Disclaimer: Moonlight doesn't belong to me, and I'm certainly not making a profit from this. Just borrowing the characters for a spell!
A/N: This takes place about three months after Love Lasts Forever and assumes that any of the events in The Mortal Cure did not happen, with the exception of my version of the funeral. Anything else is canon.
I used to write a lot of fanfic for different genres back when I was in college, but real life stole much of my writing time. But then, I got this idea a while back from one of the threads on MLF. I really wanted to try a "flashback" fanfic, much like Fever and Fleur de Lis, so here it goes! Hope you enjoy!
Any voiceovers are Beth's and are distinguished by italics. Scenes from Mick's POV don't have VO's since I wanted to stay true to the show's one narrator format.
Dedication: This is dedicated to greenleaf9. Love ya, greenleaf9!
So Runs Against All Reason
Prologue – Four Days Past
Fear is a constant in this world, as ever-present as the wind.
A slight breeze rustled her loose hair in the moments after everything became silent. Her head hurt from the fall, but it was nothing compared to the burning sensations rising in her abdomen and right leg. She lifted a heavy hand to touch the source of the pain. The moment it made contact with her belly, she pulled it back with a hiss. Her fingers glistened with a thick, dark liquid in the moonlight. She felt her heart flutter in her chest.
But I've had a guardian angel to help me be brave. To beat back the fear that should have overcome me when I was a little girl.
"Mick," Beth whispered, her voice weak.
Mick has saved my life so many times before. I never thought I would have to be afraid, again.
Beth flopped an arm out to her side trying to feel for Mick. Why wasn't he here? Why wasn't he helping her? She tried to remember where she had last seen him before everything had gone wrong. He had been walking right behind her. A fog was beginning to cloud her mind and veil her memories in its haze. She found it difficult to recall much of anything that had happened after Mick made the phone call.
Through her confusion, Beth could hear a tiny voice shouting through the speaker end of Mick's cell phone. It had fallen to rest about ten feet in back of her. Beth summoned all the strength she had and scooted on her side towards the open phone. The pavement was wet and rough under her hands. Little pieces of gravel dug into her skin as she dragged herself along.
The cell phone, laying face up near a puddle, reflected lights from the street like a beacon. As she got closer, Beth could finally understand the concerned voice on the other end of the line shouting, "Mick? Mick? What the hell is going on over there?...Ryder, come on! What am I paying you for? Where's that GPS?...Mick?"
Beth pulled herself closer to the phone and leaned into the mouthpiece. "Josef," she whispered with a broken voice.
"Beth? Beth, where's Mick?" Josef replied quickly.
"I don't…" Beth paused as the pain in her stomach intensified. She could feel warm trickles of blood spreading over her shirt. "I don't know where he is."
I am afraid, now. Afraid that this is all my fault.
Beth turned her head towards the back of the alley and let her eyes dance around the area. Where was he? Her eyes stung as a series of tears rolled down her cheeks before falling one by one to the ground. Vaguely, Beth heard Josef shout over the connection, "Stay with me, Beth! Where's that warehouse?"
"I d-don't know. Somewhere past the corner of 6th and Main Str-…"
Her voice faded away as she caught sight of a crumpled figure almost completely hidden in the shadows behind a series of dumpsters. "Oh my God. Josef! Hurry!" she screamed into the phone.
What do you do when you're suddenly alone?
Beth struggled to her feet and managed to take a few halting steps before the numbness in her legs won over. She collapsed onto the dirty pavement, still over fifty feet from where the body lay. From this new angle, she still could not see a face, but Beth could tell that it had to be Mick laying there. She would recognize that ring anywhere, even if it was partially coated in blood from gashes peppered across Mick's hand.
The realization that the deep wounds had not healed yet frightened Beth. Why wasn't he healing? Simple injuries like that should be nothing more than an irritant to him. He had come back from a lot worse right before her eyes. His healing abilities had always been extraordinary, unless…Unless something was getting in the way of those abilities. Unless his body and all its functions were paralyzed.
"Damn…A stake," Beth muttered, voice raspy in her dry throat.
Beth gritted her teeth and pulled herself along the ground, once more. If her efforts to reach Mick's phone earlier were difficult, then this was Hell itself. Her breathing became labored, causing coughs to shake her tiny frame. A taste of copper rose in her mouth. Shivers coursed through her body. Still she fought her way towards Mick.
My guardian angel, the one person I thought could protect me from anything…
Beth finally reached Mick's side and felt her weakened arms give out under her. She struggled to prop herself up on one forearm, then carefully rolled Mick over towards her and onto his back. "Oh my God, Mick," she choked out.
A thick, jagged wooden stake protruded from Mick's chest. His dark gray Henley was stained with a ring of blood around the point of entry, as well as around smaller holes on his left side near his shoulder and lower ribcage. Bullets. Beth noticed the large pool of blood that had collected where Mick had originally been lying. So much blood. The bullets had to have been made of silver. It was all one big trap. What had she been thinking?
Coughs jerked through her body, again, as Beth tried to figure out why Mick was unconscious. He had been staked only one other time since she had known him, but Beth had been able to communicate with him. The silver bullets combined with the stake made Mick's condition very dire, but there had to be something she was missing.
"Mick!" Beth cried forcefully as she used the arm that was not supporting her to shake him. "God, Mick! Please! Please, wake up…Mick…"
Beth voice trailed away as she grasped the stake in her free hand and pulled as hard as the torn and weakened muscles in her belly would allow. After yanking on the stake for what seemed like an eternity to her, she realized that it had hardly budged from its spot in Mick's chest. Either the stake was lodged in bone, or she had less strength remaining than she thought.
Through the bloody residue left on the tiny portion of the stake that had been pulled out, Beth suddenly caught a glimmer of a different material. Presumably, the entire tip was coated in it. It explained why Mick was not even awake in his paralysis. The stake's tip was dipped in silver. Not enough to protect him from the immobilizing properties of the wood underneath, but enough to hold him still while the added toxins slowly killed him.
Now he's dying.
The pain in her abdomen throbbed harder as Beth collapsed next to Mick on the damp pavement. Her vision was growing steadily hazier with each passing moment. Whether it was from the loss of blood or bump to the head, she could not say. Maybe it was both. Beth stared up at the stars -tiny specks dimmed as always by the city lights - and began to cry in earnest.
We both are.
Tears coursed slowly down Beth's cheeks feeling unnaturally hot against her clammy skin. Josef's mansion was at least fifteen minutes away. Fast as he was in or out of a car, Beth knew he would not reach her in time. If Josh's violent death had taught her anything about the human body, it was that they were so fragile. A couple well-placed bullets were all it took. Mick might still have a shot if the stake and bullets were quickly removed, but he would wake up blaming himself for her death. For not protecting her well enough. He would feel as though he had failed her, when in reality, it was she who had failed him
It would be so easy to blame Josef for not giving them full disclosure in his warning, but she could not. Josef tried to stop them. This had been her idea. It was her fault Mick was infected with silver, and she was bleeding out. Beth lifted a trembling hand to softly caress the raised bumps on the side of her neck Mick had recently left there. A tremor worked its way through her as her fingertips made contact with his mark and glided across her skin.
A moan interrupted Beth's thoughts and brought her back to the present. With greater effort than she needed before, she propped herself up on an elbow. Her head swayed a bit as she tried to focus on Mick.
His eyes were still closed, but his lips pressed together and opened, again. A breathy "b" sound followed, and then he was still, again. Beth frowned. Was Mick trying to say her name? Did he know what was happening?
Just as Beth was about to ease back down onto the pavement, her eyes landed on one of the wounds on Mick's chest. She placed a hand over his wounded flesh, lost momentarily in a fantasy that the simple gesture could magically heal him. No matter how intensely she willed it, when Beth withdrew her hand, the skin was still puckered and slowly oozing the same blood that now coated her hand.
Beth could not look away from the dark liquid covering her fingertips. Mick's blood. Her eyes closed as she remembered one of Mick's explanations from the whirlwind weeks immediately after she had discovered his secret. "First, you have to reach a point near death. Then, the vampire - your sire - feeds you their own blood."
Her eyes snapped back open and landed on Mick's still face. The answer could not be as simple as that. "Your sire feeds you their own blood," Beth repeated under her labored breath. "Oh my God."
It was crazy. Crazier still was the taunting voice whispering in her ear that it could work. Beth slowly lifted one finger to her mouth. Before she could lose her nerve, her tongue darted out and swept across her skin, bringing the crimson liquid into her mouth.
The effects were immediate. As with Black Crystal, a wave of power swept through her body the instant Mick's blood entered her system. It originated from her tongue and quickly spread downward, leaving a tingling sensation in its wake. Beth's vision blurred as her heartbeat faltered slightly. The result of its equal parts coolness and warmth was unsettling. Beth dropped her head onto her clean hand and leaned against it for support.
What was did she think she was trying to accomplish? Turn herself? Beth was hardly certain if it could actually work. Vampire biology was still something of a mystery to her. Even if it did work, what would she say to Mick? His quiet admission from the night before still lingered in her mind, but so did his barely masked dismay at her acceptance of it. He already blamed himself for dragging her into his world. Could she really do this without his final permission?
They say that it's what you do when your back is against the wall that truly defines you as a person.
The burning in her abdomen and fluttering of her heartbeat simultaneously brought Beth back into the present and reminded her that time was quickly running out. Her vision had grown dark and taken away her peripheral vision, but she could still make out Mick's face through the fog. In that moment, Beth knew she had to try. Josef was not here, and she refused to let Mick carry her death on his shoulders for the rest of his existence if there was something she could do to prevent it.
Beth quickly lifted Mick's shirt up on his chest to expose one of his gunshot wounds and laid down next to him. Blood still trickled to the surface around the injury and collected in a tiny pool for a moment before spilling down his skin in tiny rivulets. Dried blood was caked everywhere on his body, and the metallic stench made Beth momentarily question whether or not she could really bring herself to do this. As though in reply, the pain intensified where she had been shot in the belly, and she let out a whimper. Time was up. Beth leaned in and pressed her lips to Mick's seeping wound.
I wonder how this will define me.
A/N: That's it for now...I'm really nervous about this since it's my first ML piece. So, if you got this far, thanks for reading!