Evan hung back with Gilda when the group began to disperse and was led to the cafeteria for a quick meal before beginning the tour of the grounds. She had to keep her distance or her allure would start drawing students to her naturally. Evan didn’t mind, not interested in walking with the large group anyways. They weren’t the only ones to hang back, and he had a sinking suspicion that although Gilda might not enjoy talking with the other lust creatures, it was usually forced on her given they all had to deal with the same problem of keeping their distance from the crowd.
“Who’s the angry eyed thing?” A boy came up, tall with wild brown hair framing a wolfishly handsome face. He was wrapped head to toe in black clinging leather and silver chains. That he managed to walk and not make a sound while wearing the outfit was actually impressive. That he was staring at Evan like dessert was less so, and he glared back, trying not to flinch at the strange amber eyes fixed on him.
“You can read, Devlan,” Gilda said distractedly, gaze following the back of the redheaded girl she had been looking at earlier.
“If you insist,” the boy said with a smirk, fingers suddenly pulling at Evan’s robe, tugging him closer and glancing down at his name badge. “Reed… So the prodigal bastard has found his way home after all. I wasn’t expecting you to be so pretty.”
“Get the fuck off me, creep,” Evan snapped, pulling away.
“Oh, you don’t like me at all.” That the boy’s smirk grew to downright wicked. His voice, a low, seductive purr, did not do much for Evan’s nerves.
“Leave him alone,” Gilda said, turning to Devlan with a pointed stare. “He’s about the damn near most normal person I’ve had a chance to talk to without anyone drooling on my boots. I don’t need you pissing him off and sending him to hide with the prey.”
“Fine, whatever. I can’t help that’s he’s pretty and interesting enough to not like me,” Devlan muttered, holding his hands up in resignation. “And believe me, that is very interesting.”
It apparently was because when Evan looked up there were five sets of predatory eyes all staring at him, Gilda included. “Right… So you must all be… Sirens?” He asked tightly, glaring back at each of them. The silver haired boy was among them, his hellspawn bodyguard off to the side, the demonic creature more interested in the group of prey that kept being drawn to the boy than the predators he ranked among.
“Corinth, the chocolate bombshell of breasts and hips, is the only other Siren,” Gilda said abruptly, beckoning the girl forward. “We hail from the same Clan but, as you can see, we vary a lot in looks.”
Corinth was much more feminine from dress to shape, her dark umber skin clad in a deep burgundy leather dress. She had her hair shiny and straight, feathers of the same red peeking through. Her eyes were the only thing actually similar to Gilda, violet and stunning. Shaking her hand, Evan had an awkward thought. “Um, are all Sirens female?”
“They are, which is why we’re trying very hard not to laugh at you,” Devlan said mildly, reaching his hand out. “I’m your run of the mill Incubus. You’ve been out of the loop for a while, Reed. You better watch what you say or we might confuse you for one of the fluffy, pretty things we like to hunt.”
“Right, so you’re an asshole,” Evan said flatly, extracting his hand from the tight grip trying to crush his fingers.
“Yes, which just makes it even nicer that you really don’t like me for it.” Devlan looked over to Gilda, eyebrows quirking. “I was trying to figure out why you were hanging all over the sweet thing. That he kept pushing you away was fucking priceless.”
Evan was about to snap something at the rude boy when someone else stepped up and he automatically stepped back before even looking. Then Evan did see the new boy and he took another step back, warning prickling at the nape of his neck. “Er… Hello?”
The boy was stillness itself, tanned skin draped in black silks and not much else. Short and slender, he could have been much younger, but Evan thought he was actually older than all of them. He hadn’t even noticed him, everyone else so much more active and loud. He wore no shoes, instead covered in flat gold metal bracelets and anklets, including a belt of the same material. He looked like he had stepped out of a burning hot desert, white sand still clinging to his feet. There was something very unsettling about his expressionless, beautiful face and pale green eyes, his black hair long and sleek and pulled back in a low ponytail.
Devlan noticed Evan’s unease with interest. “He’s even scared of Asher.”
Evan flicked his gaze from the boy called Asher, looking to Gilda. “Should I be scared?”
Gilda shrugged, her eyes sharp as they turned to the boy who still hadn’t said anything or moved, just staring at Evan with eyes lined with dark kohl. “Asher is a bit different from the rest of us. He could stand in a crowd for hours and have no one notice him, no one effected at all…”
Eyes snapping back to the boy before him, Evan took another step back, warning sparking again. Gilda, Corinth and even the obnoxious Devlan were still domestic in his mind. This one was not, very much feeling like he was staring down a wild animal debating whether he was a meal or not.
“I will not harm you,” the boy said suddenly, his voice smooth and sultry and even more concerning to Evan’s senses because his eyes could not track the movement of his lips.
“But you want to,” Evan whispered, eyes narrowing and heart rate picking up as a shiver of fear went down his spine. He looked down, seeing now that the boy was holding his hand out as if to shake. Wetting his lips, Evan slowly reached out, stilling before he actually made contact, feeling an energy surrounding the boy’s flesh that just screamed danger. He withdrew his hand, taking another step back, eyes never leaving Asher’s face.
“Maybe not prey after all,” Devlan mussed. “We sure as fuck would never touch Asher.”
Evan was starting to wish he had ignored Gilda’s weird behavior and had just gone into the crowd of snobbish, but ultimately harmless, students.
“Come now, Asher has never harmed anyone. That we know of,” Gilda said carefully, placing a calming hand on Evan’s shoulder. “He’s got some djin in him and it just makes it feel like he’s going to slice you to shreds if you make any sudden movements. He has been perfectly respectable for as long as we’ve known him.”
Evan didn’t comment, just glad when the slender boy finally backed off. Asher made him think of blood freshly spilled and he had a feeling the boy knew it.
They all turned to the last of the group yet to greet Evan, Devlan chuckling mirthlessly at Vesper’s sharp expression, the pale boy still standing aside as if not wanting to get too close. “What’s wrong, dragon boy? If the pretty thing is this close and not succumbing, then he’s safe enough to approach and you know it.”
Vesper gave a huff, looking at Evan warily as he crossed the distance. He stopped feet away, standing a couple inches taller, luminous skin radiating something Evan couldn’t quite put his finger on. Likely the allure that forced him to have to be separated from everyone else.
“Come on, say something mean to the kid. See how he reacts,” Devlan said gleefully. Evan rolled his eyes, wondering if Devlan was going to be an ass to him forever just because he actually bothered to put the Incubus in his place in response. He’d have to stop reacting if that was the case.
“Sorry about him,” Vesper said quietly, his voice low and melodic and drawing Evan’s full attention. “We don’t get a lot of people we can talk to. And well, as you can see, we really don’t know how to be around others properly, anyways.”
“Who the fuck wants to be around them? They’re about as boring as you, Vesper,” Devlan snorted, pulling Evan by the elbow until they were both in front of the pale boy.
Evan growled, knocking his shoulder into the much taller brunette. The guy was damn annoying. “Will you get off me already?” He snapped, about ready to start punching.
Devlan slipped behind him and grabbed his biceps, holding Evan in place. “Chill out, pretty thing.”
“And stop calling me pretty!” Evan snarled, trying to wrest his shoulders free.
Ignoring him, Devlan spoke over his head. “Probably the angriest thing you’ve seen outside of your guard dog, huh, Malice? It’s got to be refreshing, considering the reach on your damn allure. When was the last time you saw anything this damn pretty want to beat the shit out of someone up close?”
Realizing that once again he was just some damn prop, Evan stopped fighting and went limp. It took a moment for Devlan’s hands to eventually loosen, the brunette bending his head to see if Evan was okay.
“Crap, did I break him?” Devlan asked worriedly, giving the blond a little shake that he managed not to react to. “Come on, Reed, I was only…”
“Being an ass, I know. Now let me go,” Evan demanded, sighing when he was finally released.
“Shit, should have known he was playing possum,” Devlan muttered, ducking away before Gilda could hit him.
Evan watched, eyes narrowed, hand absentmindedly pushing his bangs back in place. “That guys a total ass.”
“He is. It’s how he deals with his situation,” Vesper said, drawing Evan’s gaze again. This close, the boy was ridiculously beautiful, his eyes definitely glowing blue surrounded by frosted lashes and first snow skin. “He’s an incubus, usually nocturnal, usually part of a large, powerful clan. His people were wiped out during the war and he’s one of the few left. Loneliness breeds hostility…” Vesper trailed off, glancing away, making Evan wonder why the boy was not as hostile seeming as Devlan.
Evan had been alone for a long time for different reasons than allures and demon masters. He understood what it was to lose a family and to never quite have a good enough replacement. He also knew what it was like to completely isolate by choice, to protect others and himself from the messed up things in his life. Maybe he could forgive Devlan for being an ass… Just likely not that moment.
“Right. So.” Evan wanted to ask what Vesper was but there was just something about the boy that seemed to unbalance him. He probably shouldn’t be staring. Everyone always stared at these particular people and him staring at the pale boy was likely not polite. But he was very nice to stare at, and Evan was having difficulty looking away.
As if reading his mind, Vesper turned back, icy eyes searing into his. “I am descended from the celestial dragons. A race of creatures that could shapeshift. They are no longer on this planet but my bloodline still continues.”
Evan smiled faintly, raising his eyebrows. “For real? Dragon?”
Vesper nodded solemnly. “For real. We refer to them as the Scion Dragons.”
“You don’t… You don’t look like a dragon,” Evan said, biting his lip while letting his eyes wander down the boy’s nearly glowing pale skin, tones of pink and blue just catching in the light bouncing off Vesper’s neck and chest. “But if you were, I think you’d be in the mountains, right? With the snow… and clouds.” He clicked his mouth shut, realizing he must sound like an absolute idiot.
“You would be correct,” Vesper said, his low voice showing a hint of amusement. “If you were to touch me, you would see that my body temperature is actually warmer than most to accommodate such cold conditions.”
Blinking at the ice blue eyes that seemed to be glowing even brighter, Evan hesitantly raised his hand towards the boy’s toned arm. He hovered inches away, feeling the heat and magic roiling off Vesper’s pale form. “That’s… different,” he said, fighting the very overwhelming desire to actually touch the boy. A desire he was certain was not fully his own but might be coming from the very bright eyes burning into him.
A hand suddenly grabbed Evan’s, Gilda pulling him away from Vesper tensely. “I don’t know what the fuck you think you’re playing at, Malice. Get ahold of yourself.”
Vesper closed his eyes, breathing deep. When he opened them again, the blue glow was gone. Glancing at the group, he paused on the quiet and motionless Asher. “It won’t happen again,” he said stiffly, stepping away from the rest of them and avoiding Evan’s confused gaze.
“Relax, Gilda. He probably hasn’t talked to anyone normal in years, and that includes us,” Devlan said under his breath. “He stopped going to the gatherings once he got the tattoo. He’s just a little out of practice.”
“I don’t care. He knows the consequences. That’s why he brought his demon dog. He shouldn’t be looking at anyone like that, never mind trying to get the kid to touch him.” Gilda let go of Evan, turning to him with a serious look. “Don’t ever touch him, Evan. Ever.”
“Why?” He asked, eyes straying to where Vesper had ended up, the tall angry guard now beside him as they waited out of earshot by the exit. He hadn’t felt anything dangerous about Vesper. But then, maybe that was what made a predator dangerous? “Would he have hurt me?”
“No,” Devlan snapped, crossing his arms over his chest. “Vesper abhors violence unless it’s of a righteous nature. But she’s right. You should never touch him.”
“It’s easy to forget,” Corinth said with a sad smile. “Vesper is actually quite noble. But his demon lover will kill anyone who touches him. It’s best to just keep your distance.”
Evan was very confused now. “I thought he was owned by a demon. Not… not loved.”
“Holy hell, this boy is goddamn adorable,” Devlan said with a shake of his head. “Gilda, you best watch him because I make no promises to not hunt him down at night. That he doesn’t like me just makes it that much more fun.”
“Keep it in your pants, Devlan,” Gilda growled. “Evan, his demon master will feed off of him. He will slowly drain him dry over the years.”
“Right,” Evan said, waiting for how that was supposed to make sense to what Corinth had said.
“Vesper’s a lust creature, a dragon…” Seeing Evan was still not getting it, she rolled her eyes and finally just said, “Through sex. The demon steals his essence through sex.”
Corinth added in a kinder tone, “While a normal lust creature would only feed off desire, the demon will steal Vesper’s life essence, slowly killing him.”
“My god—How can you all just, just say that so plainly?” Evan whispered weakly, his stomach twisting in knots, heat flushing his body in a wave of nausea. “He’s going to… Shit… Be raped to death. How can you all be so fucking uncaring?”
Exchanging glances with Devlan and Corinth, Gilda finally spoke, her voice guarded. “It’s not necessarily unpleasant.”
“He is going to be killed, drained of his life before the age of thirty, and you want to tell me at least he might get off on it?” Evan hissed back, glaring at all of them. “No wonder none of you have friends. I figured anyone you called prey likely wouldn’t get along with you. But he’s supposed to be just like you and you can’t even have an actual emotion for his situation.”
Asher was suddenly in front of Evan, staring at him unblinkingly. Before he had as chance to step back, the boy grabbed his wrist, holding him in place with his slim hand. Evan tried to move but couldn’t, completely frozen, eyes wide open to see the green-eyed boy smile lazily at him. Asher would not let go and Evan could not, no matter how hard he fought, move even enough to breathe.
Through his growing panic, Evan could smell the blood. Fresh, moist, it dripped warm turrets down his hand now caught in Asher’s unbreakable grasp. Death. This strange boy was a death creature. And by his smile, he was hungry.