A/N: Give it a chance and, who knows? You might find that you like it. Thank you and please enjoy the first chapter of Need.
Kate had forgotten where she was until she began to wake to the light showing through her closed lids.
She yawned and observed her surroundings with sleep-heavy eyes.
She was in a taxi. Now she remembered.
She had been called by the government. "We're assigning you to do some research work. Should you accept, we will erase any evidence of your existence. You see, this is top secret," a stern voice had told her over the phone. Then they offered to send one of their agents to pick her up from her home disguised as a taxi driver.
What caused her to accept, she had no idea. It was as if she felt she had nothing to lose.
Kate wasn't married, she had no remaining family, no friends, and a job that left her with no satisfaction. She had earned her doctorate in English in college due to her love of literature and writing, but had never done anything with it. She knew a doctorate could have gotten her a million jobs that were far better than the one she'd had, but she'd insisted on remaining where she was until that morning. Working as a library assistant soon became lonely and immensely boring and this opportunity to do research work seemed too incredible to be true. Kate knew she would have been crazy to refuse the offer.
Kate glanced at her reflection in the taxi window. Her caramel colored locks were pulled tight into a bun in the center of the back of her head. The thick, plastic, black frames of her glasses surrounded her chestnut eyes. Kate was virtually blind without her glasses. Her lips adorned a rather dark shade of red lipstick. Kate moved to sit up a bit straighter and smoothed out her dark grey pencil skirt. She wore a conservative matching suit jacket and a pair of plain, black heals upon her feet.
The cab began to slow and came to an abrupt stop.
"Dr. Hayward, we're here," announced the driver.
Kate peered out the window and gazed upon a strangely shaped building composed of several cylinder shaped towers surrounded by a stone wall.
Sighing nervously, she exited the taxi, unloaded her bags and made her way towards the massive gate in front of her. When she reached the gate, she found an intercom set into the stone wall. She pushed the button below the speaker.
"Hello? I'm Dr. Katherine Hayward. I was called to-"
"Look directly into the lens, please," interrupted a voice from the intercom.
Kate obeyed when a sort of camera lens presented itself and was stunned when a bright light flashed inches from her right eye. Dazed, she picked up her bags and walked forward when the gate began to open.
After a brief walk, Kate reached a large set of doors that opened as she continued on her way. Inside was a large, practically empty room. Below her feet was a type of insignia unfamiliar to her. At the far back of the room were a desk and a man in a suit standing behind it.
"You're early," he stated nonchalantly.
"I know. I'm sorry. I thought that-"
"Stay where you are and I'll lower the elevator," he said as he pushed a button on the desk.
Immediately the ground began to move from Kate's feet as the stone tile she was standing on began to lower. The elevator took her to the lowest level of the building and Kate found herself staring at a set of huge, golden doors. Tentatively, she pushed open the doors and headed into an office and library. It was empty.
"Hello?" she spoke softly.
She absorbed her setting which included tall shelves filled with books of all sorts, a messy desk near the back wall, a large fireplace with a warm glow emitting from it, and a tank that took up an entire wall of the room. Odd, she thought.
"Oh, wonderful! You're here. Welcome," said a voice.
Kate looked around for the source of the voice but found no one.
"Is someone there?" she called.
There was a loud tapping sound and Kate looked at the tank to find that inside it was a fish. Well, not really a fish; it was more of a fish-man. He floated, treading water effortlessly. The creature in the tank was a bright shade of aquamarine with dark blue stripes on his back, arms and legs. His dark, almond shaped eyes studied Kate. Feeling rather awkward that she was staring at him, Kate attempted to act casual in her manner.
"Dr. Katherine Leigh Hayward. Age: 26. Born: July 23rd, 1982 to Abigail and Mitchell Hayward in Olympia, Washington. You're here about the call you received a few days ago about a job as a research assistant," stated the fish-man.
Kate was astonished. "How did you know?"
"Abe can read minds."
Kate spun around and found that a man was standing a few yards behind her. His dark brown hair was neatly trimmed with not one hair out of place and his hazel eyes were friendly and inviting. He looked impeccable in a dark grey suit and black tie. He had a boyish charm about him that gave him a welcoming look.
"I'm Agent John T. Myers. I see you've already met Agent Sapien. Abe is the brains of our operation. You'll actually be working with him," he explained.
Kate glanced back at Abe and nodded politely. "It's nice to meet you, Agent Sapien," she said quietly.
Truthfully, she was still shocked she was conversing with a fish-man who could read minds. As soon as the thought crossed her mind, Abe spoke. "There's no need to be afraid, Dr. Hayward. You'll soon get used to the…different sights you may encounter here."
Myers looked at her. "I'm sure you're wondering where you are and why you're here. How much do you know?"
Kate turned to him. "I was told that I was going to be a research assistant. That's about it. The man on the phone said that this was a top secret agency and that they would need to…erase me, in a matter of speaking, from any records or files in the country."
Myers nodded. "You're at the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, the B.P.R.D. and Professor Broom chose you as a research assistant to Agent Sapien."
Kate cocked her head. Was he serious? "Paranormal research? Do you mean that I'm going to be researching…monsters?" she asked incredulously.
This had to be a joke. She looked from Abe to Myers and back again.
"Dr. Hayward," began Abe, "we are a top secret agency meant to protect the public from any type of paranormal being that could be potentially dangerous. We go out when we get a tip of beings like this causing trouble and do away with them. Many times, research is needed to defeat these entities. We must find out what they are capable of, where they come from…any useful information that can help us to battle these…monsters of sorts. Many times I find that I'm needed to help the other agents out on the field and am not able to complete all of the research needed. This is why you are here."
As Kate absorbed all of the information, Myers began to speak. "I know this is a lot to take in. Why don't I introduce you to the other agents."
Kate nodded silently. Myers turned and began to head for an open door leading to a long hallway and Kate followed. The chrome hallway was lined with cases filled with strange artifacts. Kate had been so busy examining the artifacts along the way that she practically ran straight into Myers when he stopped in front of an enormous metal door.
"I'll warn you," Myers began, looking back at her over his shoulder, "I know Abe can be a bit shocking at first, but you'll want to prepare yourself for who you're about to meet next."
With that, he turned the metal lock on the outside of the door and stood next to the opening, indicating that Kate should enter first.
The first sight she saw was a very ordinary man dressed neatly in a suit similar to Myers', watching her as she entered. He extended his hand when she neared him.
"Agent Clay. Pleasure to meet you Dr. Hayward."
Kate mumbled something in return and studied him. Why did Myers expect her to be shocked?
What shocked Kate more was the condition of the room she was standing in. There were shelves with random items placed haphazardly upon them. Near the back of the room was what seemed to be a pick-up truck serving as a makeshift bed and along the walls near the bed were countless televisions, each turned on to a different channel. The floor was littered with hundreds of pieces of paper including an astonishing number of Baby Ruth candy wrappers. What was even stranger about the room were the dozens of cats occupying it. They roamed around the room, resting on the floor, shelves, the televisions, and the bed. Practically every surface of the room held a cat.
Then, Kate saw him. He was coming into the room from what she assumed was an attached bathroom and was obviously unaware of the fact that there was someone who he didn't know in his room for he wore no shirt and had a towel draped around his neck. Kate immediately knew who he was and was probably more familiar with him than Agent Myers had expected. She had grown up reading the comic books based on the character Hellboy, who was supposed to be a myth. But here he was with his bright red skin, dark hair pulled into a ponytail at the base of his neck, the horns on his forehead filed down, his stone right arm hanging limply at his side, and his piercing, yellow eyes glancing around the room. He was real.
When Hellboy sauntered into the room, he spotted Myers and Clay and acknowledged them with a nod, then took a long gulp of beer from the can in his hand. He emptied the can, then crushed it in his stone hand and threw it aside. Then he noticed Kate and froze.
Kate had to admit, finding a complete stranger in your room was a bit awkward and she felt suddenly as if she shouldn't be there. She was also finding it incredibly hard not to stare at him. Kate glanced down at her feet and was feeling not only intimidated by his presence, but by the gun he kept in the belt hooked through his black leather pants. His heavy, black boots thudded loudly as he stepped towards the three of them.
Now only a few feet from Kate, Hellboy reached into his pocket and pulled out a cigar and began to light it.
"Who've we got here?" he asked in a deep, rolling voice, putting the cigar into his mouth.
Feeling like she had hardly spoken all day, Kate forced herself to speak before she could be introduced.
"I'm Dr. Katherine Hayward."
She held out her right hand to shake his and then pulled it back suddenly when she realized his right hand was his stone hand. Hellboy looked down at her forebodingly and blew a puff of smoke in her face. Fearing she had offended him, Kate looked to Myers pleadingly and tried to suppress a cough as the smoke assaulted her senses. Myers took the hint.
"Uh, Dr. Hayward, this is Agent Hellboy. You'll also be working closely with him. You'll be responsible for briefing him on his opponents." He looked at Hellboy. "Dr. Hayward is going to be Abe's new research assistant."
Hellboy examined her. After a moment, he let out another puff of smoke in her face.
"We don't need her," he said looking her in the eye.
Kate felt the heat rise to her cheeks. She had spent eight years of her life in college earning her doctorate and worked a boring job that anyone, with or without a degree, could do. To top it all off, she had literally given up her existence in the world and she'd be damned if this big, red monkey was going to tell her she didn't deserve to be there.
He had turned to walk away from her as she spoke. "I believe that is for Professor Broom to decide. If I'm not mistaken, he was the one who sent for me."
The fact that Hellboy visibly tensed told Kate that he did not like being talked back to.
With his back to her, he said, "Listen, I don't know who the hell you think you are, but didn't you hear me? We don't need you. But thanks anyway."
Kate put her hands on her hips, watching him sit down in a black, leather chair. "I think I'm someone who damn-well deserves to be here and no one is going to tell me otherwise."
Hellboy watched her for a brief moment and then decided to turn his attention to his many televisions.
With a huff, Kate turned and walked briskly from the room, Myers and Clay on her heel. Once the door to Hellboy's room was shut, Kate stopped and stared at the two of them.
"What is his problem?" she asked, still angry.
Myers and Clay glanced at each other before Clay finally responded.
"That's Hellboy for you, Dr. Hayward."
Myers nodded in agreement. "He hated me when I first came here. He just doesn't want anything to change around here. That's just the way he is."
Kate sighed heavily, trying to calm herself down and Myers put an encouraging hand on her shoulder.
"Don't worry, he'll come around. C'mon, I'll show you your room." Kate smiled at him, appreciating the effort he was putting forth to help calm her nerves.
Myers gently nudged her forward and they began to walk back down the hallway.
A/N: Now that most of the introductions are out of the way, I promise that things will get a little more interesting. Review.