Title: Thy Brother’s Blood
Author: Mary Shadinger
Disclaimer You know the drill, borrowed the guys for some unpaid fan fiction. One Biblical quote
Rated As I wrote this especially for Lee who is a fan of Anne Rice and Forever Knight, it is intended for Adults and mature teens. PG 16 Forever Knight and Angel cross overs.
And thank you to Stefanie who spell checks my work. Apparently, when you get a certain age those brain cells in charge of spelling don't pay attention.
~*~Thy Brother's Blood ~*~
'And he said, what hast thou done? The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.' Genesis chapter 5 vs 10
"Shh. It's all right. I'm not going to hurt you." Red eyes turned to blue. Fangs receded as the boyish face relaxed into a gentle expression.
Jimmy shook his head. "Yo-you have blood on your chin." Jimmy Ellison pulled back against the tree. His heart pounded loudly in his ears. He hugged his backpack to his chest.
Nicholas wiped the blood on the back of his hand. He covered his hand with his mouth and sucked the blood off.
Jimmy shuttered. He hiccupped a sob. More tears burned in his swollen blue eyes.
"My name is Nicholas. I was hunting." He said gently. He let the lifeless deer fall to the ground. "Doesn't your father hunt?"
Fresh tears. Eight year old Jimmy shook his head. "He works a lot. An-and he fights with my mother."
"I see." Nicholas sat on the ground. He turned sympathetic eyes towards the small boy. "Is that why you're running away?"
Cautiously, Jimmy slid to the ground. He nodded. "My-my mother says I-I.m a fr-freak. Sh-she says it's my dad's fault." He hiccupped another sob. "He tells her to sh-shut up. I'm the-their son. Un-unless she's be-been wh-who-"
"Don't say that word. It's not a very nice word." Gently Nicholas brushed Jimmy's tears with cold fingers. "Child of Bastet." He smiled at the small boy.
"My name is Jimmy Ellison." He wiped his nose on the sleeve of his flannel shirt.
"Well, Jimmy Ellison." Nicholas took off his jacket and held it out to Jimmy. "It's getting cold."
"Wha-what about you?" Jimmy hugged his body. His own flannel shirt offered little protection against the growing night's cold. "Do vampires get cold?"
"You know what I am?" Surprise in Nicholas's voice. Strange how this small boy could be so casual about sitting across from a deadly predator.
"Only vampires drink blood." Jimmy shivered.
Nicholas reached over and covered Jimmy with his jacket. "I'm going to make a fire. Are you hungry?"
A small nod. Doubtful eyes looked towards the lifeless deer.
"It will taste good once I cook it." Nicholas rose. "I'm going to get firewood." It was much too cold for a small boy to be alone in the woods this late. Nicholas went back to where he had hidden his pack. He had a blanket and sleeping bag for appearance's sake. Nicholas shook his head. He had planned on going as far north as he could before dawn.
Jimmy emerged from the sleeping bag only when the venison was ready to eat.
"I'm afraid that I only have water for you to drink." Nicholas smiled as he watched Jimmy devour large pieces of roasted vension. Nicholas studied Jimmy. Small though he was, the boy was clearly a child of Bastet. And if he was meant to guard this city, then the very least that a reformed vampire could do was to see to it that no vampires settled in Cascade. First, he would have to see to it that Jimmy was safely returned to his home.
"Your parents don't know what they have." Nicholas said at last. "I want you to listen to the sound of my voice. You're going to forget some things but, there is one thing that you will always remember. No matter what happens in the future you will always be able to call upon a inner strength to see you through."
AFTER-The Present- Cascade
He was aware again. Cold, dead, blue eyes took in his surroundings. A quiet warehouse no doubt. Boxes of various sizes surrounded him. Why was he resting in this warehouse? A furrow appeared n the pale cold skin between his eyebrows.
Searching beyond the empty unawareness he'd just risen from Lucien La Croix found the unhappy memories that had brought him to the warehouse.
Grief tore through him. He had killed his 'son' and friend, Nicholas Knight. A bright light in his dark existence that wanted only to belong to THEM. All his cold heart cared about was gone. He was alone. Rage rose in him. They had seduced his precious Nicholas away from him.
He was unprepared for the sudden burst of pain that doubled him over. Hunger. He needed to feed. It had been days since warm life giving blood had nourished him. Hunger pushed grief and the tiny bit of humanity he had left into darkness.
Slowly the vampire rose. His tongue touched his fangs. There was food outside in the darkness. A cold cruel smile on the ancient vampire lips. Lucien had been alone before. He needed none of them.
He sensed that none of his kind had arrived yet. He had promised Nicholas a long time ago that they would never come to Cascade. For many years he had suspected that there was someone special to Nicholas living in this city. Not that it mattered any more. He was free to feast and create a new family. If-he so desired. Lips drew back from his fangs. First some of them would die for taking his Nicholas away from him. Anger on the dead face. Then maybe here in Cascade he'd create a new family. A family totally loyal to him and the darkness he'd fill their dead souls with.
It was the music that drew him. Lucien La Croix smiled darkly. He really didn't need to feed. He had already feasted. He savored the memory of the warm bloody taste as each of the four lives had been extinguished. Perhaps he should just mark this place as a future 'restaurant'.
Elegantly dressed in a well-tailored black suit, La Croix drew several admiring glances as he walked towards the newly reopened Celtic Rose. Half way to the Celtic Rose La Croix drew back in angry alarm. A growl rose in his throat. Dead eyes had spotted a Celtic knot of protection etched on the windows of the tavern. A large Celtic cross was carved onto the new wooden double doors.
La Croix turned abruptly away. "How DARE they!"
It was Angrea Deluca's misfortune to have chosen this night to sneak out. Her youthful face was heavy with makeup in an effort to appear older then her sixteen years. Her slender body was showcased in a clinging wine colored knit dress. To give herself, what she hoped was an older sophisticated look, Andrea had piled her long auburn hair on top on her head.
Borrowed high heels clicked loudly on the pavement as she walked rapidly towards the Celtic Rose. Her heart was beating in happy anticipation. As she crossed the mouth of a dark alley a hand reached out and grabbed her by her slender throat. Andrea was dragged into darkness as she clawed in vain to both scream and break free.
He had intended to drink slowly, savoring every moment of her sweet life. Perhaps making her the first of his 'family'. Only the beast had already been aroused by his earlier feeding. His fangs tore into the warm softness of her young neck. Intoxicating blood filled his mouth. He pinned her warm living body against a wall with his cold undead body. Greedily, La Croix drained Andrea's life's blood. Finished he allowed the empty husk to fall to the damp alley.
Wiping the blood from his mouth, Lucien La Croix walked away form what was left of Andrea Deluca. Regrettable, she would have made a nice first 'child'. One who could have lured others to him. He straightened his suit jacket. He knew that he would have to feed several more times before the beast would allow him to take a family again.
Sleepy blue eyes opened as the annoying phone instently intruded. Detective James Ellison rolled over and fumbled for the cordless phone on his night stand.
"Yeah?" He yawned.
"Detective Ellison, we need you to come in." The urgency of Serena Baxter's voice sent adrenaline pumping through Ellison's muscular body. He was alert. He swung his feet over the side of his bed. His bare feet touching the cold floor.
"What's wrong, Serena?" Ellison's left hand fumbling for the lamp on his night stand. He cocked his head listening for a familiar heart beat. He was rewarded with the steady sound of Sandburg's heart. Kid was downstairs asleep. He felt a moment of relief. Had something happened to Margaret? Oh God, he remembered. Jordan had drawn the night shift. "Is," he couldn't bring himself to ask. His heart hammered loud in his ears.
On the other end of the phone Serena heard the unspoken questions in the tone of Ellison's voice. "Jordan is insisting that you come down here and look at some bodies that were found in the warehouse district. Looks like some kind of animal ripped out the throats of several workers of a small embroidery factory."
In the background Ellison caught the sound of Lundgren's voice. "It's somebody's werid exotic pet that got loose, Luna. It's not a vampire." Worry in the big Nordic officer's voice carried over the phone line.
"You'd better hurry, Ellison. Things are getting kinda crazy around here." There was exasperation in Serena's voice.
Dressing quickly, Ellison descended the stairs. He'd made up his mind not to include Sandburg. For one thing the kid was still recovering from being kidnapped and nearly fed to a ninety-foot anaconda. Plus, he was stressed out from grading finals. And besides, Sandburg didn't handle seeing mutilated bodies well. No, he couldn't put his best friend through this.
"Hey, Jim." Sandburg dressed in his grey flannel shirt and jeans came out of his bedroom. "We got a call?" He was sweeping his long curly brown hair up into a ponytail.
"Uh, Chief." Ellison drew a breath. "You might want to sit this one out." He frowned. Sandburg didn't usually get up and dress that quickly.
"Thought that I was going to have to go upstairs and wake you up." Sandburg rubbed his tired eyes. "Jim, were you having some kind of intense dream?" Sandburg studied his friend. Jim Ellison wasn't just the focus of his study on sentinels. He was a friend and somewhat of a father figure. Though Blair Sandburg would have died before he'd reveal his feelings.
"I'm sorry that the phone woke you, Chief." Ellison sidestepped the question. There were times when knowing that he was the subject of Sandburg's thesis on Sentinels made Ellison feel as though he was a bug under a microscope. Instead, he slipped on his shoulder holster. "You really don't have to come."
"Jordan already told me that it involved some kind of animal attack." Sandburg shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans. "I'm your guide. You'll need me."
After Jordan had saved his life by killing an anaconda that was meant to devour them both, Sandburg realized that he had nothing to fear from Jordan. Especially, since Jordan had been willing to put his own life on the line to be certain that Sandburg was safe. That added guilt that Sandburg's uncles had told him was 'Jewish guilt'.
His remaining fear that Jordan might be a guide, vanished once the younger crime scene investigator moved into the apartment at the other end of the hallway. James Ellison was a sentinel who protected his tribe, Cascade. Kyle Jordan, a possible next evolutionary step, seemed interested in speaking for victims of crimes that were unable to speak for themselves. It had become apparent that both men had different places they needed to be at.
"I didn't hear your phone." Ellison frowned. Since Ellison had started dating Margaret McCloud, Sandburg had gone out and quietly purchased a prepaid cell phone.
Sandburg pulled a small translucent purple object out of his pocket. "Message beeper. I had it on vibrate. Should some young lady call me, I didn't want to wake you." A sheepish grin as he paused. "I won't look at the bodies." He promised.
Ellison huffed a moment. He grabbed his overcoat. "Grab your jacket. It's cold by the docks at night."
"Yes, sir." Sandburg grabbed his own black overcoat. Jim wasn't the kind of man who liked to be kept waiting.
"There are no such things as vampires." Officer Anders Lundgren said quietly. He gripped the shoulder of his best friend and partner, Officer Tomas Luna. He could feel Luna's muscles tight under his strong fingers. Worried blue green eyes stared into unreadable dark brown eyes.
Six foot six inches of well defined muscles, Luna stood with his back against their patrol car. "Viking, there are things that you don't know about." Luna drew a breath. His hand went to the silver Saint Michael's medal hanging from a silver chain around his neck. The present from Detective Ellison seemed to anchor him against being swept into hysteria. "There are things that live in the night."
"Stop it! I'll have to shoot you if you don't stop it." Lundgren matched his partner in height and well defined muscles like a Nordic twin. Jokes followed them that Lundgren was the 'original' and Luna was the 'copy' created from a copy machine. Although, it was Lundgren who had followed Luna to rescue an Internal Affairs Officer from being beat to death by 'fellow' officers. And Lundgren had followed both Luna and Detective Ellison into Rainier University when several members of a paramilitary group tried 'sucide by cop'.
"All the things that Tia Juanita told you aren't true. She was an uneducated, superstitious, old woman trying to raise four children."
Luna drew a breath. "I never told you how my sisters and I came to be living with Tia Juanita."
Kyle Jordan had managed to interrupt the computerized embroidery machine's program. On the row of now silent machines were blood splattered white tee shirts baring the logo Cascade's Finest Coffee still firmly in place. The program had only just started on the steam that rose above the cup that would have been embroidered next on the tee shirts. A strong coopery blood scent hung in the still air. Another stench that both crime scene investigators recognized as the smell of death hung heavy in the factory.
A lone male worker lay crumpled on a long table. There was blood on the folds of fabric that lay under him. A look of horror was frozen forever on the face of Manuel Sanchez. His throat had been savagely ripped open. From his ripped fingernails to the defensive positions of his arms and legs it was very obvious to both Serena Baxter and Kyle Jordan that Sanchez had died desperately trying to fight off whatever animal had ripped his throat open.
Jordan's boyish elf face took on a serious thoughtful look. "Serena, my guess is that is a quarter of a cup of blood on that fabric." His serious dark eyes went back to the tee shirts on the embroidery hoops. "Maybe, a cup of blood splattered across the work area."
Serena chewed her lower lip. "From a wound that deep," she paused. "Half his throat is ripped open. There should be blood everywhere" She leaned closer and studied the open wound. Her dark hair swept forward covering her porcelain features. "He looks dry. No blood in the tissues." Impatiently, she tossed back her hair.
They both looked at each other.
"Don't say it, Kyle." Serena warned. "I'll have to have Lundgren shoot you and Luna." She rubbed her temple. "Where is Ellison?"
Private Jet Over the Skies of Northern California
"We're going to get there before sunrise?" A young looking man with the brooding face of a boxer or Irish poet stared out into the dark night.
"Yes, Angel." A cultured English accented voice answered. From behind his glasses Wesley Wyndom-Pryce looked up from the ancient manuscript on his lap. A slight smile graced his lips. It still amazed him that he, Wesley Wyndom-Pryce, had gone from Rogue Demon Slayer, to working for a vampire, to being friends of and now boss of the vampire sitting opposite him.
"We'll be landing well before dawn." Wesley reassured Angel.
"Good." Angel leaned unhappily against the leather seat. It was completely lost on him that the private luxury jet was at their desposal from a grateful client.
"You've never flown before, Angel?" Wesley carefully turned a time aged yellow page. Dispite sporting a long light brown hairstyle there was no mistaking Wesley's aristocratic bearing.
"I've flown, just not on a plane." Angel jested weakly. Nervously, he drummed his fingers on the armrest. "How much longer, Wesley?" Worry written on his rugged deceptively boyish features.
"A minute sooner than the last time you asked." Wesley said patiently. He tapped his chin. "Angel, you're certain about whom this prophecy fits?"
"Yeah." Nervous energy ran up and down Angel's legs. He made a sound as though he were exhaling. But, he couldn't be exhaling. Being a vampire he didn't breath. "The prophecy says that a warrior who went twice to death's door, walked through fire to save an undead and who is accompanied by a returned ancient warrior. It has to be Officer Tomas Luna. He fits it." Angel ran his hand through his thick dark hair. "Are we almost there, Wesley?"
"Chill, Angel." Charles Gunn put a glass filled with a deep red liquid in the vampire's hand. "Drink this. It might calm you down."
"I'm not hungry." Angel sniffed the offered glass. Pig's blood. "You didn't put nutmeg in it did you?"
"Of course not. I'm not Cordy." Gunn smiled remembering the young woman's attempt to improve Angel's food. "So, is Officer Luna's partner, Officer Anders Lundgren, some kind of demon? He looked O.K. to me. For a really white guy. Whitest guy I've ever seen. Poster guy for white guys."
"I've seen Lundgren from a distance. I know he's a really white guy." Angel held up the glass to the light.
"Officer Lundgren's not a demon. He's a reincarnation of a Viking warrior." Wesley looked up from the ancient manscript in his lap.
Angel downed the glass of pig's blood in one swallow. "Oh, that was good." He closed his eyes.
"You believe in reincarnation?" Skepticism on the young black man's face.
A slight smile on the genteel face. "We fight vampires. We have a co-worker who is a vampire. He had a girlfriend who was a vampire slayer. We know a demon who owns a karaoke bar. Reincarnation is a more 'normal' belief."
"Wesley, have you figured out who the son of Bastet is?" Angel roused himself to set the empty glass on the floor by his feet.
"A new kind of demon?" Asked Gunn. He sat down next to Wesley.
Wesley's mouth make a frown. "No. According to this manuscript, Bastet at the time of the Biblical flood begged for the lives of her 'children' or at the very least, that her line not be wiped from the face of the earth. She pledged that her 'children' would always protect mankind."
"Bastet. Wasn't she like a cat goddess?"
"Yes." Wesley favored Gunn with a smile of approval. "But, according to legend when her request was granted the ark was already locked."
"So how-" Gunn looked puzzled.
"Hmmm." Angel leaned back against the seat. His eyes were closed. "Really good stuff." A peaceful expression filled his face.
Both men kept their eyes on him. Wesley cleared his throat. "A pregnant panther gave birth to a litter of cubs and one human looking baby."
"So these 'children' of Bastet are like human and cat?" Gunn leaned forward watching Angel's face.
"You put something in the-the stuff." Angel said drowsily.
"Just a short potion spell to keep you calm on the plane." Wesley said gently. Wesley held out the ancient manuscript for Gunn to see an illustration. "The children of Bastet look human. According to this manusript, they exist in the human bloodlines until they are need to protect the tribes of earth."
"Who's the cat-guy with the wolf head mask standing next to the," Gunn paused to read, "sentinel?"
"Apparently, the panther didn't have enough milk and a she-wolf nursed the baby. The she-wolf so loved the child that she asked that the spirit of wolves always protect the children of Bastet. A season after the ark landed, the she-wolf birthed a human looking child. That child grew up to be a protector of the first sentinel."
"Cool story." Gunn nodded towards the still vampire. "I think that he's out."
Both of them rose and carefully arranged the muscular body in a laying position on the long leather seat. Wesley brought a blanket over. He carefully covered the still vampire.
"He's a vampire, Wesley. He doesn't feel the cold." Gunn said.
"I know. But, have you noticed? Even when Angel doesn't say anything, he appreciates the small 'human' thing we do for him." Wesley gently patted Angel's shoulder. "We'll be landing very soon in Cascade."
Yellow police tape marked the entrance to the small business. Ellison parked his truck next to a Cascade police car.
"Gee, look at Luna." It unnerved Sandburg to see Luna plainly upset. From what he'd heard Luna could walk through a blood bath and not flinch a muscle.
Luna had the look of a man who had suddenly looked into the face of his deepest fear. His dark eyes met Ellison's eyes. "Maybe Sandburg should stay out here with me."
A heavy coppery scent hung in the damp salty air. Ellison barely nodded. Another stronger scent drew his full attention. A dark blanket of death and evil hung over the area. The stench tickled his memory.
"What is it, Jim?" Sandburg was at Ellison's side. He had the skin crawling sensation that he was being watched by something out of a nightmare. He moved closer to Ellison.
Ellison grabbed Sandburg by the arm and swung Sandburg behind him. Ellison's Beretta was in his gun hand.
"Don't move, Sandburg. It's here." He listened. Five heartbeats. Sandburg's heart was beating loud and rapid. Ellison could hear cars beyond the warehouses, the sound of the ocean and nothing else. But, his gut instinct told him that there was something present besides them. "Luna." He called quietly.
But, the former Marine already had his weapon drawn. Like Ellison Luna possessed a sense sharpened by combat experience. Reaching past his own fears, Luna reacted as he's been well trained to act. His dark eyes swept the area. He reached for the radio atop his shoulder. Quietly, he called for backup.
At the doorway of the building, Lundgren had seen both Ellison and his partner react to something. He drew his own weapon. He quietly called to Serena and Jordan. "Stay put. Something's outside." Part of his mind heard their gasps of fear.
A storm rose in Nordic sea blue green eyes. The Viking could feel it. One of the undead was present. His hand went to the Thor's Hammer on the silver chain around his neck. "By the beard of Odin, you shall take no more this night." He swore.
Somehow they had sensed his presence. The ancient vampire was amused. It would be a good game. Of course he would win. Their attempts to fight him would be an exercise in futility. His lips curled in arrogance. He meant to have the smallest of the four men. He liked the shade of his blue eyes. He wanted to see them filled with terror as he ripped the young warm throat open. Feel his warm salty blood run down his chin. He wanted to see the light of life dim, flicker and be extinguished. Red eyes went up to the stronger, military looking man who was attempting to protect his intended prey. An evil surprised smile filled La Croix's face. A son of Bastet! The grief this man would feel at the loss of his protector would equal his own grief. At last his Nicholas would be avenged. Then he would kill the sentinel.
A predator's tongue slowly licked the cold lips. His lips curled to a snarl as he heard the approaching sirens.
Seventeen year old Peter Lightfoot hesitated. Shifting uneasily on his combat boots he faced the leader of the Dock Runners.
Still growing into his full height, fifteen year old Brandon Webber at five foot eleven, stood head to head with the older Peter. "You want to leave the Dock Runners?" His youthful face serious.
Peter sucked in a lung full of air. Despite the chill of the predawn morning sweat drenched his dark shirt. "You know that the detective agency that my father hired found me."
"We can hide you if you don't want to go back." Brandon said with the air of one older then fifteen. "Ellison would help you. All I have to do is ask."
"Thanks." Peter released a breath and drew in more air. "My mother didn't want me to live with my father. That's why we were always on the run. But, Gunn told me that my dad is cool. I've got two adopted brothers and a step mon who's pretty and nice. Gunn's gone to get a jet to take me to my dad's ranch. My old man is even going to let me bring-" he dropped his eyes.
"You don't actually think that I didn't know that you were dating the sister of Loco of Muete de Rojo do you?" Brandon chuckled.
Peter raised his eyes. "Tina doesn't have to be jumped out. She never jumped in." He tightened his jaw. "I'm ready to be jumped out."
Brandon shook his head. "We don't jump out anymore. You want to go home. That's good. We'll have a big send off party for you."
Peter seemed relieved. He looked passed Brandon. "Here comes Frank."
Brandon frowned. "Something must be wrong. It isn't like Frank to leave his post."
"Are you sure it's gone?" Sandburg stood inside the front door of the embroidery shop. He kept his back to the movement behind him. He was still pale from catching a glimpse of Manuel Sanchez's body. Jordan had warned him that the three women's bodies lay in a crumpled heap in the back corner of the shop. Sandburg focused his eyes on Jim Ellison.
Ellison swept the area with his heightened senses. His eyes returned to the officers searching the grounds around the factories across the street. "I don't sense it."
"Sense it?" Sandburg looked with interest at Ellison. "Something beyond your heightened senses?" This could add a new dimension to his thesis on sentinels if he found something that Sir Richard F. Burton hadn't mentioned in his book on sentinels.
"No." Ellison shifted his attention to Sandburg. "It's a 'sense' acquired by military men and cops. It's an ordinary survival sense."
"Wait." Sandburg cleared the fear from his mind. "Didn't you hear it's heart beat?"
"There was no heartbeat to hear was there, Ellison?" Luna and Lundgren quietly joined them. Lundgren looked profoundly unhappy.
Sandburg looked from man to man. He nervously laughed. "Every living thing has a heartbeat."
"I saw him." Luna said quietly. "I know that with your heightened sense of sight that you saw him, too."
"HIM that doesn't have a heartbeat? You mean a vampire?" Laughter bubbled up in Sandburg's throat. "O.K., joke's over." His face drained of blood, his laughter dying in his throat as he realized that none of the other men seemed to be laughing.
"Chief, I'm a sentinel, Jordan is six degrees into being another kind of man, Lundgren is some kind of reincarnated Viking. Aren't you always trying to tell me to look into the unknown?" Ellison's mouth made a hard line. Frost was forming in Ellison's blue eyes.
"Jim." Sandburg grabbed Ellison by the arm. "I'm your guide, don't shut me out." He tightened his hold on the tense muscular arm.
"I remember the undead from my life as a Viking." Lundgren said quietly. He threw an apologetic look at Luna. "I'm sorry. I really didn't believe in vampires until I had a flash back to my past life." He turned unhappy eyes to Ellison. "But, you've seen one more recently."
Ellison slowly nodded. "I was a boy running away from home." He recalled the past as if it were only a moment ago. And he told them of the memory that had surfaced.
"This Nicholas called you a son of Bastet?" Sandburg had a lot to absorb. They had moved away from the front of the building so that the others couldn't hear.
"He made me forget." Ellison looked back at the crime scene. "When I smell the combination of death and evil, I remembered."
"Was it-Nicholas?" Luna asked the question they all wondered.
"No." Ellison released a soft breath. "Nicholas wasn't evil. He would have killed me like the deer he was feding on had he been evil. The man-vampire I saw wasn't Nicholas."
La Croix had retreated to a safe distance when the police cars had arrived. But, not so far that with his vampire hearing he couldn't listen. Now he considered what he'd heard. Nicholas had cared about a child. That child had grown up to be a policeman just like Nicholas had been a policeman. A new thought was born in his mind. This was his Nicholas's son. His only surviving family. A son of Bastet, a warrior would be his comrade during the long centuries ahead. Together they would recruit the very darkest souls for their family. He slipped into the darkness. His intended prey forgotten.
"That was a dirty trick you played on me." Angel stretched. He slipped a long black leather coat over his muscular frame.
"Come on, Angel. Don't be getting down on Wesley. Being in a confined space with a vampire isn't exactly anyone's idea of a fun ride." Gunn shook his shaved head.
Angel slowly smiled. "O.K. Just give me the potion before we take off. I didn't like the take off."
"Now he tells us. You're such a baby, Angel." Wesley shook his head. The two men and the vampire walked towards a waiting car with tinted windows.
"Vampire?" From behind his glasses Captain Simon Bank's dark eyes searched the faces of the men in front of him. "All right enough is enough. This isn't Halloween."
Luna looked up from the chair where he was seated. "I saw the bodies. It was the same way my parents had their throats ripped out." He paused to gulp air. "A seemingly beautiful French woman named Janette killed them one night when I was a kid."
Lundgren standing behind his partner gripped Luna's shoulder in reassurance.
For a brief moment Captain Banks thought that the Hispanic officer had lost it.
"Simon, I met a vampire when I was a child. His name was Nicholas." Ellison said quietly. "I saw the vampire tonight leap from the roof of one building to the next."
"We all know that the sentinels exist." Sandburg was still pale.
Before Captain Banks could find words for the thoughts running through his head there was a sharp rap on the glass door of his office. "What!"
Officer Holly McCarthy opened the door. "Captain, there are some men outside who are insisting that they speak to you." Her green eyes strayed to her boyfriend, Tomas Luna.
Captain Banks frowned. He looked out the glass to see the three waiting men. One looked like a street punk, one had an aristocratic look, the third could have passed for an Irish boxer. It certainly was a strange mix. But, this night was turning out to be strange. "What do they want, McCarthy?" He asked wearily.
"They said that they could help with the murders that occurred at the embroidery factory, sir." Holly addressed the captain respectfully.
Ellison turned his head. He focused. He could hear two heartbeats. "Simon, I think that we need to talk to them." He said quietly.
It was something in Ellison's voice that made Sandburg turn. He drew a quick breath. "Which one, Jim?" His heart leaped into a marathon race. Was he about to met a real vampire?
"Send them in." Banks said. Maybe he was having some weird nightmare and he was going to wake up any minute. He dropped a professional mask over his ebony features.
In the Major Crimes bullpen Angel's dark eyes looked across the room into the blue eyes of something that he'd only heard about. "Wesley, I know who the child of Bastet is." He said quietly.
Luna smiled in recognition as the three men came into the captain's office. "Angel!" He was on his feet sweeping the shorter man into a tight bear hug, lifting him off of the ground.
"Luna, down." Angel grinned. "Looks like living in Cascade is good for you." He was suddenly aware of how silent the room was. He looked at the other men. Realization hit him. They knew what he was.
"Lundgren, you remember the best PI in LA." Luna set Angel back on the floor. His smile faded as he saw the expression on his friend's face. "Lundgren-Viking, this is Angel. He's the guy I pulled out of the fire. The guy who gave me the cross to protect me from evil."
"They know, Angel." Gunn stated the obvious. He moved to Angel's side. It could get hairy.
Angel looked up at Luna. A brief struggled moved across the vampire's brooding face. "Gunn, hand me one of the stakes."
"What?" Wesley didn't like the way things were going.
"Wesley, no matter what happens you help Luna and," he turned dark eyes in Ellison's direction. "The son of Bastet stop the destruction of Cascade.
Gunn reached inside of his dark coat. He pulled out a wooden stake. Without ceremony he slapped the sharpened wooden stake into Angel's outstretched hand.
"I would have 'died' in that fire if you hadn't pulled me out." Angel turned the stake so that the sharpened point was aimed at his heart. "You have a claim on my life."
"What are you saying?" Luna fought to deny the truth.
Angel's face distored. "I'm a vampire." Said the demon faced man.
Luna recoiled at the sight of Angel's vampire face. "You can't be. You gave me the cross."
Weapons leaped to hands at Angel's appearance. Outside in the bullpen, a horrified Holly witnessed Angel's transformation.
"You can't kill a vampire with a gun." Sandburg stared with disbelief at what he had never imagined could exist.
Ellison slowly took a breath. "You're not like Nicholas or the one we saw tonight."
"Angel has a soul." Wesley moved slowly to Angel's side. "He was cursed. Which is a good thing." Wesley hastely added. "He fights evil vampires and drinks only animal blood."
Angel's face reverted back. "I guess we're not friends anymore." He looked sadly up into Luna's shocked dark eyes.
"You never told me." Feeling betrayed Luna stared with disbelief at Angel.
"You saved my 'life'. When you told me how your parents died, how could I tell you that I was a vampire?" Angel's hand held the stake steady.
Wesley slowly pulled the stake from Angel's hand. "We came here because of an ancient prophecy. From what we heard about the murders tonight, the evil has already arrived in Cascade."
The woman who killed my parents didn't have a face like yours." Luna ignored Wesley. "Janette was beautiful."
"Nicholas looked 'human' except for red eyes and fangs." Ellison thoughtfully studied Angel. "The vampire tonight had red eyes and fangs."
"I was afraid it was that family line." Angel scowled unhappily.
"You're afraid of other vampires?" Sandburg giggled.
An annoyed look crossed Angel's face. "I'm not afraid of them. They're just-" he frowned trying to think of how to phrase what he needed to say.
"Evil, blood-sucking virmin?" Lundgren-Viking growled.
"Watch the blood-sucking virmin thing." Annoyance growing in Angel's face. "That family line thinks that they're the only vampire line on earth. They tend to regard all other lines as inferior." Angel didn't look at either Wesley or Gunn. "My line was spawn from a son of Cain. We uh-carry the mark of Cain."
Gunn patted Angel on the back. "It's O.K., man." Angel was still the Angel he knew. He looked out the windows toward the lightening skyline. "Man, we don't have the time to rent a place." He looked to Captain Banks. "According to Wesley's book, the evil must be destroyed before sunrise on the day of Kun-nar."
"According to five demon translating guides, that's tomorrow." Wesley added quietly. "If we fail all who inhabit the 'city by the sea shall belong to the family of evil'."
"In a single night everyone is going to be vampires?" Captain Banks felt like Alice going down the rabbit hole.
"Wesley, sunlight." Angel nervously looked towards the lightening sky.
"We need a place to stash Angel while we search for the other vampire." Gunn patted Angel again on the shoulder. "Don't worry, man. We'll keep you safe unless you turn evil on us. Then we'll stake you."
"That's comforting." Angel said dryly.
"Morgue's in the basement." Captain said.
"Morgue?" Angel's mouth dropped. "You're going to put me with murdered people?"
"Angel, don't be such a baby." Wesley frowned in annoyance.
Sandburg giggled. "You're afraid of dead people?"
Distressed and annoyed Angel moved towards the door. "I need to get out of here."
Jordan was more then just annoyed to be called away from the Forensic Lab. "I don't have any time for childish pranks, Blair." He sent a strong look of disapproval Sandburg's way. Though younger then Sandburg, he felt older maturity wise.
"It's the truth, man." Sandburg led Jordan to the morgue.
Jordan was prepared to be the butt of a practical joke. He was completely surprised to see Captain Banks, Ellison, Luna, Lundgren and three men he didn't know.
"Jordan will-" Sandburg started to say.
A puzzled look came over Angel's face. He started towards Jordan. Ellison stepped in front of him. "I hope you're not hungry."
"Angel, what is it?" Wesley demanded.
"I'm not going to harm him." Angel looked up into Ellison's icy blue eyes. "But, I needed to be sure."
"Sure about what, vampire?" Ellison's tone was as cold as his eyes.
"My name is Angel." A slight frown on Angel's face. "You don't know?"
"So, you're the vampire." Sarcasm filled Jordan's voice. He fully expected everyone to burst into laughter.
Angel's face distorted.
"Wow! Can I touch you?"
"Hey!" Angel's face went back to normal. "When did I become part of a petting zoo?" Another horrible thought occurred to him "You're not going to-uh-examine me while I'm resting, are you?" Embarrassment filled his face.
"Not if you tell me what Jim doesn't know." Jordan stared in fascination at Angel.
Wesley had been quietly studying Jordan. "You certainly don't look like the father of a new race or rather old race."
"Kyle is genetically a new species." Sandburg now looked with interest at Angel. "You can tell?"
"He has an extra organ that stores water. He's expanding less energy then anyone else in the room." Angel half smiled. "All of your children will be like," Angel turned his dark eyes towards Ellison. "Him, sorta."
"Jordan is going to be the father of a race of sentinels?" Sandburg had been unprepared for this.
"No." Wesley said. "According to the ancient prophecies, the man who will father the return of Bastet's children to the earth will be found in the 'city of fate'. If we fail to stop the Evil One, Jordan and Ellison will be the only humans who escape the city. Everyone else either dies or becomes a vampire."
"How can this happen in one night?" Captain Banks demanded again.
"An evil army of vampire will join their leader and take over the city." Wesley's face was grim. "If we fail, Angel, you must get Jordan and Ellison out of here before the city is destroyed by fire."
Angel ignored Ellison's startled look. "I promise."
"Do me a favor, bro." Gunn took a breath. "If this cat turns me, stake me. I like sunrises."
"I'll take care of you both if we fail."
Wesley looked up at Luna. "According to the prophecies, the warrior who went to death's door twice, saved an undead with a soul from a fiery destruction will stand with a warrior called from the side of Thor to battle the great evil."
"Do the prophecies say who'll win?" Sandburg asked hopefully.
"It's one of those either or things. Either, the vampire wins and the city is full of undead and is surrounded by an army that kills anyone trying to leave the city. Or, the vampire is defeated before sunrise." Wesley looked grim.
"You said that Ellison and I would escape." Jordan slowly circled Angel.
"I have a girlfriend, Margaret." Ellison spoke up. "Not to mention Sandburg here and my father and brother. I'd like to see them out of harm's way."
"Sorry." Wesley's mouth twitched in a nervous smile. "If we fail according to the prophecies, the father of Bastet's children will be carried out of the burning city in the arms of an elder son of Bastet. An undead with a soul and something called a 'Dru-ree' will escape the destruction with them. Only four are mentioned in the prophecies as escaping."
"Then let's not waste time." Captain Banks drew a breath. He thought of his son. "I'm going to send Daryl out of the city with his mother. They can visit my aunt in New Orleans."
Gunn suddenly smiled. "We came in a private jet. I'm sure that Mr. Lightfoot won't mind if Mrs. Banks, Daryl and Detective Elllison's girlfriend come for a visit." He looked at Wesley. "Can we send anyone else?"
Wesley shook his head.
"Wesley," Angel nervously jerked his head at the stalking Jordan. "Am I going to be safe here?"
"You don't have to stay here in the morgue." Luna met Angel's eyes.
Shock registered on Lundgren's face. "You're not going to invite an undead into our home?"
Zipped into a black body bag, Angel lay in the back of Lundgren's car. "I can't believe you're doing this." Lundgren shook his head.
"Neither can I." Luna stared out the passenger side window. "But, Angel has been my friend." He exhaled unhappily. "I know that he's a vampire. Then again, he did tell me to take the cross out of the safe and wear it."
"I'm taking both of my battle-axes off the wall in my bedroom." Lundgren spoke grimly. "Vampires can be destroyed by being beheaded."
"Did you know that immortals can be destroyed the same way?" Luna's mouth twitched.
"There's no-oh hell. Life was a lot simpler before I became a cop. Back in the days when I carved wood and rode to swap meets on my Harley, things were very clear." Lundgren sighed.
"Bet you were lonely and weird."
"I was NOT weird!"
"I should stay." Peter Lightfoot said evenly.
"No." Brandon's tone was firm. "You are being given an order."
"But, you trained me to fight." Peter's face took on a wounded look.
"You'll be needed to stand guard at your father's ranch." Gunn interrupted them. His eyes went to Ellison and an unhappy looking Margaret standing next to the private jet. "It's one of those fate things that Wesley is always talking about. No matter where Margaret is, she'll be in danger. Let's just say there are 'forces' that don't want Ellison to father a race of sentinel warriors." He handed Peter a large package. "There's a blessed silver sword inside. You and your father should sit up tonight." He noted an arriving young Hispanic girl and an obvious gangbanger. "Here comes your girlfriend, Tina."
"Why can't I stay with you?" Margaret was trying hard not to cry.
"You'll be safe at the Lightfoots." Ellison was focused only on Margaret. He gently brushed her fair away from her face. "I want you to be safe." He kissed her on her forehead.
"But, why can't I tell my parents?" Tears filled Margaret's dark eyes.
Ellison pulled Margaret close. "I can't tell my father or my brother. According to Wesley if we tell too many people the evil vampire will gain allies."
"Don't let anything happen to my parents, please." Margaret clung to his warm masculine body.
"I'm going to destroy that thing." Ellison promised. He pulled her up and kissed her deeply.
"It doesn't have body heat." Ellison said. How could he explain a vampire to Brandon?
"I know." Brandon's face was grim. "A vampire cop once saved me from a couple of vampires who were going to have me for 'dinner'."
"A vampire cop?" Sandburg couldn't stop the short laugh from escaping. "First a vampire private investigator now a vampire cop."
"Those are the good vampires." Brandon looked back to where the Dock Runners waited for orders. "The vampires have enforcers who kill humans who discover them. Any vampire who exposes them suffers the same fate." Brandon turned his grim face back to Ellison. "I think that I know which vampire is here. He can't be killed by just staking him in the heart."
Angel opened his eyes. He was laying on a bed. He sat up looking around the room. Pale blue walls. A painting of dolphins leaping out of the ocean under a full moon hung on one wall. Angel frowned. In spite of the heavy dark drapes that covered the window, Angel knew that it was still day. An eerie sensation swept through him.
"We've got to wake him."
"Wesley, I'm already awake." Angel opened the door. Only his vampire sense gave him a warning in time to avoid the leaping attack of a very angry cat.
"Thor!" Lundgren dashed after the angry Norwegian Forest.
Angel retreated to the ceiling in a corner of the bedroom. "You had to name him Thor." Angel's face was distorted into his 'vampire' face.
"Angel, are you all right?" Concerned, Wesley looked up at the vampire.
"For the moment." His face remained in demon mode. Tilting his head slightly he tried to look out the open door. "Who did you bring with you?"
Growling and hissing Thor fought to break free from Lundgren's hold. "I'll put him with Gato." Lundgren gritted his teeth as Thor's claws raked his hand. "If it were up to me, Thor, we'd stake and behead that vampire."
The scent of blood drew Angel's attention. He looked down at Lundgren only to be met with the angry eyes of Thor.
"You might want to release the cats when Angel leaves." Wesley turned a yellowed page of the manuscript. "No vampire would enter with a namesake of Thor residing here."
"What's special about Thor's name?" Ellison wondered.
"Thor was evoked as a protector against evil." Sandburg jumped in. "By naming the cat Thor, the spirit of the protector of humanity was evoked. It's not a generally known fact that Thor protected humanity from evil." Sandburg turned a half smile towards Ellison. "Unless Thor's been featured in a video, Jim's not going to know anything about Thor."
Wesley looked up from the manuscript in time to see Ellison's jaw tighten. Wesley frowned at the way Sandburg had so easily dismissed the scope of Ellison's knowledge.
"So, Thor was a rightious dude." Gunn said thoughtfully.
"Indeed." Wesley favored Gunn with a slight smile.
"According to comic books, Thor had a hammer as a weapon." Ellison said sourly.
"Comic books? Oh, you mean graphic novels." Wesley brightened. "I have a collection of British graphic novels."
"You dudes call comic books graphic novels?" Gunn was amused.
"Other parts of the world don't look with distain on graphic novels."
"Wesley, why did you want to wake me?" Angel called from the ceiling.
"Right. Angel, Ellison here's our problem." Wesley paused and looked up at the ceiling. "Would you please come down? Angel, those cats are smaller then you are. Quit being such a baby." A stern frown on Wesley's face.
"It's cool. The cats are locked up." Gunn grinned up at Angel.
Angel dropped to the floor. "You ever try to fight off a berserker cat?" He adjusted his leather coat. He sized up Brandon.
Ellison put himself between Angel and Brandon. "You're not hungry are you, vampire?" There was a slight hostile note in his voice.
"Not at the moment, Ellison." Angel said matter-of-factly. "My name is Angel. You won't turn into a vampire if you say my name."
"If you think that you're going to have me for 'breakfast', your ass will be staked first." Brandon watched Angel through narrowed eyes.
"Novel way to a vampire's heart." Angel said dryly. He retreated to the safety of Gunn and Wesley.
Wesley cleared his throat. "It seems that I have made an error in translating."
"Time frame change?" Ellison asked. Fearing the worst they all steeled themselves.
"We actually have three days until the sunrise of Kun-nar." Wesley made a small smile.
"What's the bad news?" Angel knew that there had to be bad news.
"One of the defenders of the city of fate will die in battle. It will be a battle that will last until sunrise." Wesley looked down at the manuscript. "I'm sorry."
"Nothing to be sorry about, Wesley. It took five demon dictionaries to get what we got." He patted Wesley on the shoulder. "I've got bad news, too."
By mid-afternoon Gunn and several of the Dock Runners found a dead security guard laying inside the open door of a warehouse.
"Only one bite in the neck." Kevin pointed to the neck wound.
"Uh huh." Gunn calmly took out a wooden stake.
"Is that necessary?" Kevin moved back.
"Oh, yeah." Gunn hammered the stake into the dead man's heart.
With a wild scream the 'dead' security guard tried to rise. He turned instead to dust.
"Arm your crossbows and let's search this place." Gunn had bought every crossbow in every sports shop in Cascade. Sandburg had come through with crossbows from his friend, Joey Silverman, who wanted in on killing vampires.
La Croix was aware. He sat up. They were searching for him. His lips pulled back revealing his deadly fangs. "Little Hunters, you'll be the hunted."
He moved toward the clumsy sounds of humans trying to be silent. In the dark warehouse he moved quickly. Before the two Dock Runners could turn around he sprang on them.
Outside in the alley, Joey Silverman was loading more arrows into his quiver. He was startled by screams. He yanked his cell phone from his belt and called for back up. He moved to stand in the waning sunlight. Sweat beaded up on his body. Unlike his video games, he knew he won't be able to 'play' again if he was killed.
La Croix drained enough blood from his second victim to stave off his hunger. He drew bloody lips back from the still form. Gently, he lay the teenaged boy on the floor. "When you wake we will hunt." He looked back at the other boy laying on the ground. Pity he had had to break the boy's neck.
Lifting his head, La Croix listened. Coldly, he smiled. They were coming and so was sunset.
Ellison and Gunn were unable to answer Joey. They stood back to back surrounded by red eyed and fanged vampires.
"Kill them before they get to you." Gunn called over his shoulder.
Ellison fired his crossbow. The wooden arrow dipped in holy water burned into the heart of a young looking vampire. An animal scream as the vampire 'died' in a burst of dust.
Ellison was in the act of reloading his bow as another vampire rushed forward in blinding speed. With a scream the vampire was impaled on the arrow. Instead of dying the vampire clawed at the arrow while trying to pull Ellison forward to bite him.
Ellison pulled a long Bowie knife from his belt sheath and slashed across the vampire's neck opening it to the neck bone. He smashed the crossbow across the vampire's face as he struggled against the vampire's superior strength. Repeatedly, he slashed across the undead neck. The neck bone gave way and the vampire was dust.
Gunn's arrow found its mark. The 'new' vampire turned to dust in a scream. Gunn yanked two stakes out of his waist band in time to stake two vampires. One screamed and vanished into dust. The second vampire looked down at the stake and yanked it out. Before the vampire could pull Gunn forward to bite him there was a sound of air passing over metal. A replica of an ancient Viking-battle ax severed the vampire's head from his body. Headless the body dropped to the ground.
"Angel said that any of the vampires that didn't die from being staked had to be burned if any body was left and all ashes had to be doused with holy water." Lundgren wiped his ax blade on the headless body.
"Thanks, man." Gunn tuned his head. "You O.K., Ellison?"
"I'll let you know in three days." Ellison said grimly. Without a heart beat he couldn't track the vampires. He inhaled. "There's one more present." He said quietly. There was no mistaking the stench of evil and death.
Piggy backing his sense of sight and smell, he located the remaining vampire. "Above us." He said quietly.
Copper wire red hair framed the green-eyed child's face. "Please don't hurt me." The little girl pleaded.
Ellison hesitated. In his mind's eye he could see dark haired Little Bit looking up at him.
"Did you lose a daughter?" The centuries old vampire child asked him. Big eyes looked up knowingly at him.
Gunn raised his crossbow. "I don't have a problem, if you want to step back Ellison."
Without warning the child vampire leaped forward. She knocked Gunn to the ground. "Help me!" Screamed Gunn as he struggled to keep the vampire from reaching his neck.
Ellison grabbed the tiny girl around the waist and pulled her from Gunn. He flung her away.
Getting to her feet the girl smiled. "I'm going to make you into my daddy. You'll make a good daddy. I'll make a perfect daughter for you. I'll never die." She rose in the air.
An ax caught her before she could fly forward. "Daddy!" Was her last scream as she was split in half. Lundgren raised his ax and severed her small head from her body.
"Ellison, are you all right?"
Pale, Ellison swallowed hard. "You never said that they could be children." He whispered. His eyes went from the small body to the ax in Lundgren's hand. For an errie moment he seemed to be somewhere else.
White blond hair framed the face of the Beserker Viking. Blood dripped from his battle-ax. At his feet lay one of the defenders of the village.
"Ellison, you sure that you're all right? You want to sit this out with Sandburg and Jordan at the police station?" Gunn asked.
Icy hard blue eyes turned his way. "No." Color was returning to Ellison's face. He picked up the quiver of arrows. He avoided looking at Lundgren. Ellison wiped the sweat from his face onto the sleeve of his shirt.
"Joey found the ancient vampire." Lundgren said awkwardly. He had a bad feeling that he and Ellison had known each other in the Viking past life. It was plain from watching Ellison that they hadn't been friends. "Luna and Wesley are headed over there."
"Let's go." Ellison replied.
"You shouldn't have come." Wesley frowned at Sandburg.
"I'm Ellison's guide. He'll need me to keep him from zoning out." Sandburg stubbornly insisted.
Luna checked his arrows. "Ellison is going to be pissed if anything happens to you." He warned.
"He's about to be involved in a battle with an extremely dangerous advisory. He doesn't need any of his self confidence undermined." Wesley loaded his crossbow.
"What? I would never do that to Jim." Sandburg stared incredulously at Wesley.
"You act as though you think that you have superior intelligence to Ellison." Wesley locked eyes with Sandburg. "Anyone from the Bastet blood line is a predator. And predators are very intelligent."
"He's watching us." Angel interrupted them. He looked towards the warehouse. "He senses me."
"Lundgren, Gunn, and Ellison are on their way. Want to wait for them?" Wesley asked.
Angel shook his head. "There are two of them. One is new. Be careful." His face distorted. Joey jumped back. Demon faced Angel pulled back his lips to reveal his fangs. "Let's go." He growled.
Contempt filled La Croix face. Humans and an inferior vampire. He would destroy that hideous vampire along with the humans. The awaking sound of his new 'son' reminded him that the new vampire would be craving blood. La Croix smiled. Let his new 'son' feed while he rid the earth of that monstrosity.
He watched as the puny humans made their way into the warehouse. His son rose to meet them. La Croix's attention was on a figure that leaped to the upper floor.
"Heard that you've been a naughty boy." Angel's feet touched the steel frame. He stood at the edge of the steel structure designed to hold heavy boxes.
"Your kind's ugliness is an offense." Snarled La Croix.
"Well, you're not exactly a prize yourself." Angel said lightly.
"I've destroyed everyone of your kind that I've come across." La Croix leaped the distance between them.
Angel twisted out of the way, slamming a sharpened stake into La Croix's chest.
A scream of rage from La Croix. "You can't kill be with just a stake! You Fool!" He yanked out the stake and flew at Angel.
"You'll 'die' if a wooden stake cuts out your heart." Angel pulled out a second stake from his leather coat. He leaped to meet La Croix. As they met in mid air, Angel slammed the second stake into La Croix.
With a scream of rage La Croix caught Angel as he tried to twist away. He slammed the stake into Angel.
Angel turned enough for the stake to tear into his upper arm. He grabbed hold of La Croix and pulled him over the edge. Both vampires fell to the concrete floor below.
Joey hesitated as the Dock Runner came slowly forward. "Are you all right?" He brought up the crossbow. He had an eerie flash to a video game that went something like what was happening.
"Hungry!" Cried the new vampire. His eyes turned red.
Joey fired. Hitting the boy in the chest.
What was left of the boy screamed as he was turned to dust.
"Heads up!" Shouted Sandburg.
Luna grabbed Joey and pulled him out of the way as the two vampires fell from the upper level.
Wesley reached La Croix first. He aimed the crossbow at the fallen La Croix.
La Croix was on his feet first. He snarled and leaped towards Wesley. The arrow from the crossbow embedded in La Croix's chest. "You fool!" He slapped the crossbow out of Wesley's hand. He grabbed Wesley by his shirt.
"No!" Sandburg grabbed the crossbow smashing La Croix in the head. "Let go of him!"
La Croix spun around and grabbed Sandburg by the shirtfront. He smiled darkly. "You two shall be the start of my new family." He pulled them both towards him.
An arrow from Luna's crossbow tore into the middle of La Croix's back.
Snarling La Croix leaped up with his squirming, frightened prize still held firmly in both hands. Angel grabbed him pulling La Croix back to the floor. As they hit the floor again La Croix lost his grip on Sandburg and Wesley.
"Run!" Shouted Angel.
La Croix yanked the arrow out of his chest. He drove it into Angel's chest. The younger vampire crumbled to the floor.
"You have a soul!" La Croix reached for the fallen vampire. "I'm going to make you like me!"
Luna grabbed two stakes from Wesley. He drove them both into La Croix.
La Croix screamed in rage. He turned to attack Luna. His hands burned as they touched Luna. Confused La Croix retreated upward. He hit a window on the upper level. Glass broke as the vampire fled into the night.
"Is he dead?" Sandburg crawled towards the still vampire.
"No." Wesley coughed. "He would be dust if he were 'dead'."
Luna helped the younger men to their feet. Joey ran outside to see if he could track where La Croix was headed. "Why did La Croix burn when he touched me?" Luna asked Wesley.
"It's the cross Angel gave you. It was designed for a vampire hunter. No vampire can touch you as long as you wear it." Wesley shook Angel. "Angel?"
"It hurts, Wesley." Angel said weakly. "Take it out."
"It's close to your heart." Wesley took a firm grip on the shaft. "Hold still." He pulled with no results. Angel twisted in agony.
"It's the holy water that's hurting him." Wesley shook his head. "It's lodged in your breastplate. Mostly likely caught on one of your ribs. We'll have to wait until Ellison or Lundgren get here. Hold on." He drew a breath. Smoke was coming up near the arrow shaft.
"I could pull it out." Luna stood uncertainly watching.
Wesley shook his head. "You would have to take the cross off." He looked up at Luna. "You can't do that. You're all that's keeping La Croix from coming back and destroying the lot of us."
"What about La Croix?" Angel managed to ask. He closed his eyes against the pain.
"We'll catch him." Wesley tried to sound convincing. He cast worried eyes on Angel.
"Chief, what were you thinking?" Ellison demanded. "You don't have any experience fighting."
"I've been helping you with police work. Remember?" Sandburg refused to back down. Anger flashed in his eyes. "I'm not going to lay down and wait for that blood sucker to come for me."
"Chill, guys. Save your fighting for the vamps." Gunn shook his head. "I'm sorry, Angel. It's pierced through your breastplate. I think it's lodged in your spine."
"Let me." Lundgren stood next to Gunn.
Angel eyed the battle-ax in Lundgren's hand. "Let's not forget that I'm on your side." He said weakly.
Lundgren set his ax on the floor. "This is going to hurt like hell." He put his heavy boot on Angel's chest. Getting a good grip on the shaft he yanked with all his strength. They heard bones crack.
Angel's scream echoed through the warehouse.
At dawn they regrouped at the converted factory that Luna and Lundgren called home.
"We have to destroy La Croix by dawn tomorrow or we're toast." Gunn handed Angel a warmed cup of cow's blood.
"Oh, that's so gross!" Several young Dock Runners sat on the carpet clustered in front of the couch watching Angel.
"Is he going to make the 'face'?" Asked one of the young girls.
"Wesley." Angel wailed.
"Entertain them, Angel. Look on it as penance." Wesley said sternly. He motioned Gunn to join them across the large room.
"Wow!" "Way cool!"
"Where did all the other vampires come from?" Demanded Ellison. Memory of the 'child' vampire disturbed him.
Wesley sighed. "Cascade is the city of fate. Much more then Cascade hangs in the balance. If we fail, darkness will arise from hell."
"Nothing like putting a little pressure on a guy." Ellison shook his head.
Luna and Lundgren looked at each other. "Promise you'll stake me if I get bit." Lundgren asked quietly.
"It won't come to that." Luna promised.
"Have you seen the news broadcasts?" Captain Banks chomped down on an unlite cigar. His dark eyes swept the tired men in front of him. "They're saying that a cult of vampire worshippers are slaughtering citizens." He focused exasperated eyes on Wesley. "I thought that your 'pet' vampire was suppose to be your ace in the hole."
"We're dealing with a vampire much older and stronger then Angel." Wesley said evenly. He held Banks' stern gaze. "We've faced much worse odds and won."
"Luna, Lundgren, and Ellison will have to go against La Croix." Gunn spoke up
"We knew from the beginning that it would take all four men to slay La Croix." Wesley stood up. "We've got to destroy all the other vampires during the day before they can create more."
"Sandburg's friend, Joey is out with some of the Dock Runners looking for sleeping vampires." Brandon said quietly. He yawned.
"You'd all better get some sleep." Captain Banks sighed.
"I've got to call Margaret." Ellison rubbed his tried eyes. It had been a long and very strange night.
Brandon sacked out at the loft with Ellison and Sandburg. It was agreed that all the Dock Runners sleep at Luna's and Lundgren's place. As the converted factory had more then enough room.
"How is Margaret?" Sandburg watched Ellison hang up the phone.
"Peter and Duncan Lightfoot had to fight off some very strange creatures." Ellison shook his head. Maybe I'll wake up and this will be a dream resulting from eating too much chili. "Margaret and Tina are all right. Margaret did say that she had a surprise for me when she gets back." Ellison took a breath and stared out the balcony doors.
"It'll be a pleasant enough surprise for me to have her back. I'm going to get some shut eye." He climbed the stairs to his bedroom.
Sandburg looked down at Brandon sprawled asleep on the couch. He got a blanket from his bedroom and dropped it over the sleeping teenager.
A knock sent his heart into overdrive.
"Hey, Sandburg. It's me. Jordan. Open up."
Sandburg opened the door.
By sunset the Dock Runners led by Joey had stacked up a high score of 'kills'. "There won't be a blood sucker left in Cascade." Boasted Joey.
"Isn't North Cascade Books closed?" Janet Billings pointed to a shop on the first floor of the Nelson Building.
"It closed three weeks after the Nelson store went bankrupt." Chuck Rivers said slowly. "I heard that it's suppose to be torn down."
"Then why are the neon light in the window on?"
"Maybe some squatters moved in." Joey immediately rejected his own answer. "We'd better call Brandon and Ellison." He pulled his cell phone from his belt.
Wesley carefully drew intersecting lines on the map of Cascade. "If I'm right, La Croix will be here." His pen touched down on Rice Street.
Ellison leaned over his shoulder. He thoughtfully studied the map. "There are a lot of closed stores in that area. Whole area is supposed to be torn down starting with the old Nelson Store."
Brandon reached for his ringing cell phone. Sandburg and Jordan hovered near Ellison's elbow.
"You're both going to stay put, right?" Demanded Ellison.
"No." They both said.
"Ellison, Joey's patrol says there maybe something big going on at the old Nelson Store." Brandon met Ellison's eyes.
Ellison nodded. "This is it."
La Croix stretched. In his grief, he had forgotten what was to happen. Now he joined the other vampires gathering on the main floor of the abandoned building. "Tonight, my children, we feast."
There were dark smiles on the undead faces.
"We found some former residents of this building." A young looking blond vampire pushed several teenagers dressed in black into the room. All the vampires heard their heartbeats. The smell of life and fear clung to the group.
"Now nice. Breakfast." La Croix smiled. Several vampires laughed.
Captain Banks had all the streets around Rice blocked off. Police turned away a few inquisitive reporters with the story that the demolition team wanted their equipment secured.
Holly loaded her Beretta with silver bullets. "Do you have a plan if any vampires escape?" She asked the captain.
"I had Angel show his 'face' to a few officers. We're ready if any escape." He looked back at the quiet street. Either way, it was all going to end here. "I don't think that silver bullets will stop a vampire, Holly."
"These will. They're made from a melted down silver dagger my great-grandmother left to me. According to Celtic legend, it's faerie blessed to stop anything evil." Her face was grim. "Now that I found a man I love, I'm not losing Tomas." Her green eyes looked up at Banks. "I'm going in as his back up." The evening wind caught her loose mane of curly black hair blowing it around her face.
"Holly." Banks stopped. His ex and his son were safe. "Go on." He said at last.
Dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt, Lundgren carried a battle-ax in each hand as he approached them. Ellison looked up and froze.
Shoulder length white blond hair whipped around the berserker's face. In the bright light of the full moon, he swung his bloody battle axes.
"Jim. Jim." Sandburg grabbed Ellison by the arm. "Hey, man. Is everything O.K.?" His worried eyes went from Ellison to Lundgren.
Ellison blinked. "I-uh." He drew a breath and shook his head. "Let's go."
Wesley caught Sandburg by the arm. He pulled him aside. "Just watch his back."
"I'm going to." Sandburg protested.
Wesley held him fast. He lowered his voice. "Captain Banks informed me that Detective Ellison was once an Army Ranger. A son of Bastet trained in warfare doesn't need to be hovered over."
"You going with us?" Ellison looked from Holly to Luna.
"Holly is going as my backup." Luna said simply. His eyes dared Ellison to say anything.
"When I go Viking, it's best if I fight alone." Lundgren was disturbed by Ellison's earlier reaction to him. He avoided looking the detective in the eyes.
Ellison looked around. He spotted Brandon and Angel arriving. "Looks like we're all here."
"Before Angel gets here." Wesley turned quickly. "He's not that-since he has a soul, well. Should the situation warrant it-"
"I understand." Ellison said calmly. Cold reptile eyes met Wesley's eyes. "I was trained to kill. I will take care of what needs to be done."
Wesley swallowed. He had read enough ancient manuscripts to know that if necessary Ellison would make sure that he didn't turn into a vampire. "Good then."
Brandon greeted the men. "My snipers are on the roof tops."
Ellison and Angel looked up. With their superior eyesight they spotted the hidden Dock Runners. Half were armed with crossbows. Half with fire axes.
"No vampire gets out alive."
"Except of course Angel." Wesley lamely added. "Sorry old chap."
La Croix curled his lips up revealing his fangs. One of the girls burst into tears. A stocky girl with black dyed hair stood her ground facing the ancient vampire. La Croix smiled. "Interesting makeup." He reached out to touch her gothic made up face.
Karma Petty held her chin up refusing to move as La Croix's cold fingers touched her.
La Croix bowed slightly. His eyes fell on a tattoo on her forearm. He lifted her arm up. With his fingers he traced over the angel tattooed on her arm. They could all hear the wild beat of her heart. La Croix smiled darkly at the word on the banner under the angel. "Hope. You still have hope, my dear?"
Karma held herself steady refusing to allow her body to tremble. "I hope that Detective Ellison stakes your heart and leaves you out in the sun."
"Ah. 'Spice'. I like a little 'fight' in my food." He bent as though to kiss her bare wrist.
In the next instant, the door was knocked off it's hinges. A screaming Berserker Viking brust through the door. He swung a battle-ax in each hand. Vampires in his path were beheaded.
La Croix drew back in alarm. An army swarmed into the room firing crossbows. "No!" shouted La Croix. Arrows hit their targets. Vampires erupted into dust and vanished.
Holly fired her 'special' bullets. No matter where she hit the vampires, they erupted into faerie fire and 'died'.
Luna staked a vampire that was swung his way. When the vampire failed to die he kicked him towards Lundgren. Lundgren turned and in a single stroke beheaded the vampire.
Angel and Ellison fought their way towards La Croix. Karma spotted Ellison and pushed passed several fleeing vampires. "Detective Ellison!"
Angel caught her in his arms. She drew a breath of alarm at the sight of his face. Angel swung her to Holly. "Get her out of here." He shouted. "She's human."
Holly tossed her Beretta to Luna. "I put in a full clip." She shouted.
Angel grabbed a young Dock Runner by the shoulder. "Take them to safety." He told the girl.
The girl nodded.
Vampires tried to leap out the windows to safety. They were met by arrows from the waiting Dock Runners.
Growling, La Croix fled up the stairs to the second floor.
Ellison ducked as Lundgren swung his ax and separated a vampire from his head.
Sandburg fired his crossbow trying to keep up with Ellison. "Jim, La Croix went to the second floor!" He had to shout to be heard over Lundgren's battle cry and the screams of the dying vampires.
A vampire screamed in pain as his hands burned from grabbing hold of Luna. Luna staked the vampire. Lundgren came up and beheaded the vampire. Luna shot another that was in midair above Lundgren. Holly's 'special' bullets rendered the vampire into burning ash.
Wesley caught up with them. "Ellison and Sandburg are chasing La Croix upstairs."
Brandon reached the stairs ahead of them. "My crew will finish down here."
They stormed up the stairs.
Sandburg was breathing hard. "Jim." Nervously, he called in the dark hallway.
Ellison stopped. He grabbed Sandburg's hand. "Take hold of my belt. Don't let go. Don't fall."
Coming down the hall Brandon pulled out his night-vision goggles. "Angel." He hadn't heard the vampire approach.
"La Croix is on the third floor." Angel whispered.
"I can feel him."
La Croix had retreated to the third floor of the abandoned building. He looked around. A few empty crates and broken store fixtures. He growled. From the window he watched his kind being beheaded by kids with fire axes.
It wasn't suppose to end this way. He was supposed to rule a city of the undead. It had been an ancient prophecy. He growled.
"Someone you didn't eat?" Ellison raised his crossbow.
"You can't kill me with that puny weapon, stupid human." Contempt filled his face. What a fool I was to think that this pretender was a son of Nicholas.
"I don't know why everyone keeps thinking that I'm stupid. It's really beginning to piss me off." Ellison stepped sideways allowing room for Angel and Brandon to enter.
Behind him, Sandburg cringed.
Brandon pulled Sandburg back from Ellison. He shoved an arrow into Sandburg's hand. "Load."
"Well, well. It's the monstrosity." Contempt in La Croix's voice.
"I may look ugly, but you're the monster." Angel snarled.
Three crossbows fired.
La Croix looked down at the smoldering arrows that pierced his dead heart. "You're going to have to do better then that."
Angel was instantly across the room. He knocked La Croix to the floor. Angel pulled a long bladed knife from inside his leather coat. La Croix flipped him off and into the wall.
Ellison fired again. His arrow struck La Croix in the neck.
With a scream of rage La Croix ripped out the arrow. Angel grabbed La Croix tossing him into the wall. Growling both vampires turned on each other. Angel was slammed into the wall. Holding tightly to La Croix, Angel pulled La Croix into the wall.
They could hear Lundgren fighting his way up the stairs. La Croix tossed Angel into Ellison and Sandburg. Vampire and men went down. Brandon loaded another arrow into his crossbow. La Croix knocked the weapon out of Brandon's hands. He grabbed Brandon by the throat. "You lead those who slaughtered my children." He growled. Brandon spit in La Croix's face. Without hesitation La Croix snapped Brandon's neck. He flung the limp body into the approaching men. La Croix shot across the room and leaped out the window.
Wesley looked sadly up at them. "He's dead."
Angel sat down next to Brandon's body. "We can't tell anyone."
"Angel, are you alright?" Wesley reached out and gently put his hand on Angel's shoulder.
"I'm going to wait here until Brandon wakes up. We'll join you when you corner La Croix." Angel's face had reverted to his 'human' look.
Ellison squated down next to Angel. He studied the vampire. He was surpise to see a gentleness in the vampire's brooding face that he hadn't noticed before. "Brandon is dead." He said softly.
"I know. He's going to wake up. I don't think that he should be alone when he wakes." Angel patted Brandon's shoulder.
Ellison looked over at Wesley. "He's in some kind of shock. We can't leave him here." A Ranger doesn't leave a comrade to fall into ememy hands.
Luna sat down next to Angel careful not to touch the vampire. "Angel. It's O.K. Why don't you come with us? The Dock Runners will take care of Brandon." He spoke gently.
Angel shook his head. "We can't tell the Dock Runners. Brandon will have to leave. That's the rule."
"Angel, why don't we take Brandon with us?" Wesley said carefully.
"Good idea." Angel picked Brandon up. Before they could stop him, Angel flew out the window with Brandon in his arms.
"I've never seem Angel wig out like that." Gunn shook his head. He looked at Wesley. "Has he gone evil?"
"No. I think that he's in some kind of shock. Perhaps the battle with 'normal' looking vampires has sent him over the edge." Wesley sighed. "We best go up the street. There is one building that both Angel and La Croix will be headed for."
"I can't let Angel carry around Brandon's body." Ellison said tightly.
"Once we destroy La Croix we'll get Angel to go back to Luna's and Lundgren's to sleep. It'll be getting daylight soon." Wesley looked sad. "We may have to bind him to get him safely home. Poor chap."
"Angel may not be in shock." Luna chewed his lower lip. "If I'm right we'd better hurry."
Angel entered the abandoned apartment building through the same window that La Croix had entered. Gently, he lay Brandon on the floor. He could sense that La Croix had gone to the upper most floor. Angel sat on the floor. He stared up the stairwell. It would take the others several more minutes to arrive. He didn't want to leave Brandon alone. He would wait.
Both vampires heard the approaching heartbeats.
Ellison had now been with Angel long enough to recognize the vampire's unique 'dead' scent. He made his way cautiously up the stairwell. He caught Brandon's scent. "This way." Ellison whispered.
Angel rested his hand on Brandon's still warm shoulder. He waited. The others would arrive soon enough.
They climbed several floors before they found Angel and Brandon.
"La Croix is on the top floor." Angel removed his hand from Brandon's shoulder.
"Sandburg, why don't you sit this one out and take care of Brandon." Ellison said quietly.
Without warning Brandon's body jerked upward. He made a sound as though his lungs were filling with air.
"What?! Have you turned Brandon into a vampire?" Ellison demanded.
"Brandon is an immortal." Luna said quietly.
Brandon rolled over and coughed.
Angel looked up at the others. "Let's get rid of La Croix." He shot up the stairwell.
La Croix had retreated to the last floor of the empty apartment building. He turned as he was aware of Angel standing behind him. His red vampire eyes met Angel's red vampire eyes.
"Time to die." Angel leaped towards La Croix. Growling and screaming the vampire slammed each other into the walls.
Angel broke free of La Croix. He pulled a large wooden stake from his black leather coat.
"That's not going to do any good." Snarled La Croix.
"I know." Angel leaped towards La Croix. "But I owe you one." La Croix caught his hand. They rolled fighting for control of the wooden stake.
"You're not going to hurt anyone any more." Angel growled. He twisted the stake so that the point was at La Croix's heart. He shoved with all his strength.
"You fool!" La Croix screamed.
"How long has it been since you've seen the sunrise?" Angel grabbed La Croix and hurtled them both out the window. Glass rained around them as they landed on the next roof.
Cascade's sky was beginning to lighten.
"NO!" La Croix screamed.
Angel held fast. "It's been a long time since I felt the morning sun."
The rising sun hit La Croix's back. He screamed in rage and pain as he burst into flames. Angel held the thrashing burning body. He could feel his own body smoldering.
La Croix became a mass of flames, then ashes that blew in the wind.
Angel was aware of burning pain that seared his entire body. Dimly, he heard his name being called. Something heavy and dark dropped over him.
"Would you like more, Mr. Angel?" The young girl held out a cup of warm blood
"Drink it. You need to get your full strength back." Wesley said frimly.
Angel gingerly tasted the unknown smelling blood. He looked down at the cup. "This is good. What is it?"
"Elk blood from an elk liver. I'm a hunter." Luna said. He set down a tray of food on the long table in the converted reception area. "Come on, kids. Let Angel get some rest. He's tired. Your breakfast is ready."
"Is he going to make the 'face'?" The young girl asked hopefully.
"Go on be a good sport." Wesley urged.
"Wow! Can I touch it?"
"Wesley." Angel threw pleading 'vampire' eyes at Wesley.
"Just don't touch his fangs." Wesley ghosted a smile.
"Oh it's sooo neat!"
"Wesley." Wailed Angel.
"One at a time." Wesley admonished them.
"Thanks alot." Muttered Angel. He held still as each one felt his face.
Sandburg sat down in a chair next to Wesley. "So, what do you think of my thesis?"
Wesley looked over the rim of his glasses at Sandburg. "Have you actually seen a brain scan of Detective Ellison?"
"No." Sandburg suddenly blushed. "But, there is one. It exists at the hospital. It's how we first met."
"I strongly suggest that you take a look at it." Wesley handed Sandburg back his thesis. "And I would reconsider the comparison to dolphins' brains. You do know that they are considered as intelligent as humans."
"All I was trying to say was that Ellison's sentinel abilities take up a large portion of his brain."
Wesley accepted a cup of tea from Holly. "I'm going to leave you a copy of an ancient manuscript. I strongly suggest you read it."
"What's it about?"
"Children of Bastet, sentinels. You do know that anyone from the blood line of Bastet is actually highly intelligent because they come from a predator line." Wesley smiled at Angel who was submitting to having his face patted. "You know compassion counts more then intelligence in the measure of a man."
Ellison greeted Margaret at the airport. He pulled her to him in a tight bear hug. "I'm so happy to see you again." He buried his face in her hair. He could smell her herbal shampoo and her warm scent.
"I missed you, too." Margaret drank in his closeness. "I've got a surprise for you."
Ellison released her. He smiled down at her. "What kind of surprise?"
"Your mother is alive."
Ellison's face went cold. "I don't care."
"But, she wants to see you."
"She thought that I was a freak. She left me." Ellison pulled away from Margaret. His face was cold and closed.
"Jim, she's your mother."
"It takes more then birthing a kid to make a mother. She was wrong in asking you to help her." Ellison turned abruptly away from Margaret. He stalked away.
Margaret hurried after him. She tripped over a suitcase and skinned her knee. "Jim!" She scrambled to her feet stepping on the hem of her long dress tearing it.
"Jim, please!" Margaret ignored passersby and ran after him.
She caught up to him as he reached his truck. With angry force Jim yanked open the door. The door caught Margaret in the face.
"What's going on here?" The policeman has been alerted by airport security that a domestic depute was on going. He looked from a crying, bleeding Margaret to a shamed faced Ellison trying to get Margaret to her feet. "Detective Ellison!" His jaw dropped.
A phone rang insistently in Scotland. Duncan looked up from the ancient scroll he'd been studying. He frowned. Who would be call at this time?
"Cousin Duncan." A male voice gasped at the other end of the line.
"Sean?" Duncan recognized the voice of his kinsman from America. "What's wrong?"
"My precious daughter." Sean's voice was heavy with emotion. "That bastard held her captive for three days."
"Slow down, Sean." Alarm registering in Duncan. "Who had Margaret?"
"That policeman that she's been seeing. Bastard couldn't wait. He-he abused her." Sean paused to gulp air. "He had his way with her." A sob.
An antique vase shattered in Scotland as it hit the wall. "Is the bastard in jail?" Duncan demanded.
"He's a policeman, Duncan. They're saying my little girl had some kind of accident. She came home bloody in a torn dress." Anguish in Sean's voice. "She's upstairs in her room crying. She refuses to let her mother in her room."
"I'm coming to America." They both hung up.
Duncan stared into the fireplace. If this bastard was an immortal he would lose his head. If he was mortal, then by all that was holy he'd see to it that the man did right by his niece. Then he'd beat a lesson into him. No man dishonored a woman of the clan. Not as long as he, Duncan of the clan of MacLeod drew breath. In anger he swept the fragile scrolls off of the study table.