Kyrian Hunter crunched through the snow that lay sparkling on the sidewalks of Jackson Square. There was one last gift he had to pick up for his one year old daughter before Christmas tomorrow morning and, lucky him, no place was open. Not that that should be surprising. No place was ever open on Christmas eve night. How Kyrian wished he could go back home and cuddle up with his wife on the couch while little Marissa played on the floor.
Damn himself for forgetting to get the doll Marissa wanted so badly.
"You know Kyrian," A voice said to his left. "It would be so much easier if you just didn't celebrate Christmas like us sane people."
Kyrian turned to see his old friend Acheron leaning on the brick wall behind him with his black backpack at his feet. "Yes well, some of us actually like celebrating holidays."
Acheron shrugged, picked up his backpack and walked over to Kyrain. "Maybe this will make your life easier." He opened his backpack and pulled out a box. Inside was the doll Kyrian had been searching for.
"Ash how did you get this?"
"I know a guy." Ash handed the box over and closed his backpack.
"Thanks. Marissa's going to be so happy."
"Glad to help. Now I need a favor."
Even though Kyrian couldn't see them through the dark sunglasses Acheron wore, he somehow knew he was rolling his eerie silver eyes. "You sound like Nick. I called him the other day and told him I needed him to pick something up for me and he told me to shove it."
Kyrian stiffled a laugh. That sounded like something the Squire whould do. "Yeah that's Nick for ya."
"I don't know how you put up with him for so long." Ash sighed and looked around at the people walking around on the streets bundled up in heavy coats and boots. In Louisiana, it was extremely rare to get snow so when it did happen to come down, people went a little berserk. Poor Talon was probably cursing living out in the bayou right now. "Look, Kyrian, we have a little issue."
"It involves Valerius." Ash warned.
"Good luck." Kyrian turned to walk away but Acheron pulled him to a stop.
"Look I know you don't like him but..."
"Don't like him?" Kyrian snorted. "That, my friend, is an exaggeration. I can't stand him. I wish you would just let me kill him and get it over with."
Ash sighed and counted to ten. This was going to be difficult. "Look I know he hurt you..."
Kyrian let out a bellowing laugh. "Hurt me? The man brougt me to my death and screwed my wife right before my eyes."
"That was two thousand years ago. You have a better life now. I think you need to move on and listen to me."
"Look, Ash, your my friend and all but I don't want to see that man ever again unless I'm standing over him stabbing him through the heart. And I'm not a Dark-Hunter anymore. I don't follow you now."
"I know you don't but I really need you Kyrian. You're the one person I trust most."
Now that was weird. You just didn't get things like that out of the mighty and powerful Acheron Parthenopaeus. The man was way to secretive. This must be bad. "Tell me what happened and I'll think about helping you."
"Thank you. Valerius got into some trouble. He's being held captive by the Daimons. Their going to try to suck his soul out since he's the strongest Dark-Hunter in New Orleans." Ash's phone started ringing and when he pulled it out and answered it, Kyrian could hear Talon cursing at Ash in his native Celtic tone. Ash sighed and hung up.
"That was rude."
"I'm complimented by what he says but I don't have time for him right now. As I was saying, the Daimons are palnning on sucking out his soul at midnight so we have to go after them."
"Wait, Dark-Hunters don't have souls."
Acheron took his sunglasses off and looked at Kyrian. "Yeah. They don't. That's what I'm trying to figure out too. I knew Daimons were stupid but this is a whole new level. " "All right. I'll help. But only because I know what it's like to be tortured by stupid."
The corners of Ash's mouth twitch up. "You and me both. I'll meet you there. Valerius said they had him held in an apartment on Bourbon street."
"Man. You weren't kidding when you said they were making a whole new level of stupid."
"Yeah well." Ash headed for his motorcycle which was parked across the street.
"One more question?"
"Why are they doing this on Christmas eve?"
"Hell if I know." His eyes said something different though. The man really needed to learn to confide in someone. Amanda told him that every night and Kyrian conqeured but Ash didn't care.
Kyrian got into his black Lamborghini and drove after Ash to Bourbon street. It didn't take long to get there and when they did it was full of people, as usual. They were all bundled up and cursing the snow but they seemed to be enjoying themselves. Acheron pulled into an alley behind one of the apartement complexes and park. Kyrian parked the Lambi and got out.
"Damn I hate the cold. How does Zarek do this?"
"He lives in Alaska. I'm sure he's immune to it by now."
"For once, I actually feel bad for him."
Ash grinned and went in the doors. All the people inside stopped to stare at him but he didn't seem to give two shits. At 6'8" Acheron didn't exactly blaend in and the power the man wielded was so strong that you could feel it from miles away. People usually avoided Ash because they were afraid of him. Kyrian felt sorry for him. Maybe that's why he was a little on the insane side. Eleven thousand years of icsolation will get to you.
"Their upstaid." Acheron whispered, heading for the stairs. He didn't do well in elevators Kyrian learned long ago. Kind of like his best friend Julian who didn't do good in any small, dark space. Was Kyrian really the only one who could keep a cool head for thirty seconds in an elevator?
They hurried up all the stairs until they reached the top floor. Acheron seemed to know exactly where he was going as he walk with a freaky calmness down the hall to the door at the very end. he kicked open the door and five pairs of eyes turned to look at him. Daimons liked to travel in pack of four or six. Something Kyrian would never understand. The fifth pair of eyes were Valerius's.
Kyrian growled low in his throat at the all too familiar face of the man who had brought him to his death in his first human life.
"Ooh it seems our little Dark-Hunter here has an enemy." One of the Daimons said.
Valerius gave Kyrian an evil glare. "He's not my enemy. He's my slave. Actually, he's even lower than that. Isn't that right Greek?" He basically spit the last word.
"Love you, too, Roman."
"Shut up you two and focus." Ash said.
"Shut up Acheron." Kyrian and Valerius said at the same time.
Ash rubbed his eyes. "What are you doing with my Dark-Hunter, Daimons?"
"We're going to take his soul. We're going to be unstoppable." The leader said.
"Dark-Hunters don't have souls." Kyrian jumped in.
Valerius gave a disgusted sigh. "I've told them that. Does it look like their listening?"
Before Kyrian could comment, two of the Daimons attacked him and Acheron. Thank the gods Artemis didn't take his Dark-Hunter powers when he became human again. He could still fight these bastards with ease. The Daimon who attacked him got a knee to the groin followed by a knife to the heart. He evaporated into nothingness.
Acheron's Daimon was putting up a little more of a fight but eventually he died too.
The other two Daimons came at them with their fangs bared. Man they were pathetic. Kyrian released the knife in the toe of his boat and kick it into the one that got to him first. Then he helped Ash get the other one with his knife.
"Valerius, why did you get yourself trapped by Daimons? I thought you were a better fighter than that."
Kyrian burst out laughing.
Valerius got himself loose from the ropes he'd been tied down with and stood. He then walked over and gave Acheron a kiss.
Kyrian sobered instantly. "Uh..."
Acheron growled and oushed him back. "Dammit Artemis! I hate when you pull this crap with me."
Valerius's body melted away and the red-headed goddess appeared in front of them. "Oh come on Acheron. It was just a little fun."
Ash growled again. "Where's Valerius?"
"I don't know. Out killing Daimons I suspect."
"Wait," Kyrian couldn't sort through this. "This was all a joke?"
"Not a joke. I just love to watch Ash fight. He's so gorgeous." Artemis pulled Ash to her lips and gave him another kiss. Again, he pulled away.
"I'm sorry Kyrian. Had I known, I wouldn't have drug you into this." Ash gave him a sympathetic look.
"It's fine. I'm just really glad I don't work for you two anymore." He turned and walked out of the apartment.
The next morning, Marissa got her doll, Amanda got a beautiful diamond bracelet, and Kyrian got to watch his family have a fun Christmas day. All was right with the world.
At least, for now.