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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: A near mythical demon that feeds on vampires shows up in L.A. - and is after Angel. Logan and the group try to determine who summoned it here, while attempting to protect Angel....but that's easier said than done.
Notes: Improves upon / takes place after the events of "X3" and shortly after "Chosen".
“Is there anything better than a runaway on a Friday night?” Bobby cackled, wiping the blood off his mouth as he shoved the body behind the dumpster.
Tim laughed, but Juan just took an impatient drag on his cigarette. Bobby glared at him, morphing back into Human face, and snapped, “What’s up your ass?”
Juan blew out a steady stream of smoke before pitching the cigarette into the gutter. “There’s rumors, you know, about some kinda new god boy in town. This ain’t a good time or place to be feeding.”
“Oh, what? That god turned to stone story?” Palmer asked, kicking at a crumpled coffee cup on the ground. It was Los Angeles, which pretty much guaranteed you’d hear a lot of weirdo stories, but the hard part was figuring out what was true or not. It all sounded equally improbable, so it was hard to pick out which was the winner. She’d been here long enough that it should have been second nature now, but somehow it wasn’t. Time hadn’t made anything clearer; it just seemed to muddy the waters more. “Why would a god come to L.A. in the first place? I thought this was Sodom and Gomorrah.”
“No, we’re just Gomorrah,” Juan said. “San Francisco’s Sodom.”
“Whatever. Why would gods come here? Makes no sense, not to mention someone turning ‘em to stone.”
“Well, that guy who runs the Way Station, you know, that demon bar, is supposedly a fallen angel or ex-god or something,” Tim said. He was right behind Bobby as he led the way up the street, his usual position - Palmer figured he should just change his name to “Bobby’s Shadow” and be done with it. Supposedly the vampire who turned Bobby had turned Tim too, but that didn’t make them instant brothers. They wouldn’t be anyways, since Tim was Puerto Rican and Bobby was whiter than the residents of Beverly Hills.
“Him?” Juan scoffed. “Naw. I hear he’s just an old Belial or something.”
“I dunno. I went to the bar once and I saw him and it was like … damn. There was, like, a psychic pressure to his look. It was like you could tell he could make you do whatever he wanted you to do. It was creepy.”
“So? Old Belials can do shit like that,” Juan countered.
Tim shrugged diffidently, like he didn’t want to argue, but he clearly thought Juan was full of shit. “Maybe, but … it was weird. I’ve never been back.”
Bobby snorted derisively. “You’re afraid of some old lesser demon? You’re a puss.”
“Have you ever met the guy?”
Bobby shrugged in a way that suggested no he hadn’t, but he still didn’t give a shit. “I don’t go to that side of town. Most of the cows have too high a drug or alcohol content in their bloodstream. It’s really depressing.”
“And this place isn’t?” Juan observed.
They were just south of Sunset, prowling the dark areas between streets and bigger alleys, and it was always nice to watch the typical Human street trash and thugs melt away as the four of them neared. After a while, the Humans on the street developed a kind of sixth sense about vampires and learned to avoid them as much as possible. Kids who dressed well but didn’t look like tourists in a bad area in the dead of night, not at all concerned about their surroundings? Either really wasted or vampires. And the wasted usually gave themselves away quite easily.
They were just a couple of blocks out from the bus station, where the runaways converged and made for easy pickings. Too easy really - there was hardly any sport in it. It was like an all-you-can-eat buffet. It made Palmer wonder how vampires didn’t get fat.
They turned down a side street where you could find the better she-male hookers, only the street was surprisingly empty. Busy night for the she-males? The cops make a bust somewhere? It was weird and kind of creepy. “They have a party in WeHo we didn’t know about?” Palmer wondered, looking around. Although they could hear an argument on a distant street and dueling car stereos thudding bass heavy rap and timpani heavy Spanish music, there didn’t seem to be anyone around on this block.
“I don’t like it,” Juan said.
Bobby snorted. “You don’t like anything lately. Bitch, bitch, bitch.”
Juan stopped suddenly, and Palmer almost walked into his broad back. “No, I don’t. Who died and made you leader, asshole?”
Bobby turned and faced him, snarling but still in Human face. When it came down to it, Juan could probably kick Bobby’s ass - not only was he bigger, but he was some big bad ass ex-gang banger from Oakland. Or so he said; truth be told, if he was all that bad ass, how’d he get vamped in the first place? “You don’t like it, puto, you can walk,” he snarled.
“Yeah, I will. Let’s see how long you last without me,” Juan snapped back.
It was then she heard, just below their raised voices, a whisper of wings.
It was strange to hear in the dead of night, especially in the middle of the city, and she saw movement over the street, something dark briefly occluding the street lights.
The guys continued to argue as what seemed to be a flock of small crows - what were they called, a murder of crows? - converged in the middle of the street. No, they didn’t exactly converge - they seemed to fly into a central point, gathering together … no, piling into one big …
It wasn’t a bird. You’d think a whole bunch of birds would have made one big bird, but all these birds had gathered together to make a man. Hadn’t that happened in The Crow movies? That was pretty cool. Only now it didn’t seem so cool. She was tapping Juan on the back, but he had so far been ignoring her.
“What?!” he roared, spinning to face her. But by now the man was walking across the street towards them, and they all turned to look. He had an odd gait, almost like his knees didn’t bend properly, and his legs seemed really long under a long black coat that gleamed like oil under the streetlights.
No, not oil - feathers. Tightly packed black feathers that almost looked like alligator skin or something, but revealed its true nature in soft edges, and it wasn’t just a coat. Was it folded wings? Wings that swooped around him, covered him like a cloak. He had short black hair with the same oily, feathery sheen, and a sharp nose that was beaklike in the extreme. His eyes had wide, horizontal pupils, and no whites at all - it was just black pupil and golden iris. He looked like a pale, angular Human with hawk like features, not that bad looking, although that was spoiled a bit when he grinned at them, revealing fangs a vampire would have been proud of. He smelled like … what? Bad news.
“What the fuck are you supposed to be?” Bobby challenged.
“Your doom,” he replied, his voice as sharp as glass. And in a blink he’d gone from several feet away to right in front of Bobby, a movement so fast and fluid it barely registered as a blur, even though afterward Palmer felt the breeze from wings almost as an afterthought.
It had Bobby by the throat and the jaw, and Tim lunged to grab the crow man, but one of his wings lashed out and sent Tim flying into a wall so hard that she could hear bones snap like toothpicks on impact. He had arms, but he also had wings, and that seemed unfair somehow.
She and Juan stood frozen as the bird man moved close enough that it looked like it was going to kiss him, but instead this stream of ghostly light suddenly emitted from Bobby’s mouth and went straight into the bird man’s mouth like cigarette smoke. It didn’t last long, just long enough for Bobby to go limp and suddenly burst into ash. What the fuck had just happened?
The crow man turned his bird eyes on them, and they were now glowing with a sinister, spectral light. “Where’s the one with the soul?” he asked, his voice like shattered crystal.
But neither of them answered him, mainly because they were already running for the hills.
Kier opened his eyes to a bunch of guys who looked barely nineteen, their eyes lined heavily with eyeliner (guyliner), lip-synching to a song that sounded generically modern. Kier watched through squinted eyes for almost a full minute, and still wasn’t able to identify the group. They were Panic At The Fall Out Of Red Mars Romance, emo-screamo bands thrown in a blender and pureed to mush. This made him feel really old.
Well, he was really old. If he was alive, he’d have been … oh holy shit, would he really have been almost forty?! Oh god, he’d have been some sad old queen eking by on extra work and still going to auditions boasting of his one “X-Files” appearance. Brendan never would have even looked twice at him, not unless he was into older guys, and he didn’t seem to be. Well, unless you counted Logan, but Logan didn’t count, as he aged so slowly he might as well have been one of those big Easter Island heads. And he had those great pecs - you couldn’t take that away from him.
Kier started looking around for the remote - he had no memory of the t.v. being turned to MTV2 - and noticed it propped partially beneath Bren’s thigh. They had both fallen asleep on the sofa, just exhausted after such a long day and night, but it was slightly disheartening somehow. Especially disheartening since he was a vampire and Bren was only half-Human. They were supposed to have more stamina, right?
He reached for the remote, but hesitated, as he wasn’t sure he could grab it without waking Bren up. It gave him a moment to look at the tattoos now covering both of his arms, from the top of his hands to his shoulders. Okay, they weren’t tattoos, they were marks, the celestial UPC codes of the Gorgons. How heart shaped black leaved vines became the calling card of the Gorgons he had no idea, and if Rags knew, he hadn’t shared the information. Or at least he hadn’t shared it intelligibly.
Bren was wearing a tank top and surfer shorts, as it had been a ludicrously hot day and their air conditioner was on its last legs … at least according to Bren. Being undead meant that temperature variations really didn’t enter your sphere of notice unless it got balls falling off cold or bursting into flames hot. In the spirit of things, Kier had stripped down to his boxers, but Bren knew he wasn’t bothered by the heat in the least.
Would Bren change more now that he was the Gorgons chosen or champion or whatever? Bren said no, he’d just learn a couple of spells and shit like that, but he’d be the same person he always was. But Kier wasn’t so sure. After all, this was no small thing, and no matter how he soft pedaled it, it was a big fucking deal. Why had gods been trying to kill him if it wasn’t? Logan had said that some gods had felt threatened, that being half-Human was too Human for their taste, but that didn’t really explain anything. If it was a nothing thing, if Bren just got cool tattoos and that was the end of it, why would any god feel threatened? That didn’t track.
There was something else - there simply had to be. Either Rags hadn’t told Bren about it yet, or Bren was keeping it from him. And if he was keeping it from him, he knew where he stood, didn’t he? Ah, insecurity. He was pretty sure he left that behind with his humanity, but apparently not.
He slipped the remote out from under his leg, but it woke him up. As Bren sat back straighter and opened his eyes, he asked reflexively, “What did I miss?”
“I have no idea. We fell asleep in front of the television like some boring old couple,” he said, shutting off the set and tossing the remote onto the coffee table, beside the open box full of pizza remains. “Next thing you know, we’re going to move to some gayer than gay subdivision outside of Palm Springs, get some kind of annoying designer dog and wear matching sweater vests. Stake me now.”
“It’ll never happen,” Bren assured him.
“I don’t like dogs.”
He stared at him with sarcastic hate. “Oh, and I like sweater vests, huh?”
Bren smiled sleepily. “I don’t know. You do have weird tastes sometimes -”
Kier grabbed him and tickled him, pinning him down to the couch as he laughed and tried to squirm out of his grasp. Unless he let his Brachen side out, he didn‘t stand a chance. “Them’s fightin’ words, smart ass.”
“Says the guy who caved in due to tickling.”
“You fight dirty.”
“I am dirty,” he replied grinning. “I thought that’s what you liked about me.”
“What a corny thing to say,” Bren replied, grimacing humorously, but he still put his arms around him and let him kiss him.
Things were just getting good - Kier had just peeled Bren’s shirt off and was kissing his sleek chest - when there was a loud pounding at their door. They both groaned, just a little too used to this kind of thing to be really surprised, just disappointed. Kier looked down at him, and asked, “Should we ignore it?” But he barely got the question out before the pounding continued.
They both sighed, and Kier got up to go to the door, as he was technically closest. “If it’s Rogue, we’ll pretend we’re not here,” Bren said. On the surface that seemed mean, but ever since she had regained her power, Rogue had been needy to the extreme. Bren had been a good friend to her, really good, but he was getting exhausted, and Kier understood completely.
He peered through the tiny peephole in the door, and saw something he hadn’t expected to see: Palmer. She hadn’t exactly been a friend; more of an acquaintance from the bite club. She quit a month ago, mainly due to boredom. There just wasn’t any “sport” in being paid to bite a willing person. But he’d never given her his address, so how did she know where to find him? And better yet, why the fuck was she here?
Palmer - not her real name, but many vampires gave up their Human names upon being turned - was a petite woman with long, sleek black hair and dark, piercing eyes, changed at the age of twenty two. She looked at least half Latina, although she had never mentioned it. She was wearing a red satin crop top, a fitted black leather jacket, tight denim capris weighed down with numerous gold chain belts, and treacherous looking heels. She also looked pale and wide eyed with panic, so much so that he could almost smell it through the door.
He opened the door, mainly out of shock. “Palmer? What the fuck - “
“Kier, you gotta let me in!” She interrupted. “I’m not sure if he followed me or not!”
Bren had come up behind him, pulling his shirt back on. “Friend?” He asked him.
Kier glanced back over his shoulder. “Kinda. She was at the bite club with me.”
Kier was forced to shrug, but added, in a low whisper, “I can handle her.”
Bren nodded once, as that was all he needed to know. “Come in,” Bren told her, and as soon as the invisible barrier fell, she lunged inside the apartment and slammed the door, throwing the locks for him.
That was one of the oddities he’d discovered living with Bren. It was no matter that he was living here, and that Bren was half Brachen - Kier couldn’t invite another vampire in; Bren had to, or they weren’t coming in. And since he was the Gorgon’s champion and he was some kind of special vampire, you really wouldn’t think any vampire besides Angel would ever want to be invited in here.
As soon as she was done locking the door, she leaned against it, as if she could hold it with her weight. “What’s this about?” Kier demanded.
“It was a Kalivrana,” she said, and gave Bren a brief once over. “Wicked tats.”
“Kalivrana?” Kier repeated. “They don’t exist. They’re bedtime stories old vampires tell new ones to scare them.”
“Kalivrana?” Bren asked him.
Kier shrugged. “Some kind of demon that supposedly feeds off vampires.”
“It’s no myth,” she said. “One of them just killed my friend right in front of my eyes.” She licked her lips nervously, an oddly Human gesture that communicated her fear more strongly than her rank scent, and then delivered the coup de grace. “And it’s looking for your boss.”