I hated him instantly. Which is more than I can say for most people. Most people hardly register. Energy is far too precious to waste on such base concerns as emotional associations, chemical aberrations, a defective influence of body over brain.
Such failings only prove to be points of weakness for enemies to manipulate. People serve a function, like equipment in the lab. It is rare that they move beyond a form of utility, and certainly not so... instantly. However, there it was, a strong visceral reaction shooting through my body like an electric shock the moment this man stepped in the doorway.
I presumed it was hate from the way the hair bristled on the back of my neck and my blood started to feel hot in my veins. My muscles tensed and released automatically, ready to spring into action, and my mind cataloged the potential weapons in the room.
Seventeen ways to kill him in under two minutes.
I tipped my head and let my eyes run over this stranger that dull, portly Stanford had lead into my lair.
Gait, hair, posture; all so clearly military, but there was something more - definitely more there.
Physically fit, though a half stone underweight, likely due to apparent injury. His eyes are sharp and perceptive, surprisingly intelligent and watching my every move... closely.
Those cerulean blue eyes assess me cautiously and for a raw moment they are tempered steel, plunging like knives, working to flay me open.
Quick mental self-assessment reveals no relevant tells. My shields are all firmly in place so I let my own gaze linger just a second longer to see him draw back, deflected. His shoulders jerk into a hard, military line under my gaze, stance settling into the (irritatingly) quiet confidence of a man prepared to do battle.
My gaze flicks over the lines of his body determining strength and analyzing fighting capabilities.
Strong. Capable hands. Highly competent. Likely formidable.
Perhaps nine... Nine ways to reliably dispatch him without receiving potentially fatal injuries.
A rare smile pulls at my lips of its own volition. He holds the promise of glorious violence thinly veiled in a sheath of something mundane.
Pleasingly perceptive; he sees it. He recognizes my assessment and conclusion. It's evident in the set of his jaw and a tick of the right corner of his mouth upward.
I feel the air in the room shift. A thrum of danger quivering almost tangibly between us. Awareness burns in his eyes, an inkling of what I am. His reaction is not fear it is curiosity and perhaps excitement.
Then his eyes are transmuting, shifting color. They heat as a darkness that is quietly predatory rises to the surface and slips into his posture. Intense focus and… hunger... the sort of attention that is tangible on some primal, base level of consciousness, that warns you that something is about to pounce. It curls down my spine and makes me want to leap at him, throw him to the floor; fists colliding with flesh, crack of bones, muscles flexing, straining, sweat… and… teeth… bite, taste his blood… steal his breath.
I narrow my eyes slightly as the sudden rush of carnal thoughts sweeps through me leaving me feeling oddly shaken.
I turn my eyes to Stanford and make my first move.
The game is on.