Chapter 4

I got up and left the dinner after eating my routine breakfast. I had to hurry and get home and change before my driver was due to pick me up, and take me to my appointment at the academy where I would be meeting up with one of my dearest friends, Nick, and see what he had for me.

I arrived at the Academy around noon, still a little groggy from my drugged sleep on the plane. Shaking away the dreariness in me, and coming to complete awareness. I walked up to the massive doors that are the entry way to the academy, pushing them open with a gentle shove. I breathed deeply, this was my home away from home, I loved this place; I always felt so welcome here, I was sad to leave when I graduated. But I came here often and still kept a room here for my visits. I came here to help students that are having trouble, or just for a good work out. But on this occasion I was not here for a leisurely visit, I was here for business this time. One of the students met me in main entry and told me that my room was ready and that Nick was in the drawing room waiting for me. I thanked her, bowed, and left. I walked down the twisting corridors that make up the labyrinth of the academy's hallways.

I entered the drawing room with caution looking for any danger, relying on my sixth sense to search it out; for you never can be too careful in the business I'm in. The room was clear, only Nick was there, sprawled out on one of the plush red couches. He sprung up when I entered the room, closing the door behind me. I walked up to him and threw my arms around his neck giving him a big hug. He swung me around once and put me down stealing a kiss. "Hey cutie, looking great as always how ya' been? Good I hope." sitting back down on the couch, and motioning for me to sit on the black one across from his. "I'm doing fine, hanging in there you know? How have you been, its been a while since the last time." I said taking a seat on the lush black couch, leaning back and letting myself relax.

"I'm doing great, I'm teaching at the academy now part-time, it's wonderful. I get to keep in shape, do the occasional job here n' there. I really like it." I was glad that he was doing well; I hadn't seen him in over six months now and was starting to worry. "I hear that you're the top in the business now, little miss perfect; they say that your better than Nyomi, they also say that even the witches envy your skill." He teased giving me a little grin. I tried not to blush but I don't think it worked very well, for his grin turned into wide smile. I laughed it off. "Well what do you say?" raising an eyebrow to see what he would say.

"What do I say, hmmm?" Mockingly stroking his chin as if he had to think real hard on his opinion, "I think that they are right, that your are the most wonderful woman in the world." I glared at him, rolling my eyes at the comment.

"So down to business?" I said purposely changing the subject to something more comfortable.

The information was the best yet! I was so excited I could hardly contain myself; I wanted to dance! In fact I did when I reached my room closing the thick oak door behind me, blocking out the bustle of the school. Nick had insisted that I stay for dinner even though I wished to leave right away and start preparing. But I knew that if I didn't at least say hi to Nyomi that she would have my head, so I agreed. I went to my room to change into the formal clothes of the academy.

Nick stopped by about twenty minutes later just as promised to escort me to the mess hall. As I heard him knock on the door, my mind drifted back to when we had first met. When he had knocked at my door that first night I spent at the academy, to lead me to Nyomi's office, where my fate awaited me. I opened the door laughing at how naïve I was then, so innocent it was pathetic; but perhaps it would have been better that way…

"What took you so long? I was just about bust down the door." He said trying to sound light hearted, but the fear showed in his eyes.

"Don't be frightened, its ok I'm fine. I was just reminiscing, about my first night here. Do you remember? You came to get me and take me to Nyomi's office." I looked at him and saw his features and muscles relax as he could see that I was fine. I felt bad for scaring him so. As we chatted, talking of old times. My mind wandered back to a day like this a little over a year ago…

Nickolas had come to my hotel room to pick me up and escort me to dinner. It was a beautiful night, warm with a light breeze that made my long hair dance with the wind. We took the stairs not liking elevators, they being too troublesome. Plus it's hard to defend yourself in a small enclosed area and in the line of work we're in that isn't too comforting. He held my hand as we raced down the stairs and out onto the side walk letting the night surround us, letting it mold its warmth around us like a blanket. I closed my eyes and threw my hands in the air twirling about making my skirt fly. I felt so free; I was so happy back then. Nick caught me around the waist pulling me close, kissing my forehead. We walked down a well lit street his arm around me holding me close. We reached the restaurant and were seated. It was an elegant place owned by a contact of mine. We talked late into the night laughing, care free for just a few moments in our lives. Afterwards we went walking through Old Town Fredericksburg, window shopping and just enjoying life. We were so wrapped up into each other that we hadn't notice that we had stumbled into Alania's territory. Alania was one of the oldest of the vampires. She was said to be a direct decent from Narkola himself. It's dangerous to wander into vampire territory uninvited, especially if you're a hunter.

The next thing I knew I was being thrown into what had been a tree. I heard the crunch of bones as I crashed against it, the weight of the impact nearly snapping the tree in half. Although I was lucky only my arm was broken. I heard Nick scream as he was injured by the attacker. I pulled myself off the ground, shoving the pain into the back of my mind. I pulled out one of my many knives that I had concealed in my outfit. Silently as possible I made my way towards Alania, keeping to the shadows and staying behind her. There were spots in my line of vision and my arm was throbbing. I tried to ignore it, pushing it even farther into the subconscious of my mind, not wanting it to distract me. There was another scream but this time it was Alania who was the one hissing in pain. Nick had slit her from left collar bone to her breast bone right across her black heart. Nick straitened thinking that Alania would surrender to ensure her survival; but I knew better, her pride had been hurt and she would rather die than limp away licking her wounds. I snuck up behind her, waiting for her to move ever so slightly to the right so that I would have a perfect aim at her heart. She must have sensed my presence, for she whirled around and at that precise moment I slammed the silver dagger deep into her cold unfeeling heart. Turning the blade making sure that there was no way for her to be salvaged; I jerked my knife out of the pathetic carcass stepping over it so that I could reach Nick.

He lay on the ground wounded, not so badly that it was fatal, but badly enough for him not to be able to stand. She had broken his leg, shattering it right beneath the knee cap shoving that up farther than was normal. I had to get him to the Academy as soon as possible. But before I did anything I made him a splint from the tree that I had broken, ripping off strips of my dress to hold the splint in place. After giving him some well needed aspirin I called Jake, the Academy pilot who had flown me out here and was supposed to fly me back later tonight, telling him our location and to get his butt out here now! Not five minutes later did a black Mercedes Bends arrive, silently coming to a stop right next to us.

The driver got out not saying a word and helped me to lay unconscious Nick out in the back seat of the car. I took shotgun closing the door as the driver took off down the street to the private runway where the plane awaited our arrival. When we finally arrived at the runway were the plane was ready and waiting to take off.

I spent the next few weeks watching over him, checking in every once in a while to make sure he was healing properly; for even though he had witches blood running through his veins, that was a serious blow. To pass the days away I would sit by his bed talking about anything and everything, just to chase away the silence. For no matter what I said he just laid there in silence not saying a word. I was so confused for he seemed to refuse to talk to me and it hurt…

Jerking back into the present as we stopped at the entrance to the mess hall, "Why did we stop?" I asked looking up at Nick with a questioning glance. He stared down at me with a look of concern. "What? What is it?"

I asked kind of irritated, by the look he was giving me, it was making me feel uncomfortable.

"Are you sure you're ok? You seem worlds away… are you sure you don't want to talk to me about something? Is something bothering you?" His look was intense, one of deep concern and care; it made me want to look away to look anywhere but into those intense brown eyes. "I'm fine I promise. You have nothing to worry yourself over." I gave his hand a little squeeze, for reassurance. He seemed satisfied by this and led me into the noise of the mess hall to sit with the teachers of the school. I was greeted with smiles and kind words from everyone I passed. Some gave me a teasing grin which I choose to ignore, for everyone seemed to be ever so interested in Nick and mines relationship, if that is what you would call it. Every time I came to the academy if I spent any time at all alone with him, later I would get sly looks from some of the girls, and big grins from the boys. It was commonly known our feelings for each other throughout the academy. Which made the girls sigh and the boys pout. For Nick was the youngest teacher here and quite handsome; and the boys seemed determined that I was the "hottest" girl at the academy, they also seemed convinced to try and beat me in a free style duel which no one has yet been able to accomplish.

The dinner was great, I had missed Cooks cooking. For at home it was mainly take-out or already pre-cooked, for with all my talents', cooking was not one of them. I devoured my food for I had not eaten a good meal in such a long time, probably not since I was last here. It was nice to be among olds friends and teachers.

Later after dinner I went to go see some of my students since it had been months since I was last here. I wanted to check up on them, see how they were, and see if they were improving. Plus I loved my students for when some student was picked out of the group for whatever the reason and given to me to teach it was not like any other class. For you studied with me and me only, you didn't have any other classes I taught you all you needed to know. You practiced with me one on one, and we practiced till you dropped to the ground from exhaustion and then some. Usually this study went on for a month or so, maybe more maybe less depending on how well and how fast they developed their skills. I had a tight bond with all of my students for when you spend that much time together its hard not to. So whenever I visited I tried to visit those that were still at the academy. I came to the room of one of my most favoured students, for we had worked together for nearly four months for when she came she had great potential but was not very fond of large groups of people, she was like a feral cat skittish around large groups. So they called me in to teach her, we ate our meals together, we bunked together, we did everything together she followed me around like a little lost kitten trying to hide herself in the shadows, for this she was nick-named Kitty. In the end she was one of the best students I had ever had and was like a little sister to me. If I did not visit her first she'd be hurt, so I lightly rapped on her door to see if she was in. the door swung open and a girl just a little shorter than me, with pitch black hair and golden brown eyes leapt at me flinging her arms around my neck in a bear hug. "It's nice to see you too Kitty." I said letting a small laugh escape me, grinning from ear to ear.

"I almost thought you weren't coming!" she said with a pout on her angelic face. "Thought I might have to come looking for you," she said teasingly, moving to sit on her bed, letting me enter the room shutting the door behind me. "You've been gone a long time, I've missed you, there's no one here that can give me a good challenge." She said with yet another pout forming on that perfect face of hers.

"I've been away on business, hon', important business," I replied shrugging my shoulders, even though I agreed I had been away for far too long. "But don't worry; I'll be here for a little while more." A sly grin spread across her full lips, making her look almost demonic with the light casting shadows across her perfect features. "Really, I thought that once you got your information that you'd be off in a flash to catch your leech." She gave me an innocent little look, making her eyes all big, yet she couldn't keep the smile from her face. "I'm not even going to ask," I said shaking my head. It amazed me the things she found out. She was a very resourceful girl, and she always seemed to know what was going on before anyone else did. I sat down on the bed next to her and for the next few hours we talked about what I as going to do now that I had the information that I had so long awaited for.

I awoke early the next morning, slipping into a loose pair of black sweats and a black wife beater; heading off towards the weight room. I had slipped back into my room about one-thirty in the morning barely able to change out of my uniform and into shorts and a tank-top; before collapsing onto my bed and slipping into the black oblivion that was blissful sleep. Kitty and I had stayed up longer than I had intended catching up on lost time and what my plans were. I shook away the drowsiness of not enough sleep and started my work out. I was interrupted half way through my run by a messenger from Nyomi, asking me to join her in her office for breakfast. I quickly jogged up to my room to grab a fresh pair of clothes. Then I raced down to the showers hoping to get there before they were too crowded. I quickly showered, then got dressed into a modified version of the first and second year's uniform. I had always preferred there all black uniform to that of the third or fourth year's; and even after graduation I usually preferred to wear it instead. I walked down the hallway saying hello to those who were just waking up walking down the hallway all sleepy eyed; although they seemed to become more alert when the saw me walking purposefully down the hall. The only thing that I had grown to dislike about this place was the looks that everyone gave me. Looks of wonder and awe; although it is nice to be treated with respect although not with fear.

Finally I reached Nyomi's office, rapping on the door. There was a shout from inside, telling me to enter. I entered the small room shutting the big, black oak, door behind me. "Ah, there you are. Come in, come in." she said motioning for me to come in and to take a seat. I sat in a plush black leather chair, making myself comfortable. "Betsy should be here in a few minutes with breakfast. So I hear that you finally have what you need to get your leach. So what are you going to do now? And you know that if there is any way the academy can help we will." There was a light tapping on the door and Nyomi got up to open it for Betsy. Betsy was Nyomi's personal assistant, she was the one that did all the paper work that kept the academy up and running. Betsy was a kind and gently woman in her late forties, she was comely, not fat mind you but built, and boy, never make that woman mad; although that rarely happened even so we usually tried to either stay clear of her or stay on her good side.

"Well hello Miss Dezzaray, it's been a long time since we last saw you in our halls." She said politely giving me one of her small smiles.

"Too long if you ask me," I said smiling back, "It's nice to see you Betsy, how have you been?" making small talk as we waited for her to finish and be on her way. "Fine now, thank you for asking." She said placing the last of the steaming hot food on the desk and bidding us farewell. "You know for some reason, and I can't seem to figure out why, I don't think that Betsy is particularly fond of me." I said turning to Nyomi as she sat down, in an identical black chair on the other side of the desk. Nyomi let a small grin slip across her porcelain features. "I don't think she has yet to forgive you for that little prank you managed to pull on her, while you were here in your first year." I smiled then for that memory was one of the fondest memories I had of here. "But then why does Nick seem to be on her good side?" I said with a little pout.

"That's because he has had more time to suck up to her than you have. Besides it's harder to stay mad at Nick than it is to be mad at you." She said teasingly. I smiled, for she was right Nick was just one of those people you couldn't hold a grudge against. We continued on in our playful banter for a while reminiscing together about old times. Then we moved into more serious matters and what I would need for my mission, and if the academy could help in anyway, as it turned out they could.