With an annoyed growl, mostly at himself for being such a fool for caring even a little, he climbed up the small metal ladder and punched the manhole cover, sending it flying through the air away from him. He barely registered the loud clatter of the cover slamming into a wall and hitting the ground. All his focus was on the dimly lit alleyway he found himself in.
There was only the barest trace of vampire scent in the alley. It was almost undetectable beneath the heavy cloying scent of fresh blood. He didn't need to see Greg kneeling over Danni's body ten yards away to know that it was her blood. He would know the scent of her blood anywhere. Her blood was the sweetest, most enticing blood he'd ever come across.
When Danni was a child he'd found the scent of her blood pleasant, yet sweet. It had been a temptation, but one he'd easily ignored. It wasn't until she was on the brink of adulthood that her blood began calling to him, tormenting him. Pushing her away had been the only choice, one he made himself believe he never regretted since it saved her life.
"Danni? Danni, wake up!" Greg said, shaking her. Caine knew he should walk away and leave it to the little prick to take care of her, but he didn't trust him.
With a curse he walked over to Danni and shoved the ass**le aside. "Danni?" he said softly as ran his eyes over her. There was a deep gash across her palm, but other than a few fresh bruises and cuts he couldn't see any injuries that would explain why she was unconscious.
"What happened to her?" he demanded, as he leaned over her head and closed his eyes. He slowly moved down her body as he breathed in her scent. He could smell small amounts of blood forming bruises beneath her skin, but nothing serious. He could also scent the aspirin he saw her take an hour ago, but no other drugs. There was absolutely nothing he could scent on her that would explain why she was out. He could smell the low levels of iron in her blood, but that didn't explain why she was out cold.
He opened his eyes as he picked up her hand and concentrated on the deep gash and frowned. There were no defensive marks, no jagged edges or bruising on her hand. Even after all these years he knew Danni would never sit still and allow someone to do this to her and she sure as hell wouldn't leave a wound like this open, drawing every vampire within a ten mile radius to her. Something was very wrong here and he had a feeling the ass**le he was seconds away from killing was the reason.
"What the hell happened to her?" he demanded again, feeling his patience evaporate. His eyes burned with their change as his fangs descended in his mouth. So help him if the ass**le didn't answer him soon he was going to tear his-
"You know she said you wouldn't come. I guess she was wrong," Greg suddenly said, chuckling. "I'm sure she'll be flattered when she wakes up."
"What the f**k did you do to her?" he roared, turning to attack him only to come to an abrupt halt when he came face to face with the barrel of a gun. He didn't need to look to know the gun was already cocked and ready.
It was a trap.
A f**king trap and he walked right into it, he thought with disgust.
Greg didn't hesitate in pulling the trigger, which was the only thing that saved him. If he'd hesitated even for a second Caine would have been on him instead of slamming backwards as the hot bullet tore through skin and bone as it made its journey through his head.
He felt himself drop back, falling limply on his side as his sight blacked out and white hot pain shot through his skull as it was mutilated along the bullet's passage until all he knew was pain and darkness.
"How was that 'talk' for you?" Greg demanded, laughing. He pulled back his foot and sent it flying into Caine's stomach over and over again. "You're my bitch now, ass**le," he said, kicking Caine one last time in stomach before he pulled his phone out.
"Come get him," he said, unable to stop grinning. He'd waited twenty-five years to do that and it had been worth the wait. In fact, after Caine did what the Master wanted, Greg looked forward to doing this again, right before they got rid of him permanently.
His eyes darted over to the secret to his success and he damn near sighed with contentment. She was the key to everything, otherwise he would have killed the bitch years ago.
Even when they were kids he couldn't stand her. She'd been a little know-it-all bitch who always got in the way and had the rest of the kids fooled. They all thought she was so f**king cool because Caine talked to her and spent time with her. While he had to deal with proving himself to the other kids and getting his ass kicked on a daily basis no one dared to look sideways at Danni. She'd been untouchable.
The few times he'd tried to put the little bitch in her place had ended poorly for him thanks to her f**king lapdog. When he was a child, Greg knew that Caine was different. Unfortunately for him he hadn't known the full extent of Caine's abilities until it was too late.
When he was twelve he learned that Caine could hear just about anything from a mile away, if he was paying attention. It was how the bastard discovered Danni was trapped in an old pit hole deep in the woods. They'd been playing tag, the Sentinel version where they mixed training with fun, and while everyone else was running and doing their best to cover their tracks he'd followed the little brat, intent on teaching her a lesson. He couldn't believe his luck when she found an old pit.
He waited quietly as she walked around the edge. When she was leaning over the edge with her back to him he snuck up behind her as quietly as he could and just as she was about to turn he ran the last several feet separating them and shoved her.
The sounds of her falling and the accompanying screams had been music to his ears. He would have loved to sit there listening to her scream for help, but he knew what would happen to him if anyone discovered what he'd done so he ran. He ran to where he knew the rest of the kids were playing and circled around so it seemed that he came from the opposite direction. He made sure that no one could connect him with Danni's "accident."
To this day he still remembered the unholy roar that startled every single living creature for miles. Birds seemed to burst out of tree tops into the sky as animals scattered in a desperate rush for escape. Even the Sentinel adults were startled. They'd quickly gathered up all the children and escorted them through the woods with their weapons drawn.
While the other children had been scared he had to work damn hard not to smile. All he could think of was Danni's pitiful screams as he ran that mile back to the compound. Every pregnant woman and every child, Sentinel and human, were placed in the downstairs training room with guards set up at every exit, prepared to fight the rogue demon they thought was on the property, but Greg knew better.