I own nothing. The characters and themes portrayed here are the property of D. S Goyer and New Line Cinema etc. See Chapter 1 for full disclaimer.
The only thing I do have claim to is Caitlyn Thomas, and any O.Cs I introduce later.
In the aftermath of Daystar, the Nightstalkers are mopping up the few vampires left behind and trying to accept the fact that their friends didn't die for nothing.
When King makes a stupid mistake on a hunt, he literally drops into the life of Caitlyn Thomas, a reclusive woman with a secret. It would be ignorant to assume that vampires are the only supernaturals in the world…
A/N: Two lovely reviews recently dug me out of a 'final-year-at-Uni' rut, and I dusted this off. Hope it was worth the wait people…let me know if not!
Semester ends in two weeks, so hopefully I'll be updating regularly from then on. Thanks for the encouragement to Rogue and WingedSeraph!
"Well, I would sweetcheeks, if I could remember what happened, and where the hell I was when it did…" he threw a charming grin her way that had more of an effect than she liked on her sensibilities before saying, "…care to fill me in?"
Caitlyn frowned. Wait a minute, how had it gone from her interrogating to him asking her questions again? Clearly she needed to brush up on her negotiating skills, but at the moment keeping her mind off his nicely-muscled chest and on the matter of his weaponry in her basement would be a step in the right direction. Had the tiled floor of her solarium done more damage than she'd thought and he'd lost his memory? To test her theory she asked,
"Can you remember your name?" and was a rewarded with a snigger for her concern, and a sarcastic,
"I can, but the question is…can you?" followed by a suggestive wink. She could literally feel the heat rise to her cheeks at his implication, which only fuelled his obvious enjoyment of the situation.
Irritation replaced the embarrassment, and the glint in her eye when she looked back up at him wiped the smirk from his face.
That was it, she'd had enough. As if it wasn't bad enough that he'd woken her up with his impromptu entry, she hadn't made it back to bed for worrying about the madman in her guest bedroom and had spent half the night memorising protection charms and wards to ease her fears.
Top that off with his making her spill her lunch all over her recently cleaned cream wool rug, and his arrogant attitude, and she was fit to do something drastic and possibly power-fuelled. Hang the consequences! He'd already seen her levitate the tray, so it wasn't as if she had to hide what she was.
Clarity of thought was gone, caution over exposure of her gift (or curse, depending on her mood) fled with it, and she could feel the energy bubbling under her skin as she stared all six feet something of him down. Now, if she could just remember the incantation for that object-combustion spell she'd looked at the night before last, she could be rid of the ungrateful jerk and get back to her quiet, albeit boring life, happy in the knowledge that the first person to witness her powers in over a year was effectively silenced forever.
The muted ring of the doorbell cut through her whirling thoughts and was as effective as a bucket of ice water in dampening the energy boiling up inside her. She blinked a little dazedly, what had she been thinking? This sort of uncontrollable display of her ability was precisely why she'd moved here, to this quiet neighbourhood where nobody knew who or what she was.
What if she'd missed? Or worse, lost control? The whole house could have gone up in one giant explosion, and the life she was rebuilding would be over. The idea that she'd come close to murdering him didn't really register. That thought hid, to resurface and plague her conscience later.
"Are you gonna get that?" the sheet-clad guy asked, staring at her like she'd lost her mind. You and me both, bub, she thought, nodding distractedly and wondering what it was she was supposed to be getting, when the bell rang again, insistently.
Ah, that'd be it.
Waiting until the odd woman, Caitlyn he reminded himself, had closed the door, King set about trying to escape from the electric prison around the bed. Using a pillow, which began to singe and smoke after the fourth attempt, he systematically tested its boundaries and discovered, unhappily, that it extended all the way round and as far above the bed as he could reach. That left the floor, and he doubted somehow that he could tunnel through it without being noticed.
Wait a sec, what was that, at the corner of the bed?
Turning his thoughts to the floor had meant he caught sight of something there, sparkling in the sunlight. Closer inspection revealed a pale pink crystal, and three others like it, forming a square around him. Huh. It seemed a little too convenient that they should be there and, as a quick test showed, at the exact perimeter of his prison. Did they somehow form it? They didn't seem fixed to anything, so it should be relatively easy to break out he thought. He quickly revised his theory when another burnt finger revealed the barrier was between him and the crystals.
Another pillow was sacrificed to make sure that was the case, and then he slumped back onto the bed, stumped. An exasperated groan escaped him. He'd found ways out of more complex cages than this before, why on earth was this one so difficult?
Downstairs, Caitlyn smelled burning and mentally cursed her unwelcome guest. The persistent doorbell ringer, who turned out to be her neighbour, also caught the scent and made a point of it.
"Is that burning I smell dear?" Mrs Harris asked, trying once more to peer into the dim recesses of Caitlyn's house by craning her neck at an unnatural angle to negotiate the partially closed door. Smiling even more widely and forcedly, Caitlyn shook her head and drew the door closed a fraction more.
"Just my breakfast, couldn't get the hang of toast this morning…you know how the smell lingers," she replied, rethinking her earlier decision not to use the combustion spell a little.
Maude Harris, devoted wife to Stanley Harris and neighbourhood busybody, nodded understandingly. She knew how it was, why only last week Stanley had made himself tea while she'd been at bridge with Cecilia and Gladys and had ruined her best frying pan by burning eggs to its non-stick surface. And the smell! Goodness, it'd got into every room of the house and hung around for days and, as she explained to Caitlyn, not even bicarb had removed it.
Caitlyn, anxious to get rid of her, interrupted her anecdote with a hesitant cough and smiled beatifically when Maude's annoyed glance shot up at her.
"Was there a reason you called?" she asked, trying her best to be polite but not caring much if she was rude. Since the day Caitlyn moved in, Maude Harris had done nothing but be nosy, interfering, and overly helpful. All under the guise of welcoming her to the area and being motherly to a young woman so obviously alone and bereft of family, of course, but it annoyed Caitlyn something chronic.
It didn't occur to her that maybe she was too easily annoyed by little things like that, and that some therapeutic help with the problem might benefit her situation because far as she was concerned, other people were the ones with an issue.
She was just fine, thank you very much! But back to the problem at hand and Mrs Harris' head was once more nosing into her hallway as muffled groaning floated down from upstairs.
This time Caitlyn swore aloud, and then looked appropriately chastised when Maude tutted her annoyance.
"Really dear, there's no excuse for such language…"
Caitlyn nodded, and quickly covered the next, louder groan with,
"It's Sam, my golden retriever? He hasn't been too well lately; I've been meaning to take him to the vet's. Some sort of virus I think…I was hoping it'd clear up on its own, but…" the mention of his name had the dog's ears up, and had he been less lazy he'd have probably raced to his owner's side, but he wasn't and Caitlyn thanked her stars he preferred the sofa to walkies. Maude looked suitably concerned and was about to offer advice when,
"…I should probably go make sure he's okay," Caitlyn made to close the door, thankful for an excuse to leave.
"Hang on a minute dearie!" Maude pushed the door open again, and was rewarded with a glimpse of the hallway, and the sparkling length of the scimitar sword hung on the wall next to the coat-rack. Her eyes went wide, and Caitlyn could practically see her mind whirling and turning with possibilities and gossip. Luckily she remembered herself, and her reason for calling, within seconds and hastily enquired,
"Stanley and I wanted to know if you were alright. We heard such a racket last night, and Stanley thought maybe you had a burglar, so we called the police. Did they find anything?"
So that was who it was. She'd been wondering about the origin of two police constables and a sergeant who'd mysteriously appeared on her doorstep at half past one that morning. A spot check, perhaps?
She'd managed to get rid of them, but only after they'd made a quick sweep of her house to 'make sure the premises are secure, ma'am'. It had cost her a lot, as maintaining a glamour to cover something as large as the destruction of her solarium in front of three inquisitive policemen was something she was out of practice at. They'd finally left, with assurances that they were only a phone call away should anything untoward occur, and she'd been left slumped in a heap on the hall floor recovering from the complex spell-cast, while her guest slumbered peacefully upstairs.
An indiscreet and annoyed cough picked her mind up from the hall carpet. What's going on? Where am I? Mrs Harris' face a few inches in front of and below her own made her blink in a startled fashion. It held a bizarre mixture of anger and concern, and as a result was a little distorted. She fought down the urge to laugh.
"…Caitlyn, are you quite alright?"
Caitlyn nodded, unwilling to open her mouth and let a giggle escape. Now was not the time, especially since suspicion had joined the emotions on Maude's face and her eyebrows seemed knotted together.
Another thump upstairs. Was he incapable of sitting still? Her increasing level of annoyance squelched the giggle, and caused her to rapidly remember the subtle nuances of the combustion spell. Just more peep out of Mr-muscular-madman and he'd feel the full force of her wrath.
She tried projecting 'be a good boy and sit quietly' his way but annoyingly, unlike fireballs and levitation, telepathy was a power consigned wholly to fantasy novels and the movies, and an oath that had Mrs Harris' eyebrows disappearing into her tightly curled perm floated down seconds later. Damn the man!
An expectant silence reigned for all of a minute, then Caitlyn smiled brightly, forcefully yanked the door out of Maude's hands and cheerily hollered, "Thanks for checking on me, must go…Sam's…erm, calling. Byeee!" as the door slammed shut in her neighbour's face.
She leant against its solid presence for a moment, intending to take a few deep, cleansing breaths and maybe hum a soothing mantra before venturing upstairs to sort out her decidedly unwelcome 'visitor', but it wasn't to be.
The doorbell rang again, insistently this time, and its musical tones were hotly followed by some equally insistent pounding on the wood two inches from her left ear. For the love of the Goddess, was there no peace to be had? Mrs Harris was taking this 'neighbourly-love' thing slightly too far.
Growling softly, but fixing some semblance of a smile on her face, Caitlyn opened the door and started to tell her to leave, only to stop and blink stupidly at the people on her doorstep.
Two black-clad, weapon-toting, so-athletic-it-made-her-wince persons stood and, well, glared in her general direction. Somehow she didn't think they were selling girl-scout cookies, and it looked like her day was going to get spectacularly more complicated, and quite possibly worse, before it got better. Fabulous!
Noting their appearance her mind added two and two, divided by four, multiplied by six, carried the one and made the logical connection.
Sighing heavily she resigned herself to the facts and grudgingly said,
"You'd better come in…I guess you're after the nuisance in my guestroom…"