Introductory note: "This cop comes out of nowhere…" —Ever wonder about Mick's line from "Out of the Past," when he's explaining to Josef why he couldn't finish killing Lee Jay back in 1983? Well, pluralize that cop and here's your answer: Chicago. Think of this as a Freaky Friday-type situation—but instead of switching personalities…well, you'll see.
Author's note: This was getting really long and taking me too long to finish, so I finally decided to post it in two "episodes." I'll post the second as soon as I finish it. I didn't have time to have this beta'd (though I sent Barb a few bits and pieces to peek at), so hopefully it flows and doesn't have too many major plot holes... Please inform me if you find any errors of any kind.
Disclaimer: I have shamelessly pillaged several characters and some of my favourite lines of dialogue (directly quoted or adapted) from the long-ago cancelled (by CBS) television show, Due South—about an upright Canadian Mountie (played by Paul Gross) and his deaf half-wolf, Diefenbaker, who, long story short, team up with a snarky Chicago detective (played by David Marciano) to solve crimes and help people. Fraser's father (played by Gordon Pinsent) also showed up from time to time in order to dispense sometimes useful and sometimes utterly ridiculous advice…
due MOONLIGHT (or, "These cops came out of nowhere!")
Los Angeles, 1983...
A balding man with a shaved head ambled down the street, a black duffel bag slung over his shoulder. Every few steps, he looked behind him, then across the street. Finally he reached a light blue two-door convertible, opened the driver's side door, and stowed the duffel inside.
He was about to climb in when a voice came from the shadows: "You killed her."
Lee Jay Spalding spun around, searching the darkness.
"You made it look like a suicide," the voice spoke again.
Something moved in the shadows of the entrance to the store across the sidewalk.
"Who are you?" Lee Jay called out.
Mick St. John stepped into the light, which only served to highlight his pale skin and white eyes in the surrounding darkness. An animalistic snarl displayed the tips of his fangs.
Lee Jay grabbed a crowbar from his duffel and swung it at his accuser, only to have his arm jerked back and the weapon twisted away from him. He grunted as a fist planted itself in his face and heard the clank as the bar hit the ground.
Mick flew at him and shoved him up against the convertible.
Lee Jay writhed under the iron grip. "Oh my god…what are you?"
Mick reared his head back.
Chicago, 1995...for the moment
"…Fraser, I am not getting into that dumpster with you. Don't even ask, don't even think about it. Do you know how many suits I've ruined, frolicking in refuse for you? And you, you always come out looking like you're fresh from the dry cleaner's. Sometimes I swear you were Scotchguarded at birth." Detective Ray Vecchio stopped suddenly and looked around. "Hey, where'd the dumpster go? Where the hell are we? And who turned out the lights?!"
Constable Benton Fraser had stopped a few feet ahead of him and stood with his hands clasped behind his back, surveying the snatches of horizon peeking in between the buildings. He turned to his partner. "Well, it would appear that we are in L.A., Ray."
Ray's eyes went wide. "L.A.? Los Angeles, L.A.?—are you kidding me? We were just in Chicago! And it was daytime!"
"Well, it would appear that we are not in Chicago anymore."
"Oh yeah? And do you have some Mountie thing that can explain how we suddenly ended up over 1700 miles away at a different time of day?"
Fraser scanned the buildings on the other side of the street and shook his head slowly. "This scenario wasn't covered in the handbook."
"There's a Mountie handbook?"
Fraser shook his head again. "No; Scouts."
Ray held up a hand. "—You know what? Never mind. How do you know we're in L.A.?"
Fraser started to open his mouth, but Ray cut him off again. "No, wait—don't tell me: there's a blue heron over there pointing its beak at a street sign which you recognized from a street map of L.A. in your grandmother's library that you memorized when you were a kid—well, Fraser, I hate to break it to you, but that map's probably a little outdated now."
Fraser nodded toward a hill visible in the distance between two buildings and pointed at some large, white letters illuminated by spotlights. "Actually, I believe that's Hollywood right over there, Ray."
"Oh." Ray looked all around himself. "You're right, Benny, we're in L.A.! And we're not on vacation."
"No, we are not. Also…" Fraser trailed off. "Never mind."
Fraser shook his head. "Nothing. It doesn't matter."
"It doesn't matter? We're in Chicago one second and L.A. the next—is there anything you could say right now that wouldn't matter?"
The Mountie hesitated a second. "Very well… Also…I believe it's 1983."
"This—here. The time where we are. Right now. A moment ago, there was a woman walking down the street in definite early 1980s-style attire, which wouldn't necessarily be telling except that the movie theatre over there is showing Return of the Jedi, Risky Business, and Zelig; all movies that came out in 1983. Also—"
"What?!—Shut up, okay? Just shut up for a second—1983?! We travel from 1995 Chicago to L.A.—and not even 1995 L.A., but 1983 L.A.—and that doesn't matter?"
"It was a moot point, Ray. We'd already crossed two time zones in a matter of—"
But Ray's attention was already elsewhere. "—All right, Fraser, now something is definitely wrong with your wolf. What's he doing over there?"
"What?—oh. I believe he's looking for our trail. He's understandably confused—his scent stops and ends right there."
Diefenbaker suddenly stopped running in circles, barked and raced off across the street. "Dief!" Fraser shouted after him and gave chase. "Stop! Come back! Diefenbaker!"
"Diefenbaker! Un-mush!...Un-mush!" Ray followed, puffing. "—Why do we bother yelling after a deaf wolf anyway? Unless he's got eyes in the back of his head, he can't read our lips this way! You oughtta get that dog a hearing aid! —Hey Fraser, wait up! …You know what, on second thought, don't wait up! …I don't want to be seen with you if you lose track of Dief and start sniffing for wolf piddle again! Who knows what kind of animal you might accidentally sniff here!"
A few moments later, Ray skidded, panting, to a stop beside Fraser. Diefenbaker was standing a few feet ahead, hackles raised, growling at a dark-haired man who had another man pushed up against a car and was hovering over him.
"All right, freeze!" Ray pulled his gun. "Police! You're under arrest. —Fraser, they're under arrest, right? Both of them? …Fraser? Yoo-hoo…Fraser?" He followed Fraser's gaze to the dark-haired man who had just raised his head from the other man's neck. There was blood dribbling down the man's chin. "Whoa, whoa, whoa—what the hell is going on here?" Ray yelled.
"Ray…" Fraser interjected.
Ray raised his gun higher. "What are you doing? Are you biting—is he biting—him? —What kind of sicko are you? Some kind of Hannibal Lecter wannabe?"
Fraser reached out and touched his friend's shoulder. "I don't think so, Ray—look. A crowbar is lying on the ground over there, and the apparent victim doesn't have any defensive wounds—or any wounds at all, for that matter, except the two puncture wounds on his neck."
Ray stared blankly.
"The 'victim' obviously attempted to defend himself with the crowbar, only to find himself quickly disarmed and overpowered. Either his attacker is extremely well-trained in hand-to-hand combat, or he has superhuman strength and speed. Now, normally, I would assume the former, and would perhaps even consider that with your cannibal theory, if it weren't for the two clean and even bite marks on the victim's neck. Human bites are never that clean—and yet, he appears to be human."
Ray stared blankly, but his brow started to twitch.
"Ray, I believe this man is a vampire," Fraser finished.
Ray finally found his tongue. "A vampire? A real vampire? —Next you'll be telling me that Dief is actually a werewolf!"
"Well, that's just silly, Ray. I will admit, that at first I thought I may have had a hole in my bag of marbles, but—"
"Oh, come on, Fraser, you expect me to believe that this man is a vampire?"
"Well, yes. You know, Ray, my father once told me that the sky isn't just above you; that if you look at the horizon, you will see that it actually touches the ground. So if you think about it, wherever you go you are actually walking in the sky. "
"Is there a point you're trying to make with this, other than that you're a freak?"
"Well, yes, but I've forgotten exactly what it was. It was something to do with the supernatural, and how we think it's far out of our reach, when really, it's all around us, right in front of our noses." Fraser tapped himself on the nose.
"You bet it's right in front of my nose, I'm staring down the barrel of my gun at a vampire!"
"Well, exactly, Ray."
"Benton!" a voice said urgently behind Fraser's shoulder.
"Oh, no," Fraser groaned.
"Oh no what, Benny? You finally remembered that vampires like to go around in the dead of night and drink people's blood?" Ray hissed at him.
"I hate that," Mick muttered several feet away. Ray ignored him.
Fraser sighed. "No, it's not that, it's my father—"
"What, don't tell me that when your father died, he somehow turned into a vampire."
"That's just silly, Ray," Fraser shook his head. "—No, I mean my father is here."
"Here? In L.A.? Now? But he's—oh, you mean your father was in Los Angeles in 1983?"
"What? No—no, I mean…uh, never mind, Ray."
"Benton!" Fraser Sr. tapped his son on the shoulder.
"What? What is it?" Fraser snapped.
"There's no need to be alarmed, but you're standing 10 feet from a vampire."
"Yes, I can see that!"
"See what?" Ray scowled.
"I'm standing 10 feet from a vampire."
"Didn't we just cover this?"
"Well, yes, but he sometimes he likes to point out the obvious."
"What—who? —Is there an entire conversation going on here that I'm totally unaware of?"
"Yes," Fraser stated.
"All right, enough! Enough. —Benny? We're going to talk about this later. —You, vampire! Put your hands up in the air and identify yourself," Ray ordered. "—And you, on the car—stay put."
The attacker stepped back and raised his hands slightly. "Mick St. John, I'm a private investigator. And this man, Lee Jay Spalding, is a murderer. I was hired by this man's wife to protect her from him. He killed her anyway, like he killed his first wife. And he'll kill again if I don't stop him—permanently."
"The vampire is lying—he was just trying to eat me!" Lee Jay whined.
"Shut up!" Mick snarled and Ray yelled in unison.
Mick turned to Ray and Fraser and sighed. "Look—if you want to, talk to Bobby Desmond of the LAPD. He'll confirm what I'm saying. Uh—but I'd appreciate it if you didn't mention the whole vampire thing. He kinda doesn't know."
"How can he not know?!"
"Well, you didn't know until the guy in red told you," Mick shrugged.
"Oh, great, just great—of all the vampires, I had to get a wise guy."
"Speaking of red," Mick creased his brow at Fraser, "—Are you a doorman for that new hotel down on the waterfront?"
Fraser tilted his head. "Ah—no; a common misconception. Constable Benton Fraser, Royal Canadian Mounted Police."
"Oh—a Canadian cop? What are you doing in L.A.?"
"That's an excellent question," Ray cut in. "Detective Ray Vecchio, Chicago PD," he identified himself. "And five minutes ago, we were in Chicago. And it was 1995—which suddenly doesn't seem so weird now that I'm face-to-face with a vampire," he muttered.
Mick cocked an eyebrow and transferred his gaze back to the Mountie.
Fraser acknowledged this with a dip of his head. "What Detective Vecchio says is true. While I can't explain how I—we—wound up in your city, I can explain how I came to your country: you see, I first came to Chicago on the trail of the killers of my father and, for reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture, I remained, attached as liaison with the Canadian Consulate."
Mick nodded slowly.
Fraser Sr. looked over at Mick and said, "He's talking about me. I'm dead."
"You know he can't see or hear you, Dad," Fraser sighed. "I'm the only one who can—well, except your friend Buck Frobisher, of course—who, by the way, bears an uncanny resemblance to the Canadian actor and comedian Leslie Nielsen."
"Well, no, I don't know that, Benton—I'm a ghost; he's a vampire. We're both supernatural creatures. Why shouldn't he be aware of me?" Fraser Sr. glanced at the vampire again and started flapping his arm at his son. "Benton, Benton—see? He's looking at me!"
"No, Dad, he's looking in your direction."
"Mm-mmm, mm-mmm," Fraser Sr. grunted, shaking his head and a finger. "The vampire made definite eye contact with me."
Fraser put a palm to his forehead and exhaled loudly. "Excuse me, Mr. St. John," he addressed Mick, "but would you mind settling a dispute?"
"Your friend Detective Vecchio over there wants to shoot me"—Mick shot a look at Ray—"and you want me to settle a dispute?"
"It's a Canadian thing," Ray interjected.
Fraser continued, "Well, yes; I hate to ask it of you, but he won't leave me alone until you do."
Mick furrowed his brow. "Who won't?"
"My father. His ghost is right over there," Fraser pointed to where his father was standing.
"I drank blood once—just a little. Tasted terrible," Fraser's father muttered to no one in particular. "It was your Uncle Tiberius's idea—we were twelve; he dared me."
"So that explains the whispers I keep hearing but can't quite make out. There's also some kind of disturbance in the air, there." Mick nodded toward the spot Fraser had indicated.
"A disturbance—yes, that sounds like him," Fraser said under his breath.
"What's that, son?"
"Oh, nothing, Dad."
"—Would everybody please shut up for a minute?" Ray broke in. "I have a gun pointed at a vampire here, and nobody seems to care about that!" He started waving his free hand around to accompany his words. "—Why is this my life? Mounties, wolves, ghosts, vampires…"
"Oh, I beg your pardon, Ray. Go ahead; do whatever it is you were going to do."
"—Come to think of it, it was right after I drank the blood that Tiberius's obsession with cabbage leaves began," Fraser Sr. mused. "Huh."
"Well, I don't know what they do with vampires in Canada, Fraser, but here in the United States of America, we shoot 'em." Ray raised his gun a little higher.
"Oh. Well, I don't think that's a good idea, Ray."
Ray lowered his gun slightly. "Oh, and why not, Fraser? Do vampires turn into zombies when you shoot them?"
"Now, that's just silly, Ray."
"Did it occur to you, Fraser, that the vampire might want to kill us?"
"Well, I can't imagine why he'd want to do that. We're certainly no threat to him."
"Exactly my point, Fraser. We're no threat to him—meaning, he could kill us at anytime...unless we strike first."
"You know, Ray, the fact that we have not known of vampires existing before seems to indicate that vampires do not go around killing people at random, and are in fact functional, productive members of society. We may actually be better off with having them around."
"Oh, really? And tell me, Fraser, just what do I need with a vampire?"
"Ah. Now, that—that's an interesting question. Compare vampires to wolves. According to folklore, the vampire is a hunter, a creature of prey, just as the textbooks describe the wolf. Now, the Inuit—"
"I knew he was going to bring up the Inuit…I just knew it," Ray ranted under his breath.
"—The Inuit take a very different view of it; they have their own idea of why the wolf was created. In the beginning, so goes the legend, there was a man and a woman, and nothing else on earth walked or swam or flew, and so the woman dug a big hole in the ground, and she started fishing in it, and she pulled out all of the animals. The last animal she pulled out was the caribou."
"I thought this story was about wolves, Benny," Ray said impatiently.
"Oh, they'll be along in a minute." Fraser started pacing. "The woman set the caribou free and ordered it to multiply and soon the land was full of them and the people lived well. They were happy. But the hunters - the hunters only killed those caribou that were big and strong, and soon all that was left were the weak and the sick. And the people began to starve. And so the woman had to make magic again. And this time she called Amorak, spirit of the wolf, to winnow out the weak and the sick. So that the herd would once again be strong. And the people realized that the caribou and the wolf were one. For although the caribou feeds the wolf, it is the wolf that keeps the caribou strong."
Diefenbaker let out a long, eerie howl.
Ray glared at him. "Oh, very funny—what, you think you're a wolf or something?" He turned back to his friend. "So what are you trying to say here, Fraser? That we should let the vampire eat us?"
Fraser shrugged. "Perhaps? —Well, no, I mean, I don't mean us. But maybe this man"—he gestured to Lee Jay—"if he really is a violent killer…"
"He is," Mick broke in. Lee Jay let out a groan.
"I can't believe I'm hearing this from you, Benny—" Ray shook his head. "You don't even have capital punishment in Canada. But hey, who am I to complain? As long as the vampire doesn't eat us, I can cut him some slack if he gets a violent killer off the streets in a less-than-orderly fashion."
Mick held his hand up to halt their conversation. "Look, just for the record, I have no interest in 'eating' either of you."
"Oh, well, thank you, that's very comforting," Ray said sarcastically.
"I'm only interested in getting this bastard off the streets—and now that we seem to be in agreement, I'm going to finish the job." Mick took hold of Lee Jay's collar in his one fist and his neck in the other.
"Wait!" Ray cried.
"What?" Mick growled.
"What if this is like Back to the Future?"
"Back to the what?" Mick frowned.
"That movie doesn't come out for another two years, Ray," Fraser pointed out.
"Okay, fine, but my point is still valid. What if we're interfering in history here, just like Marty McFly?"
"Who?" Mick furrowed his brow.
Fraser shook his head. "It's 1983, Ray, we're both in our early twenties by this point. It's highly unlikely that stopping Mr. St. John from killing Mr. Spalding would prevent either of us from being conceived."
Ray stared hard at his friend.
"Back to the topic at hand," Mick broke in, "you're not altering history. I always intended to kill him, before and after you showed up, and I thought you guys had decided that you were okay with it."
"Well, then maybe that's the point," Ray said. "Maybe, we were sent here to stop you. Maybe you killing Lee Jay right now would irrevocably alter the course of your life."
"Ray makes an excellent argument," Fraser tilted his head. Diefenbaker barked in agreement.
Mick stared at them for a moment. "I can't believe I'm listening to two strange cops and a wolf." He scowled and punched Lee Jay hard in the stomach. "Get out of here," he snarled in his face. "—But if you ever kill again, know that I will find you. I will hunt you down and I will kill you." He released the collar of Lee Jay's shirt that he had been holding.
Lee Jay stumbled a few steps and got into his car, pressing his fingers to his neck. With shaking hands, he managed to find the keys and insert the right one into the ignition. Thirty seconds later, his car was out of sight.
Mick watched the taillights disappear, then turned back to Ray and Fraser. "You better hope you're right," he shook a finger at them. "You just let a killer go free with a warning."
"Well, it was a stern warning—you have to admit that at least," Ray said.
To be continued…