Summary: Two abnormal killers on the loose; both killing for sport, both slipping under the radar. One old adversary, one new threat. How many more will die before they are stopped?
Set: After my previous Sanctuary fic, Monster. I may post a summary as a one-shot.
Spoilers: Sanctuary for all` (obviously), maybe `Kush`, definitely `The Five`, `Revelations` (both), `End of Nights` (both), `Eulogy`, `Haunted`, my fic `Monster` and `For king and Country`.
Genres: Mystery, thriller, adventure, angst, hurt/comfort.
Rating: Fairly strong T for bloody violence, infliction and effects of, also minor sex references. As an episode, a 15, milder than Nubbins, a little worse than Haunted.
Disclaimer: This world belongs to the genii Amanda Tapping, Martin Wood and Damian Kindler.
The place stank. Really stank, but she could deal with it. She could feel the base in the music pulsing through her, and felt a fleeting sympathy for the DJ's ears. She couldn't have missed the beat though. In this kind of place, any movement in time to the beat passed as dancing, even falling over drunk (which she wasn't).
There was a guy watching her. Not just watching, staring. This was where the fun began. The harsh base faded, changed beat. She loved this song. Everywhere had been playing it all fall. She settled in to the artist's dance routine without breaking step, half an eye on the guy who was watching her.
Two choruses and a verse. That was all it took to get him to approach her. She smiled again. This was gonna be even easier than last week.
"You dance real good." He said to her. Couldn't he come up with anything better than that? He'd been watching her for five minutes.
"It's no fun dancing on your own." She pulled his body in to hers, still moving. The rest of the song was a ritual, something she had to do. She didn't particularly like the feel of his hands on her, or the feel of him under her hands, but she could deal with it. It didn't take a genius to work out the guy was only after one thing. So was she. Shame it wasn't the same thing, but life's a bitch and then you die.
As the music changed again, she stepped back, breathing hard.
"You OK?" He asked her.
"Yeah, just hot in here, and crowded."
"You got someplace else you wanna go? Someplace quieter?"
"Much quieter. Private." He tried to smile seductively at her and failed epically.
"Sounds good to me. What's your name?" He started to lead her towards the door.
"Mick." She repeated, lingering over the word. "I think you're my kind of guy."
"Venus." He growled to the back of her neck as the passed the bouncer. "You're my kind of girl. Straightforward, hot - "
"For a guy like you." Venus grinned. He had no idea how true that was. Her empty stomach growled as she strode away in to the night, Mick walking quietly beside her.
Magnus slunk forward in the half-darkness, hearing Will's footsteps behind her, clumsy as he backed up, ensuring that they had no blind side. She glanced left, then right, meeting the eyes of Ashley, then Kate. The high stacks of crates formed an aisle, down which they advanced, expecting an ambush. Behind a crate? Around a corner? On top of the crates? Attack could come from anywhere.
Kate's left fist flew to the vertical. Magnus mimicked her. All four of them froze, grasping their stunners more firmly. Kate signalled to her right. Ashley frowned and signalled in the direction in which they had been moving.
"I saw movement." Kate hissed.
"I heard him." Ashley hissed back. Magnus hesitated, then signalled as Kate had. This time, Kate took point.
None of them saw it coming in time.
Magnus heard two footfalls, had levelled her stunner, but it was upon her. Two clawed paws impacted her abdomen. The abnormal's momentum threw her down onto her back, leaving her winded. It bounded on. Three shouts of alarm. Someone else fell over. Will got up again
"Get him!" No one had put Ashley in charge, but Will and Kate sprinted after the abnormal with her. Magnus staggered to her feet and followed, hearing more shots.
The other three had cornered it. It was trying to jump on to a ten-foot stack of crates when Ashley hit it in the hind leg. It lurched sideways with a yelp as more shots struck it.
"Hold fire." Again, Ashley's command was obeyed. Magnus approached, still panting, stunner levelled. The abnormal brought one foreleg to cover its head.
"D'you give up, Hank?" Kate asked, grinning. Henry nodded.
"Henry, these things don't shoot in straight lines." Ashley complained.
"That considered," Magnus started, "well done all concerned, including you, Henry."
"Well done?" Ashley repeated. "That was not `well done`, that was a mess. We didn't follow the plan, weapons didn't work and you," She rounded on Kate "led us in to an ambush."
"Ashley..." Magnus began, sensing where this was going.
"It never used to be `well done` unless we'd subdued without injuring and no one had been hit. If this'd been real, you could be dead."
"Hey," Kate interjected, "you didn't even notice he was there. If..."
"Enough." Magnus cut Kate off before Ashley could. "Both of you. No one performed perfectly, but between us, we did catch Henry. He only winded me and, had this been real, we'd have been using normal stunners, which do shoot in straight lines." Silence. Magnus lowered her voice to normal volume and continued. "Henry, when you're ready, you said you had something you wanted me to look at. Will, I'm sure you've got something to do. Kate, go and check on the Maetotis Korrigum. If she's still curled up in a corner..."
"Thermostat up 2°. I know."
"And Ashley, I want a word with you." Henry got unsteadily to his feet, still in HAP form and moving as if very drunk. Magnus turned and began to walk away.
"Oh, Magnus." Will called after her. "You're out tonight, aren't you?"
"Yes, I am. I'm meeting Elanor for dinner."
"Yes." Will looked at her curiously. "One of her sons developed an organ which allowed him to metabolise several substances which are toxic to humans. It turned cancerous when he was eleven. I removed it and he's now more or less normal, though he could drink a thermometer full of mercury without any ill effects."
"Yeah. Very normal." Will scoffed. "You'll be back..?"
"Out at eight, so I'll probably be back by ten."
"She can just keep on talking, can't she?" Magnus nodded once. "Give her my best."
"I will." Magnus turned and carried on walking, hearing Ashley's footfalls behind her.
The pair of them walked in cold silence up to Magnus's office. Ashley walked in and leant against the wall, arms folded. Magnus closed the door behind them and stared hard at her daughter.
"What?" Ashley spat.
"You know perfectly well what." Ashley looked down and shrugged.
"Yes, you do. Enough of the games Ashley."
"If it had been real, Henry would have killed you."
"If it had been real, we'd have had stunners that worked properly. You'd have put Henry down as soon as he attacked."
"By which time, he'd have had you by the neck! We both know Henry's too soft to risk doing real damage."
"It's very rare to find anything skilled enough to subdue and kill in a single strike. In any case, this is not an isolated incident."
"No." Ashley looked up sharply. "No, it's not. It's not the first time Kate's screwed up, majorly."
"Ashley, we all make mistakes. That's why we do drills. You knew what I meant." Ashley just stared at her. "You take any opportunity to attack Kate. It's vindictive."
"No, it's fair."
"It's a long way from fair. You make no comment with regard to anyone else's mistakes, but if Kate makes a bad judgement, she'll hear no end of it for days. Will didn't even fire at Henry when he attacked."
"Fieldwork's not really Will's job. You just don't like have people around who are completely useless at it, which is fair enough. If Kate's job isn't fieldwork, then what the hell is?"
"Fieldwork isn't just combat. Kate's resourceful, adaptive, good at making people co-operate, didn't Henry tell you about the bank?"
"That was a big risk."
"It paid off, and since when did taking risks bother out? Ashley, no one could argue that Kate is your equal in combat. She's not, but just think how long you've been learning. You're a natural hunter who's had the opportunity to learn from a very young age. Kate's years spent as a mercenary have given her a very different skill set, tracking for example."
"By scent, which isn't infallible. Kate's combat will improve given time."
"I don't need to hear this."Ashley pushed past Magnus and strode out in to the hallway.
"Ashley!" She didn't turn. Running after her would be futile. Ashley was faster and, once away from the EM shield, she'd teleport to God knew where. Magnus sighed.
If anyone wants me to post a summary of Monster as a one-chapter fic, I am happy to do that. Any criticism appreciated. Next chapter will be up within a few days.