Jean-Claude followed her to the living room and his eyes settled immediately on the three children, if he was surprised by their presence he hid it well. He studied each of them individually with seeming mild curiosity; until his gaze reached Liz and he arched one perfectly sculpted brow before turning to Anita. “Have you been keeping things from me ma petite?”
Her exhaustion was catching up to her and Anita almost laughed at the thought of saying yes, and what his reaction might be. Shaking the urge off she shook her head, “No, she’s not mine.”
Reaching out with her power she probed at the mark and felt him react, his attention now fully focused on her. ‘Whatever brought them here changed me, changed the marks.’ She pulled the memory of the glowing sphere of energy that had brought the children here to the front of her mind, and felt his interest and concern as he watched the images play out.
Turning from her he approached the children; trying to taste their power and see how they had affected the marks he had created so significantly. Alex slid off of the couch to stand in front of the two girls, his small face determined despite the flicker of fear in his blue-grey eyes.
Jean-Claude chuckled, a warm caressing sound that sent flutters through Anita’s stomach. “Fear not mon petite guerrier, I mean you no harm.”
He sat down gracefully on the coffee table much as Anita had earlie,r and managed to look as regal as he would have if it had been a throne. Show off.
“What are your names mes chéris?”
Alex remained where he was but it was Liz who spoke, taking on what Anita now saw was her natural role of leader. “My name is Liz, this is Tess and Alex. What’s your name?” Her young voice was sweet but confident, no hesitation or shyness, and Anita felt rather than saw Jean- Claude’s amusement.
“She may not be yours ma petite, but the resemblance is uncanny.” Then he chuckled again softly and Anita cursed her current celibacy for weakening her resistance to his potent allure.
“My name is Jean-Claude ma chéri and I am, a friend, of Anita’s.”
They digested that for a moment and then Liz spoke again. “Are you a vampire Jean-Claude?”
There was a tiny little concentration wrinkle between her eyebrows and for once Anita’s thoughts mirrored Jean-Claude’s on how adorable that was. The word adorable was becoming part of her vocabulary, there was something wrong with that she thought, although she was sure her stepmother and certain of her friends would prefer that particular change over the others she had experienced lately.
“You look like a vampire.” Alex added, his stance still defensive.
This time it was Anita who laughed as her lover answered with all due seriousness. He did look like a vampire, perfect and beautiful with a well concealed aura of danger.
“Yes I am a Vampire; I am Master of this city.”
“How old are you?” Tess asked, her blue eyes glowing with excitement and her voice breathless.
Jean-Claude just smiled, his sapphire eyes mysterious. “Old enough ma ange, old enough.”
Anita moved to sit next to him on the coffee table, leaving a bit of space between them as she still wasn’t sure where she stood with Jean-Claude at the moment. “Do you think you could tell us more about what you can do now?” She asked, looking at all of three children, as much as she was enjoying watching their interaction they needed to get some things out of the way before Richard showed up.
Liz nodded sharply, as if she was expecting that question, but her next words showed that she wasn’t as confident as she had been when questioning Jean-Claude. “We’re not sure of everything that we can do, but we will tell you what we know.”
The animator nodded, but remained silent, doing her best to keep a reassuring smile on her face, not her most natural expression.
Liz took a breath, honesty still felt strange although they were certainly not telling her everything. This world had magic to explain the abilities that in their world had come from alien heritage, so they had decided not to open that particular can of worms. Besides for all they knew when the Granolith sent them here it made their abilities magical as well.
Their memories were growing fainter, every hour that they were here, more like a memory of a dream than of a real life, and so they were closing that box. Now it was time to open a new one.
“I saw things when I touched you and ever since then sometimes I can hear people up here.” She said softly, tapping her forehead. She saw Anita and Jean-Claude’s eyes widen and hurried to continue. “Not you, not since I touched you, no one here unless I’ve touched them, but at the stores I could hear the people there.”
They looked a little relieved and she glanced at Tess and Alex. “I can always hear Tess and Alex if I want to, and talk to them that way too. They can do the same with me but they can’t do it with anyone else, we tried, not even when they’re touching them.”
There was another ability she had discovered while playing in the yard and until now she hadn’t known whether to say anything about it or not, but seeing the encouraging smile on Anita’s face she wanted to. She wanted her to trust them, maybe if she trusted them she would keep them.
Raising her right hand she pointed at the stack of glass coasters next to Jean-Claude’s leather clad thigh, and they floated into the air one at a time. She lifted them over their heads and they spun in a little dance before settling back down again when she lowered her hand back into her lap.
“So cool.” Came a mutter from the corner where Zane was curled up with Nathaniel and Cherry and Liz grinned, a little spark of happiness flaring inside of her. It was cool.
“Can all of you do that?” Anita asked, still smiling but her eyes a little wider than they had been before.
Liz shrugged and glanced at the other two. Tess frowned a little and pointed at the coasters, the top two lifted into the air but wobbled slightly, and she had to put them back down after a moment. The blond gave a somewhat bashful smile and Liz squeezed her hand before they turned to look at Alex. He pointed and the stack wobbled but didn’t lift, he squinted and finally the top one rose slowly into the air before dropping back down with a sharp crack as it split down the middle.
He blushed and curled back into himself. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to.”
“Do not apologize mon petite guerrier, that was quite impressive.” Jean-Claude said solemnly, his deep blue gaze taking in all three of them. “All of you were, that is a unique gift.”
Anita nodded and leaned forward so she could take Alex’s small hand in her own. “I never use those coasters anyways.” She said with a smile and Alex smiled back before finally climbing back onto the couch with the girls and taking Liz’s other hand.
“Anything else?” Anita asked, still smiling and her eyes gone back to normal as her surprise faded.
This time it was Tess who answered as she glanced around the room. “Can you stand up?” She asked Jean-Claude, tugging on one of her curls nervously.
“Certainly ma ange.” The vampire said with a small nod of his head as he rose to his feet in one graceful movement and stepped aside so he was no longer in front of the children.
Tess smiled and said “Thank you,” before turning her gaze on the candle arrangement in the middle of the table, just behind where he had been seated. All four wicks burst into flame and she grinned before looking back at Jean-Claude. “I didn’t want to accidentally set you on fire too.”
“I appreciate that ma ange, fire is not my friend.” Jean-Claude said gently as he exchanged a look with Anita. That was definitely a powerful gift and not one any Vampire would be comfortable around, she was going to need a lot of protecting.
The only other firebug she had met had been a vampire himself, and he had killed himself by latching onto another vampire and burning them both alive. It was not a pleasant memory. It would be best if no one outside of this room, and maybe a few select friends, were aware of this particular gift. Even humans were afraid of pyrokinetic’s. Anita took a breath and kept her smile going; trying to ignore the little voice inside of her that told her she could never turn these children over to foster care. “And you Alex?”
The little boy shook his head and shrugged, “I don’t know, I think there’s something else but I don’t know what it is.”
“That’s okay.” Anita said firmly,and then rose to her feet. “Now I’m sure you’re all tired and I need to talk to Jean-Claude about some other business so why don’t you go brush your teeth and then Nathaniel and I will come put you to bed.”
They gave a few token protests about not being babies, but she could tell they were tired, and were smart enough to know that the adults wouldn’t talk with them around, so they headed for her room and the bathroom connected to it where Nathaniel had stored their supplies after shopping.
“Ma petite, I have never seen you in such a maternal light before.” Jean-Claude said with a small smile that she was sure would have been wider if he wasn’t aware of her glare.
“Drop it Jean-Claude, we have a lot to talk about and I think we both want to finish before Richard gets here.”
Jean-Claude’s smile remained but his eyes sobered and he nodded, “Yes I think that would be best for everyone, go tuck in les enfants and we will begin.”
Translations: mon petite guerrier = My little warrior, mes chéris = my darlings, ma chéri = my darling, ma ange = my angel, les enfants = the children