This story starts several years after the last chapters written by Tanya Huff with bits and pieces from the BLOOD TIES TV series blended in, but the plot line will be original and not necessarily following previously published back history for Henry and Vicki.. I will be taking liberties with both works as I try to create something new. I hope you enjoy reading this variation. RT
The rain stopped just after sunset leaving the night crisp and cool with a fresh washed smell. The leaves were covered water and gave Henry a brief shower after each gust of wind as he walked along the quiet street appreciating that the night was still young and he had already fed. He smiled to himself as he thought of the one he found sitting alone on the park bench. She was forlorn because she had been stood up and Henry used his talents to leave her sitting there with her hair mussed up, a bruise on her neck and a bemused look on her face. She would stay there another few minutes then go home remembering the guy she met was nice enough, but they had no plans to meet again.
As he walked he tilted his head sniffed the breeze and caught the scent of the one person he could never forget and in the distance he heard the heartbeat that went with that scent. He snarled as his fangs and eyes became those of an angry predator knowing another of his kind was in his territory without permission.
Tired after hunting and killing her latest assignment, Vicki found a place to stop. She'd been moving cross country for three months never staying more than a few days as she followed her assigned kill. She didn't know where she was going stop when she started out, only that she knew why and what needed to be done. Henry had taught here well during the months they had been together and she could find a safe place wherever she was come dawn. Yesterday had been no exception and until she caught his scent, she didn't realize she had ended up where he lived.
Henry stood in the historical village and looked up at the old church on the corner. He had been keeping track of it since the early days of the town. He watched it grow and flourish for centuries only to have it become abandoned, condemned, reclaimed, then abandoned again. Finally in the mid 1960's when it was slated for destruction the historical society fought to save it and the surrounding cemetery and moved all of it to a reenactment village. His face was a mix of sneer and smile as he came close to where she was hiding in the shadows.
A voice drifted down from the top of the bell tower, "Are you laughing or growling Fitzroy?"
He leaned back as he looked up to see her sitting on the edge of the highest peak. His sneer turned into a grin as he said, "Both." Then he wave at her and ordered, "Come down."
She shook her head and said, "Nope. You come up."
"I'm not dressed for climbing."
"Your fancy pants and shoes can handle the strain. You've more money than God, buy new ones."
"Don't blaspheme. You could be struck by lightening and I don't have that much money."
He walked around the church looking for the best way up. More afraid of doing damage to the church than he was of ruining his clothes, he carefully placed his fingers and feet as he moved quickly up the side of the old building. When his head cleared the edge he said softly, "May I come the rest of the way?"
"Sure. I don't own this place."
He pulled himself up and said, "Actually this is my territory."
She drew her feet back from the edge, stood and said, "Sorry, Mr. Fitzroy. I'll leave."
He looked at the bird droppings then his shoes and knees gave a sigh and sat down. "Since I'm already up here let's both sit and talk."
She sat quietly beside him for a long time before saying, "I would've asked permission to enter your territory if I'd known I was going to be here."
Nodding regally he said, "Permission granted." He looked out over the historically restored streets and thought of his early years after coming to the new world before adding, "I was sorry to hear about Mike."
She gave a careless shrug, "Yeah, well, we've all gotta go sometime."
"That's harsh Vicki."
"His last words to me were harsh. We'd been fighting and I went back to my apartment. I waited for a week and he didn't call. Anyway, by the time I swallowed my pride and went to him, he was dead. Who knew he had a brain aneurysm that could blow any minute? He was gone, dead, and buried and he managed to get the last word in."
"What did he say that could have been that bad?"
"We were arguing about him retiring and me taking another case."
"Keep talking. You'll feel better saying it out loud to someone that cares about both of you."
"He called me a blood sucking parasite without a conscience and that for once I should consider how it felt to be nothing more than a food source. So I got up, walked out and slammed the door in his face."
He looked puzzled as he said, "You two have said worse to each other over the years and since when did you ever let him get in the last word?"
"Mike didn't want to retire and it was bothering him I was working for the A.R.C.A.N.E.S. In my own way, I was trying to cheer him up by letting him win an argument or two."
Henry lifted his hand to brush back a lock of her hair and stopped his hand before it connected as he said, "I see."
Vicki leaned toward his hand and braced herself, "I won't bite, you can touch me if you want."
Henry looked into her silver green eyes with his deep blue ones and gave her a half smile that caused his dimples to wink, "I won't stop with a single touch. Are you prepared for what'll happen?"
Vicki pulled her feet back and said, "We'd better get down from here first, but yes, I've been preparing myself for our next meeting for years. I may not have planned to come here, but this is where I've needed to be for a long time. I've missed you Henry, and I've missed what we had."
Henry stood and headed back toward the side where he had climbed up as Vicki said, "Why don't you use the trapdoor from the bell tower?"
This time Henry laughed out loud as he said, "You could have told me about the door before I messed up my clothes and shoes."
"I couldn't make it that easy for you, could I?"
Henry glanced toward the bell tower and shook his head, "The side of the wall is safer than that thing. I'll go down the way I came up."
"Suit yourself." She took a few steps toward the tower and felt the slate tiles shift under foot and turned to Henry as his head disappeared over the side and said, "You know, you just might be right."
The simmering anger that's always a part of a vampire responded to the challenge of another of it's kind so close causing him to growl in warning as Vicki's foot touched his hand.
She snarled as her body tensed for attack and pushed her inner monster back under control. "We're going to have to move slowly."
Henry moved back to give them more space as he asked, "Have you fed recently?"
"Not recently. I needed to get the case closed and find sanctuary."
Henry unbuttoned his sleeve and held out his wrist.
She licked her lips before saying, "You're offering?"
He remembered all the intimate times they shared the year they were together while she completed the process of turning vampire. Those few months hadn't been enough to satisfy his desire for her. "I'll never be able to deny you and I'd like to feel my child feed again."