Jeff entered Missy’s room without knocking. He closed the door behind him and walked over to Raven. “Okay. I need to know. What is Ambrose’s back story? I mean, he clearly has some issues going on. I want to know what they are.”
“Why?” Raven frowned. “Do you intend to use such knowledge against him?”
“I’m not a hunter anymore.”
Raven scoffed. “I do beg your pardon, sir, but that is not true. A hunter is a hunter. There is no such thing as an ex-hunter. Those instincts have been driven too far into your psyche to just disappear all because you are no longer active.”
Jeff shrugged. “I guess there’s some truth to that.”
“Indeed, sir. Why do you think hunters go mad when they are changed? It is because they are hunters and they can no longer be hunters. They can only be what they have hunted and hated. They must learn to hunt those they had sworn to protect and they cannot cope.”
Master Initskay raced at him with bared fangs. A wild form of grief shadowed his eyes.
Jeff looked away from him. “Do you know who did it?”
“Do you know which vampire changed Master Initskay?”
Raven went silent for a moment. “Sir, I have spent most of my life, vampire and otherwise, in one house in one city. I know this may amaze you, but I have no knowledge of every vampire’s activities. They do not report to me. I had my Bad Vampires Club and that was all I needed. They were all that mattered to me.”
“So. You never overheard any of them—”
“No, sir. I did not.” Raven’s voice gentled as he added, “I am sorry for your loss.”
“He was a very good man.” Jeff fixed his gaze on some nothing at the opposite side of the room. “He was like a father to Hildreth and me. Oh, he was strict. He was always pushing us to do better and better and better. He believed.” He bit down on his lower lip and resisted the urge to cry. “He firmly believed that we could become so much better than…” Grief stole his words away.
“I am sorry, Jeff.”
Ambrose ambled up the stairs in no real hurry. People hustled and bustled around him, but he didn’t care. To be honest, he ignored them.
That hunter saw me crack. Twice.
The first time, I tried to keep it all pulled together. I tried to fight through my fear, but he saw it.
The second time…
The second time.
I lost control. I was weak. I was vulnerable. He saw me weak and vulnerable. I hate that.
I hate that Caten managed to break me.
I hate him.
Panic surged through him as he remembered the sun burning down on his head. Snow falling light, gentle, and cold, burying his face.
Ambrose moved over to the railing. He grabbed it and bowed his head.
His skin felt cold and hot all at the same time. His breathing became erratic. His heartbeat went mad.
If you were here.
If only you were here.
But you’re on the way home.
“I wish you were here. I need you.”
His world was white. Cold, falling white on his eyes, in his hands, along his legs, on his mouth. Nothing but white and cold and frozen metal.