But for how long?
She had her answer a second later.
While she stood there, trembling between the toilet and the door, the lock started to jiggle loose all on its own.
South Station was packed with passengers from a newly arrived train when Gideon skidded to a halt inside the terminal. Weaving between the sea of incoming humans, some striding with impatient purpose, others wandering aimlessly, Gideon searched out the schedule board and scanned the departures for Savannah's train to New Orleans.
Which would have been excellent news, except the board was showing the train had left the station. Departed just two minutes ago.
Gideon could hardly curb the need to put his fist through something. "Damn it."
He considered running after the train. If he didn't catch up to it en route, odds were good that he'd find it at its first stop along the way. Then what? Hop on board and search Savannah out among the other passengers?
What would be the better tack once he found her: Trance her and carry her off the train while attempting to avoid the notice of a few hundred witnesses? Or plop his ass into the seat next to her and give her a quick rundown on Breedmates, Rogues and other alien-spawned vampires right there on the Amtrak Number 59 to New Orleans?
Christ, what a disaster.
Not that he had a lot of choices here.
Gideon headed deeper into the terminal, mentally calculating potential outcomes of both less-than-ideal scenarios. As he stalked toward a corridor leading to the departure gates, he caught a whiff of something sickly sweet in the hallway.
Unmistakable to his Breed senses, the stench of a Rogue somewhere nearby.
Gideon glanced around, looking for the source of the odor. Nothing but humans in the station around him. Still, his nape prickled with certainty. His gaze slid to a yellow maintenance cone blocking the door to the ladies' room across the hall. He strode closer, and the foul scent of a feral vampire strengthened.
His talent penetrated the wood and steel swinging door, locking on to a pair of heat sources inside. One was massive and hulking. The other, tall and slender, frozen in place before the threat facing her.
Gideon's entire body ignited in hot, ferocious rage. One second he was in the terminal hallway, the next he was in the closed public restroom, shoving past the overturned rubbish can and leaping on the Rogue--just as the suckhead was about to crowd into the stall to attack Savannah.
On a low growl, Gideon heaved the vampire away from Savannah. He drove the Rogue's spine into the wall of white sinks and dirty mirrors on the opposite side of the room. On impact, one of the old basins crashed to the floor, shattering on a heavy thump at Gideon's feet. Water sprayed from the broken spigot, hissing almost as fiercely as the feral vampire struggling to free itself of Gideon's unyielding hold.
The suckhead grunted and snarled, gnashing its yellowed fangs. It reeked of Bloodlust and the soured evidence of a recent feeding, but its amber eyes and thin, slitted pupils held the look of a ravenous beast still thirsting for blood.
That this beast had gotten so close to Savannah--mere seconds away from touching her, biting her, close enough to kill her--made Gideon's veins throb with the need to punish.
To eviscerate the son of a bitch who intended her harm.
And he would have, had Savannah not been in the room to witness it.
Her stricken face was reflected in the cracked glass of the mirror behind the Rogue's struggling bulk. Savannah's dark doe eyes were wide with terror, her pretty mouth dropped open in a silent scream as she stared at Gideon and the beast pinned between him and the restroom wall.
"Get out of here," Gideon told her, ready to end the suckhead and loath to do it in front of her. "Wait for me outside, Savannah. You don't want to see this."
But she didn't move. Maybe she couldn't. Or maybe it was the sheer tenacity of the woman, her sharp, curious mind, that would not give in to fright when the need for answers was stronger.
The Rogue bucked and thrashed, trying to throw Gideon off. There was little time to hesitate. The din of the terminal outside the restroom door would mask most of the sounds of struggle, but he had to end this quickly, before they drew unwanted attention. Gideon pulled one of his long daggers from the sheath beneath his black trench coat.
The suckhead's amber eyes rolled toward the movement. Awareness of his impending death flashed across the open-mawed sneer. He roared, one filthy hand shooting out to the side of him, grabbing for some kind of weapon of his own.
He didn't get the chance.
Gideon shifted his hold and brought his dagger up between their bodies. With a hard thrust, the blade sank deep, plunging into the center of the Rogue's chest. The suckhead froze, panting rapidly, the twin coals of his eyes fixed on Gideon, hideous face sagging in defeat.
Gideon held the dagger in place as the diseased Breed vampire shuddered around the killing length of titanium-edged steel.
Death was immediate. Gideon dropped the big corpse as the titanium began to feed on the Rogue, dissolving it from the inside out. In mere minutes, the lump of dying flesh and bone would be nothing more than ash, then all evidence of its existence gone altogether.
Gideon turned to face Savannah. "Are you hurt?"
Mutely, she shook her head. "Gideon...who was he? What was he?" She drew in a ragged breath. "My God, what the hell is going on?"
Gideon stowed his bloodied blade and went to her. He pulled her trembling body under his arm and gently lifted her face. "Did he touch you?"
"No," she murmured. "But if you hadn't been here..."
He kissed her, a brief, tender brush of his mouth against hers. "I'm here. I will keep you safe, Savannah. Do you trust me?"
"Yes," she whispered. "I trust you." She peered around him, to where the dead Rogue was swiftly disintegrating, clothing and all. "But I don't understand any of this. How can any of this be real?"
"Come on." He took her hand in his. "There could be more where that one came from. We have to go now."
He led her out of the restroom, back into the bustle of the station. It wasn't until they were standing at the curb in the cool night air that Gideon realized he was at a loss as to where to go.
Savannah's apartment was across town, several miles away. Not that it seemed like a smart idea to take her there. He doubted very much that the Rogue going after her at the bus station was a random thing. Whoever put the suckhead on her trail would no doubt have her apartment under watch too. And as much as Gideon wanted to know who that someone was, Savannah's wellbeing was his sole concern now.
Which should have been cause enough to send him with her to the nearest Darkhaven.
To be sure, that would be the most logical, pragmatic choice. But logic and pragmatism could get fucked right about now, for all he cared about that.
He wasn't ready to yank Savannah away from harrowing situation and a thousand questions in need of answers, only to turn her over to the diplomatic arm of the Breed nation. In fact, he was finding it hard to imagine a scenario where he'd ever be ready to hand her over to someone else and walk away. He felt her soft fingers tighten around his broad palm as she stood beside him in the dark, waiting for him to make his choice.
Trusting him to keep her safe, as he promised he would.
Gideon glanced into her velvet brown gaze and knew a sudden, fierce protectiveness surge through him. Sending her away now was out of the question. It was his duty to walk her into his world gently. He bristled at the thought of letting some stranger out of the Enforcement Agency or civilian ranks step in where this woman was concerned.
The claim swept up on him from somewhere deep in his subconscious, a sharp, primal thing. It throbbed in his veins, drumming hard in his ears with every beat of his heart.
And he needed her too.
After seeing her so close to danger back in the station--after realizing how quickly he might have lost her tonight--Gideon wanted nothing more than pull Savannah against him and never let her out of his sight again.
He wasn't going to push her off on the Darkhavens or the Enforcement Agency, even if that meant willfully ignoring Breed protocol.
Even if that meant blatantly defying Lucan's orders.
Gideon reached into the pocket of his black fatigues and withdrew the scrap of paper Tegan had given him back the compound earlier that day. He read it for a second time. Just an address, nothing more.
An address that was only a few blocks away from where he stood now.
He wasn't sure what to expect when they got there, but at the moment it seemed to be his best and only option.
"Let's go," he murmured, brushing his mouth against the warmth of her temple.
And with Savannah tucked under the shelter of his arm, clinging to him like a life line, Gideon guided her away from the busy bus terminal.
"What is this place?"
Savannah stood beside Gideon on a quiet, historic residential street little more than a mile from South Station, by her guess. Before them loomed a slim, three-story redbrick townhouse. It was stately, but unremarkably so next to its handsome, welcoming neighbors.
No lights glowed from within this house, no sounds emanated from within its walls. Its windows were dark, shuttered tight with black slatted panels. The iron-and-glass porch light was cold, leaving the walkway and stoop unlit as she and Gideon had made their way up to the heavy wood door.
The house, for all its seemingly deliberate effort to blend in with the others on the street, stood forbidding in its utter stillness.
Savannah rubbed off the chill that raced up her arms as she took in the stoic slab of brick and darkness. "Does anyone live here? It's as quiet as a tomb."
"I've never been here before," Gideon said. Head down, he stared with steady intent on the deadbolt drilled into the thick oak door. Although she didn't notice if he had a key, in mere seconds, the lock was freed and Gideon opened the door for her. "Come inside."
She followed him, pausing in the unfamiliar place, uncertain. Still shaken from what happened at the bus station. "It's so dark in here."
"Stay where you are." His deep voice with its soothing accent was a low rumble beside her, his blunt fingertips warm where he stroked the side of her face. "I'll find you some light."
She waited while he ably crossed the room and turned on a small lamp several feet away from her.
The soft illumination revealed a nearly vacant living space. One lone chair--a rough-hewn relic from the turn of the previous century, at least--sat beside the simple wooden table where the lamp now glowed. On the other side of the room, the cold, black mouth of a fireplace seemingly long out of use laced the stale air with the acrid tinge of old wood smoke.
Savannah cautiously trailed Gideon as he left the main living area to enter an adjacent room. She crossed her arms in front of her, tucking her bare fingers in to her sides to avoid the inadvertent touch that would wake her extrasensory ability. She suspected this house had never been filled with family or laughter. She didn't need to rouse her gift and confirm it.
No, she'd had enough darkness to last her a good long while.
"We'll be safe here, Savannah." Gideon turned on another lamp in the space where he stood now. He removed his black leather trench coat and laid it on the bed. Fastened around the hips of his black combat fatigues, he wore a thick belt studded with all manner of weapons--a pair of pistols, an array of knives, including the savage blade that he'd wielded back at the station. He took off the belt and placed it on top of his coat. "Savannah, I give you my word, I'm not going to let anything happen to you. You know you can trust me on that, yeah?"
She nodded and stepped into the modest bedroom, noting immediately the lack of decoration or personal effects. The bed was made, but fitted in plain sheets and a single pillow.
The kind of bed one might expect to see in a soldier's barracks, more so than a home.
There was a sadness in this place.
A deep, mournful sorrow.
Savannah shuddered under the weight of it. But it was the memory of what she witnessed earlier that night that threatened to take her legs out from under her.
"Gideon, what happened back there?" God, just speaking of it now made her head reel all over again. She had so many questions. They spilled out of her in a rush. "How did you know to look for me? How could you have known where I was--that I was in trouble behind that closed door of the restroom? How were you able to do what you did to that...that monster? I saw what happened. You stabbed him, and he--" She exhaled a shaky breath, wanting to deny what she witnessed, yet certain it was real. "You stabbed him and he disintegrated. You killed him as if it was no big thing. As if you'd seen that kind of monster a hundred times before."
"More times than that, Savannah." Gideon strode over to her, his handsome face sober, alarmingly so. "I've killed hundreds like him."
"Hundreds," she murmured, swallowing past the staggering word. "Gideon, that man...that creature...it wasn't human."
Savannah stared at him, struggling to process his calm reply. She had hoped he'd offer some kind of logical explanation for what was going on, some kind of reasonable denial that would soothe the panic rising inside her.
But the quick wit and reassuring confidence that usually glinted in his blue eyes was nowhere to be found. His expression was filled with a quiet gravity that made him seem both tender and lethal at the same time. Two qualities she had seen firsthand in him during the short time she'd known him.
She drew in breath, tried to tamp down the hysteria that threatened to climb up her throat and choke off her air. "That same kind of monster killed Rachel. And those little boys I saw when I touched that old sword in the Art History collection--they were slaughtered by a group of that same kind of monster. I tried to tell you that when you came to check in on me at my apartment last night. I didn't want to believe it then. I still don't."
***P/S: Copyright -->Novel12__Com