Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or worlds used in this story, including (but not limited to) Angel the Series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Psych. No harm is intended toward any of the copyright owners. This story is intended for entertainment purposes only.+++++PREVIOUSLY: Kate Lockley and Janna Sutton (the latter a slayer) came to Santa Barbara seeking Shawn Spencer. His father Henry was there instead, and Henry has joined Kate and Janna in pursuit of a killer named Tucker Wells. At a local vampire club, Henry was enraptured by a vampire, who bit him.+++++PART TWO
“Henry? Are you awake yet?”No. Go away.
“He’s an idiot. Remind me why we’re working with him again?”
“Because he got us an in with the police.”That’s right. I did that.
“I don’t need the cops, Kate.” That’s right. That’s Kate. Kate and... Janna. That was her name.
“Just let me find him my way.”
“Almost 90,000 people in the city. More than 400,000 in the county. You really think you can find him in all that?”
Kate sighed. Henry could imagine the look on her face; he didn’t need to open his eyes. Besides, he was too busy trying to place the trace of scent on the bed in which he currently found himself. He was certain the conditioner was familiar, but it was just on the edge of his perception.
“Janna, that’s enough,” Kate finally said, and Henry heard the younger woman stop pacing around. “We’ll find Wells, and we’ll stop him. But right now, we need to make sure Henry’s all right.”
“I’ll live,” he said, his voice hoarse. “What the hell happened?”
Someone sat on the bed beside him; someone put fingers on his eyebrows and pushed upward, forcing him to see. Janna’s blue eyes were like chips of ice. “You got suckered in by a vampire and she drank your blood.” One of her hands touched the side of his neck and he jerked away -- which made the ache in his head go from bad to worse. “Right here.”
“Re...” He swallowed. “Regina?”
“Was that her name? I didn’t ask.” Janna let go of Henry’s face and moved away; Kate took her spot, a cool washcloth in her hand. Janna, for her part, leaned against the dresser and folded her arms. “I just staked the bitch.”
“Oh.” A long pause. “Thanks.”
“It’s what I do.” There was no pride in that statement, just plain truth.
“I guess so.” He glanced at Kate. “What happens now?”
“Now?” She rested the cloth against his forehead and smoothed it down. “Now you rest, and we go back out there and follow up on our lead.”
“You have a lead?”
“While you were off being some vamp’s cocktail,” Janna said, “we found a werewolf who--”
“A werewolf? In my town?”
“Yes, a werewolf,” Kate said. “Don’t worry; he locks himself up when it’s that time of the month. I mean, when’s the last time you heard of any animal attacks in the area?”
Henry couldn’t think of any and found himself forced to concede the point. “Fine. A werewolf.”
“A werewolf who doesn’t want anyone to die from being ripped apart by any sort of wild creature -- not hellhounds, not bears, not anything.” Kate turned the washcloth over. “Hunters who hear about anything even remotely werewolf-y have a habit of turning up. And this guy... we knew of him already.”
“And you didn’t do anything?”
“What would we do?” Janna asked. “Kill him just for existing?”
“Well, we do do that with vampires,” Kate said.
“Yes, but vampires are evil. Werewolves are just people who got cursed, or got bit. You know Willow would kill us if we hurt one that wasn’t causing problems.”
“Wait,” Henry said, trying to sit up. Kate helped him, and he was sure it was because she knew him well enough to know that he wouldn’t stop until he pulled it off. Once he had his back against the cheap, wall-mounted headboard, he continued. “Who’s Willow?”
“A witch,” Kate said. “The most powerful witch you could possibly ever meet.”
“And does she live around here too?”
“No. She’s in Cleveland.”
“What’s in Cleveland?”
Janna groaned and went into the alcove by the bathroom, out of Henry’s sight. “What’s with all the damn questions? Can we please just leave the lump here and go get Wells?”
“Where is he?” Henry asked.
“Richard -- the werewolf -- promised to take us to him,” Kate said. “We’ll have all the backup we need.”
“What about me?”
“What about you?” Janna reappeared, now dressed in black leather pants and a white tank-top. Henry could see the weapons she was carrying without even trying, even after she pulled on a long leather duster. “What are you going to do? Slow us down?”
“She’s right, Henry,” Kate said. “I’m sorry, but in your present condition you’ll be no help to us.” She opened the drawer beside the bed and took out a holstered gun, pressing it into his hand. “Wooden bullets in silver jackets. Kills vampires and seriously inconveniences werewolves. Just in case someone tracks you here by scent.” She leaned over and kissed his cheek, and then she and her charge were gone.Great.
Henry had made a token effort at staying in bed and trying to rest, but it just wasn’t working out for him. Eventually he got up, got his shoes back on -- who’d taken those off, exactly?
-- and called Lassiter. Now they were on their way back to Bloodlines.
Which was closed.
“Now what?” Henry asked.
Lassiter cocked an eyebrow at him and started banging on the door. After a moment, a short-ish man in vampire regalia unlocked it and opened it a crack? “What? We’re closed.”
“Detective Carlton Lassiter, SBPD. We’d like to ask you a few questions.”
“Damn, man, I don’t have time for this.”
“I don’t care.” Lassiter shoved the door, knocking the man back, and stepped inside. Henry followed him. “Now, I’m going to give you some names, and you’re going to tell me about them, you got me?”
“Look, I don’t want any trouble--”
“Then,” Henry said, softening his voice, trying to sound like the Good Cop to Lassiter’s Bad Cop, “I suggest you answer our questions so we can get out of your hair.” He tried not to react to what he was saying; all through his career, Henry had preferred the Bad Cop role.
The man sighed and shuffled over to the bar. He sat up on one of the stools and leaned his back against the edge of the gleaming wooden surface. “All right. What do you got?”
“Let’s start with Regina, no last name,” Henry said, taking the stool beside the man -- who looked remarkably familiar to Henry, but placing him wasn’t first on his list. He didn’t match the picture they had of Wells, and that was really all that mattered right now. “My height, gorgeous, dark skin, short hair. What do you know about her?”
“Spencer, do you really think--”
“Calm down, Carlton,” he said, playing the role as best he could. Lassiter, to his credit, picked up on it immediately and puffed himself up a little, trying to look more menacing. He’s good
, Henry decided. “What’s your name?”
“Thorn,” said the man. He caught Lassiter’s expression and mumbled a real name under his breath. “But that’s what everyone calls me.”
“Fair enough,” Henry said. “Now, about Regina?”
“She comes in here once, maybe twice a week,” Thorn said. “Always by herself. Never leaves alone, though.”
“Have you noticed anything strange about her?”
“No. Not really.” He swallowed. “Kind of scares me a little.”
“I understand.” Henry glanced at Lassiter. “You have the photo?”
The detective nodded and handed a three-by-five shot to Thorn, who was smart enough not to snatch it out of his hand. “Who’s this guy?”
“Tucker Wells,” Lassiter said. “Wanted for murdering five people, as far as we know, by setting wild dogs on them.”
“That’s lovely,” Thorn said. He peered at the photo, then offered it to Henry. “Never seen him before.”Liar
. But Henry wasn’t going to bring that up, not right now. “Just one more. We don’t have much to go on with this guy, but we know his name is Richard and he’s--” He checked himself, then continued. “He cosplays as a werewolf.”
Thorn chuckled. “Ricky? Seriously?”
“Explain,” Lassiter said flatly.
“Ricky Basile has been coming around here for ages, always playing stupid-ass Laurell Hamilton-style vamp-and-were games with the ‘real’ vampires.” Henry heard the quotation marks around ‘real’ without even trying. “They hate him. In fact, only Regina ever even tolerates his presence... which is strange, now that I think hard about it.”
“Why weird?” Henry asked.
“Ricky’s this little, weird-looking guy who looks about a hundred pounds soaking wet. Vamps prefer their werewolves to be a little more substantial, if you know what I mean.”
“I’m sure I don’t,” Lassiter said. “You know where we can find this Ricky Basile?”
Thorn shook his head. “Sorry, detective. We’re not friends, him and me.”
“You’d better not be lying to me, you--”
“Carlton,” Henry said, holding up a hand. The detective calmed himself down, and Henry was reasonably sure it was part of the act. Reasonably. To Thorn, he said, “take Detective Lassiter’s card and call him if you see Wells, or if Regina or Basile show up, okay?”
“Okay.” Thorn sighed and took the offered card.
“Okay.” Henry held out his hand and Thorn shook it, and then they left. Once safely behind car doors, he turned to Lassiter. “I guess you’d be good at that, huh?”
“Good at what?”
“Good-cop-bad-cop.” At Lassiter’s blank expression, he added, “like, with Juliet...”
“No idea what you’re talking about.” He picked up his radio handset. “This is Lassiter. I need an address for Richard Basile.”
“Copy,” said the dispatcher. A few seconds later, she told them where the man lived.
Lassiter put the car in gear and drove out of the parking lot.
,” Henry repeated. “Some movie Shawn used to watch all the time when he was a kid. That guy Thorn looked an awful lot like one of the actors.”
“Is that relevant?”
“Not really. Just interesting.”
“Only to you.”
Ricky Basile lived in a one-bedroom apartment. No one was home, and they didn’t have probable cause to break in, but they did take the opportunity to go around the back of Basile’s building, where it backed up to the woods.
Henry saw it first. “Broken branches, trampled grass... something big came through here.”
He eyeballed the rough trail. “Saint Bernard? Maybe a little bigger?”
“Great.” Lassiter pulled his gun. “You packing?”
Henry nodded and took out the gun Kate had given him. “You sure you don’t want to wait for backup?”
“You’re my backup. But if it would make you feel better, you can send O’Hara a text message or something.”
As he followed Lassiter down the trail, Henry swapped his flashlight for his phone and told Juliet where they were going. Then, just in case, he sent Shawn a quick text as well. He knew his son would be awake; it was only just after midnight, and from what Shawn had told him about the last time he’d been to this convention, sleep wasn’t really on the agenda.
That done, Henry flipped his light back on and started paying more attention to where Lassiter was going.
Henry heard the dogs -- or hellhounds, whatever
-- before he could see anything. Both he and Lassiter clicked off their flashlights, waited for their eyes to adjust to the moonlight filtering down through the trees, and then began creeping forward.
They definitely weren't just dogs, Henry decided. From what he could hear, they were much bigger and much more unpleasant. He checked his safety -- it was still off, just as it had been since they’d started this trek through the woods -- and tapped Lassiter on the shoulder. Using hand-signals that Henry would never, ever forget after so many years of use, they determined that Lassiter would go around the far side of the clearing that was up ahead, and Henry would watch from this end.
Good thing, too, Henry decided, because as he got to the edge of the tree line and peeked out from behind a boulder, he realized that the detective, no matter how good he was, just wouldn’t be able to handle seeing this.
, of course, being a massive wolf-thing ripping out the throat of a creature that could only be one of Wells’s hellhounds before loping toward the little cabin beyond and leaping gently up onto the porch to stand at Kate’s side.
Henry blinked slowly. Nope. Still there.
Then his sensitive ears picked up the sounds of a scuffle, very muffled, coming from inside. Clearly Kate had sent her protege, or whatever Janna really was, inside.
Only now the door was exploding outward in several pieces and Janna was flying through the air to land flat on her back in the clearing. The girl jumped to her feet and charged back toward the house, a knife big enough to qualify as a short-sword in her hand -- or maybe it actually is a sword?
-- only to meet another hellhound bounding in her direction. She ducked under it as it leapt at her, swiping with her sword and cutting it in two with what looked like no effort at all.
Henry wanted to curse out loud, but he was too much of a cop to give himself away. Especially when he saw four more hellhounds run out of the house, followed by a tall, slender man with blond hair.That’s not Wells.
That... was Lassiter. His voice was coming from inside the cabin.
The blond man turned around and waved a hand as if he was trying to shoo away a mosquito, and Henry heard Lassiter grunt. At least he’s not setting the hellhounds on him
. There were no more noises from inside the cabin, though, and Henry guessed Lassiter was either playing possum or incapacitated. Honestly, he hoped it was the latter; explaining Shawn’s so-called psychic abilities was hard enough without having to add in vampires, werewolves, and super-powered girls.
While Henry had been musing about all of that, the Hellhounds had begun to attack: two of them went for Janna, bracketing her in place; the other two made for Kate and her wolf-thing.
Wolf-thing... Holy crap, I think that’s Basile!
One of the hellhounds jumped at Kate; she got two shots off, right in its center mass, but it still managed to latch onto her gun arm. Kate let out a small cry and dropped her weapon, and that was it. Henry had had enough. He sighted into the moonlit clearing, exhaled, and squeezed the trigger.
The bullet took the hellhound in the neck. Blood splattered. It let go and fell to the wooden porch.
Henry grinned, but the grin was short-lived; Kate was out of the fight, cradling her injured arm, and Basile and Janna were busy fighting their own battles.
That left the blond man to face off with Henry.
The blond man who, while he wasn’t Wells, was probably just as dangerous.
“You’d better come out,” he said, his voice soft and raspy but somehow carrying all the way across the clearing and straight into Henry’s ears. “I don’t want to kill you, but I will if I have to.”
Henry moved carefully from around his boulder, the gun trained on the blond man’s chest. “Who are you? Where’s Tucker Wells?”
“Tucker’s not here,” the man said. “My name...?” He smiled. “David Metz. I’m an old friend of Tucker’s.” Then he pointed at Henry’s gun, which suddenly grew too hot to hold. He dropped it before he realized what he was doing. “Much better.”
“What’s your motivation here?” Henry asked, trying not to let on just how much his hand hurt. It wasn’t easy. “Why are you helping a murderer?”
“Tucker’s not a murderer!” Metz yelled. But then he dialed it back. “Okay, yes, he did kill some people. I agree. But he’s my friend, and friends stick together.” He grinned, and it made Henry uncomfortable to see it. “Plus, I can do things he can’t. Like this.” He snapped his fingers and Henry found himself flying across the clearing to land in a heap.
It took Henry a couple of hard blinks before he could see straight again, and what he saw didn’t look promising. Two furry creatures lay like lumps near the cabin -- that would be Basile and one of the hellhounds. Meanwhile, he heard crunching and thumping coming from the forest, which meant Janna had taken her fight to the trees. Kate was nowhere to be seen -- maybe she was inside, hiding? Henry wouldn’t blame her: with the kind of power Metz had, why would Kate get in the way?Why did
I get in the way, again?
“Just tell me,” Henry said, climbing slowly to his feet. “Where’s Wells?”
“He’s gone on to Sunnydale,” Metz said. “He has business there. I stayed back to clean up his mess.”
“What business could he possibly have in a crater?”
Metz shook his head. “I’ve seen this movie. In the unlikely, but possible, event that you survive this, I don’t want you telling your police officer friends anything more than what you already know.”Well, that sounds just great.
“Metz, it’s not too late. You didn’t kill anyone yet. If you help us find Wells, I’m sure we can get you a deal, keep you out of jail--”
“Don’t think that’s going to tempt me,” he said. “Besides, what do you call that?” He pointed at the still form of Basile-as-wolf. “When the moon goes down, he turns back into a person.”
“I... didn’t know that.”
“Now you do.” Metz kept his eyes on Henry, staying between him and the cabin. That allowed Henry to catch a flash of blond hair in the doorway. Kate. Thank God
. “So, I’m going to go. You’re going to stay here and find a way to explain all of this. Use Basile -- he’s a good patsy, and hey, he’s already dead, right?”
“As far as I know.” Henry tried not to let his hopefulness show, tried to call upon all his years of police experience. “And then what? You go to Sunnydale with your friend and... what, exactly?”
“Oh, now, that would be telling.” Metz shrugged. “Let’s just say that Tucker’s got it in for a certain vampire slayer, and what he needs to stop her is down in the ruins.”
A shot rang out. Metz pitched forward. Henry pulled out his flashlight and shined it down on Metz’s back, where a bullet had hit right over his heart. Blood was already spreading on his shirt.
Henry looked up: Juliet, hair pulled back in a no-nonsense ponytail, holding her weapon in a teacup grip. Behind her, Kate, right arm wrapped in the remains of her shirt, her bra very black against her skin. The analytical part of Henry’s mind had a little meeting with the ‘still a man’ part, decided that Kate was both beautiful and way the hell out of his league, and moved on. “Is Lassiter okay?”
“Just knocked out,” Juliet said. “We called for an ambulance, but it’ll be a while getting up here. What the hell happened?”
Henry shared a significant look with Kate. “Wells is already gone. This is--” He leaned down and took the man’s pulse. Or, at least, he tried to. “This was David Metz, his accomplice. He told me Wells is already on his way to Sunnydale.”
“Wells left him in charge of the dogs,” Kate said. “Two of them got into a fight among themselves--” Ah, so that’s how she’s explaining Basile. At least until he turns human again--
“I shot one, the fighter there ripped up another, and Janna distracted two more.”
“I can’t believe Carlton went in without backup.”
“I was his backup,” Henry said.
“Fair enough,” Juliet said, “but it’s not like him to do this.”
“I think I know why.” Kate sighed and tried to cross her arms, but the makeshift bandage precluded that. She shivered, and Henry quickly took off his jacket and helped drape it over her shoulders. “Thanks.” A pause. “Anyway, Lassiter -- Carlton -- asked me out yesterday. I think he was trying to show off.”
“Show off? Lassiter?”
Juliet, however, looked stunned. “Carlton... asked you out?”
“Why wouldn’t he?” Kate asked, suddenly defensive.
“No, it’s not you,” Juliet said, shaking her head. “It’s just... he’s not really a very emotionally-available person. He must really like you.”
“He’s a good cop. He’s what I used to be.” Kate sighed. “I’m a lot more than just that now, and I think the idea appeals to him.”
“Just, be careful, okay?” Juliet looked as though she wanted to reach for Kate, to touch her shoulder, to reassure her. “I don’t want him to get hurt.”
“Don’t want who to get hurt?”
They all turned, Juliet starting to bring up her gun, but Kate put her left hand on Juliet’s right arm. “It’s okay.”
Janna stepped into the clearing. She had blood on both hands and was limping slightly, but to Henry’s eyes she seemed satisfied. “Last two are gone. You get him?”
“We got his accomplice,” Kate said, suddenly all business again in the face of her protege. “Wells is already gone.”
“Then we need to be gone too.” Janna moved closer to Kate. “We have to stop him.”
“I have to stop him,” she said, her voice low. “Please.”
Kate put her uninjured arm around Janna’s shoulder and drew her away toward the treeline, leaving Henry and Juliet standing near the cabin. “You know more than you’re telling,” she said, her voice low.
“Even if I do,” he said, “I’m sworn to secrecy.” He sighed. “Thanks, by the way. For Metz.”
“Oh. Yeah.” Juliet looked pained. “God, I hate doing that.”
“We do what we have to,” Henry said. He took Juliet’s hand and squeezed it. “It’s unfortunate, and it probably won’t be the last time, but sometimes we have to use deadly force. And he was probably going to try and kill me.”
“Did he have a weapon? I couldn’t see.”
Henry nodded. If he didn’t now, he knew Kate would find a way to get one on the body. “Come on,” he said. “Let’s go wait with Lassiter.”
Henry sat on the couch at the Psych office, listening to Shawn and Gus regale him -- and each other -- with tales of the comic convention. It wasn’t his fault, really; he’d just been here to feed the fish when they’d shown up laden with, as Shawn had called it, “ill-gotten booty”. Henry was sure it was all aboveboard, though; Shawn, for all his failings, was a good man, and he wouldn’t steal just for the sake of stealing.
It took some effort to make sure he was nodding at the right time as the other two talked. His head was still spinning a little with everything that had happened in the last sixteen hours. Kate was bandaged up, still in Santa Barbara for a few more days to mop things up. Janna, still on the hunt for her cousin, had been sent on to Sunnydale, to meet up with a team of vampire slayers. Metz had used the term too, and all Kate would say on the subject was, “you know all the things that go bump in the night? Well, they bump right back.”
That had made Henry smile.
It turned out that Metz did have a gun on him -- or, at least, he did by the time the CSU techs showed up. The serial numbers were filed off, and Henry was pretty sure the SBPD would never figure out who it was supposed to belong to, but it was enough for Juliet to convince herself that Henry’s life had been in danger and therefore justify shooting Metz. Basile’s body never made it to the morgue -- Henry didn’t want to know how Kate and Janna had pulled that one off.
“Dad, you’re not even listening to us now.”
“Sure I am, son.”
“All right, then, who played Boomer on Battlestar
That shut Shawn up. Of course, Henry would never admit he knew that because he’d actually watched the show, but Shawn was pleased to have met the actress in person.
“Churros?” Gus suggested.
“Churros. You want one, Dad?”
“No thanks. I need to go anyway.” He got up from the couch. “Glad you’re home, guys. Your fish missed you.”
Henry drove the short distance back to his house. Kate was sitting at the kitchen table, doing one of the exercises the hospital had recommended to help her regain full mobility in her hand.
“I never did ask,” Henry said, “but how was your date?”
“Good.” Kate winced as she flexed her fingers, but Henry watched her power through the pain. Damn, but she was a hell of a woman. “I don’t think you’re asking for the sordid details--”
“I’m not.” He smiled. “And who uses the word ‘sordid’, anyway?”
Kate offered a small grin. “Someone I used to know.” She sighed. “He’s a good guy, but I’m not staying. I’m going back to LA tomorrow.”
“It’s not that far away, you know.”
“I know.” Another sigh. “I have responsibilities, though, and dating really doesn’t fit in with them.”
“Kate, I was a cop for a lot of years. I still made time to get married, and time for my son.” He tried not to let it show how upset he was that his marriage had suffered, but at least he’d been there for Shawn. “You let the job hold you down, and you’re just going to end up alone when you finally do retire.”
“Henry, wa--” She cut herself off, swallowed and continued. “We don’t retire. You don’t, and I won’t. There’s always going to be people who need my help.”
This was an argument Henry knew he wasn’t going to win, mostly because he’d had it with himself, too. “Always.” He put his hand over hers. “I’m sure Lassiter understands.”
“I’m sure he does. He’s kind of married to the job too, isn’t he?”
They sat in silence for a little while, the little TV playing inane daytime television at a low murmur, until Kate’s phone buzzed. She gently pulled her hand away from Henry’s and answered. “Lockley.” She listened. “All right. I’ll pack my things.”
“Leaving early, huh?” Henry asked when Kate hung up.
“They need me back a little sooner. Something’s come up.”
Fifteen minutes later, Henry put Kate’s bags into the trunk of the cab. Then, after closing it, he held out a hand.
Instead of shaking it, Kate hugged him. “You take care of yourself, Henry,” she said. “And remember what I told you.”
He doubted he’d ever forget. He hugged her back, the scent of her hair sweet as he did so. “Be careful out there, Kate.”
“I always am.”
He held the door for her as she climbed into the backseat, then closed it and waved to her through the open window.
He stood in the yard for a long time after the cab had gone.
Then he went into the house and booted up his computer.
Kate, the ICW, vampires, werewolves... all of it was too big a mystery for him to puzzle out on his own. Fortunately, all his years spent as a police officer had led to some very useful connections. He pulled up his address book, selected a name, and began typing an e-mail.
After he finished that one, he started another.
He would get to the bottom of this mystery. Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but sooner or later, he would learn the truth.+++++
I love the Psych
universe. I think it’s a funny, strange place, and I imagine that, while the real-life Santa Barbara is probably a nice place to live, it’s not nearly as much fun. When I decided I wanted to cross Psych
with BtVS, I knew that I couldn’t do Shawn and Gus justice, so I figured I’d pick a character who would allow me to be as detailed as I needed to without being too boring. Enter Henry Spencer.
I actually wanted this to be much more of a police procedural, with Kate, Henry, Lassiter, and Juliet all working together. But then I realized that I really don’t like writing procedurals, and there are people who can do them much better than me. In fact, I think I kind of lost the thread of the story I wanted to write, and this almost became a Kate/Carlton love story.
But no. That wouldn’t have been much fun either.
I think I decided on this being sort of a prequel to a future “On” story fairly close to the start, though. I wanted a villain from Buffy
, someone we hadn’t seen in a while but who everyone would recognize. Well, who better than Tucker Wells -- Andrew’s older brother, who tried to ruin prom. I’m not sure what pushed Wells past the tipping point, but I do know that he’s going to be part of the next long “On” story I write. Might be a while before I get there -- I still have to figure out who the crossover characters will be, and who the Big Bad will be, and if I want to go with my initial inclination (make the BB a vampire). But I have time.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this story, and that you believe I did justice to Kate, Henry, Carlton, Juliet, and the little mythology I’m building here. Please let me know what you thought -- you know what to do.Listener
Marietta, GA, USA
November 29, 2012
(PS: David Metz is a really Buffyverse character. Look him up.)