Title: Changes in Attitude
Pairing: Who else? Henry/Vicki
Disclaimer: I've just borrowed these characters to fuel my imagination.
Summary: Love, honor and passion are always worth the risk
Word Count: 8498
Running until your heart is about to burst. Hoping the path is clear because even though this is your city, it changes every day and your eyes aren't what they used to be.
Oh, God, Henry, where are you? I need you.
Knowing that a demon that seduces you then sucks your heart out is behind you, wanting to stop, turn and face it but knowing that if you do, it's over. You saved the girl, now save yourself. If I just keep going, he'll be here. He's never let me down.
Just when your knees will no longer support the rest of you, a gust of (wind?) grabs you and pulls you inside a (building)?
Safe. With Henry.
From what's out there. Inside is a different story.
Vicki adjusted her glasses and looked up to see Henry Fitzroy, the hottest vampire she's ever seen (okay fine, the only vampire she's ever seen). Henry's left arm is wrapped around her waist, while his right one had cupped her cheek. He stared at her with so many emotions passing through his eyes, his mouth, she couldn't really pick one. Until she hears his voice, quietly speaking into her ear.
"Victoria, would it be possible just once for you to actually listen when I say, Wait for me, I'll go with you so you'll be safer."
Yup, easy to pick one now. I got the Victoria voice. Trying to lighten the mood, she said, "Oh, please, where's the fun in that? Besides, you know how it makes me hot when you rescue me at the last minute. I get to fall dramatically into your arms and say "Oh, Henry, my hero."
Henry moved even closer to her, leaned in, felt her breath change, start to come in short, shallow wisps. His voice was low when he said, "Vicki, you have never fallen, dramatically or otherwise, into anyone's arms and would probably choke on "my hero." Even as he said that, he thought, She called me her hero. Her breathing changed again, encouraged him to lean even impossibly closer, to smell her hair, damp from running, her scent, the sweat drying on her warm skin.
Vicki could feel nothing but Henry. She'd resisted him for so long, deflected the advances with the smart ass remark. Turned her head when he leaned in to kiss her. She'd fought him every step of the way, and yet here they were. Again. Her eyes were half closed, just letting it wash over her, ready, wet and tingling in places she'd almost forgotten she had.
"Vicki," he said as he nuzzled her ear, then her jaw and worked his way down from there.
"Where's the demon?"
Buzz kill. Vicki started, "It was right behind me, you must have scared it off" He looked at her like her IQ had just dropped to a single digit. "As a rule, demons are only scared of specific things, and vampires are not one of them".
"You are what?" looking at her.
You said "I am"
"No, I didn't."
"Yes, you did."
"Who's on first?" Good save, Nelson.
"Not a fan of Abbott & Costello, huh?"
"Apparently not. Come on, I'll take you home." Henry's hand traveled down Vicki's arm and reached for her hand. That's when he smelled the wet, familiar scent of her blood, coming from somewhere up her sleeve.
"Victoria, why are you bleeding?"
"I didn't know I was." Vicki stared down at her arm like she'd never seen it there before.
"Well, you are. Come on, I'm taking you home so we can get a look at it" Henry wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her close to him.
"Now that you mention it, I am feeling a little light headed."
Henry picked her up,
"I can walk, Henry"
"I can walk faster, Vicki."
and carried her to the car and drove like a half crazed person, trying to watch the road and Vicki at the same time. He could smell the blood more strongly now, in the enclosed space. It filled his senses and worried and aroused him at the same time.
That's becoming the norm for me around her.
Greg the doorman looked up and thought What's wrong with this picture? She's usually carrying him. "Should I call someone Mr. Fitzroy?"
"No, thank you. She's just lightheaded from hunger."
Henry pushed open the door to the apartment and sat Vicki on the sofa. As he removed her jacket, he saw the blood flow had stopped, but there still was a trail down her arm.
Vicki finally noticed the hole, "Shit, I liked this jacket. It's the only piece of clothing my mother ever gave me I actually did like."
Eying the cut he said, "It doesn't look too bad, a scratch."
"Then why do you have the scowly look on your face?"
"Because it bothers me I didn't smell you bleeding before."
"That's because you were too busy smelling other things to notice."
Henry stood up went into the bathroom and brought back a first aid kit before she even had time to smile at her own cleverness.
"Take off your blouse please."
"I bet you say that to all the girls"
"I don't have to."
"Only around you."
She took off her blouse and looked down at the scratch that ran from her shoulder to a couple of inches above her elbow. "Not deep", he said, "just long." Vicki opened her mouth to say something then clamped it shut. He saw it though. "What?"
Henry took out the bottle, the bandages and the tape. He poured antiseptic on the gauze and started to clean the wound. Vicki watched as he cleaned the cut so gently she felt the liquid but not the touch. She watched his face as he worked and was quietly moved at how concerned he was as he bandaged her arm. Just when I think he can't surprise me, he does. She smiled and without realizing she was doing it, she touched his face. So lightly, if Henry hadn't been a vampire he probably wouldn't have noticed.
He looked up with such love in his eyes it took Vicki by surprise.
The hand that was on his face stayed as she looked at him, saw the 17 year old boy he was when he was in love with Christina. Saw the man he had become over the years. The light in his eyes shined as he looked at her and it hit her. He would always love her. He would always do anything to protect her and nothing, no demon, no blindness, nothing, would stop him.
He wasn't her father. There would always be that push/pull between them, Vicki didn't know any other way to be, but she was finally sure of one thing. He wasn't just trying to get her in the sack, or have a nice meal. He did actually love her. Her other hand came up and cupped his face. She slowly bent towards him and finally let down her guard. Henry smiled just a little. Not the smirk she was used to, just the smile that said finally she gets it. His fingers reached out traced her features, slowly taking everything in. She did the same and it was as if their emotions finally caught up with their bodies.
Henry finished removing the torn blouse, kissing her where each button had been. When he got to the belt of her jeans, it was off before Vicki could blink. Then the snap, then the zipper. Every part of her met his lips as they traveled downward, his hands pulling her clothes down so slowly she knew she wouldn't be able to be still. She knew she didn't want to be still. Every nerve ending was awake and tingling, waiting for the next touch, the next kiss. Her boots were off, then her socks. Then it stopped.
Henry had scooped her up and they were on his bed. She, sitting on the edge, he kneeling at her feet. She reached down, unbuttoning his shirt, then his jeans. He stood, flying out of his clothes and lifting Vicky back further on the bed, touching her everywhere he could find, like he was the one who was blind and could never be out of contact with her body for fear of becoming lost. Vicky gasped and reached for him.
The growl came from deep in his throat as he pushed her back and said, "No, love, you first." His lips traveled from her cheek, her chin, the hollow of her throat, kissing everything. His hair tickled. It was all Vicki could do to breathe. He kept going, kissed her navel, her stomach, nipped at her, inhaling all the scents coming from her.
His mouth reached, his teeth gently pulling. He knew she was moaning, writhing with the passion that has been held in check for so long. All Henry wanted was to make the moment last as long as possible, to make her feel everything he felt when he was in the throes of passion, sinking his fangs and himself into his partners body.
He was wary, though. Wary that she'd hold back because of fear. Fear of losing control, fear of being just a meal. There was to be none of that for Vicki. He stopped and said, just loud enough for her to hear.
"I will never hurt you Victoria."
"Talk later", she gasped. She took his head in her hands and pushed it downward, further, wanting everything, and willing to dare. Henry's tongue tortured her. His teeth nipped again at her lips, just enough to send waves of pleasure searing through her. Her orgasm started in her toes, curled them, and worked its way up her legs, her spine, made her arch her back in an almost unnatural way. Henry smiled, knew she has never felt like this with anyone.
He began to work his way back up to her, still kissing, licking, nipping. His mouth reached her breast and his fangs nipped. Vicki was aware that his body was practically vibrating, hard and insistent but waiting its turn. She reached for him with her left hand, used her right to pull Henry's lips to hers. The kiss was deep but Vicki felt as if she couldn't pull him into her far enough. He used his tongue on her mouth and she moaned, guided him. It felt like they had been molded together. His tongue left her mouth and Vicki felt an empty disappointment until his lips, his mouth moved up and down her jaw her ear, finally moving to her neck. He could feel her orgasm starting to build again, could smell the blood as it rushed to the surface of her skin. His fangs found that sweet spot on her neck, and Henry bit down. Vicki let out a small cry, and felt the burst of pleasure spread from her neck to the rest of her body in wave after wave. Henry drank, filled his own body with ecstasy.
He began to rock, slowly at first, then moved with a range of motion that no mortal could ever come close to. He and Vicki began to move as one, reveled in the feelings that kept pouring over them. Henry arched his back, felt himself reach the height of passion, and Vicki joined him. The low scream came out of her mouth involuntarily and Henry growled at the sound. Overjoyed at the pleasure he had brought to his Victoria. She was his now, would always be his.
It had been too many lifetimes since he had known anyone as strong as Victoria, as independent. She chased away an emptiness in him he denied having. They were entwined now, a part of each other. One without the other would never again be a whole person.
She lay in semi darkness, watched him, reached out to touch him. His hair, his skin. She wanted to be able to know every part of him, and since she couldn't really see him, her hands would do the seeing.
She whispered, "Are you asleep? Since you don't really breathe, I can't tell-that and the fact that it's dark and I'm half blind."
Henry smiled, a slow lazy smile. "No, love, I'm not asleep. I've been watching you breathe and listening to all the noise in your head."
She thought, " I hate it when he does that." But she said, "What noise?"
He turned on his side, took a strand of her hair and wrapped it around his fingers, "That little talk you're having with yourself about how this was a one time thing. How we have to go back to being just partners on cases. Now that you know what it's like, the "longing" Emmanuel was talking about is now back in check."
She sat up then, and said, "Okay, first, there was no longing, and second, that's not what I was thinking."
That was worthy of the royal eyebrow and skepticism filled his face, "Victoria?"
In his best 'I am a prince of the realm' voice, he said, "Then forgive me, my lady and pray tell, what were you thinking?"
That earned him a punch in the arm, "All right, smartass, I was thinking the word incredible does not even begin to describe how I feel right now. How even in the dark I can see what we have is real.
Wicked strange but real. I'm thinking that I could just stay here, in this bed with you, until I'm old and gray."
He looked at her with the same look he had before they made love, and held out his hand. "Then stay, love, until you are old and gray and I'll stay with you."
Vicki grinned, "Yeah, well, that's fine in theory. But you have to eat, and so do I. "
The grin faded and she continued quietly, "Then I started thinking about the kids that demon is killing. He could have killed me tonight, and then we wouldn't be here now. How do we stop him Henry? Can we stop him?"
"I don't know. This demon seems to have little fear. When I found you, I don't think I scared him off, I think he had made his kill and was content to go back to wherever he's hiding."
Vicki frowned, "But he didn't. Make a kill, I mean. I came up behind him and whacked him with my baton. He turned, I told the girl to run and then I hit him again. He chased me and that's where you came in. Oh, I need to get Coreen on those tattoos!" She got up and started looking for her phone, comfortable enough with Henry that it didn't even occur to her that she wasn't wearing any clothes. Henry was very aware of it.
Vicki, however, had already gone into her no-nonsense, we need to get this done, private detective mode. "I've got to call Coreen and get her started on checking out the symbols that were carved into his arms."
"Carved into his arms? Like tattoos?"
"No, carved like with a knife. Into his skin, but the skin was almost like armor."
"Can you describe them?"
"There were four of them, two on each arm, about the size of a donut. Each one had different symbols inside, I think. How many demons can be out there who have those?"
"Vicki, there are so many things I've seen over the centuries, I would not know where to begin."
Sometime after midnight, Vicki walked into her office to find Coreen already there. She had stacks of books in the front room, marked with sticky notes. Coreen herself was sitting at the computer, hitting the same key over and again. Vicki knew that meant she'd found listing after listing of the weird and wonderful world she loved.
Coreen didn't even look up.
"Some. I've got your demons with tattoos, your demons with carvings, and your demons that don't do much of anything and are just plain ugly."
"But not our demon?"
"Well," Vicki said picking up a book, "tell me where to start."
"With the books on the sofa. Did Henry bring you home?"
"Yeah, He went to check with some of his own sources."
"And grab something to eat?"
"No, he's checking with some of his own sources."
Vicki looked around her office then looked at Coreen, "Where did all these books come from?"
"From my friend at the library. He lets me borrow them every now and then."
"And by borrow, you mean steal?"
"No, I mean borrow. If I was stealing them, I wouldn't take them back."
"Like you haven't taken back the paper you "borrowed" about Egyptian reanimation rituals yet."
"What's your point, boss?"
"My point is, although having this as source material is great, I'd rather you not klepto your way through every demonology, witchcraft and monster book in town.
"Should I take them back?"
When Henry showed up around four a.m., Vicki was sitting on the floor, back was against the desk, her head down and turning pages. Coreen was sitting in the chair, head on the desk. He bent down and sat next to Vicki. Reached out and caressed her hand, his thumb moving in slow circles around the back of it. She looked up, smiled and yawned at the same time. "Henry? What time is it?"
He smiled back
"Almost 4 am. I can't stay long. I wanted to check in, see if you've found anything and let you know my sources say this demon serves a higher one. One who's trying to find a path back to this plane of existence and not too happy with us."
"No, a demon called Meskatha. Apparently, it's taken umbrage at the fact that in the past, we've stopped a couple of under demons he summoned from completing part of the ritual to bring him back."
"Ah, vengeance. That I understand. Did they know if a mortal called him up, like Norman?"
Shaking his head, "No, Meskatha can summon a demon all by himself, but he only has a limited amount of time to complete the ritual to cross over, five days left to get this done. And he needs 6 hearts to complete the ritual. One for each point of the pentagram and one for the center. According to your Detective Celluci, he's already got three. Tonight would have been four if you hadn't shown up when you did."
Head down, trying not to let Henry see her smile, she said, "So, where do we go from here? And he's not my Detective Celluci."
Again Henry smiled, ridiculously happy that Vicki had said he's not my Det. Celucci. So much for vampires being above "human emotions." Then focused and continued.
"Unknown. And good. I've left word that if anyone knows anything to come see you. We'll finish figuring how to stop this thing tomorrow when I return." He stood, pulling up Vicki with him, looked around and asked, "Where did all these books come from?"
"Coreen stole them from her friend at the library."
Coreen stopped snoring long enough to interject,
"I didn't steal them. "
Henry picked up his coat and was looking at Vicki.
She shook her head and said "What?"
He spoke quietly. "I need to say this so please-no interrupting, no arguing. I've waited a long time to have someone in my life like you, so have a care with this. I love you, Vicki Nelson and in all the years I've walked this earth, I've only said that to three people." His eyes dropped, "You don't have to say anything, I know you'd rather chew off your arm than talk about feelings. But you needed to know this."
She reached out and took his hand, placing it on her heart.
"I know you can hear this and yes, I would rather chew off my arm than talk about this stuff. And believe it or not, I do know you love me. When this Meskatha guy is dust, we will talk. I promise." She paused, and gently pushed Henry toward the door, "Now wipe that goofy look off your face and get home before the sun comes up. If you catch fire before we finish this, I'll feel deserted, and you know I have abandonment issues."
He took her hand, brought it to his lips and kissed her palm. "Goodnight, love. See you tonight."
With Henry gone, Vicki found it a little easier to breathe for some reason. "I can't believe what a dork I am when he's around, you'd think I was 14 on my first date for God's sake.
She turned around to see Coreen staring at her, "What?"
"Nothing," Coreen's black shadowed eyes were looking at her books intently now.
"Do you really want to know?"
"I know I'll be sorry almost immediately, but yes, I would."
"First, have you and Henry..?"
"What?! Not your business, Coreen."
"Okay, that answered the first question. Second, now that you have, are you and Henry going to be together?"
Vicki's eyes rolled as she asked, "And you need to know, why?"
Coreen took a deep breathe and began, "Because ever since I met you and Henry and Mike, I've watched Mike and Henry dance around you like two puppies wanting the same chew toy and I've watched you wobble like a weeble trying to decide which way to fall, and yes, I know I just mixed my metaphors. If you and Henry have, you know, taken care of that longing thing, does that mean you and Mike aren't whatever you are? And before you answer that, keep in mind I heard you tell Henry you love him."
"Oh my God, Coreen, we're hip deep in demons and," she waved her arms around the room, "demon books and you're asking me about my love life!? And, since you were eavesdropping, you had to hear me tell Henry we'd talk about all this when we've wrapped up our latest fun fest. So, I'll say it again for those of us in the room who aren't me. We've got more important things to worry about than my love life or anything else that isn't a demon who wants to wreak havoc on who knows, maybe the world. You should concentrate on finding the information we need to get rid of this thing and maybe later, when I write my memoirs, you can find out exactly what I did about the whole Henry/Mike thing. Until then, can we please focus on keeping three other people from being killed to bring a vengeance demon here and ruining our day?"
Coreen's expression said it all.
Vicki's face and voice softened as she said, "God, Coreen, I'm sorry. I know you're just trying to help, I really do. But until this case is finished, it has to be our focus. When it's over, there'll be plenty of time to talk to Mike about Henry. She paused, "Look, why don't you go home, get some rest and come back tomorrow afternoon. I'll do the same."
Coreen picked up her bag, slowly smiled at Vicki, "I know how hard it is for you, but if you do want to talk, here I am."
She reached toward Vicki for a hug which Vicki neatly sidestepped and said, "Coreen, we talked about the hugging, right?" As Coreen headed out the door, Vicki yelled after her, "And don't ever call me a chew toy again or you're fired."
"Now if I could just take my own advice and get some sleep."
She locked the door, lay on the sofa bed in her office, eyes closed,
"Relax. Think sleeping, re-energizing, getting ready for the next battle."
That sounds good.
You'll never get to sleep while you're thinking about Henry, his hands, his mouth all over you. That whole super speed thing does come in handy, doesn't it?
"Oh, God, I'm by myself and I'm blushing!"
You've got to get past it.
On Henry's lips, tongue finding places no one has ever been.
Get a grip!
Okay, so maybe there was a little bit of longing.
Drifting off, she started to dream.
She lay in bed, the sun gone down, a breeze blew in through her window. She opened her eyes, smiled to see Henry. He went to her, smiling, and laid down next to her. His fingers traced her hairline, ran through Vicki's hair, curled the ends around his finger.
Half asleep, "Are you hungry?"
In her dream, he said, "No, not tonight. Tonight is just for us."
He moved on top of her, hands touched her skin lightly. Her T shirt moved up, her pants moved down and Henry moved everywhere. Reaching for him, he said, "No, not yet."
And Vicki acquiesced, letting him have his way. For now. All she could do was feel as her blood rushed through her. The cool touch of all of him. His soft hair brushed her body, his tongue laved everything, left his cool touch in its wake, started from her face and moved down to her breasts, her stomach, her legs. There was no better feeling than this.
I made the right choice.
The phone rang so loudly, Vicki jumped up and grabbed her baton.
She grabbed the phone, yelled, "WHAT?"
"Ok, I know you've never been much of a 'wake me up and I'm ready to go person', but dial it back a notch, whydon'tcha?" the voice of Mike Celucci broke through her annoyance.
"Look, Vic, are you at the office?"
Scrubbing her face with one hand, she said "Yeah, yeah, I am. What time is it?"
"Almost 3. I'm coming by with the files on the three murders."
"Does Crowley know you're absconding with the files to bring to her favorite pi.?"
"Uh, let's just say, not so much."
She grinned at the phone, and laughed, "Works for me. Bring coffee."
Twenty minutes later, the door opened and the broadest pair of shoulders Vicki had still ever seen came into the office, " Hey, I've got coffee and crime scenes."
"Oh goody." The tired crept into Vicki's voice in spite of herself.
Mike tossed the files on her desk. He sighed, and the effort to not be horrified seeped out in his tone, "I've been looking at these photos for two days now. All I can see is blood, open chest wounds, missing hearts and some creepy looking drawings. Have you found anything in these books I keep tripping over? Like how we find his next victim before they're a victim?"
"Sort of. Henry found out it's a vengeance demon trying to find a path to this world. It has seven days to get the six hearts, perform the ritual and join all of us here on planet earth. We think we can perform a different ritual to find out where he'll turn up next."
"And then we stop him, how?"
"Not sure about that part yet, Coreen and I are working on it and so is Henry."
Mike couldn't keep the sarcasm out of his voice, "Ah. And how is the vampire bastard son of Henry VIII helping this time?"
Annoyed, Vicki says, " He's the one who found out which demon we're dealing with. And he saved my life, again, last night. That's how he's helping. If you're going to start slagging on him, don't."
The Celucci eyebrow went up, "A little defensive aren't we?"
"Sorry. Long day, longer night. Can I keep these photos?"
"Sure, I had copies made before I came."
"Great. Can you stay and help look for a ritual to stop this bastard or do you have something better to do?"
"Can't. I've got to meet Dave. The guy we like for killing his girlfriend last week has supposedly surfaced on the west side of town. We're gonna see if we can't catch him coming or going."
Sounding almost wistful, Vicki said, "Oh, for the good old days of plain old fashioned homicide. Good luck with that, and be careful."
Hauling himself up out of the chair, Mike looked at her, irony in his voice, "Yeah, you too. I'll touch base later. Let me know if you find out anything."
After Mike left, Vicki sat in her chair propped her feet on the desk and just stared at the wall. "Okay, I need a shower."
No, I need a nap.
Nap. Dream of Henry.
Out loud, "This is what love does to you. It makes you a moron." She sighed, "All righty then, how about this? Check out one more book, take a shower, then a nap."
As Vicki ran her hands over the books, her tattoos begin to warm up. As she looked down at her wrists, she sees the faint glow.
"Okay, demon Geiger counter, cool!"
Or not. We know the tattoos are evil.
But they've been helpful.
They let me bitch slap Norman and touch Magnus. How bad can that be?
She laid all the books out side by side, and then started to run her hands over them one at a time. No glow, no heat, so she kept moving. When her hands reached the sixth book in line, the tattoos start to glow even more. When she moved her hands further down, the heat faded, so she moved them back
"So, is this the answer to our prayers?"
Demonicus Necromantia, The book of the dead and the damned.
Yeah, another page turner from your local library of hell fire and brimstone.
"Sometimes I just can't stand it."
Vicki picked up the book and started turning the pages.
"Oh, lovely." With each page, Vicki's pacing became a little more agitated.
"These pages are in Latin? Greek? Persian? Penguin?
Who the fuck can read this shit!!?? She paused,
"Henry was right. My language does go down the sewer when I'm worried." She slammed the book shut. "Note to self, never say 'Henry was right' out loud again."
Okay, time to think Nelson. Vicki's thoughts raced.
If Henry can read the Rosetta Stone, he should be able to read this.
Put the book in a safe place, take a shower, and get ready to get to Henry's. Or am I safer here?
Her shoulders slumped a little and she said out loud, "God, I really do miss the good old days of straight up homicide!"
Half an hour later, Vicki had finished her shower, dried her hair and gotten dressed. The book was out on her desk and she paced around it, like she was waiting for it to open on its own, or light up.
The phone rang and she involuntarily jumped. Vicki picked up the phone, "Nelson investigations."
"Vicki, it's Coreen. Are you alright?"
"I'm good. I just wanted to see if you need to bring anything on my way in."
"A Demon to English dictionary would be good."
"I think I found the book we need."
"Maybe. It's in a language other English, hence the reference to the dictionary"
"Oh. I'll be there soon."
By the time Coreen got to the office, Vicki had managed to get back to all business mode. As the sun finally began to go down, she felt some of the tension leaving her. Knowing that soon Henry would be awake and she could show him the book made her feel better.
"The vampire makes me feel better about the demon. Not too many people can say that and actually mean it."
Coreen opened the book and started turning the pages. Vicki stayed on the other side of the room, not wanting Coreen to see the tattoos start to glow. Even while Coreen was going through the book, Vicki's thinking. Coreen interrupted her train of thought, "Vicki, I think this is in Latin, or something very similar. When Henry gets here, he'll be able to tell for sure."
"Actually, I don't think I'm going to wait for Henry to get here. I'm taking it to him. Could you put the book in a bag or something? I'd like you to stay here and see what you find out about how it affects glowing tattoos that heat up."
"Please, just do it."
Sounding like the teenager she so recently was, she said, "Fine. Here's the book. In a bag. Ready to go."
The cab deposited Vicki in front of Henry's building and when she walked in, there sat Greg, ever watchful doorman.
"How are you feeling, Miss Nelson?" He'd never be able to call anybody Ms., it just didn't feel right.
"I'm great Greg, you have a good night."
The elevator ride to the 14th floor felt like took longer than it ever had before. When she got off and saw the door to Henry's, she let out a breath she didn't know she'd been holding. She made herself walk, not run down to his door. When she got there, the door opened before she can even knock.
In spite of herself, Vicki gasped.
Concern radiated from Henry, "Are you all right?"
"Fine. Dandy. Never better. You?"
"Victoria?", he searched her face. "Inside." He took her over to the sofa, sat her down then sat on the coffee table in front of her and said, "Tell me."
She stared at his face, not wanting to take her eyes away from his, and began.
"This afternoon, I was passing my hand over the books Coreen stole slash borrowed from the library when my tattoos started the whole glowing, heating up thing again. I tried it with the other books, but this is the only one that they reacted to."
Henry took her wrists and pushed up her sleeves to look, "They're not glowing now?"
"No. Apparently being wrapped up in the cloth and put in a bag creates some kind of barrier. But watch this."
Vicki took the book out of the bag, sat it on Henry's coffee table and moved her arms closer. The tattoos began to glow again the closer they got.
Henry inhaled sharply, "Dark magic."
Vicki picked up the book, handed it to Henry, and then backed away, closer to the window. The glow started to fade. "Can you read it?"
"Yes. It's bastardized form of Latin. Worshippers used this book to call forth everything from vengeance demons to ones who can cause death by pleasure."
"You know, I never once saw a book like this in the library when I was in school. That's just not fair."
That brought a bit of a smile to Henry's face. "Sometimes even pain can bring pleasure."
"We'll have to talk about that sometime. Right now, let's talk about how we stop this demon and get rid of Meskatha."
"Stay over there and let me look through this. Are you hungry?"
"You actually have food?"
"I placed an order for Chinese first thing. I knew you'd be here soon. Oh, and I almost forgot something. It should make you feel better."
"What?" there was barely a heartbeat and Henry stood in front of her, wrapped his arms around her,
Cool lips kissing her. Insistent, yet gentle. Vicki's arms went around Henry almost of their own accord.
"There's that humility again, but you know, I do feel better now."
"That's the whole point. I love you."
"Me too. But we need to backburner the romance for now, remember?"
In spite of the pseudo rejection, Henry just smirked, "We can't do both?"
"No, because you have a disturbing effect on my vision and it's harder to think. So, as much as I would like to jump on you right now, we really need to jump on this first."
That seemed to satisfy him, so he just bowed and said, "At you service, my lady. Let's get to work so we can get to the really important stuff."
Henry turned as the doorbell rang, "Dinner."
When he came back with a dozen sacks of food, Vicki looked at him and grinned, "Are you having company?"
He grinned back, "You forget, I've seen you eat."
As Vicki headed for the food, she said, "Okay, I'll eat, you can find a spell that will send this guy back to where he came from."
"Or at least find an incantation that will bind him to other plane, so he can never get back here."
Vicki opened up a couple of the bags and started pulling things out, "Henry, how do we find him and can we find his next victim? Can you do that mirror trick you did when we first met?"
Still reading, Henry said, "It won't work, we have nothing belonging to the demon for which to search."
"Yes we do."
"What?" Henry looked up.
"When I hit him with my baton, a piece of him stuck to it. She shivered, "Ugh, that sounds even creepier when I say it out loud."
Again, Henry said, "What!? Where is it?"
"In the bag with the book."
"Why didn't you say so before!"
"Well, I was a little distracted with the whole glowing tattoos and kissing me thing."
He wanted to be stern, he really did. but couldn't quite pull it off. In spite of himself, he grinned. "Sorry about that."
She grinned back, "Not a problem."
Henry performed the ritual and in the mirror he began to see a room full of writhing people, moving in sync with unheard music.
"It's a club, and I know which one. Let's go."
Henry gathered the book, the ritual knife and the food together, "Bring it, you can eat on the way."
"Bossy much, your highness?"
They reached the club and as Henry was parking, he said,
"Do not leave that food in the car."
"Oh God, you're one of those."
"This is a classic car. I've had it more than 40 years and never once has anyone spilled food in it. Until now."
"How many people besides you have actually been in this car? And you know what, maybe if you were a better driver, shrimp wouldn't have gone flying."
"I have been driving since 1916. I am an excellent driver and I'll even ask for directions. Now, let's go get this demon sent back to where it belongs, close the case and go get the car cleaned."
"Henry, you need to focus, babe. Until the demon's gone, no one's safe. If we don't stop him, it won't matter if the car's clean or not. You've memorized the spell and have that piece of him, right?"
"Yes. I'm ready."
"Let's split up. I'll be bait, you can keep tabs on me. Since it's seen me before, and chased me down a street, chances are it's going to try and finish the job."
In the club, Henry's senses were alert, but no demon. He did smell the scent of human foreplay. The talking, the buying of drinks, the laughing at jokes that weren't all that funny.
But no demon.
As he turned to make another circuit through the club, he picked up a smell. He looked around and saw an attractive man walking through the crowd, heading towards Vicki.
Vicki spotted him too and said, "Henry. It's here. I'm going to head outside, see if it follows me."
Vicki started toward the back door and Henry could see the demon turn towards her, following. When she got to the back door, she quickly stepped outside. The demon was following her like a blood hound follows the scent of its prey. It didn't know that it was also prey.
Vicki walked down he alley, hand up against the wall. It wasn't too brightly lit and what little night vision she had left was compromised by shadows cast by poor street lights.
The door opened and the demon walked through, sniffing the air, looking for Vicki.
Vicki turned when she heard the door open and thought, Well, here we go again, demon coming to kill me. To the demon she said, "Hey, you know, you're not bad looking for a demon. Better looking than Norman anyway. You two ever do lunch?"
The demon started toward her with a snarl and as he walked, his visage changed. He transformed from just another handsome guy scoping chicks in a bar, to a creature with shiny dark skin that looked like armor, eyes that glinted with fire reflecting in them. He was so focused on Vicki he didn't notice that Henry had come outside, carrying the piece of him wrapped in a cloth, that Vicki had gotten from their last meeting . Henry began to recite the words of the ritual, holding a dagger in one hand, the piece of skin in the other.
As the words hit the air, the demon turned around and snarled even louder, heading toward Henry. The wind began to howl and pushed enry back towards the wall. He spoke faster now, joining the skin and the dagger together. As he reached the final word of the binding spell, another image began to materialize. What appeared looked like the demon's human negative, before he had changed to his true form, with long black hair and even blacker eyes that shimmered as it tried to take form.
A voice even deeper than Henry's vampire side, said, "You will not complete the ritual to bind me to this plane."
Henry stood there, looking every inch like the prince he had been and said, "I already have, Meskatha. I seal it with an offering of my own blood!"
With that, the under demon and his master's skin began to swirl and meld together. In spite of the force of the wind that held him against the wall, Henry never lost his grip on the knife and cut his palm. The blood dripped and was drawn to the demon and his servant. When it touched them, the howl began to come from them, not the wind. As he watched, the two began to meld into one then disperse into the air. Then, as quickly as it had begun, the vortex stopped. Henry was released from the wall and looked around.
No under demon.
He couldn't see her but her scent drew him towards her. She was lying unconscious against the wall, rubber trash barrels fallen all round her.
"Oh God. Victoria! Vicki ?"
She groaned, tried to sit up, and rubbed her head.
"What'd I miss?"
He smiled. "They're both gone. Meskatha and his flunky."
Trying to stand, she groaned again, "Damn! I always miss the good stuff."
He helped her up, as much as she'd let him, and said, "I'll tell you all about it later, we've got to get you to a doctor. "
"No, we don't, I'm fine."
"No. Vicki, you were unconscious. We need to know if it's a concussion or if your extremely hard head has saved you yet again."
"Hey, I prefer tough minded, thank you."
"What you prefer and what's true are not always the same thing."
"Don't press your luck, prince. I'm crabby when my head hurts."
"You're crabby when it doesn't. Let's go." Henry steered her towards the car and in spite of herself, she leaned against him for support. He was so concerned for her, the thought of getting the car cleaned of the shrimp and rice was gone.
By the time they got to the ER, it was around midnight and actually got to see a doctor a couple of hours later. Henry paced back and forth in the hall while the doctor examined Vicki ,and after what seemed to him like hours, the doctor opened the door and motioned him in.
"No concussion, but she's going to have a pretty bad headache for a while. Regular aspirin ought to take care of the pain. Other than that, she's fine. You can take her home."
Skepticism filled Henry's face, "Are you sure she's all right? If you don't mind my directness, how long has it been since you graduated from medical school?"
"I assure you, Mr. Fitzroy, I am a real doctor. They're kind of picky about things like that around here."
Vicki smiled in spite of the fact that the movement made her head hurt.
He's almost 500 years old, still looks younger than the doctor and accusing him of being too young.
She hopped gingerly off the table and said, looking at Henry, "I'm fine. Please take me home, I have this overwhelming need for a shower. Demon chasing is dirty work."
The doctor had been making notes on her chart, but when he heard that, his head jerked up and said, "I beg your pardon?"
Henry and Vicki said at the same time, "Inside joke."
Vicki shook the doctor's hand and said thank you while Henry got her coat and helped her on with it.
She leaned into Henry as they left the hospital, her arm went around his waist, his around her shoulders. Vicki didn't seem to mind "the arm", as long as she started it. He led her to the car without leading her, knowing how much her independence meant to her, knew he'd always want to reinforce that feeling.
After they got past the doorman and into the elevator, Henry picked Vicki up like she was a child's doll and cradled her in his arms. What little protesting she did didn't last long. She was asleep before they reached the fifth floor. When they entered the condo, he bypassed the living room altogether and headed straight to the bedroom. He laid her on the bed, took off everything but her underwear and his, then pulled the satin comforter around them both like a cocoon. He was on his back with his arms around Vicki, pulling her in as closely as he could, finger combing her hair gently while she slept. The dim light didn't stop his eyes from shutting and he dozed off with the scent of Vicki all around him.
Henry came back to awareness feeling fingers moving lightly over his chest. He didn't even open his eyes, he just let the sensation sweep over him. He heard a voice whispering in his ear, "I know you're awake, I see the smile on your face and feel something else a little lower."
"I'm very awake, I'm just enjoying the feeling."
"What feeling would that be, your grace?"
"The feeling that I've not been this happy in several lifetimes."
He rolled onto his side, came face to face with Vicki, reached for her, fingers touched the bump that had started growing on the side of her head.
Frowning a little he asked, "How do you feel?"
Her hand moved to his face, holding it, "Well enough to do this," kissing him.
His fingers moved from the bump, tracing, reached her throat, the hollow there beat faster under his fingertips. He continued the journey, made contact with her breasts, realized the bra was gone and smiled.
"So you are feeling better."
This time Vicki took charge, used her fingertips, her tongue, her mouth to bring Henry's heart rate up. The kisses started at his mouth, moved to his jaw, his adam's apple she lightly laved with her tongue. It made her feel powerful to see it as it went up and down so fast. Henry just laid on the bed, not moving, keeping an iron grip on the hunger that was beginning to consume him. Reveled in the sensation. Vicki continued, kissed every bit of skin she could find and when she reached for him, she laughed, deep and throaty.
"I see you're ready."
With that, Henry moved.
"Hey, vampire speed moves! No fair!"
"No, not fair. My turn."
He kissed, licked and nipped just as she had, every inch of skin that came in contact with his mouth felt like it was on fire. His hands roamed, the backs lightly touched her arms. When they reached her hands, he entwined his fingers in hers and pushed her arms out and away from her body bending his head down to kiss her, and his wavy hair fell into his eyes. He bit her lip and Vicki gasped, tasted her own blood. She nipped at his tongue with her teeth while he was kissing her, and he just smiled and licked off the blood. His head went further down past her throat to her breast. Vicki gasped, both for air and from passion. When they reached consummation his fangs bit into her breast at the same time. He drank little but moved with such passion, Vicki's senses were overwhelmed by the feelings.
I did make the right choice.
Later, she and Henry laid together, wrapped around each other so closely, it would have been hard to tell which body part belonged to whom. He played with her hair, twirling it, combing it with his fingers. She slowly moved her hand all over his chest.
Henry spoke quietly in her ear, "How do you feel, love? Any regrets?"
Vicki sat up on her elbow, "When Norman was pretending to be you, I told him I didn't want to die having regretted not doing some things I wanted, but was afraid to. So, now I can say, no, not so far." Vicki smiled and stretched sleepily, "It's been a good night. We kicked some demon ass and I just had the second best sex I've ever had in my life."
The royal eyebrow went up, "Second best?"
Still smiling, she said, "Yes, second best. The first best was last night."
"Cute." As his hands began to move over her body again, he said, "I will never let it be said Henry Fitzroy gave anything less than his best effort."