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blood screaming inside you

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Day one of being a vampire slayer — The Vampire Slayer — Adam Young told his three best friends, and then he tried to get business cards made.

Day two, he told his parents, but only because he needed their bank account to pay for the business cards, and because he knew them well enough to know he couldn’t get away with covering it up for long. They were not thrilled. They bought the business cards, nonetheless.

Day three, he met his new babysitter. Watcher. Whatever. It didn’t matter what they called him, Adam was unimpressed. He didn’t understand how a chubby middle-aged nerd was supposed to keep him in line; it wasn’t like he could beat Adam in a fight. His job was simply to tell Adam what to do, and if Adam didn’t want to do it, he wasn’t going to.

He tried to talk through this issue with his friends, expecting that the three of them together would be able to convince him to not start breaking the rules until at least a week into the new gig. As much as he was having difficulty respecting the watcher’s authority, he really didn’t fancy the idea of being reported to the council for insubordination before he’d even gotten the chance to kill anything.

“I don’t think that’s the point,” Wensleydale suggested, making sense in the infuriating way he often did. “He’s not a cop; he’s more like a teacher.”

“Well. I don’t like teachers, much,” said Adam.

“Yeah, no one does,” Brian said, “but this is a teacher who teaches you how to fight and kill and stuff.”

Pepper nodded. “Way better than biology.”

“That — that’s not… quite… what I do,” said the watcher, who up until this point, had been doing a rather good job of watching the conversation play out, looking horrified and exasperated. Four heads turned to look at him, having all but forgotten he was there.

“Alright then, what do you do, Mister. Um.” Adam looked around at his friends, hoping that one of them would supply him with a name.

“Mister Fail,” Brian offered.

“Mister Fool,” Pepper snickered.

“Mister Fell,” Wensleydale corrected. “A.Z. Fell.”

The Mister Fell in question took off his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Yes. I introduced myself not five minutes ago.”

“What’s the A stand for?”

“Brian, don’t be stupid,” Pepper said, rolling her eyes. “What’s the Z stand for?”

Adam brightened abruptly, flashing a conspiratorial smile. “Doesn’t matter,” he said, “I’m gonna call him Az.”

“I wish you wouldn’t,” said Mister Fell.

“That’s cool,” Adam said, “I’ll keep it in mind.” He made a show of folding his hands in his lap and fluttering his eyelashes innocently, the picture of curiosity. “So, Az, what is it that you do?”

The watcher closed his eyes and took a deep breath, the kind of deep breath that made it clear that he was counting to ten slowly in his head. “Well, in theory,” he began with a rehearsed, robotic level of calm, “my role is to guide and mentor you, to prepare you to fight demonic forces. Which includes some combat training, yes, as well as rigorous mental exercises.”

The boys exchanged disappointed glances, but Pepper’s ears perked up. “In theory, you say?”

Mister Fell nodded. “Yes, in theory. I can tell it’s going to be a lot more difficult than that, in practice.”

“Yeah, it is,” Adam laughed. “We’re gonna have so much fun .”