Agony and Rapture
Disclaimer: Blue Bloods belongs to Melissa de la Cruz. I own zilch of the Blue Blood Universe. If I did, I would have so many more pairs of shoes right now.
Author's Note: This story picks up right after the end of Masquerade. AU. Side Character death.
And since I started writing this way back before Revelations came out, there will be some canon continuity errors. In the massive edit job I am putting the fic through, I've tried my best to go back and edit in a few of the details Melissa de la Cruz only introduced in the later books.
Dedicated to the girls over at the Blue Bloods boards
Chapter One - Friday Night
Schuyler Van Alen walked through the underground Repository of History. It smelled of dusty books and wood polish, a familiar and comforting reminder of the last couple weeks. She maneuvered her way through the book stacks, determined not to trip and drop the heavy textbooks she held tightly to her chest. Her arms ached against the pressure of the over-sized books.
Each text looked like they had been through hell, leather bound and tattered. And it was these very same books that would act as her teachers for tonight's lesson. The subject was Blue Blood history. And each book had a different perspective covering nearly the same time period. Her goal was to have them all memorized by the end of the night.
This had become routine ever since Schuyler moved in with the Forces. She spent her free time studying alone, usually at the Repository or out in the city secretly training her vampire powers. Most nights, she would go for a run through Central Park, needing both the training and the chance to just clear her head.
Unlike Schuyler, her peers tonight would undoubtedly be getting ready to go out. Their worries and intentions being miles away from hers. While they partied the night away, she would seclude herself in this underground library. She couldn't admit it, but it bothered her more than she cared to.
Though, the young Blue Blood knew her training was important. While progress was slow, it was still rewarding. And that was all that mattered...even if it meant she had to sacrifice her social life for it. She wanted to be stronger, smarter, to be able to handle whatever was coming her way. And something was definitely coming her way. She had to make her grandfather proud, and maybe she not-so-secretly hoped to also impress a certain green eyed Blue Blood along the way.
Jack. His name was a mere whisper in her mind, but enough to get her pulse going. Yes, his approval was also important, but she still didn't fully understand why. She also wasn't curious enough to find out. At the moment, she had more than enough complicated relationships to keep her on her toes.
For starters, Oliver was getting too close for comfort. And then there was Jack, he was getting harder to avoid after Schuyler moved into the Force mansion. He lived just down the hall from her and being near Jack was unbearable. She was attracted to him. That was for sure. And he was to her, but it wasn't enough. He always pulled away if he gets too close. Schuyler was more than fed up with it, but what could she do?
If she was involved with Jack, that only meant she would also be involved with Mimi Force by proxy. So making the extra effort to get Jack's attention was futile. Mimi made Schuyler's life hell, simple as that. And the less interaction she had with the blonde beauty, the better.
Between her studying, training, and occasionally seeing Oliver, Schuyler was able to very effectively avoid all the Forces. The quick appearances she did make at the mansion (for sleeping and what not) had been going off without a hitch for the last couple days. Which of course, only put her more on edge tonight. Nobody was ever that lucky.
Schuyler strained to keep her arms tight around the big textbooks, hoping to make it to her usual seat by the fireplace before they fell. Turning around the corner, she smacked right into a hard body, knocking her off her feet and her texts went flying. Looking up, her apology stayed trapped in her throat as Mimi Force frowned down at her.
Schuyler didn't even think Mimi knew the location of the Repository, let alone be walking through it on a Friday night.
Mimi glanced at Schuyler nonchalantly, eyeing the texts scattered on the floor. One of the them fell at her foot, nearly missing it. She pulled her foot back in time, then kicked at the book when it landed. "Watch it."
The dark haired girl did nothing but mutter to herself as she gathered her books from the floor.
"Manners, Schuyler. I believe you ran into me."
Schuyler still did not look up or voice an apology, which only cemented Mimi's belief the girl was a plebeian.
Not bothered enough to further mock the half-blood, Mimi hopped around her, kicking a book out of reach before leaving. She glided down the direction Schuyler came from, barely hiding the smirk on her lips. There were more important things to tend to than waste her breath talking to the half-blood.
Schuyler stalked toward the fireplace, hoping to get a nice comfy seat and forget about run-in with Mimi. Clearing the stacks, she could see the soft flickering of warm amber light in the sitting area before her. One of the books she awkwardly picked up started to dig into her hip, so she dropped the books onto a nearby end-table, feeling immediate relief on her poor hip bone.
Sighing, she rubbed at the spot, the dull pain slowly ebbed away.
"Hey." Jack Force announced himself. He was seated in a over sized sofa chair to her left, looking tired. He gave her a faint smile.
"Oh! Hi there." Schuyler lightly smacked her chest with a hand, startled by him. She tried to hide the blush, looking away to straighten the textbooks she haphazardly dropped down.
Neither of them spoke. She noticed Jack looking the texts before her, eyes skimming the titles, an amused smirk played on his lips in the most heart fluttering way. There were so many things she wanted to say to him, but there was never going to be the right time or place for it. Not for them.
"Sky! There you are." Oliver's happy greeting caught them both off-guard. "Man, you're here more than I am these days."
Schuyler looked at Jack who had turned his attention back to his book. She shrugged, hugging a textbook close to her chest and put on a smile. "Yeah, I guess."
Oliver had been sneaking a glance Jack. The blond had decided to take himself out of the conversation, ignoring them, even though he sat just a few feet away.
"Well, come on, I've got something to show you." Oliver called out to her and wrapped one of his arms around her waist, picking up her other two books. Before she knew it, Oliver had steered them back into the book stacks. They stopped at an old, worn-out, oak table between the history and foreign texts section. There were already some books and wrinkled parchment left from whoever had been researching there last.
"You should know, you don't have to hide the fact your memorizing these." He set the books down. "It's exercising your other powers that's forbidden."
With the speed of which Schuyler could memorize the text, she easily could go through twice the amount of books in the time she spent at the Repository. But if she stuck with three, then anyone nosy enough would assume she was researching, not memorizing. Less attention on her equaled less problems with the Committee.
"At this point, it's better safe than sorry. I just want to stay under the radar." She sighed and avoided looking at him. Ever since she made Oliver her familiar, he was constantly looking at her in a weird way that made Schuyler regret ever doing it. He would randomly reach out for her, a hand at her back, her shoulder, her hands. It all was too possessive for two people who weren't seeing each other romantically.
But she couldn't bear to tell him how uncomfortable he had been making her. That would only make it more awkward than it was. So she opted for the easy way out, keep quiet and try to avoid any uncomfortable situations as much as possible.
"What did you want to show me?"
Oliver's gaze flickered on her, looking like he didn't remember ever saying that. He pushed away some sheets of paper and revealed a book on early American history.
Schuyler eyed him suspiciously, "I've read that one already."
"You sure? I found it deep behind some big ones, way, way in the back." He pointed his thumb behind him, in a random direction. "It's worth taking a look at it."
Amusing his wish, she opened the book up and fanned through it. She guessed he was fishing for something, but pretended not to notice and looked down at the book. Her brain fired on all pistons, bringing up pages from books on American History she had already read. "I already know all this."
Throwing his hands up in defeat, he grinned sheepishly, "Alright, you got me. It was a poorly executed plan to get you to spend some time with me. If you weren't so busy with training, I would think you were avoiding me."
The last part was meant as a joke, but Schuyler shifted in her seat at the implication. She didn't know how to go back to when she was comfortable around Oliver—when she didn't have to second guess her actions, fearing it would have an unintended meaning.
So she opted to lie. "You know Charles. It's like I'm on a leash." A very short leash at that.
Oliver only nodded, expecting a better reason. She shifted awkwardly and closed the book with a sharp thump. "I think I've had enough reading for one night." Another lie, she had barely begun.
"Good. Let's go back to my place. Unless you want to show me around the new digs." Oliver raised a teasing eyebrow at her, knowing her current residence was a sore topic for discussion.
"Sorry, but no." She was not going to press her luck with her streak of peace at the Force mansion.
"Aw. And here I wanted to see what Mimi really looked like without the smoke and mirrors." Oliver's hand waved in the air like a magician.
"Infuriatingly... still beautiful." Sky frowned, having run into the blonde Blue Blood plenty of times on her way to the kitchen in the morning.
Jack had diverted his attention back to his book, when he heard Oliver's voice. He was tired and didn't feel like being very social, especially with Schuyler and her best friend.
He was about to chance a glance to see what they were up to, but they had already walked away, with Oliver's arm wrapped around Schuyler. There was an absurd urge to follow them, just so he could break up whatever was going on. It was infuriating that Oliver made him jealous. Him!
He looked back down at the book, which he had been reading the same sentence in over and over again since Oliver arrived. His thoughts wandered again, back to Oliver and Schuyler. To make matters worse, he had noticed two distinct marks on Oliver's neck. So Schuyler had gone ahead with it, making Oliver her familiar. Jack reassured himself that it was a necessity, Schuyler's health was more important than anything.
And just then, a female hand slithered down the page of his book, obscuring his view of that repeating sentence.
I've been looking everywhere for you. Where have you been? Mimi whispered into his mind.
Jack signed inwardly. Here.
Mimi eyed him suspiciously, not amused with his aloofness. I'm bored. Come to Block 122 with me.
The offer Mimi made, along with the smoldering look, would made any lesser guy babble incoherently, agreeing to whatever Mimi would say. Jack had other plans in mind, but with Schuyler plaguing it at the moment, it was unlikely he was going to get anything done.
Mimi smiled victoriously, practically gleeful. But curiosity got the best of him, so Jack found himself walking towards the book stacks.
"Where are you going?" Mimi asked him vocally as he slid past her and walked off.
"Gotta put this away." He waved his book up in the air, without looking back at her.
Mimi called out to him impatiently, not buying his excuse. "Someone will do that for you."
"I'm willing to save them the trouble." There was agitation in his voice.
Jack made his way through the stacks, trying to remember where they had gone. He got to their table with the books he had seen Schuyler carrying. But they were no where in sight.
Mimi caught up with her twin, catching the disappointment in his eyes. She misunderstood it for confusion, "I told you, someone will do that for you. Just leave it at the table."
Jack snapped his head to where her voice came from. He tossed the book on the table. "Right. Lets go."
Well, what did you think? Let me know in a review. :)