Ghosts

By: Thought

Disclaimer: Yes, I totally own Witchblade. Really. I do. Why are you laughing at me: -D

A/N: This is my first Witchblade fic, unless you count the ficlet for Sara and Gabe in 'Bleed Like Me'. I'm not quite sure of where all events place in the timeline, so if I get a few things wrong please don't shoot me! I will try and get chapters out at a reasonable rate, though I can't promise anything. It's been a long time since I've done any chapterfic work, and a long time since I've ventured out of the Andromeda fandom.

XXX

Chapter One

Gabriel knocked at Sara's door early Wednesday morning, all forced cheer and thinly veiled panic. It had been a long night, and his only excuse for not being passed out on his couch at home was the miracle that the common folk referred to as coffee. Having consumed copious amounts of the stuff throughout the night, he had managed to make his way through three books in Latin, two encounters with Ian Nottingham and one very intense and well deserved hangover that had lasted all throughout Tuesday and only petered off at around one AM Wednesday.

"You're stalker's threatening me," he told her the minute she opened the door.

"Poor baby."

He implemented one of his paste and cardboard smiles and pushed past her into the apartment. She closed the door and turned an irritated glare on him where he was standing, gripping the edge of a chair.

"Gabriel, I have had exactly zero cups of coffee this morning, was woken up by Jake on my answering machine informing me that he's taking his vacation time now and headed back to California leaving me with his share of the work for two weeks, got a call from Irons making more threats against my life if I don't let him have the Witchblade and ergo me, and now you barge into my apartment looking like death warmed over on Meth. This had better be damned good."

It took him a minute to fully process the rapid stream of words, and when he did, it took another moment to craft an appropriate response. He finally decided on "Huh?"

Her glare became a little less 'you're one of my closest friends so you might just get away with a few pranks' and became a little more 'I'm going to rip your fucking spine out if you don't give me a really good reason not to'.

"I found something out about the blade. And your stalker visited me twice. And that very large and prominent bruise on my face that you have so kindly not bothered to ask about is courtesy of him. So I'm sorry if I've made your morning a little bit worse, but I was up all night dealing with your problems, so…yeah!" He trailed off, dropping into the chair with his head in his hands.

She poured herself a cup of coffee and returned. "Gabe."

He didn't move.

"What did you find out?"

His gaze slowly lifted to meet hers. "Okay, so, the blade gives you visions. We knew that, right?" He took her utter lack of a response as encouragement to continue. "What we didn't know, or at least I didn't know, is that it can also give you the ability to make contact with beings that are outside our physical plain of existence."

She blinked, and sipped her coffee. "So…"

He ran his hands through his hair, making it stick up at odd angles. "You could theoretically, um, talk to ghosts," he finished, his hands leaving his hair to gesture helplessly at nothing in particular.

Sara blinked. Nodded. "Ghosts, eh?"

He nodded, his mind rushing to make her understand the principles behind the discovery. He didn't get a chance, however, as she smiled her own version of the paste and cardboard smile and pointedly opened the door.

"That's interesting, Gabe," she said. "I'll call you about that later, Kay? I've gotta get ready for work."

He stared uncomprehendingly at the door. "But…"

She gave him a pointed look. "Sorry, Gabe. I really need to be finishing getting ready. I'm gonna be late as it is. Like I said. I'll be in touch. Maybe I'll even drop by over my lunch break, okay?"

He got up, still jittery from the caffeine. "Yeah. Whatever, Sara," he muttered, and exited without another word.

Nottingham was outside of her apartment complex. Gabriel was not at all surprised by this fact. "Now what?"

The taller man fell in step beside him. "You are a very slow learner. Did I not warn you against speaking to Sara about the Witchblade multiple times?"

"What can I say," Gabriel shrugged, quickening his pace. "I hear things I don't wanna hear and it goes in one ear and out the other. Drove my parents nuts when I was younger."

"I'm not quite sure you fully grasp the importance of my warnings."

"Oh, so that's what they were? Huh. Sounded a little more like threats to me." Gabriel rubbed his bruised cheek. "Felt a hell of a lot more like threats, too."

"This is the last time I will tell you this, Mr. Bowman. Stay away from Sara Pezzini—"

"Or you'll kill me." Gabriel completed the sentence for him. "Yeah, I kinda got that part. Tell me that when I'm coherent and sane, and I might consider giving a fuck. Right now? No. Just…no."

"You are not taking this seriously."

"Yes, I am. I just don't care right now," Gabriel explained. "My brain is about the equivalent to a bowl of cold porridge at the moment. I just got brushed off by Sara after spending a day and night finding stuff out for her, and giving up my sleep and work and possible romantic interest to do so. I want to go over there and pass out on that bench, but I can't because I've had enough caffeine to keep an elephant doing the tango for the next year. I am generally not in a good mood and my head has become the residence of about fifty drummers with anger management issues. And that, Mr. Nottingham, is why I don't care about you and your creepy obsession with Sara, right now."

"You love her."

Gabriel didn't even break his stride. "Um, I'm not the one who sits outside her apartment on the fire escape and watches her. You're the one with the sick infatuation, not me."

"I do only as my father asks of me."

Gabriel smirked. "So Kenny's the one with the sick infatuation. Well, that just puts the icing on the perverted stalker club cake, doesn't it?"

"He wants the Witchblade," Ian explained.

"No shit, Sherlock. I knew that one already," Gabriel glared at the pavement. "But seriously. The guy's what, fifty? And not even a trophy wife? He's got to be at least a bit interested in the wielder, too. I mean, look at her. She's beautiful, smart, capable…"

"And there you have proven my original point," Nottingham stated blandly.

Gabriel blinked. "Which was?"

"You love her."

"Oh."

"And I want you to stay away from her."

Gabriel sighed. "Because you love her more, is that it? We back in Jr. High, Nottingham? Sara's a big girl. She can decide for herself who she does and doesn't want to see."

"And this morning it appears to be neither of us," Nottingham observed.

Gabriel ignored him. When he next looked up, the other man had vanished into the shadows.

"Freak," Gabriel muttered under his breath.

XXX

As soon as she had ushered Gabriel out of her apartment Sara locked the door and looked around for Danny. He was there, standing in the same space that Gabriel had been occupying moments before.

"I'm assuming you heard all that?" she asked the ghost.

"Yep. And I also heard and saw your very not subtle dismissal of him. That wasn't very nice."

She stuck out her tongue at him. "What was I supposed to do? Sit through a bunch of explanations that I'd only half understand, then say 'Hey, Gabe, guess what? I already knew all that because I talk to my dead partner all the time!'?"

He shrugged. "Maybe."

She blinked rapidly. "Maybe!"

"If that's what you thought you should do," he said calmly. "Was the Witchblade telling you anything when he visited?"

"No, no it wasn't. A lot of help it's been lately, anyway." Sara gave the offending bracelet a look of malice.

"You got the blade for a reason. It will reveal what you need to know in due course," Danny told her. She sent an icy glare his way. "Ooo, if looks could kill," he grinned.

"…Then you'd be absolutely fine," Sara tossed over her shoulder as she entered her bedroom.

Danny followed her. "Well, that may be true, but dead or alive you're still scary as hell when you're mad."

"Never stopped you from laughing at me before when I lost my temper,' she snapped, tossing a pillow at him. The pillow went right through him, and he grinned.

"Hey! I only laughed when it was funny! Like when you blew up at that witness on the Dowel case for constantly pronouncing your last name wrong."

Sara pouted. "I corrected the guy fifty times! What kind of idiot doesn't get something like that after the first five or six times he's told!"

"Some people just have a bit of trouble remembering things," he responded.

Sara tugged a brush through her hair. "Some people also like pissing me off," she retorted.

"Not untrue," he agreed cheerfully.

"And then I have the right to go Xena on their ass," she continued.

"Absolutely."

"You're on that list, Danny."

He grinned. "I'm also intangible."

She didn't grace his remark with a reply.

"So. Looks like your personal stalker has found another victim," Danny observed after a few minutes of silence.

Sara sighed. "Yes. Apparently."

"Maybe it'll take his attention off of you for a while."

"So he'll be busy stalking Gabriel."

"Yes. But he wants to have sex with you," Danny smirked at her in the mirror.

"But not Gabe…damnit, Danny!"

"Well, you made the suggestion."

"I didn't! I just said that—"

"He'd be busy stalking Gabriel. Exactly. Which implies some sort of deeply hidden sexual desire."

"Or not so deeply hidden if he's stalking him," Sara snickered.

"Though he did hit him last night," Danny remembered. "Did you see that bruise?"

"It's Ian's way of showing affection. He hurts his love interests."

"Don't tell me it turns him on?"

"S and M, Danny. And besides, if he gets off on the whole sadist thing, and he protects me from harm, that means that he has no sexual desire for me, hidden or not! And that works just fine with me."

"You're going to make my brain implode, Sara."

"You're a ghost. What do you care? I have to deal with the mental images all throughout the day at work!"

"You brought this entirely upon yourself, Pez."

"Oh, did I now?" She grabbed her leather jacket, holster and phone from the bed where they had been waiting for her. "Well, I'm going to work now. You have fun doing…whatever ghosts do in their spare time."

"You should talk to Gabriel," Danny told her as she opened the door.

"Thank you, oh wise Asian Master," she snapped. "I kinda figured that's what you wanted me to do."

"I always knew you were smart."

She slammed the door in his face. He promptly popped up in front of it. "Joys of not having a physical body. The power of a slammed door somehow looses its impact when one can walk right through."

"Well, the power of sanity kind of looses its impact if one is seen walking around talking to know one, so shut up and go away."

"I'm hurt. I really am. You don't want to spend more time in my cheerful and uplifting company! You've deeply scarred my self-esteem forever and ever. I don't know if I'll ever recover."

"I'm sure you'll get over it. Now shoo," she said, glancing around to assure herself that there was no one close enough to overhear her conversation with the seemingly empty air.

"Promise that you'll go see Gabriel at lunch and talk to him."

"What if I'm busy?"

"Then go after work."

"What if I've got a bunch of paperwork to take home with me and finish?"

"Ignore it for a little while."

"I hate you, you know that?"

He grinned. "It's one of the perks of being the best friend."

"Fine, fine. I promise I'll go see and talk to Gabriel at some point today. Happy?"

"Yes. You've made my day," he said dryly, and vanished.

Sighing, Sara headed down the stairs, already quite aware that she was going to be horrifically late to work, and that Dante would have her ass for it.