Ridgefield Planetarium feel no evil
Spectacular, wasn’t it?

There were no words for just how spectacular it was, Beauregard. Imran laughed faintly again, the handshake firm in a way which carried meaning and mattered.

”I would never think this planetarium has a downstairs,” he said readily, rising. He gave a glance back to his chair, unsure if he should leave it or pack it away, and fell easily into glancing towards Alby to see what he would do.
They were both happy to rise at such a prompting, it seemed. Alby was less surprised, but he had to admit that Imran had a point--it was not something you would ever imagine from the outside. A perfect little hiding place--or perhaps not so little--in their new safe haven.

Alby actually did not think much of the chair, seeing as they had already been out when they'd arrived. It was likely no issue, and he got the feeling that Beauregard might simply be too eager to show them around to really care much about it. It wasn't every day a new member was pulled into such a sized clutch, after all, let alone two at once.

A welcome surprise for all of them.
Beauregard paid no mind to the chairs, content to lead the way out of the room.

"That's part of what makes it rather effective," he said. This would take them into a public space for a time, but he could mind his words along the way. "I feared a planetarium might be a bit on the nose for creatures of the night, but I found it's become quite homey."

A smile, and he would begin the not terribly long walk down the hall, pulling his wallet from his pocket to fetch a key card from it.
”No...” he disagreed with a smile, following with his hands by his side. ”I think of stars and stories when I see this. If it has to be anything, it is distracting.”
Alby could admire the space in a fresh light. Now that it was agreeable--even expected--to come here, he'd have to check it out more sincerely. There had been a few too many advancements in space exploration and he honestly hadn't kept up with it all. He could probably stand to know some more, even if it was just for the fun of it. So he tucked his hands into his coat pockets and let himself immerse slightly.

Imran's comment made him smile. What a dreamer, always.

"It's certainly a far cry from the old days. I remember doing a great deal of hiding out in the cellar of water mill once upon a time." Things to... not miss!
He chuckled.

"Give it a year or so and it glazes over a bit, but I do find a fondness for it."

Beauregard glanced to Alby, his amusement obvious.

"Crowding into pub basements. Bricking in windows." Before building codes were such a concern! "The things we did to keep secret and out of the sun."

At the door to the private area, he held the keycard to the reader, received a small feedback beep, and pushed the door open. They were met with a flight of stairs, and beneath, the lounge.
Bricking in windows. It was a strange sort of shared experience from two people who hardly knew each other. A little generational thing, maybe. Only the decades were centuries. "Indeed," he agreed, noting the security. Things had changed in his time since he'd been in a clutch. Gone were the days of little turn keys, it seemed. He'd go through, and glance only to make sure Imran was not hesitating for any reason. Not that he expected him to.

"Really, things were maybe simpler back then in some ways, but I don't miss them in the least. Sort of like I don't miss either having the option of darkness or terrorizing ourselves with firelight."

The advent of electrical lighting had likely saved a lot of vampires who might have otherwise stumbled themselves to a swift second death. It wasn't often he reminisced like this anymore, but now seemed as good a time as any. He blamed the sensation of a clutch, as it reminded him more of his origin than where he'd ended up solo.
The cellar of a water mill! Imran’s version of hiding anywhere similar, really, had been the miniature bathroom of his long-abandoned Hollowstone home.

So long ago now. Living with Alby provided unparalleled comfort.

He stood behind Beauregard as he chimed in with more hideouts and methods—a life once lived. Imran could not help but look at them, kindly, like they were some type of aliens.

When the door was pushed open, he hesitated only to meet the look in Alby’s eyes, before entering. Immediately, the atmosphere of the building shifted as they went down the stairs. This was a secured, private, place. He could almost hear a drumbeat to the walls on either side, the echoes of conversations which had been had by the other Vampires that called this underground lounge home.

”It was easier, no, before New York?” Or maybe there was relief in no longer carrying the burden of lies and secrecy.
Fire light. Fire still frightened Beauregard for all that it no longer scorched him the same. Too many decades spent in fear.

"It was," he said, shoes tip tapping down the steps into the main lounge area. The furniture, the piano, the distant door to his office. And of course, another round of stairs down, for later. "Much easier for suspicious activity to go ignored. But I think it was inevitable, cell phones and all."

Everyone was surveiled all the time. Mercifully, not here. He approached an armchair with obvious familiarity to throw himself in, inviting them to do the same with an arm extended.

"This is a space you'll be welcome to any time. Downstairs, we have another floor with some rooms for resting, and a medical area. The sort of things you hope not to need, but inevitably come in handy."
Cell phones. Alby still felt like those had come out of nowhere sometimes. One minute the rotary dial felt like a miracle of communication, the next they were all so attached to communication they took it with them everywhere they went. Everyone who saw something could share it almost too easily without even saying a word.

The lounge itself was welcoming. Nicer, actually, than any of the similar spaces Alby had known prior. The planetarium afforded both a lot of space and likely a lot of revenue, though... where the money up front might have come from was an incredibly small, curious question. He didn't ask it, but he would be curious to see what sorts of vampires Beauregard allied himself with, and what parts they played here.

Sitting down, this was certainly more comfortable, more welcoming. If upstairs had been an interview on folded chairs, this was the welcome home.

"Inevitably," Alby agreed with a light but long-suffering sigh. No one got through existence unscathed. Even Imran already knew that. "Do you find anyone frequents coming here for the sake of company?" It varied, in his experience. From individual to individual but also from clutch to clutch. Some were simply more social than others! He, personally, could go either way, but at the moment he felt very pulled to start making faces familiar.
The piano caught his eye as they walked past it. Not because he was a piano player, but because every instrument came with a story. Who was Eventide’s virtuoso?

Imran sat neatly and without hurry. When Alby sighed, he cracked a curious look in his direction. It was a sigh which sounded like it’d been in the making for months, so... he was gladdened to see him unwind. At the same time, his hands tugged at the ends of his sweater so that it would drape comfortably against his lap.
Alby's question was thoughtful. He nodded.

"Some more than others. If you spend a bit of time down here, you will undoubtedly run into other vampires, though there are some you may only catch when we throw social events."

Beauregard certainly spent time down here. But someone like Samuel wasn't toiling away the hours looking for an undead social outlet.

"I am down here often, as you'd expect. We have someone currently living here, or downstairs, I should say. Had a bit of a rough start to vampire life elsewhere and is staying here until he finds his feet."
It was about what Alby had been hoping for. No expectation of attendance outside of typical functions, but it wouldn't be too strange to show up and see who was here. If no one else it sounded like Beauregard was easy to find here. He nodded, accepting the answer as his gaze flit ponderously around the edges of the room. Familiarizing.

"Is there anyone worth knowing about before hand before we start encountering on our own?" Other leadership, perhaps, or medics, though Alby didn't feel any need to spell that part of his question out.
”And... are there any more things you want to know about us?”

Two separate questions, though Imran had no expectation of Beauregard to answer both in the same breath. It... just felt fitting to insert after what Alby had asked.

What more was worth knowing about Eventide, and what more was worth knowing about Alby and Imran.
Two good questions. He considered how to answer them.

"I could rattle off a list of names and titles, but I'm not sure how we'll they'll stick without a face," he admitted. "My regent, which is something of a second in command, is my good friend Edvin. He is the reason we keep a piano."

Beauregard gestured loosely toward it.

"And there is Raziyya, my praetor. Consider that word to mean something between a bodyguard and a personal advisor."

Perhaps Imran had been briefed on the meaning of it all, but Beauregard imagined a refresher wouldn't hurt.

"You are likely to see her as a charming little bat on my shoulder. She prefers to communicate through thought, as she's a telepath."

With a st-st-st-stutter.

"Which brings me to a question. I'd love to know what abilities you might have, Alby, if mostly for curiosity."
A sweet offer from Imran, and helpful, too! After Alby's reluctance to so much as give up Imran's gender when previously mentioning him the last time he'd met Beauregard, it was better now to be more open, and for that openness to come from Imran. It was nothing they'd discussed, but very often he and Imran did not seem to need to discuss anything to work in some sort of tandem.

As for the rest, the names of a regent and praetor were exactly what he'd needed and what he had hoped for. The names were put easily to memory, to be placed to a face at a later time. It was something of a small skill he possessed--recalling names and tying them to faces from the start. It had been very good for him over the decades, though very occasionally he found he ran into someone so similar down the road that he recalled a name that belonged to someone dead several decades already.

The question was mercifully anything but invasive. "Just the one, and I'm afraid it's nothing flashy. It's a sort of personal shield bubble." He'd never had a name for it, and if he was honest he'd never come across anyone else with it, either. At least not that he knew. Like he'd said--not something typically flaunted or overly apparent.
Edvin, the virtuoso and second-in-command. Raziyya, the telepath and bodyguard.

A name common in his own homeland. That... made Imran happy, and he tried not to show it, pressing back against a childish smile.

He leaned closer to his friend. ”The toucan, too,” he mentioned quietly to Alby, trying to be helpful by reminding him of it. It seemed like a natural admission, considering Raziyya was a bat.
Two answers from two vampires.

"You chose the toucan to make up in flashiness," he said with a smile. "I rank no one based on the showiness of their abilities, or else I would be quite low on the list indeed."

He crossed a leg ankle over knee as he continued, feeling utterly content.

"I'm not sure where the two of you are living currently, but it you would be willing to move to the Heights, that would allow me to better protect you." He continued primarily for Imran, imagining Alby would recognize this. "When you are in town, I can sense your well-being. Or more accurately, I can sense if you are in trouble, or perhaps at risk for bloodlust."

Beauregard scrunched his hand to some claw-like shape. Not every vampire knew it to be called by that name.

"I can pull you out of it by being near, and so you can imagine the advantage in living close by."
Mind still somewhere on the matter of whatever it was that colored Imran's experience so oddly, Alby had not even considered his animal form for a moment, and the reminder made him grin, and nod a confirmation to the Dominus. Yes, that too. Flashier indeed. Alby supposed if it were a matter of choice he would have been something entirely different, but he didn't mind where he'd ended up. It was a part of his identity now--the only bit of him that got see sunlight, at least for now.

It was true that Beauregard's ability to block others was not flashy, but it did leave him to wonder what else he was harboring. Perhaps he'd know eventually. Or else it simply wouldn't be a matter of importance.

"We're not far across the border into Hawknell at the moment. I'll admit I'm reluctant to leave what I have just now, but I'll be considering it." If it were just him he doubted he would have felt compelled to stick that close to that level of protection. He had the experience to make that judgement call. But with Imran to think about? It was a different matter.

Maybe something for them to discuss.
Beauregard was meant to act like he didn’t hear what Imran had said to Alby, but he didn’t! Beauregard. Not good.

Imran’s smile grew for a different reason. Caught red-handed.

The following words were all too tempting for a Vampire such as himself to hear. Imran did not want what had happened to Pandora, to have to ever happen again. When she’d died, he had lost a bit of himself. Offering namaz aligned him again, but he could not think about how much he would lose himself if there came to be more Pandora’s.

So, yes, the smile darkened faintly with reality.

”It would be better,” he agreed.
Unclaimed territory, at least. That was good news. He nodded. Imran's answer struck him as particularly of note. A vampire who recognized the usefulness of that sort of help.

"It is no requirement. Moving is no small commitment, I know."

Only a few other things and they'd be properly informed.

"We do have a few requirements, but I think you'll find them agreeable," he said. "We ask that you treat feeding carefully. No unnecessary harm, wiping memories as needed. Accidents happen, and if they do, I ask that I be brought in if necessary. I am very forgiving of mistakes, less so of deliberate risk taking. We do keep bagged blood here in the planetarium for when hunting feels unwise."

There was more, but he would pause here for the sake of politeness and simply letting it sink in.
Imran wanted it. The other option would be to send Imran to live here on his own but... Well, no, Alby chose not to think about that for the moment. In the end a house was just a house but they could discuss it frankly on their own before too long. He didn't anticipate friction, just... It had been a bit since he had had to consider much of anyone else in his life decisions.

Beauregard offered other bits, none of which surprised or ruffled Alby. He hated harmful feedings anyway, and the prospect of a backup plan against starvation was incredibly reassuring. So he nodded along, glanced at Imran to be sure he hadn't been lost by any of this. Bagged blood might have been news in the sense that Alby would have never mentioned that was even possible.
The outline implied that there were Vampires who... did try to provoke unnecessary harm? He didn’t like that.

Imran listened on. Bagged blood was a foreign concept, and not one which piqued his interest by much. When Beauregard paused he simply waited, receptive.

Though wait, had Alby looked at him? Imran glanced to his friend beside him a few seconds too late, and then ahead again.
Easy. He hadn't expected any difficulty there.

"In general, we avoid unnecessary confrontation or drawing attention to ourselves. Shifters are allowed to reside in the city. Some by nature enjoy antagonizing vampires, and so if you run across that variety, I ask you reach out to me to escort them out. As a whole, if trouble finds you, I am here to help," he said.

That was all he asked, that people reach out to him before disaster could strike. Beauregard was terribly useful.

"The last I ask of you is to keep vampire secrets private. Suggestion, animal forms. Fire. You may run across those already familiar with these things, and I leave you to have discussions there at your own discretion, but please do not take the lead on sharing this information."

He clasped his hands together, then.

"Any questions? On anything, really."
Alby was anything but eager to get into trouble. He knew there were some who took the sorts of power they had and loved to do everything they could with them, but he was not among them. Maybe give him a few hundred more years to get bored, but... for now, no issue.

It was maybe a little arrogant to think a lot of this was for Imran to hear, but he did feel that way. It felt like reminders on a cork board he'd already seen every day for years. A good thing to keep in mind but nothing he made incredibly conscious note of. Alright, maybe the note about shifters was good, given that Alby had had very little to do with them--so he'd let the clutch's policy inform his own.

"Of course," he said to it all. "I don't think I have any questions at the moment. You've been very forthcoming."
At the end, Imran took a steadying breath.

It was a lot to take in. He would need to sit with it and think about it to remember it all. The conversation upstairs, that magical sensation which had occurred, the names of who was who, the lounge... all of it.

After Alby had spoken, he agreed, speaking on the exhale. ”No.” On second thought. ”Maybe...” He ran his hand against the side of his beard. Shy. ”Can I write what you said down?”
It was a very fair response. He laughed.

"I have pen and paper I can grab for you, if you'd like the old fashioned variety of notes," he said. "We also have a flyer up here in the lounge with reminders of what parts of town are friendly to vampires."

Beauregard pointed an arm toward where it was posted.

"If I can get each of your numbers, I can reach out to the rest of the group to pass your contact around. And-"

Something occurred to him, then.

"Would you be comfortable with my mentioning your ability?" he asked, looking to Imran. "I don't mean to make a fuss of it, but someone from the clutch finding an individual who doesn't at first seem like another vampire here would be quite startling without prior explanation."
God bless you, Imran, for being exactly who you were.

Alby found pleasant amusement in it and smiled through the interaction. Beauregard going so far as to offer something to write with. He'd have to check out the flyer and make note, but so far it had been well enough. Alby didn't go around with intention to cause grief anyway, so looking for it was out of the question.

Numbers would be good to make sure everyone had solid now that they had legitimate reason to be in official contact. As for the rest...

Oh, how had that not occurred to him? Was he really getting used to the way Imran failed to feel vampiric? Perhaps. It was a question very much meant for Imran, nothing Alby even felt equipped to advise on, so both older vampires looked to him for answer.
He was also brought to a chuckle as he pressed his cheek against his hand. Imran was a literary thinker, even if the way he expressed himself wasn’t always reflective of that. He learned through words. He was only shy about bothering Beauregard or Alby for more time.

Less time, now that there appeared to be a flyer he’d missed seeing on the way in. Imran glanced over to it, making a mental note to take a photo with his phone later.

He would still want that pen and paper though, and maybe a few more minutes of Beauregard’s time to jot down all those notes. That was after this conversation came to an end, though. It hadn’t yet.

”No. That makes sense,” he realised, but there was a wall further beyond those words. It didn’t budge, so he added, ”I would not like it reaching other Vampires though. Outside of Eventide, or... I don’t want to be a household name, because of this. I have only met gracious Vampires, like you. Like Alby. I’m thinking maybe not test that.”

Would someone kill to find out his ability? Imran didn’t know. He doubted anyone could predict how an envious Vampire would react, when no one could even diagnose him.
That was a deeply reasonable ask. Beauregard nodded, then nodded again with greater enthusiasm.

"That would be no trouble at all. It doesn't benefit any of us to share it outside of this group," he said. "You have my word."

Mostly, anyway. There was a chance he might ask a psychic about it, perhaps, but he wouldn't name Imran after all.
Alby was not so sure he could recall being called 'gracious' before, but that was the magic of Imran and his way of looking at the world. He smiled softly, his concerns much the same. His protective streak was... very real, for all he would try to downplay it.

As such, though he was tempted to suggest that Imran meet other vampires with Alby nearby for a while at least, he didn't.

Imran was not a child. If he wanted someone to escort him until things were comfortable, he was capable of asking.
There were two reassurances in there, the second of which lingered longer. ”Thank you,” was really all he could say.
Simplicity worked well for Beauregard. He nodded, decided to work toward a wrap, at least as far as the informational chatting went.

"I can get each of you a keycard into the lounge within a day or so," he said. "Is there anything else I can answer for either of you? I'm happy to run through the fine details again for note taking."

The last bit fairly specifically to Imran.
"I'm still content with what I have, though I will be taking a look at that flyer," Alby decided.

Strangely, wholly, utterly content with the unexpected turn this evening had taken. They didn't have too many good answers for Imran's personal situation, but they at least had solutions for wider vampire problems. A clutch to call home? It had been a long time coming in Alby's recent path.
Alby said he was content, but everyone knew he would be poking his nose into Imran’s notes. Just you wait, Alby. To circumvent that, Imran would put them on the fridge they never used. He had already decided.

”That would be good, yes,” he agreed gruffly, pressing his hands against his thighs and pushing to a stand. He would near Beauregard, take those lended moments to write a few ordinary notes that didn’t hint to any existence of Eventide or even Vampires (should this note ever be lost), and then when it was time to go, he’d leave through the door with as much mutual respect as
they’d walked in with.

Then, once they were some ways out the front, he would say to Alby.

”Tell me do I tell him?” Imran asked, explicitly seeking advice.
A difficult question that Alby didn't care to answer either way. In his preference, they would both just forget about it, but it was too evident that Imran had a ways to go before he would forgive himself. Alby's mouth pinched in thought to one side, and he did not answer reflexively, instead choosing to think.

"I think he would understand. But... I do not know that it changes anything, unless it comes up again. Perhaps a conversation to have with him once we're a bit better than comfortable acquaintances."

Alby could not fathom dumping all his sins at the feet of a new Dominus straight away. But he wasn't very good at sharing even after the point of bonding, so maybe...
He nodded very small. He’d opened up questioning and conversation towards that direction a few times, and yet, how to approach the crux of it? ”It is an odd thing to mention. ‘Hello, I am a murderer,’” Imran practiced, voice dipping on that last word.
Alby smiled even though he found nothing funny here.

"None of us are without these sorts of flaws," he reminded.
Alby had delivered that same notion enough times that it was beginning to be understood by him. He clasped a hand to the back of his friend’s upper arm for a few moments as they continued towards his car.

He was appreciative of Alby’s understanding and willingness, always. One day he would find a way to repay him for everything.
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