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Disclaimer: The characters of Angel are owned by 20th Century Fox and Mutant Enemy; the character of Wolverine is also owned by 20th Century Fox and Marvel Comics. No copyright infringement is intended. I'm not making any money off of this, but if you'd like to be-------------------------------------------
a patron of the arts, I won't object. ;-) Oh, and Bob and his bunch are all mine - keep your hands off!
Summary: Kier asks Logan to help him find his missing sister, but the search quickly turns up ugly truths and old grudges.
Notes: Takes place after the events of "X2" and immediately after "Lost Souls".
When you got down to it, there was only one word for the place: silly.
It was done up like some kind of Goth dungeon and looked vaguely like a place where Bauhaus might have shot a video. Chains hung down from rafters and draped the walls like streamers while chrome gleamed in the shadowy gloom that light could barely penetrate, as if the darkness were a physical thing. Where you could see the walls, it was either padded black leather (or its synthetic equivalent) or bare wood, with huge iron bolts and chrome widgets for attaching handcuffs to. But it seemed like a strangely sterile sadomasochism dungeon all the same, a “safe” place for people to come and get dirty.
Then the camera moved unsteadily as the person holding it went down some stairs, stepping into what was probably some equivalent of a basement. There were noises that sounded like a rusty hinge, but as shafts of light stabbed through the Stygian darkness, it was revealed in flashes that the noises were organic and coming from people who had been nailed to the wall.
They were impaled on wooden stakes, on metal poles, on swords and crowbars. There were half dressed guys - mostly guys, although there were one or two women - with the implements sticking out of outstretched hands and arms, out of the center of their torso, pinning their legs to the walls. Some were actually impaled parallel to the floor itself, stuck up like paintings, blood trickling from their mouths and noses, leaving greasy smears on the walls. Someone was even nailed to the ceiling; the only visible part of them was their arm, dangling down from above, a quarter sized hole in their palm, blood pouring down their arm and splattering on the floor, making a noise like water splashing on shower tiles. It almost seemed like something out of a horror movie, but there was something so grainy about this, so frighteningly real, it couldn’t be dismissed as fiction.
It was the work of a disturbed mind. At least that was true.
The camera juddered, but this time because someone was stepping in front of it. A narrow light came on and revealed a man staring into the camera. A man with feral yellow eyes and a strangely distorted brow, and a mouth over full of crooked, jagged teeth; animal teeth, not Human teeth, with two very long ivory fangs standing out among the mess. He had long black hair that draped his unnaturally pale face like a shroud, and he was smiling broadly, showing all those nasty teeth. His lips were so red they may have been painted, but not with cosmetics. “Now this party’s really about to start,” he said, and it sounded like a threat.
He was slowly kissing his way down Faith’s spine, and had just reached the tattoo in the small of her back when the constant pounding woke him up.
Logan opened his eyes reluctantly, and hoped that the noise was coming from the next room. But no, someone knocked on his door again, and he cast a jaundiced eye at the cheap alarm clock on the nightstand. The bright red numerals said it was 4:39 am - son of a bitch, he’d only gotten to bed about an hour ago. “Fuck me,” he groaned, shoving himself up as the knocking continued. “Shut the fuck up,” he snapped, sitting back and dry washing his face. Damn he was exhausted; worse yet, he was actually having a good dream. Nobody could wake him up during his many bad dreams, but when he has a good one, here come the interruptions. Life was so fucking unfair.
As he got up, he shouted, “Who is it?”
“It’s Kier. I’m sorry, I have to talk to you,” came the response, strained and somewhat desperate.
Logan paused briefly, and glanced out the window before unlocking the door. Somehow, of all the people he expected to annoy him, Bren’s boyfriend didn’t even come within a light year of the list.
He opened the door and glared at him. “This better be good - I was having a good dream.”
The pretty boy stared back at him, and he looked surprisingly stressed out for a vampire. “I thought you didn’t have good dreams.” He then looked down at his chest and his eyes traveled down his body and widened slightly as they went all the way down to his crotch and came back up again, finally settling on his face once more with great reluctance. “Wow. Bren was right about you.”
Logan grunted in annoyance and turned away, searching his small room for his pants. He was glad he slept in his boxer shorts. Kier came in and closed the door behind him, now inspecting the small room with his gaze as headlights skated along the far wall and disappeared. “You’re Bob’s avatar. You could stay somewhere where you don’t have to pay by the hour.”
Logan found his jeans and pulled them on, giving Kier an evil glare. He could see in the dark as well as he could. ”I only need a place to shower and a place to crash. Why pay five hundred dollars a night for it?”
Kier shook his head slowly, as if it was a damn shame. “You really are accustomed to the fugitive lifestyle, aren’t you?”
“You got one minute before I throw you out the window.”
The vampire faked a sighed, and ran a hand nervously through his hair. “Really, I didn’t want to hafta bug you, but I figured you were the only one who could help me. I can’t tell Bren; he’ll want to help, and I’m afraid he’ll get hurt. He’s good, but he’s not as good as you.”
Logan crossed his arms over his chest. “Tell me what the fuck ya want before you blow sunshine up my skirt.”
The boy sat down in the room’s only chair, a threadbare little armchair that had a moiré pattern thanks to many questionable stains. “I know what you did for Xander; I know you helped him find his friend. I need you to help me find someone.”
“I didn’t find his friend; I found his friend’s corpse. And I ain’t a tracker or a private detective, okay? I only did it as a favor to Faith.” And then there was his own sense of guilt, but the kid didn’t need to know that. “Yer barkin’ up the wrong tree.”
“It’s my sister, Kayla,” he said, as if he hadn’t been listening to a word he’d said. “She’s missing.”
“So? Hire a detective, call the police. Adios.”
“She’s a mutant,” he replied, his voice taking on an edge of desperation. “She was in college at the University of Toronto. But now she’s gone missing and I got …” he shook his head and reached into the pocket of his leather jacket, pulling out a folded note and a computer disk. Logan could smell Human blood on it.
“Is it hers?” he asked as he took them. He assumed a vampire would know what a family member’s blood would smell like. Just to make things easier, he went to the nightstand and clicked on the tacky orange bodied lamp bolted to the table. On the letter was simply scrawled the word “Next” smeared with blood, like it was a reddish-brown underline.
Kier nodded, swallowing hard and glancing down at the dingy brown carpet. It was so worn in some places it looked like it had a case of male pattern baldness. “Yeah, it is, otherwise I wouldn’t have even bothered you.”
At least that was nice to know. “What’s on the disc?”
Kier looked at the pieces of the furniture around the room. “You don’t have a laptop? Oh, what the fuck was I thinking? Of course you don’t have a laptop.” Logan wondered if he should be insulted by that or not. “It’s this weird movie. It shows a bunch of people impaled to the walls of a sex club, and this vampire I’ve never seen before who’s quite happy about it. I searched online and discovered it actually happened - seven people were killed in a club in Toronto just the other night. It made the Globe and Mail. Police have no suspects, but were horrified by the scene.”
“Since when do vampire killings make the papers? I thought they were more discreet than that.”
Kier shrugged helplessly, throwing his hands up in defeat. “Usually, yeah. I don’t understand what the fuck that has to do with my sister, except that there seemed to be some implied threat. But, see, no one knows I’m a vampire. I mean at home, amongst my family in Canada. I send them postcards every now and again, telling them bullshit stuff like I’m doing really well in Hollywood, so I don’t know how this guy - whoever the fuck he is - could even know I was a vampire, or what he wants with me.”
Logan scratched his head, wishing for a beer and trying to put this all together in his head. Either he was more tired than he thought, or this didn’t make sense. “Wait, wait. You said your sister is a mutant? Is this known? What can she do?”
“She can change her skin pigment at will. I know, it’s no big deal, that’s why she never went to a mutant school, or why we never made a big deal about it. She can always look suntanned - whoopty fucking do. She changed her skin purple for Halloween once. It’s known in the family, but nobody cares.”
He rubbed the space between his eyes, wondering why no one had invented a caffeinated beer yet. The road noise outside was a constant background hiss, and headlights occasionally broke through the closed curtains to flash upon the wall before leaving as fast as they came in. He wasn‘t in a great area of L.A., but none of these cheap motels were. “Okay, so she doesn’t make it a secret?”
“Well … she doesn’t announce it to strangers. But if asked she’d probably say she was a mutant.”
“Does her mutant status have anything to do with her disappearance?”
“I don’t know.”
“Does her disappearance have anything to do with you being a vampire?”
He shrugged once again. “I don’t know.” When Logan groaned in disgusted, he snapped, “But you see the note! Clearly they know I’m a vampire, or I wouldn’t know that was her blood!”
Okay, that was a point in his favor. “Do you have a copy of the Globe and Mail report with you?”
“What did it say? Anything about the victims, anything that might be important?”
He stared at the far wall as he thought, trying to remember what he saw. “Just that they were all patrons at a “social club” - read that as an S/M bar - and were killed in incredibly gruesome manners that lead police to suspect that there were several killers.”
Which figured, because vampires were strong enough to make it look like a mob hit the joint when it might have only been one or two of them. “Was he filming it? The vampire you saw? Or was there someone behind the camera?”
Kier gave him a startled look, as if that hadn’t occurred to him. “Oh shit. I … think someone else was holding the camera.”
“So we’re looking at two vampires at least, huh? Is it possible you knew the one behind the camera, and they just assumed you’d know the guy who showed himself?”
The boy grimaced and shook his head, looking strangely lost. “It’s possible, but how the hell would I know? I don’t see or hear anyone else … except the victims.”
Logan glanced at the disc as he put it and the note on the nightstand. “It shows the killings?”
“Some of them. Most were still alive nailed to the walls. He ripped out their throats.”
“Yeah, that’s what vamps do.” Logan got up and walked to the bathroom, mainly because he really needed to piss, but also because he wanted a moment to think about this in peace. There were several wrong things about all of this, but one of the most wrong things was Kier himself. Once he’d gone to the bathroom and washed his hands, he came out to find Kier still sitting uncomfortably on the chair, his face looking strained in the yellowed light of the dim lamp, hands clasped nervously between his knees. With his black jeans, Bob like biker boots, black leather jacket and loose Radiohead t-shirt, he looked like a surprisingly upscale male hustler he picked up on the Boulevard who was now having second thoughts about his profession. Logan found his tank top on the floor and pulled it on. “You gotta be honest with me here, Kier. Why the fuck do you care?”
That made him look up, surprise naked on his face. “What? Do you mean about my sister?”
He sat back down on the edge of his bed. “Yeah. My understanding is most vamps can’t wait to get rid of their old lives. A lot of ‘em kill their families. None send postcards.”
The kid rubbed his face nervously, looking away and scratching the back of his neck, adopting tics as he tried to figure out an answer or an acceptable lie. It took him a few seconds. “I don’t know. I’ve always been … kinda weird. I don’t know why I never wanted to hurt them or disappoint them. I know that makes me weird, but I’ve never known why. It’s like I only lost a part of myself when I became a vampire. That’s why I thought I made such a good vampire - I was ready for it. I never realized it until then, though.”
Could that happen? Logan just didn’t know enough about what went into the making of a vampire or the destruction of the Human within to judge, but it seemed weird. After all, look what happened to Angel; when he was made a vampire, he killed all of his family. And he knew Angel wasn’t the type of guy to do that, so if he could have resisted the pull he would have. What was different enough about Kier or about how he was made that he came out of his “possession” (which is what he understood vampirism to be - the infiltration of a Human by a demonic parasite that could only live on this plane in another physical entity) partially intact, if he did indeed do so? Did that have anything to do with any of this? “Where did you get this? It wasn’t sent in the mail, was it?”
“I don’t think so; there was no postmark on the envelope. It was just waiting for me at the bite club.”
Bite club? Right, that weird place where he bit people who wanted to flirt with vampires without being in actual danger. So the hustler analogy of earlier was apt, if a little off - he didn’t fuck his clientele, he just bit ‘em and sucked some of their blood, giving them a sexual rush. Which seemed kinkier actually, but this was L.A.: there was surely much kinkier shit just down the road, or maybe in the room one down from him. “No one saw who dropped it off?”
He shook his head. “Not that I know of. It was found shoved beneath the door with my name on it. We all smelled the blood, but only I knew what it meant.”
“How long has your sister been missing?”
“Two days. She was supposed to have spent the weekend with a friend in Windsor, but apparently she never showed up.”
“Why me? Why not go to Angel with this? Maybe it’s in Canada, but vamps are his thing.”
He faked a sigh and sat back in the chair, looking weary as well as uncomfortable. “Because you can walk in daylight. And if there are Humans at all involved in this … I know you won’t pull your punches. He usually does.”
He was the bigger killer essentially then, huh? Well, he had to give the kid credit for honesty. He scrubbed a hand through his hair, wanting very badly to go back to bed, and asked the only other thing he thought might be relevant. “Do you have any enemies that might want to do this to you?”
Kier’s Pacific blue eyes widened in shock, as he clearly hadn’t considered that before. “In Canada? None. I mean, I wasn’t always the nicest guy, but I was Human. I didn’t even know the supernatural existed then. I never ran into vampires until I came to Hollywood.”
Probably in more ways than one, but there was no need to point that out to him. Kier had been killed and vamped in a snuff film, hadn’t he? Now there was a hell of a way to learn how this city chewed young people up and spit them out, sometimes literally, in unrecognizable bloody chunks.
And what was Toronto but the “Hollywood of the North”? Oh shit, that felt important, even in his sleep addled brain. “Did your sister ever want to be an actress?”
“She was in drama, yeah. We’re all drama queens in my family, some more than others.” Kier’s eyes locked on his, and Logan saw the terrible knowledge bloom in them as he connected the dots. “Oh, fuck. You don’t think this is related to what happened to me, do you?”
Logan shook his head. “I dunno. My neurons ain’t firing at full capacity right now. But film and vamps … it makes you wonder.”
“But those people in the club, there’s no way they could have been actors. They’re all suburban breeders who sneak into the city for anonymous fun. They’d never want to be captured on film.”
“Not voluntarily. But somehow I don’t think they volunteered to be crucified.”
Kier stood up and started pacing in a very tight line, clenching his hands tightly together, his shoulders hunching as if he was trying to collapse within himself. “Oh god, if something’s happened to her and it’s my fault …”
“It ain’t your fault. It’s the fault of whatever sick fuck decided to nail people to the wall.” Why was even trying to comfort this kid? He hardly knew him, and he wasn’t sure he liked him, although he tolerated him because Bren was clearly into him, and he seemed to turn his back on Wolfram and Hart even though they set him up as a mole. Also he’d been raised in his esteem by killing all those Organization people when they tried to grab Bren. Maybe Angel didn’t like it, but Logan wished he could have watched and given him pointers. The Org wanted to come after him? Fine; they’d been doing that dance for ages (way too fucking long). But go after the kids? That was fucking off limits, and they deserved every single ounce of pain that they got for it. And they could never get enough. “Look, it’s nearly sunup. Get outta here. I’m gonna sack out for a couple hours, then I’ll meet you at the Way Station at ten, okay?”
He stopped his pacing, but it seemed like an effort of will. “Does that mean you’re gonna help me?” The piteous need on his face was almost heartbreaking … or would have been, had he been more conscious. Right now he could only observe it in an abstract sort of way.
“I’ll think about it,” he said, getting up and opening the door. Almost as an afterthought he grabbed the note and the disc off the nightstand and gave them to Kier as he approached. “And if you gotta laptop, bring it. I wanna see what’s on the disc.”
He nodded, and almost managed a smile, but not quite. “Yeah, I will. Thanks.”
Logan just grunted, and as soon as he was out he shut the door on the abnormally humid night and nearly constant street noise. As he flopped down on the bed, he wondered how he was going to say no to this kid. Hell, he wasn’t a detective, he wasn’t even a mercenary. He was just … what the fuck was he?
He remembered Brent Ellison calling him a vigilante, and suddenly he realized that was exactly why Kier wanted his help. Logan wondered if that was a good enough reason to help him out after all.
After all, vigilantes probably ought to stick together.