For the third time in forty five minutes Vicki opened her eyes and swore. No matter how relaxed she got she just couldn't seem to fall asleep. If she didn't get to sleep soon someone else was going to die. Needless to say the anxiety wasn't helping her cause. She turned her head to the left and found Henry sitting on the bed looking at her.
"We've got all night if we need it," he said lightly.
"So does the demon," Vicki growled as she lay on her side. "This is so stupid. I'm like a damn kid at Christmas. Maybe a drink would help?"
Henry shook his head. "We need you with all your faculties, Vicki. The demon is very intelligent. It will probably know the plan even as you enter REM sleep."
Vicki rolled onto her back and raised her glasses to her forehead so she could rub her eyes. "Well at least being on the floor's improved my posture although I doubt ritualistic pilates will catch on. So what will we do if I don't sleep?"
"You will eventually," Henry checked the clock. "It's just after eleven. Plenty of time."
"And if I fall asleep at dawn?"
"We'll abort the plan an hour before. We can't afford to have you trapped with it while I'm incapacitated," he said smoothly.
"I'm sure Celluci'd appreciate that. Somehow I can't see him combating the supernatural with a dirty look and he sure as hell isn't a believer in magic. Actually," here she smiled, "I'm amazed he didn't go ballistic when he saw the pentagram. Last year's killings nearly drove him around the bender with all the 'mumbo jumbo'."
Henry cocked his head to the left. "'Mumbo jumbo' indeed. And yet he associates with a vampire."
Vicki sighed. "Well I don't know if he'd say it like that." More like 'uneasy truce'.
Henry smiled the smile it took over four hundred and fifty years to perfect. "Well now, let's get you comfortable shall we?" He stepped across the circle and settled down next to Vicki.
"I thought you couldn't be in here," she said, astonished.
Henry laughed. "Of course I can. Do you think I'd let a little thing as a dimensional barrier keep me from you?"
"Hell I can't even keep you out of my apartment when it's locked." She brushed his cool dry cheek with her fingers. "So what are you going to do, 'cloud my mind'?"
"Something like that," Henry said as he leaned over and lay a gentle kiss on her lips. "Now close your eyes."
Vicki could feel her glasses being taken off and smiled inwardly. If stoking her fires was a way of calming her down then Henry was about to put her into a coma. Hell, she thought she could hear music in the background. His light fingers angled her head and she could feel his breath on her neck. Color came to her face as her body warmed to the touch of his tongue as it traced her vein up to her ear.
"You really are delicious," he chuckled. "Virile. Tender. Mine."
Vicki's breath caught as she felt his fangs press against her skin. What the hell? She positioned her arms and legs to push Henry off but found she could barely move him.
"Henry get off!"
He raised his head until he faced her. "What's wrong? Jesu, Vicki you didn't think I would bite you?"
"I don't know what I think at the moment. Just give me some space," Vicki said with a frown. Something was bothering her but she couldn't discern what in particular.
There was a momentary pause and then Henry was away from her on his knees. "I'm sorry," he said quietly.
Vicki reached over to the table for her glasses then sat up. "Damn it Henry it's not you. I'm too jumpy for this now." She gave him a little smile. "That's some massage therapy course you took."
In spite of himself Henry smiled back. "We could always try hot rocks and incense."
"At this point I'm about ready to try a mud pack if it'll put me out," she growled as she rubbed her neck.
"Well, I was hoping we could do this in a more mutually enjoyable fashion but I guess the old ways are best. Look at me Vicki."
Instinctively she looked at the spot just over his right shoulder. She remembered the pull he had on her will whenever they locked eyes and she was never the one to relinquish control. It's not about me. She swallowed and looked into his eyes. Almost immediately she found herself lost in his hazel pools.
"Relax. Let your body go slack. Feel the excess energy draining away through your fingers. Now lie down." Henry helped her onto her back with practiced ease. "I want you to follow my voice as it leads you into the darkness." Here he reached out and took her glasses. Now that she was hooked it didn't matter if she couldn't see him clearly. "You will close your eyes and listen to me. Listen to my voice as it soothes your body. Let
"Henry," Vicki breathed.
He stopped. "Yes?"
"What's that noise? Sounds mumbley."
"It's the television next door. Don't mind it. Just listen to me."
Vicki sighed, feeling the tension in her body subside. If he could put this on tape he'd make a fortune. With each passing second she felt herself nearing the edge of darkness.
Her eyebrows furrowed. "There's someone at the door."
"Next door," Henry assured her. "Don't fight me Vicki. Just sleep."
"Not fighting. Just saying."
Out in the hall Celluci swore a streak in Italian as he threw his shoulder into the door. As the door wasn't metal he assumed he could force it open like he had many others during his years on the force but it wouldn't budge. He didn't even hear a groan from the hinges.
"Vicki! Open the door!" Again his shoulder smashed itself against the unyielding door. "Fitzroy what the hell do I do? I can't get in!" What if he couldn't open the door and Vicki succumbed to the demon? Would he die too? "Fitzroy!"
"Check your pockets," said a whispered voice.
Celluci stopped pounding and looked around the empty hallway. He put a hand in his pockets and pulled out a set of keys.
"Sonofabitch," he growled as he tried key after key in the lock until the tumblers clicked. He pushed open the door and stepped into the inky blackness that was the apartment. Almost immediately he tripped over something soft and slinky and went sprawling. Celluci took a moment on his hands and knees to orient himself in the darkness. He should have fallen against the foyer wall but didn't. He tentatively stretched his arm but couldn't feel anything. "Terrific. Vicki! Vicki can you hear me?" Silence.
As he stood up he noticed a line of light which looked like it emanated from behind a door. "Vicki!" Celluci walked cautiously towards the light but it seemed that no matter how far or fast he walked he got no closer to the elusive beam.
"That's how you want to play it you bastard. Fine. We'll play." He began to run. The light stayed ahead of him. Hoping it would work Celluci closed his eyes and imagined Fitzroy's apartment: the front hallway, the living room, the hall beyond where the bedroo—
He slammed into the door, breaking his nose. "Christ!"
"Mike?" asked Vicki as she opened her eyes. She turned her head as Celluci opened the door and staggered into the room while holding his nose. "What the hell happened to you?" She quickly put on her glasses.
"Get away from her," Celluci snarled at Henry.
"What seems to be the problem, Detective?" Henry said smoothly.
"Vicki he's the demon not Fitzroy."
Henry laughed. "Are you insane? What's wrong with you?"
"Go to hell."
"Shut up the both of you," Vicki roared as she struggled to stand. Henry's relaxation technique took a bit to shake off. "Ok let's start again. Celluci you first."
"You're asleep Vicki. Fitzroy and Tony are in the waking world waiting for us to come home."
"Tony?" Vicki asked. "How the hell did he get involved in this?"
"He isn't. The Detective is full of it." Henry tore his gaze away from Celluci to look at Vicki. "Seriously, does this feel like a dream? If it was I'm sure I'd have gotten past first base with you earlier."
Am I dreaming? Vicki looked around the room. Everything seemed to be in order: the bed and nightstand were in their proper place as were the clock and lamp. She was wearing the same clothes as earlier in the day. Hell she even felt a little hungry. Almost apologetically she shook her head at Celluci.
"Damn it Vicki do you think I'd barge into here saying the crap I'm saying if it wasn't true? You know me better than that." He held out his hand.
"Vicki," Henry warned. "Don't leave the circle. He's trying to lure you out."
Celluci took a deep breath. Getting into a yelling match with the demon wouldn't help matters. "Lure her out to where? Vicki the demon's in your head. Your body's safe with Henry and Tony."
"Just a second. Mike if this is a dream what the hell are you doing here?" Vicki asked.
Knowing he had to make every word count Celluci swallowed hard. "Fitzroy—the real Fitzroy—is linking our minds together. He said he couldn't get you himself because he doesn't dream." He walked towards her. "Vicki I'm here because you know I dream—have dreams about us I haven't been able to say until now because I know you don't want to hear them. I'm forty years old and want to settle down. You've been my partner for four years and my best friend for nearly ten. I love you damn it and I'm sure as hell not going to lose you." He waited.
Henry was waiting. Vicki looked at both men. Hell even I'm waiting. She had to choose. One man was lying and she had one chance to guess correctly.
"Get the hell out of here," she yelled at Henry, who smiled in return.
"Not until you're dead, my dear," said Henry evenly. "Although I've an appetizer to consume before the main course."
He launched himself at Celluci, barreling the bigger man into the wall. Celluci quickly threw his forearm up to deflect Henry's bite as the vampire's teeth sought out his neck. A punch to the gut easily broke Celluci's ribs. Gasping for breath Celluci managed to throw Henry off for only an instant before the vampire bounded back. His teeth ripped into Celluci's throat.
"Get out!" Vicki roared. "Both of you get the hell out of here!"
Vicki opened her eyes to see that the room was filled with a reddish vapor.
"Take my hand," Henry shouted. Without thinking Vicki held out her arm and felt herself being yanked clear of the protective circle. Once outside she saw that the vapor was contained within the pentagram. Tony held a large book in his arms and was chanting something in what sounded like Latin. When the hell'd he learn that?
"Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum," said Henry as he made the sign of the Cross.
As one Tony and Henry completed the angelic salutation and with a final hurl of magical incantations the vapor seemingly disappeared.
Before Vicki could ask what had happened Henry rushed past her to Celluci's side. The Detective was bleeding from his neck. Hoping he could create enough saliva Henry clamped his mouth to Celluci's wound. After everything that had happened between the two of them Henry'd be damned if he'd let him die. Celluci might be an overbearing pain in the ass but he was an honorable man.
"Fitzroy," Celluci said weakly. "I don't fool around on the first date."
A twinkle in his eye, Henry raised his head to look at Celluci. "Don't worry Detective, I won't kiss and tell."
"How is he?" said Vicki as she put her hand on Celluci's forehead.
Henry gave the wound two frothy licks. "He'll be fine." The flow of blood hadn't been life-threatening although it was more than enough to trigger the Hunger so he had to be careful lest he threaten Celluci's life himself.
"How is this possible? Celluci was attacked in my dream," Vicki asked.
"The rest of his wounds are psychosomatic but the bite is not," Henry explained.
"Yeah but when it was you it bit me and…" Vicki's voice trailed as she looked at the scabbed wound on her wrist.
"Yo Victory, nice to see you up n about," gushed Tony as he returned from the bathroom with a first aid kit. After Henry had been attacked by the demon he thought it prudent to have more than gauze and scissors on hand.
Vicki smiled. "Nice to see you too. You did well, kiddo."
Tony blushed. "Well Henry did most of the work. I just mumbled off a few words here n there."
"Those 'words' allowed me to transport Celluci into Vicki's mind. Don't sell yourself short Tony," admonished Henry while applying antiseptic to Celluci's wound.
"Whatever. We all did our part. Hold hands and sing along. Guess the big guy here gave as good as he got since the fight seemed to wake you up Victory," said Tony.
Vicki laughed aloud. "He was getting his ass handed to him. I tried expelling the demon but couldn't until I kicked both guys out."
Celluci chortled. "Can't stand anyone fighting over you."
"Is there something in the kit to sedate him?" Vicki smirked.
The more she thought about it the move pissed off Vicki got. Her delicate balance had tipped in Celluci's favor and she didn't like it. Not to say that he was being a deliberate ass; to be honest he really wasn't doing anything more than remaining silent while Vicki tended to him or let a hand linger on hers as a coffee mug was passed. She frowned as she slung her purse over her shoulder. What killed her was the fact she couldn't possibly pay him back for what he did. The wound on his neck told her that he'd risked his life to save her. Every time she looked at him, ran her fingers or tongue over him she'd feel the snarl of skin alongside his throat. Damn damn damn.
Vicki quietly let herself out of Celluci's apartment and began to walk towards the bus stop. It was a little later than she had planned so she stuck to where the streetlights shone in order to traverse the street. It was therefore more a matter of instinct when she felt a presence behind her.
"Need a lift?"
"Christ Henry will you quit stalking me like that?" Vicki hissed.
He chuckled. "Vampires don't stalk we shadow. The offer still stands, however."
Vicki took his arm and they made their way to the BMW.
"How is the Detective? As I'm not exactly his favorite person I thought it best to stay away," Henry said as he turned onto Donlands Avenue.
"His ribs hurt and the rest of his body feels run over by a truck but aside from complaining in Italian every time he moves the wrong way I'd say he's on the mend."
The car was silent save for the ticking sound of the turn signal as they waited at a red light. Instantly Vicki felt a turn in her gut. Christ I owe Henry too.
"So how are you?" he asked tentatively.
"Fine," she said gruffly. "You?"
"Never better." Henry smiled in the darkness of the car. He could feel her twisting in the wind and knew she didn't like it.
"So I guess it's safe to say the demon's gone for good. Well for now."
Henry signaled to move around a garbage truck and then resumed his position in the right hand land. "It would seem so. The killings have stopped as have the dreams I take it?"
"Thank Christ. Never did I ever think I'd say 'enough with the sex already'," Vicki laughed.
"How disappointing. I was hoping we could spend some time together this evening," Henry said evenly.
Vicki smirked. "Well there's sex and then there's sex. You definitely fit into the second category."
"But of course you respect me for my mind," Henry smirked.
"And what a fine mind you have," Vicki agreed.
Henry was silent for a moment. "You do realize there is more than just sex between us, right?" he said seriously.
"From what you tell me," Vicki replied as she looked out the window into the inky blackness.
Frowning, Henry let the flow of traffic distract him from saying anything he'd later regret.
After a few minutes Vicki couldn't stand the silence. "So how did you put Celluci into my mind? Never knew you could do such a thing."
"I can't; Tony's spell made the transference. I merely submerged the Detective's consciousness to make him more susceptible."
Vicki was relieved. "Nice to know you can't just send the cavalry whenever you feel like it."
Henry turned left onto Spadina and drove until he found his usual side street and put the car into park. He left his hand on the key after turning off the engine.
"I would have come for you if I could," he said quietly.
"I love you, Vicki."
She frowned. "Why do you have to define what we are?"
"Because I need to know. Call me old fashioned," Henry said angrily. "Vicki you've changed my life. Seriously," he said as she rolled her eyes. "I thought myself modernized with my apartment and career but you've shown me how to be alive. I can never thank you enough."
"Hallmark has an entire line for that."
He looked at her. "Why won't you let me in?" he whispered.
Although she couldn't see his face she returned the stare before shaking her head. "Shit Henry, what makes you think you aren't?" Vicki said as she got out of the car.
Henry was too stunned to move. It wasn't the out and out 'I love you' he was looking for but he'd take it. Smiling, he exited the vehicle and offered his arm. There was no hesitation on her part as she took it and together they walked to her building.
Author's Note: Tony becomes more familiar in the black arts in Tanya Huff's 'Smoke' series. Before you ask, yes Henry appears in them too. (o:
Thus ends story two. Hope you liked it as I'm planning to write another one. God help us. (o: I'm trying for a longer tale but eh, we'll see. Thanks again for reading. ~Lynn