Hellooooooo?! Guess who's back?! That's right, my mini vacation from writing has given me enough time to recharge my imaginative juices and bank a few chapters. So, here's the next one and I'll be handing out teasers again to any who review. I'll post again next Sunday, hopefully.
Just in case you missed it, I posted an outtake to this story called 'A Fangtastic New Year' and it might help the end of this chapter make a little more sense if you read it before reading this.
So, don't forget to tell me what you think and thanks to all that do! TTFN! (As tigger says, 'Ta Ta For Now!)
Disclaimer: I own none of the characters or anything else here. I'm writing purely for shits and giggle purposes. Please don't sue.
One last thing, big shout out too my totally awesome Beta, slcurwin, for putting up with me. She laughs and all the right places and makes me feel so smart. Thanks! Also let's not forget my growing number of helpful interpreters, 94larkla for the Swedish and my Scottish sweetie Senga!
The destruction to the Gizeh Hotel was like nothing he'd ever seen before. As the rescue workers arrived on scene and attempted to contain the area and keep the gawking bystanders and nosey media far enough out of harm's way, he took in the smoldering, charred remains of the building as he helped his fellow firefighters do damage control. It had a huge chunk missing from one of its sides, where black clouds of smoke were billowing out through the exposed areas. The strange thing was that the smoke was not rising into the air (like miasma from a raging fire usually behaved). Instead the clouds of dark dense smog were rolling and crawling out and down the sides of the structure.
He could hear the screams of those still trapped inside the building from the street. Though a portion of the structure had collapsed, there was still about seventy percent of it that remained standing. People were still making their way out through the many lower exits, coughing and spiting while completely covered in soot. To the horror of many of the onlookers, as the noxious vapor made its way to ground level, it began to spread and cover the soil. One man ran from the building blindly with obvious scorch marks and burns covering his face. As he ran screaming in pain, he stumbled headlong into the roiling mist. The shrieks that came from him then were brief but would induce many a nightmare for all those witnessing them. Only once the fog continued onward was the poor man's fate known. His flesh had been stripped from him and all that was left were bare bones.
Chaos reigned as people began a mad scramble to flee the deadly fumes. Those lucky enough to escape the building before the smog closed off the exits were being rushed to the EMT's for medical treatment. The barricades were pushed back another fifty feet around the perimeter of the building. The fire chief barked orders to his men to focus their hoses on the smoke itself but it had no effect. Well no positive one in any case. The firefighter stared in horror as did many of his co-workers as the pernicious vapor continued its path of encircling the building, the sprays of water not hindering its progress in the least. It wasn't until he and the others began noticing the tar like substance creeping out from under the cloud that the water was finally ceased.
While he worked, he noticed two elderly women emerge from the crowd of onlookers and make a beeline for ground zero. The first was a distinguished looking African American lady seeming to be in her mid to late sixties wearing what appeared to be traditional African ceremonial dress at first glance. The fireman, observing the entire chaotic scene, blinked once then did a double take at the second woman who was Caucasian, and appeared to be in her mid-eighties. They both had somehow managed to cross the barricades but were finally stopped by police and other rescue workers. The older of the two began demanding to see 'the man in charge' and as the fire chief began making his way toward the women so did the firefighter. As he approached, he could hear his superior inform the women of the dangers and arguing heatedly with the silver haired grandmother that refused to take no as an answer.
"Don't you dare stand there and patronize me young man! I know far better than you what dangers are being faced as well as how to help stop it. Now are you going to listen to reason and allow me to explain or are you going to force me to get nasty?" There was a low growl from behind her as a huge dog, possibly a Great Dane or English Mastiff or combination of the two (it was hard to tell) stepped to Adele's side and glared at the men. It was almost as if the dog was daring anyone to argue with his mistress. "Easy Bull," she addressed the dog, "I'm sure these men will listen now that we have their attention."
The young firefighter stepped forward and spoke directly to his boss, even though he was staring straight at Adele. She couldn't see his face because of all the head gear he was wearing. "I'll vouch for her, sir. She's no crack pot, if she says it's urgent, it is."
His chief stared at him for a long minute before saying, "Alright, I'll listen, but she's going no closer until I get some answers."
Adele's eyes had begun to mist when she heard the young man's voice and as he removed his helmet his identity was confirmed.
"Jason," she breathed.
Niall was, for lack of a better word, anxious. He knew he was in a dangerous position exposed as he was in the open of the front yard. He paced the sidewalk wishing he could just break through the magical wards surrounding the property as he once had at the farmhouse in Louisiana. But circumstances were very different now than they had been then. Firstly, he was using his magic to conceal his position from others of his kind. In doing so, he did not have enough power left to penetrate the wards.
Second, he had a strong suspicion that he would not be welcomed kindly by his kin inside. The plan he had of sending Preston Pardloe as a peace offering had gone very wrong. Niall scowled at the ground as he recalled Claudine's impassioned plea to recall Preston to Faerie. It wasn't until after Preston barely returned with his life to the Fae realms that he learned of how poorly the gift was received. Claudine told him Sookie viewed it as a betrayal? A violation of the trust and friendship she had built with Preston? How could that be when his intention had been the complete opposite? Could it be that he'd been away from the human world for so long that he'd forgotten all that his dear Einin had once taught him of human customs and rituals?
Lastly, he was there to warn Sookie of the danger she was currently in. When he discovered that Brendon's personal assassins, Neave and Lochlan, had been dispatched to take Sookie as leverage to use against him, he risked personal exposure to bring his kin to safety. Not just Sookie either but the children she just bore. Thanks to McKenna, he knew she'd had twins, a boy and girl and they both had great power in them when she held them just after their birth. He needed to see them for himself in order to determine whether they carried the spark or not. If so he'd offer to take them to Faerie. He could protect them much better there and he was sure he could hide them indefinitely from his enemies much better than a lowly vampire.
A noise from the porch brought his attention back to the present and he stopped his pacing. He barely had time to teleport from his position to another several feet away before the shotgun blast nearly took his head off.
"That was your only warning. Leave or the next round won't miss," Sookie's hard but weary voice came from inside the house. He could tell she was just inside the door but because of the angle of the sun, he was unable to see her.
"Please, great-granddaughter, allow me to explain….."
"Can it Niall. It hasn't even been twelve hours since I gave birth to the 'gifts' I received. All because of being raped by someone I trusted, just to find out that YOU sent him! There is nothing you can say right now that will make me hate you less."
"Rape?" Niall said the word as if he didn't know the meaning of it.
"Yeah. It's what happens when one person forces their will on someone else without giving the other the choice of refusal. What the FUCK made you think I wanted MORE children when you knew full well I was already raising two?! Because being a telepath doesn't already paint a large enough target on my back you had to go and turn me into a flippin' brood mare!? Now I not only have to watch my back but those of my children as well. ALL of them, whether they have "talent" or not, because you know every Tom, Dick, and Harry in the Supe world is going to think the best way to get to me is through my kids! Now, I won't say it again, LEAVE!"
Niall was livid. "I allow you certain graces because you are my kin but make no mistake I will not be spoken to in such a manner." His voice was cold as steel. "I am a Prince of the Fae and I demand the respect my position deserves!" He didn't raise his voice but it rang with an air of authority that none had ever questioned before, until now.
"Respect is EARNED Niall, not automatically given because you wear a pretty crown and sit in a fancy chair. From where I'm standing you haven't done shit to earn my respect or trust. Your actions since before we met have been sneaky and underhanded. Instead of telling me flat out that my heritage could cause me to be taken advantage of, you send someone who's idea of keeping me safe is to kidnap me. She did not ask me how I came to meet Eric or if I trust him, but instead just assumes I'm in danger because you and Fintan kept my family in the dark for years. Even after my parents died you still didn't come forward. The only reason you do so now is because you see me as a way to get something you want. I'm still uncertain what your end game is but I'm not willing to wait and see. You want respect from me? Be honest! Don't plan my life for me like I'm a puppet, involve me! ASK me for my input. And if I disagree with you, accept it. Don't go all super sneaky spy again to try getting what YOU want. Cause my life is not about what you want!"
Niall looked like he'd been slapped in the face. However, before he could speak his outrage Sookie continued her verbal smack down.
"Let me take a wild guess as to why you're really here. You've come to check on me because some big bad enemy of yours is out to get me. You want to come inside so you can see for yourself if MY babies have this great mystical spark that make all Fairies go cuckoo for Coco Puffs. Then after confirming your suspicions, you'll magnanimously (Thank You word of the day) offer to take me and the children to the Fae realm or somewhere else to 'hide' us away, for our own safety of course. All the while telling your uppity self that there's no possible way a vampire or three, a pack of shifters, and an entire flippin' coven of witches could possibly keep us safe because they're not you. Despite the fact, that for the past two and a half years, they've been doing just that."
Niall blanched. He was under the impression she couldn't read his mind. Was it possible her ability had grown? Claudine had said nothing if this were so.
"Niall, contrary to what you are thinking right now, no I'm not reading your mind. It was a good guess which your reaction just substantiated, (Yep, another WOTD) especially given the incredible timing of your arrival. Meer hours after my delivery, but long enough for, and I'm truly guessing here, that new nurse of Ludwig's to tip you off. Boy is Amy going to be pissed about that! So wouldn't want to be you when I tell her she hired a spy. Then of course there's that whole showing up before dark thing to avoid my 'dead for the day' mate. Yeah, I'd say you're either getting predictable in your actions or just your whole attitude all together. There's just one small flaw in your logic."
"And what pray tell, is that," Niall said through gritted teeth.
"Me," said Eric suddenly appearing behind Niall.
The bare wooden lid closed with a solid thunk and click of hidden latches locking into place. Though the casket looked worn and plain in its lack of adornments, it was made of some very special material. The wood surface was real wood but from no tree that grew in this realm. It was from a fire swamp in a world only full demons dared to go and was completely fire proof. Anything held inside its hold, was sealed in a protective web of natural magic. Senga just managed to get Pythia inside it and out of the now windowless bedroom just before being exposed to the rays of the dawn. After securing the ancient seer for the day, she surveyed the scene and thanked her ancestors once again for the heritage that kept her from falling victim to the base desires of a vampire. Yes, she felt bloodlust and hunger to feed, but she had full power over those urges, unlike the sorry bastards scattered around the hotel room, which looked like the after effects of a Roman orgy.
She was glad the tiny doctor was able to get the Pythoness' protégé out of harm's way before the bloodlust ravaged royalty realized there was a warm body to feed from. In their state it didn't matter who you were or whose protection you had. Senga began the task of cleaning up by removing the patch of carpet that was still emanating the trance inducing smell, and then cleaning the area under it with some industrial grade bleach glamored from one of the women in housekeeping. She also met with the two Britlingens the King of Kentucky had left standing guard outside the suite door. Senga allowed them in briefly to retrieve their charge, in all his naked glory, and take him back to his room. She was about to transfer the AP's casket to a more secure location when she 'heard' it, a desperate mental plea from the telepath in the Texas entourage.
Senga listened to the conversation he had with someone by the name of Bull, and his brief interaction with the daemon lawyer who, she was sure, was on his way to collect his queen. She quickly moved the seer's resting box to the empty suite across the hall and draped her cloak around her shoulders. She's hated jackets ever since they first became popular. They didn't allow for nearly enough movement or concealment as her cloak did.
She took the stairs down to the next level where the Louisiana queen's room was and didn't wait long before the Dae lawyer and his niece entered the hallway.
Senga moved silently from her concealed position near the stairwell and said, "She's no in there, follow me."
Desmond eyed her suspiciously. A sudden explosion that was forceful enough to have them steady themselves against the walls, made up the daemon's mind and they followed without further hesitation. There was no time for delay with the chaos on the lower levels moving in their direction. When he entered the room he immediately smelled the bleach as well as surveying the condition of the occupants. "What happened in here?"
"It'll take too long ta explain, there is an extra box in that room but it's exposed to suns light. I will head off the incoming party. If you can make it to the stairs, do. Otherwise, that may be your only escape."
She turned to leave, when Cataliades said, "What of them?" He gestured to the other monarchs scattered about.
"No my concern, if they survive the day, they will be fine," and with that, she left.
Senga quickly darted into the room where she'd stashed the Pythoness to retrieve her charge and then headed for the elevators. With the fire alarms pulled they had stopped functioning and she quickly opened each set of doors until she found the one stopped the closest to the ground floor, she guessed it was between the third and fourth level. Her hearing informed her that there didn't seem to be anyone trapped in the car, good. She then dropped the casket encasing the ancient seer down the shaft and waited until it hit the lift's roof. She sent up a short thanks to whoever was listening, that the cables didn't snap or the ceiling buckle under the added weight. She wasn't worried about the box itself. Besides being fireproof, fire swamp wood was also shatter proof.
Once she closed the doors to the shaft again (which was a bit more difficult than getting them open), she zipped down the now smoke filled stairs to the ninth floor which was where she had the first hint of Fae scent hidden under all the smoke. Though she was not tempted like other vampires with Fae scent, she still did not want to confront Neave and Lochlan directly without backup and hers was on another assignment. She moved without a sound down the hall until she came to a corner she could observe the psychotic duo from, without being detected, and waited for her opening.
They were standing outside the decimated door of one of the rooms arguing. "Where the fuck is she? We've checked all the other possible rooms," Lochlan screeched.
"Patience brother, there's still one room we've yet to try but we should wait for the witch. As annoying as she and her smell are, you can't deny she's been entertainingly useful today. Perhaps if she succeeds in finding the half breed bitch and her useless whelps we can have a little bit of fun before we end her. I know how much you enjoy the kink of bedding Were's," Neave purred this last bit as she stroked the growing bulge in her brother's pants.
"I doubt she's still in the old crone's chambers," he pouted. "But I'll enjoy ripping apart anything that may be in there. Speaking of that crazy wolf, what's taking her so fucking long?"
Senga didn't need to hear more. As she noiselessly retraced her steps back to the stairs, she looked for the snarly mental signature of the Were-witch and found her two floors down on the other side of the hotel. She was setting another charge, perfect.
Hallow, as she liked to be called, was so engrossed in her work that she didn't notice the few witches left of her coven, supposedly keeping a lookout, were being picked off silently one by one. The disappearance of her brother and slaughter of most of her coven by that bitch and her bloodsucking sugar-daddy had lit a fire of vengeance in her heart larger than the grudge she'd had about her parents. When she heard that Northman and his whore would be in Rhodes for the Summit she plotted for months on the perfect revenge. What better way to make those fucking leeches pay than blow up their little conference on the evening news. She hadn't counted on all the security though and if it hadn't been for her fortuitous run in with freaky thing one and two, she'd have still been at a standstill in her plans to get into the structure. The arrangement was simple enough. They got them in and she provided the distraction. Once the telepathic wretch was found she'd gather Northman while still in his day rest, drain him dry, and then move on.
She had no delusions about trusting those two Fae assassins though. Yep, even she'd heard of them. She'd created a spell especially for anyone who attempted to touch her directly or magically. Not to mention she had all kinds of weapons on her person, silver net and spray for the vamps and iron shavings and an old iron hand ax strapped to her back just under her leather coat, heat of summer be damned.
Once done setting the charge, she turned and headed out of the room. So consumed in her thoughts as she was, she didn't see the trip wire anchored across the door frame and she'd yet to notice none of her coven was in sight. So she was taken completely by surprise when she made a face plant that broke her nose. Before she could get up or curse the dolt who tripped her, the jacket she wore was pulled up and over enough to temporarily tangle her arms above her head. As she opened her mouth to bellow obscenities, a cloth rag was shoved inside her mouth, her ankles were tied together with her own boot strings, and she was being dragged back into the room she'd just set to blow in three minutes.
Senga chuckled at the frustrated struggling of the self-boobie trapped witch. The jacket wouldne hold her for long but it allowed enough time to use the bedding in the room to tie the bitch spread eagle to the bed. "This is why I dinne wear Jackets, terribly cumbersome things," she mocked as Hallow struggled in outrage and a little bit of fear began to settle in her eyes. "Now, dinne worry yerself nane. I relieved you of all those bulky weapons for yer ane comfort. And as ye can see since nothing has happened ta me, I didne touch a single hair on yer flea bitten body. I must go noo but dinne worry, yer "freaky" associates will be here soon."
She could sense the two Fae coming closer, no doubt tired of waiting, and she disappeared in the opposite direction to retrieve her charge now that her distraction was well at work. She chuckled as she observed the situation from the wolf's mind.
Neave was first to enter the room and purred, "Look brother. Someone left us a gift all neatly wrapped up." She chuckled merrily at the lustful gleam in Lochlan's eyes. "If it wouldn't be such bad form to play while we are on a hunt…"
"Oh, I don't think it will take too long sister," Lochlan growled predatorily as he sat on the bed next to a violently struggling Hallow as she shook her head trying to dislodge the gag and dodge his touch at the same time.
Hallow finally managed to spit the gag out of her mouth and straight into Lochlan's lustful gaze. Instead of backhanding the bitch like he wanted, Neave put a hand on his shoulder as she plucked the wadded material out of his lap to reveal some slightly smeared writing.
"What's this, a love note?" She snickered as she pulled the cloth apart to read the message?
'She's not here, nor is the vampire. Enjoy your errand of futility.'
Neave frowned and sniffed the torn scrap of cloth that seemed to come from one of the dead witches in the hall. All she could detect was the putrid smell of wolf and blood. She handed the note to her brother ignoring the demands from the girl to release her. "It seems we've been misinformed. She's not here. It's time to report in to my Lord." She began walking out of the room but turned at the threshold to notice Lochlan was reaching for the now terrified silent wolf, who was staring at the wall as if it was more frightening that the Fae planning to sink his teeth in her throat.
Neave followed the line of sight and noticed the digital timer counting down 4…3…2…"No!" She transported away just before the wall exploded with enough force that half that side of the building went with it.
She reappeared on the other side of the floor with a hard pop as part of the concussive force of the detonation was trapped in the transport with her. Neave landed hard against the wall and sat there stunned for several moments before rising swiftly and running toward the room in search of her beloved, her lover, her brother. She wasn't able to get closer than twenty feet. The room and half the hallway were gone. An inky black cloud of thick turbulent smoke was suspended in the exact location of the bed that had held her mate and the treacherous wolf just moments before. She recognized the poorly executed protection magic of the spell the witch must have cast on herself as it began to engulf the immediate area and then spread like a plague.
As is typical of Fae who pass onto the Summerland, Lochlan appeared to her in that burning half gutted hallway. "Well Fuck! That was NOT part of the fucking plan! Get out now Neave. That little protection spell of hers backfired in a nasty way and you do not want to get caught in that shit." He said as his ghost gestured toward the black cloud billowing like CO2 gas from a bucket of dry ice in boiling water. "Tell my Lord I am sorry for my failure but I did learn something interesting in the moments before." His image began to waver as his spirit was feeling the pull to rest. "Tell him she's still lives. I smelled her scent on the witch's clothes. It's dry and changed, muted, but it's her. His daughter lives," the specter said as his voice faded with the rest of him. With a single tear rolling down her cheek for her lost brother, she gathered the last bit of energy she possessed and transported herself to the closest portal.