An episode in Nikki Wood’s life – response to DeepBlueJoy’s forum challenge. Disclaimer:
I don’t own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Hill Street Blues Notes:
I’ve disregarded anything we know about Nikki Wood that isn’t mentioned in the TV series, so my portrayal isn’t necessarily comic or novel compliant. Abandoned Diner, The Hill, New York
Insomnia really was a bitch if you were a vampire, Tomas Suarez decided, giving up his attempts to sleep. At least he wasn’t the only one. The former gang member glanced around the abandoned diner he’d appropriated for his newly turned minions. Gang members, he corrected himself. Soon he’d rule The Hill and the way to do that was to destroy every other gang in the area, after building his own vampiric version. And his first target would be Los Diablos, and especially their leader, Jesus Martinez. No one, but no one, tossed Tomas Suarez and his brothers onto the street and a little thing like death and being vamped couldn’t be allowed to get in the way of honour.
Of course, he had a few other issues to deal with first – personal issues – but he’d made a decent start. Three dead cops was always good news, in anyone’s book, but they were small fry. He had something much better planned for the bigger fish.
Relishing the prospect of his approaching vengeance only occupied so much time, of course. The diner was just a temporary lair, in a condemned block, but it was cramped and uncomfortable and they all lived too close to one another. Some of the other vamps were currently sleeping, others listlessly tossing and turning, waiting for the sun to set. He could even hear one pair noisily rutting in the old kitchen.
The Suck House had been much preferable, with his own relatively comfortable apartment away from his recently turned victims. Like most vampires, he despised his weak brethren who offered such services to mortals, but they’d been a good cover.
Now his former refuge was just a burned out ruin, however. The word on the demonic street was that there was a Slayer in town, an experienced one who knew her trade, and she’d razed the Suck House to the ground and slaughtered its residents. That was an unwelcome wrinkle in his plan. He’d never encountered a Slayer, but every vampire community in the world knew the legend – and in unfortunate cases, the reality – of the Chosen One.
Suarez mentally shrugged. Slayer or not, he’d soon have enough troops to deal with the interfering bitch. He vaguely wondered if it might be even possible to turn her. The vampire decided against it. If she kept her Slayer powers and training on top of her vampiric ones, the woman would soon lead the gang. And that wasn’t an option.
A nearby vampire took a mouthful of pig’s blood from a filthy-looking mug and grimaced. “Why the fuck do we have to drink this animal shit from the slaughterhouse? I want warm human blood, straight from the neck. Can’t we go hunt tonight, man?”
Suarez smiled unpleasantly, the effect heightened by his vampire features. “Sure you can… You only need to go a few yards to pick up a few homeless winos and junkies!”
The vampire made a face. “Fuck that! Makes you puke worse than this pig’s crap.”
“Then you’ll just have to be patient,” Suarez informed his whining minion. “Start takin’ honest working people off the streets and we’ll draw way too much attention to ourselves. You wanna bring the Slayer right to our door before we’re ready?”
“I could take her!” the other vampire growled.
“You couldn’t take my grandmother,” Suarez sneered at the fledgling’s bravado.
“Pretty sure I’ve taken her plenty times… And your momma and sister, too…” the other vampire retorted.
The creature growled defiantly. “And tonight I’m gonna go get myself a nice hooker. Have some fun for a few hours, then kill a few more. If you don’t like it, tough shit! You ain’t gonna stop me!”
Suarez affected a sigh. Fledglings had no respect for their sires these days.
The newbie vamp didn’t even see the stake coming, before he expired in an expanding cloud of dust.
“Think I just did, amigo…”
Suarez had once flirted with revolutionary politics, before the lure of gang life persuaded him that holding up corner stores was an easier option. A quote often bandied about by his wannabe fellow revolutionaries briefly emerged from his memories - ‘kill one, frighten ten thousand’.
He glanced around in satisfaction at the cowed faces of his other followers. He might not have frightened ten thousand, but he’d certainly scared the crap out of two dozen. Maybe it would persuade the others to remember their place. All fledglings understood was the boot, the stake, the tooth, and the claw.
Of course, now he’d have to take the risk of turning another, just to replace the pile of dust beside him. That meant a trip into a previously untouched suburb, a nuisance, but a necessary security precaution, especially with a Slayer in the city. Alleyway off Jefferson Avenue, The Hill, New York
Slaying on The Hill was often a slow, methodical process. For every vampire she dusted, Nikki reckoned that she talked to five or six people for leads. Her own informants, information dragged from reluctant junkies and petty thieves, passing conversation with the local hookers. All of it combined to provide a picture of supernatural activity, in an area which had more than its share of man-made problems. And the majority of the residents had no idea what was going on right under their noses.
Of course, the Slayer reflected, there was probably a higher chance of being the victim of a drive-by shooting, an armed robbery, or a rape, than there was of being drained by a vampire. Still, that particular danger was one which the locals could well live without.
It didn’t help, of course, that the local low-lives occasionally even worked hand-in-hand with the forces of darkness, even if they were too stupid to realise it. This individual, who she was currently holding by lapels against the side of a dumpster, was a case in point.
“Don’t fucking lie to me!” Nikki snarled. “I know you were working the diner the night that cop, Officer McMahon, was murdered.”
“What if I fucking was, bitch?” the hatchet-faced object of her enquiries yelled back. “No law against it!”
He was certainly no stranger to the law, the Slayer mused. Seamus Doyle had provided a quite extensive list of his many and varied transgressions. Petty theft, assault, possession with intent to supply, and a host of other small-scale crimes. Vernon Bricker had, according to the duty roster Doyle had somehow obtained, been the only non-regular member of staff at the local diner the night McMahon was killed. Which didn’t mean that it wasn’t one of the regular staff. On the other hand, Doyle’s source suggested that Bricker and Suarez had once been vaguely acquainted, in the sense that the former owed the latter a large sum of money.
“There’s a law against drugging a guy’s food,” Nikki pointed out.
“Maybe there is. But who says I did?” Bricker retorted.
“A guy who was fired from a restaurant for jerking off in someone’s lunch? Not so much of a stretch!” the Slayer pointed out distastefully.
Doyle was an amazingly detailed source of information, she thought, even if the details were sometimes slightly cringe-worthy.
“So I’ll ask once again, bozo… Who told you to drug that cop’s food? Was it Tomas Suarez?” Nikki demanded.
“Go fuck yourself!” Bricker spat.
The Slayer slammed him hard against the dumpster. “Easy option here, boy… You tell me what I want to know… And I won’t beat the crap out of you.”
Bricker considered his options. Crossing Suarez wasn’t a good idea – he’d taken more than one beating from the Latino in the past – but this woman seemed a Hell of a lot stronger and, weird though it seemed, was a lot scarier than the ex-Diablo.
“It was Suarez. He gave me this stuff – said it would make the cop puke and crap for hours – and fifty dollars. I wanted to give the whole shift the same treatment… I mean, who wouldn’t want to have that kinda fun with the pigs? But he was pretty clear. Just that one cop,” Bricker admitted.
Nikki released the small-time crook and started to turn away. The idiot didn’t even know he was lucky to be alive. Deals with vampires usually turned out badly for any humans stupid enough to play. Of course, Bricker probably thought he was just dealing with a former gang member.
“Where can I find Suarez now?”
Bricker shook his head. “Don’t know – he found me.”
The Slayer decided to accept that as truth. There was no reason for the vamp to risk telling this piece of asocial crap anything.
“Word of advice, sunburn? Don’t mess with Suarez, ‘less you want him to cut up that pretty face of yours,” the hood just had to have the last word.
Nikki ignored the mild racial slur – she often heard worse. “Word of advice to you, boy? You haven’t a frigging clue what you’re dealing with. Keep away from Suarez yourself, if you value your scumbag life.”
Bricker’s eyes flashed angrily and his hand went to his pocket, coming up with an extended switchblade. He was pretty fast, but only by street-fighting standards. Against a Slayer, the hood might have been moving in slow motion.
Nikki simply caught Bricker’s wrist and elbow and snapped the forearm, mid-bone, then turned slightly and kicked him between the legs. The low-life collapsed groaning into a nearby trashcan. It was, Nikki decided as she walked wordlessly away, probably the best place for him. Captain’s Office, Hill Street Precinct, The Hill, New York
Frank Furillo wasn’t a happy man. Or, at the very least, he certainly wasn’t at all comfortable with the situation. With a string of recent murders all involving officers from his own precinct, raising fears of a cop-killer targeting his people, plus newspapers full of lurid headlines, and Chief Daniels breathing down his neck for results – the latter no doubt due to pressure from the Mayor’s office – it would have been bad enough. That sort of thing, however, was all in a typical day’s work on The Hill.
Several details made this case different. Firstly, Mick Belker – one of his most trusted, if also eccentric, detectives - apparently wasn’t ruling out the possibility of genuine vampire attacks. The papers were throwing that possibility around as some sort of gruesome joke, but the detective actually seemed to taking it much more seriously. Certainly, forensics hadn’t been able to explain the complete exsanguination of each victim, even if the puncture marks in their necks could be passed off as fakes or animal bites.
Secondly, there was the mysterious woman, Nikki Wood. Neither Belker nor the other detectives covering the case, La Rue and Washington, seemed to think she was a suspect. On the other hand, she had definitely been in the vicinity when two of the murders took place, and the general consensus was that she knew something. ‘Something’ being a great deal more than his own people currently did.
Furillo massaged his temples. Miss Wood was certainly a very able young woman, he had to acknowledge. There weren’t many people who could disarm Belker, still fewer without feeling his teeth in the process, yet she’d done so with ease. Even more remarkably, she’d not only taken down Martinez’s heavies, but also emerged from his gang headquarters totally unscathed. According to Belker, the leader of Los Diablos had actually seemed cowed by her. So who – and what – exactly was Nikki Wood? An expert hired hit? A vigilante? A suspect, despite his detectives’ opinions? Or had her presence simply been a coincidence?
His professional instinct told him to bring her in for questioning. Unfortunately, he had no just cause right now, not even the attack on Belker, as the detective hadn’t identified himself. Being engaged to a lawyer certainly had its downside a times.
The damnable thing was, Belker probably wasn’t alone in his suspicions. Every experienced city cop, wherever they were based, could list half-a-dozen murders which defied scientific explanation. Invariably, they ended up as cold cases, forever unsolved and eventually forgotten. Investigating officers might have a gut feeling, but invoking the supernatural as an explanation was a quick way to professional ridicule, or even enforced medical retirement.
Furillo preferred to consider himself something of a sceptic in this matter. He wasn’t sure whether his grandmother would have agreed, however. The Calabrian immigrant’s frightening bedtime stories had always had an edge to them and the woman – old, even when he was a child – was still very much in tune with the peasant folklore of previous centuries.
For a moment, the Captain worried about his wife, especially given her habit of working late. Even prior to these attacks, Furillo had to concede that he probably worried too much about her – and she’d called him a chauvinistic throwback on that account more than once – but it was a dangerous city. In the course of her work, Joyce represented some of the worst scum on The Hill, and it wasn’t so long since one of her colleagues, Pam Gilliam, had been coldly gunned down. His wife had promptly taken to carrying a gun, but from what he recalled of his grandmother’s tales, a stake, a cross and garlic might be more useful against this particular foe. On the other hand, so far only cops had been targeted and in a city of millions, there was no reason to assume she was more at risk than any other inhabitant.
The Captain shook his head firmly. Now he was actually starting to believe his old nonnina. Belker’s instincts notwithstanding, there had to be some scientific explanation for these gory murders. Furillo could only imagine Joyce’s reaction if he told her to watch out for vampires. At best, the sophisticated lawyer would dissolve into giggling hysterics, at worst she’d insist he took a holiday.
He smiled wryly to himself, then settled down to the rest of his omnipresent paperwork. Even with a cop killer on the loose, The Hill still had its usual petty and not-so-petty crime on a daily basis. He gloomily scanned another proposal from the Mayor’s office. For every crime, there seemed to be two new initiatives from the city’s elected politicians, ostensibly aimed at making the streets safer, but actually designed to score points off each other. When their half-baked schemes didn’t work, the Mayor and others turned on Chief Daniels who, in turn, passed on the favour to his long-suffering precinct Captains. Especially, it seemed, Furillo.
It was late afternoon when someone abruptly knocked tentatively on the door. The Captain tossed a report into the Out tray, grateful to the latest interruption.
“Lucy? Weren’t you signed off until the end of the week?” Furillo raised an eyebrow.
Sergeant Lucy Bates was one of the few female officers on The Hill. She was a conscientious officer, extremely good at her job and, outwardly, as hard as nails. Unfortunately, to survive in the macho environment that was the NYPD – and the steadily growing body of equality legislation notwithstanding - Bates had to be twice as good as her fellow male officers. Furillo didn’t like it and woe betide any officer who was openly sexist in his hearing, but he also knew it was the day-to-day reality and culture, which would take more than a few rules to change. The Captain was also well aware that behind the confident and sometimes snarky façade, Bates was also rather vulnerable and sensitive.
The Sergeant shrugged. “Just chickenpox, Captain… And at my age… Anyway, the spots are pretty much gone.”
The others, especially her partner Joe Coffey, thought it was hilarious, of course. Hopefully, they’d all start itching very soon.
“You could’ve taken the last two days leave, Lucy. The precinct can almost run without you,” Furillo pointed out gently.
Bates shook her head. “With this cop killer? You need me, Captain.”
The Captain was surprised by the vehemence in her voice.
“Can’t say I’m not glad to have you back,” Furillo replied – staffing shortages were a perennial problem on The Hill and elsewhere. “But homicide’s dealing with it.”
No doubt every officer in the precinct wanted to be involved in taking down whoever was responsible for killing their fellow cops, but he couldn’t assign all of them to the case.
“No! You don’t understand, Captain. You really need me!” Bates’ voice rose slightly.
Furillo started at her for a moment, taken aback by the outburst. The Sergeant was visibly shaken by something, chewing her bottom lip in frustration.
His eyes narrowed. “Is there something you want to share?”
Bates cringed and looked pained. She’d kept her secret for what seemed like very good reasons at the time. Now, however, she couldn’t just step back and do nothing.
“Uh… Kinda… Kinda not…” the Sergeant wavered.
“Sit down and let’s hear it, Lucy,” the Captain ordered.
Something was worrying the Sergeant. Her behaviour – her whole body language – was atypical and Furillo decided that she wouldn’t be leaving his office until he knew the reason why.
Bates sat down rather nervously, like a first-grader called to the Principal’s office. She took a breath, grimaced, and pulled down the edge of her uniform shirt’s collar.
Furillo’s eyes immediately fell upon two faint scars, on the side of her neck. Two scars that were in exactly the same place as the punctures on the dead officers’ necks.
“I know what’s out there, killing our people, Captain…” Bates told him in low tones, her voice trailing off.
Swearing inwardly in an eclectic mix of English and Italian, the Captain was out of his chair in an instant, and flinging open the door of his office.
“Mick? In here,” he ordered curtly. Captain’s Office, Hill Street Precinct, The Hill, New York
“How about you start at the beginning, Lucy?” Furillo suggested gently, passing over a glass of water.
Hands shaking slightly, Bates took a sip. “What d’you want me to say, Captain? Vampires are real. One near as damn killed me when I was a rookie… And I’m certain that’s what we’ve got on The Hill!”
“Can you be certain it wasn’t someone who…” the Captain paused, trying to think of a rational explanation. “I don’t know. Maybe some escaped madman?”
“Not many madmen can take six rounds from a service revolver in the chest and guts… He had his teeth in my neck, trying to drain me - and I emptied my gun into him from about twelve inches away. Just knocked him on his ass, long enough for me to run,” Bates recounted.
“But I’ll never forget the face! Yellow eyes, long fangs, ridged forehead. Not human, Captain. And strong – stronger than anybody I’ve ever met,” she added.
“You didn’t report any of this?” Furillo asked.
The Sergeant laughed without humour. “Report what? That I was attacked by a vampire? We were on a drugs sweep in a condemned apartment block. I got separated from my partner, then the bloodsucker jumped me. My shots brought the other guys running. By the time they arrived, the vampire had gone. My partner and the others? They reckoned I’d freaked out and started shooting at shadows. Captain gave me an unofficial reprimand for that, too…”
It was hard enough being a woman in such a male-dominated profession, without also gaining a reputation as a nutcase, so Bates had never mentioned the attack to anyone, until today. It hadn’t been so difficult to keep the secret, actually. Over time, the Sergeant had almost managed to convince herself that it never happened, while the injuries to her neck had simply been passed off as the result of running into two nails.
Bates rolled up her pants leg and pulled a stake from her sock and a vial of water from her pocket. “Only got the myths and fairy tales to work with, but the stake and holy water – and a cross I always carry? Probably more useful than a service thirty-eight against a vampire. Maybe if you put a lot more bullets into one…”
Her voice trailed way and she waited for the inevitable dismissals and denials from Belker and Furillo. To her surprise, there were none.
“I want you to work with Mick on this one, Lucy,” Furillo told her.
Bates winced fearfully. “Captain, I don’t know if I can face one of these things again… I mean, I carry around this stuff, but I’m pretty much kidding myself. If I met another vampire, I wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell. Thing was so frigging fast and strong…”
“If we are facing a vampire,” the Captain was almost incredulous that he could even be having this conversation. “Then you won’t do it alone. Though I want to keep this conversation between the three of us, at least until we know more.”
He turned to Belker. “This woman, Nikki Wood? Might she be…?”
The diminutive detective shrugged. “I dunno Captain. I mean, the stories all say they can’t go outside in daylight, y’know? But stories are all we’ve got to work with… My gut says she isn’t a vampire – but I’m pretty sure she knows about them.”
The Captain rose from his chair and wandered slowly over to the door. It was a normal shift on The Hill. Hunter and Goldblume were arguing over something – probably some bigoted comment by the former – Hill and Renko were processing a rowdy group of prostitutes, most of them familiar faces in the precinct, while a wino was throwing up on the floor. In other words, business as usual. Except for the fact that he was now actively entertaining the idea of a vampire running loose on The Hill.
“Take Lucy and bring her in, Mick. This is way beyond our experience and if she knows anything that can help…” Furillo shrugged helplessly.
Belker looked doubtful. “What if she doesn’t want to come?”
“Then arrest her for Felony Assault on a Police Officer,” the Captain suggested.
Belker still seemed unconvinced. “Just the two of us? Captain, she took me down before I could blink. And all of Martinez’s heavies – all of them! She’s tough – really tough – and fast. Lucy and me might not be enough.”
The Sergeant looked at him in surprise. The wiry little detective was usually willing to take on all-comers, no matter how big and tough.
“Take La Rue and Washington. Just keep quiet on the vampire theory,” Furillo replied.
The Captain was desperate to keep a lid on this. If his superiors discovered that he was initiating a vampire hunt, he’d first be ridiculed, then removed from The Hill. He’d ruffled too many feathers over the years and there were plenty of people who’d be glad to see the back of him, at the slightest opportunity.
“That assault charge won’t hold, Captain. Not for long,” Belker reminded him.
“I know, Mick. But we need some way of getting her in the door,” Furillo sighed.
“Now, Captain?” the detective asked.
If Nikki Wood had seriously unsettled him, the fact that they were openly discussing vampires made him doubly uneasy.
“Now, Mick. While it’s still daylight,” Furillo ordered.
He waited until the door closed behind his officers, rubbed his chin thoughtfully, and reached for the telephone. Nikki’s Apartment, Jefferson Heights, New York City
“Any luck?” Crowley called out cheerfully, as his Slayer closed the front door behind her, and removed her jacket.
“And ‘hello’ to you, too, Bernard,” Nikki grunted wearily.
It had been a long day and even the Chosen eventually grew tired of pounding the sidewalk for hours. Nikki just wanted to flop down on the sofa and put her feet up. Not that it was likely. With an ambitious wannabe Master Vamp on The Hill, she’d be out again patrolling tonight.
Crowley emerged from their small kitchen, drying his hands. At least dinner smelled delicious – her Watcher was a great cook.
“Uh, I should really give you a few minutes to settle, shouldn’t I?” Crowley realised he’d been over-enthusiastic.
“Would be kinda nice,” Nikki agreed.
She grinned and sank down onto the rug, where Robin was surrounded by building blocks. Plus several toys she didn’t recognise.
“How’s my little soldier today?”
“Mama!” Robin tried another part of his still-limited vocabulary – at least he wasn’t swearing today, Nikki reflected, picking up her son and giving him a hug.
The Slayer picked up a shiny new plastic truck and raised an enquiring eyebrow.
“He spotted it in a shop window…” Crowley shrugged and smiled self-consciously.
“So you bought it for him. Didn’t we already have this conversation about spoiling him? Like a hundred times? If I can’t afford to buy Robin everything he wants, I don’t want him to grow up thinking he can always go running to you…” Nikki pursed her lips.
“It didn’t exactly break the bank, Nikki,” Crowley replied defensively.
“It’s the principle…” the Slayer replied.
Her Watcher folded his arms. “The Council, in their wisdom, don’t see fit to provide for their Slayers. Your duties prevent you from obtaining anything but the lowest paid employment. So as your Watcher and your friend, the least I can do is to lessen your financial worries, so far as I’m able. And if it makes young Robin happy, then all the better.”
Nikki knew that argument-ending tone. She wouldn’t ever win this one, no matter how often the sensitive topic arose.
She contented herself with another exasperated shake of her head, then gave Crowley a peck on the cheek. “Don’t know what I’d do without you…”
The Watcher cleared his throat uncomfortably. “Ah… Your boss called today… Left a message to say that the diner would be closed for a full week, as the repairs will take longer than expected.”
Nikki winced. A full week away from work was a hefty blow to her finances, even with Crowley’s help. Besides, it was a point of pride to be able to provide for herself and her son, even without the Watcher’s assistance.
“Which will, however, free up time to track down our vampire friend,” Crowley offered.
“Speaking of which, did you have any luck today?” he ventured.
The Slayer shook her head. “Not much. Slimy little weasel in the diner admitted that Suarez paid him to slip some stuff into Officer McMahon’s burger. Couldn’t tell me more, then pulled a knife. So I bust his arm, kicked him in the nuts and left him groaning.”
“Nuts! Nuts!” Robin echoed enthusiastically, once again displaying his uncanny habit of picking up the wrong words.
“Not nice, Robin,” Nikki frowned and put a finger to her sons’ lips.
Crowley fought back a snigger at the toddler’s antics. “You really shouldn’t play vigilante, Nikki.”
“It was the least he deserved. Accessory to fu… Accessory to murder and he’ll get away with it – cops’ll never even know what happened. I shoulda snapped his scumbag neck!” the Slayer retorted.
“So what next?” Crowley asked, glad that she hadn’t given in to the more atavistic impulses.
“I get some food inside me, then hit the streets again. Do the rounds of the usual snitches, maybe some of the gang leaders…” Nikki pondered her next course of action, as she bounced a giggling Robin on her knee.
“And tomorrow? I really think we oughta fill Captain Furillo in on the situation,” she continued, aware they’d already had this discussion.
“You know full well that we can’t do that, Nikki. Firstly, remember that little thing called security? And second… Who’d believe you?” Crowley was adamant.
“This is big, Bernard. We’re gonna start seeing vamp victims all over The Hill. A vamp gang? Usual gang wars would be nothing once his bloodsuckers hit the streets. Then what you gonna do about security?” Nikki persisted. “’Sides, I’ve met Joyce Davenport. She’s a good woman. Doesn’t deserve to have a friggin’ vamp chow down on her neck!”
Crowley shook his head. “Which is why you – as the Slayer - must deal with the problem, before it grows out of control. I suppose if you need more help, I could call the Council…”
He’d long since realised that ordering his Slayer to do something wasn’t an option. If they disagreed, he had to use persuasion and logic, mixed with the occasional bit of moral blackmail, to bring her around.
Nikki literally growled, recalling her Cruciamentum. “You could park my butt on an open Hellmouth and I still wouldn’t go crawling to these guys, Bernard!”
“So assuming we follow your idea and inform the Captain… What then? NYPD are neither physically nor psychologically equipped to engage in vampire and demon hunting. And I’m sure you’d rather not have the bodies on your conscience,” Crowley persisted.
“Forget it, Bernard,” the Slayer reluctantly saw the logic in his argument, even if she didn’t like it. “Let’s just eat.”
At that moment, the doorbell rang.
“Wanna get that, Bernard?” the Slayer asked, wondering what door-to-door salesman was calling this time.
Her heart sank when Crowley returned a few moments later, accompanied by four NYPD officers. She recognised the three plain clothes detectives, but not the uniformed woman.
Bates turned to La Rue and Washington. “Kinda crowded in here. You want to wait outside?”
“You sure, Lucy? Captain sent four of us for a reason…” La Rue pointed out, sure he and his partner weren’t being told the full story, especially since both Bates and Belker had been extremely cagey about the real reason for their visit.
“Scared of little ol’ me?” Nikki smirked and passed a protesting Robin to her Watcher, just in case she had to make a break for it.
Belker almost answered in the affirmative, as Washington hustled his curious partner outside.
“Come on, lover. Can’t you tell when we’re not wanted?” Washington grinned.
“We’d – uh – like you to come down to the precinct with us, Miss Wood,” Bates asked politely.
“Why?” the Slayer fractionally altered her stance, ready for action.
“Captain Furillo has a few questions for you, about these murders on The Hill,” the Sergeant told her.
“Wasn’t me,” Nikki shrugged innocently.
Belker fought the urge to growl. “We know that, Miss. But we also think you may know something about it…”
“Pretty sure I don’t,” the Slayer folded her arms.
Bates exhaled impatiently and showed off her scars once more. “This make any difference, Miss Wood?”
“Wild dog or something?” the Slayer was all too aware what she was looking at, but wanted further clarification.
“Aaarrggghh!” Belker nearly pulled his hair out.
“I reckon you know a vampire bite when you see one, Miss Wood. And we think there’s one running around on The Hill, killing our people,” the Sergeant pressed.
Slayer and Watcher exchanged subtle glances, Crowley then nodding his assent. Clearly the police – or at least some of them – had already encountered vampires, or were at least aware of them. If that was the case, it was incumbent on Nikki and Crowley to find out exactly how much they actually knew, and to deliver Supernatural 101, before half the Hill Street Precinct got themselves killed horribly.
Nikki nodded slowly. “Okay, Sergeant. I’ll bite – not literally – but yeah, we’ve got a big problem. Want me to come with you now?”
“If that’s convenient, Miss,” Belker replied politely, deciding not mention that she didn’t really have a choice.
After all, he didn’t want this formidable woman to knock him on his ass again. Parking Garage, Near the Public Defenders’ Office, Midtown, New York
Though she’d never admit it to her sometimes over-protective – if well-meaning – husband, Joyce Davenport always felt nervous in the evening when she came to collect her car. There was seldom anyone else around, while there were innumerable places an assailant might be lurking. Criminals, she reminded herself, were quite real, not simply a by-product of her day-to-day work. The death of her friend, Pam Gilliam, had only served to reinforce that message.
Tonight, Joyce had the uneasy feeling that she was being watched, though she couldn’t see anyone. There was a definite prickling in the back of her neck and she picked up the pace, unzipping her purse so that she could quickly reach the little Walther PPK inside. Frank hadn’t approved of her carrying a weapon, but Frank would just have to live with it.
The short walk to her car seemed five times longer than normal, her heels seeming to echo more than normal in the confines of the concrete structure. Despite straining her neck all the way, Joyce couldn’t see anyone following her. The feeling, however, persisted and it was with an audible sigh of relief that she reached the car unmolested.
In the shadow of a nearby pillar, Tomas Suarez watched her drive away. The PD was a classy woman, he had to admit, even if her incompetence had seen his brother sent to jail. Drained and turned, she’d be the ideal consort when he finally ruled The Hill and surrounding area. But only after he’d taught her some respect.