By: Stacey aka legaldiva
Summary: Incidents of all sorts involve the prey characters with a group of people with a history of their own. I'd tell you more but I'm terrible with summaries;)
Disclaimer: The Prey characters are NOT mine. They belong to ABC and those people that have let them sleep for so long... Neither is Chris. He belongs to CJ and was introduced in her story, Lineage. I just fleshed him out a bit. The rest of the characters are mine, and their back story is explored in The Partnership, Testemonial and The Ceremony, under this pen name at fictionpress.net. I tried to write the story in a way that bridged the gap between these two worlds, without compromising either.
Thanks: To Andi, who couldn't wait to see this story even though she's not...yet a prey fan, and to Jen who knows both my characters and the prey ones and has held my hand all the way through the editing process. Thank you :D
Chris Hewson stood on patrol in the darkness of the night. He let his mind wander, but it always came back to the same basic principle. He was in trouble. Different beyond all differences he'd ever considered before. The biological fact of his DNA separated him by 1.6 percent from the humans around him. But what isolated him from his own?
His spirit, he decided. He'd made decisions on his own and now he was paying for it. For them. He'd refused to follow the path set out for him by the members of the body that ruled his kind. He wanted more than just espionage, a covert study of the lab that Dr. Ann Coulter ran at Whitney University. As a result, he allowed himself to be drawn in by this woman and what she could teach him. She freed his spirit and helped him to complete his doctorate. It was with her help that he ultimately decided that his kind and human kind could effectively, and should coexist.
Her murder had shocked him to his core, and in a moment of personal weakness, he took another step towards the horror that he perpetuated this evening. Throwing his studies aside, he joined the security force. Unlike the other members of the security team, Chris wasn't trained in the control that the Chameleons, or their kind's covert operatives, learned. His mental skills were of a different sort... the kind that assisted the elite researchers and scientists of his kind. Not aided young would be spies in situations of physical stress.
Consequently, and now, no surprise to him, he'd lost control. The act had come naturally to him at the time, but afterwards. Just thinking about it scared him. And as inevitable as the act itself was after the fact, so was the conclusion he'd come to standing there outside in the cold, analyzing things. Chris knew that there was no going back…inside that apartment or as a member of the security force. What would Dr. Coulter think, he wondered. He finally determined that he would finish that evening's patrol and inform Mark, the head of security, of his decision to leave.
Once the subject was closed in his mind, there were noises. Footsteps. He wondered why, who would be walking towards this apartment building at this time of night in this weather? But, he noted, it was a purposeful walk. It was a human female, 5'3 inches tall, by his estimation, with blonde hair that blew in the breeze. She also carried a large bag filled with books. He moved to intercept her. "May I help you," he asked once he reached her.
She shook her head, and he saw a friendly smile light up her face. "Nah," she replied in a very easy and relaxed tone. She had green eyes, he noted, and they widened as she gestured to the bag she carried. "I'm ok," she continued, her tone switching to one of explanation. She shook her head, almost sadly in his estimation. "Too many years of book carrying has taken it's toll."
He nodded, inspecting her again. She held the bag closely on the right shoulder, the left side of her body shifting upwards to compensate. From the look on her face, he could tell she was in pain and trying to hide it. He looked deeply into her, trying to sense as the rest of his kind did. And almost jumped back from the pain he was able to feel. "You might want to try switching shoulders," he suggested, his eyes sympathetic, as he grabbed the bag and attempted to adjust it.
The girl pulled back almost instantly, and he moved to compensate. He noted that if he didn't have the reflexes shared by the rest of his species, he would have been on his rear end by this point. And then, just as he'd felt her pain, he felt her suspicion. Not just in her mind but also in the way she held herself. It was as if she'd closed herself off from him physically.
"I'm fine," she replied calmly, her voice betraying none of the anxiety that was clear to his senses. And then she swallowed. "What's going on?"
Chris grimaced, understanding how inevitable the question was from the way she felt, but not any more prepared on how to answer it. What to say, he wondered to himself. He sincerely hoped he'd be able to come up with something. "Friends of mine are having trouble," he finally answered.
The girl nodded and seemed to think for a minute, before mentally, then physically relaxing and smiling. Tentatively, he noted after a few minutes. "Do you want to come inside?" Her invitation confused him, and most likely his confusion was very clear on his face because she gestured to the fact that she was more comfortable in the chill of the evening and wearing considerably less clothing than his sweatshirt and many other layers. He watched her pull her hair back into a tight ponytail, a gesture that seemed both habitual and calming . "Its unusually cold for California," she continued, breaking the silence that had arisen between them. She shrugged her shoulders and he watched as she adjusted her turtleneck over her jeans. "'m fine because I'm from the east…but…"
He smiled, nodding, understanding. But not wanting to go back. "Nah," he replied with a shake of his head. He took care to keep his tone away from the mean or snobby, but firm. Firmly. "It's ok."
The girl raised her eyebrows and seemed to scan the area. "You sure?" And then, she smirked. Almost playful. Taunting. "I've got the best hot cocoa ever manufactured in the universe."
Chris looked at her, and felt...sorry at first glance. It seemed as if she was pleading at him. He opened his senses to her and felt uneasiness, mixed with compassion. .And then he understood. Friends, he had said, were having trouble, and she had spied him, standing alone on the grounds at the front of the apartment, looking somewhat confused. She was trying to, he deduced, extricate him from a bad situation. He smiled, then nodded . "If you insist…"
She nodded and he smiled, understanding. At the same time, they turned on their heels, towards the building. They took their first steps together and he watched her as she reached for her keys, muttering something about her propensity to loose them with eyes that glinted like they would when someone was being self deprecating.
He watched her economy of movement, fluid steps, heading for the staircase. They walked the stairs together, though stopping a floor below the apartment he'd sworn not to return to. He stood carefully waiting for her signal, watching as she pulled out the keys she'd thought she'd lost, directed them towards the locks on the door ...and then took a tumble.
He bent down immediately to try and see where she'd gone, also stretching out his senses to see ...to make sure. And then he saw her, and realized he'd been holding his breath when he'd let one out. He could tell she was scared though, and he braced himself to see what the problem was, waiting...
"OH MY GOD!" Her voice was scratchy with tears she'd barely tried to hold back. And he wondered where she was...and realized...she was inside.
Now that he had her permission, he stepped into the apartment; looking for signs of forced entry. The first thing he noticed was that she had already gotten up and crossed the apartment heading somewhere he wasn't sure of. But it didn't matter at that moment. Aside from her rather quick motion, he discovered that the well built security system had been shattered beyond repair, including it's cover.
The rest of the apartment had a searched through quality…as if someone was looking for something specific. He killed himself internally for stepping beyond his bounds. He didn't have that training…the training that made a Chameleon so dangerous. He was only a researcher…
But then he saw her. She had forgotten her tears and methodically was searching through her apartment. Pulling out boxes and locked containers, muttering to herself as she checked their contents. And then a beeping…a faraway sound. He saw her take off her watch and undo many layers of ribbon. It revealed a bracelet with a black charm at its center. She pulled the charm off and unfolded it. "Hello," she said, moving it to her lips. "I'm ok", she said repeatedly as she put down the charm. She flicked a switch…and then her eyes passed through Chris.
"I'm fine, Uncle Walter." She...Sarah... said it without pause. Chris could tell that the young woman didn't want to make a larger deal out of things than already existed. He could sense that she was desperately attempting to hold back her nervousness, her fear and a whole bunch of emotions that were revealed completely to him. For his own part, he knew that she'd burst if she were pushed any further. "Really," she...Sarah, insisted, a look of studied indifference on her face. " I need to stay here and study… I have exams soon…"
A man Chris thought he recognized as Walter Atwood crossed the floor. He was tall, wearing a suit that barely hid his girth. From the way he walked and moved, and the feelings that Chris was able to sense from the man himself, he could tell that Atwood was used to being in control. "You're not ok, Sarah," the man interjected. Chris could sense a mix of authority and nervousness, and could tell from the look in Atwood's eyes that he felt responsibility for the young woman...Sarah. " Your apartment was broken into," he continued, half suggesting, half ordering. "I know someone upstairs. We'll go up there…"
"She's fine," Chris interrupted, stepping in only because he sensed that Sarah was on the verge of an emotional breakdown.
The man shook his head, and Chris stepped back a few paces in shock. He then turned to Sarah and spoke in a deep, tight voice. "Sarah… This is not a request."
She shook her head, and Chris could sense sadness, resignation emanating from her. "Ok.." She turned to Chris, her hazel eyes catching his blue ones by surprise. "Come with me," she pleaded.
Chris was fully aware of what was to happen if he was caught inside that apartment again. But at the same time, he could tell that for some reason he brought her calm, a sense of calm that she needed right now. At that point, he knew he couldn't deny her any measure of security, especially that one . Consigning the consequences to hell, he nodded.
They closed the apartment door, and walked the stairs. Chris found himself held very closely to Sarah, Walter taking the lead. When they arrived, they all took a moment to breathe before Atwood banged on the door. "ED!" he shouted. "It's Walter. Open up."