This is a rewrite of my story Fire and Ice. After spending some time reading it over, I decided to make some changes and flesh it out a bit more. The title is a reference to the song by Depeche Mode. Here is the full summary:
Vampire and human deaths have surged, and after months of searching for a killer, Eric Northman is willing to try anything to keep himself and the few he cares about alive. As a last resort, he hires a witch, who suggests calling into the Void to summon a creature that may be able to find the ones responsible, or at the very least keep him above ground. Unbeknownst to them, that creature has already found them, and unfortunately for her, walked right into a ritual that will keep her forever bound to his side.
As they fight to stay alive, and keep from killing each other, they discover that the murders were only a precursor to an evil greater than they had ever faced.
I'll try to keep this updated as often as I can. Constructive criticism is always appreciated. Thanks for reading!
Of all the places Adrian's employers could have sent her, why, by the gods, did it have to be here? She scanned the parking lot with amber eyes, watching the humans stumble in and out of the veritable lion's den. Some of them clung to other mortals, others to walking husks, unaware—or perhaps indifferent —of the fate that awaited them.
To throw yourself willingly in the arms of a creature that desires nothing more than to bleed you dry, Adrian thought, and laughed quietly. The fools. And they wonder why deaths and disappearances are on the rise.
Adrian watched from the dark, nothing more than a shadow herself on the edge of the property. An amorphous mist, hidden within the overgrowth of a hedge, slinking through the darkness like water until she found herself directly across from the club's entrance. A cluster of bodies hovered in the middle, their shadows cast onto the ground by the orange glow of the streetlights. She drifted across the pavement, slipping from shadow to shadow, desperately trying ignore the onslaught of drunken thoughts that echoed in her mind as she settled into their shapes.
Don't throw up, don't throw up.
The things I'm going to do to you when we get home.
Is she even real? I think those teeth are fake.
A strange mix of pity and contempt washed over her the longer she lingered there. The humans were in over their heads in a place like this. A small part of her wanted to tell them to run home, lock their doors and line the threshold with salt. But a bigger part of her wanted to see them be felled by the creatures they had no business mixing with. The creatures they'd reduced to nothing more than a novelty in the year since they'd "come out of the coffin."
Vampires were something to be feared once. Then they became a trend. Articles in magazines about trysts with the undead, how wonderfully high one could get from their blood. Nothing was sacred anymore.
She silently prayed no other creatures would come out of hiding. Their worlds were never meant to mix.
Adrian drifted off to the left, between two cars, and made sure no one would be able to see as she materialized. Not that anyone would notice, save for the odd vampire that wasn't preoccupied with the veins in their human's throat.
The entrance was guarded by a leech, clad in tight leather, blood red like her full lips, fixed in a scowl that never faltered. Why were they always so miserable?
The undead woman eyed her suspiciously, knowing those eyes belonged to Were's, and ones that were ready to shift at that. But the tall woman standing before her didn't smell like a dog; no, she smelled of smoke. Like a crackling fire on a cold winters night, burning as bright as the eyes that watched her. It was a comforting scent, something that she wouldn't admit to anyone, though underneath it lied something acrid. A faint, acidic odor that she couldn't place. Didn't care enough to place.
The witch Eric hired told them all about what to look for. Those eyes, that smell, and the sharp features that could never quite be hidden no matter what mask it hid behind. This must be the one he's waiting for, Pam mused. It's about fucking time.
"ID?" she drawled, thinking there was no point in asking, but she had to keep up the charade. Pam held out her hand and watched while the woman—thing, whatever the fuck she was—fumbled through her pockets. After a moment, she produced the card.
"Adrian Foster," Pam said, looking over the ID, wondering just how old she actually was. The card indicated that she was in her early thirties, but for all Pam knew, she could have been thousands of years old. As if age mattered to these things. Finally she met her eyes, and smiled. "Welcome to Fangtasia. Have fun."
"Thank you," came the reply. Raspy and quiet and unsure, the words clumsily tumbling out of her mouth. She wasn't used to speaking, not out loud; she and her fellow Hounds had a habit of communicating telepathically, and that suited her fine. Even better would be to not speak at all. Adrian was often the observer, a specter just out of view in your periphery, but tonight she was forced into a corporeal form, forced to socialize. To say she was uncomfortable would be an understatement.
She ran a hand through her dark hair, sighing heavily and reluctantly trudging off to the door as though it were the gallows that waited for her, and not a bar full of lively souls. It was too loud already—the music, thrumming against the brick walls, the cacophony of voices both spoken and thought. With each pulse of the bass, the subtle movement it caused as it resonated through the wooden door before her, she half expected it to splinter and burst, the sounds and smells rushing out from within like raging flood waters.
But it didn't, and the longer she stood there, the more attention she drew to herself, namely from the vampire watching the door. Adrian could feel her eyes on her, a question on the tongue, and before she could ask it, the Hound quickly slipped inside.
The bar was exactly what she expected. A gaudy, unimpressive place, painted in red and black because it was the only color scheme vampires seemed to know of. Paintings and photographs lined the walls, with masks and busts placed wherever they could fit. Some of them looked old, and she wondered idly if they were indeed artifacts.
Adrian weaved through the leather booths, around the stripper pole occupied by a dead-eyed vampire gyrating on the small platform, and took a seat at the end of the bar. A dozen or so people were crowded around the front, waving their hands in the hopes of gaining the bartender's attention, to no avail. The long haired man didn't seem to care that he had an ever-growing line of people waiting. He worked at his own pace, and that pace was impossibly slow.
She watched while he immersed himself in cleaning one particular glass, rubbing the same spot over and over with great care, ignoring the agitated, varying levels of inebriated, mob before him. Even Adrian began to grow annoyed, and before she could lose herself to the emotions of the crowd, she left her spot and drifted through the bar. The Hound glanced around and found the bouncer standing off to the side, her arms crossed, wearing the same scowl and narrowed eyes as before. And just like she had earlier, the woman stared, perhaps a little too long, a little too hard, and Adrian raised a brow at the vampire. A silent question. What?
The blonde's gaze lingered for a moment before she turned abruptly on her heel and marched off toward a service door. Adrian fought the urge to follow after her, and instead focused her energy on those around her.
So far, nothing else felt out of the ordinary. Just a mixed bunch of living and undead, enjoying their night, wanting nothing more than to fuck and feed. Again, it was exactly as she expected. The overall mood was light, and there was nothing she could pick up on that told her to be wary; no suspicious persons or energies floating through the bar. Whatever leads her employers had, they were dead. There was nothing to be found here.
To think, she could have spent her evening at The Crossroads, curled up on the couch in the back room with a bottle of something and no responsibilities. But here she is, on a fool's errand, searching for a kidnapper that doesn't exist, or at the very least is long gone, and why it's her problem is beyond her, but she knows better than to question it.
A Hound must always carry out their duties. Even if said duties are handed out by mutts a thousand years her junior.
Adrian shook her head and turned, prepared to leave the bar and return home, but suddenly found herself unable to tell which way was up, and reached for the nearest object to steady herself. She clung to the back of a chair while the room spun around her, breathing heavily and willing the vertigo to cease.
Shit, she thought, digging her nails into the metal. By the Void. What's happening to me?
Voices echoed in her mind, sharp whispers speaking in a tongue she thought long forgotten. The words enveloped her. A comforting warmth washed over her, and it felt so familiar, so right, so—no. No, she repeated in her head, over and over, covering her ears with her hands as though that would do anything. There was no stopping what had already begun.
Not unless she slaughtered them all.