Jean-Claude reveals all to Yuriya, hoping to find and ally.
Jean-Claude awoke the next morning feeling energized and refreshed. He did his normal morning ritual, thanking God for the safety of those he had the chance to rescue, and thanked God for the chance to rescue them. He also thanked God for Anjou’s help, and asked His divine blessing upon her. He then asked God to insure that, during his forays, he did not seek to kill any save the abominations of renegade vampires. He knew well that it was they who make the worst situation for his kind, and that, once they gain that bloodlust, they become abominations, reprobates, and that there was no hope for them. By their destruction, it meant the sparing of countless lives on both sides of things. He asked the Holy Ghost for power to always remember where the line was, and not to cross it, lest he became as evil as what he fought. As he readied himself for school, he thought it convenient that his taste lie in evil—vampires or humans—he rolled both ways on that. He only found it sad that, considering the nature of the hominid—be he human or vampire—there was enough around to satisfy what he considered his darker side. However, he also knew that it was only darker if it were allowed to become twisted and power hungry. He had learned a lot about his powers in seven years, and he was thankful that he fell into the hands of that group of vampires that continued what his mother had taught him. He learned that it was okay to be what one was, and learn to embrace that and love it. If a d’amphile, (half human, half vampire,) was what he was, then so be it. Even that could be turned to God’s use as a holy avenger for Him. He only hoped that his mom and dad were happy, and able to see what he had become. Because they had taught him to be secure in whom he was, he was able to learn how to use the blood he had and gained as well as any vampire. If he were not a day walker, he could have easily been mistaken for a full vampire. On the other hand, he did bear a heavy burden of double blood. It is hard enough when you have t run from ignorant humans, it is worse when you have to run from ignorant vampires as well. This is why he was a lone wolf. This is why he knew he could not walk up to the chief of this town, because he was not sure what would happen. However, his two aces in the hole had to be Anjou, of whom he was forced to assume was related to the chief somehow. The other was Karin. He did not know her relationship, but he also knew she was not a d’amphile. He had to get the dirt on her if he could. He was not so sure about Yuriya, because she was a d’amphile like his own self, and he did not know her relationship either. It had to be okay, because Karin associated with her, yet, he wasn’t sure. He needed more time. As he readied, Karin was already heading out. However, he was unaware of this, as he began to sing as he bathed. He was singing “Angie’s Song,” and she could only make out the rough meaning of the song, since she was still learning her English. Then it struck her: why was she hearing singing at all, and why was it so familiar? It was faint, so she assumed that she was imagining things, and went on. Yet…no, she let it go. Something in her gut told her to let it go.
Before he left, he left a note for her, telling her that he would hope to be off the hill by that weekend, and he said to her that if there were any way to repay the debt, she should find him, and let him know. He would cross heaven and earth to get it done. With that he headed out. Halfway to school, they bumped into Jean-Claude, wearing that characteristic set of specs, and the tan skin. They had to assume that it was his conditions that cause the tanning. One thing they remarked on was how energetic and happy he seemed. He had his guitar with him, and he said that he was just bringing it for when everyone was done with their homework. “Wow!” said Kenta, “You must have had one great night of sleep, or something.”
“I just had a great night last night,” said Jean-Claude, “and it was even better now that the money has come through. I hope I can find good lodging this weekend. Man, everything’s going my way for once, and I can get my animals this weekend too.”
“What kind of animals are those?” asked Karin.
“Well, you might think this silly,” he answered.
She giggled, said, “No I won’t! What are they?”
“Well, they’re my fleidermausen,”
“Fleider…what?” said Kenta.
“Sorry, just messin’ with you,” said Jean-Claude, “They are bats.”
Karin shuddered for a moment, and then said, “Bats? Those are odd pets,” and then thought to herself, “Odd for a human, anyway.”
“I like bats,” he said, “They are so misunderstood. The word I used before is German, which translates, quite literally, as ‘flying mouse.’ Essentially, that’s all they are. Yet, they are so beneficial.”
“Okay, you have my attention,” said Kenta, “Educate me.”
“Well,” Jean-Claude continued, “They are great insect control. They eat mosquitoes and other pests by the tons. Without animals like them, we would be covered in the things. I have a large brown, a small brown, a Mexican free-tail, and my buddy, Bruce the Australian flying fox.”
“Flying fox?” asked Karin.
“Yep,” he said gleefully, “It’s the largest bat in the world, and they have such a cute face. They use sonar just like any other bat, and it is a fruit bat. Its wingspan is incredible. The other bats are trained to demonstrate their hunting ability, and their use of sonar.”
“Why all of that?” asked Karin.
“I like to teach people about bats,” answered Jean-Claude, “and how they are needed. In fact, if I can convince enough people, we might be able to build some bat houses on the roof of the school, and get rid of some of the pest bugs around here. Believe me; it isn’t hard to build them.”
“Sounds neat,” said Karin, “I know someone that would love them.”
“If Julian will let me,” added Jean-Claude, “I will bring Bruce over for everyone to meet. He is very affectionate, and a big love. He’s also a bit of a clown. He loves to be the center of attention.”
They arrived at school, and Maki and Wiener met them. Jean-Claude greeted them warmly, and Maki was all the more happy to respond as cheerfully, if not more cheerfully, than Jean-Claude. Jean-Claude then commented in the best Scottish accent he could muster in Japanese, “I don’t know what you’ve been drinking, lass, but pour me a pint!”
As they went, Jean-Claude began to contently hum the tune to “Angie’s Song,” and Karin was getting into it. Suddenly, she stopped, and realized that she had heard that tune, and that voice, before. Her friends have already gone on a few steps, and she stared holes in the back of Jean-Claude. Was that him this morning? If so, how in the name of common sense was he on the hill, and why?
The day went well enough, and Jean-Claude was able to make contact with a couple of boys about forming a band. If they were able to get enough people, they might be able to get something going. After class, they went to Julian’s, did their homework, and Jean-Claude began to mess around on the guitar. He also made mention of forming a band, and Maki said, “Do you have a drummer?”
“Not yet,” said Jean-Claude.
“Then count me in,” said Maki.
“Hey, wait a minute!” said Karin, as she passed by to serve an order, “I don’t ever remember you playing drums!”
“You don’t know everything about me,” teased Maki.
“I might as well,” said Karin, and then Yuriya said, “Hey, you can…how did you say it, Jean-Claude…kibitz later, you still have ten minutes left on your shift.”
“Yes, ma’am,” said Karin, sarcastically.
“Yuriya,” piped up Jean-Claude, “Can I have a word with you after work today?”
“Kind of forward, aren’t we…” she said, but Jean-Claude interrupted, and said, “It’s nothing like that. I just have a couple of questions for you, that’s all.”
She wanted to tell him where to put it, but there was something that told her to listen, and she said, “Well…okay, I’m off in a half-hour.”
“Thanks,” he said, and he went back to his music. Ten minutes later, Karin joined them, as did Kenta, and they started their homework. Maki commented on how she hated the new moon, it was always too dark. Jean-Claude said, “There is nothing to be afraid of. Nighttime and darkness have a beauty of their own. He thought for a minute, and then began to play and sing “The Music of the Night” from Phantom of the Opera, and did so, attempting to “cast a spell” over her, so to speak. He wanted to convey his point in that song. However, the whole restaurant was applauding, especially a woman in a booth with a rather well-dressed and long haired young man. “That was beautiful,” she said, but the young man was not saying anything. However, he stood up, and said, “Well, it looks like you captured the essence of the night.”
It was Ren, and Jean-Claude knew there was no mistaking the face. “However,” said Ren, “there must be something you fear.”
“Fear is only ignorance expressed through panic,” said Jean-Claude, “and the more one tries to learn, the less fear one has. I have respect for certain things, but not fear.”
“Perhaps, one day, we can put that to the test,” said Ren, trying to put the fear of God into this human without “vamping up.” However, Jean-Claude only met it with a slight grin. He began to strum on his guitar again, and said, “Perhaps.”
Karin stood up and whispered to him, “We’ll talk later!” as Jean-Claude broke into “Hotel California.” Ren returned the grin, and went back to his table. He hoped the two would cross paths again. Karin was angry. She knew he knew better than to try to intimidate her friends. However, she found it odd that Jean-Claude did not even flinch. Most people would have backed down when Ren did what he had done, but this one…
After work, Yuriya met him as everyone went their ways. However, Karin asked Kenta to wait there with her as she watched what happened. “I don’t think that’s our business,” said Kenta, but Karin said, “You don’t understand. This morning I heard his voice, vaguely in the distance, singing.”
“So,” said Kenta, “Sound carries well up there, and you know he always seems to meet us from the other side, right?”
“Well, you may be right,” she said, “except it didn’t seem that distant. Besides, I have never seen anyone take a stare down like that from my brother and just smile at him.”
“Maybe he’s cool under pressure,” he said, “There are people like that.”
“Then what is his business with Yuriya?” she retorted.
As she said this, she heard, “So, you’re on your own—do you know of any good apartments near the school. I’ve been looking for better accommodations since I arrived in Japan.”
Kenta then said, “See, its business. Can we go now?”
Karin apologized, and they both left before hearing the rest of the conversation. Yuriya mentioned a couple of places, and then she said, “Is that all you wanted to ask me?”
He shuffled a bit and said, “No. Actually…” he trailed off, looked around, and then said, “I needed to confide something to you, because you are Karin’s friend, and I need to mention something that you may be able to empathize with.”
He looked around, and said, “I only tell you this, because I am pretty sure you are what I am. If so, then I am going to need you as someone that can hear my concerns and understand.”
Her instincts told her to run, but his eyes were not that of a creep, but of a desperate man that indeed seemed to need help. He then said, “I am a d’amphile—half human, half vampire—as I believe you to be.”
Now she really wanted to run, but he grabbed her wrist. “Please,” he said, “I did not tell you that to scare you. I just wanted to say that I understand what you may be going through and…”
“How are you so sure?” she said angrily.
“The transitional lenses in your glasses gave you away,” he said, “in addition to your tan skin. Also, unless we have the same dentist, or have the same concepts of dental fashion, I don’t think our canine teeth are there just to eat steak better!”
With that, he smiled, and let her see his. He then said, “Quite a tan you have there, by the way?”
“No wonder Re…that man didn’t scare you off,” she said.
“Yeah,” he said, “I know his kind—a lot of hot air, but no substance.”
“Okay,” she said, “I guess I know where you are coming from. But, why are you telling me this?”
“There is more than just me wanting to settle here,” he said, “There is danger afoot, and I am here to help stop it.”
“Danger?” she asked, “What do you mean?”
“Renegade vampires are trying to move in to Tokyo,” he said, “and whoever the chief is needs to know that there is going to be a challenge to his power.”
She stiffened, and said, “And they wouldn’t think of offing a couple of half-breeds, would they?”
“That’s the beauty of it,” he said, “because I have been training for years for these kinds of things. If I can beat them, then that can at least put us ‘half-breeds’ as you call us, in a good light.”
“How does Karin play into this?” she asked.
“It isn’t hard to know what she is when you know what to look for,” he said, “Besides, I am so curious to know how a full blooded vampire can walk about in the daytime like that. She has to be special.”
“She is very special,” she said, “but I still don’t understand.”
“Between the two of you,” he continued, “maybe you can introduce me to the chief, if you think that safe. I mean, it must be, or else you would not be so public.”
She thought for a moment, and then said, “Why can’t you do this yourself?”
“That is not something one broadcasts,” he said, “because I have never met him or her, and I do not know how they take us. They may not want more than one d’amphile in the area, and I cannot take chances. I need them as allies in the upcoming fight, not enemies.”
She thought for a moment, and then said, “Give me a few days: I’ll see what I can do. In the meantime, thank you for the info. I’ll watching my back from now on.”
As they parted, she then asked, “By the way, how are you going to deal with it?”
“By the grace of God,” he said.
“Should have figured that from you!” and they parted.
Jean-Claude went back to his campsite with the clean bowls, and he found a note: “Dear Jean-Claude, it will be sad to see you go, but I liked having you around. If daddy only knew how strong and brave you are, he would never want you to leave. I feel safe with you around. You are like a guardian angel. Keep your wings over us. Anjou.”
“Boy, that kid knows how to hit the heartstrings, doesn’t she?” he thought. For some reason, it is as if she knew of the danger lurking about, and wanted him around. However, very soon, he would have the chance to be the avatar she sought.