Sequel to: House of Frost
Characters: Chloe, Kal, Deacon Frost, Lois, Lana, Crease, Blade, Karen, Whistler, Danica Talos, Hannibal King, Asher Talos, Jarko Grimwood, Buffy Saunders, Mercury, Vanessa Brookes
Disclaimer: Don't own
Summary: When Frost proves that Chloe isn't safe with him, she joins up with Kal, who refuses to be the minion of anyone. Doesn't help that Inquisitor Reporter, Lois, is searching for her cousin and getting close to the vampire secret.
WARNING: This story has a vampiric KAL EL, not Clark Kent. You know the difference. It's not just the name. So be ready for his attitude and behavior.
"Rise and shine, little wing." Deacon grinned at Dragonetti, whose face was covered by a black condemned man's hood. "The sun's about to rise and it's promising to be the beginning of a bright new day." He smirked, standing in the Burning Grounds right before dawn, dressed from head to toe in a black motorcycle suit, which consisted of boots, gloves, and a visored helmet which he held tucked under one arm.
Mercury and Quinn were standing nearby, similarly dressed.
The Burning Grounds was a stretch of rocky coastline tucked away in a secluded cove, which was exactly why vampires chose to use this place for situations like this.
Dragonetti was stripped bare, chained. "What is this? Where am I?"
Deacon stepped forwards, pulling Dragonetti's hood off.
Dragonetti stared at his surrounding, clearly horrified as he realized what his fate was to be.
"When was the last time you stopped to appreciate a sunrise, Dragonetti?" Deacon taunted, kneeling down in front of the fallen Head of the House of Erebus. "Three, four hundred years?" He checked his watch before looking at the ocean, where on the horizon a sliver of gold slowly appeared. "How do you like that? Right on time."
Dragonetti snarled at him. "The other elders will never let you get away with this!"
Just as he muttered these assured words, the twelve vampire sub-head elders of the House of Erebus emerged from their hiding places, forming a circle around Dragonetti. They wore business suits, gloves, along with high-tech sun masks that protected their faces from the light's lethal rays. They stared at Dragonetti, a silent jury.
His face darkened, anger and betrayal in his every feature, but there was obviously desperation in his eyes too, and Deacon relished the sight.
Dragonetti spoke in the secret tongue, which truly wasn't that secret anymore. "Don't you see, you fools? He'll betray you too! He's planning on invoking LaMagra himself!"
The sub-heads of the House of Erebus just smiled, shaking their heads.
Deacon smirked, amused by their stupidity. "The wheel turns, old fang. Guess you just got a little too long in the tooth."
Dragonettis cries were cut short as Deacon forced the older vampire's mouth open, ripping out his fangs with his bare hands, causing Dragonetti to gurgle and shriek, sounding like a dying animal and not the mighty and proud vampire he'd once been.
Deacon turned to face the Twelve, his eyes bright with victory as he stood and moved away from Dragonetti, putting on his motorcycle helmet, an action copied by Mercury and Quinn.
Behind them, Dragonetti struggled furiously against his chain to no avail as the first faint rays of daylight fell upon him, channeled inwards by the natural formation of the cove. The Head of the House of Erebus howled, his skin sizzling and releasing smoke through his pores before suddenly he caught on fire like paper beneath a magnifying glass. He thrashed about as his flesh started to run from his body.
The vampire elders watched, impassive, protected by their masks-when suddenly twelve figures rose up behind them, clad in bike helmets and black leather, just like Deacon. Apparently Kal had managed to get Chloe to the House before sunrise and get the rest of Deacon's men here as previously planned. The twelve men, Kal included, each grabbed one of the elders in a strangle hold, ripping their masks off.
"Dragonetti was right." Deacon smirked, seeing the fear on their faces. "You were fools to trust me." He flipped down the visor of his helmet as the red sun rose in all it's fiery glory.
One by one, the vampire elders' heads caught on fire, skull-flesh sizzling away, burning down the line of them in successively burning intensity until all twelve exploded in a conflagration of blinding white light.
Deacon and his minions were blown off of their feet by the sheer intensity of the occult blast-a blast that sent the skeletal bodies of the Elders slamming into the rock wall.
When it was all over, Deacon picked himself back up, the only thing left of Dragonetti and the others thirteen shadow silhouette permanently etched onto the rock's surface, just like the bombing victims of Hiroshima.
The tallest of his minions, no doubt Kal, approached him. "Your orders?"
Deacon eyed the black visor hiding his face from him. "Chloe?"
"With Danica Talos, going over the documents she requested she keep an eye on."
Deacon nodded, going closer to his minion. "Go back to the House and keep an eye on her. I don't want that filth of Talos' or any other vampire near her, do you understand? If someone presses an issue of interest towards her, be he from my House or hers, you are to decimate him. No one touches her, if anyone does, you're to treat him with extreme prejudice. Do you understand my meaning?"
Kal paused, just seeming to look at him, before nodding. "Understood."
With that he turned and headed towards his Ducati.
Deacon watched him go before turning to look at the thirteen shadows. "Mercury, I need you to find Blade. It's time he and I had a little talk."
In her friend's private lab, Karen was working on empty yet refusing to let up for a nap. She was surrounded by a host of new medical equipment, from centrifuges to genetic sequencers and beyond, and already she'd made real progress. She'd brainstormed for hours, going over everything Whistler had told her about vampirism, and with the blood sample she had she'd been able to perform some experiments. During those experiments she'd realized the importance of sodium citrate, which was an anti-coagulant. Doctors used it to treat blood-clot sometimes, and from what she'd observed vampire blood was thinner than humans, so when she'd introduced some of the anti-coagulant into a sample of vampire blood there'd been an immediate reaction. The vampire blood cells had turned black before bubbling violently and finally exploding in a fine mist which burst apart the glass lens of the scope.
She was thrilled with the results, sure that Whistler had yet to make the connection, imagining the uses the vampire hunters could have for this discovery. Just imagine what a dash of it would do to Blade's already fierce sword!
Talking about Blade...she turned to look at the vial of his blood that she'd nicked from Whistler's own private supply. She doubted either of them would be happy when they found out what she'd done, but she didn't have much time left, and knew that whenever she was able to find a cure they'd be forced to forgive her.
With that assurance, she took a sip of her seemingly hundredth cup of coffee and continued to work.
Making his way through China Town, the streets lined with vending stalls, Blade passed merchants peddling exotic vegetable and cheap curious, butcher shops with rows of roast ducks in the window. Tyro gang-bangers lounged at the entrance to an arcade, slinging insults and harassments to the passerby's yet going silent as he passed them, exchanging uneasy looks, not knowing who or what he was but obviously feeling that predatory vibe he naturally gave off. Everyone felt it. Even though the streets were crowded everyone seemed to always make way for him, avoiding eye-contact.
He turned into a dark alley, ducking into the doorway of a hole-in-the-wall herbalist shop.
A bell atop the door jingled, announcing his arrival into the dusty, cave-like room filled with baskets and bottle-lined shelves featuring things like "Toad Spleen Extract" and "Barking Deer Wine". Joss sticks burned, sending wispy tendrils of incense into the air of the dimly lit place.
At the back of the shop, an elderly chinese man in a cardigan sat in front of a battered television, watching a boxing match and eating a bowl of litchi fruit.
On a nearby counter a spider monkey watched attentively.
"How's it going, Kam?" Blade announced his presence.
The elderly man sent a glance towards the calender on the wall closest to him before returning his gaze to the television. "You're a week early."
"I was in the neighborhood."
Setting down his fruit bowl, Kam stood and motioned for Blade to follow him through a curtain into a back room. Once they were in the secluded area he handed the Daywalker a leather valise that when opened, was lined with tiny ampoules of scarlet-colored serum.
Blade pulled one out, holding it up to the light reflectively. "Whistler says I'm building up a resistance to it."
The elderly man sighed. "I was afraid that might happen."
Blade put the ampoule back into the pack. "Maybe it's time to start exploring other alternatives."
There was a moment's silence before Kam spoke up. "There's only one alternative to the serum."
They both knew what the 'alternative' was.
Blade closed the valise and tucked it into his jacket. "Thanks, Kam." He headed back through the curtains and headed towards the entrance, exiting into the busy street and passing a woman talking on a cellular.
"Don't react, Blade." Her voice stopped him, and he went to look at a discarded paper, wondering who she was.
"Do you know how hard it was to locate you?" The woman sounded accusing as she looked through some "Weeping Baboon Testicles" packets.
He didn't believe that merited an answer.
"How is Karen? Is she okay? Is she alive?"
His eyes widened slightly behind his dark shades. "You're from the morgue."
"How is she?" The woman pressed.
"I did the best I could to help her, she's gone into hiding." He replied, not seeing that she deserved anything more than that, and wary that she'd been able to find him so easily and at this place in particular.
"I have a message for you." The brunette picked up a package of something or the other, pretending to examine it. "There's an old abandoned church off Exton, be there tonight if you want to know exactly what Deacon Frost has been up to."
He froze at that name, almost tempted to turn around and shake more information out of her, but if she was being this suspicious obviously she was being followed. "You're a familiar."
"No. I'm not. But I know someone who has information that you need, buddy." She replied cheekily. "And it's not like you're getting anywhere on your own except for pissing him off more than he already was."
"How do I know it's not a trap?" Blade wanted to know.
"You don't. But it's the only option you've got." She replied before walking away, pretending to still be talking on her phone for appearance's sake.
"Blade..." his name was whispered in the wind, immediately capturing his attention as the woman disappeared into the crowd.
Blade spun, scanning his surroundings.
"Blade." Again the taunting voice called him.
Blade's gaze finally settled on a man sitting on a bench in the deep shade a bit away, his face obscured by the Chinese newspaper he was reading. There was a little girl sitting stiffly besides him, a look of pure terror written upon her face.
The Daywalker headed towards the male.
"Afternoon, Blade." The man lowered his newspaper, revealing none other than Deacon Frost. He was wearing sunglasses, but otherwise seemed unprotected by the sun.
Blade reached for his .454 but Frost's hand rested on the back of the girl's neck.
"Easy." The vampire's claws extended, caressing the flesh beneath her chin. "Wouldn't want our little friend here to wind up on the back of a milk carton, would we?"
Blade reluctantly lowered his hand.
Frost smiled, taking in a deep breath of air, savoring it. "Beautiful day, isn't it?"
Blade couldn't keep the confusion off his face. "How can you be out here?"
"I dabble in pharmaceuticals, medical research." Frost smirked, self-satisfied. "We've developed a type of sun-blocker using octyle salicylate, amongst a few other things."
Now that he looked closer, Blade realized that Frost was wearing a translucent lotion on his face.
The vampire touched a finger to his cheek, rubbing some of the lotion between his fingers. "It's not very effective in direct sunlight, yet it's a start. The goal, of course, is to be like you, 'the Daywalker'."
"I don't buy it." Blade scoffed.
"Why not?" Frost seemed quite amused. "The future of our race runs through your bloodstream. You've got the best of both worlds, Blade. All of our strengths and none of our weaknesses."
"Maybe I don't see it that way." The vampire hunter grunted, disconcerted with being faced with a vampire in broad daylight.
"Oh, so it's back to pretending we're human again, is it?" Frost taunted, that abominable smirk still tilting his lips. "Spare me the Uncle Tom routine. You can't keep denying what you are. You're one of us. You always have been."
"You're wrong." Blade growled, terrified deep down inside knowing that one of them was lying, and praying it wasn't him.
"Am I?" Frost chuckled. "You think the humans will ever accept a half-breed like you? They can't. They're afraid of you." He gazed at Blade pointedly. "The humans fear us because we're superior. They fear us because in their hearts they know their race has become obsolete." He watched the marketers stream past, sneering in contempt. "Look at them, just an endless stream of cattle in a mad race to the slaughterhouse." He lifted a silver flask to his mouth, taking a swig of blood before smacking his lips in contentment. "The pause that refreshes..." he offered the flask to Blade. "Care for some? Smells good, doesn't it? Pungent, with just an irrepressible hint of iron."
Blade's hands clenched in fists in his battle against the Thirst. "Pass."
"You sure now? I bled a newborn for this. You won't find a drink that's sweeter." Frost could obviously see that it took every ounce of Blade's self-control to keep from attacking, so the vampire pressed his sharp thumbnail against his young hostage's jugular. "Tell me honestly, do you really get the same rush from that pasteurized piss-serum of yours?"
Blade's eyes widened, wondering just when all of his secrets had been discovered.
"You're surprised I know about your serum? You shouldn't be. I know everything about you." Frost leaned forwards, grinning. "You can't keep walking the razor's edge, Blade. The day will come, and soon, when you'll have to choose between our kind and theirs. If I were you, I'd take care not to wind up on the wrong end of the fang." A bead of sweat ran down Frost's neck, washing away a minute amount of the sun-blocking cream, the patch of exposed skin instantly blackening, causing Frost to gaze upwards at the sun. "Love to continue this chat, but it appears I'm melting."
The vampire stood, taking the little girl by the hand.
Blade followed, his hand resting on the butt of his Casull. "You're not going anywhere."
Frost grinned, growling. "Watch me."
The vampire's eyes flickered towards the street, to a city bus rumbling by, and in a heartbeat hurled the little girl forwards onto the path of the oncoming bus.
Blade only had a split-second to act, it was either Frost or the girl, and for a moment he actually contemplated going for Frost. At the last second he dove forwards, scooping the girl into his arms, throwing themselves out of the bus' path, the large vehicle missing them be a hair.
By the time Blade looked up again Frost was gone.
Cursing, Blade stood, scanning the street as market-goers gathered around him.
Too much had happened in too short a time-span.
He needed to go back to home-base and tell Whistler what had happened.
So deep in his thoughts as he headed towards his Olds, Blade didn't notice a biker covered from head to toe in black leather and a motorcycle helmet watching him.
"What exactly are you looking for?" Chloe asked, looking up from the different ancient manuscripts that'd been digitally archived in the external hard drive she was now checking through her computers. This dialect wasn't exactly the same one of the LaMagra scripts, but it was a variant, a little newer, and to be able to understand it all correctly she'd have to write up a new program and code, which would take a while and a lot of effort.
"That's none of your concern." Danica Talos declared. "Can you decipher it or can't you?"
"Given time and the right initiative I can decipher anything." Chloe didn't mind honking her own horn, especially not towards the vampire she just did not like.
"Hmmmm." Danica eyed her with interest, obviously sizing her up. "Where did Deacon find such a useful little minion?"
"I came highly reccommended." Chloe flinched away from the finger Danica trailed down her neck, sending the vampire a glare.
"Feisty, I like that in my toys. I like to break them." Danica turned towards the vampire with whom she'd had Chloe entertain them. "You should have known Hannibal before I finally broke him. He had the sharpest mouth...but my whips were sharper. They're the kind that cut into your flesh and tear chunks out with each slash." Danica's eyes twinkled with devilish enjoyment as she eyed the unease in Chloe's green orbs. "Do you like a little pain?"
"That sounds like a lot of pain." Chloe replied as Danica reached down to cup her chin.
The door opened and Lana surprised Chloe by entering, eyes narrowed on Danica's hold on her before her face went completely pleasant. "Ms. Talos, I've been instructed by my sire to insure you and your party are placed in our best rooms and sufficiently rested for your departure tonight."
Despite her amicable words and expression, it was obvious that the message she carried from Deacon was for Danica and her people to be gone by tonight.
"I really have peeved him by playing with his little toy, haven't I?" Danica chuckled, giving Chloe's chin a little shake before letting go, turning to her brother Asher, Jarko Grimwood, and favorite plaything, Hannibal. "Let's go."
"If you follow the ladies they'll take you to your accommodations." Lana stepped aside to reveal a couple of beautiful, voluptuous 'vampirettes' as Kal called them.
Danica smirked as she saw them. "They will most definitely do."
And with that she and her group left.
Lana waited until they turned the corner before closing the door behind her and turning to Chloe. "Hey."
"Hey." Chloe stood, feeling awkward. On one hand she was relieved to know that Lana was still alive, or well undead, but on the other hand things had been less than friendly between them since Kal had emerged and spurned Lana.
"So..." Lana cleared her throat, clasping her hands in front of her. "I've been thinking these last couple of days, and I've realized I've been a bitch."
Surprised by the way this conversation was going, Chloe could only watch her with wide eyes.
"It really didn't hit me until Lois." Lana lowered her head, guilt flashing across her face. "I'd only thought about myself and what was good for me, and I hadn't stopped and thought about the fact that you and Clark had lives, had families, had people who would love and miss and mourn you." She cleared her throat. "I don't have a family so I guess it didn't come to me naturally to consider them, yours, but Lois-Lois has come daily to the Sorority House. She's searching for you, she won't give up..." Lana looked up at Chloe. "I don't blame you and Clark for hating me, I deserve it, and I'm sorry it's taken me this long to see my faults and apologize. I'm truly sorry."
"I don't hate you." Chloe assured, going towards her friend and reaching for her hands, giving them a reassuring squeeze. "I never did...though I did resent you for changing me."
"And I deserve it." Lana whispered.
"But everything's fine now, or it will be." Chloe promised, giving Lana a little smile. "We're immortal, let's spend that time as friends."
"I would like that." Lana whispered hoarsely, tears coming to her eyes before she cleared her throat and looked away. "I should really go make sure no one is messing up the Talos' 'care'." Squeezing Chloe's hand, Lana sent her a happy smile before hurrying out of the room.
Chloe smiled as the door closed, feeling so relieved things were on the mends with Lana.
The door opened once more but this time Kal entered, smelling like sunlight, a scent she realized that only she could pick up on. He'd obviously snuck out to recharge under the sunlight. "I saw Lang leaving here. What did she want?"
"We made up." Chloe responded. "And you should too."
"Not happening." He replied, eyeing around the room before stepping closer. "Frost ordered me to make sure you're not...entertaining...anyone."
Chloe bristled at the memory.
"I'd think you'd be happy about that. Means Talos won't be having any more fun at your expense." Kal's eyebrow raised. "Or do you like her cabana boy?"
"Don't be like that. We could have been playthings like him if things had been different." She frowned.
"You do like him." Kal realized before sneering, shaking his head. "You have no taste."
"Look who's talking!" Chloe snapped back at him, pointing her finger accusingly in his direction. "You've slept with every female vampire in this House!"
"Not every one." Kal replied meaningfully.
"Dream on." She glared, poking at his chest. "Cut it out with all the pretend flirtation, you're not going to get a reaction out of me."
Kal opened his mouth to probably say something that would infuriate her, when he noticed what was on the screens of her linked computers. "What are those?"
"I have no idea, but whatever it is it's ancient and the House of Talos find it important." Fight postponed, Chloe turned towards the screens and walked to her keyboard, typing in some commands and watching as her computer began to copy the external hard drive. "I'm making a ghost copy to go over after they leave, thankfully they forgot the drive here with me when Lana lured them away with big breasts and sultry smiles...but I know Jarko or Asher will be here any minute now to collect this. It's too important for them to just forget here."
The computers finished making the copy.
The door opened and Jarko Grimwood appeared. "We forgot our hard drive."
"Oh, right." Chloe feigned surprise and turned to the external hard drive, disconnecting it and passing it to the large vampire who must have been a wrestler or something before he'd been turned. "Sorry I couldn't be more of a help."
He nodded before leaving, mumbling something about a redhead waiting for him.
Hearing her phone ring with a text message, Chloe gazed down at her phone and brought up the message from Lois: Made contact. Exton church. Tonight.
The blonde shook her head, unable to believe it, showing the message to Kal.
"So she's useful after all." He mumbled.
Chloe slapped his chest. "I'm going alone."
"Who do you are that you think you can order me about?" Kal wanted to know.
Chloe frowned. "If somehow Deacon finds out he can't know that we both were there. You're my secret weapon, Kal. Deacon knows that I'm a Daywalker, he has no idea about you or just how special a Daywalker you are."
Kal glared at her before nodding. "If you get yourself killed I'll forever sneer at your memory."
She smirked, giving his tummy a little pat.
The door opened and this time Crease was there. "Chloe, Deacon's back and wants you to go to his room immediately."
Suddenly all the playful laughter was gone from Chloe as she gazed down at her shoes and nodded, squaring her shoulders.
Time to face the music.
As Blade's Olds cruised into the gated grounds of the abandoned factor, zipping down the ramp way into the loading elevator, Mercury pulled to a stop and picked up a radio handset, keying it.
"This is Mercury. Tell Deacon I've found their hiding place."