Disclaimer: Alliance/Tri-Star own them; I make no money nor profit of any kind off this. And I'm probably in trouble with the characters anyway. Thanks to raine_wynd and devohoneybee for insta-beta, and to jcbdragon for encouragement and the argument over anatomy. A "Worst Case Survival Scenario" and an old fandom for astolat's "Blast from the Past" challenge.
Rated: R for blood, sex, and violence. Drowning
I awoke to the scratch of wool and the scent of someone who was mine. Water ran over my legs; it already sloshed unpleasantly along the side of my face, washing away the scent of blood and gunpowder. Replacing it with the reek of stirred-up muck was not an improvement.
My head ached abominably.
None of this was as it should be. I lashed out at my surroundings and the bonds around my arms gave way. The wool around my legs ripped with muffled complaint. My fists struck a surface; the ring of metal was oddly muffled, and the metal resisted. I snarled and lashed out again.
Water poured in as the metal gave way, cold and heavy. It washed the last of the blood from my face and cleared some of the fog from my mind, leaving me a memory: Some foolish mortal had shot
I tightened my hands around the rip in the metal and spread it further, ignoring the lake water that poured in and the air that bubbled out. The scream of the metal was as nothing to the screams I intended to rip from throats.
The air was gone and the metal peeled back under my hands. I launched myself skyward, ignoring the water as I ignored gravity.
My attackers had at least been professional enough to leave the scene of the crime, but they had no skill sufficient to prevent me tracking them across the city: Some of my blood lay on their coats and their shoes. I followed it from the lake into an alley and landed in front of them as they disembarked from a most regrettable collection of rust, glass, and rubber.
A man whose collarbone is broken on each side does not easily draw a gun, which relieved me of one attacker. As for the other, it takes very little pressure for a vampire to break fingers, mortal or otherwise. I simply closed my hand around his on the gun and listened to his attempt to scream while inhaling. He hit a higher note than I had anticipated, but when his eyes opened again I trapped him with mine and smiled at him. Such a lovely pallor. Such an unpleasant scent when his terror overwhelmed his muscle control.
"You attacked me. Why?" I set a foot on his partner's arm and pressed downward, removing any interest he had in assisting his compatriot.
"Orders," he said, barely choking out the one word. Too easily frightened; no wonder he'd been the one with the gun.
I held him upright and motionless with my gaze, calmed him with a caress of his throat. Foolish to trust that, but mortal. "More details. Whose orders, and why?"
"Maupin's. He wants Knight too distracted to guard Mickey properly." My smile provoked new information as I made a note to remove another would-be master criminal. No Roman who planned so poorly would ever make centurion, much less consul. "Knight visits your club regularly and talks to you every time. Maupin ordered you taken out and dumped in Knight's car. Frame him or distract him. Maupin thought it might do both."
"A distraction?" The blood drained from his face, leaving it pale enough to suit those effete fools in Louis' court so long ago. My voice had lowered further than usual and the man was shuddering against the bricks. Fascinating. No previous experience with true fear, perhaps. "Did Maupin order anyone to attack Knight?"
"Simon wanted indirect attacks. The cops already have our bookkeeper. No point in giving 'em more of us as well." His companion tried to tell him to shut up. I held my informant against the wall with one hand around his throat and told the fool on the ground to sleep now unless he wanted to sleep forever instead. His snores slipped into the alley's stench with a disgusting ease.
"Did anyone have orders for other... distractions?" I watched my informant shake his head and smiled. "Did you have any other orders at all?"
"Not to get caught?" He closed his eyes as I leaned in, far too late to evade my commands.
"Ah. A failure there, too." I tipped his jaw up and to the side with one hand; my clothes were already ruined by lake water and I had no interest in having them stained further by his lack of control. His blood tasted of folly, and stupidity, and cupidity. The tang of terror made up for that.
His partner stunk of my blood; he'd been the one who'd used a pipe to beat me down when gunshots failed to do more than stagger me. I pulled him up and let him wake.
"Who else is after Knight?" He hurt too much to fear me properly. I'd remedy that in a moment.
"I don't know." I trapped him against the wall with a hand against his sternum that left him breathless with pain. His lung was punctured; I could hear blood pooling in places it should not run. What a waste.
"Where were you to report your success?"
"Basement office at Fifth and Main." What had once been a good neighborhood and now was a good hunting ground. Oh, yes. I knew which building he meant. "Did you have orders to go after Knight next, or the Raven, or Tracy Vetter?"
"No." He was beginning to gasp as the blood impeded his breathing and his thinking. I smiled at him, tracing the jugular with my thumb; to my surprise, he hardened with a rush of pheromones into the night and a pressure against my thigh. How... interesting. Usually, my prey had only the last pleasures of death.
I held his throat in one hand and stroked his prick through his jeans with the other. As I'd hoped, the mix of terror and pleasure controlled his expressions and perfumed the air. "Your best dreams," I murmured against his throat, "and your worst nightmares."
He came as I bit down, soaking the denim in seed shortly before he soaked it again with urine. I'd already dropped him, however.
Rather than dispose of the remnants myself, or risk a disagreement with the Enforcers, I left it up to Maupin to deal with his dead: I took his men to him, in their own vehicle (I hesitated to even think of it as a car). When it became necessary, I dragged Maupin's door guards to him through the trails of their own blood.
In another age, with proper training, I might have found some use for Maupin. Even with his forces in tatters, he tried to oppose me. Warned, however, I moved too swiftly for his shots to reach my flesh.
Of course I didn't kill him. Where would be the sport in that, the fitting revenge for my injured dignity, my ruined clothes, my wayward child's possessions?
I left Maupin the bodies of his men, and orders to clean up his excesses. And I left him his cell phone, upon which I had just dialed 911. I had other, more important problems, to consider. Such as composing myself to innocent anger in the face of questions from Nicholas about both the bodies and the disappearance of his car.
He wouldn't believe me, but that was nothing new. A good meal through his doing... now that was new.
I shall have to consider ways to encourage him.
~ ~ ~ finis ~ ~ ~
Comments, Commentary, & Miscellanea:
Written for the "Blast From the Past" challenge, in which you apply a recent challenge to an older fandom; in this case, the "Worst Case Survival Scenario" challenge met Forever Knight. The scenario I hit first was, 'How to escape a sinking car.' It all rolled downhill, pun intended, from there.