Disclaimer: Sadly, I do not own Blade Trinity or its any of its characters. Yeah, I know it's pretty gutting but you get used to it. Only Eve belongs to me.
Pairing: Hannibal King/OC
Summary: Eve was your typical twenty something. She liked very high impractical shoes, had an addiction to sugary snacks and an everyday, 9-5 job, running PR for a secret society that hunted down and slayed the undead.
Inspired by Hannibal King's line: 'I'm sorry, I've had a lot of sugar today.'
"You met Dex. This is Hedges, Sommerfield..." King gestured to his friends in turn as Blade watched on impassively. "The runt you saw earlier is Sommerfield's daughter, Zoe." He leaned back on the desk casually. "We call ourselves the Nightstalkers."
Blade remained unimpressed. "You sound like rejects from a Saturday morning cartoon."
"Well we were gonna call ourselves the Care Bears, but that was taken." Hannibal folded his arms.
"King! Have you been eating my muffins again?"
Blade raised an eyebrow as an irate young woman stormed up the metal stairway out of the kitchen, clutching an empty plastic packet in her hand.
"And this is Eve. When she's not pissed off at me she manages our PR."
"Believe me, cleaning up the chaos this lot leave behind after a job is a full time occupation." Eve ran her free hand through her untidy blonde hair and appraised the hybrid coolly. "Looks like you could have done with me before Blade. I might have managed to get you out of this mess."
"I doubt it," King rebutted. "No-one's that good. Not even you sweetheart."
Eve pursed her lips and focused on her antagonist. She waved the empty muffin wrapping in front of his face, a few crumbs flying out to land on the floor. "How many times do I have to tell you? Keep your thieving hands off my food."
"Why are you blaming me? Anybody could have finished those deliciously double chocolate chip filled muffins."
Eve's glare turned glacial as she fixed her gaze on him.
King smirked and licked his lips. "Ok, so it was me, but you should start hiding your snacks better if you don't want me to eat them."
"They were in my fridge. Which is locked with a pin code. In my room. Which is password protected. I consider that pretty well hidden," Eve retorted, punctuating her reply by poking him in the chest to emphasize her point, her nails leaving tiny crescent grooves in his top.
"How many are there of you?" Blade interjected, trying to get some more information before the argument escalated further.
"There's enough," Hannibal offered vaguely, as Eve scowled at him but dropped the quarrel to perch on the desk beside him. "We operate in sleeper cells. When one goes down another cell activates to pick up the slack."
"Consider us your reinforcements," offered Dex.
Blade's eyebrows rose. "What? You amateurs are supposed to be helping me?" His breath gusted out between his teeth. "Look at you. You're kids. You're not ready to roll with this. I mean, look at the way you dressed. That's supposed to be tactical? And what is this? What is that? 'Fuck You'." He gestured to the name badge on King's vest. "It's a joke card. What is wrong with y'all? You think this is a joke? You think this is a sitcom?"
"Ok, first off, that's just rude," said King. "Second, I'm pretty sure we saved your ass back there."
Blade grabbed his throat and mimicked King being strangled by the thickly built blonde vampire they'd encountered before. He sucked his teeth. "Yeah. I'm impressed."
King looked adorably outraged. Eve bit her lip to stop herself from smiling.
"Look, Blade," said Whistler reasonably. "My Father meant for us to help you. Like it or not we are all you got."
"What the hell makes you think you know anything about hunting vampires?"
"Well, cause for starters I used to be one." King pulled his black top up and the belt buckle of his combats down enough so Blade could see the vampire glyph inked low on his stomach. "Do I pass the audition?"
Behind him, Dex and Hedges groaned.
"Pay up," crowed Eve triumphantly.
"What?" Hannibal pulled his combats back up sharply. "Are you guys betting on me?"
"Yep. I knew it wouldn't take more than five minutes for you to pull your pants down and show your glyph. They said ten." Eve clicked her fingers impatiently, a grin twisting her full lips up at the corners. "Come on, come on. Give me my 30 bucks."
Reluctantly the two men handed over their money and Eve fingered the crumpled notes before pocketing them. Just as she slipped her fingers out of her worn jeans, the pager at her waist bleeped. She read the message, rubbed the bridge of her nose, read it again and then sighed.
"Hedges, did you have to make Whistler a bow? Everyone forgets a handgun but they all remember the girl running around like a Robin Hood reject." Before the weapons expert could even open his mouth to defend himself she had frowned and rounded on Blade. "And you. Did you have to jump out the window from the third story? Was the front door really that much of an inconvenience?" She crushed the empty muffin packet in her hand. "I hate you guys so much."
"Love you too sweetheart."
She flipped King off as she stalked back to the cubbyhole where she worked, to try and clear up the mess the Nightstalkers had left behind.
"Low blood sugar," King offered, watching Eve's backside as she disappeared back down the stairs, muttering obscenities to herself.
Whistler coughed, and he reluctantly tore his eyes away. "Right. Better show Blade what we found."
Blade sighed and trailed after them, a part of him wishing the vampires had taken him and he'd never met this group of idiotic wannabe heroes.
King frowned, seeing the blue sticky note attached to the side of his computer screen.
KING OWES ME $20.
He ignored it, flipped the side of his gun open and pulled out the tiny disc containing the footage he'd shot from his gun.
"You know the kind of woman that just screams trouble? You see her and every warning bell in your brain starts going off, but you still ask for her number? Well that's all I ever hook up with."
Whistler rolled her eyes.
"But this betty ..." King tapped at the keyboard, calling up the surveillance footage on a nearby monitor. "She blew 'em all away in the shit storm sweepstakes."
As the footage slowed down and advanced frame by frame King decided to provide running commentary. "Her name's Danica Talos. You met her earlier. And unlike typical vampires her fangs are located in her vagina."
Blade's mouth twitched but he said nothing.
"Moving on. The man on her left is her brother Asher." He hit a couple of buttons and the image zoomed in tracking the vampires more closely. "The walking diaper stain behind them is Jarko Grimwood. I picked Danica up in a bar - then spent the next five years playing hide-and-go-suck as her little vampire cabana boy. Eventually Abigail found me. Sommerfield managed to treat me with a cure and now I kill them." He flicked the computer off. "And that's basically turning a frown upside down."
"We need to pool our resources, Blade," said Whistler. She shared a look with King. "He's come back."
"Take a look at this." King tossed a Tomb Of Dracula comic book over to Blade, who glanced at the cover and then looked at them, incredulously.
"You gotta be kidding."
Eve typed away at the keyboard in front of her, glasses perched on the end of her nose, lips scrunched as she tried to figure out how to effectively lie about Blade, Abigail and King's earlier rescue mission. Hacking into news media sites and official police report files was the easy part. Coming up with something that was actually believable was the tricky thing. She doubted the typical stories about drug dealers, rival gang fights and gas leaks causing huge explosions would quite cover this.
She frowned and read over what she'd written, hit delete and pressed the heels of her hands to her eyes against the oncoming migraine. It was hard to keep an organisation of vampire hunters actually secret, when the hunters were so blatant in their disregard for secrecy.
Next time they might as send out fliers announcing who they were and what they were doing. It would save her this mess, and she could go and find a nice quiet job working for a company that didn't hunt down and destroy the undead.
A chocolate chip cookie and a mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream suddenly appeared on the desk beside her.
"Call it a peace offering."
Eve peered at the hot chocolate closer. "It's even got sprinkles." She spun round in her chair and crossed her arms. "Who are you and what have you done with King?"
"Hey, can't I do something nice without being accused of being possessed?"
He paused momentarily, enjoying the rare sound of his name on her lips. "Why don't you call me by my first name more often?"
"Because King rhymes with dickhead, that's why."
And they were back to arguing again. "No it doesn't."
"You're right, but I like to think it does."
He moved aside a stack of leather bound books, a silver trinket box and a photo of her twin sister to hop on her desk.
"OK, so I got your note." He stuck the blue sticky message back on the desk. "I know I owe you for the muffins..."
"And the chocolate bars, and my pack of white chip cookies, and the-"
"Ok, so I owe you a lot but I promise I'll make it up to you."
"I haven't got round to that part yet."
She sighed deeply. "I won't hold my breath then." She typed a sentence but when King still didn't move, she shut the police file down, switched her laptop off and faced him.
"So have you told him?"
"No, jackass, have you told Blade about Dracula?"
"How'd he take it?"
"As well as we'd hoped."
"Oh, that good huh?"
Her little pink tongue darted out to lap at the cream on the mug. His eyes were helplessly drawn to the movements.
"Hey, Evie," he swallowed. "Why is it you think I only go for dangerous women?"
"You mean like Danica?" She paused and dipped her finger in the cream, slowly sucking it off. King felt his pants tighten suddenly. "Well, if I was a psychologist I'd say maybe it had something to do with your mother." She swirled her finger round again, trying to get as many chocolate sprinkles as possible. "As your friend I'd say it's because you're scared that if you pick a woman who isn't dangerous she's gonna get hurt and there's nothing you can do about it. Women like Danica don't need protecting. You don't have anything to lose."
She smirked at him over the rim of her mug. "On the other hand, you might just like being dominated in bed."
She'd missed tea, having to finish the news coverage that King had distracted her from, and oh hadn't that been a barrel of laughs. Now, according to the police reports Blade had escaped all by himself, Eve having deleted any mention of the motley crew she called her colleagues. She'd also anonymously told a couple of journalists she was friendly with online that any suggestion by the cops that Blade had been helped was merely them trying to cover up their poor security measures and own culpability.
Satisfied that she'd done the best she could, she checked her emails, made a note to reply back to her sister and then did one final cursory glance of the internet, flitting over stories of rape and theft, before one article caught her eye.
" 'Vampire' Killer Murders Two in Shop"
She scanned the article before pulling up the police report. The victims were the owners of a novelty vampire shop, selling everything related to Dracula. They'd both been drained of their blood through two puncture wounds in the neck, though one had been thrown through the shop window first. Hacking into the shop's security feed she pulled up the footage of the assault, and watched in mute horror as a dark haired, well built man came in, attacked and departed within minutes, leaving the corpses in his wake.
So Dracula was up and about and feeding from the civilians. Eve sighed and logged off. What a wonderful way to end the evening.
Getting up to inform the rest of the crew, her stomach rumbled loudly. A slight detour was called for and stretching her aching back muscles as she went, she headed towards the refectory they called their kitchen. Not that anyone except Sommerfield ever cooked, the rest of them relying on takeout, microwavable meals and alcohol.
Flicking on the lights revealed no-one there. Waiting a couple of beats without sign of movement she pulled open a secret panel in the cupboard unit and pulled out her emergency stash of cupcakes. These were her Eldorado, her Pandora's Box, her secret treasure trove that King hadn't got his thieving fingers on yet.
Opening the brightly coloured plastic container she selected one at random, closed the lid reverently and slid the cupcakes back into their secret panel. Only when everything looked exactly as it had done did she allow herself the pleasure of scooping off the raspberry frosting with her little finger and sucking the tip clean. She closed her eyes and sighed in pleasure.
"Thinking of me?" a voice rumbled behind her.
Too used to King's silent, predatory walk she didn't jump. Instead she rolled her eyes and turned around.
"No actually, I was thinking of a man." She looked him up and down. "Not a boy."
"I am all man, sweetheart, and I'd be more than willing to show you," King retorted, moving closer so she had to back up against the counter.
"Will you two get a room please?" Whistler asked coming into the kitchen and opening the fridge door. "Just get the tension over and done with."
"That's what I keep saying." Hannibal pouted as Eve moved away from him and flopped in a seat at the kitchen table. "But I keep getting shot down."
"Then maybe you should take the hint," Eve replied, gently pulling apart the chocolate cupcake with her fingers. Whistler poured herself a glass of juice, shut the fridge door and sat down opposite her friend.
"So who were you thinking of?" Asked King curiously.
"Dracula. He's killed two people tonight downtown. I pulled the CCTV footage. It's him."
Eve swallowed a bite. "Sure I'm sure. I've seen my fair share of vampires before but he's different. There's something about him I can't put my finger on. I just watched him kill two people in cold blood and yet it's like he's got this magnetism about him that you can't pull away from."
"You almost sound like you like him," Whistler said, her mouth twitching.
"Aside from the whole vampire thing, he's pretty easy on the eyes."
King looked at her askance.
"What?" She gave a winsome shrug. "I can find a man handsome can't I?"
King raised an eyebrow. "I can see why you'd go for him. Undead and those split jaw tentacle things he's got going on are really gorgeous. He's literally fighting off the girls."
"Haha." Eve crossed her legs, her skirt shimmying further up her thighs. "Ok, so he's not exactly George Clooney in his vampire form, but I wouldn't kick his human form out of bed. That dark hair, strong jaw, not to mention his body." She sighed wistfully. "He's gorgeous."
"Gorgeous?" Hannibal snapped. "He's the father of all vampires. He's psychotic."
Eve scraped her chair back from the table and stood up. "Whatever. I'm off to bed. And no, that's not an invitation," she added, as King opened his mouth to speak.
He frowned and watched her meander out of the kitchen, picking apart her cupcake, her lips still wet and coated in sugar, knowing if he kissed her she'd taste of raspberry icing and dark chocolate.
"Goodnight," Whistler called, watching King watching Eve. She repressed a smile. "You should tell her you know."
To his credit King's expression remained impassive. "Tell her what?"
"How you feel about her."
He opened the fridge door and pulled out a beer. "Nothing to tell."
Whistler rolled her eyes. "You're so in love with her."
"Do you want Coco Pops?" asked Zoe, waving a spoonful of the sugary breakfast cereal under Eve's nose.
"No sweetie, I've already had breakfast, but thank you for offering." Eve smiled at the child before returning to her Blackberry and making sure last night's work was paying off.
"Blade, do you want Coco Pops?" Zoe offered as the vampire hunter stalked into the kitchen, closely followed by King and Whistler.
"Munchkin, I don't think Blade wants them either. Why don't you eat it instead, rather than offering it to everyone else, hmm?" said Sommerfield, as she cleared away her own plates.
King snorted. "Blade eating Coco Pops is a sight I would pay to see."
"You'll be keeping your money then," the hybrid replied coolly.
"What are you doing today?" interrupted Eve, before King made the situation worse and riled Blade more than he already had.
"Going after the familiars," said Whistler, necking a carton of milk. "Sooner or later one of them will lead us to the real vampires."
"Sounds like fun," said Eve sarcastically, pocketing her phone. "Don't make too much mess for me; otherwise Dracula won't be the only thing coming for you."
"Sweetheart, you can come for me anytime you like."
Sommerfield pressed her hands over her daughter's ears. "King! Really? Can you control your mouth for one second?"
"It's cause his mouth's controlled by what's in his pants," Eve muttered, shooting him a dirty look.
"Sorry," said King, having the grace to look abashed. "Not in front of the kid, gotcha."
"Right." Sommerfield took her hands away from Zoe's ears as the little girl waved her spoon around.
"Mommy? What did King mean?"
Whistler cleared her throat, "Well, I think that's our cue to go." She pinched King's arm. "Come on idiot, let's get you out of here before you say anything else."
Eve waited until the trio had gone before wandering over to her secret panel, for her after breakfast snack. She glanced at Sommerfield and Zoe. "You guys won't tell anyone will you?"
Zoe crossed her heart solemnly. "Nope."
Eve turned back to the cupboard, pressing the secret panel, licking her lips in expectation.
"Son of a bitch."
Sommerfield had her hands over her daughter's ears again, but Eve was too riled to even care. Instead she ran out of the kitchen after the three hunters but it was too late. The car was already driving off.
All she could do was shake her fist in the air, and reach for her Blackberry, sending the unfortunate man a text.
King. I knw u8 all my cupcakes. Wen u get bck am going 2kill u. Slwely.
She added a smiley face just to creep him out and then headed for the gym to work out her anger. The punching bag wouldn't know what had hit it.
Five hours later, her anger cooled now to a slow simmer and the punching bag knocked from it's chain Eve was once again sat at her workstation contemplating how to pull Blade out of the chaos that once again surrounded him. Every few minutes her computer bleeped at her as another news story came in about the two men who'd rampaged through two city apartment blocks.
Having cleared up the mess with Vance, changing eyewitness statements, fixing the medical report and wiping any security footage, she'd contrived it so that his death was now a murder from a disgruntled patient. A patient who looked like Dracula, but who was at the moment (according to the media) a John Doe. A freak storm covered Blade and Drake's decision to re-enact the old Levi Jeans commercial and run through walls, the bill for the restoration work now being footed by the State. The woman whose child had been stolen was shut up quickly and quietly by a donation to her bank account and a threatening letter, and the motorcyclist in hospital with spinal injuries that Drake had pushed against a car, had fortuitously become amnesiac. The car crashes, injured civilians and general destruction was now the culmination of a series of unfortunate coincidences - drunk drivers, failing traffic lights, and high pedestrians.
Having buried any mention of Blade, Whistler and King she switched off her computer and headed towards the sickbay where King was now resting, Sommerfield having patched him up an hour ago.
Eve passed a bloodied Whistler on the stairs.
"Whistler?" When there was no response she reached out and touched her shoulder. "Abigail?" The young woman snapped out of her daze. "Hey. You ok?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. Just need a shower."
Eve frowned and chewed her lip. "You sure?"
"Yeah, honestly. I'm fine."
"Well, if you need me I'll be in the sick bay giving King an earful." She smiled and squeezed her hand. "I'll see you in a bit, ok?"
Abigail nodded and carried on up. Eve watched her leave, frowning, before carrying onto the medical bay.
She couldn't help but smirk at the sight of him once again half naked, though this time of course, she hadn't won any money from it. She tapped on the door and then entered, as King muted the film he was watching.
"So, I hear you got stabbed with your own silver stakes. Well done."
"Hello to you too."
"King." She gently smoothed her hands over the bandage covering his wound. "You know if you weren't injured I'd kick your ass for eating my cupcakes." She sighed. "As it is, I'm just glad you're alive...and I'll kick your ass when you're healed instead."
"You just came to see me half naked."
She rolled her eyes and pretended that she hadn't already blatantly checked him out. "And covered in such an attractive striped orange and yellow blanket. It really brings out the colour of your bandages."
She turned her attention to the film he had been watching. "A foreign film? I never knew you were that deep."
"Sweetheart, there are depths to me you can only guess at." He leered. "But you know you're always welcome to get to know me better. Intimately even."
"Eat shit, King," she laughed and fingered the necklace he was wearing. "I see you've still got my Christmas present on."
"I can't undo the clasp," he deadpanned.
He shifted slightly and she could see the fine hairs on his arms standing up. "Help me put on a vest? I'm a little cold."
"Covering up in front of the ladies?" She reached into the drawer beside the bed and pulled out a white wife beater. "Think Drake knocked you on the head too."
"Just put it on and stop sniping," he said. Rolling her eyes she did as he asked, gently pulling the vest over his head and then his chest, helping him sit up so she could pull it down at the back. This close she could smell his cologne, his hot breath against her neck, the gel he'd used to tease his hair into its rumpled upwards style.
She pulled away before she began to fantasize, cracking her fingers and clearing her throat.
"I'd better get back and see what the others have found. Sommerfield mentioned she might have a new lead." She stuck her tongue out playfully. "Plus, I have to go and buy some more cupcakes and find a new hiding place for them. You know you owe me thirty dollars now."
"I know Evie, I'm sorry."
"Right, well. See you later then."
His callused hand caught her soft one in his as she got up to go. For once his voice was surprisingly sincere, his eyes dark and serious.
She smiled and squeezed his fingers. "You're welcome."
An hour later, with Sommerfield having identified where the vampires were and Whistler and Blade off to wreak more havoc, it was left up to Eve to bring Hannibal his dinner. Balancing the tray on her hip with one hand, she carried a beer and a packet of chocolate chip cookies in the other.
"King? I brought you some dinner. And Sommerfield cooked so you're in luck." When there was no response she wandered over to the bed. "King?"
He was asleep, his dark eyelashes resting against his sculpted cheekbones. Resting his meal on the table beside him, she gently pulled the blanket up over him so he wouldn't be cold tucking it in around his shoulders.
"See? I go and be all nice to you and you're not even awake to witness it." She stroked the hand that rested nearest her. "And I even sneaked you out cookies and beer, though we both know you don't deserve them."
When he didn't stir she sighed, bending down and lightly brushing her lips over his cheek, just beneath the small scar there. "Goodnight, Hannibal." Dimming the lights to low she checked his blanket once more and turned to go.
Hannibal's eyes snapped open and watched her leave in the darkness.
"I'm popping to the shops, do guys want anything?"
Dex and Hedges didn't even pause in their basketball game as Eve popped her head round the door.
"No, we're cool. See you later."
She watched them play for a moment before grabbing her purse and leaving. "See you."
Exiting the compound, she dialled the number on her Blackberry she now knew off by heart. "Ciao, Marco, it's an emergency. King ate all my cake and I have no reserves left. Think you can keep the shop open for me till I get there? I promise it'll be worth your while." Hearing an affirmative she grinned. "Grazie, Marco. I'll be fifteen minutes."
It didn't take long to get there, and once inside she took her time choosing, simply soaking in the warmth, light and scents of the tiny family bakery, a world away from the horrors of slaying the undead. Torn between fulfilling her every sugar fantasy and the enormous dent this would leave in her bank account she eventually ended up selecting a tray of delicate looking fruit pastries, two boxes of dark chocolate and lemon cupcakes, a rich, moist looking ginger cake and a box of assorted misshapen biscuits. Throwing Marco a couple of twenty dollar bills she made her way back to the complex debating over a new hiding place, her pistol strapped to one hip, the other carefully balancing the huge conglomeration of sweet things, like a small child.
She was about to key in her passcode to go over the bridge when she spotted Abby and Blade watching her from the lookout above her.
Her brow puckered in confusion. "What's wrong?" She took in Abby's tear stained face, Blade's silent stoicism behind her and her face blanched.
"Dracula's been hasn't he?"
"And are they all...?"
"They've taken King and Zoe but the rest..."
The cake dropped unnoticed to the ground at her feet.
It was Blade who spotted her first.
"What do you think you're doing?"
"Coming with you," Eve said evenly, strapping on wrist guards and perusing Hedge's assortment of weaponry. "Like I'd let you have all the fun of revenge."
Whistler blanched. "But you haven't got the training or the field experience."
"You've taught me how to shoot and fight-"
"At targets that don't move, in a safe environment." Whistler pressed her hands urgently on her friend's shoulders. "You'd be dead in a matter of minutes if you went and I won't lose another friend." She squeezed her shoulders. "And King would kill me if anything happened to you."
"Whistler's right," said Blade coolly. "You're a rookie, and rookie equals dead tonight."
She deflated. "Fine, I'll stay here then." She scrubbed a hand through her hair and then over her face tiredly. "I guess, someone needs to...to take care of them."
"Thank you.." Whistler hugged her hard and then handed her a comm. "We'll be back soon, but if you need us, or anything happens…"
Eve nodded. "I'll give you a call."
So whilst Whistler took out her rage in battle, Eve gently moved her friends to the mortuary, silently bathing Somerfield's face, wiping the blood from Dex's face and neck, closing Hedge's eyes.
With their eyes closed and the blood gone, she could almost imagine they were asleep. Almost, but not quite, and when she closed her eyes, she could only imagine their screams.
She scrubbed furiously at the floor until her own hands were raw and bleeding, stinging from the bleach.
"I changed my mind," she muttered. "I hate Dracula."
It was only when the rooms were back to their glistening white, not a speck of blood to be seen and her limbs trembling from the exertion and the shock that Eve finally gave in, curled herself into a ball and cried, deep wracking sobs that shook her tiny frame. She was crying so hard she almost didn't hear the comm beside her crackle into life.
Reaching for a tissue she wiped in vain at the tears streaming down her face and then blindly reached for the comm.
"Evie?" Beneath King's uncharacteristically serious tone there was almost a tremor of fear. "Evie, are you there?"
"I'm here," she reassured him quietly, her voice thick.
She could almost hear some of the tension leave him. "Thank fuck. Are you alright?"
"As much as I can be. What about you?"
"I'll live-" there was the hiss and crackle of static over the line, and Eve could just make out the sounds of fighting. There was a loud groan and the sound of something breaking.
"King?" Eve shook the comm impatiently, trying to make anything out. "King, are you there? Hannibal!"
"I'm fine, sweetheart, Janko's just a bit mad I taught his dog how to fly." There was another loud roar and she heard King grunt heavily.
"Stop making wisecracks and stay safe," she hissed.
"I'll try," he replied breathlessly. "Anything else?"
"Kill them all."
There was a dry laugh. "That's my girl. I'll see you soon."
And then the comm died and she could do nothing else except wait and pray that her friends made it back to her.
Hours later, King, Abby and Zoe finally entered the compound. Eve, who'd been too tightly wound to sleep and had spent the endless hours pacing up and down, following the FBI reports as they came in (and rewriting them as needed) eagerly engulfed the little girl in a hug so tight she thought she might break her.
She kissed her head. "Hey Munchkin."
Letting Zoe go, she hugged Whistler hard and then turned to King.
"Come on Zoe, why don't we get you ready for bed?" Abby said tactfully, leaving the room with the girl, and closing the door behind her.
An awkward silence fell.
"Glad to see you're in one piece," Eve finally offered, her arms wrapped around her stomach.
"Yeah, me too." He ran a hand along his jaw. "Still fully functional. Want to test me out?"
Eve rolled her eyes and began to move away. "Well looks like your wit's still intact." She reached for the antiseptic wipes, cotton wool and a bowl from the cupboard, filling it with hot water. "Sit down over there and I'll clean you up."
For once King did as she asked without question. She brought the bowl over and gently but efficiently began to wipe at the cuts circling his cheekbones and eyes, cleansing the worst of them where the blood and dirt had crusted over.
"Hope that doesn't scar. Wouldn't want your pretty face messed up would we?"
She dumped the cloths back in the bowl and moved away to fetch more.
"They're not too deep, so a couple of sterry strips across them and they'll heal up in no time."
"And look at the mess I'm going to have to clear up with the FBI and Blade. At least you didn't get caught by the police this time-"
Suddenly he was looming over her. Unconsciously she backed up against the kitchen counter till her back hit it, but he followed her, leaving her no personal space. His hands rested either side of her against the hard marble surface, his chest hovering tantalisingly close above hers. She had to tip her head up and expose her soft white throat to look at him. She swallowed.
And then his fingers were in her hair and skimming across her jaw, as he dipped his head down and kissed her fiercely. Confirming she was alive and safe. That she was here with him and that he wouldn't let her go. Fingers fisting in her shirt, he pressed as close as possible to her, propping her on the kitchen counter, her legs wrapping round his waist as she arched up against him.
"Hannibal," she moaned as his talented fingers found all the right places. "Don't start something you can't finish in a public place."
He smiled against her mouth and pulled away eventually, his own breathing ragged. Hands still cupping her face gently, he traced the marks where her tears had dried.
"I'm glad you're ok."
She managed a shaky smile. "I can tell." She sniffed and stroked his beard. "What happened to your dangerous women only rule?"
"They get kind of boring after a while." His callused fingers ran over her kiss bruised mouth gently. "I thought I'd try a woman with sugar on her lips instead."
"And what's your verdict?"
King smirked. "I think further investigation is needed."
"Agreed." She pulled him down, her mouth meeting his, this time more tenderly, their earlier passion transforming into something softer, but still as demanding.
This time when they broke for air, King kissed along her cheeks and then whispered in her ear, his breath hot against her ear. He nipped the lobe.
"I love you."
She wrapped her arms around his waist and smiled.
"I love you too." She paused. "But you still owe me thirty dollars."
King smirked and skimmed his palms up her thighs. "Oh, I can think of plenty of ways to repay you. With interest."
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