This Loud Morning
By Darth Stitch

DISCLAIMER: Not mine. Belongs to CBS, Peter Lenkov, the Powers that Be that run this wonderful show. Mina & the Count belong to Frederator Studios and needs moar love. Moonlight was created by Ron Koslow etc. Honestly, if I owned these babies, we'd have moar episodes of Mina & the Count and Moonlight would've run for another season! The title, of course, comes from the David Cook album.

DISCLAIMER TO SAVE MY SOUL FROM GOING TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET: O. Hai. Thar. Handbasket! Slash of the Steve/Danny variety….well, okay, we'll get to that eventually. The kind of crack that you guys now know me for, especially if you've been reading Sunlight. You have been warned.

Yes, I'm projecting this to be a series. Oh Sweet Ceiling Cat Have Mercy on us all…

Being a vampire sucked.

Okay, it was a terrible pun and the Vampire knew he probably deserved to be staked for it, because Bad Puns are the Eighth Capital Sin. Truth be told, there were some perks to his situation. There was the fact that he was going to be eternally young, had enhanced senses and was, of course, superhumanly strong and fast. The sun didn't really faze him – he just tended to get terribly bad migraines if he was stupid enough to be out during the times when the sun was at its height, so he learned to stay in the shade and wear really good sunglasses. Also, he learned that he was better off swimming in the early mornings and late afternoons to early evenings.

If someone tossed holy water on him, he'd just get wet. Crucifixes were okay, if one was into that kind of thing either for religious reasons or just as a fashion accessory. And yes, garlic was tasty on pizza and the Vampire had enough sense to go for mouthwash if he didn't want to repel his dates.

On the other hand, while he was able to consume food, it wasn't as if he actually needed to eat something to stay alive. And while he was actually pretty young for a vampire – he was born in 1977, for heaven's sake – he didn't need to be around for centuries to realize that he would be outliving everyone he'd ever loved and everything he'd ever known. Not that there was a very long list of that now – his parents were gone and other than a few cousins that he hadn't seen for years, the only family he had left was his younger sister.

And then, there was the blood.

All the Vampire needed to do was to look in his mirror and see the face of a monster looking back. There was no getting around it – he needed blood in order to live. Animal blood could take the edge off his hunger but just barely. If the Vampire wanted to function in this human world without being a danger to every human being in sight, he needed to feed on human blood daily.

The Vampire had a few rules that he imposed on himself about that. He did not feed on innocents, especially children. He had a dealer for the whole blood thing – the coroner was a bit of an odd duck but the Vampire had to admit that he was a damn good piano player. And while he did hunt on occasion, he kept that hunting restricted to scum and lowlifes and with some exceptions, he left most of these guys alive.

Even though he didn't exactly have hundreds of years behind him just yet, he'd seen far too many real-life human monsters. So he didn't bother keeping his bloodthirsty tendencies in check with the guys who really deserved it.

Like whoever it was that kidnapped little Grace Williams.

He'd heard about it on the news and the Amber Alerts being broadcast all over the islands. They were constantly flashing the picture of a little girl who was maybe five at the most – cute little thing with dark blonde hair set in two pigtails. She'd been taken from her bed in the middle of the night and the police were completely baffled. The child lived with her mother and stepfather in a very posh mansion in one of the more affluent neighborhoods in the islands. Obviously, the stepfather had installed one of the very best security systems money could buy. It wasn't as if the kidnapper could simply waltz in and steal the child.

They'd tried questioning the child's biological father first. Apparently, the child's parents had just gone through a very bitter divorce and the custody battles were epic, to say the least. But the father was a detective with the Honolulu Police Department and it was quickly established that he had nothing to do with the child's disappearance. From all accounts, he was a devoted and loving parent.

The Vampire felt an odd sort of pang at that but he firmly set those old, buried feelings aside. His own father had died recently, in a traffic accident. The Vampire never even got the chance to say goodbye. But that was something to ponder for another day.

The Vampire had watched as the child's father, Danny Williams, walked into his little girl's bedroom to see if his fellow officers had missed anything. The man was very observant, muttering softly to himself the entire time. The Vampire found himself smiling wryly, despite the gravity of the situation. The man was a haole through and through, dressed in a button-down and slacks, with his fair skin turned slightly pink by the tropical sun, the blonde hair slicked back in a ridiculous pompadour and those sharp blue eyes. And who could forget the tie? Who on earth wore a tie in Hawaii?

The Vampire did appreciate the rather nice curve of his backside that was accentuated very well by those well-tailored pants.

And then, Williams picked up his little girl's stuffed toy bunny, sat down on his daughter's bed and wept quietly, holding the toy to his face.

That said everything.

The Vampire waited until Williams left his daughter's room. He was sure the man was a very good detective but there were some things in that room that would probably only be spotted by a vampire's keen senses.

And he was right – the kidnapper was another vampire.

He got a feel for the kidnapper's blood scent and went off to follow the trail.

The trail led to one of those old, colonial-style mansions, nearly hidden by plumeria and bougainvillea blossoms. Naturally, it looked like the perfect setting for a haunted house movie. The Vampire hated to admit it but most of his kind were walking clichés and even the really old ones occasionally indulged in the whole Goth business, if only because it appealed to a sort of twisted sense of humor.

The blood scent told the Vampire that the one he was after was certainly old, perhaps had more than a couple of centuries on them. The Vampire just hoped that he would reach the little girl in time – the only motive that he could think of for the old vampire to take the child was because children's blood was said to be especially potent. It wasn't just the blood they were feeding on – it was that young, vibrant life itself.

The Vampire braced himself for familiars and ghouls that a vampire this old would be likely to surround himself or herself with. He already had some suitable weapons at his disposal – a stake to immobilize the vampire, silver bullets in his gun that would help weaken and slow them down and a good short, sharp blade.

Taking a vampire's head and burning the corpse was the only sure-fire way to kill a vampire. Everything else, even silver poisoning, was something a vampire could recover from, given enough time and enough blood.

It was decidedly odd how easily he was able to enter the mansion. Scratch that – it wasn't odd. He was expected.

When the Vampire entered the master bedroom, he was greeted by the sight of a beautiful woman in a long, old-fashioned white gown – the kind of dress he'd seen on actresses in old black and white movies. In fact, she resembled those women quite strongly, with the expert make-up and the perfectly coiffed dark hair.

Her arms were around little Grace Williams, dressed in an old-fashioned child's nightgown.

"Hello, my darling," the vampire woman crooned. "We have been waiting for you. See, Grace? This is your new Daddy."

"I don't want a new Daddy," Grace piped up. "I want my Danno!"

The Vampire couldn't help but think of her father weeping quietly in her bedroom. "It's all right, sweetheart," he said, addressing the child directly and ignoring the woman. "I'll take you home to your Danno soon. I promise."

As expected, the vampire woman scowled. "That's very rude, darling. I went to all this trouble for you so that we could be a nice little family. You, me and baby."

"Look, lady," the Vampire said flatly. "I don't know who you are. But Grace is coming with me and I'm taking her home to her real father. One way or the other."

A fight between vampires was always vicious and fast. She'd let go of the child, who immediately scooted under the enormous four-poster bed in the room to hide. Good for her – one less person to worry about at the moment.

She was damn strong but she fought primitively, relying on vampire strength and speed and her fangs and claws. The Vampire had these as well but he'd been a Navy SEAL and now he put that training to vicious effect. He needed to get the stake into her heart so that he could immobilize her and then take her head.

And then, she got lucky. That was why the Vampire hated amateurs – they were fucking unpredictable and they could get as lucky as she did now, managing to knock away the stake in his hand and pin him down on the floor.

"I truly thought you were dead, my darling. I'm so glad you turned," she purred. "It doesn't happen very often. But your will to live must be very strong and you would be a worthy Childe."

The Vampire did not really remember much about his turning. He remembered clawing his way out of the ground to moonlight and the freezing cold. He remembered a child's soft voice and a wrist pressed against his mouth and him drinking deep. And that was all.

This woman claimed to have turned him but something in him rebelled at the very thought of having her be his Sire. He strained with his other hand, trying to get to the stake that was just out of reach for his fingers.

Then he saw Grace Williams pushing the stake into his hand.

The vampire woman saw it too and shrieked, "Naughty girl!" She struck out and with horror, the Vampire saw the child go down, unconscious.

And then, the next few moments, all the Vampire could see was red.

Red as he roared and pinned the vampire woman to the floor.

Red as he viciously twisted her neck to the side, exposing the carotid vein.

Red as he sank his fangs deep into her flesh, drinking long and deep.

When he came back to himself, he found that he was crouched over a desiccated corpse. He knew he should be reeling back in horror. Vampires did not feed on other vampires. Blood was shared sometimes, especially when it came time to sire another vampire. But not like this – not simply feed on another vampire like they were prey as well.

And yet, there was a part of him at the moment that felt curiously sated. As if he'd needed to do this all along and had been thirsting for it but had to make do until now.

The Vampire shook off his brooding. There was no time for that. There was a hurt child to tend to and he ran quickly to her side, checking her pulse, relieved to find it steady and strong. There was just a bruise near the child's temple but she seemed otherwise fine.

"Grace? Gracie? Wake up, please wake up, sweetheart."

He was never more thankful when the child's eyes fluttered open and focused on him. "My head hurts," Grace Williams said plaintively.

He was instantly contrite. If he'd only been faster – if he'd only managed to prevent the woman from laying a single hand on her… "I'm sorry, Gracie."

"It's okay," said Grace practically. "I was trying to help you and that vampire lady was mean. But you're a good vampire, right?"

He was a bit floored by that faith and honestly, he did flounder just a little bit. "Um. Yeah. I'm not going to hurt you. I promise."

"You're like the Count on Sesame Street," said Grace decisively. "He's a good vampire too and he likes to count stuff. Do you like to count too?"

"I like chemistry, actually," said the Vampire sheepishly. "And aren't you a bit too young to remember Sesame Street? That's like pretty old now, isn't it?"

Grace sat up and extended her arms towards him, plainly wanting to be picked up and he obliged her, surprised at how light she felt in his arms. Now that he was able to get a better look at her, the Vampire was relieved that she didn't seem to be showing any obvious signs of a concussion. "Danno says that Sesame Street's the best kids' show ever. And I watch it with him all the time. He says it's a lot better than the junk that's on TV these days."

It was such an obvious throwback to her father that the Vampire found himself chuckling softly. He hadn't even formally met the man yet but he was beginning to like Grace's "Danno" very much. "Let's get you home to your Danno then."

He started to make for the door, intent on putting as much distance from this cursed place as possible. He was careful to shield Grace from seeing the fireplace – a dead body, vampire or not, was the last thing he wanted this child to see, when she already had enough nightmare fuel to begin with.

It was, of course, remarkably easy to get the child back to her home, to her very own room and to tuck her into bed with her stuffed bunny. (Grace solemnly introduced the bunny as "Mr. Hoppy.") There was no way in hell he could simply show up at their door with Grace in tow – if he were lucky, he'd probably just get shot by an angry, protective father and wake up in the morgue later. On the other hand, if he was just taken in for questioning, he dreaded to think about the pile upon pile of awkward questions he'd have to avoid.

Josef was going to kill him over this. Okay, maybe not kill him for real but the Vampire was already dreading the centuries of snark that he would have to put up with from one of his few close friends.

The Vampire already had the workings of a plan in mind, laid out with military precision, a holdover from his SEAL days. He would call Grace's father from a pay phone, let him know the little girl was fine, get her checked out at a hospital. But just as he turned to take his leave of Grace, he was stopped by a little hand taking hold of his own.

"What's your name?" she asked.

"Steve," the Vampire answered softly. It was a very ordinary name, really, he thought, but he'd been named for his grandfather, a Navy man who died during the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

"Thank you, Uncle Steve," the little girl said, simply. "Good night."

Really, he should have stuck to his plan at that point – he made the call, disguising his voice just a little bit by using an Australian accent. (He could reasonably pass for someone from Canberra, in fact.) And he should have disappeared and gone on his way and forgotten about Grace Williams and her Danno.

But he found himself returning with all speed to the child's house, concealing himself in the shadows of a nearby tree. He found himself watching as Grace was reunited with her Danno and her mother, how tightly she was held in her father's arms, how her mother cried and laughed at the same time from sheer relief. And of course, because he was a vampire, he could hear Grace's high, piping voice tell her parents how she was rescued by a "good vampire" and how her mother shook her head but agreed, even though it was obvious that Grace's Danno was full of questions about the "good vampire."

The questions could wait, the Vampire knew. And no one would really believe the little girl's story anyway.

He stayed until the sunrise. And then, because mornings in the islands were loud and could never be denied, he finally found the strength to leave. It was so silly, really. He didn't really want to think too much about why he stayed – how risky it had been to linger. Little Grace Williams was home, safe and sound.

And that was all that mattered.



Sweet Ceiling Cat have mercy, this looks like the beginning of another series. And it's an alternate universe, at that, not to mention a complete fusion of fandoms with some extras thrown in. (Facepalms) How is this my life, I ask you?

I was very much inspired by the unaired Moonlight pilot, which had a completely different cast, except for Alex O'Loughlin and also had some intriguing ideas on vampire powers that were sadly not carried over to the series that ended up being broadcast. God bless the power of the internets for having that around to look at.

I am aware that there is a lot more story to tell. But basically, I would like to think of this as my take on Moonlight, if the Mick St. John role was played by Steve McGarrett and instead of having a reporter to pine over, he'll be pining over one Badass Adorable Jersey detective. Hehe.