Coming Out

Gramercy Hotel - Penthouse Suite

This particular Penthouse Suite is extraordinary in it's design, being that all rooms in the suite face Gramercy Park views. The one-of-a-kind suite unites custom blue plastered walls that utilize a 600 year old European technique, a ceiling of deep mahogany wood, and an original Stanford White fireplace and mantle. All of the furniture in the room are carefully chosen antiques from around the world; most done in deep shades of red.

The large, unique environment is more like a home away from home, being that it includes a living room, dining room, a working wood-paneled kitchen, library, a large, custom bathroom with soaking tub and shower, and a multi-media center with a pair of oversized, flat panel LCD TV screens.


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Donald Ashcroft Serafine Roche Bryn Blackwell

"It is a pleasant change to be out of the office." Donald Ashcroft stands at the picturesque window admiring the view of New York City's skyline from Bryn Blackwell's penthouse. It's a bit too luxurious for Ashcroft's tastes, but it suits Blackwell. The Welsh sorcerer from the London office, with his designer suits, crisp shirts and tailored vests, belongs and fits just perfectly in this environment. Ashcroft will admit to initially thinking the man was uptight, but has shifted his opinion to 'professionally reserved.' Kayla still has her vote out for uptight and a few of the other agents and specialists agree with her.

Uptight or reserved, however one wishes to look at it, Blackwell is a good choice to take the lead when Ashcroft moves upward. Despite some initial bumpiness and a sense of unsettled unease from the Brit when dealing with Serafine Roche - likely stemming from an incongruity with accepting that she's a vampire and that her natural allure makes her attractive no matter what your stance on vampires - things are smoothing out. He is able to work with the vampiress and has even gone so far as to offer himself out as an escort at her book signing for her protection, if needed, and as a show of good faith, will be escorting her to Kostas' Annual Big Man on Campus Ball. More often than note, those in the Priory call Blackwell first, and the man now makes calls and decisions without going to Ashcroft first.

He drinks from a bottle of imported beer, and turns back to look at the sorcerer. Ashcroft is a man of simple tastes, dressed in business casual dark pants and a light shirt, he doesn' t look as though he feels out of place. They've gone over the basics, caught up on the case of the vampires, and just reviewed what Espinoza gave them to keep abreast of the Howe murder investigation. That one's a bit trickier because Regina is frequently in their faces and wants to know anytime they discover anything new.

"Is it a terrible thing when I think that our current cases are still less of a headache than the usual political intrigue?"


Serafine is getting bolder.

Normally, she'd have already done so. Marked her territory, staked a claim on the human man (or woman) who's currently hers. Under normal circumstances, she's the one in control and calling the shots, even if her lover thinks that they're the person in charge. Things are different with Bryn, more care has to be taken. Not simply because he's a human who knows what she is, but he's also a sorcerer and he's Priory and there are so many complicated politics involved that she knows to tread softly.

Also, this is one of those rare times that has only happened one other time in her unlife: the vampire truly is enamored with the Welsh sorcerer. More than that, really. She's drawn to him, almost addicted it would seem. Being with him is uplifting and provides something of a high and she looks forward to it.

The 'date night' schedule is off, which she thinks unsettles Bryn but Sera finds quite amusing. She's not willing to wait until the Ball to see him, so she's ordered Indian food and is headed up the elevator with dinner in hand. Her laptop is in a bag over her shoulder, her overnight bag over her shoulder as well. The vampire will promise to stay out of the way while he works and tend to her own work, but she intends to spend the night with him whether he likes it or not.

She's permitted up the elevator and she knows the code, so with a nod and a wave to the doorman, Serafine is on her way. Once in the elevator, she turns and faces the security camera and gives a wave. She doesn't know if Bryn is watching it, but he'll know the elevator is coming whether he is or not.


Uptight or reserved? Really it's six of one, half a dozen of the other. It depends on the situation, and the case. Bryn can be very relaxed when the case isn't involving serial murders, and has been known to hit a quiet pub a time or two.

Having Ashcroft in his suite is quite a bit different for him. While he will agree that it is a pleasant change from the office, it's odd to have the older man in his living space. "This is my office," Bryn comments. He may not have a mess of paperwork littering the main room, but he does have his laptop and notebooks in which he writes down the information he gets from contacts in the area. "It tends to put certain supernaturals at ease, rather than going to an actual office or the Priory house." That is something he learned when he first started his own operations. Many prefer going to a private residence as it provides more seeming secrecy, then going somewhere public or to an office.

"Not in the least, Colonel. At least we have been making some headway with the neophyte. Between the ghost and the werewolf, we have a pretty good idea of the Maker. Now we just need to locate him and deal with this issue once and for all."

There is a flicker of surprise upon his face as he notes the small security screen, and he murmurs, "It would appear that we are about to have a guest."


"I can see where it would," Ashcroft nods in understanding. They've done what they can to make Priory House feel hospitable but the supernaturals know that every room has security cameras and microphones. Many of them do prefer to meet elsewhere.

"Good. The sooner we're done with this mess, the better." Of course, there is always the old adage of being careful what one wishes for.

"A client of yours?" Ashcroft asks. He knows what Bryn did before The Priory tapped him, and what the man still does. It doesn't interfere with his Priory work and is even an asset to it. "Shall I be going then?"


Over the motor of the elevator, Serafine can hear two heartbeats in the suite before the elevator halts and the door opens. With a sigh, she squares her shoulders and has a moment of a guilt. Possibly, she should have called ahead. But that would have ruined the surprise.

The vampiress gives a delicate subtle sniff of the air as the doors open and she steps into the suite. The scent is familiar, and her mind is already placing it as her eyes begin a cursory sweep of the penthouse.

"Good evening - " Green eyes land upon Ashcroft and sweep past him as though his presence isn't entirely unexpected. " - Blackwell. I brought dinner. I thought a working dinner as opposed to just work." She smiles brightly at Ashcroft. "Evening, Ash. I wasn't expecting you."

Fortunately, she's not dressed as though she's on a mission to impress her boyfriend. Just a pair of khaki capri pants, four inch raised pumps that match the amber and red patterned off the shoulder top that she's wearing. Casual.

On second thought, maybe a bit too casual.


"Ah, no." Bryn grins and rubs his hand over the back of his neck. "Serafine Roche." He did want to talk to Ashcroft about this, but at the same time he would have rather done so with Serafine not being present.

"I do agree though. The sooner the better. Although we still have yet to discover the why of it. While we may not think that necessary provided that the culprit is stopped, I do think that knowledge would come in quite handy in regards to keeping it from getting to this point again in the future."

"Good evening, Miss Roche. We were not expecting you either." He does note the laptop bag, the smell of Indian food, and the fact that she's got her overnight bag. He knows that these are things Ashcroft will note as well.


Serafine Roche is an attractive woman, Ashcroft has always been able to admit to that. Even without the vampire lure, she'd still be attractive, and he's had more than one thought about if he were a decade or two younger and willing to take that sort of risk. It seems the woman is built for temptation.

"Sera." Ashcroft lifts his beer in a greeting. "To what do we owe the pleasure?"

The Colonel's gaze roams over the vampire, not as a man but as an observer. The casual state of dress is not so unusual on the woman, and she has explained bringing dinner. He can overlook the laptop bag, but the overnight case gets a few seconds additional attention and a curious movement of his eyes between Sera and Bryn.


"I had some free time," Serafine shrugs. She strolls into the penthouse suite as though nothing is amiss, neatly depositing her overnight bag off to the side without missing a beat. If she has to, she can well come up with an explanation for it, and she's not so terrible as to be unable to play things by ear.

"A few thoughts and leads that I wanted to go over. It would be marvelous to have this all wrapped up and settled, or at least just waiting for the bow when Kostas' Ball comes around this weekend, wouldn't it?"

The laptop case is placed on a table and Sera makes her way to the kitchen. Ever demure, she glances back over her shoulder. "Blackwell, I brought dinner and I can find your kitchen, sugar, but you're going to have to point me the way around to plates and cutlery."


"Yes, I can see that, and it would be quite nice to have this wrapped up by the Ball." Not that he gives a rat's ass about what Kostas thinks, but it would be nice not to have to leave yet another event due to being called to another scene.

"Colonel, if you will excuse us a moment? It would appear that Miss Roche brought dinner with her, and while I do happen to be fine eating from the cartons, I believe she is correct. Plates and cutlery would be best for the three of us."


"Certainly," Ashcroft nods to the sorcerer and takes a seat in the arm chair. "Thank you, Sera for the unexpected but appreciated company and meal."

His gaze lingers for a moment on the vampire, and then slides over to Blackwell, moving between the pair. It's entirely possible that nothing is amiss. Sera is known for enjoying the night life and the clubs and her intention may well be to head out to one of her favorite haunts after concluding business here.


"You always know what to say to a girl, Ash." The vampiress gives the Colonel a saucy, flirtatious wink and continues on her way to the kitchen.

Putting the food on the counter top, she begins to unload it from the bag waiting for Bryn to join her.

"I'm sorry, mon beinaim." She speaks very quietly once he's in the kitchen, careful that her voice doesn't carry. "I should have called ahead."


Bryn would cast a privacy spell, but he knows that will just raise more questions. He glances at Serafine and helps her locate the plates and cutlery. Everything is set atop a wheeled tray, and he exhales a sigh.

"I do like the surprise," he murmurs quietly back to her. "I was going to tell Colonel Ashcroft about us this evening anyhow. You just… jumpstarted that conversation." He's not exactly certain what he wants to tell Ashcroft, or how to go about it.

With plates, and food set upon the tray, he adds a few more beers as well as a wine glass and a bottle for Serafine.

"Shall we?"


"I can find an excuse to leave if you'd rather," Serafine tells him as they gather things together. Her words are still quiet, spoken only when she passes close to Bryn. In between, she speaks at a normal tone, complaining about traffic and other minor idle sorts of things.

If he's bound and determined to do this with her present, she won't stop him. She runs her fingers over the back of his hand. "Yes, we shall."

The vampiress is pretty flirty smiles when they rejoin Ashcroft. "It's been a long time, Ash. I hardly ever get to see you anymore."

"I've noticed, but Blackwell is as good as working with me." Ashcroft takes a drink from his bottle and divides his gaze between the pair. "It's good to see you working together. I had my reservations." Beat. "You are a lovely woman, Sera, but you can be a bit … overwhelming."

Serafine smiles at Ashcroft and takes a sip of the wine. "You say that like it's a bad thing."


"It is fine, Princess." Bryn likewise talks about mundane things, or strays to the newer info that they've picked up from the werewolf victim. He glances down as she touches him, and smiles.

They're doing that horribly domestic thing again, and it almost makes him want to laugh.

"A cold one for you, Colonel," he offers, as he nods to the tray. As Bryn doesn't really like the American beer, he moves toward the wetbar and pours himself two fingers of scotch. It's not really going to go all that well with Indian food, but he's not eating just yet so it doesn't matter much to him.

"Miss Roche and I are actually seeing each other."

He really doesn't see the point in delaying the inevitable or beating around the bush. It is what it is. If he winds up stripped from working with the Priory, so be it. He can still run his business.


Serafine blinks at Bryn's pronouncement. That wasn't the approach she was expecting him to take at all. Her gaze swings to his, and then to Ashcroft watching the Colonel over the rim of her glass.

Ashcroft accepts the beer with a smile and a word of thanks. It's halfway to his mouth when Bryn makes his announcement. The Colonel pauses with it there and then lowers it slowly. Attention flickers between the pair - the sorcerer and the vampire.

His gaze lifts and shifts after a moment, moving to land on Serafine's overnight bag and then returning to the pair, regarding them with an unreadable expression. "Is that so?"

After another beat his attention turns to Serafine. He says nothing, simply lifts brows in inquiry.

The vampiress huffles and makes a 'tsking' sound. "Seriously, Ash? You really think that after all these years I would resort to that?" A frustrated and pretty frown sets itself to her features. "You know me better than that. That's not my style."


"Nor would she be able to do such a thing," Bryn states quietly. Shrugging out of his jacket, he begins to roll up his sleeve. He knows that Ashcroft is well aware of the various charms that are available. Once he's gotten she shirt sleeve up enough, he twists his arm toward the Colonel.

"This one protects against that sort of thing. I have one on the other that protects against glamour and causes my blood to taste quite awful to any vampire that dares to bite me."

No, it wasn't the approach that he was expected to take, and that's why he took it.

"If my relationship with Miss Roche is going to cause issues within the Priory, then I will gladly step down. If you would like my assessment as to who should be replacing you, I do believe Detective Curtis would slip nicely into the position."


Ashcroft says nothing as Bryn explains, drinking a long swallow from the bottle of beer. He lowers the bottle as Bryn finishes. "Getting a little ahead of yourself, aren't you Blackwell?"

Sitting back, Ashcroft divides his attention between the sorcerer and the vampire. He very nearly expects someone to leap out and declare a joke, if only because he knows that Blackwell has no love for vampires. He may work with them, but he's not the sort that romanticizes them.

Then again, Serafine Roche is no ordinary vampire.

"I'm not attempting to infiltrate The Priory or learn its secrets," Serafine says calmly. "I don't like politics and subterfuge." Which Ashcroft knows full well.

"I don't suspect that you are," Ashcroft says. He takes another pull from the bottle and rubs a hand over his face. "I'm not at all certain what I should say or do. There's no precedent for this." There aren't any rules against such fraternization because they've never had to deal with it, or if it has happened, it never became public.


"Ah, no. Merely stating that if it is a problem I have already deducted a solution, and found someone who is well suited for the role. Perhaps a bit rough around the edges, but well suited." Bryn does doubt that Kevin wishes to take over the Priory, and would stay in the city to assist the man with whatever he may need, but he has put quite a good deal of thought as to where his priorities lay.

At the moment, his main priority beyond finding the murdering bastard, is seeing where his relationship with Serafine may take him.

"There definitely is none. I have been through all of the files at the Priory at least a dozen times to see if there were anything recorded." He's also called a friend of his in London to check their files as well. "In centuries past, people tended to be a tad more discreet. I have decided to be open about this because I am well aware of where her Maker ranks in Kostas' crew."

Since he is going public with it, it's fair enough to say that there are going to be quite a few issues with the Dynasty.


"There lies the rub," Ashcroft murmurs with a long exhalation of breath. It is one matter for Blackwell to tell him and ask that he turn a blind eye, another if the sorcerer intends to go entirely public and open with his relationship. "It won't be my decision alone of how to handle this."

Ashcroft will have to take it to his higher ups.

"Sera." Ashcroft looks to the vampire. "I need your word that this is not scheming and meddling on behalf of Kostas' court."

"You know full well where my loyalties lie, Colonel."

"Yes, I do," Ashcroft nods. "I don't for a moment think you would scheme for Kostas, but your loyalty lies with Collins and I don't know what you would do for him. I do know that he would scheme and manipulate for Kostas and to protect his own."

"Kieran doesn't dictate whom I see or do not see," Serafine sets her wine glass down, straightening in her seat. Her voice is pitched slightly lower, her native accent coming through a bit more strongly. "My … affections toward Bryn have nothing to do with The Priory nor with vampire politics." Beat. "Let us not forget that Bryn is fully protected from all my … charms, shall we say?"

"There is that." Ashcroft holds her gaze for a moment then looks back to the sorcerer. "You're certain that this is the way you want to go? Open and public? I can look the other way if you're discreet, and no one will be the wiser. You two have put up a fairly good ruse so far. How long has it been anyway?"


"I am well aware of that. I am also aware of the bind it puts you in so far as your promotion goes." Bryn knows that the higher ups may just ask Ashcroft to stay on here as head of the Priory of New York, in order to establish that there is no way the sorcerer could be swayed.

As far as Bryn knows, Kieran Collins just believes him to be another of his Child's toys. He's fine with that for the moment.

"I am openly escorting her to Kostas' Ball. While we could paint it as showing a continuation of good will between his Court and the Priory, I would actually prefer to take her as my date." He glances over at Serafine and gives her a boyish grin.

"Two months, give or take."


Serafine can't help it. When Bryn smiles at her that way it's hard to maintain her professionalism. Her eyes light up and a delighted, somewhat coy and girlish smile graces her lips. "That sounds about right."

Ashcroft doesn't gape. He wants to do so, because he feels as though he's watching a pair of teenagers make googly eyes at one another, but he keeps his features neutral. Another swig of the beer is quickly taken, simply to avoid gaping and/or laughing at the unexpectedness and near absurdity of the situation.

"Wonders never cease," Ashcroft mutters. Apparently, there is a sorcerer in love with a vampire, and quite possibly vice versa. He clears his throat and feels as though he's interrupting a private moment. "Then you two are better than I would have thought. I was under the impression that you merely tolerated one another."

Serafine hasn't looked away from Bryn yet. She gives him an impish grin before turning her attention to Ashcroft. "Just barely at first, I think."

Ashcroft shakes his head. "Let's take this one step at a time, shall we, Blackwell? If you want to announce it to Priory House, I'll stand behind you." Beat. "Only because as Sera so succinctly put it: you are magically immune to her various vampiric charms."


"I will have to talk to my superiors about this, but I'm willing to give it a few weeks. I'd like to go in with a game plan because I don't want to lose you." Ashcroft includes Serafine in his gaze, "Or you, young lady. You're one of the few vampires we can talk to and deal with comfortably. You're an asset to us as much as you are to Kostas."


Realizing that he's still smiling at Serafine, Bryn clears his throat. Turning back to Ashcroft, he rolls the sleeve of his shirt down. Buttoning it back up, he reaches for the jacket and shrugs. "I know when to keep things entirely professional, and when I can allow myself to relax a little."


"Granted that was quite difficult to do the night Miss Roche was attacked." Brushing his hands down over the jacket sleeves, he nods to Ashcroft. "I definitely believe that the necessary parties should be informed. Detective Curtis, as well as Kayla and Doris." It may seem odd that he feels a great deal more comfortable speaking about the women with their Christian names as opposed to surnames, but they have made him feel more at home and welcome. Hell, Kayla is like the annoying, bratty sister that he never had at this point.

"Colonel, even if you lose us at the Priory, I am more than willing to aid you with whatever I can."


"It appears that you both are quite good at doing so," Ashcroft notes. He's questioning his powers of observation if this has been happening right under his nose.
"Sera has an impressive track record for getting into trouble."
Serafine squirms just a bit at the Colonel's words. She does what she does to get the information she needs, and to keep the vampires away from meddling in the Priory and vice-versa. She's a free agent, yes, and loyal to Kieran, yes, but sometimes her curiousity and bravado do get the best of her. "I've handled myself just fine, thank you very much."
"You'll know where to find me. I wouldn't want you to deal with Kieran or Ewan." Or Samira. The former are too cocky and Samira does like to play with humans a bit too much.
As she speaks, she's watching Bryn re-dress and a slight disappointed frown forms before she banishes it. Sera does like to see him laid back, even while working, shedding the coat and rolling up his sleeves. It's a good (hot) look for him.
"Dinner is getting cold boys. Why don't we talk and eat?"


"In my profession, Colonel, it is absolutely important to do so." Bryn never knows when he might be aiding a friend, or someone he dislikes, and he needs to keep that professional image intact.
"Perhaps she will not have one much any longer." Serafine may be a vampire, but he doubts that he's going to let her go into a knowingly dangerous situation alone.
"You first, Colonel."


Ashcroft accepts and takes a plate which he begins to fill with food. Normally, he would defer to the lady present, but he's been around Sera long enough to know that she'll decline first servings on the grounds that she doesn't need to eat and it's a purely social convention. "Don't mind if I do, thank you."
He pauses to look at the pair again, amused that they are not seated beside one another on the same couch. //Professional, indeed. // Even after they've confessed to him. "I won't over stay my welcome because clearly there are other plans in the works?" It explains the overnight bag.
Sera shakes her head, passing a plate to Bryn as Ashcroft finishes adding to his. "No, that was my … poor timing."
"I do have a lead to share." She holds up a hand to stop the men from getting too enthusiastic. "I wouldn't hold my breath about tracking it down tonight, or even tomorrow, but it's something."

No, Bryn is not sitting next to Serafine at the moment. As he is attempting to keep things professional, despite his confession, it helps to not be so close to her. He tends to stop thinking when she's right beside him.
"You are welcome here as long as you wish to stay, Colonel. There is no need to rush through your meal or disappear simply because I had a surprise guest." Glancing at the vampiress, he grins. "Though I do have to say, Miss Roche, you certainly do a very thorough job of ensuring that I eat."
Waiting until Ashcroft is done loading his plate, he takes a little from each dish as well and then seats himself on the footstool at the end of the chair.
"Any lead is something else we have to go on. Whether we can track it down this evening or not."


Sera has a little more control over her distraction when Bryn is around and close, but not much. She tends to want to get closer and closer to him and touch him and that doesn't do a lot for professionalism. Therefore she sits at the far end of the couch, and helps herself to a small bit of food. She pretends far less when she's around people who know her dietary habits. The wine, however, she'll keep coming.
"I'm southern," Sera says with a smile and a shrug. "We believe in food and feeding."
"Not a bad belief," Ashcroft chuckles. "Blackwell's right. If you've found something to help us, it's another piece to the puzzle."
Serafine tears a piece of naan and dips in chickpeas. "Not a what, a who. His name is Wraith. He's a wererat, who goes everywhere and sees and hears everything. Which also means that he's pissed a lot of people off and has a lot of enemies." Biting the bread, Serafine chews thoughtfully and swallows. "He's been gone from the City for years, or hiding really well. Anyway, rumor has it that he's back, and that if you want to know something, for the right price, Wraith can find it out for you."
"I was also told, 'Good luck finding him.' "

"I can find him."
Bryn does have an uncanny way of tracking down wary sources who like to hide. "Perhaps not tonight, but I can begin the search tomorrow with Curtis, if he feels up to accompanying me."
A sip is taken from the scotch, and he looks at the food. Indian does happen to be one of his favorites, and he mixes a bit of the curry with the jasmine rice.
"That is a decent lead, Miss Roche."


"I'll help," Serafine declares. She's not asking, she's telling. Bryn's protectiveness is sweet, but Serafine is as able to comb the Undercity and other places just as easily as Bryn came. He has his methods of searching and she has hers.
Ashcroft says nothing about her searcing. He does ask, "How did you find this out?" It may be a source she can't or won't reveal, but it never hurts to ask.
"One of the Trevos was having a spell. Got a bit chatty." It's as much as she is going to reveal. Talking to the Trevos alone is never a good idea, though she was smart enough to not venture into their domain alone. She ran into this one pilfering the blood from meat containers and wrappers from the Eclairant dumpsters.
Ruined a damn good pair of shoes and she didn't even bother to send the dress to dry cleaning. There's no way the smell would ever come out enough for a vampire to not notice it.


"Thank you, Miss Roche." Bryn does want to tell her that it's unnecessary, but he won't argue with her in front of Ashcroft. She's got that on her side at the moment.
"Are you certain that it is a trustworthy source?" Trevos are not known for their mental acuity.


Serafine hides her smirk in her wine glass. She knows that Bryn won't argue in front of Ashcroft. It's that whole professionalism thing. "It is."
"I asked around." Meaning she mentioned it in passing to Kieran who laughed and told her that Wraith had to be the stupidest wererat or the bravest one to come back when he's on Kostas's shit list. It took some negotiation to convince her Maker that it might help the situation if Kostas played dumb and let someone talk to the wererat. After all, the murders aren't doing the Master of the City any favors.
"If it isn't, sugar, then we're no worse off than we were before, am I right?"
"It's worth checking into," Ashcroft agrees. "And no, we won't be any worse off. Thank you for bringing this to the table Sera."
The vampiress gives him a friendly, understanding smile. "This is bad for all of us, Ash. I think even Kostas wants it solved."


"Alright." The smirk is not hidden as well as Serafine thinks it is.
"You are right. We really would be no worse off for going to check it out." He will simply tell a few contacts that he's looking for Wraith (which he thinks is a horribly ridiculous name) for some information, and the money pot is sweet. It should bring the wererat out of hiding.
Eating a few more bites of the curry, he glances at Ashcroft. "I can put Kayla on it in the morning. The girl does actually need a bit of downtime once in a while."


"Wraith probably isn't going anywhere soon," Serafine says. The chirping of her phone gets her attention and she crosses the room to fetch it out of her purse. She's apologetic as she walks down the hall, holding the mute button, "It's one of my clients. I have to take this."
Ashcroft waits until the vampiress is out of sight, if not out of earshot and gives Bryn a steady look. "Are you sure about this, Blackwell? It's not just the higher ups you have to worry about. Kostas is going to want to use this to his advantage and I'm thinking your Dynasty won't be happy."


"My Dynasty has spent most of my life being unhappy with me. I was in a long term relationship with a witch for most of my young adult life. That really did not ingratiate them to me."
Setting his plate of food aside, Bryn takes a drink of the scotch and taps his fingers on the side of the glass.
"Kostas can attempt to use this to his advantage but it will get him nowhere. He has already seen us out together at the book signing."
Bryn continues to tap the side of the glass, and leans forward. "I cannot explain it, Colonel. There was something there when I first met Miss Roche. Not simply the Karneros bloodline qualities, but a connection that is entirely inexplicable."


Ashcroft glances toward where the beautiful vampire disappeared and then back to the sorcerer. "She's not a witch, or I'd be worried. She's not even from witch stock, or else I would still be worried with you telling me something like this." The older man washes down a bite of food with beer and scratches his chin. "Are you trying to tell me that it was love at first sight?" Stranger things have happened, but Ashcroft can see that the pair is clearly very taken with one another. He doesn't know how he's missed it these past months.
"Have you considered something else going on? I can't think of any reason why," Or even how, "Someone would want to create this sort of feeling between you and Serafine, but it's worth considering." More than that, it's worth looking into. He's got contacts in the Boston and DC offices and he might put out some sniffers. Nothing major, but just to make sure Blackwell, and possibly even Serafine, aren't having their strings pulled by some outside force for reasons that are currenlty unclear.


"If she were a witch, or from witch stock, that would definitely be saying something of my tastes." Bryn chuckles, and sips again from the scotch. "Though I do have to ask why you would be worried? The girl I dated was, and still is Coven."
"No. Not quite love at first sight. I do believe that the closest term I can think of would be soulmates, though I do loathe that term."
There is another beat as the scotch is finished off and the glass set on the table. "I have considered that. I have cast a few spells to see if I could detect magic around either of us. There is nothing in my repertoire that reveals anything of the sort."
"Though I do understand the desire to ensure such, Colonel. If you wish to do some searching before we say anything to those within the Priory, we can afford the time. I will still be bringing Miss Roche with me to Kostas' function."


"I would be worried about a love spell of some sort," Ashcroft admits honestly. "Not very likely, but always a possibility."
"Soulmates?" Ashcroft lifts a brow at that. There's a term he never thought would be applied to a vampire. He knows better than most that vampires are believed to have souls, if they are somewhat corrupted by the force that makes them vampiric and being trapped in a dead body. "That's not a term I hear very often in legitimate conversation."
Ashcroft finishes off the beer and sets the bottle to the side. "I can research while you … present your date publicly. I'll just hold off to going a bit higher with the information." They might find out, but Ashcroft will cross that bridge when and if he comes to it.


"Brooke Bishop hardly cast a love spell on me," Bryn replies with another chuckle. "Just because most sorcerers and witches fight like cats and dogs, does not mean that we have to. There is a couple here in the city that have married and have children."
Getting up, he moves to pour himself another two fingers of scotch. "It is not a term that I would generally use in legitimate conversation, but there really is no other way to explain it."
Nodding, he returns to the footstool and sits down. "I do appreciate that Colonel. To keep the backlash from hitting you, we will tell people that we are cementing the relationship between Kostas' Court and the Priory."


Ashcroft chuckles. "Okay, you win. I'll check most of my paranoia at the door for now."
The beautiful vampire is still out of sight, but the Colonel gazes down the hall anyway, shaking his head. "Amazing. Absolutely amazing." He waves a finger at Bryn. "You were always that guy in high school and college. The one that got the hot girls without even trying. Us average joes wanted to kick your ass and we wanted to be you."
"That is plausible, and Kostas will eat it right up. So will Collins." Because while Ashcroft trusts Sera, as much as he can trust a vampire, he does not trust her Maker.


Bryn laughs, shaking his head. "Hardly. I dated the same girl from the time I was thirteen until I graduated high school here. Then I moved back to the UK, and went into pure study mode until I graduated." He may look like that guy, but he definitely wasn't that guy.
"Though admittedly, both are extremely hot." Using the same word that Ashcroft uses.
"Collins happens to be dating a witch," he comments quietly.


Ashcroft chuckles deeply. "Don't do that again. For some reason, the word 'hot' coming from you just seems off, Blackwell." The Colonel is clearly amused by the reserved sorcerer lowering his guard and using the raw vernacular. "While I can't speak to your witch, I can agree with your assessment on Sera." Ashcroft does have eyes, and were he but twenty years younger, she's just the vampire to have made him give vampires a go.
He sobers a bit at the next words. "Something tells me that Regina Young doesn't know this?"


"As far as I am aware, she does not. Chances are she will find out at Kostas' Ball."
A quick privacy spell is cast, simply because he doesn't want Serafine to hear it when he says, "Kieran Collins happens to be dating Brooke Bishop at the moment, and I am uncertain as to whether she is aware of what he is or not."
He can't tell her without breaking a promise to Serafine, but he can have Ashcroft tell the witch if they feel it is necessary.


"Dammit." Ashcroft sits back and rubs a hand over his face. Shaking his head he mutters, "Sometimes it's a stretch of the imagination to believe that one is responsible for creating Sera." The two vampires couldn't be more different, at least in the ways that Ashcroft has seen. It might be that their Karneros appetites are complimentary, but he doesn't want to know about that.

"That's Collins' MO. He likes to push the boundaries and bend and twist the rules as far as he can without breaking them. He'll mind the letter of the law, while exploiting every loophole. Showing up at Kostas' Ball with a unwitting Coven witch on his arm? It's thumbing his nose at the Coven and the Elders. Shows them that he can get to one of theirs any time he wants."




"That is exactly what I thought. I am telling you so that you can perhaps mention it to Curtis as well. Since we will both be there, we can keep an eye on things. Regina will not do anything at such a public venue, but once the Ball is over…" Bryn has met the woman once or twice when helping out with witches that were 'losing their way'. Helping to get them away from dangerous magic, or out of bad situations in the Undercity.

"My assumption is that Collins will plead that he had no clue she was one of Regina's and claim that he has not harmed her."


"As far as I have seen that appears to be the case. The few times we have attended the same events, he has portrayed a perfectly human facade around her."


"He's a piece of work," Ashcroft says dryly. Once upon a time he thought Sera was blind to the man's faults, but he knows that's not the case. It's the one bit of her that isn't quite human; she is amused by the games her Maker plays and his masterful manipulations of the rules. She'll step in to protect him and stop things from getting messy, but her loyalty and affection for her Maker are readily apparent.

"I'll inform Curtis," Ashcroft agrees that it is a good idea. "What does Sera say? Nothing at all or very little?" The Colonel knows how it goes when dealing with the southern vampire and her Maker.


"You can bet that that's precisely what he's going to do. He won't have harmed her either, not in a physical sense. Possibly not even in a mental sense of glamouring and compelling. Part of the game to him is playing human and fooling the masses."


"He is what his Maker made him to be," Bryn states simply. He has met the woman. Done work for her. At least all Kieran is doing is manipulating the rules. His Maker does much worse.

"Serafine happens to like the chit quite a bit, and has asked her Maker to tread lightly, I believe. She and Miss Bishop are becoming good friends, and she does not want that soured."

Bryn has no doubt that it's precisely what Kieran is going to do.

"Regardless, Regina cannot do much of anything unless both were completely willing parties and aware of what the other was. Part of keeping vampiric and witch secrecy does dictate that they not go running around announcing to the world who and what they are. Once they are made aware of things, however, is an entirely different manner."


"He won't hurt her then. That's a plus." Ashcroft states. "He'll listen to Sera. That girl is at least one part of the chink in his armor and his Achilles Heel." Yes, he does refer to the woman who is nearly four times his age as a 'girl' because it's the face she shows the world much of the time. The Priory has never had to use their knowledge of Kieran's feelings toward Sera to keep him in line, but having the knowledge is just as important as using it.

"That as may be. we still need to keep an eye on it the night of the Ball."


"If Miss Bishop doesn't know, and she finds out, I'm afraid we may have an upset scorned with on our hands as well."


"No, he will not hurt her if he knows what is good for him." The Coven protects Brooke, but more than that, Bryn will protect his old flame. He owes her that much. After what he did to her, he's not going to let a vampire hurt her as well.

"I know we will. Brooke is very good at showing a public face as well. She works in public relations and will not want a scandal. There are spells that I can go in with, and I will send word to her sister to ensure that a calming charm is added to the dress." Glancing down the hallway, he looks to see if Serafine is returning yet or not.

"Beyond the scorned witch issue, I do believe she will be hurt and confused when she finds out what Serafine is as well."

"Good, then we might just make it through unscathed." Even if Collins is revealed to Brooke Bishop at the Ball. So long as the witch doesn't attempt to stake the Master's Sheriff, Ashcroft is willing to sit back and let the vampire take his lumps.

He will both earn them and deserve them.

Ashcroft follows Blackwell's line of sight. "Is that going to be a personal or professional problem?"


"A little of both."

Bryn looks back toward Ashcroft, exhaling a sigh. Lifting the glass of scotch to his lips, he drinks a little and then says, "Serafine does actually like Brooke, but at the same time, I do worry for Serafine's safety. I would prefer that no one winds up hurt because of this."


"She's no delicate flower, as much as she may appear to be so," Ashcroft says. "She's difficult not to like, even when one knows what she is." He doesn't have to tell the sorcerer that; the man is smitten by the two centuries old vampire.

"Provided her Maker doesn't make things too difficult, I think Sera will be able to handle Miss Bishop." Ashcroft would be more worried about Sera's feelings being hurt than a physical injury.

The vampire in question has not been attempting to listen to the conversation. She's been on the telephone getting more and more frustrated. Going back and forth between Devon, an art gallery in California, and the buyer who wants something very particular with her brokering the deal, it's a nightmare of a telephone call.

It's settled for the night, however, and Sera walks back into the room, oblivious to the privacy spell because she's still partially brokering a deal in her head. "I swear Nick Halden is the pushiest most cocksure buyer I've ever had the pleasure of not meeting face-to-face. The man just assumes he can schmooze on the phone and get exactly what he wants."

Her green eyes sweep over the men, "I'm sorry. I'm sure you don't want to hear my work woes."


"I am well aware of that. On both counts." Bryn turns back to watch Serafine down the hallway. She seems to be a little frustrated, but he assumes that it's whatever is going on in the call, and not the privacy spell that's doing it.

"Being as Miss Roche is hardly looking for a physical relationship with the woman, it will likely go much better than her finding out what the man she has been dating is." At least Bryn had the advantage of knowing right from the beginning what Serafine was. He won't deny that it has made things a little more difficult, or that things have had to be a little more hidden than they would otherwise have been.

Glancing at Ashcroft as the vampiress approaches, Bryn allows the privacy spell to drop.

"As long as what he wants does not happen to be you, Serafine."


Bryn's words make her smile. Serafine settles back into her seat, topping off her glass of wine. "Even if it is what he wants, it's the one thing that I assure you, he can't have no matter how much cash and how many big name contacts he flashes around."

She sips her wine and gives Bryn a look that's hardly professional or very subtle, though her words remain so. "If you two need to talk Priory business, I can make myself scarce."

Ashcroft notes the look, though he skillfully pretends that he hasn't. "I think that we're done here, for now. Unless there's something additional we need to go over?" The question is put to Bryn.


"I do believe we are done." He's said what he's needed to say, and he's fine with Ashcroft knowing. He's aware that it makes things more difficult for the older man, but at least he's being honest and open about it rather than trying to hide Serafine.

Bryn sets his scotch down, and catches the very unsubtle look.

"Let me know what you find, Colonel, and I will do likewise in regards to Wraith."


Serafine waits a good few minutes after Ashcroft take his leave, finishing her glass of wine and allowing Bryn to finish his meal before she deposits herself in his lap, looping her arms around his throat. The action is flirty and playful, but she's giving him a very serious look.

"Are you sure about this Bryn?"


"Serafine, do I ever do anything that I am not positive on?"

Raising his brow, he wraps his arms about her and pulls her toward him for a tight hug. "The worst that can happen is that I will be asked to step down from this position at the Priory. Seeing what this is and where it takes us is more important to me than a job."


Sighing against him, Serafine melts into the hug. She rests her cheek against his shoulder for a few beats, then lifts her head to kiss the soft, stubble covered underside of his jaw. Her fingers tickle at the hairs at the back of his neck. "I'm glad."


"Not that you'd have to step down from the Priory, but to know that you want to explore what we have."

"I am glad that you are glad," He replies with a grin. "Are you happy that I told the Colonel?"

Bryn does feel bad for springing it on the man, but it really needed to be said before things got any more serious between the pair. It would look bad on Ashcroft if he weren't aware of what was going on. What he does with that information now is entirely up to him.


Leaning in, Serafine nuzzles his neck above the collar of his shirt. She plants another gentle kiss there. "Mmm…hmm. I'm happy that you're invested in this enough that you wanted to tell him."

Drawing back, she begins to push his suit coat from his shoulders. "Work is over, Mr. Blackwell. It's time for you to loosen up a little."

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