The show of fangs made Drake go very still. It was funny how only humans attributed friendly overtones to smiles. To nearly every other race of being on the planet, a baring of teeth was seen as a sign of aggression, dominance or violence. As a fellow predator, Drake couldn't help the way his nostrils flared. It was all he could do not to let his tongue shift into its forked state and whip out of his mouth to taste the air for any scents of aggression. But even at a young 88, he had enough self control to show nothing but a tight lipped smirk.
Growing up among other draconians also trying to pass for human, he had learned early on to control his more instinctive reactions in public. He even nodded at the explanation about the aspirin. Of course, it begged the question as to whether Arkady still drank from live victims, but Drake would never ask anything so personal of anyone, whether he respected them or not. It would be in awful taste, he thought. "I almost wanna say it beats having to eat commercial barbeque charcoal, but you make it sound even worse than that," he said conversationally. It was a foul tasting quick fix he had found, for when he couldn't get enough of the extremely high-mineral content and charred foodstuffs diet he needed to enable his body to produce fire.
"Haunted house, huh? So that gargoyle I saw, that's not just a guy in a costume, I take it." He pursed his lips and nodded approvingly. "Yeah, it's gotten colorful around here. Not that it wasn't before, mind you, but it's a sprawling sight compared to what I remember."
"Yeah, demons are always a pain in the ass. Never understood why you even put up with them, boss man," he said with a non-committal shrug. It wasn't a criticism, simply a statement of fact.
"So, same deal as before, then? I shift once a month, as usual. I time it to give you two weekends in a row in the sideshow tent when I do. Can do more often if you need me to for big cities or a big show. Not a problem. When I'm in my man skin, I move around outside the tents pretending to be a regular, bottle and torch carnie fire-breather. That sound about right?"
The vampire was within his rights to change the terms of their agreement, since their old agreement was null and void, so Drake wanted to make sure what was expected of him ahead of time. He wasn't here to negotiate, he had clearly already put himself in the position to take what was given him, by his own words. He didn't care, so long as he wouldn't be abused. But he wasn't entirely stupid. He had looked around and made sure everyone he saw looked relatively healthy and more or less content, and seemed to be here of their own free will. It didn't look like Arkady had turned into a malevolent dictator since he'd last seen him, and that was enough for Drake.