Dawning Realization

“Leo, can we talk for a moment?” Dawn asked.  The 23-year-old brunette stopped Leo as he walked by and pulled him into her cubicle.

“Yeah, what’s up, D?” Leo asked. The pot-bellied man sat on the edge of her desk to listen. Dawn glanced around, over the top of her cubicle to see if anyone was nearby one more time. She knew the cubicles on either side of her were empty; that’s why she picked now. While still keeping watch, she dipped her hands into her purse on the desk and pulled out a silver chain. An elegant silver cross with runes carved on it hung off the chain.

“About this,” Dawn said as she showed him the insignia of her order.

“Cool,” Leo nodded. “What about it?”

“Your secret’s safe with me. I’m a Hunter too,” Dawn said.

“That’s great!” Leo stood and took Dawn’s hand. He shook it vigorously while patting her on the back. “I don’t know what that is, but I’m sure you worked very hard to accomplish it. How long did it take? Were you working on it before you started here, or did it only take you three years? Also, what exactly does it entail?” Dawn narrowed her eyes at Leo and pulled her hand away from his.

“I hunt monsters. Creatures of the night like vampires and werewolves and so on. You know, like you do,” Dawn said.

“Me?” Leo chuckled and shook his head. “Nope, sorry. I don’t know what you’re talking about, but keep up the great work.”

“C’mon Leo,” Dawn said. She was positive he was a hunter. She needed him to be. Until she spotted his odd behavior, Dawn thought she was the last one. Her order disappeared two months ago, all the other Hunters she knew went dark. The base was cleaned out, as if they moved without her. Trying to reach out to any of the other Orders proved useless. “I recognize the signs. Flimsy excuses, coming back to the office in a different set of clothes, probably because you got monster blood on it. You’re always tired and falling asleep at your desk.”

“Are you…,” Leo looked hurt. “Are you… reprimanding me? Is this an official thing?”

“No, Leo,”  Dawn sighed. “I’m telling you I’m a monster hunter and I know you’re one too!” she said while clenching her fists to avoid shaking him.

“Oh, okay,” Leo visibly relaxed. “Whew,” he chuckled. “I know it’s going to come back and bite me in the ass, but I just don’t want you to be the one chewing me out for it.”

“Focus, Leo,” Dawn said. “We’re monster hunters?”she asked as a way of reminding him what they needed to talk about. Leo’s face clouded with confusion.

“Do I need to take a licensing exam to be a monster hunter?” he asked. At that moment, Dawn finally believed he didn’t know what she was talking about.

“Nevermind, Leo. Forget that, but I’m curious. Where do you go with your barely excusable excuses?”  Leo grinned, he glanced around the tops of the cubicles, then leaned closer to Dawn.

“Long lunch,” he grinned.

“And why do you always come back in different clothes?” She asked. Leo shrugged.

“Messy eater,” he laughed.

“And you don’t care that I’m a monster hunter?” Leo shrugged again.

“I don’t care personally, but if I were you I’d take a break for a while.”

“What? Why?” Dawn asked. She was intrigued that he suddenly seemed to know something about her world even if he wasn’t a hunter himself.

“Donna Chang’s opened,” he said.

“Oh,” she smiled. “You meant take a break for lunch? Chinese sounds great, I’ve been wanting to try…,” at this point, Leo started shaking his head. Dawn finished her thought even though her voice faded. “…them out since they opened.”

“Donna Chang in town means the fae, including vampires and werewolves, are protected. Also, the best orange beef you’ve ever had, we’re definitely going,” he patted his belly.

“Wait. You said she’s protecting evil beasts, and you want to go eat at her restaurant?”

“Well, yeah,” he grinned. “I’ve been going pretty regularly since they opened a couple of months ago. She’s not protecting ‘evil‘ beasts. She’s protecting people that need protection. Fae just trying to live their lives. I think you might change your mind on some things if you talked to her.”

In the back of Dawn’s mind, several realizations happened at the same time. Leo handled the news of her being a Hunter surprsingly easy; he was probably already familiar with monsters. Him frequenting Donna Chang’s and talking about her protection also mean he knew about monsters. It also registered that Donna Chang came to town at about the same time her order disappeared.

“Oh, I definitely want to talk to her,” Dawn said through clenched teeth. Leo shook his head again.

“No, don’t do that. You can’t beat her. 110% guaranteed. Dawn grinned.

“I’ve killed dozens of ‘unbeatable’ vampires and werewolves and more.”

“How about a dragon?” Leo asked.

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