A/N: I've been sitting on this story for actually at least a couple of years now, editing, and debating on weather or not to post it. I think I've finally made a decision. Standard disclaimers apply. I own none of these characters.
A Matter of Life
Nick stared at the tiny brunette that he was questioning. Her childlike face must have belied whatever age she was. Right now he could only guess somewhere in the mid-twenties. Too bad she was a suspect, not that he ever mixed business with pleasure. Nat had always kept him in check about that. Besides he was much, much older than anyone, besides Nat, would ever guess. Right now, she was the only one with a motive though, even if he didn't have prints.
"You knew about the million dollar life insurance policy, didn't you?"
"Yeah, but that's not my fault. He said it to me off-hand. It's not like I asked or something. I really would rather not have talked to him at all, ever, about anything, OK?"
"And that's another thing," Nick continued with that train of thought, "you didn't really get along with him did you?"
"No, but I'm not the only one. My mother and he were not exactly talking every single day either."
"That's not the point!" Nick spat. He hated this part of his job. It brought out the worst in him. But right now she was the only one with the motive, who knew about the policy and did not get, along with her father. "Right now you are the one that is here. There's no point trying the pass the buck"
"Ya know, I don't believe you guys, I was overseas when it happened. This is horrible. Why would I do this to my family. Generally speaking we are close, I don't know who did it either." Andi had no idea why she was here. When her father was murdered, she was overseas, in Paris for Christ's sake! She had heard the news after she had gotten back into town from her mother. On top of going to the funeral, and the wake, and comforting family and friends, the emotional strain had exhausted her; all she really wanted to do was sleep. "Look you have nothing on me. Book me or let me go."
Nick knew she was right, but he wasn't done with her yet. "Just one more question Miss Burrows isn't it true that you have debts which need paying?"
"Yeah, but then again doesn't everyone?" Andi was nonplussed. This guy didn't scare her and she knew she was innocent. The only thing she didn't know is why she was here and who would do this to her. Hell the guy they had thrown her into questioning with wasn't that bad looking he, if pale. They had searched her house and she hoped that they wouldn't find anything they could twist into evidence.
Behind the questioning glass, Nat, Tracey and Captain Reece watched the wisp of a girl.
"He has to let her go," stated Nat.
"Yeah but there is something suspicious about her, I don't like it," said Tracey. People had a way of getting to her, but she had learned long ago to 'go with her gut'. Perhaps Vachon would know something about this one. He was a simple man living in Toronto, and there may be no connection, but it was worth a try.
"Well I'm sure we'll find something, but she seemed like she was being honest. It was her father after all, no matter how much he was worth. I think we should at least give her the benefit of the doubt," the Captain spoke from behind Nat and Tracey. They looked at Reece in unison. It wasn't like him to say something like this. Normally, it was something to the contrary about how "'this how this has to be the one'". Perhaps she really didn't do it, thought coroner Natalie Lambert. She was currently treating Nick Knight, vampire cop. Hopefully one day she could fully cure him rather than basing her findings on theories and hypotheses.
Nick had no choice but to let her go, her record was squeaky clean and besides, she was just a suspect.
"Alright, Ms. Burrows, you can go, but don't leave town."
"Yeah, I'll see what I can do," she replied and got up in one swift motion. Gawd, that was awful. I hope I never have to go through that ever again, were Andi's thoughts as she got up and left. There was a full moon out tonight, and Andi hoped that wouldn't effect weather or not the police would get off of her tail or not. She walked to her car and drove home. It had been a rough day. It's not the greatest to be pulled from your job as a travel agent to be taken in by the police. If only they had waited a half-hour. This surely wasn't her idea of fun. She couldn't get that angry cop out of her head though. There was something definitely weird about him. Oh well, he was sort of attractive, if only he'd been a bit nicer, she would have tried to make a pass. Men like that have ways of being unlocked. There was nothing like letting out a little tension after a night shift. Maybe she could do something about his lack of tan. She'd never met anyone so pale.
Andi came upon her apartment, and got out her keys, then she noted that the door was slightly ajar.
"Hello?" Andi pushed open the door and looked around tentatively, but the apartment was dark, the way she'd left it. A closer investigation revealed however that through the open balcony doors, wind was coming through and things were all over the floor. Papers, lamps, clothes, all of which lay in disarray throughout the apartment.
"My God," Andi breathed shallowly. Nothing like this had ever happened to her before. Immediately she called the police. Managing to turn on the kitchen light, she surmised that the intruder must have recently left. What he was looking for, she couldn't say. There was nothing of value that she had aside from jewelry, and that she didn't have much of, and that was all still here. Odd that most of this would still be here despite the ransacking of her apartment. Within ten minutes the handsome officer who had questioned her was among the cops who arrived.
"Do you have any mortal enemies who would do this to you, anyone at all who might do this?"
"Like I told you before Handsome, I don't know what happened. It was like this when I got here. The forensics officers began to search her apartment, dusting for prints and doing what they do to see what would have happened. "Due to the open balcony door, I'd say that he just left and didn't want anyone to see him. If I had been here instead of downtown, I don't know what might have happened, so I suppose that I owe you a debt of thanks."
"Dumb luck, I suppose," said Nick noncommittally and turned to hear what the man in charge had to say about what the head crime scene investigator had to say about it. Nat wasn't here, but he knew how snappy she'd get when she saw him talking to someone else. She tended to get that way, but this woman didn't know, obviously who or what she was dealing with, and he didn't want to involve her any more than she was. Public safety was important, even if, his personal life suffered because of it, not that she was a choice of any kind. She made up for her lack of height with a spirit that was liable to get her into trouble on any given day of the week. He had known someone like that once, but he chose rather to forget about it. This woman knew what she wanted, and was not afraid to go after it. This could have been staged. That was always a possibility. Right now Nick needed to talk to someone of his own kind. Perhaps Lacroix knew something. He sometimes knew curious little details that none of the rest of his kind would know. Besides he needed to talk to one of his kind. But before that, he had to make sure that his partner was safe.
After the police had left, Andi began to clean up the mess that was made of her apartment. Who could have done this? No doubt it was connected to the death of her father. To come on the heels of his death like this, there was no other explanation. After she picked up what was on the floor, and got most of her things in order, it was close to midnight. Andi was beat, and this time ready for bed, with no doubt. She poured herself a glass of milk and warmed it in the microwave. There was nothing else that could help relax Andi like a glass of warm milk. She thought about her father and how her mother was dealing with his death. She was holding up okay, with her brother and sister to look after her. Why didn't the police question them? All the rest of them were richer now that her father was gone, and her career was successful. Her father did have a heart condition, but that would not have killed him at the present if he took his medicine and followed his doctor's directions. No, her father had definitely been murdered; the coroner had confirmed it, with the traces of arsenic found in his nightly glass of wine. Andi was tired of thinking, tired of life, and the police, and everyone intruding on her life. She just wanted sleep. As she lay down, she was asleep almost instantly with no time to think further of the matter.
Nick found the old church with no problem, and slowly headed in. His partner had a tendency to be here. She knew of his kind, but fortunately didn't know that he was one of them. Vachon was a danger to all of them, if the Enforcers ever knew . . . he didn't finish that train of thought. It was his duty to protect his partner, at least he felt. So he did the best he could. The fact that Tracey had feelings for Vachon didn't help matters, but there was nothing now that Nick could do about that. He sensed her here, and stopped, short of her range of sight, eavesdropping.
"Did you know anything about this Burrows fellow?" partner, Tracy Vetter's voice floated across the room
"No, I don't keep up with the world of mortals. I have a lot of connections, but this man is an unknown to me. The closest thing I could do, would be to ask around," replied Javier Vachon, a younger vampire who Nick tolerated, if only for Tracey's sake. He was hotheaded, a rookie, all of these factors might get someone in trouble, but for now, he hadn't done anything dangerous, so Nick abided him.
"You're sure about that?"
"Positive, the name rings absolutely no bells whatsoever."
"Curious you should use that phrase seeing how you live underneath a church and all."
"I'm used to it, and only certain things give me the shivers."
"Oh I see, well I have to go see if I can find any leads, if this was a random poisoning, or something connected to another case."
"I guess I'll see you around then," Vachon stated in manner of farewell.
That was all Nick needed to hear. There must be something on this Burrows fellow. Perhaps there was a connection his family didn't know about. The brunette could be telling the truth. Perhaps she didn't know after all. There could have been a bad business deal that went bad.
Nick walked into the Raven. It was a rather loud nightclub, as they all were, but this one in particular catered to the vampire population of Toronto. It was most likely not the only one in existence, but here, mortals and vampires mixed, even if the mortals were not even aware of it. Perhaps the two kinds could co-exist, at least for a few hours while some enjoyed the nightlife. Lacroix wasn't that hard to find, sitting behind the bar, chatting up one of the mortals. Probably trying to get a meal for later. She wasn't bad looking, and giggled easily as Lacroix spoke. Lacroix saw him coming, and excused himself from his present company.
"What can I do for you Nicholas?" drawled Lacroix. He had picked up a British accent during his nearly two millennia on this planet. His voice was arrogant and knowing. Nick had come for his advice or help, whatever it was, if it was possible to get a strait answer out of Lacroix.
"There's been a recent murder recently, a mortal. His name was Burrows. Anthony Burrows. Has one of the your crew here been involved? Does anyone know anything?" Nick questioned.
"Poor Nicholas. Ever looking for the clues that will absolve him from his relentless guilt." Lacroix pulled himself out of revere for a precious few moments. "No, I have not heard anything. You forget that mortals are not the concern of our little. . .community." Lacroix again decided to point out the painfully obvious. There was no reason to humor Nicholas. He had never heard of this fellow. It is really a shame what mortals do to each other. As far as Lacroix was concerned, he was glad that he was what he was. Being mortal was not what it was cracked up to be. Nick was not disappointed, but knew that Lacroix wasn't telling the whole tale. Something else was going on here, and Nick had to know what it was. "I'll be in touch," said Nick, with a note of warning. Then, with that, Nick flew back to the precinct, leaving Lacroix to his own devices.
He was back at headquarters before Tracey even arrived, and ran into Nat.
"This case got you worked up, eh?"
Nick brushed it aside. "Nah, I think I'm just a little fatigued. I could use a vacation, I suppose. Come to think of it, I haven't had one in quite some time."
"Well, judging by the way you nearly bit the head off of that brunette, I'd say it was her rather than the case. Pardon the pun." Nat shared a knowing grin.
Nick honestly didn't know what to make of Nat. She was going to be the death of him one of these days. "Nat, let me just assure you that it would take more than her to keep me thinking about anything all night" Nick stressed the any.
"Sure thing fly boy, whatever you say" Nat just nodded. "Have you found any leads yet?"
"No, I can't seem to get anywhere right now, and I suppose my partner is only trying to do the same, despite her absence."
"Yeah, you're probably right, ya know. Well I gotta head back. Murders have this habit of keeping me employed. Call me later, we'll try coffee." Nat strode out of the precinct. Nick grimaced. Of all the human concoctions, coffee is one he was glad he hadn't been able to stomach yet. Nat still tried whenever she could to help with his dream, even if he didn't keep up with it. That was what made Nat so invaluable to him. He sighed. It was half-past midnight, and there was nothing to speak of for this case. Perhaps he should open that previous case he had suspicions about. Nat's words got through to him though. The brunette. What was her name, Andi?
Suddenly, Nick was in the past, in Spain. He was on the streets of Madrid with Lacroix and Jannette, one of the few times she had chosen not to run off to. . . wherever. It was nearly a hundred years past already. They were hunting for an evening meal, and Nick was staring a little hard at a Spanish lady.
"What can I do for you Señor?"
"I'm sorry, I beg your pardon" Nick apologized, "I didn't mean to stare." He passed with Lacroix and Jannette exchanging looks that showed their amusement. Nick walked past them. He didn't need to explain to them. That woman did not need to die for his wants.
"Why didn't you take her Nicholas?" drawled Lacroix, his usual arrogance present. He chose his words carefully, with deliberation, always thinking where he could strike Nick hardest.
"Yes, Nicola why?" parroted Jannette as she so often did of Lacroix. Nick refused to answer either one of them. They knew how to get to him, and he refused to rise to the occasion. He could never get over killing something beautiful and innocent. Even after seven hundred years, guilt consumed him. But it was she who would come to find him later on insisting that she had a guard follow the trio to their hotel. Nick was much surprised to see her.
"What is your name gentleman?"
"My friends call me Nicholas"
"Nick? Hey daydreamer, it's me your partner" Homicide detective Tracey Vetter had come back from checking on a "source". Her green eyes were watching him intently.
"Sorry, I was just reminded of someone I once knew . . ." he trailed. It wasn't like him to reveal the past and he sure as hell was not going to start now.
"Well I thought I had something but . . ." Tracey fumbled. She had to get used to covering for seeing Vachon. He was still a pretty recent experience for her. So was being on the force, commissioner's daughter, everyone thought that this job was handed to her, but she felt she earned it. Vachon was also totally new. No one would ever believe that she was seeing a vampire. If anyone had told her about this a year, no, a few months ago, she would have laughed outright, but now, now things were wonderful, " . . .turns out it was just a misinterpretation of details." She finished the statement without much ease, but hoped Vachon could eventually find something for her.
" I wonder if there are any leads whatsoever on this guy?"
"I dunno Trace," replied Nick. Some cases went in the unsolved drawer. This one, just might be one of them.
It was nearly 1:30 in the morning already and the night was waning. The longer they waited the faster the trail on this guy got cold. It had already been two days. As it was heading into day three, Nick hoped something would eventually turn up. He couldn't believe how long it could take to get someone in here for questioning. But he couldn't come up with any more excuses to be away from his desk, so with that, he began the paperwork.
Andi woke up to from a horrible dream she was having. Bleary eyed, she looked at the red LCD numbers on her digital clock/radio. It was only 2:30. She thought she heard something, but she looked around and finding nothing wrong with her apartment, she rolled over. The next thing she knew, someone was holding a handkerchief over her mouth. Then everything went black.
"Maybe the mother knew about some clubs that Mr. Burrows joined," suggested Tracey.
"Good idea, let's pay her a visit," Nick agreed,"on second thought, we would cover more ground if we asked more members of the family. I'll ask Miss Burrows since we're already . . .acquainted."
"Mmm, hmm" Tracey just nodded. Even with his vampire ears, Nick could not miss the sarcasm in her tone. It seemed that it had gotten around the precinct, a nasty rumor about Nick and the little brunette. This was going to be something he had to quelch, but now was not the time to do it. Both partners left on missions of their own.
Nick went to Miss Burrows' apartment and knocked. There was no answer. Not unusual as Miss Burrows might be a heavy sleeper. The past few days had probably been pretty rough for her. The door however was locked. He'd rather not break in, but he would if he had to. This was important. Nick found the apartment cleaner than when he'd left it. He hoped forensics had found something. Regrettably, there probably wasn't going to be much evidence. It seemed the perpetrator had worn gloves, as there were no prints to find. Even the glass found at the murder scene had Mr. Burrows' on prints on them. This was an odd case, but Nick had come across odder. He just hoped that it wouldn't end up in the "unsolved" file. This murder was definitely suspicious, especially with so much money at stake. He found the apartment unoccupied. He looked in the bedroom, and saw the bed in disarray. An examination of the balcony doors let him know that this was a repeat performance of the same individual as before. He called the precinct from a nearby phone. Miss Burrows was missing. After that Nick used his vampire vision to follow the prints of the perp. He stopped. These were vampire tracks, and a fledgling at that. Lacroix was lying. This was the work of one from the community. This could blow the cover of every vampire living in Toronto. He would definitely have to tiptoe on a special sort of ground. If Nick followed his instincts, this case could NEVER be solved.