Title: Power in the Blood
Disclaimer: Not makin' money
Rating: PG-13 (swearing & minor violence)
Author's Notes: BBC version. First BH fic. Starts off with much George whomping but as I'm a Mitchell girl, have no fear, he gets his share soon enough. Huge thanks to my awesome beta Annie! Cheers, girl!
There is power in the blood, justice in the sword
When that call it comes, I will be ready for war
The pursuit was simultaneously thrilling and repulsive. To track the smell of blood as it pumped through a moving body excited all his senses, yet the scent of the werewolf's blood made his skin crawl.
Ian Shelby's time as a vampire was a drop in the supernatural bucket—a mere three years. His former life as a thirty-five-year old airline steward came to a crashing halt in more ways than one. A British Airways jet had skidded off an icy taxiway during landing leaving four dead and one undead. Tossed like a doll, Ian had laid in the numbing cold of a grassy field and begged, "Yes" in response to the passenger addressing him. "You're dying. Do you want me to save you?"
His creator was the man who had taught him how to survive, blend in, rise above the lower life forms; in turn, Ian devoted himself to Sheldon Wallace. Sheldon kept his small nest strong. According to him, their trip from Southampton to Bristol was half recruitment/half search and destroy. Ian didn't feel compelled to know reasons—if Sheldon deemed it necessary, it was necessary.
Ian's assignment, along with fledging Andy, was to help locate and grab the werewolf and bring him back to the club. The two had spent the last few hours hanging about the front and back, respectively, of Bristol General Hospital scenting for the lycanthrope. Usually a vampire had to be close to sense such a thing; however, Sheldon taught them that by concentrating, they could focus their detection down a long, narrow field.
Now, under the dull velvet midnight sky, Ian pushed himself up from a bench near the hospital's back entrance and followed their target, watching as the unwary man hitched a backpack over one shoulder whilst apparently attempting to text.
Ian withdrew his mobile phone from his jacket pocket and rang Andy. "Get the car; meet me on Guinea…no, the one behind the hospital."
The text reply on George's phone made him smile as he interpreted it. 'Milk, marmtrukl if they hv it, cereal-Copops? SUGR!'
In answer to the query of what might be needed from the all-night shop on the way home Mitchell had been concise and predictable. The mangled sentence really meant, 'Milk; Marmite cheese truckles if they have them; cereal-preferably Coco Pops but most importantly anything with copious amounts of sugar.'
For whatever reason, foods high in protein, iron, and sugar helped subdue certain unwanted cravings. They weren't sure if it was a vampire thing or just a Mitchell thing but they didn't care. Whatever helped.
Another chirp had George again dropping his attention downward to look at his phone. 'A sez t'.
"Of course she does," George mumbled as he keyed a single 'k' in reply. "When she does finally leave this world, the blokes running the other side better hope they have a well-stocked larder." He stuffed his mobile back into his jacket pocket. "And mugs. Lots and lots of mugs."
He inhaled a lungful of the chilly night air, relaxing in the background noise of the occasional passing car, and glanced up into the murky sky. For a split second, his brain processed the blinding white flash as fireworks, then came the pain. The blow to the back of his skull drove him to his knees.
His senses tried to process what was happening. The sound of a car engine, the creak of metal. Blackness swallowed the splash of white light and spat out blurred vision as he felt two hands grab fistfuls of the back of his jacket, hoist him to his feet and swing him round toward the street.
He struggled to keep his feet on the ground but the strength of his attacker made it futile. He never saw the punch coming. A second assailant's fist caught him high on his left cheekbone and snapped his head sideways. Stunned, he was barely aware of a hand digging into his jacket pocket.
Instinct compelled George to lash out. A sloppy right jab connected with ribs, unbalancing the man who'd punched him, but he didn't have the chance to capitalize on the hit. From behind, hands dragged him back and flung him into the car's boot. The back of his head connected with the boot lid and again his vision exploded briefly with white stars. The last thing George saw before the lid slammed him into darkness was two sets of glassy black eyes.
The glowing red from the car's tail lights offered George a target in the tight confines of the boot.
"Shit! Shit! Shit!" He frantically kicked at the tail light near his feet while banging hard against the boot lid in desperate hope. "Ow! What the hell!"
The outside of his left hand scraped against something sharp near the boot latch just as the toe of one trainer connected with the tail light, smashing its housing and causing more blackness to encroach on him. "Bloody stupid bloody vampires! I HATE VAMPIRES!"
Panic pressed against him, forcing his breath to jump in and out of his lungs. Dizziness and a tingling in his hands and feet set off an alarm in the part of his brain that housed medical knowledge. Hyperventilating would not help his situation.
"Okay, okay, stop, think. Breathe. Breathe. Innnnn…Ouuuuut."
Watery eyes, lost glasses, darkness and the bleeding lump at the back of his head made his vision blur. His hands scrabbled around the small space, searching for a weapon, but he wasn't surprised to find the boot empty. At that moment, he realized his phone had been pulled from his pocket and his backpack was probably lying on the sidewalk of Guinea Street.
'Shit, my wallet's in there.' A weak laugh escaped George's lips as he considered the reality that it would be a miracle if he ever needed his wallet again. 'Well, at least I know they don't want me for a drink.' Fear tightened his stomach. 'Probably just a good ol' fashioned punk stomp.'
"No," he said aloud. "Not gonna be their bloody bit of fun."
With the second tail light directly in front of his eyes, George made quick work of ripping at the wires. It was a long shot but if a police car should happen to see a vehicle without rear lights it would certainly result in a stop. He briefly closed his eyes. 'Resulting in them being killed as well. Brilliant, George.'
He rubbed one hand hard across his eyes, as if it could wipe away the pain and fear that filled his head. He scooted forward to peer through the tail light hole. Whilst street signs escaped his vision, it was evident they kept to surface streets.
George closed his eyes and speculated how long he'd be dead before Mitchell and Annie wondered where their groceries were.
The pounding in his head spread from the wound at the back to both temples and held his brain in a vice. They hadn't traveled far enough to go outside of Bristol but that also hadn't given George's body time to recover.
Now the car had come to a stop and the sound of slamming doors sent adrenaline surging through him. He shifted in his tiny prison, brought his knees to his chest, and waited for the sound of a key sliding into the boot's lock.
From outside, a muffled voice whinged petulantly, "That filthy mutt busted me lights out. OY!" Brutal banging on the boot lid forced George to clamp his hands over his ears until the lid popped open.
Despite the pounding in his battered head, he kicked out, catching one of the vampires in the stomach and pushing him back into his companion. Off-balance, the two bounced against each other, tumbling like bowling pins.
George scrambled from the boot and sprinted for an alley that revealed street lights at its end. A sharp jerk backwards nearly pulled him off his feet. He could feel two hands locked into the fabric of his jacket and, like a fish on a hook, he flailed against the hold. With two quick twists, he spun out of his coat, leaving the vampire behind him holding nothing but fabric.
The manoeuvre, however, took its toll. The pain in his head exploded into dizziness and the alley tilted violently. His legs tried to compensate for the sudden loss of equilibrium but with little success. George stumbled, scrabbling with one hand for the alley wall, before crashing to the ground.
The first kick hit him in the chest and pushed the air from his lungs. He could feel his body struggling to draw in oxygen, which was when the second kick came, straight to the stomach. His muscles tightened as his body curled protectively inward. A rushing wave roared through his ears, briefly deafening him and adding to the panic before his lungs finally were able to pull in air.
"Stupid fuckin' dog!"
"Andy, lay off! Help me get him up. Sheldon's waiting."
George could hear his attackers' heavy breathing as they lifted him by his upper arms and dragged him back to the rear of the building. Nausea roiled the half-digested sandwich in his stomach and it was all he could do to keep down the sick while they hauled him through a heavy metal door and down a set of wooden stairs.
Mitchell shifted his grinning face from the TV screen to Annie, who sat beside him on the sofa. "I do so love that dog."
The black and white images from "After the Thin Man" showed a white wire-haired fox terrier chasing a black Scottish terrier from his yard before filling in the hole under the fence to thwart a return.
Mitchell pointed at the screen. "Ya see, that's how it's done. Asta knew what it was all about—protecting yer family. Don't take no guff from nobody."
Annie showed a half-grin. "Looks like Mrs. Asta didn't mind taking a bit of guff from that dog that just got chased off." The previous scene had indicated one black puppy amongst a group of obviously white.
"Well," Mitchell conceded, "you can't really blame her, can you? Ladies pretty much swoon at the feet of those dark, mysterious-type fellas." He flashed a smile and a wink but couldn't hold the self-important expression, especially when Annie answered.
"Did you really just use the word swoon?"
Mitchell focused back on the TV. "You young kids today, no respect for the English language."
"Perhaps I was swooning too much during my classes to retain anything." After a moment of silence, Annie spoke again. "You all right?"
"Eh?" Mitchell jerked his head toward her, eyes wide.
Annie just raised her eyebrows and glanced at Mitchell's denim-clad leg which, despite his body's deep slouch into the sofa, was quivering with tiny up-and-down bounces.
"Oh. Just, uh…could use a little somethin' sweet. You know." Mitchell leaned sideways to retrieve his mobile phone from the arm of the sofa. "It's been about twenty minutes." He silently calculated—roughly a kilometer walk from the hospital, bit of time in the shop. "He shouldn't be much longer."
"Maybe he's chatting up that little red-headed clerk."
Mitchell tried to suppress a grin. "Which undoubtedly leads to him nervously knocking over some grand display."
"Tins of cat food rolling everywhere," Annie said, showing a full smile while throwing her hands in the air.
Mitchell's grin broke into a laugh. "That clerk'll be lucky if she doesn't lose an eye." He pointed to his phone, now on the sofa cushion beside him. "Should I text him and tell him to use protection-"
Annie cut in, giggling. "Like cotton balls?"
"I was thinking more like wrapping himself head to toe in bubble wrap."
The friends' laughter grew, rising above the TV volume. Annie wiped a bit of moisture from one eye and let out a sigh to subdue her giggling.
"I'm sure he's quite safe," she said. "As long as he's not making any sudden movements."
George's brain had tried to record what it could as the vampires dragged him down the stairs, along a dim hallway, and into an empty concrete room lit with a single bare bulb hanging from the ceiling. Several times he'd stumbled but the hold on his upper arms only tightened. Deep in the back of his mind a voice screamed at him to fight back, but it seemed muffled and his body wouldn't react to the order.
"Use these. Secure him over there."
A new voice accompanied the sound of metal clinking against metal before George was jerked to the back of the room. He felt a thick pipe running vertically at his spine and his arms pulled behind him but it wasn't until a cold metal ring locked around one wrist that the screaming voice in his mind raised the fight-or-flight reaction.
George fought against the handcuffs. His head whipped up but the room tilted and his knees gave way. He felt the cuff lock around his other wrist and as he slid down onto a wide cement ledge his chin hit his chest. The nausea surfaced again and he swallowed hard to suppress it.
Very slowly he raised his head to take in his surroundings. Three men stood in the center of the room. George had heard two names—Sheldon and Andy. It seemed obvious which was which.
The one he pegged for Andy was a wiry youth, late teens-early twenties, blonde hair slicked into a messy rockabilly pompadour. The skinny-leg jeans he wore were spotted with ink pen graffiti and while a cheap, black leather jacket hid most of a black t-shirt, the band name 'The Damned' was evident.
"Ian, get the door." This from the one he guessed was Sheldon.
George didn't feel much triumph in knowing the names of his captors but at least he figured out the pecking order. Andy was bottom. Sheldon, a salt-and-pepper haired man with a line-etched face and clothed in various layers of grey light wool, had a serious dark air about him-definitely at the top. Ian struck George as a smart enforcer, tall and lean; his movement was fluid as he crossed to the door to close it.
"Anyone see you come in?" Sheldon asked.
"No one out there," Ian said. "We came right down the stairs. Sounded like there were some people in the main room but the curtain was drawn so nobody saw us."
Sheldon's once-human blue eyes settled on George and studied him unblinkingly. George was sure they all could hear the wild pounding of his heart but he stared back.
A split second of a wrinkled nose preceded Sheldon addressing his captive. "You've probably never been to a tasting room." The hint of a smile tugged up one corner of his mouth. "But you know it's always good to experience new things."
George's mind raced. None of this made sense. This clearly wasn't just a night for a wolf bashing, and while he'd never heard of a tasting room the name implied enough, which should rule him out. Vampires were repulsed by even the smell of werewolf blood.
He wanted to say something. Something cool and collected and very James Bondian, but all that came to mind was, 'What do you want!' He figured even that would come out in a stuttered heap so he kept a lock on his mouth.
Sheldon glanced at Ian while walking to the door. "McCallan should be here soon, I'm going up to watch for him." He hitched a thumb in George's direction. "If he gives you any trouble, just start breaking fingers."
George watched the metal-plated door close behind Sheldon and sensed he was totally and uttered buggered.