My Dinner with Danny

The wonderful characters belong to Jeaniene Frost. I'm just playing with them.

Much gratitude and great big hugs go to my incredibly awesome beta, Kristin Elizabeth. How she puts up with me, I'll never know!

Warning: This story contains strong, violent themes and deals with the eating habits of ghouls.

Rodney waited until he heard Bones' car pull away before he spoke a word. His dinner was whimpering over in the corner, trying to hide from his gaze by curling his arms around his body and tucking his head away. Rodney laughed a little to himself, and watched his dinner for a while, knowing that the silence only increased his torment. Even though Bones had told him to make it quick, Rodney believed Danny earned some punishment for his crimes against Cat, and most likely, against other young women he lured in with his bullshit. Hell, Rodney thought he deserved some fun for putting up with the whiney bastard the last few days.

When Rodney finally spoke, he reminded Danny of his crimes, wanting him to realize the consequences of his actions.

"I'm sure you weren't cowering when you date-raped a sixteen year old virgin, were you? Bet you acted pretty tough then, didn't you, Danny-boy?"

Danny stopped the crying noises he was making, and became very still, and the smell of fear in the room became stronger. Rodney sat down on the same ladder-back chair Bones had used, and continued in a calm, non-threatening voice. "How does it feel, Danny, to be scared? You didn't think about Cat being scared the night you raped her, did you, tough guy? You just took what you wanted, right?"

Danny lifted his head to peer up over his arms, his lips quivering with fear. He figured he would be dead soon, and a part of him wished it would just be over already. He didn't want to know how Rodney was going kill him. He just hoped the "human flesh" comment from earlier was just a scare tactic. The man didn't really eat human flesh, did he? The thought made him dry heave.

Rodney noticed Danny's reaction, and looked him in the eye when Danny raised his head. Ever defiant, in spite of his certain death, Danny tried to reason with his captor, his voice shaky, but firm. He had to do something to get out of this, even though he knew it was a long shot.

"I didn't rape her." Danny was firm in his statement, and if Rodney didn't know differently from Bones, he might have actually believed him. Danny continued with his defense. "Really, I wouldn't do that. I don't know what she told you, but we were dating and we both wanted it. I thought she was kind of young, but she wanted to come to my apartment. I figured she knew what would happen if we went there." He paused and mustered up all his courage to look Rodney in the eye. "This is all a big mistake. I didn't rape her. She only said that because I broke it off with her soon after."

Rodney growled, and the sound echoed in the basement. Danny felt fear squeeze his belly, and he put his eyes back down. With a sinking feeling, he realized he miscalculated with his denial, and he had only succeeded in angering his captor.

"Still not taking responsibility, are you? It's a good thing Bones didn't hear what you just said, else he wouldn't be able to keep his promise to Cat. He'd want to take his time killing you. Believe me, you would be admitting your guilt and begging him to kill you before he finished with you."

At that moment, Rodney's cell phone rang, stopping Rodney from saying any more. He smiled when he saw the callerID and walked out of the bedroom into the hallway outside, leaving the door open. Danny thought about making a break for it, but quickly realized he would never get past Rodney and up the stairs. He could hear Rodney talking in hushed tones just outside, and looked around the room for a weapon. If he only had a weapon, perhaps he could escape. He didn't think he could kill Rodney, but maybe he could injure him enough to get up the stairs and out of the house. He felt a surge of adrenalin as the escape plan formulated in his head. It might work. If he couldn't find a weapon, he had a better chance of talking his way out of this situation, although that wasn't going so well. He was grateful Bones had gone, because there might be a chance for negotiation—had Bones stayed, Danny knew that wouldn't have been an option.

Rodney returned to the bedroom after a few minutes, with a serious purpose. One look at Rodney's face, and Danny's hope he could talk his way out of the situation drained away.

"Time to get the show on the road, Danny-boy. I have company coming over, and she'll be here soon, so we best get on with it." With those words, Rodney grinned at Danny, and then winked at him.

Danny wasn't sure what scared him more—when Rodney was nice to him, or when he was cold. It was like riding a rollercoaster, one that dipped down into hell, and then came back up into the light. Danny remained curled up in a ball in the corner of the room, but he was no longer hiding his head. He didn't forget his escape plan. He watched Rodney's every move, and finally asked what had been on his mind since Bones left. "You didn't mean that stuff you said before, right?"

"What stuff was that, Danny?" Rodney stopped looking through the keys on his key ring, and looked at him.

"You know, what you said about eating human flesh…" Danny's voice still held a shred of challenge, as if he suspected the flesh eating comment was just a lie designed to scare him. Or maybe it was a test, and if he didn't show any fear, he could get out of this. His thoughts vacillated between so many emotions—fear, hatred, hope, resignation and others—he couldn't identify.

Rodney came a little closer and looked directly at the man who would be his dinner. "Oh, yes. I meant every word, Danny."

Danny's "flight or fight" reflex kicked in with a new surge of adrenalin and he stood up, pressed against the wall. He edged toward the door. Looking at Rodney with new eyes, he asked, "What the fuck are you?"

Rodney saw Danny moving toward the door, but he just kept on doing what he started while he answered Danny's question. "Well, Danny, I'm a ghoul. Have you ever heard of ghouls? Surely, you've seen movies, although I must say, they don't really do us justice."

Rodney unlocked the credenza, and removed a number of carving knives from the drawer, placing them on the top. He paid a lot of money for these knives and they were his favorites, so sharp and properly weighted for his hand. He caught Danny looking at them, and turned away, giving his captive the opportunity to snatch one from the top of the credenza. Danny wanted to know about ghouls? Well, Rodney would be happy to provide a little demonstration.

As Rodney expected, Danny came closer and grabbed a knife, pointing it aggressively at Rodney, as he continued moving toward the door. With the speed of the supernatural, Rodney was in front of him, blocking his escape. With all his might, Danny reared back and plunged the knife into Rodney's chest, right where he thought his heart would be. He even managed to give it a little twist to sink the blade in as deeply as possible. Rodney stood still, looking at the knife in his chest, and Danny froze. When Rodney gave a hearty laugh with the blade protruding from his chest, Danny felt the bile rising in his throat, and started to heave as if he was going to vomit.

Leaving Danny's knife embedded in his chest, Rodney continued to chuckle while he pulled out the rest of the carving knives. Danny could not take his eyes off the knife in Rodney chest, the blade so long it protruded through his back. He watched in horror as Rodney moved about the room, seemingly uninjured with a knife stuck in his chest. Between Rodney's speed and his obvious ability to survive what should have been a fatal knife wound, there was only one way this would all end, and that was with his death. Reality slammed into Danny and he slid to the floor, crying in earnest.

"Please! please... don't kill me. I didn't mean to hurt her. Really, I didn't." He sobbed. "It was all a mistake. I will apologize. I'll do whatever you want."

Rodney pulled the knife from his chest and wiped the blade with a towel he had nearby. He liked to take care of his carving knives. A good knife was so important when preparing meals.

He grabbed Danny by the arm, and threw him on the bed. His dinner guest would be here soon, so there wasn't much time. He could sink the knife in Danny's chest, and take his life quickly as Bones had told him to, but Rodney wanted his own payment from Danny for what he did to Cat. After all, it was Danny that Lazarus used to get Cat to the cave, and almost got her killed. He deserved to pay for that, too. Rodney had some time to formulate this plan while he waited for Bones to return from Chicago, and he was going through with it. Rodney didn't like keeping things from Bones, but if his plan worked, he wouldn't even have to lie to Bones at all. Danny's demise would be quick, but on Rodney's terms.

When Danny hit the bed, he scurried back toward the headboard, trying to get as far away from Rodney as possible. He watched in horror as the knife wound on Rodney's chest healed. The reality that no amount of talking would clear him, and there was no way to escape, silenced him. He prayed silently that dying wouldn't be too painful, and tried not to think about Rodney eating his flesh.

Rodney arranged the carving knives on top of the credenza, caressing each one carefully before he sat down again. He checked his watch and noted his dinner guest would be there within the hour. Patricia was a ghoul he met recently and they had hit it off. Since fresh meat was often difficult to come by, he wanted to impress her with a feast tonight. She was pretty and petite, with short blonde hair. Although he usually preferred human women, he hadn't had a date in a while. Maybe she would be grateful for the fresh meal and repay him with a little "affection" tonight. Rodney smiled at the irony, considering Danny's crimes. Danny Milton, rapist, might help get him laid tonight.

One look at Danny, and Rodney recognized he was resigned to his fate. Now all he needed to do was push him a little bit more and he could get ready for his date.

"Danny, do you know how ghouls usually like to feed?" Rodney tapped his chin. "No, you probably don't—so let me tell you. I think you will find this very interesting, so you best pay attention, okay?" Rodney's voice had that comforting tone again. It contrasted with the dire situation Danny was facing, and only made Danny feel like he was on that rollercoaster from hell again.

"Well, ghouls love to eat fresh flesh. In fact, it is the utmost delicacy for us. Do you know what I mean by that? Flesh off the bone…while your blood is still pumping through your veins. The meat is much tastier that way. Oh, we'll settle for dead meat, if we must, but we really like fresh, live meat, the most. Now that does require some effort to keep the meal alive, and it can get messy; and loud, too."

Danny's face blanched at Rodney's description of a ghoul's favorite meal. What he described was straight from a horror movie, only he was the main character, and this was no movie. He resumed praying, asking that his end be quick and painless. Rodney, sensing Danny's despair, pushed him a little bit more.

"Do you know what the most sadistic ghouls do to stop their victims from screaming while they dine on their live flesh?" He paused, knowing that Danny was on the edge. He looked like he might vomit. "They take a big needle and thread and sew their mouths shut, —trap their screams in their own throats. What do you think about that?"

Danny closed his eyes for a second, and begged. "Please, I can't take anymore. I'm so sorry. I never meant to hurt anyone. Just kill me already. You are going to do it anyway, so do it now!"

He cried, tears streaming down his face. Rodney smiled and patted Danny on the leg again, in an almost comforting gesture. It was time for the last piece of the plan to fall into place.

Rodney went back over to the credenza and unlocked a different drawer. Inside were a number of handguns. He selected one, brought it over and laid it on the bed next to Danny.

"Danny, I'm going to give you a chance to "man up," so to speak. Maybe it will make a difference when you reach the other side, I don't know. You see, I've got my friend coming for dinner within the hour. Here's where you can decide how you want this to go. You can stay here, and wait for my guest to arrive and then share our dinner table with us, alive—or, you can decide to take care of your punishment yourself, before we have dinner. Do you understand what I am offering?"

Danny looked at the handgun on the bed next to him. Resigned to his fate, he knew he didn't really have a choice. The only aspect of his death he could control was how he died. He picked up the handgun, resting it in his lap, and closing his eyes, before he answered Rodney. "Yes, I understand." He replied in a shaky voice.

With a final pat of his shoulder, Rodney stood up and went to the doorway, keys in hand.

"Good. I'm going to lock you in and go upstairs and get ready for my date. You'll have about 40 minutes to make your decision."

Rodney locked the bedroom door and listened for a moment before a satisfied smile creased his face. As he walked up the steps, he heard the gun go off, and the body fall to the floor.

Rodney smiled at the thought he wouldn't have to lie to Bones. He avenged Cat's rape, and Danny's death was quick. Mission accomplished. He whistled as he walked up the stairs thinking of his date and he hoped he would get lucky tonight.

Thanks for reading and reviewing. I appreciate your support of this story and the main story, Gone.