"Go fuck yourself!" I screamed into the phone. "I want you out of my fucking apartment before I get home, or I'll throw your bony ass through the window."
I slammed down the phone and growled my frustration into the room.
"Morning, Drake. Am I interrupting?" Alice, my assistant, stood in the door with two Starbucks cups in her hands and a wry grin on her face.
"No, come on in." I dropped into my chair with a sigh. "Coffee? What's the occasion? You never bring me coffee."
"I stole the rest of the money out of petty cash last night so I figured I'd better get you a present," she said, setting my cup on the desk.
"You know, you're the worst assistant ever."
"But you love me." She flipped her long, silver hair over her shoulder and sat across from me. "Was that Gareth?"
"Yes," I hissed through my teeth. "We are so done."
"Are you really done or are you done for now like you were last time you were done?"
"The fucker didn't come home last night. When he stumbled in this morning, he smelled like a brothel. A female brothel. Fuck him. We're done. For good."
Alice gave me a disbelieving look that made her gold-flecked irises darken a little. I couldn't really blame her for having doubts though.
Gareth Spence had been my on-again-off-again boyfriend for the last five years. When he'd moved in with me six months ago, I'd thought that meant we were going to be on again permanently. We'd had a lot of problems in our time together, the majority of them being that Gareth was a selfish, immature prick with a penchant for cheating on me. But he'd been so different last time he'd come crawling back. It even seemed as if he had really changed.
Over the previous few weeks, however, he'd gone back to being a bastard. Staying out until all hours of the night, hushed phone calls from the bathroom and canceling dates repeatedly were just some of the things that had been pissing me off. When he didn't come home last night, it had been the last straw for me. I'd spent most of the morning packing up his things so he could just take his boxes and leave.
"That's what you get for dating a Demon, Drake."
"Please," I groaned. "He's a lesser Demon."
"He's a Nephilim!" Alice exclaimed with a laugh.
I shrugged. "So am I."
"No, you're a Vampire."
"Most people can't tell the difference."
"Really?" She pushed her hair behind one of her pointy ears as she rolled her eyes. "When's the last time you ate an infant?"
"Gareth has never eaten a baby." As far as I knew, anyway.
"My point is," she continued unabashed, "your blood is so diluted you might as well be Human. His grandparents were cannibals. There's a world of difference between the two of you. I hate that you forget that."
"That's because you're an Elf and get pissed when people call you a Fairy. It matters to you. It doesn't matter to me."
"I don't have fucking wings, do I?" Her face turned red, and her fists clenched around her coffee cup. "Of course, it pisses me off. I'm not a fucking Fae. Fuck those bastards. As useless as my protection powers may be sometimes, at least, I can do more than make myself look pretty in order to bang losers."
"Don't hold back." I laughed. "Tell me what you really think."
"Look, Drake, you know that I love you like a brother. I hate Gareth, and I hate what he does to you. Promise me that you won't take him back again. Please?"
Instead of answering, I pulled a long box from under my desk and handed it to her. Alice set her cup on my desk before reaching out with shaking hands to accept it.
"Is this..." she trailed off as she touched the box and her question was answered. Being a Sub-Human, she could feel the power the sword radiated even through the thick cardboard hiding it from view.
"I need you to get that in the vault so Gareth can't get to it." I stood up and looked down at her. "He and I are done. I want you to call in anyone and everyone you need to get wards around the building so he can't get within fifty feet of this office."
She nodded as she got to her feet, her arms cradling the box as if holding a baby. I watched her wave a hand over the box, sealing the magic inside with one of her "useless" protection spells so it couldn't be detected by anyone before she could get it put away.
The Sword of Azazel was rumored to have been forged by the Angel himself and left behind when he was cast into the desert by Metatron with the rest of The Watchers.
The story goes that The Watchers were a group of Angels sent from Heaven to observe the Mortals from ground level. They'd broken some kind of rule and fucked a bunch of women then were punished by God to live eternity in a hole in the desert or something like that. Azazel had been one of the worst punished because he'd taught the Mortals how to make weapons. I guess weaponry was supposed to be only in Heaven or something. Though what God would need swords and shields for I couldn't imagine. The legend sounded like a bunch of bullshit to me, but wars had been fought over the sword, and I was its current protector.
The tale says that the offspring of the Human women and the Angels were the first Sub-Human race to walk the Earth. They had super strength like an Angel and blood-thirsty tendencies like Mortals. They were called Nephilim and were the scourge of the Earth for centuries.
As time went on, their bloodline had branched off, some of them mating with Humans for so many generations that the race was watered down to Vampirism. Which was the case with my family. We couldn't even trace back far enough to find a true Nephilim name.
Gareth's family, on the other hand, had inbred itself almost to the point of extinction. The only reason it had lasted long enough to create him was the discovery that mating with other Sub-Human races kept the race purer than breeding with Mortals.
Because of the insanity and bloodlust that ran in the veins of true Nephilim, it was decided that the Sword of Azazel should be protected by the Vampire kin. It had been handed down for generations until finally the sword had fallen to me. According to my mother, there's a prophecy that says the sword will be needed in the time of the last son of Sariel, whoever the fuck that was, for that will be the time of great war between good and evil. In other words, Armageddon will finally come and good will need the Sword of Azazel to kick some evil Demon ass.
Even though I didn't believe all the Fallen Angel/Watcher nonsense, I knew power when I felt it. The sword might not have been forged by Azazel himself, but some pretty strong magic had been used to make it. I wasn't about to fuck around and take chances with a priceless weapon that was possibly a millennia or more old.
Gareth had always been far too interested in the blade. He'd felt the power radiating from my wall safe and one day finally had demanded to know what I had. When I'd told him about the sword, his eyes had gotten that greedy look in them, like a Troll that had just discovered a big pot of gold, and I'd known he could never be allowed to even touch it--and this was during a good phase in our relationship.
Even though I didn't believe in the prophecy nonsense, I took my duties as the sword's protector very seriously. My family had held the weapon for generations, and it meant something to them. I wasn't going to take that lightly. Now that I was the last Vampire on Earth, I wasn't sure what would happen to the weapon when I died. My parents had never discussed what the contingency plan was, though perhaps they didn't realize I wouldn't be carrying on their bloodline.
Now that I was done, really done, with Gareth, I wanted to make sure the sword was somewhere he wouldn't be able to get his grubby little hands on it. I could guarantee my mother never wanted a Nephilim near the blade.
I watched Alice walk out the door then stop and turn back.
"Oh yeah, Agent Abrams is here to see you."
"Worst assistant ever!" I yelled as she walked away and a tall, blond man filled my doorway.
"Mr. Brokk," the man said as he entered the office. "I hope I'm not interrupting anything."
"Like you really care," I sighed, motioning toward the chair in front of my desk. "What can I do for you today, Agent Abrams?"
Special Agent Elijah Abrams had been to my office four times in the last three weeks. Usually when the FBI came snooping, I could just make a phone call and the justice department would shoo them on to some other project.
As an international arms dealer, I was always catching the attention of one government agency or another. The majority of my dealings were legitimate business with proper paperwork on file. It was the other ten percent that I had to be careful about. It wasn't technically illegal to sell weaponry to Sub-Human species, but that was only because Mortals didn't know about them. It would be a big pain in the ass to try to explain where that shipment of legal AK-47 rifles had ended up for instance if I'd sold them to a group of Sidhe. When I purchase stuff legally, I have to have a legal trail of paperwork for the sale to others. So sometimes I have to buy things a little off the beaten path when one of the non-Human races needs a little extra firepower.
It had been a busy couple of weeks for my office. The Sub-Human races had been beating down my door to stock up on weaponry. No one had been able to explain why they'd felt the need to have so much artillery; they all just said they felt as if things were getting dangerous.
I had an appointment book full of meetings set up with the heads of the races to try to figure out why their people seemed so scared. According to Alice, none of them had been very happy to get phone calls requesting they come see me, but none of them had refused.
"You have a meeting set up with Tomas Bishop today." It wasn't a question.
"How do you know that?" I asked, not bothering to deny it.
"I know a lot of things Mr. Brokk." He sat down across from me and smiled.
Alice had told me repeatedly that I should get this man knocked off my case. I knew she was right, but part of me liked him coming in, if for no other reason than it gave me a chance to look at him.
Elijah Abrams was gorgeous. He was tall and thin--a little too thin for my usual preference but on him it worked. His blue eyes were bright against his alabaster face and the white blond hair on top of his head was cut shaggy so that one side of his bangs was almost always swept across his brow. Several times, I'd caught myself reaching out to brush the hair away from his face, wanting to find out if it was as soft as it looked.
He didn't look like any FBI agent I'd ever seen, and that was fine with me. Most of the men who had come to the office to dig through my files had been old, bald and overweight. They were paper pushers, not field agents. Those men I'd never worried about. All they'd ever wanted was to make sure I had stamped, signed and crossed all my Ts. They knew they didn't have anything on me so they'd hoped for some misdemeanor paperwork fraud charge. It had never happened.
Abrams was different. He'd never asked to look at shipping manifests or customs documents. He always sat in my office and asked questions about the people I dealt with, the weapons I procured and where they'd ended up.
What worried me the most was that the names he asked about were almost never Humans. I'd wanted to ask him if he knew about Sub-Humans and Demons, but if he didn't it would be stupid to offer up any information. Telling Humans about the other species that walk the Earth is a huge no-no, and I didn't want to incur the wrath of any of them for spilling secrets to an FBI agent of all people.
"Bishop is a pretty heavy hitter," Abrams said, ignoring my question. "What's your meeting about?"
"That's none of your business."
"Actually it is." He sat forward, resting his elbows on his knees and looking me in the eye. "Tomas Bishop is the suspected leader of the New York mafia. He's not authorized to purchase artillery through your office. I want to know why you're meeting with him."
"Do you have a warrant for that information?" I asked.
"I can get one."
"How did you even know I have a meeting with him?" I asked again, hoping he would answer me this time.
"We've got his phones tapped," Abrams said with a shrug, carefully not meeting my gaze. "I heard your assistant call him and request that he come meet with you. I want to know why."
"I want to know why you care."
"Look, we all know you deal with some...nefarious people in your line of work. You have license to deal in military grade weaponry with only a few of those people. Tomas is not on the approved list, and I want to make sure you aren't selling him illegal arms."
"I'm not," I said simply as I stood. "Can I show you to the door?"
"Not good enough," he said.
"Too bad." I crossed my arms across my chest and glared at him. "As much as I look forward to our meetings, I'm afraid I'm going to have to make a phone call and get you reassigned. This is getting annoying."
He stood then, walking over to stand in front of me. He was taller by about four inches, and he looked down at me with fire in his gaze.
"I'm not going anywhere. There is no one you can call who is strong enough to keep me away from you."
The urge to kiss him was unbearable. Every muscle in my body screamed to move closer to him, but I forced myself to stand still. His lips were parted slightly, and the need to know what they tasted like was almost overwhelming.
"What does that mean?" I asked, the wording of what he'd just said finally breaking through the haze in my brain.
"It means," he said, stepping even closer to me. "I'll be back after your meeting tonight. And you are going to talk to me."
If he lowered his face just a few inches, his mouth could be on mine. For a moment, I wondered if that was his intention. But he turned abruptly and stormed out the door.
It was another few seconds before I remembered to exhale. My body was shaking with pent up tension and anger at the situation.
"What's up?" She bounced into the room as if she hadn't just eavesdropped on our entire conversation.
"I need you to run a sweep of the office and make sure we aren't being spied on. Then I need you to call the Detroit field office of the FBI and get me any information you can on Elijah Abrams."
"I already did the sweep and didn't find anything. And as soon as he mentioned Tomas, I called the office and left a message for my friend Judy to dig up the dirt on the Agent and get it over to us ASAP." She looked smug as she told me all of this.
"You're still a terrible assistant," I said, but there was no bite to it.
"Whatever." She rolled her eyes. "Tomas isn't due for another hour. Do you want me to order lunch?"
"No, I'm fine. Go ahead and get yourself something if you want." I turned to walk to my desk. "And I'm not buying."
"Yes, you are," she mumbled before shutting the door on her way out.
I sat down again and sighed into the empty room as I rubbed my eyes. Alice was very good at handling paperwork and keeping her mouth shut, and her connections could be handy, not to mention her Elven abilities to ward and protect things I needed concealed. But she couldn't help stealing everything that wasn't nailed down or strictly accounted for. Something in Elf DNA made them think they had a right to everything they weren't specifically told they couldn't have.
It had already been an exhausting day, and I was finding it difficult to stay awake now that the room had gone quiet again.
I hadn't slept much in the last few weeks, and I hadn't fed in days. The emergency stores of Nephilim blood I kept in the office were tempting, but I was scared to tap into them yet. Now that Gareth and I were done, it was going to be harder to get my hands on the stuff.
No one could ever satisfactorily explain to me why Vampires had to feed on Nephilim blood. The legends say we can survive on any blood, but it isn't true. Actually, most of the Vampire myths are utter crap. I'm fine in daylight, I eat real food and drink non-bodily fluids all the time. But I must feed on Nephilim blood a few times a month to stay alive.
That was part of the reason I'd kept taking Gareth back. I didn't know any other Nephilim, and it wasn't likely that he was going to let me feed on him now that I'd kicked him out. I made a note on my desk pad to ask Tomas when he came in if he knew anywhere I could get some.
This thought brought me back to Abrams. I was really starting to think he wasn't being completely honest with me. He knew more than he was letting on. I'd thought he was Human, but it was possible that he was something else. A Demon maybe. Many of the full Demons could blend in even better than a lesser or a Sub-Human could.
I didn't know, but I was sure as hell going to find out. My world had become weird enough without strangers poking their noses in where they didn't belong. Last week, I'd had a Drow ask me for an M72 LAW rocket launcher. And he couldn't explain what the hell he needed it for. The best he could come up with was "for protection".
Yeah, I definitely didn't need someone hanging around my office, making things stranger for me. Elijah Abrams needed to get the hell out before he seriously fucked up my life. More than I'd fucked it up for myself.