"Scenes From a Vampire Age"
"Burning At The Stakes"
Ray shot the Mountie a look at the sudden and unexpected thank you. "You're thanking me?" Before he could get his reply, a flash of red from the back seat distracted him. He shook his head. "What the hell...?"
"Ray?" Was that actual concern in the Mountie's voice? He stared straight ahead at the road. He was beginning to wish he hadn't taken Vecchio's car. But what else was he supposed to take? A black and white? Something from impound?
Rubbing at his eyes, Ray fumbled for his glasses and paused. No. He had to act like Vecchio, and Vecchio did not wear glasses. He had to maintain the cover, because for some reason nobody had told Fraser about the switch. Had to be a reason for that.
"We need to uh..." Ray tightened his grip on the steering wheel. "We need to go through our..." Stopping the car right in the middle of the road, he cradled his skull in his hands. One good tap would shatter him right then and there. He was convinced of that.
"He's confused," He heard an older voice mutter. But nobody was there. Ray bit back a sob. Not again, he didn't need to be hearing voices again. He had enough trouble with living people, he didn't need to deal with the dead too. That's why he'd taken this job, to get away from the whole 'Detective Kowalski, can you talk to my missing/dead daughter?' gig.
Happy days at the 13th. Yeah. Right.
"Ray, are you ill?" Fraser stared at the man who claimed to be Vecchio, familiar tinglings of concern in his chest. He hated to see someone in pain, and this man was in. And if he was becoming as unhinged as he was starting to believe he was, then Ray Vecchio was in pain. And he couldn't have that.
But he still knew it wasn't Ray.
"I'm ok...gimme a minute," or a year. Or a millenium. His head felt like it was splitting open. "Ah, geez..."
Fraser stared, looking behind them to make sure they weren't going to be rammed. The detective, whoever he may be, had at least managed to stop on one of the least used roads. Thankfully. "What is it? You're in pain. Are you hurt? What's wrong?" Tell me. Tell me who you are, why you're here and not Ray. How I'm supposed to help you. Why I even want to...
He's more than just in pain, Benton, His father muttered again, as if the pained cop could actually hear him.
"Muh...muh...mother..." Ray was aware he was stuttering, and he squeezed his eyes shut. His whole body was twitching as if being electrocuted with a thousand tiny volts.
"Mother? Do you need your mother?"
"Garbo...Gret..Garbo!" He shouts, unnecessarily loudly and falls back looking exhausted. "Oh...God. I really hate that..." Oddly, his nose hadn't started bleeding. That was a usual occurance. Weird.
A cold hand touched his face and pried open his eyes. His vision was blurred, more than usual, as if someone had stuck a pair of contacts on him, but backwards. "M'ok..." Was his voice slurring? He really hated that. Made him sound like he'd had a stroke or something, which Welsh had been convinced had happened the first time he'd seen it.
"You're sure?" Fraser wasn't. He could see the detective was still trembling. "You don't look all right."
"I see things, sometimes. When I need to." He felt Fraser making him lie down, his head on the Mountie's knee. "Little flashes."
"What?" He still felt disoriented. His head was spinning and he was getting sick to his stomach. God, don't let me get sick here. Ugh.
Fraser looked down at Ray, concerned. "Since when do you have 'little flashes'? If you're Ray Vecchio..." Fraser trailed off at the look in Ray's eyes. No. This wasn't his Ray. But right now that didn't matter. He needed his help, and since when did he back down from someone who needed help?
"Just...talk to Welsh, ok?" Ray closed his eyes. "Just talk to Welsh. I can't. I can't right now, sorry..." He squeezed his eyes tightly shut as he was shifted a bit so Fraser could drive. "Ok?"
"All right, Ray..."
The detective smiled as everything went dark. The mountie had called him Ray.
***"I'm sorry, constable, I meant to tell you this earlier but I got a bit...sidetracked." Welsh had just finished his story on Vecchio, the real one's, undercover assignment. Kowalski, as the Watcher had said he was usually called, lay on the couch with a cloth over his forehead.
Fraser nodded, not saying a word. He stared at Kowalski, worried. He knew his former partner could take care of himself. He had for many years. "Is he ok?"
"I'm fine, Fraser." Ray sat up, slowly. "Just a little funny around the seams." He blinked the cobwebs out of his head. "I'm not driving today, though." Didn't trust himself to be able to. Everything still felt funny. Out of control.
"All right." He didn't press for any details on what had happened in the Riv. It was obviously not something any of them wanted to discuss openly. Welsh cleared his throat as Elaine entered. "Ok. So, what do we know about this Greta Garbo?"
"Vampire. Lover of Zoltan Motherwell, the Pyrokinetic. Visits him weekly." Elaine handed Ray a copy of the files. "She's quite the busy breeder with the vampire making. Except she screws with them. Curses them so they have souls. Claims it makes them better artists."
Ray swore under his breath. "So basically, we're looking for a performance arsonist with a thing for gypsy curses, right? Great. Ok...Grab your stakes, Frayze. We're going after her..."
"I'm afraid that's impossible."
"Well, I'm not licensed to carry a stake in the United States."
Ray hung his head, disbelief etched in his face. "What?" The guy was a Mountie. A Mounted Slayer, and he didn't carry stakes. What the hell?
"Too many legalities." He watched Ray stand up, shaking his head. "Ray?"
***They'd gotten Garbo rather easily, followed one of her 'children' back to her apartment and arrested her. Ray had been shot in the vest, and had thought that Fraser should stake her, but the mountie wouldn't. Couldn't.
The new Ray sat on the hood of the Riv, something Ray Vecchio would never do. He looked different in the dark of the moonlight, calmer. Almost serene, actually. He was petting Dief, something Fraser hadn't expected considering the detective's reaction earlier to the licking and sniffing. He'd been
convinced the werewolf was going to eat him alive. He seemed fine about him now.
Fraser looked up from checking the Riv out for scratches. "Yes, Ray?"
"You're a Mountie, the Slayer mounties or whatever. Right?" At Fraser's nod, he continued. "So you'd know. How did...how'd all this happen? The vampires and all that?"
"I'm not sure I understand."
Ray shook his head, "Where'd they come from?"
"I'm not sure, exactly." Fraser sat, gingerly, beside Ray. "The Inuit believe that theyre a divided soul. That they are us, and we are them. That they're our dark side. I'm inclined to believe that."
Ray nodded, "But the ones 20, 30 years back. They weren't like this. They didn't try to kill everyone."
"I don't know, Ray." He paused, glancing at Ray with some confusion. "You stepped in front of a bullet for me."
Ray nodded again, "Yep."
"Why? I thought you didn't risk your neck for anybody."
A small smile went on Ray's face, and it was the strangest thing Fraser had ever seen in his life. "Well. Not just anybody."
Fraser watched Ray pace around the tomb, eyes closed. The glasses had slipped down a little, and he pushed them back up. Ray didn't seem to notice.
A small smile came to his face as he remembered what he'd needed to remember, muttering under his breaths the exact steps he'd taken to get to the local blood bank.
He could see it all in his inner mind, feel it all even with Fraser touching his face. He could feel all their eyes on him as they waited. "I was thirteen, and she was a vengence demon. Full blood, not one of those rose up the ranks humans. She was untouchable, but I was workin' it. Lyin like a maniac, which is really dumb to do with a vengence demon."
He could still hear her harsh, throaty whisper. "I think that man has a stake..." They'd been on line to give blood, back when blood banks to feed the vampires had been all the rage. Back when the vampires weren't stalking everyone and everything. Back when the only way to kill one was a well
Though that fad for vampires was starting to slow as well. He could only think of one clan that still did the stalk and hunt thing. The Ravnos. Anyway...
He could remember feeling scared, a sort of uncontrolled fear he hadn't felt since. Remembering Ellery making all of them, except Stella of course, get on the floor. Shoving a bag over to him. He'd wanted Ray to fill it with donor bags.
She'd married him though. Not right away of course, but she had. It hadn't worked out. She'd elevated to a higher form of Vengence Demon, and had left him. He'd wanted kids, she didn't. She wanted power, he could care less about it.
It was after that that he'd seen his first vision. The station's parapsychologist had said the trauma of the nightmares and Stella's sudden leaving had triggered some pent up, bogged down power in his head. Thrown his whole mental system out of whack.
His first real flash for the department had been of a litle boy who'd been kidnapped by his father. He'd had it enroute to talk to the mother, and had crashed his GTO. He'd met Vecchio then, but not Fraser. They'd been working on him at the hospital, and Vecchio had had to come to take over the case. He guessed Fraser had been with the Ice Queen.
It was a few months after that that he'd gotten this gig. With the freak mountie who seemed to always know when something was up.
And he liked him, he liked him a lot. Maybe even loved him, which was ridiculous considering he had only known the guy what? A month? It was crazy. Right?
But maybe it wasn't. He'd felt like this with Stella, and he'd ended up marrying her. 'No. No. Don't compare the two. They're nothin' alike.' They weren't. Fraser was polite and liked him. Didn't treat him like a stupid kid. Didn't send him to Hell on a regular basis. He was...nice.
Oh yeah. He loved him.
***"What is that?" Ellery demanded, looking over at the kid who claimed to know him.
Ray stared up at the reddening moon, and shivered. He'd known it was coming, but he hadn't expected it to be so...red. "The blood moon." He felt Ellery's eyes on him. "You really don't remember me?" He shifted uncomfortably under the bank robber's gaze. "What?"
Suddenly there was a pain at his neck, and he remembered Fraser's warning. Stay away from vampires on the blood moon. But he hadn't told Fraser that Ellery was one.
As the pain escalated to a full burning, he had to bite down to keep from screaming. He'd expected an apology, or maybe even to stake the guy. He hadn't expected to be attacked in a freshly dug grave. "Fraser!" He shouted, futily trying to shove the heavy vampire off of him. "Fray-zer!!"
Fraser was stumbling through the graves, trying to find his partner when he heard Ray screaming for him. "Ray?!" He ran towards the sound of the voice, Dief following close behind. He saw Ellery climbing out of the grave, blood staining his lips. "Ray..."
An almost uncontrolled rage spread through his body, one he hadn't felt in a long time. And he didn't even try to stop his werewolf when it pounced on the vampire. He knelt at the grave, ignoring the sounds of the vampire shrieking in terror and agony. "Ray! Are you all right?"
"I'm...I'm good," Ray sounded dazed. He wiped at something on his mouth, and sat up slowly. "Yeah, I'm good."
Something, as Ray would often say, wasn't right. Fraser watched his partner, worried. Ray been in and out of odd dazes ever since he'd been attacked by that vampire in the grave and then had been left to drown on the Henry Allen. He'd managed to save Ray, and in the process they had grown closer
than ever before.
They were lying in bed now, half dozing. Or at least Ray was. Dief was stalking around the apartment, attempting to find some sort of junk food in the mess.
He was very worried, Ray was very pale. He was very thin as of late. He was starting to sleep more, eat less. He was getting prone to attacks of paranoia and became exhausted easily.
Touching Ray's face gently as the detective began to toss in his sleep, he found the skin cold and clammy. "Ray." He whispered harshly, trying to wake him up. "Ray. Ray. Ray!"
"I can hear, Frayze. I'm not your wolf." Ray sounded irritatated. He wouldn't open his eyes. That alone had Fraser concerned.
"Open your eyes, Ray."
"Fraser, I'm tired. You're tired. Go to sleep. You can stare at my eyes in the morning." A slow grin.
"Ray. Open your eyes." When Ray didn't comply, Fraser got his fingers over the eyelids, prying them open. His pupils were dilated, his eyes moving frantically. He bit his lower lip, grabbing a penlight from his pocket. "Your eyes are tracking the light."
"Go to sleep. It's ok."
"Were you injured, Ray? Bitten again?"
"No." Ray sighed, seeing he wasn't going to be able to fend off the Mountie's concern. "It's ok. It's been like this for a coupla weeks. It's just...I'm goin' over."
"Going ov...No. You can't, Ray. You didn't drink his..." A look of utter horror came over Fraser's face, it was the first time Ray had ever seen anything of the sort cross over his mountie. "You drank his blood?"
"I didn't want to."
"But you did."
"Yeah." He closes his eyes again, not wanting to recall that little incident. "But, it's ok. Ok? 'cause he's one of the older ones, from back when the vampire weren't all bad."
"Ray..." Fraser shook his head, not believing. They weren't all bad now. But still....
"Look!" Ray sat up, taking Fraser with him. "It won't happen right away, and it'll be ok! If anything bad happens, you can just." He made a staking motion.
Fraser stared at him, 'No, Ray...' he thought to himself. 'I don't think I could...'