Under the Dark

Classification(s): Supernatural, Mystery, Suspense, Romance, Action/Adventure
Pairing(s): Kirk/Spock, Uhura/Scotty, McCoy/Gaila, Sulu/Chekov; mentions of Spock/Uhura, Kirk/McCoy
Summary: Spock might be Riverside's first ever vampire, but forgive Deputy Kirk for not being overly enthusiastic about it. Not when women are being brutally murdered and the girl he loves like a little sister might be falling in love with the bloodsucker.
Beta: The amazingly accommodating and unfailing patient ellipsisthgreat
Content Advisory: Vampires are prone to eating people and there are quite a few onscreen crime scenes and murders, so things will get a little gory. And, of course, this slash fiction, with all the trimmings and bells on.
Disclaimer: This piece has a setting and storyline constructed from an unholy mashup of Charlaine Harris's Dead Until Dark (the first book in the Southern Vampire Mysteries series) and the HBO show inspired by it, True Blood. Mad props and all due rights to Ms. Harris, and Mr. Roddenbury too while I'm at it.

Prologue – At First Sight

Jim decided to let them stew a few minutes before climbing out of the squad car, grimacing as the muggy night air closed in over his head like dark, still water. The whole area needed a good soaking rain or three, had for weeks, but the channel ten weatherman had nothing but clear skies and sweltering heat indexes in his forecast. The dog days of June.

He kept his gait loose and easy, twirling his flashlight around a finger as he walked through drifting swarms of fireflies towards the sedan. He'd run the plates; they came back to some foreign-sounding name that meant nothing to him, the associated address from a big city back east—Baltimore, or Boston. It was a nice car, too— clean, only a few years old, shiny chrome and gleaming gray. In the stroboscopic red-blue, red-blue of his lights, he saw the passenger, a woman, lean over and say something terse and rapid to her as-yet invisible friend.

Could be lost motorists. The highway was a bit of a jog from here, true, but yuppie out-of-towners straying into city limits was hardly unheard of for Riverside. As he drew level with the driver's side door, he popped open the catch on his holster and tried to ignore the excited staccato beat of his pulse. Could be just yuppies. Could be.

The driver's window was still closed. He waited for a beat, and when the backlit silhouette behind the wheel gave no indication of moving, he knocked on the glass with the heavy head of his Maglite. "I'm gonna need you to open up, sir."

Nothing. Jim raised an eyebrow, then flicked on the light.

The man in the driver's seat didn't look up. He didn't even twitch at the sudden blinding brightness, just gazed out through the windshield like the dark corn fields held the secrets of the universe. Something about his fixed stare, blank black eyes in a blank white face, made Jim switch hands so his gun was clear. "Sir, I am not going to tell you again. Open up."

The passenger, at this angle still mostly out of view, put a small dark hand on the man's arm and said something soothing and indistinct. The man canted his head slightly towards her, and the window rolled itself down.

Jim ducked his head to peer inside, and met Nyota's defiant eyes. "Hello, deputy," she said.

Goddamnit. Goddamnit.

He managed a tolerably civil, "Evening, miss," as he shone his flashlight quickly around the interior. It was as clean and neat inside as it was outside, beige-colored leather and floor mats uniformly spotless. Nyota was decked out in some fancy strapless thing he didn't recognize with matching ruby heels and a tiny clutch, the silent man beside her in a sports coat and tailored shirt unbuttoned at the throat. He had yet to so much as glance in Jim's direction. Ny was still trying to stare Jim down, her chin set mulishly and shoulders squared like she expected a fight.

It was hard to tell, but he thought he saw bruising on her wrists.

"And what might you two be doing out this late?" he asked, tone polite and even friendly.

Nyota held his eyes and lied without flinching. "Just driving home from a date, officer."

He bit back an angry retort and instead gave a slow, "Uh huh," wondering who the hell she thought she was fooling. Whatever was going on here, it was definitely not a date. "Had a little trouble at a bar just down the road," he said with a tight smile. "You folks aren't coming from there, by any chance?"

He was not imagining the way Nyota's fingers tightened on the man's arm. "No, sir. Not us."

"Mmhm. Bar's called 'Fang-tasia'," he said, stretching out the syllables. "That ringing any bells?"

Her lips thinned. "I'm sorry, but I've never heard of it."

She glared at him and he stared at her, trying to sense what she wasn't telling him. Fact was, the Nyota Uhura he knew didn't go on dates, was a shut-in when she wasn't working, was studying hard at the community college so she could transfer to Iowa State. She didn't get all dressed up and go places like this Fangtasia, where half the cocktails had that fake synthetic blood the Japanese were so proud of in them, and an evening's entertainment was trying to guess which of the other patrons might be the real undead deal.

But the biggest mystery of all was sitting between them, motionless as a marble angel in a graveyard. A looker, if you were into sculpture: dark hair, darker eyes, and a face that was beautiful but cold, not a hint of human warmth or personality to disturb its perfect symmetry. Jim kept the flashlight on Nyota and offered Mr. Stoic a flat grin. "And how about you? You've been awful quiet. Don't talk much?"

The silence stretched on a little too long before bloodless lips parted, and man replied, "I... am a man of few words," so low and soft Jim almost couldn't hear him over the crickets. But there was tension there, oh yes. This man was not happy.

"Hah, a man of few words." It was a struggle to keep his voice even and pleasant. "I like that." He turned abruptly back to Nyota and said, "I'd just like a closer look at your neck. If you don't mind, miss?"

Oh, she minded. If looks could kill, Deputy James T. Kirk would be a pile of melted slag on the roadside. "Of course not," she bit out. "Not at all." Slowly, she brushed her long hair back from her face.

Later, after he woke up facedown in the gravel with Nyota kneeling beside him, she'd apologize, tell him that it'd been a bad, weird night and her friend was angry and on edge and that he hadn't meant to hurt Jim. Jim would laugh, and tell her that of course he'd meant to. As it was, Jim had only the subtle tensing and minute shift in the man's weight to alert him that things were about to go sour.

"Why not ask for a closer look between her legs?" the man asked, voice utterly devoid of inflection.

Nyota's shocked "Spock!" overlapped Jim's hissed, "Excuse me?"

The man inclined his head towards Jim, strange shadows moving over his features as he did so. "Many vampires express a preference for the femoral arteries that run between the inguinal ligament and adductor canal," he stated, as if reciting from a behavioral study. "Given their diameters, especially that of the profunda femoris, once pierced the volume of blood lost per second is greater than even that of the carotid. It makes for easier feeding." He looked up, so that his face was suddenly illuminated by the full force of the flashlight and gleamed along the length of thin fangs. "Or so I've been told."

Jim couldn't deny having had his suspicions, but seeing those eyes, those teeth, realizing what was within arm's reach of him— he had his gun in his hands and aimed at the vampire before he'd made the conscious decision to draw it. "Nyota! Get out of the car!"

She said something that might have been Jim, no!, but her voice was faint and fading quickly. The sounds of the summer night were dying away, crickets and cicadas and the susurrus of the wind being swallowed by a silence so thick and weighty it was almost tangible. In the absence of all other noise he became aware of his own heartbeat slowing, until it too came to a shuddering stop in his chest. Jim looked into the vampire's burning eyes and the world became that endless inky black, a sky without stars.

"I see you carry a nine millimeter. A Berretta, if I'm not mistaken."

What had been a perfectly ordinary voice now coiled and stroked over Jim like a physical entity, the sensation against his cheek so real he leaned into the caress, half-expecting to feel fingertips. He dimly heard himself sigh, "That's right."

"May I have it?"

I want you to stop this, right now. Nyota's words welled up from somewhere distant, but they were so unimportant they passed his ears without registering as speech.

Jim slowly nodded. "Sure. I guess."

The vampire opened his hand, and Jim set the gun butt first in his palm.

"Heavier than I imagined," the vampire mused, his eyes flicking away momentarily to study it, turning it this way and that under the steady beam of the flashlight. Freed for that brief second, Jim became momentarily aware of his aching lungs and drew a shuddering breath before the vampire looked up, pinning him in place. "Is it loaded?"

Jim blinked sluggishly. "Well, yes. Yes it is."

The barest glint of satisfaction flickered around the vampire's mouth. "Good." And he raised the gun until the barrel gently kissed Jim's forehead.

Spock! Please, you have to stop. Let Jim go.

"Attend, Deputy Kirk," the vampire began, voice dropping into a basso purr of anger that rasped fur-like over Jim's skin. "I do not appreciate being accosted and questioned without due cause. I do not appreciate you insulting my female companion. And I do not appreciate you continuing to blind me with that abominably bright light."

The Maglite slipped from Jim's fingers and fell to the ground.

"I would suggest that in the future, should you suspect someone of being a vampire you very carefully consider the consequences of confronting them alone. They might not be as… kind to you as I'm about to be."

Please. Please, Spock.

"I am not going to kill you," the vampire continued, pulling the gun away from Jim's head. "I will even give you back your Berretta. In return, I would ask that you think on my advice and do yourself the favor of departing peacefully. Does that sound fair, deputy?"

It was a few moments before he realized a response was expected. "Yes."

"Yes, what?" the vampire asked mildly.

"Yes, sir."

Spock, I'm done, Nyota said, so far away. I'm getting out the car. Jim was hazily aware of motion, of someone coming towards him in his peripheral vision.

"Please escort Miss Nyota home," the vampire said as he reached for Jim's still raised hand, placing the gun in his loosened grip and closing Jim's fingers around it. His own fingers were shockingly cold. "And have a pleasant evening, deputy."

"Okay," Jim mumbled, and felt himself start to fall.

When he came to, the sedan was gone and Nyota was sitting in the rocky dirt next to him, her pretty red dress getting dirty and her hose shredded at the knee.

"Ny?" he croaked.

She gave him a grim little smile. "Let's go home, Jim. We'll talk later."