Ray's eyes opened wide. "I need to call him, I need to warn him..." He
felt hands on him, restraining him. "Please! I have to call..."
"How do you know it hasn't already happened?" Zuko demanded. "Lie still
"Let me go! I have to save him! Calhoun's gonna try to kill him!"
He felt the old hand again and immediately calmed. "Childe. There's nothing
you can do...."
Ray looked at him, grief and helplessness etched on every line of his
Warfield entered the office, dimming the lights more. "Lord Aja. We've
received confirmation. The Slayer was taken. My men were too late."
"No..." Aja sighed. He was not angered. Rather, he looked to Ray as
Diefenbaker climbed into his lap and held him tight. Then the detective's
black eyes narrowed.
"How did /you/ know, Zuko?"
"Your flash hit me as hard as it hit you only I'm not recovering from
pneumonia and a concussion. My men were moving before the flash was
done. Calhoun must have moved just a minute or two after you felt it."
Zuko grimaced, looking at Warfield to see if he would meet condemnation.
The prince shook his head. There were bigger issues here and he certainly
wasn't going to reprimand his best lieutenant in front of the lord and
Ray closed his eyes, hoping beyond hope Zuko couldn't see him blushing
scarlet. That had been one of his more intimate flashes...not that he
minded, but the undead population of Chicago really didn't need to see
what a naked Benton Fraser looked like from his point of view, thank
you. Dief whined, sensing something amiss with his other human and
"I have to go find him."
Warfield shook his head in admiration for this ghoulite's loyalty and
perhaps his foolhardiness, too. "Prince Kowalski, where would you look?"
Ray was taken aback. "Prince?"
"The Seeker didn't tell you?"
"Tell me what, Warfield?"
"God damned traffic."
"Oh, Detective! Language!"
"I hate rush hour." Vecchio threw himself back into the seat of the
Riv as they waited for their chance to inch up another foot or two.
"So, Turnbull, why do you need to talk to Warfield so much you left work
He fidgeted with his Stetson and Vecchio was suddenly struck that while
Fraser's Stetson was a sacred object for veneration, Turnbull's didn't
make the grade. Then again, there /was/ Her Majesty's portrait to contend
"Beyond this whole situation, I need to ask him about an elder I met
in Canada. I couldn't find any record or lineage for this man. He
did say we would meet again, I just want to be ready for it when it
"Did you believe Fraser about that boiled rats in the coffee thing?
I mean, where would Stella get rats?"
"She might trap them. She could possibly buy them."
"And boil them. For my coffee."
"Did she extend the same affectionate gesture towards Detective Kowalski
when they were married?"
"I don't know. No she probably spikes his Smarties."
"I believe the Constable."
"I could have lived without hearing that, Turnbull." Vecchio made a face.
He felt...something in his teeth. No. Couldn't be.
"Yeah." Vecchio shook his head, pouring the rest of the coffee out the
:"If it means anything, Vengence Demons rarely feed an unloved one precious
"That's great. Thanks." He shook his head. "Remind me to pick her up
a coral snake."
Ray rubbed his face, sitting up. "How can you be sure? Just because some
legend says I'm a...a...a host?" He went on at Aja's nod, "Doesn't mean
I..." He touched his forhead, closing his eyes tight. "Oh."
"Kowalski? What?" Zuko gripped his wrist, tight. "What's the matter?"
"I don't...I dunno..." He flinched.
Her voice. /Her/ fucking voice in his head. "No..."
/Ray. It's time to come to me..../
Diefenbaker growled, shifting into wolf mode again as he jumped to the
Aja looked distressed. "It wasn't enough. He didn't take enough."
Ray fell back, his eyes fluttering shut. He could see he on the steps
of the 2th. . Gesturing at him. Calling for him. Waiting for him. He
felt a movement above him.
"Lord Aja, what..."
"He'll have to take it from me. Hold him."
Stella picked up her phone. "Kowalski speaking."
"Mad...Ste...." the voice was hoarse. Pained. Afraid. "...Ray...."
"Who is this?"
"Constable Fraser?" She raised an eyebrow. "Are you unwell?"
"He's still looking for my ex husband." The disgust was evident. She
raised an eyebrow again. "Constable, is something the matter?"
"Madame Kowalski?" Calhoun sounded completely insane.
"Who is this?"
"A friend of your husband's sire."
She paused. "Excuse me?"
"Aw....didn't he tell you? Too bad. You tell Elder Kowalski that if he's
not at the zoo in three hours we'll take the blood from his mountie."
"His mountie. What's going on? Who /is/ this?" Ray, she was sure, had
done something completely stupid. Again.
Another laugh. "Guess."
"Not now, Marco!"
"Mr. Zuko, the Seeker and Detective Vecchio are here. They're looking
for you and Prince Warfield, sir."
Zuko quietly cursed, looking to Warfield for guidance. The Prince nodded
it was safe for him to leave. He could tell Lord Aja needed a bit longer,
but Kowalski wasn't struggling anymore and they could manage between
He could hear voices, sense emotions. The Seeker - for none of them
had ever met Turnbull - was restrained, trying to mask and control the
fear he felt for his friends. Strange that he should not fear them...that
he should put such faith in the word of a gangster prince and the grudging
protection of a near-get that had insulted him. The Seeker was right.
He could trust Warfield and he could depend on Marco.
Vecchio was different. He was frightened of them and the situation and
it showed in his voice and breathing and heartbeat. There was added
tension, too, at the sight of Zuko. Old rivalries did not die and the
ghost of Irene would forever be between these two men. He heard to the
Seeker's anxious questions but did not listen, concentrating on the ghoulite
Lord Aja was feeding, at once envying and pitying him.
Turnbull's voice rose in pitch. Diefenbaker's ears perked up and with
a happy yip he headed for the door, pushing it open before anyone could
think to stop him. Silence, then clearly,
"Diefenbaker! Where is Ray?"
"No!" Zuko shouted, trying to intervene even though they were all under
orders not to harm the Seeker. "No!"
"Back off, Zuko!" Vecchio shouted as the door slammed open.
"NO!" screamed Turnbull, horrorfied by the gorey scene before him. "NO!
Stop! You can't!"
Zuko seized him, and despite the Mountie's greater height and weight,
held him with ease. Vecchio lunged, only to be restrained by Marco
as a few other Giovanni rushed over, alerted by the shouting.
"Stop! Ray, don't drink! Don't!"
Aja smiled. So young. All of them. He pulled the sleeve of his brocade
robe back down over his wrist. Already the wound was almost healed.
Gently, the vampire smoothed the strangely-colored hair of the unfortunate,
chosen ghoulite? Yes, that was the word they used today - before transferring
his head from his lap to a pillow. He was overwhelmed for now, lost
in the waking dreams such a transfer would bring. Then Aja rose, dignified
and assured as he faced the newcomers.
"Son of Rachel. Be welcome."
Turnbull was stricken dumb with shock that a scene so hideous could be
treated so casually.
"What have you done to him, Lord?" screamed the Slayer, fighting Zuko's
"I am trying to save his life. It is what you asked, Seeker."
"His LIFE! I wanted to keep him alive!"
"And so you shall, brave son of Rachel."
Vecchio found his voice, unable to tear his eyes away from the
Mongolian-looking fossile not twelve feet away. "Who the fuck are you?"
Lord Aja bowed his head. "You would best know me as Caine."
Ray could heard them arguing above him. He shuddered in pain, feeling
Aja's blood go to work. It was ten times worse than Lilith's. He could
see how the man had become a vampire. Being cast out of his home, taken
in by Lilith. Ten endless days of agony as Lilith drained him over and
over again. Finally feeding him enough to cause the change.
He could feel millenia of pain and suffering. The death of the first
Dillivium, Caine's first 13 children. And he screamed for each death.
Fraser pried open his eyes, staring at the ceiling of Ray's bedroom.
Blood. His blood stained the bedsheets. It took him a minute to realise
he was looking down at them. Another to realise why.
He was hanging, by his feet from the ceiling. Roped nailed to the boards
that made up the ceiling. He struggled, painfully. "No...Ray?"
Calhoun smirked. "Two hours. Think he'll show?"
"Let them go."
"My Lord -"
"They cannot harm me. Let them go. Let them help their friend."
Zuko and Marco released their captives. Turnbull rushed over to Ray
Kowalski as Vecchio automatically assumed a cover position, casting a
hearty glare at Zuko as he shifted to cover the Slayer.
"Ray," breathed Turnbull, turning the American towards him gently. "Ray,
can you hear me?" He looked to Caine with frightened eyes. "Will he
go over? Did you make him a vampire?"
Caine shook his head. "Only if he so chooses, Son of Rachel."
"What did you do to him?" Vecchio growled at Zuko.
It was a stand-off between the one-time friends. Zuko smirked. "Kidnapped
him, beat the shit out of him, forced him to drink some Caanite blood,
then kept him unconscious for a day before dumping him in an alley.
What did you do to him?"
"You son of a bitch! You knew he was sick!"
"So did you," snapped Zuko.
Dief's return prevented the situation from escalating. He ran over to
Ray Vecchio, shedding his wolf form as he moved, then looked up at Zuko
as he took Ray by the hand and drew him towards the writhing figure
on the cot.
Vecchio crouched beside Turnbull. "What's up?"
"He's in pain. He-"
Vecchio's cell phone rang. With a muffled curse he twisted out of Dief's
grip and dug it out of his pocket. "Vecchio."
"Ray, it's me."
"I just received a very disturbed phone call from Constable Fraser and
another man. He said something about Ray's sire and an Elder Kowalski.
Is he talking about Ray's father?"
"Elder..." Vecchio wrinkled his nose. Why would Benny call Ray Elder....oh
no. "Stella, what'd he sound like."
"He was in pain. Ray, what's going on?"
"You better get down here."
He felt the blade of Calhoun's knife against his arm and squirmed when
it pierced flesh. "No..." Fraser whimpered, in massive pain. "God..."
"God won't help you now. He didn't help me..."
"Please. Let me go. I'll get you help." Fraser was begging. He was in
too much pain not to. He hated it. "Please. You don't want to do this,
you don't have to..."
"Sorry. I kinda like it" He licked at the blood running down Fraser's
arms and onto the sheeets. "Ellery's. And a bit of Kowalski's. He's running"
"He'll come for you."
"I doubt it."
"He killed Lilith."
"No he didn't."
"Stella can't find out what I am," stated Turnbull, glancing back at
"Done," agreed Warfield.
"I also would advise she not meet /you,/ my lord."
Caine cocked his head. "Why is that, Son of Rachel?"
"She's a vengance demon," Turnbull replied.
"Ah," said the ancient vampire. "I have met such creatures. They are
"She's also Detective Kowalski's ex-wife."
"And my girlfriend," added Vecchio wryly, thinking how like a soap opera
their lives had become.
"Ah," repeated Caine, this time with sympathy.
A voice, silently calling.
Ray could hear it in his mind, though he could not have said what language
it spoke. Nonetheless, he understod. Another joined it, then another.
More. A weird harmony with too many parts, a strange composition of
sound that was almost a song. It was a glad sound and it gave him a
warmth he had not felt outside of being with Fraser. It was...love?
Of a kind, at least.
Voices, not quite in unison, spoke from out of the darkness in his mind.
"You honor us with your grief, brother."
"Who are you?" he wondered, not sure if he spoke aloud or not, unable
to feel his body.
"We are the children of Caine, thirteen in number, all slain by the dark
queen. Few have mourned us as you have."
"I...I felt it."
"You felt the anguish our father felt at our slaughter. She feared our
might and envied our father's love."
"He...doen't mean to hurt me, does he?"
"You are his son, our brother, and he loves you as he loved us. He fears
for what you must do."
"Wha't that?" Ray called.
"You must destroy the mother."
"With the weapons you were born with and that she herself has provided.
You stand between the worlds, brother, and you have a soul. Never surrender
"What weapon was I born with?"
"Your inner eye. You must nurture it. Use it for far more than you have
used it for..."
"What're you saying? I can do more than see flashy things?"
He suddenly felt twitchy. "No. Not again...Don't..."
: "No..." He squeezed his eyes tightly shut against the onrushing visions.
Burning pain ignited in his wrists and his chest ached as his arms were
lashed to cold metal. When he lifted his head he knew he was seeing
through Fraser's eyes when Calhoun came into focus. Crucified. Calhoun
had crucified Fraser...or would he? When was this moment of pain? Maybe
this was /now/?
Stella followed Ray in the other room. "What's going on?"
"I'm not sure exactly," He crossed his arms, not sure how much to tell
her. "There's a vampire after Stanley. I guess he was attacked once,
got some powerful blood."
She nodded, seeming to understand.
Caine watched as Ray convulsed on the bunk. Turnbull was trying to staunch
the flow of blood from his nose with a towel. "Well?"
"He's seeing something. It must be pretty bad..We need to get to the
"I don't suggest it, Constable. It could be a trap."
"You're in no condition..."
"I /have/ to go...Cal...hn has him," Kowalski managed, ignoring Turnbull's
efforts. "Hurt him. Bleeding...bleeding. Gotta-"
"You're in no condit-" Vecchio said, entering the room with Stella.
He ignored Vecchio's protest as he turned to Caine. "They s-said I hava
soul...to fight for it." He swallowed. "F-Fraser is my soul."
The occupants of the room were struck dumb.
Caine smiled warmly at Ray, reaching out a hand to cup his cheek and
jaw in an affectionate gesture. "Now," said the odd accent, "now you
begin to understand, my son. You see what the mother has lost."
Ray nodded mutely, then whispered, "I gotta go."
"Yes," agreed Caine.
"Detective Kowalski," stammered Turnbull in a good imitation of himself,
"do you think it wise? Should you call your leftenant for back up?"
"You do...whatever ya want. I gotta...save Frase."
Zuko pulled Vecchio aside. "the zoo will be crawling with Sabbat. You
can't just flood the place with cops, it'll be a slaughter!" He glanced
at Diefenbaker, wedged between Ray and Caine. "The werewolf stays here."
"Werewolf blood is addictive to our kind. Look at the Sabbat as the
equivilant of the drug-addicted pieces of lowlife scum you have to deal
with on the streets. They'd shred him in a minute. Maybe less."
"What about Stan?"
"If he can figure out what he's about between here and the zoo, he's
got a chance. Better get moving."
With a quick nod, Turnbull bent and scooped Ray Kowalski into his arms.
He was surprisingly light. Ray moaned, his words still slurred.
"Take care of...my clan."
Warfield answered. "They will be safe."
Calhoun tightened the ropes on Fraser's wrists. The constable could hear
the sound of the animals chattering. It was oddly comforting. "Don't
"Sorry." Calhoun grinned, carressing Fraser's face, roughly. "Really."
"He'll kill you. I won't be able to stop him."
"He'll die. Sabbat blood is poison to a Caanite or a Bahari."
"Childer of Lilith." Calhoun moved to Fraser's ankles.
"It's what you want." Fraser tugged, hard, at the bonds holdng him up.
He groaned in pain. "Isn't it?" He tugged again. No slack. the ropes
burned the cuts on him. He rested his head on the cage.
Calhoun touched the side of Fraser's face, tossing the stetson away.
"You want him to feed off one of yours. So he'll die. So he'll rise..."
"His blood...Ellery and Lilith's blood will be more potent when he's
dead..." Fear and realisation struck Fraser mute.
"You catch on quick, Constable."
Ray rested his head on Vecchio's shoulder as they moved towards the zoo.
His eyes were closed tight, as if he were asleep. The purple hair clashed
with the green suit. Vecchio sighed, glancing at Stella. "You didn't
have to come."
"How often do you get to see your ex get the crap beaten out of him by
He gave her a look. "We're talking Stan here. Like, every day..." He
shook his head. "You've got a real nice attitude towards him, ya know.
"I'm a vengence demon. I'm supposed to." They reacted at Ray's sigh.
Ray could /feel/ Fraser as they got closer to the zoo. He was in pain,
burning agony. He whimpered, trying to stop it in his as well as Fraser.
But where there was anguish in his soul, pain for his lover, there rose
an equal measure of anger. Who was this /Sabbat/ to touch his Mountie?
Who was Calhoun to threaten him in his own home?
"Put me down," ordered Ray.
Turnbull stopped, startled by the tone of voice.
"Put me down," repeated Ray. "Now."
Turnbull set him on his feet. The anger was growing.
/He must fight for his soul./
...fraser is my soul....
Calhoun was goin' down.
"Stay here," he ordered. He saw Irene behind Vecchio and Stella and
added, "You, too."
/That's the spirit, Yank. Have you figured it out a bit?/
Hands clasped behind his back, the old Mountie walked towards him.
"I'm gettin' there, Fraser," muttered Kowalski.
/Did you know your hair is purple?/
"Gee. Really, no. I hadn't noticed."
/No need for sarcasm/
"Later, Canada." He kicked open the gate to the zoo, sniffing the air
for traces of his lover. West. He could sense the Sabbat watching him
and narrowed his eyes. They'd probabally been given orders not to touch
him, Calhoun probabally wanted him to himself. Bastard.
He moved through the darkened maze of paths and animal pens. Silent.
Too silent. The animals were afraid.
He could see them now. Calhoun standing beside a barely conscious Fraser.
His rage rose to a fever pitch. Fraser was tied, crucifix like to the
cage, his head hanging down. "Calhoun..." Was that his voice that sounded
Fraser stirred, fighting off the coldness that was slowly working its
way like a cancer through his limbs. He couldn't feel his hands. Everything
hurt and he wanted so desperately to sleep and wake up to what life had
been before today.
"Kowalski." Calhoun grinned. "How's my Get? Taking care of them?"
"What've you done to him?"
"Nothing much. Yet." Calhoun tilted his head, "Ellery's blood's almost
as good outta him..."
He grinned, growling as Ray came in for an attack.
"Ray! No!" Fraser squeezed his eyes shut, shaking had.
Stella shook her head, starting into the building. "Hey! What're you
doing, he said to wait." Vecchio grabbed her by the arm.
"Since when do you listen to him?"
"Since he started making sense."
"Fighting the Sabbat alone makes sense to you?!"
Turnbull, whose eyes had never left the open gate, spoke without looking.
Stella glared, her standard response. "Who the hell do you think you-"
She broke off when Turnbull sent her a look so stern that she flinched.
Ray Vecchio had the immense pleasure of seeing the Stella square off
against a will greater than hers and lose.
"We wait." A long pause. "How long?"
Fraser could hear the sounds of what sounded like two wild animals trying
to eat eachother alive. He bit back a sob, trying not to scream. He could
no longer feel his hands. His legs burned with supporting his weight
so akwardly. They say you die by asphyxiation when crucified and he
could believe it. Breathing was difficult, his vision blurry.
"Ray...stop!" He sounded desperate. Here and now, he didn't know what
would happen to him if Ray died. He did know that he could not live
long without the American beside him. He gazed at the shadowy fighters
before him and wished that yesterday had never hapened.
/Yank, stop. He'll kill you./
"I think I can handle it, Canada..." He was over confident. Rightfully
so. With Caine's legacy flowing in his veins, he was more powerful than
Calhoun could ever hope to be. Anger gave him strength. Who was this
Sabbat to harm his Mountie? Who was Calhoun to threaten him?
He got Calhoun pinned under him and bit down, hard.
Foul tasting blood filled his mouth and he gulped against it. It tasted
horrible. He pulled back, shaking uncontrollably. Spitting. Numbness
took his mouth, his throat. Slowed him. He stumbled to his feet, trying
to remain upright in case Calhoun assaulted him again, but the vampire
just lay on the ground laughing in twisted delight. Ray gasped for air,
spitting at the taste, the effect on his body. His movements were slow,
labored, like swimming through syrup. He tried to concentrate, push past
the coldness that gripped him.
"Ray...?" He watched Ray stumble backwards, heart pounding hard. "Ray,
your gun. Use it..."
Gun? Did he have it still? Yes. Where were his glasses?
/Fight, Yank. You're not using all your weapons./
"How do you like it, Prince Kowalski?" mocked Calhoun, his high-pitched
laughter echoing in the dark.
Weapons. What did he have? His gun?
"You didn't know I could do that, did you? Never thought someone weaker
could kill you. You think like a human."
/He's got a point, Yank. Fight him on his level, not yours./
What did he have? The dead. Flashes. Animals. Humanity. His soul.
"Louis," he whispered, "Give me some ammo on this bastard!"
Instantly his mind was filled with the image of a snowbound wilderness.
The Yukon Territories of the nineteenth century. A lone Mountie heading
home, his thoughts turned to his wife and newborn child, taking in what
he thought was a fur poacher.
"No," whispered Calhoun, sensing the shift in the battle. His laughter
stopped as Ray attacked from a new angle.
Screams. Blood on the pristine snow and a new vampire was born amidst
ice and darkness.
Ray concentrated, focusing the image. It was almost a flash. Around them,
the animals were becoming restless. The Sabbat shifted uncomfortably
from where they watched and waited.
A woman. Beautiful, graceful, black hair piled on her head and soft
An infant daughter in her arms, anxious for him to come home.
His first victims.
Ray threw everything he had into the flash. The animals rose up in
agitated confusion. He could taste his own blood. It didn't mask the
Somehow, Calhoun rushed him, slamming him against the cage close to where
Fraser was tied.
"Kill you!" hissed Calhoun. "I'll kill you!"
Ray growled through clenched teeth, "Like you killed them?"
Turnbull was breathing heavily, trying to restrain himself. He could
hear the animals in the zoo stirring. A wolf howled, long and lonely
and eerily. Beside him, he knew Ray had his gun drawn and Stella was
glaring at him as was her habit with everyone.
"Well?" she demanded.
Turnbull nodded, digging into his pockets. "Long enough."
Stella looked at him, nodding thanks as he slipped a stake into her hand.
"I don't need this. I can..."
"I know. For Ray."
Stella gasped, then nodded sadly.
Vecchio looked at him sharply as they moved slowly through the zoo. "You
think we may have to put him down?"
"If the constable's dead...sabbat blood is poison to ghoulites. If he
drinks, and he dies he'll become like them. Addicted, in pain..."
Stella finished on a breath. "Insane."
He nodded. "And I don't think Detective Vecchio or I are prepared to
Ray pointed at the strangely shaped weapon the constable hefted. "What
the hell is /that?/"
He looked at the toy. "My water gun."
"Water gun. You're going to hold off droves of undead with a Buck Rogers
"It's full of holy water. It should be quite effective against the Sabbat,
They were interrupted by screams of agony Of fear. The animals.
"Oh God. What's happening?" Vecchio whispered.
Stella wrinkled her nose in distaste. "Sabbat. They smell like an
Turnbull gestured for silence, pointing.
Part of the wolf pen. a caged observation area, was just on the other
side of a landscaped island in the pathway. A tall figure, distinct
in tunic and jodphers, hung from the bars by his extended arms.
"Fucking bastard crucified him!" breathed Vecchio. He made to surge
forward when Turnbull seized his arm, halting the advance.
The path was blocked by Sabbat.
A faint moan escaped Fraser's lips. Calhoun had positioned his victim
to inflict a maximum of pain. The eight or so wolves moved about the
cage, drawn to Ray even as they avoided the Mountie. Perhaps they smelled
Diefenbaker upon him.
Suddenly Calhoun bodily slammed Ray against the cage with a curse of
fury. Ray's reaction was instantanious: he head-butted the vampire
squarely in the face as more images of the fallen Mountie were revealed.
"Who was next? Richardson, right? Yer own partner. Then yer sergeant,
Lafayette. Then ya couldn't hide it anymore, huh?"
Calhoun was momentarily stunned and Ray was fighting to loosen the bonds
on Fraser's wrist as he spoke. An anguished cry rang out as his arm
was freed and fell to his side.
Instinct took over. Ray whirled, swinging a backfist into the lunging
Calhoun with so much force he assumed he broke his hand and just kept
on fighting. Calhoun staggered.
Fraser clawed at the ropes holding his other arm. It was almost impossible
with his legs immobilized like this. If he could get down he could help
Ray. Help to stop Calhoun...
He had never been so glad Ray had Victoria's blood in him until now.
Ray shoved Calhoun back, drawing his gun aiming it at the vampire. His
blurred vision caught several dark forms moving through the bushes.
The Sabbat were emerging from their hiding places.
Behind Fraser, the wolves were growling and bristling at the vampires,
drawing towards Ray as if to protect him.
In that instant, Calhoun spat a mouthful of blood into Ray's face. The
gorey fluid got into his eyes, his mouth, and he let out a short cry.
Ray gagged as much at the taste as at the idea. Then the undead elder
slammed into him, smashing him onto the cement walkway. For one hideous
second everything went black, then Ray twisted.
He aimed as best he could and fired. Calhoun just grunted as the silver
bullet nicked his thigh. He was so close...He slapped the gun from Ray's
grip and pounced. To Ray he stank of old blood and death and filth.
The Chicago detective struggled, but the poisen spewed at him was taking
effect and he was slowing. Calhoun had him pinned, seized his hair and
yanked his head back to expose his throat.
"Ray!" screamed Fraser.
//So sorry. Love you...//
He tried to rise, to recall the flash. Instead he felt hot breath on
his neck. A faint sting as the Sabbat's teeth teased the tender flesh.
"You reek of Caine," hissed Calhoun and bit down hard, shoving Ray's
head back so hard it hit the sidewalk.
Ray Kowalski screamed, fighting despite the burning pain. He shrieked
in pain, clawing at Calhoun's shoulders and back.
A shot rang out. Ray tensed, expecting Calhoun to fall, but the Sabbat
only hesitated. There was a creak of an iron gate opening, angry growls,
and suddenly the wolves attacked Calhoun.
An inhuman wail rose into the night as eight adult wolves went for the
vampire. Ray was thrown aside, landing in a heap, as the pack tried
their best to rend Calhoun. The Sabbat Elder went berzerk, bleeding
profusely from a dozen or more wounds as the wolves harried and attacked
Fraser staggered to Ray's side and fell next to him, still clutching
the American's gun. Ray was a filthy, bloody mess of broken flesh and
"Ray! Ray, did you drink from him?" begged Fraser, feeling for a pulse
at Ray's bleeding neck. "Answer me! Ray!"
Slipping. He was slipping. But he was safe now. Fraser, his soul,
"Ray. Ray, please. Open your eyes. Talk to me..."
/Watch out, Yank.../
His whole body trembled as he felt the vision take him and the sabbat
blood work it's poison on him. His mouth opened and closed several times
in a silent scream. He groaned. Pain. Burning. Screaming.
She was here. Now. Hunting Caine. Hunting him. For entirely different
reasons. And she would get him. Who was Ray Kowalski to stand against
a creature older than Eve herself? His weapons seemed puny and laughable
by comparison to Lilith.
He felt Fraser's hands on his face, forcing his mouth open. He heard
the Mountie sniff deep, then felt him stiffen. Those dark blue eyes
flew wide with horror.
Ray had consumed Calhoun's blood.
"Oh God. Ray, no..." Fraser shook, his arms and legs aching from the
hours spent on the wall of the cage. Mindful of his lover's injuries,
he lifted Ray partially on his lap, resting the detective's shoulders
and head on his lap. He could hear footsteps around him and looked
up. For a moment, he was nose-to-nose with a curious timber wolf. Then
the wolf glided back to the cage as people emerged. Vecchio, Turnbull,
and...Stella Kowalski? They were disheveled and breathless, but seemed
"Love you..." Ray's voice was hoarse. He slowly gripped Fraser's hand
in his good one. "She's here..." He gasped in pain, clutching Fraser's
hand tightly. "Fraser, she's here.."
"Lilith..." Turnbull muttered.
Ray Vecchio cast a look around. "Where the hell's Calhoun?"
"Gone," replied the Seeker. "For now."
Ray struggled to speak again.
"Frayze...gotta arrest ya..."
"...don't have....firearms..." He muttered before blacking out.
Tears slid down Fraser's pale and dirty cheeks. Would they ever find
peace? H didn't realize he was passing out until he heard Ray Vecchio
give a shout and felt strong hands supporting him. He was distressed
when Ray's slight weight was lifted away from him. He saw Turnbull
cradle the unconscious ghoulite in his arms and smiled. Ray was safe.
He looked so sweet and child-like, even with that purple hair. He looked
at Vecchio's anxious face and wide green eyes and wondered what his
friend had to be worried about. Fine. They would be...fine....
Ray Vecchio paced the floor nervously, gesturing broadly with both hands.
"They both should be in the hospital."
"They would be far too vulnerable," Caine replied, his voice calm.
"Fraser bled half to death and Stan got his head beat in for him again
and now Turnbull's teling me that Calhoun's blood will kill him. Stan,
"I understand, Raymond. Do you?"
"What do you mean?"
Caine smiled, almost secretively. He picked up a coin that had been lying
on the table beside him and handed it to Vecchio. "The ouroborus. You've
seen it before?"
An ouroborus. A snake eating it's self. An eternal loop. The coin was
ancient, and Vecchio couldn't help but wonder at the strange writing
alongside the snake. Did history even know the name of the people that
had forged this bit of metal?
"An eternal loop. They are of each other, if Elder Kowalski were to die,
as would the Slayer. And vice versa. They're entwined, their souls."
Caine's eyes rested on a point beyond Vecchio's shoulder. "As are some
"Irene and me..."
"In a way..."
"He would have died for Benny..." Vecchio looked up at the sound of ravens
cawing coming from the partially opened window. He knew he had heard
that >noise somewhere. Was it in Canada? The Pass?"What is that?"
"They're flocking. She's calling her children." Caine looked sharply
towards a room as a scream came from it. "All of them."
"Stan..." Vecchio pushed past the oldest vampire, and into the room.
Fraser was holding Ray tightly, trying to keep him still.
Bandages engulfed Fraser's wrists and ankles and Ray was a mass of bruises
and cuts, his left hand splinted and wrapped. Diefenbaker stood by the
bed, watching curiously at the unusually odd behaviour of his two favorite
humans. Despite his condition, Ray fought to free himself, eyes opened
in mindless response.
"Ray, help me..." Fraser held Ray's struggling body tightly, trying to
keep him from going to Victoria.
"No. Let him go." Caine whispered.
"She'll kill him..." Fraser gasped, shaking. "I can't..."
"No, she won't. She needs him. He'll lead us to her. Let him go..."
"He will perservere, Slayer," assured Caine. "Do not turn from him."
The Mountie paled at the mere suggestion that he abandon his lover. "Ray?"
"He hears, Slayer, but he cannot comprehend yet. He is as a migrating
bird, compelled to move without knowing why."
The detective writhed in his arms, a jumbled litany escaping him. "...f-frase...Gotta
go I-I can't stay she'll find me and kill you I gotta go now please
don't stop me I love you so much I'm sorry I have to go I-"
"I love you," promised Fraser, releasing him.
Ray stood on trembling feet, stumbling towards the door of the Giovanni
council building. He felt lurchy and dizzy but knew he would not fall.
She wouldn't allow it. The Caanites kept their distance, understanding
better than he what was happening. He fumbled for the door and as he
struggled with the locks, a hand reached over his shoulder and helped
him. Fraser. The Mountie wasted no time in judging or questioning Ray's
motives, but pushed the door open.
Ray stared into those dark blue eyes and bit back a sob. He didn't want
to go into the night. Never wanted to leave Fraser's side. He had
followed this man to the ends of the earth before, he would never hesitate
to do it again because this man was his entire world. The passion he
entertained for the Stella paled by comparison to what he harbored for
this freakish, stilted, polite, wonderful Mountie.
Ray looked at him gratefully, his black eyes filling with tears. They
stood in the icey draft of the open door and he wished he could find
the words to tell Fraser how he felt. Not many people would have granted
him freedom, let alone helped him to walk into this field of near-certain
death. Words proved unnecessay, though.
Fraser reached out, carefully wrapping the scarf he wore around his neck
in a gesture so simple and affectionate that Caine and his children,
watching from the shadows, smiled despite the gravity of the situation.
Then Fraser took Ray's face in both his hands, drawing the wirey American
foreward for a kiss that sent a wave of shock and...was that envy? through
their audience. For a moment it seemed they became one being, so tightly
did their bodies press. Caine, closer to Kowalski than the other vampires,
felt Victoria's hold waver for an instant, so powerful was the love
She must have felt it, too, from where ever she was hidden because suddenly
Ray yanked back from Fraser's hold, panting and in pain, the poison in
him flaring up angrily. He stared at the Slayer for one moment of wordless
longing, then turned and plunged into the night.
Warfield turned to Zuko. "After him."
Fraser stared into the darkness that had taken Ray, barely aware of the
biting cold except for his thought that Ray was not dressed for it and
could not withstand such bitter weather for long. He watched Zuko and
half a dozen other vampires trail the ghoulite, then turned numbly to
where Caine and Vecchio and Warfield stood.
"He is my son," Caine assured. "I will fight for him, Slayer."
She sat in the large house, waiting with growing smugness. Her children
ambled around the house, waiting but with less patience. She glanced
about at the ones she had summoned, an odd mix of powers and ages and
races. HIS own clan was here, the three frightened get that stood together
in the corner, forbidden to leave this room and guarded by some of her
more ruthless offspring.
HE entered, Ray Kowalski, his braced wrist held awkwardly at his side.
Those strange, black eyes met hers. He ignored his clan, though he
could not have failed to notice them or the frightened looks they sent
his way. She approached him slowly, staring at his wounds. Clearly he
was on the verge of collapse, his already frail body being driven beyond
all endurance. The past few months had not been kind to him. She smiled.
Neither had she...and now she had her dark-haired prince in whose veins
flowed her blood and whose weapons would be hers in the upcoming war.
"Are you willing to fight for the Bahari, Elder Kowalski?"
Almost against his will, he nodded. "Yesss..."
"Do you wish to be healed, Elder?"
"I will heal you, elder. But first, you must prove yourself. Are you
Ray hesitated. Prove himself? Shit. This was gonna be ugly and he'd
lost the ability to say no. Shit.
His voice trembled as much as his body. "Yessss..."
Victoria pointed to the corner. "Destroy them."
Furious at the suggestion, Ray hissed, "No!"
"Then you will never be healed. They're just get. You can make more
when you cross over, Elder. They're expendable."
"Not to me. Leave them out of this."
"They're already in. Destroy them, or you yourself will die and then
I'll destroy them myself."
"Go to hell."
She laughed, long and loud. It hurt his ears. "I've been there. Done
that. So have you, haven't you?" He shuddered as she cupped his chin,
pulling him closer. "Don't worry, my little love, I don't care if you
destroy them or not. I know you never could. I just wanted to see if
you're as stupid with loyality as I suspected. Do you wish to cross over?"
He fought to keep back the assent, but just as he had been compelled
by her to come to this place, he could not refuse her. The word bubbled
out of his throat, unwillingly. "Yesss..." A flash of an image. Calhoun
attacking him. Then Lilith. Louis?
Couldn't she smell Caine in him? Or could she, and she just didn't care?
/Let her.../ Louis. How...? No, it didn't matter not now.
He nodded freely now, reassured. Gardino had never steered him wrong.
"Yeah...I wanna cross over..." He felt her press him against the wall,
biting him deep. Deeper than Calhoun ever had, deeper even then Ellery.
She bit into the artery, licking at the wound. Sapping up all the blood
Ray gasped as a weird, ecstatic kind of pain filled him. His vision dimmed,
his hearing faded. He suddenly felt her pulling away, shoving him aside.
Screaming. She was screaming. He felt her pain in him, bubbling up like
acid. The poison was working it's way out of him. He fell to his knees,
gagging, clutching at his throat in agony as he saw Lilith fall, shrieking
as the Sabbat blood burned her inside and out.
He could barely move, the blood kept flowing from the torn artery. He
clutched at his neck, trying to staunch the flow even as he heard her
Who would have thought Calhoun's revenge would be so complete? She had
been done in by her own haste to control the unknown factor in her own
The children she had gathered to her reeled in confusion, some trying
to aid Lilith as she thrashed upon the floor, others looking for an
escape. None of them paid Ray any heed, too upset and frightened by
her reactions consider any counter measure of their own. Dimly, they
could feel the burning, their diluted blood not nearly as potent as what
she had just consumed...
Ray heard a cry of alarm and felt someone's arms around him, pulling
him to the relative safety of the hall. Fraser? No. Mina. He gagged,
unable to stop expulling the Sabbat blood or stop the bleeding at his
"Elder! Ray! Hold on!"
Everything was going black. Ray felt Jay's strong arms supporting him
and knew Mina was talking, though he could not tell what she said to
"He's bleeding too fast. We have to...." He felt a sharp tugging at his
neck. What was she doing? Whatever it was, it hurt. A lot. But the bleeding
seemed to be slowing. He felt something squeeze his hand. Lucia?
Then the door was kicked in and all hell broke loose as Zuko and his
small group swept into the building and yet another battle in the inevitable
war was fought and won. Lilith's clans were caught unprepared for the
arrival of their rivals the Giovanni and the Chicago P.D. and they paid
the price for their arrogance. In minutes it was over and a satisfied
Zuko called his men and Ray Vecchio off, letting the last few vampires
escape. They had torn the unfortunates apart - they would not drink
from ones such as these, proving they could learn something from the
likes of Ray Kowalski.
Victoria still writhed on the floor, her beautiful face a mask of pain,
her lips burned by the tainted blood upon them. Vecchio looked at her
with hatred and disgust. She had tried to kill his best friend and he
had sworn she would pay. He was just disappointed that he hadn't been
the one to do her in. Then the reality of what was happening here,
what he'd taken part in just now, swept over him and he desperately
wanted to vomit. The room stank of blood and death. He could hear
voices in the hall - Mina ordering Jay to take off his shirt as they
tried to stem the slowed bleeding from Stan's neck.
//Damn! She got him good! Benny's gonna have a fit!//
"I'm calling an ambulance," he informed Zuko, pulling out his cell phone.
"Get him outside for them to take," snapped the mob boss. "We're not
done here yet."
Caine swept into the room, ignoring the bodies of the fallen vampires,
barely even glancing at the dark mother of them all. He went straight
for Kowalski, peering down at him. Sadness was etched in every corner
of his face as he watched the get try to staunch the heavy but slow
flow of blood from their elder.
It touched him. He wasn't even their sire, yet they cared for him as
if he were. And vice versa. He had seen the love in Kowalski's eyes
when he'd begged Warfield to watch over his clan.
Ray was trying to talk, but couldn't. Caine knealt beside him, brushing
the strange purple hair out of his eyes. "Close your eyes." He smiled
as Ray did what he was told, glancing over as Fraser and Turnbull finally
entered the building.
The mountie stood at the door, staring as Zuko and the other Giovanni
lifted Lilith's body onto a blanket, presumbely for destruction. Two
of Zuko's men carried her towards the back of the building, right past
the Slayers. Fraser glanced down, sickened to see the face he remembered
with such remorse and longing and loathing twisted in shocked agony and...death?
It took him a moment to realise that Ray was lying on the floor. He ran
to him, quickly.
Ray's eyes flew open, falling on Fraser. His heart was pounding hard
and he tried to speak again. All that would come out were strange gasps.
He felt Fraser squeeze his hand, tightly.
"Can you help him?" Fraser demanded.
"I will, Slayer. Son of Rachel, see to these brave children."
"Aye, my lord," breathed Turnbull, wishing the Seeker would rescue him
from all the gore and dismembered bodies. No such luck. He raised
Mina, fighting the urge to hold her tight and assure himself she was
well. Instead he guided the trio of McGets towards the door. He made
it almost across the room when he started to faint and the new vampires
leaped to his aid, dragging him outside to wait for the ambulance.
Fraser was aware of Ray Vecchio's hand upon his shoulder as he knelt
beside Kowalski. Ray was staring into his eyes, looking for the pacific
calm that he always expected and needed right now. He snaked his hand
into Ray's squeezing it tightly. A brief smile touched Ray's lips.
"This will not hurt as much this time," assured Caine, offering his wrist.
Ray opened his mouth, never tearing his eyes away from Fraser as he slowly
drank the ancient's blood. "You must still go to your human hospital,
my child. You are sorely wounded, as is your love." The ancient eyes
twinkled. "You have done well. The mother will not strike again soon."
Fraser gasped, tearing his eyes away from Ray's for a moment. "She's
not - "
The old vampire shook his head. "The blood of a Sabbat will not suffice
to eleminate one as ancient as she. Fear not, Slayer, Prince Warfield's
men will make it difficult for her return. She will need time to regain
her strength and purify herself."
Vecchio was angry at an opportunity squandered. "Why didn't you just-"
Caine watched Ray, knowing he needed more blood for his neck to heal.
"My son stopped her for now. The time has not yet come for us to meet."
"Your son...why..." Fraser couldn't articulate what he wanted to know,
too intent on keeping Ray's gaze locked. The ghoulite drank from Caine's
wrist, the wound at his neck slowly healing.
Jay returned to let them know the ambulance was here and Turnbull was
passing out on them again.
Caine smiled, "He has more of my blood than Lilith or Ellery's. A tad
of sabbat, but that's easily rectified." He brushed hair out of Ray's
face, affectionately. "If he were to rise tonight, he would not be son
Fraser squeezed Ray's hand, tightly, too weary to consider the implications.
All he wanted was rest and Ray.
Revenge was had on all fronts, it seemed.
Zuko's men buried Victoria an a vault far removed from the city of Chicago.
Deep in the woods, in a place only a handful knew about, they sealed
her into a tomb of cement and steel on land owned by the U.S. government
and forgotten by all. Once it had been a bunker for storing ammunition
during World War II and the formidable structure was still buried deep
As winter gave way to spring, a band of pale and tireless people arrived
at the bunker. They had been tracking the scent for months. Now that
they arrived, they set about digging night and day until the sealed
door was revealed and broken. Inside, she lay waiting and weak and
the leader of the clan smiled maniacally as he called for rope.
They had done to Lilith what Calhoun had done to Fraser. She hung on
the wall of the bunker, blood trickling down the wall. Calhoun, still
recovering from his wounds at the jaws of the wolves, knelt in front
of her, watching with a crazed grin on his face. Behind him, the surviving
Sabbat tensed in anticipation of the oncoming frenzy.
With sudden speed, he was at her side, biting into her neck. He could
feel the pulse of her blood, and drained her quickly. It wasn't hard,
not while she was like this.
And he was Sabbat, so the blood was good.
Her eyes flickered, painfully and he could hear a word on the tip of
her tongue. "Autarkis..."
And she smiled.