Duncan wasn't quite sure what
to do. When Richie hadn't returned to the hotel he'd been worried,
when he'd scoured the city for him all day and found no sign,
he had become anxious. When an Immortal didn't come back it usually
meant that they weren't going to, but for some reason, the Highlander
just couldn't bring himself to believe that his friend and pupil
was dead. Why he found himself outside the Haven he couldn't quite
explain, but this was the last place he'd seen Richie.
The rock music flowed over him
in one big wave as he walked into the club, but he barely heard
it. All he was interested in was the woman sitting by the bar.
He walked quickly between the various tables, heedless as to who
was there, and came to a stop beside the owner of the establishment.
"Why, Duncan," she
said with a genuine smile, "this is a surprise."
She'd had to explain all she
knew to Julian the previous evening, but she couldn't stop the
effect the Immortal had on her. She, unlike her Prince, chose
not to be paranoid about the existence of another long lived race.
In her opinion, if they'd remained hidden from each other this
long then they were unlikely to be a danger to each other. Lillie
noted that her old friend was somewhat agitated as soon as she
"Have you seen the young
man I was with yesterday, since then?" the Highlander enquired
"No," the vampire replied
evenly, "why, have you lost him?"
the Immortal admitted slowly. "He said he'd meet me at the
hotel, but he never came back. Now with Richie, normally I'd say
he found someone else he'd rather be with, but circumstances last
night were,... different."
It was nicely hedged, if Lillie
hadn't of known something very interesting had happened the previous
evening, she never would have guessed. She was not totally immune
to what other people were feeling, and the way Duncan looked so
worried, tugged at her heart strings. With a sweet smile she patted
him on the arm.
"You stay here, darling,"
she said calmly, "I'll ask around."
"Thanks," Mac replied
He wasn't sure exactly where
in the local hierarchy his friend was, but he was pretty sure
it was quite high. He hoped any news she came up with, was not
bad. The Highlander ordered a drink and sat down, there was not
a lot else to do, until he found out what Lillie knew.
He didn't spend his time idly
drowning his sorrows, however, he took the opportunity to just
watch. The number of people his sometimes lover spoke to who immediately
hurried away to do her bidding, was surprisingly large. It was,
however, when the man he had left sitting next to Richie the evening
before, came in and walked straight up to the owner of the Haven
that MacLeod became very interested.
"Ah, just the man I need
to talk to," Lillie said as Frank sauntered over. "Where's
our pet Immortal at the moment, Duncan's worried about him."
"I wish I knew," was
the police officer's reply, "but I lost him almost as soon
as he woke up last night. I have just had the pleasure of explaining
this to Julian. The guy just disappeared into thin air. He was
more difficult to track than one of you guys."
"Do you make a habit of
following us around, Frank?" the Toreador asked with a smile,
unable to resist the jibe.
She then dragged her mind back
on track, and noted the information which had been passed on.
"Did he give any indication
of where he was going?" she enquired calmly.
The reply she received was a
slow shake of the head. There had been nothing, not a scrap of
a clue to follow. Frank should have known, he had spent all night
looking for one.
"Look, I have to get to
work," the cop said evenly, "I just called in to see
if you'd heard anything. Since you're asking me questions, I assume
we're as in the dark as each other. Luna has people out looking
now, but no-one seems to know anything. If you find out any information,
would you mind giving me a call?"
"For you, Frank," Lillie
responded with a smile, "anything."
Duncan took the news that nobody
had any information calmly, and then went out to continue his
search. There were things going on in San Francisco which he did
not understand, and he was beginning to sense a bigger picture.
He began to look, not only for Richie, but for anything sinister
that might also be going on.
It had been three, very fulfilling
days as far as Alexae was concerned. When his creation had awoken,
he had been surprisingly submissive, almost childlike in his reactions
to this new world into which he was born. There had been no anger,
no accusations, only an almost innocent acceptance of life as
it was. The Toreador had decided that his childe's mind had retreated
from the reality of the situation, and was coping with the change
to being Kindred. Since there were times when he looked into Richie's
eyes and saw a very adult, very powerful gaze being returned,
Alexae just assumed he'd break out of it sometime.
As it was, the Artiste had spent
his time drawing and painting his new centre of attention, and
leading the fledgling through his first few days. Neither of them
had strayed far from the apartment, and the only time Alexae had
gone out was to hunt and bring back a beautiful young thing, who
had left the next morning just a little paler than usual.
There were sketches and paintings
of Richie all over the living space, and much to his sire's delight,
the new Kindred had even picked up a pencil himself the previous
night and shown considerable talent. If Alexae had been paying
as much attention to how his Adonis looked on the inside, as he
did on the outside he might have noticed that something was not
quite right. Richie had been changing the entire time since he
had been embraced, and although the other Toreador took it as
normal adjustment, it most definitely, was not.
As it was Alexae was about to
find out the hard way. He turned and smiled as his protege walked
up behind his towards the end of their fourth night together.
"You're not supposed to
move when I'm painting," the older vampire said as if scolding
a child, "go and sit back down."
It was then that he noticed the
look on his childe's face. The expression had lost the innocent
touch and as he smiled, Alexae knew that he should never have
let his guard down. Richie's grin was almost demonic and his eyes
changed to a rich golden yellow as his sire watched. He was holding
one of the Toreador's large paintbrushes by the bristle end, and
he waved it menacingly. As Alexae watched he realised that this
was no ordinary Kindred, and if he hadn't known he had embraced
him only days before, he would have said he was facing one of
the really old ones.
"The game's over,"
the Immortal Kindred said coldly, "now it's my turn."
The sun was coming up and Richie
had absolutely no idea how he came to be wandering up to an all
night cafe. The only item of clothing he was wearing that he recognised
as his own was the brown leather jacket with his sword nestled
in it's usual place. The rest was nothing he remembered ever owning,
including the black silk shirt and the new black jeans. The last
thing he vaguely recalled was Frank standing over him and telling
him to get out of his sight, the rest was hazy at best. That was
why, when he saw the cop sitting in one of the booths he figured
that there was a good reason he was here.
There were vague recollections
of men with glowing eyes, and hypnotic words being whispered in
his ear, but they couldn't be called real memories. He didn't
remember going to the Haven and finding Cash outback, or dominating
the Gangrel's mind as if it were second nature. He had no thoughts
of demanding to know about Frank, or of leaving the Kindred in
a daze that had kept him standing there for minutes. Richie's
mind was as empty of the event as Cash's was, and he was confused
as he walked up to the only face he remembered clearly.
"Frank?" he said tentatively,
since the cop hadn't heard his silent entrance.
The man whirled in his seat and
his eyes opened wide with shock. The last person he had expected
to meet here was this Immortal.
"Richie," he said with
a surprised note to his voice, "we'd all but given you up
There was not much sign of a
reaction to the comment in the young looking man, he just sat
"What's going on in this
city, Frank," the blond Immortal asked pointedly. "Something's
happened to me that I don't understand, and I want answers."
It was at that point that the
cop noticed how pale his companion was looking, and without thinking
he reached out and touched the other's hand. He knew that cold
feeling all too well.
"Jesus, you're Kindred,"
he said almost too loudly.
Thoughts of betrayal were very
strong in Frank's mind, and the first thing that occurred to him
was that this was one of Luna's jokes. Immortals fighting each
other, no more than something to keep the pet cop occupied.
"What are Kindred?"
Richie shot back and brought a halt to the other man's thoughts.
"What's happened to me? Why can't I remember?"
As he became agitated his eyes
changed colour, and it suddenly occurred to Frank that something
unusual was going on. The Immortal looked like no Kindred Frank
had ever met, in fact more than anything he looked lost. Now the
sun was coming up rapidly, and the cop knew enough to know that
Richie did not look like a vampire who had recently fed. Since
Kindred in that condition had a habit of spontaneously combusting,
he decided that he had to get this one out of the public eye.
"I'll explain as much as
I can," Frank said quickly, thinking on his feet, "but
not here. Let's get you somewhere a little more private and a
lot darker, before you get a suntan you won't forget."
The younger man's state of mind
was such that he did not have much will to argue, and Frank managed
to get him in the car quite rapidly. When they reached his apartment
he closed all the curtains and locked the door, whilst leaving
Richie sitting on the couch. The blond man seemed suspicious,
but he didn't appear to be able to decide what to do.
"Are you going to tell me
now?" he said as his companion finally stopped moving.
There was nothing else for it,
Frank was going to have to explain. He sat down on a chair slowly
and tried to remember everything he knew about Kindred.
"I think you've been recently
embraced," the cop said carefully, "you've been turned
into a vampire. Not like you see on TV," he hurried on quickly
as he saw the look that crossed Richie's face, "but still
blood drinking, night dwellers. I'm not really an expert, I'm
more in this by accident. Embracing is when they drain all your
blood and replace it with Kindred blood, then you become one of
The other's gaze seemed suddenly
distant at the words. The feeling of his life slipping away in
slow blissful second caught Richie off guard, and as he remembered
his eyes shifted once again.
"Do you remember who did
this to you?" Frank saw the memory on his companion's features
and he needed to know.
He had the feeling that something
was very wrong here, and he knew Julian was not going to approve.
The longer he stayed in this man's presence the more eerie he
was beginning to feel. There was something almost tangibly strange
about the creature who was Immortal and Kindred, the cop could
"No," Richie replied,
snapping back to reality, "but they must have given me these
clothes, only the jacket is mine."
He looked so lost and helpless
that Frank could almost overlook the fact that the Immortal was
staring at him with orange eyes.
The police officer did his best
to explain all he knew and he tried to convince the new Kindred
to seek help from Julian Luna. Richie, however, resisted loudly
even after he had been given the low down on the structure of
vampire society. Since Frank still had reservations about the
way the Kindred ran their affairs, he didn't push it just yet.
Instead he offered to make coffee, and to his surprise his companion
When the cop wandered back in
from the kitchen he was in for a shock, however. The curtains
were open, early morning sunlight flooded the living room, and
standing there as if he were a flower was Richie, soaking up the
rays. He turned to Frank and smiled an ironic smile.
"I think starting off Immortal
has it's advantages," he said dryly.
It was slightly later that the
cop decided his guest had to be Toreador clan when the young man
started doodling on the phone pad, and seemed to become completely
lost in the design.
When night finally came round
to the city once more, it found Richie asleep on Frank's couch
and the officer himself sprawled on the bed. The new Kindred had
persuaded the cop to wait until sundown before they did anything,
and with all the peculiarities the Immortal was exhibiting, the
officer had decided to play along. Richie woke first, the moment
the sun dipped below the horizon, and when Frank's alarm went
off he found his guest staring out the window.
"I'm going to the Haven,"
the Toreador said with a certainty that had not been there earlier
in the day. "Are you coming?"
The eyes that looked at him were
ice blue, but they held a danger that could only come from a Kindred
gaze. Frank didn't feel like arguing with that visage and he nodded
"Give me five minutes,"
he said calmly, even as a small shot of adrenaline soaked his
The cop was almost surprised
to see his house guest still standing there when he dived back
out of the bathroom. There didn't seem to be a lot that was helpless
about this man, and Frank had the feeling that he was invited
along more as a courtesy, than an ally. The night seemed to have
nurtured a very different Richard Ryan than the day.