Thanks For The Memories.
A/N: This story is dedicated to Tanja2210. This story is the sequel to "To Be Loved By You". Ichabod, Katrina, the Hessian, and Dawn have settled into their lives quite contentedly, but a string of mysterious murders once again haunts the little town. With all of their enemies defeated, what could possibly be after them now?
I'm gonna make you bend and break...
say a prayer, but let the good times roll...
in case God doesn't show...
The night was cool and windy. It was a perfect night for October. Jack-o-lanterns decorated Sleepy Hollow as was the tradition. The smell of burning firewood, spicy apple cider, and dried leaves was heavy on the air. Everywhere one looked, the flicker of glowing faces carved in pumpkins contrasted sharply with the shadows. The crescent moon was tipped on its side and looked like a smile. Just as was expected, there was a party going full-swing at the Crane household. Cheerful violin music enhanced the mood considerably and the house was full of people. Ichabod estimated that close to three-quarters of the town had shown up there. Thus far, he couldn't walk two inches without accidentally running into someone. Jasmine was flitting about excitedly in her crimson red party dress. She was twelve years old and was already attracting attention for her beauty. Hanne followed her through the crowd, wearing a dress of bright emerald green. Jaegar looked very handsome in his royal blue suit. They were both growing up very quickly. Their youngest sister, Hope, was only five and was the youngest one at the party. She wore a petal-pink dress and often made a fuss if she had to wear any other color. Her dark curls were held back with a matching pink ribbon and her electric-blue eyes glittered mischievously. Tiger, the housecat, was laying lazily on a window seat and looking disdainfully at the others as if wondering why they would waste time on a party when they could be lying around doing nothing.
Katrina descended the stairs, a lovely vision in a lavender dress. Ichabod was waiting at the bottom for her. She offered one hand to him and he kissed it delicately.
"How is Alexander?" he asked, referring to their three-year old son.
"He's fast asleep. He wasn't thrilled with missing the party, but he didn't take long to nod off," Katrina answered. Alexander had been sick recently and she was afraid that the party would be too much for him. She had just given him a cup of chamomile tea to help him sleep.
"Where are Dawn and Klaus?" she asked.
"They're around here somewhere," Ichabod said, "I heard Dawn fussing about the music a moment ago. She said it was too boring."
Katrina couldn't help but smile. That would explain the lively beat. Leave it to Dawn to want to get things moving.
After scanning the crowd after a moment, she caught sight of Dawn and Klaus lounging on a nearby sofa. Dawn was laughing hysterically at something and Klaus had a very amused expression. Apparently, Ann and Jane had said something funny.
"Did we miss something?" Ichabod asked. He was beginning to smile himself; Dawn's laughter was extremely contagious.
"Oh, it's just Jaegar. He's discovered girls," Dawn said, finally regaining some composure, "he just asked Molly to dance with him and she ran away. Poor kid."
Klaus was just shaking his head.
"If they keep running away, at least we won't have trouble with him," Klaus commented. They watched their awkward almost-teen son try to summon up the courage to ask another girl to dance. Jane brought in cups of hot cider and everyone took one. The rich spiciness of the drink felt good going down. Dawn inched closer to Klaus until they were touching and he wrapped his arm around her. The lights were dimmed and everyone gathered closer. A teenage boy named Jacob was going to tell a story tonight.
"All right, all right everyone! Gather around! It's time for the spook story," he called through cupped hands.
One night and one more time...
thanks for the memories
even though they weren't so great
he tastes like you, but sweeter...
They crowded around. As Jacob began to tell the Headless Horseman legend, Dawn chuckled to herself. She could feel Klaus's ribs shaking with silent laughter. Oh, if only they knew....none of these people realized that the great legend was sitting right there in their midst with a wife and three children!
"Oh, yes, it really happened," Jacob said coyly, "tell me, Crane, do you still not believe in ghosts?"
I'm looking forward to the future
though my eyesight is going bad...
and this crystal ball...
well it's always cloudy except for...
when you look into the past...
Ichabod had to strain to keep a straight face.
"I still do not believe in ghosts."
He gave a sly wink to the married couple on the couch and Dawn had to bite back her laughter even more. With the story having been told, the party resumed and the music started again. It was a nice slow song and Dawn and Klaus joined the other couples. Klaus wore his usual black, but Dawn wore a dress of shimmering silver material. She said it was satin or something like that, but it looked as though it was woven out of moonlight. If the light struck the material, one could see the faint outline of stars all over it.
"People have short memories," she commented, "I'm glad nobody remembers our little race through town."
"I remember," Klaus said with a devilish grin.
Dawn grinned back. She'd never forget that as long as she lived. The two of them were about to steal a kiss when they heard a scream. The party went silent as the blood-curdling sound came again. Without missing another beat, the men went tearing outside to see where it was coming from. Dawn followed and Klaus knew it was useless to stop her.
Laying on the front walk was the motionless body of Widow Gretel. A few of the women fainted and the others tried to usher the children back inside so that they couldn't see. Masbeth and Ichabod knelt next to the body. In the faint candlelight, Dawn could see that her throat had been torn open as if she'd been attacked by an animal. Ichabod shuddered violently. When Dawn gave him a questioning look, he pointed to the chest. Dawn felt the bitterness rise in her throat when she realized that the Widow's heart had also been torn out. There was no sign of it anywhere.
"Oh..." Dawn muttered shakily.
"Everyone go back inside!" Ichabod yelled. The crowd surged back into the house, watching from the windows. The three of them began to search for clues, but there were no others to be found. Ichabod insisted on an immediate autopsy of the old woman.
"Go check on the children," Klaus told Dawn, "I will tell you what we find later."
Dawn nodded even though her curiosity was getting the better of her. Arguing would only waste time. She went back into the house while Ichabod and Klaus moved the body off of the front walk. As soon as they had carried her into Ichabod's autopsy room, the guests, frightened by this experience, began to leave very quickly. Within a few moments, the house was deserted except for its original inhabitants. Dawn told Hope a bedtime story. When Hope insisted that she wouldn't sleep without Tiger, Dawn dashed downstairs and retrieved the family pet. After being satisfied that Tiger was laying beside her, she drifted off to sleep.
"What happened, Mother?"
Hanne was standing in the doorway of the room. Dawn saw no point in lying to her.
"Someone's been murdered right in front of the house," Dawn admitted, "Ichabod and your dad are working on trying to figure out exactly what happened."
Hanne's face went pale.
"So that means..."
"Oh, honey, I don't think we have a lot to worry about," Dawn lied smoothly, "I'm sure whoever did it is gone now."
It didn't make Hanne feel any better. Dawn embraced her nervous daughter.
"There's no sense in worrying about it," Dawn told her, "for all we know, it was just an animal. If it was, we'll catch it. Why don't you go to bed now? It's getting late, anyway."
She sighed and obediently got in bed. Although she was almost thirteen, Dawn pulled the covers up and tucked her in.
Jaegar seemed just as unnerved as his sister was, but he didn't want anyone else to know that. When he was sure that no one was watching, he let Dawn tuck him in as well. By the time Dawn had gotten the children to bed, Klaus and Ichabod still had not emerged from the autopsy room. She was tired, but splashed some cold water on her face to keep from falling asleep. Then, she sat down on the stairs to wait. That way, if she heard a noise from either direction, she didn't have to climb quite so many stairs. Just as she was nearly about to nod off for the third time, the squeal of door hinges woke her up. Klaus came out first, then Ichabod. Both men looked very uneasy. Dawn knew that this was never a good sign. It ordinarily took quite a bit to shake Klaus up.
"Well?" Dawn asked, not sure if she really wanted to know.
"The wound on the widow's neck was made with very sharp teeth," Ichabod said, looking as if he would faint, "and the bite-marks are unlike anything I've ever seen before. It certainly wasn't a wolf or a wild cat or a dog."
"And the heart?" Dawn asked.
"Gone. Whoever killed the widow first tore out her throat, then chopped out the heart. There were also claw marks on her chest and the rest of her organs."
"A bear, maybe?" Dawn asked.
"I don't think so," Ichabod admitted, "there are no other bruises or scratch marks on the widow's body. I've seen bear attacks before and they aren't this clean."
Dawn suppressed a shudder.
"A few," Ichabod said uneasily, "there was one last thing that I noticed that was rather disturbing."
Dawn gave him a "go on" look.
"The widow's body was almost completely drained of blood. See how little there is on my apron?"
"Ugh," Dawn muttered, suddenly catching on, "are you saying there's a vampire in Sleepy Hollow?"
"I'll get Katrina. She knows more about these things than I do."
Dawn sighed. She sought shelter in her husband's arms while they waited for Katrina to return.
"Why do these things ALWAYS happen here?" Dawn asked irritably. Sleepy Hollow seemed to be a magnet for disturbing things and malevolent forces.
"I do not know," Klaus answered. He caught sight of their reflections in the mirror. Despite the fact that his teeth hadn't been pointed since he'd come back to life, he was reminded that he was once a monster. Feeling Dawn's face buried in his chest made him thank God that she'd come along. At one time, he'd been the scariest thing about the small town. Then, Lady Van Tassel and John had come from the bowels of Hell to make their lives miserable for a short time. Dawn had defeated them with Katrina's magic, Ichabod's drawing skills (the map he'd drawn), and Klaus's expert sword-training and her own hardheadedness. As she listened to Klaus's heartbeat, she wondered what else could possibly want to break up their peace.
And, so it began again....
One night and one more time,
thanks for the memories,
thanks for the memories....