BENT
By Ann

Chapter Six

Dustan sat next to a window holding a book in his hands. Linda had gone out to talk to a man about a car and Phoenix was sleeping in the nearby bed. Linda had forced Phoenix into bed once they got into town. She'd teased him about how she'd found them a ride and avoided the long walk by spending a comparatively shorter time at the fair. Phoenix rolled his eye's at her antics but the male hunter had hardly moved since she left. Dustan sighed flipping a page. As he did so Phoenix rolled over. "No..." The slumbering hunter mumbled. "Don't. I can't." He moaned rolling again tossing and turning. "Run. Please. I… I…" Phoenix's words choked off as he sat up with a gasp. Taking in sharp breaths. Dustan sat still watching him, his muscles tense.

Phoenix glanced at the boy his eyes flashing in the dim room. "What?" Phoenix growled.

Dustan swallowed looking back to his book. "Nothing."

Phoenix rolled his shoulders his demeanor going from hostile to passive in a flash. "Linda still out?"

Dustan hesitated before nodding. "Yeah."

"What's wrong?"

Dustan shook his head. "I just… are you sure you're…" The boy stopped as Phoenix frowned at him. Dustan looked away for a second before asking sternly. "Are you feeling well? Are you okay to be moving?"

Phoenix shrugged. "I still feel tired but I don't feel as weak. I think the rest helped. It might be a while before I feel a hundred percent though." Standing he stretched and pulled on his jacket.

"Where are you going?"

"Out."

"I- but-"

"Stay here and guard the house little guy." Phoenix said as he pulled the door shut. Dustan snapped his book shut tossing it in his bag as he ran out into the hall, catching Phoenix in the elevator. "What are you doing?"

"Linda told me to watch you."

Phoenix laughed. "Okay, whatever. Just don't get in my way." The sun had set and the street lights flickered to life as they stepped outside. Phoenix took down the street without pause.

Dustan fell in step behind him, the world around him was dark and unfamiliar. He wasn't sure where Phoenix was going or what he was doing. He was struck by the sudden realization that he didn't know Phoenix or Linda all that much. He couldn't recall becoming so close to them that this would shock him. In fact, it should have comforted him. He knew nothing of them and they knew nothing of him. There was no attachment. Yet, his street knowledge did nothing to abate the natural curiosity building up in him. Everything about the strangers that had saved him intrigued him.

Phoenix scanned the streets as he walked. He blended seamlessly into the small crowds they would come across. Even managing to get invited to a couple of parties. Dustan wasn't sure if it was an act, or if Phoenix was just hitting the town. He flirted with every girl that would give him a couple seconds and even hit it off with some of the guys. Yet, they continued to walk. Dustan took in a sharp breath of surprise as they walked up to one of the parties they'd been invited to. Dustan wasn't sure this was a place he wanted to be. Phoenix stopped short of the building though, seeming to just watch as people moved in and out of it, lights flashing, music pulsating. Phoenix didn't move he just stood still, his head tilting to the side just slightly as they heard a girl screech, then laugh. Phoenix stuffed his hands into his pockets and moved on. They continued like that, stopping at all of the party spots until the first few signs of daylight started to show. "Let's head back to the hotel." Phoenix mumbled.

Dustan nodded. His legs tired. He was starving, Phoenix hadn't slowed down when Dustan had mentioned being tired about 3 in the morning Phoenix told him to go back to the hotel. Problem was, Dustan didn't know where that was anymore. That being the case, his instincts were to stick with Phoenix. Dustan knew how dangerous it was to walk an unknown city alone, especially at night.

Phoenix handed him a granola bar. "Here, if you're hungry. This is all I got. Think it'll hold you till we get back?" Dustan looked up to Phoenix, trying to figure out if the boy was teasing him or what. Phoenix wasn't looking at him though. Dustan shrugged and took it, eating it slowly as they walked.

"So is that how you hunt?" Dustan asked.

Phoenix shrugged. "When we have no leads… yeah. Night parties are good hunting grounds for demons and especially vampires. If we're still here tomorrow night, I'll check the parks and alleys."

"And you're looking for your brother?"

Phoenix glared at Dustan. "Yeah, how did you know?"

"It's been mentioned once or twice." Dustan said with a halfhearted shrug. "Mainly you and that Kylie girl kinda yelled a bit about it." He took a bite out of the bar studying the ground as they walked. As he chewed he mulled over the realization that he was getting used to Phoenix's demeanor.

Phoenix sighed. "Right."

Dustan was silent for a moment fighting with his curiosity. It finally won out as he asked. "Can I ask… why?"

Phoenix pushed open the door to the hotel. "You can." Dustan followed Phoenix into the elevator, surprised by the positive response. Phoenix sighed as Dustan continued to stare expectantly at him. "One year ago, he got bit by a vampire while out hunting, and he turned."

"Oh." Dustan said. "So you're trying to kill him?" Dustan asked as they were lifted up into the building.

"No!" Phoenix said, biting down a snarl. He took a breath. "We're trying to catch him."

"Why?"

"Because we can suppress him." Phoenix said as the elevator doors slid open and he stepped out.

"What does that mean?" Dustan asked walking quickly to keep up.

Phoenix took a moment to gather his thoughts. "It means we can contain the demon… and allow the human spirit to take back their body."

"So you're going to turn him human? Is that possible?"

"No. Vampirism can't be cured-

"WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN!?" Linda yelled as Phoenix pushed into their room. Dustan shrunk behind Phoenix surprised by how angry Linda looked. "I've been looking everywhere for you two! Do you know how worried I was?!"

"We were just hunting." Phoenix said with a bored sigh shutting the door.

Linda visibly stopped. "You took him hunting with you? Are you crazy!? Let me guess you didn't even feed him did you?"

"He gave me a granola bar." Dustan offered timidly.

"Quiet Dustan! I'm trying to find out what is going through numb nuts skull!"

"What's your problem!? I go on hunts all the time!"

"Not while you're still recovering from poison, not with an untrained civilian! Do you want me to give you a list of why this was not okay!?"

Phoenix groaned throwing back his head. "Look, he insisted. He said you told him to keep an eye on me." Then he pointed to Linda accusingly as he threw his jacket on the coffee table. "Thanks for that by the way."

Linda glanced at Dustan who was standing his back against the door looking like a cornered rabbit. "Dustan, I'm sorry, I didn't mean for you to go hunting. Are you okay?"

"It- it wasn't bad. It was…" Dustan's voice trembled as he looked down. "It was kind of fun actually."

Linda looked to Phoenix confused. Phoenix just shrugged. "Well, I have a hard time believing he didn't just drag you around town without a second thought." Linda said glaring at Phoenix. "Still, you're both okay." She let out a calming sigh. "So, I'll let you off the hook. This time."

"I'm really tired." Dustan said his shoulders finally relaxing as Phoenix collapsed into a bed.

"Get some rest." Linda said softly. "I'll go get us something to eat. Then you both need to get ready to head out." She glared one more time at Phoenix before walking out the door.


Authours Notes:

This chapter was all about getting Dustan the chance to get to know Phoenix a little... He's not sure it went all that well.

Also some information on what Linda and Phoenix are actually doing...

I really hope that if anyone has read this far that they are enjoying the story. Next chapter starts the first major investigation... I know this story isn't the most creative. It's one of my very first... but I hope at the very least it's fun...