that's just the sort of thing he would do. Pissing people off because he can."

Sitting back again, Sera exhales a breath. "He's respecting your wishes, Brooke. He's not going to cross that line because vampires aren't immune to magic and he doesn't want to piss you off or frighten you any more than you already are."


"Christ. What is he doing? Announcing it to the world?" That irks her more than a little. He asks her to try and keep it quiet, which, admittedly she didn't, and then goes and tells people what she is? Brooke takes a deep breath, and then pinches the bridge of her nose as she paces.

"I don't know what I want." She doesn't know why Regina hasn't called to inform her that she's been dating a vampire either. Is the Matriarch waiting for her to make the contact first?

"I know he's not immune to magic, I damned well caused the blood vessels in his brain to balloon and burst, twice."


"He was upset and confused. He was trying to come to me for counsel, but I couldn't offer him any advice without the whole truth." Serafine stands up and walks over to Brooke, taking both of the witch's hands and stopping her from pacing for just a few moments. "I would never tell anyone or betray that secret, Brooke. I didn't betray Kieran's or Bryn's, did I?" It's the best she can do, remind the woman that she knows things other people don't know.

She shudders at the mention of the bursting blood vessels. "That's … harsh." Understandable in a moment of fear and panic, but still … all the more reason why Serafine isn't going to 'fess up here and now.

She steps away from Brooke and goes to answer the door at the knock. The server brings in new drinks, four of them just to keep them going and leaves the room. Once she's gone, Serafine turns back to Brooke. "Do you like him?"


"But it wouldn't have actually harmed a vampire," she mentions. "Rapid healing would've prevented him from dying and his stuff looked too damned expensive to throw at him." That, and Brooke was trying to keep him away from her long enough for her to grab her things, and in her anger it was a sorcerer spell she went to by default.

Falling silent when the door opens, and then she exhales a sigh.

"I do. I don't know why I still do, but I do. The problem is that I'm Coven, Sera. I don't know if you know what that means, but basically it puts me in a really tight bind and the last thing I want to do is make things difficult for him. It might be better if I just stopped thinking about him and moved on."


Brooke's words make Serafine laugh. "Just because it didn't hurt him long term doesn't mean that it didn't hurt." She swaps out her empty glass for a full one. "I ran him through with a pair of knitting needles once. He said it hurt like hell." One and a half centuries later and Serafine still remembers the blind panic she felt the moment that she did it, the worry that he'd come after her and kill her or worse. It had been a turning point, the realization that he truly did see her human self as something more than food or a sex toy.

"What is it that you like about him?" Sera asks, turning serious again. "You don't have to answer, but think about it. I'll bet you still like him because all those things are still there. They didn't go away because you found out he was a vampire."

Swirling her drink in her glass, Serafine stares at it a long moment. "If you could have both, would you?"


"I think so."

The moment she says the words, Brooke actually looks startled and surprised by her answer. She tries again and says, "I would. Though that would likely mean he'd be human." The absinthe is starting to hit her, and she's getting an abundance of thoughts in her head. Some of which she swears aren't hers.

"Everything, Sera. When he really smiles? The way his eyes twinkle just a little. The fact that he can make my heart skip a beat with just a look, or make me feel like royalty with a simple gesture."


"God. I'm getting drunk and I'm starting to sound like one of your heroines."


"You sound like … a woman in love." Serafine would know. As frightening and inexplicable as it is, she feels all those exact same things for Bryn. Though she wouldn't have advised Brooke to fall for Kieran, she thought the pair could enjoy one another's company. Of course, she never would have fallen for Bryn if she'd been given a choice. It's too complicated, but she's in deep now and she's not going anywhere.

Realizing her thoughts have wondered and that something of it might show on her face, Serafine clears her throat. "What if you … worked with Kieran? He has three businesses. He has Nichole, who does wonderfully, don't get me wrong, but she wears a lot of hats. He could use a PR person."


"It's just a random little crazy thought. I mean, you'd have to decide if you're comfortable with Kier. All of Kier."


"I sound drunk," Brooke replies. Even so, she reaches one of the drinks and takes a sip from it. She will not admit to falling for Kieran Collins. She refuses to allow herself to even think that she has.

"Worked with?"

Funny, Bryn mentioned the same thing when he asked her to ensure no cell phone pictures or videos got out about the body at Flanaghan's. She only did it because Bryn asked, and didn't demand she do it. Though she likely would've done it even if he'd demanded.

Damn that man.

"If he… needs a PR person… he's never mentioned it."


Sera stretches out on the small couch again, crossing one ankle over the other. "You sound drunk because you are drunk, sugar. The absinthe is getting to you." Sera gives the witch a little finger wave. No, it's apparently not getting to the vampiress, but she's going a bit more slowly than Brooke and she didn't start with a tequila starter. At least that will be her excuse. Though, she can play drunk if she needs.

"That's because he doesn't think that he does." Sera drops her head back and gazes up at the ceiling. "Kieran is a typical male in so many ways. You have to sometimes lead him into what he wants and make him think it was his idea."


"Yes, I know I am. I'm quite happy to not be slurring my words at this point." That is the bonus of absinthe. She's drunk, but in an entirely different manner than she would be if she was drinking anything else. She still feels lucid, even though she feels floaty at the same time. Closing her eyes, Brooke exhales a sigh.

"So you're suggesting I bill him for the help at Flanaghan's? Then what? Attach a contract and tell him he needs me, and to give me a call when he figures it out?"


"At least you're not a belligerent drunk." Serafine takes another swallow of her drink. "Or a crying drunk. This would be ahowl different conversation if you were." She smiles impishly and giggles. "Or a frisky drunk." Which would also be a whole different matter and lead to lots of awkwardness if there wasn't any glamouring.

There's another giggle. "Yes, you should bill him, I think it would be funny. I'd like to see the look on his face." Kieran. Flabbergasted. It happens so seldom. "But no. Talk to him, if you want to. Or not. Figure it out after you've talked to him. It could work. If you want it to."

Serafine takes another long swallow and licks her lips. "I like you a lot more than the little bimbettes he keeps on his arm. "


"It's the latter," Brooke says with a grin. "I'm a frisky drunk. That's why I don't usually drink this much." She's no teetotaller, but she generally limits herself to two glasses of something light.

"I'll send him a bill in the morning." Once she's passed the hangover part. "And attach a business card. See if he gets the hint."

Brooke doesn't want to talk to him. She really doesn't. She hates apologizing, and there's not really any apologizing for causing a blood vessel to balloon and burst.

"What would you do?"


"Me too," Serafine admits. "Frisky, flirty and touchy-feely. It's a horrible combination, and tends to get me in trouble." Not that she is drunk that often, so the trouble is mild. When she is in that sort of mindset, well it's a great way to feed all her appetites.

Is Brooke's approach too subtle? Serafine doesn't know. Hell, she doesn't even know what Kieran really wants at this point. She just knows that she likes Brooke and Kieran was different with the witch. He really was calmer and less … distracted, maybe. More focused. Or something.

"Bryn. Or if I were you, Kieran. Though I'm kind of partial to both of them together …" Serafine does a good imitation of frowning in confusion as though she's only just realized what she said. Then she rubs a hand over her face. "Now, the absinthe is working on me. I tend to go without filters sometimes …"

"I'm a spoiled princess brat. I go for what I want. Usually. I'd figure out what I want and if it's Kieran, then find a way to make it happen. Even if you have to pretend you're spying on the vampires to do it." Isn't that what Sera is doing with Bryn? Pretending to get close to the Priory just to keep Kostas happy and out of her business?


"It really is. I can see that it'd get you in trouble." Brooke nods in agreement with that, because she knows that if she was out on the dance floor? She'd be doing all three.


The second name makes that make sense, until Sera continues.

"Really? The two of them together? I so can't see Bryn even remotely doing that."


"I really will have to think about it." It means she'll have to fess up to Regina and see what the Matriarch says about it all. "I miss him."


"But don't you dare tell him I said that."


"It really does," Serafine says with an enthusiastic nod. "For some reason, none of my partners have ever liked it unless I solely focused on them. Which is fine, except when I don't have a partner."


"Bryn's possessive, though, so I try to be really good these days. Even when he's not around to see it. It's … nice though. The possessiveness. I like feeling like I'm the most valuable thing in the world and he just wants to keep me to himself. But it'd be fun to see his face if I completely made out with some strange woman on the dance floor." She did promise to stay away from men.

It's a fun tangent, easy enough for Serafine to pretend that it's the drink driving her to talk so freely.

She wiggles her fingers in front of her face. "I know Bryn wouldn't. Part of his charm is how … Bryn he is." For now. Later … well, there's plenty of time to work on loosening him up and Serafine is patient. She can't deny her appetites, but he knows they exist, and eveything will work out in time.


"Not a word. My lips are sealed." Serafine mimes zipping her lips and tossing away the key.


"He is possessive," Brooke agrees, because it's true. Even when they were dating years ago, he'd get all bent out of shape if another guy flirted with her. Which, when she was younger, she really thought was both sweet and annoying. "Would you do that though? Make out with some woman just to see what he'd do?"

The witch never thought of Sera as being the fluid type, likely because of her writing.

"Thanks, Sera," she says, allowing herself another small sip. "I really don't want to sound like that girl, that can't be without a guy for a week."


"No," Serafine looses a long sigh as she traces the rim of her glass with a finger. "It's fun to imagine and toy with but I wouldn't do that to him. Unless he agreed to it." He has watched her feed. She did get the impression that it sparked that jealous possessiveness. They're going to have to work on that. "It is fun to remind him that no other man is going to turn my head."

The vampiress rolls her head toward Brooke and blinks. "Why not? You're in good company. I can't even manage a few days without missing Bryn." Serafine petulantly kicks at the couch. "Stupid work."


"I don't know if he would agree to it. It's just not… Bryn." Brooke tries to imagine him wanting to share Sera, and all she can see is a petulant child, pouting because someone else has his favorite toy.

"I may be in good company, but I feel silly. I'm terrified of what he is, but he's in my dreams every night. I would love nothing more than to just curl up with him, and at the same time I've got this overwhelming fear."


"He won't. Not yet." The petulance isn't faked this time. Serafine well knows that Bryn doesn't like to share her, and she doesn't like that it does make him uncomfortable and upset. It's one of those things that they will have to work on if their relationship is going to work out.

"Has. He. Hurt. You?" Serafine knows they've been over this before, but she feels it's important to emphasize that. "You're afraid of what he is, but has Kieran hurt you or led you believe he would?"


"Not yet?" Now that makes Brooke curious. Does Sera expect Bryn to share her? She doesn't want to pry too much into their relationship though. It's between them, and while she can offer some insight on Bryn, he has had twelve years to change who he is.

Sighing, Brooke sips from her drink rather than answering right away. "No he hasn't."


"But I'm afraid he might now. That's the thing. It'd be in his nature to do it."


"I'm … convincing." Serafine winks and then takes another large swallow of her drink.

Gaze focused at the ceiling again she waits a few moments before asking. "You're basing that assumption on the hundreds of vampires you've associated with over the years? You know Kieran well enough that you've analyzed his nature?"


"No, I'm basing that assumption on the one vampire that I've associated with." Brooke shudders visibly and then closes her eyes.

"Xander Kostas."


"So you think I'm being foolish. That his being a vampire doesn't change things?"


Serafine sits up abruptly and swings around to look at Brooke. She recalls that she's supposed to be tipsy, and lets some of her drink slosh over the side of her glass and gives a wince, reaching out a hand to steady herself on the side of the couch.

After a beat, she peels her eyes open, and sets her drink down. She shakes the wetness from her hand, though it's clearly an afterthought. Her primary concern is focusing on Brooke. "What did Kostas do to you?"

Standing, she wanders to the back of the room, and opens the small dresser there. Serafine removes a pump of hand sanitizer. "I think that it's important that you're aware of what he is, and that you keep that in mind. But … knitting needles Brooke. He pulled them out of his throat and laughed. He never came after me."


"If he were going to come after you and hurt you, he would have by now. Kieran isn't that patient when it comes to revenge."


"I don't know. Nothing?" Brooke shakes her head and then tips her drink back and finishes it quickly. She knows that she shouldn't, because she's got a mentoring session with Siobhan tomorrow, but she is bound and determined to get totally sloshed.

"I've done work for him a few times. The Ball, except this year, some functions for work. He just has this… vibe… I think."

Brooke glances over to the dresser, and watches Sera. She wonders what else is hidden around the room, but she doesn't get up to explore.

"I should call him."


Returning to her seat, Serafine nods slowly. "I don't like him." There's a not-quite so repressed shudder as she says it. There's always a tickling, creeping feeling down her spine when she thinks of Kostas.

It takes a few seconds for her non-sloshed brain to catch up with what Brooke is saying. "Kieran?"


"I thought you were going to send him a bill and business card."


"I wasn't talking about calling Kostas," Brooke replies with a giggle. The thought of calling Kostas at this time of night, sotted out of her mind, is very amusing to her.

"I am. But I should call him. Christ this is so messy. I liked when it wasn't messy. I liked seeing him in the sunlight too."


Serafine tries to frown, and not laugh but fails miserably. Even sober, the thought of drunk dialing Kostas is laughable. The ancient vampire has probably never been drunk dialed in his unlife. However many millinea it is.

She leans over toward Brooke, lowering her voice to a stage whisper. "Magic."


The vampiress presses a finger to her lip in a hushing manner. "Secret. I'm not supposed to tell."

Not like anyone who knows that Kieran - and Sera for that matter - is a vampire can't figure that out.


"I figured it was something." Brooke doesn't have trouble at all believing that it was magic that allowed for the sunlight viewing. The entire estate nearly tasted of it when she was there, and she knows for a fact that Regina put several wards in place to keep the various supernaturals in attendance from fighting with one another for the evening. There is no love lost between certain vampire bloodlines, or vampires and werewolves.

"Monday. I'm going to bill him on Monday." Because she knows Eclairant is closed, and she can slip it through the mail slot relatively unnoticed.

Laying back on the sofa, Brooke's eyes go almost comically wide. There's a shooting pain in her head, and a sudden rush of a conversation she doesn't remember having.

"He glamoured me."


"Before he glamoured me for my own safety. He glamoured me into not freaking out when he told me."


Serafine studies the witch for a long moment. She wonders if it's a good sign that she's recalling another glamour.

"All things considered, was that such a terrible idea on his part?" Serafine's been known to do it herself. Not suppressing their thoughts or feelings, just making certain that no one (namely her) gets hurt or staked.


"No, I suppose not. Though it does cloud how I might have felt or reacted." Keeping her calm was a good idea to ensure neither of them wound up hurt, but at the same time it kept her from having that initial shock.

"I did ask him to glamour me. I…" A hand comes up to wipe over Brooke's face and she stares across at Sera for a moment.

"I'm in a lot of trouble, aren't I?"


"Did it?" Serafine asks curiously. "What would your reaction have been if he hadn't calmed you?" Given her reaction when she recalled what he was, that is rather obvious.

She bites her lip and shrugs. "I'm not going to tell anyone that you asked him to glamour you."


"You remember, though? And it was to protect you?"


"At the time, yes. Or no. The calm made me more accepting, I think." It's getting hard for Brooke to think with a clear head at all. She's had quite a bit of absinthe now and it's making things a bit fuzzy.

She didn't fgure that Sera would tell anyone. Who would she tell besides Bryn? Though Bryn might say something about her dating a vampire.

"I remember everything. He did it to keep me out of trouble with the Coven. To take the blame…"


"You're drunk," Sera announces with the authority of one who shares the same status but is trying to be above it. She is good at playing drunk. She tosses the rest of her drink back and then swirls her finger inside the glass. "Sleep on it."


"He's a good guy. Mostly. Usually. He's a vampire too." Serafine frowns. "It's complicated. I'm biased. "


"I know," Brooke says with full agreement, because she is. And there's at least one more drink with her name on it for the night. Blinking a few times to try to bring the room into focus, she reaches for the glass. "Here? I don't know if I should sleep here." She really doesn't want to move too much though.

"He is. Both those things. But you're just human, Sera… it's a lot more… complicated for me."


"Not here. When you get home. Sleep at home. Things will be clearer in the morning."


"Because of The Coven? Because you're a witch?" Serafine wiggles her toes and closes her eyes. She breathes quietly for a few minutes. It's on the tip of her tongue to say 'But I'm not,' but she doesn't because she doesn't know if the alcohol makes Brooke more safe or less safe.

"I told you. Work for him. Or spy on the vampires. Didn't I? Or maybe I just meant to tell you …"


"Both good ideas, but I doubt Regina'd fall for either of them." Brooke lifts the glass to her lips, taking a small sip from it. "Home. Sleep is a good idea, but maybe more dancing first?"




"I'll have to figure it out. You have great ideas, Sera."


"Yes, dancing." Serafine makes a show of tugging herself to her feet, then goes over and tugs on Brooke's hands. Gently. Using normal human strength. "It'll sober us up a little bit."


"I have great ideas. 'S'why I'm a writer. Have to do something with all of them."


"I have to warn you, I'm drunk," Brooke reminds Sera. Per their earlier conversation, the authoress will know what that means. "Plus drinking makes you thirsty, and that means I'll need more to drink."


"You should write a book about me."


"So am I, remember?" Serafine offers up with a bright, sloshed grin. "I'll protect all the hot men from you." In actuality, she will be protecting Brooke from too eager men, but the witch doesn't have to know that.

"Water. You can have water. And I'll have water. Two glasses. Then we'll have another drink." Sera will see to it that Brooke's is light on the alcohol and absinthe, though Sera might request a double or a triple on hers.

"Good idea. I promise I will. As soon as your story is finished."


Brooke giggles at that, and then shakes her head. "But who's going to protect you?" Not that she'd actually flirt or tease the authoress. There's a pout at the mention of water, but then she sighs. "Fine. Two glasses. After I finish this drink."

It will make four of the house speciality, and two shots of tequila, and she knows she really should lighten up.

"Good. But you'd have to start with Bryn to make the story interesting. Otherwise you'd have a really boring story about a witch who likes a vampire."


Serafine laughs. "Should I be worried?" It's asked, with a light tease because the vampire isn't worried about the witch flirting with or coming onto her.

"Do witches have magical hang over cures?" Serafine asks, all curious innocence. "Because you're going to need one."


"Me too, maybe."

She glances at Brooke. "If that's the case, you're going to have to tell me all about Bryn."


"Not really. I don't think I'll make out with you on the dance floor." Brooke really doesn't think she will. She might be drunk, but she'd like to think that she's got enough of her own mind left to prevent her from making an ass of herself.

"Not really."


"Two ibuprofen, and a big glass of water." She does a double nod, then laughs.

"Well ask me anything you want to know. I can't tell you much of the last dozen years, but I can tell you all about him as a teen."


"I'm not sure whether to be relieved or offended," Serafine teases.


"I want to know the parts that will make my story about more interesting and not just the boring story of a witch who likes a vampire."

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