The Other World
The lively music mixed with the stench of alcohol and men wafted around the corner street bar and out into the grimy alley filled with stray cats and abandoned rubbish. The screams and shouts of human enjoyment bounced off the faded brown walls that covered the alley and a single figure ceased his pacing. His eyes shut to listen to the drunken giggles of men away from home and opened his mind:
"I should really be getting back, Lucy would be worried..."
"Should I tell Gracia about Eliza?"
"I shouldn't order another beer. My kids hate me, my wife's dead. What the hell…"
He shut his mind and accepted that he had no right to enter the place where men go to forget. He did not need to forget, he needed to remember. Remember the things that had happened to him over the past five years. The loss of his wife, the death of his child. Events that would – should, must- forever plague his memories until the day he dies.
He grew up believing that he was invincible. People like him had adapted to become a superior being to humans. It was because of this notion the he ended up believing that no matter what he did everything would turn out in his favour.
How wrong had he been, and he realized this first-hand when he came home from a night of running amuck to find his wife and child slowly fading away, their equivalent to death. He stood in denial as his child let out an ear-piercing scream before she vanished into nothing.
Around the world, the tales of murdered so-called 'immortals' came to light and that Patrick Jane was the only one to have survived the attack. But knew he hadn't survived. Not really. He was forced to endure living hell without his lover or his child.
He stood in the bright artificial light that streamed out the window of the bar for a moment, before turning tail and leaving the alley to return to the empty streets of a Tuesday night. He pulled his coat tighter around his body against the autumn chill and continued down the road.
He stayed in the shadows, a ghost among humans and a fallen angel among immortals. He could hear intoxicated slurs of obscene language float out of open windows into the night air.
And he started thinking.
Where the hell did I park my car? I swear it was here an hour ago...
"Do you know where he is?"
He was quickly threw out of his frivolous thoughts at the sound of the voice. Deep, echoing and completely foreign to him, partnered with a sudden iciness that seemed to reach through his every vein. He spun around, surveying the streets lit by the pale yellow hue of the street lights. It was absolutely deserted.
"Hello?" He called gently into the darkness, cautionary.
After waiting a few moments for the mystery voice to reappear, he shrugged and walked off in the general direction where he parked his car.
That was weird...
"Well, you're not exactly the average Joe either, are you?" The echoing voice returned. A sharp chill sparked its way down his spine.
"What are you?" He asked in a trembling voice.
As he said that, he saw an older lady, thickly wrapped in a winter coat walk past him with a scandalized look on her face. "Crazy." He heard her mutter as she passed him.
After a few moments in the silence, he tried again. But this time, he didn't speak.
What are you?
"Does it matter?" The voice echoed through him.
What the hell? Get out of my mind.
"You sold him their souls."
What are you talking about?
"You know exactly what I'm talking about. You will tell me where I can find him."
That's not going to happen pal… I'm guessing you're one of those creepy gits who think they're so much better than the rest. As if you will ever be anything more than conspiracy theories. Humans have always dominated, and they always will.
"I wouldn't be so sure."
And with those words and a last icy chill that overtook him, the echoing presence was gone.
Rigsby, Van Pelt, Cho
Madeline Hightower looked at the television; a story flashed across the screen, informing the viewers of the latest horrifying crime that had taken place in Sacramento, California.
The poised and regal being that she was – only a modest 300 years old – sighed for what felt like the thousandth time that day. She found that human stupidity never ceased to amaze her and at first, she found it amusing, but after a long enough period in her position it had become nothing more than a burden and an annoyance. She had to go through every suspicious case that suggested inhuman influence.
Hightower was the head of the SBI, the Supernatural Bureau of Investigation; an independent sister organization of the CBI. Very few people knew of their existence, mainly the president and other 'importants', as she liked to call them. As she stood in front of the screen, she sensed other agents looking at it over her shoulder.
"Something wrong, boss?" A worried voice asked. She turned to look at the enchanting face Agent Grace Van Pelt.
"Looks like one of ours, Agent." Hightower said solemnly. Van Pelt watched the screen more closely and noticed that the man lying on the ground wasn't dead, just blankly staring ahead like he was daydreaming, despite the futile attempts of police officers trying to shake the man back into reality. Most of the information that the news reporter was trying to convey was drowned out by the angry honking of horns as the entire road was closed up and people were trying to get to work.
Several of the agents looked borderline terrified at the pixilated images. Many of them were still young – rookies, only several decades old - and the prospect of going up against someone with mind-abilities as strong as these were almost unheard of and truly terrifying.
"Probably the work of an Animus." Agent Kimball Cho murmured quietly.
"Animus?" Agent Wayne Rigsby questioned as he turned to face his fellow agent.
"The ancient word for mind reader. Well, this one looks more like a mind invader. They have the ability to get inside your head and rip information from it. In most cases, you leave behind a vegetable, like this man, once the 'ripping' is completed. They may as well be dead." Cho said almost darkly like the potential brain fryer was god's evil creation.
"So like Inception?" Rigsby inquired. Cho just raised his eyebrow and shrugged.
"Is there any way we can trace the Animus?" Van Pelt asked. She took note of the sour expression over her boss's face and immediately knew the answer.
"Unless he was stupid and performed his magic in front of a surveillance camera, only a tracker would be able to find him, and you know how hard they are to get a hold of. Not only are they slimy and not very trustworthy, they require a lot of money and it's just money this bureau doesn't have." Hightower said.
"So we just have to leave this one to the human feds?" Rigsby stated.
"Unfortunately. Either way, there is nothing we can do for the human. My biggest question is what information did he have locked up inside his brain that an Animus went after him."
She stood behind the black and yellow tape that cut off the rest of the world to the crime scene. A few feet from her, the victim lay; his head bashed apparently so hard that he couldn't even remember his name. The problem was the bashing hadn't caused a single bruise, nor was there a drop of blood spilled.
It didn't make sense.
It was downright bizarre.
That's because it wasn't a case of physical assault.
The moment the news of a suspicious beating had made its way through the grape vine of the Underworld, Teresa Lisbon immediately went to the surface to investigate. It didn't take her more than a minute to realize that the man had been a victim of an Animus and had his brain turned into mush. She frowned slightly before setting off towards her black Tunero, her coat flapping in the wind behind her.
She made her way to the country club that was ironically called the Dragon's Lair, although the last time she had seen a dragon was back in the 17th century. The steel gates were black with a tint of red and unlike most country clubs, it didn't seem very welcoming.
She drove up to the entrance and was stopped by a guard.
"Can we please see some iden…" The security guard began, but he stopped right in his tracks when the car window rolled down, revealing Lisbon. "Ah, Miss Lisbon, business or leisure?"
"Business, Giovanni; I'm looking for a tracker." She said.
"Of course, go on ahead. Did La Roche buy you another car? I really liked the Statesman." Giovanni said as he walked towards his guard box to open the gate.
"Yeah, so did I. Some bastard was chasing me and I had to ditch it." She said to Giovanni's back.
"Drive it into a lake, if you must know." Lisbon said as she rolled her window up and stepped on the accelerator pedal. She was able to edge half a meter closer to the gate, but had to wait for the gates to open wide enough for the car to fit through. Giovanni knocked on her tinted window and she rolled it down.
"Sorry, we've been trying to save up for a new gate, but well… we've got other departments that are quite costly."
"Let me guess, people keep blowing rooms up." Lisbon said with an amused smile.
"Blowing up, setting ablaze, dousing it in water you name it. Costs a fortune. Could they at least take their pride battles outside?"
"Good luck with that." She said and continued down the path towards a large two-story building that looked nothing like a dragons lair although Lisbon thought it would have been very clever if the walls were made out of stone instead of the modern day plaster and wood. She parked in the car park and swiftly made her way inside.
The Dragon's Lair was a country club that was invisible to the human eye and as long as your car was registered, humans were unable to fully realize the vehicle on the road. They would know it was there but they wouldn't pay any attention to it so no humans realized several cars filled with not-so-human people turning off down a side road. It was one of the only clubs that only allowed the modern day Wizard. Several heads turned when Lisbon walked in and small talk was exchanged. Lisbon could hear her name being said, but ignored it; her mind was focused on one mission.
"She's that demon girl, right?" A dainty voice whispered loudly to her friend.
"Nah, she's one of us but she hangs out downstairs. Weird, isn't she?"
"Why does she hang out with demons?"
"I heard that she ran away from home."
"Well, your wrong, it was because her mother was murdered and she's since been out for blood ever since."
"Crazy yes, but she's also determined as hell, no pun intended."
"Apparently she's brilliant. Her mother was a Sorceress, magic that can only be passed down through the female bloodline. I heard that she can destroy you with a thought."
"If that's true, I'll keep out of her way."
"That's good advice. I remember when she was younger; she was much more lively then. She had a lot of potential; but that was centuries ago. Everything was ruined when her mother was taken away from her." A tired voice broke into the unnecessarily loud gossiping session. Everyone within earshot looked at Virgil Minelli in disbelief.
"How do you know her?"
"I took her in when I found her lying next to her mother's cross. She refused to go home and I was in no place to take care of a child so young, so I had to give her away to someone I trusted." Minelli said. "Or someone I thought I could trust."
"I thought you were a prophet."
"So didn't you see it coming?"
"People always assume that we can see the future when we want to. To make this simple for you all, the future changes so quickly that a prophet can only see what is certain, such as when the rain will fall." Minelli replied.
"Well, that sucks."
"Quick question: did you bring a spare change of clothes?" The man looked at him quizzically, before getting doused in dark red liquid. The waiter had tripped over a chair leg while holding some Shiraz.
"Prophet 1, Moron 0." Minelli smirked to himself.
Lisbon walked past the gossiping Wizards, before sitting herself down on a barstool. She could feel eyes burning holes in her back, but fought the urge to turn around and silence them with a stare.
"Care for a drink dear?" The barmaid asked.
"Sorry, on the job, Kristina." Lisbon told the Ice Wizard.
"Suit yourself, anyone you're looking for in particular?" Kristina asked as she put her palm over a glass and ice cubes appeared out of thin air and began to fill into the cups.
"I would think Giovanni would have told you by now," Lisbon said as she absent-mindedly played with a fresh napkin.
"Ever since last month's break in, he's been posted at that thing 24/7, poor guy." Kristina told her.
"I suppose that's what you get when you go up to the manager of this place and tell her that you have the ability to turn everything within a two squared kilometre invisible." Lisbon shrugged.
"Better he be working here than working with this other guy," Kristina said.
"Other guy?" Lisbon asked. Kristina stared at her like Lisbon was crazy and then leant over the bar table after looking around to make sure that no one was listening in on their conversation.
"You know, that crazy bastard who goes around killing people." Kristina said quietly.
"I thought that was a long time ago," Lisbon said.
"Sounds like you've been downstairs for too long. He struck again around five years ago, killed a family if I remember correctly." Lisbon tried to jog her memory of any missions that involved a serial killer but nothing came to the surface.
"Now I remember; five years ago I had to stay underground. All demons did and no one was told anything. Maybe this is why," Lisbon said curiously.
"Wonder what was so special about this guy that even the big boys in the basement didn't want to get involved with. You've told me about your friends, I'm sure they could take on this whole facility if they wanted to and still be back underground in time for tea." Kristina said, putting her head in her hands.
"I'm sorry, I had no idea. I'll poke around with the high council when I get back. Maybe this has something to do with the latest death I'm working on." Lisbon said.
"Some human guy, right?"
"Yeah, got his mind sucked. Animus from the looks of things," Lisbon said.
"Unfortunately. The Feds are completely mind boggled over this one - no pun intended. But I was pretty sure the SBI would be all over this one." Lisbon said.
"You would think that. If they had enough time to get off their high horses and actually start looking out for the rest of us," Kristina said. Lisbon raised her eyebrows in confusion and the barmaid rolled her eyes.
"Have you been living in a coffin, in hell to be precise, for the last century?"
"I'm only allowed up here when they will it," Lisbon said almost sadly.
"And it's my job to keep you informed, isn't it. Don't you have phone reception down there?"
"The SBI haven't been very successful in catching, what they're calling, the Angel of Death. They're not exactly sure what he is because no one has actually seen him. They say he is Satanic or something. Leaves behind all this crazy drawing when he has made a killing," Kristina said, greatly disliking the topic.
"Could be the reason why none of the demons want to be involved. Symbols are like words, powerful when you know how to use them right," Lisbon said almost scholar-like.
"All a big mystery to me, I'm just a barmaid remember," Kristina said with a small wink before moving off to serve another customer. Out of the corner of her eye she saw someone sit down beside her. She breathed in the thick haze of cologne and tried to shake several images from her mind.
"Hello Teresa," he greeted.
"Mashburn," she replied.
Rigsby, Van Pelt, Cho
Van Pelt read through the rules and regulations of the SBI. Being the newbie of the team, she felt that if she messed up she would be a laughing stock and never make her father proud. She once again skimmed her eyes over the cursed line; the one rule she regarded as the strictest and hardest one to obey.
All SBI Agents must never use their abilities without consent or permission from the bureau and any agents found using magic incorrectly will be dismissed without pay.
Van Pelt sighed and looked at her PC in front of her. Growing up in world of technology meant that her imagination was unlimited. She graduated with high honors in computer technology several years younger than her fellow students and was immediately accepted by the SBI through her father's friendship with the Deputy Director of the bureau. Now she felt like she was bound by the very thing that brought her here. She wasn't even allowed to turn her phone on using her magic, making her feel more human than Wizard. She sighed and put the manual down on her desk. She went through her 'its-only-one-in-the-afternoon-and-there-is-nothing-to-do' routine which started with her compulsively clicking inbox on her email to see if anyone sent her anything. By three, she had finished her latest novel, updated her father on her progress, ate a packet of chips and drew a picture of Cho and Rigsby (Rigsby being asleep and Cho doing Rigsby's paperwork). When she saw Hightower walk into the bullpen (yes walking, not teleporting), Van Pelt almost wanted to hug the woman.
Despite her being the boss, at least her appearance meant that she'd be offered some form of distraction.
"Agents, the feds have finished the case paperwork. Obviously they didn't have much to go on and they say they're backed up at the moment. Our liaison has passed on their findings which is pretty much a psych report and photos of the crime scene. We may as well have a look over it." Hightower said as she dumped a manila file on Van Pelt's desk. Cho walked over and awoke Rigsby who had drooled all over his keyboard. The three of them looked over the unsolved case file and after five minutes of reviewing it, immediately decided that Cho was right, it was the work of an Animus.
"Hey Rigsby, can you go get some cold case files for me?" Van Pelt said after looking at the psych evaluation again.
"'Suspicious memory loss' I think," Van Pelt said, trying to keep the sarcasm at bay.
"Oh, yeah. That would be a good idea." Rigsby said and scrambled up from the desk only to be hit by a small dizzy spell. Once he regained his composure, he went off to the archives. He returned with an entire drawer and sat it on his own desk.
"Wow, looks like a lot of cold cases." Van Pelt said amazed.
"These all date back to just over four years ago. We've got an odd twenty plus in here. All with no memory of how they got there, like they were broken out of a trance," Rigsby replied.
"Alright, let's get to work."
For the next hour, they sorted through the files. They had humans in one pile, Wizards in another. They arranged the cases in chronological order and tried to find a pattern in the happenings.
"I think there is only one commonality among them all. The Wizard related ones have nothing to do with it. They're all from a different background with a different way of life. All the humans were businessmen, apparently high up in society and were all middle aged.
"What do you think is going on?" Rigsby asked.
"I think we should tell Hightower, she'll probably know what to make of this." Cho replied.
Only minutes later, the team was in Hightower's office, watching as the weary Wizard tapped her finger as she stared intently on the information they had placed before them. Then she looked up, studied them all individually for a few moments, but still said nothing.
Grace Van Pelt; the tall redheaded rich man's daughter. A sharp girl, talented too. And stunningly beautiful, but that would probably be her greatest flaw. She would forever be prejudiced and written off as the pretty ditz that got where she was through Daddy's influence.
Kimball Cho; an intense, sturdy and stoic Wizard. Top of his class and always excelling. He rose up from the most surprising and dark background, from a childhood spent in the grimy underground world of dark wizardry, mostly out of rebellion. But he quickly turned around to the "good side", to justice, and joined the SBI as one of the top agents.
Wayne Rigsby; another strong agent, with an equally dubious history. His father was known as a particularly violent and dark-tempered Wizard, though never really delving into dark magic. But the hard childhood had turned him into a strong and reliable agent, if sometimes a little clumsy and slow... And sleepy.
Together the three made the top team in the SBI. And it seemed almost absurd to call the odd threesome the best. Every one of them had a talent, but was stuck in a Bureau that could barely catch an imp.
"I can talk to the Deputy Director, but I'm not sure what you three can do about it. It does seem suspicious, but I have to gain consent. Don't get your hopes up. We usually leave human cases to humans, otherwise things get way too complicated. In the meantime, try to dig out any information about the Animus. From what I know, they like to keep to themselves and tend to interact with their own. There is only one Animus that I am in contact with. And his name is Bosco."
I am back people with a brand new AU just for You!
I realized that my skills in AU are lacking majorly so I decided that I needed to improve.
Thanks to Zanny who is the best beta in the whole wide world and to SK2 who convinced me that AU's weren't that hard. Haha, I beg to differ -_-
Unfortunately (if you actually care) I am going away for Australia next Sunday and will be away for a month. I will be typing so I will probably come back with a sudden burst of updates in August. I might have internet there so just check your emails compulsively like I do!
Off to attempt the next chapter. I know it can be a bit hard but Zanny helped me out with the SBI characters. Thank her, not me ^.^