Bark at the Moon Ch. 04byCrazzyGuy©
Hey, everyone, I'm back with Chapter 4 of our intrepid Arcanes. I hope you all enjoy it, and please, do leave a comment and a review. I do enjoy hearing from you all!
Kara sat in the passenger's seat of Santiago's car. It carried the smell of takeout and coffee in it. They'd been quiet as they drove, but Kara couldn't stand the silence.
"So tell me about O'Dwyer." She said.
Zach shrugged. "Where do you want to start?"
"Well, she's a witch, right?" Kara then added. "Like you?"
"No, definitely not like me." He chuckled. "Or, rather, I'm not like her. I've stopped using my powers, for the most part. She's very powerful."
"Why did you stop using your powers?" Kara asked. "I mean, magic has got to come in quite a bit handy, being a detective and all."
He shook his head. "Ever hear about the tenants of pagan faith? The two big ones are," His voice changed, reciting now. "An' it harm none, do what ye will.' Magic isn't a tool of destruction, or it's not supposed to be. As for the other main tenant, the rule of three."
Kara knew this one. "Whatever you do, comes back to you threefold."
Santiago's voice went deadly quiet. "I killed someone with magic, Archer. There are very few things in the metaphysics of the universe worse than that."
The tone of his voice sent shivers down her spine. A million questions raced through Kara's head. The first one sprung from her lips before she'd considered how rude, hurtful, or violating it might be. "Who?"
Santiago's voice turned to steel. "My lover." Kara decided that she should just shut up, but Santiago continued. "I was mated to a vampire. Did Owen explain that little bit to you, mating?"
Kara shook her head. "Uh, no. I'm going to guess it means pretty much what it sounds like?"
"Arcanes are spiritually drawn to certain people. Soul partners, mates, they're someone who speaks to the Arcane in us. It's considered a blessing to find your mate." Even behind the sunglasses Santiago was wearing, Kara could feel the intensity burning in his eyes. The man was fiercely emotional.
"What happened?" She whispered.
"She was a vampire here in San Francisco. Hair like the sun. We were deeply, intensely in love. I'm old, Kara. Witches live for a very long time. In eighty years, I had never been as deeply, powerfully attracted to a woman." His voice was losing some of the California accent, and slipping to something straight from Europe.
"I found that even love doesn't change some things. She was a vicious woman, when she would get angry. And I knew that, outside of the bed, she was caught up in all the wrong things for a Vice cop's lover." He turned the car into a parking space, and shut off the engine. "I found out, Kara, that she'd killed three men, drained them dry.
"From there, there wasn't much of a choice in my mind. Witches feel emotions, especially strong ones like that, intensely. Hate clouded my judgment. I burned her alive, Kara. And that fire killed two other people."
"That's why you were being investigated by Internal Affairs."
"Yea. By all rights, I was a dead man. There wasn't any physical evidence, but even still, they could have put me away for life. And then the Captain came."
"Cap offered me a fresh slate. Internal Affairs would get off my case, and I would work for him. That's how I became the third MCU detective."
"Santiago, I..." Hell, what did someone say to something like that?
"Don't tell anyone about this, Archer. I'm telling you now so you'll have the full story. People around the precinct like to talk, and it's best you hear the worst of it from the source." He turned his head, looked past her onto the street. "And you'll be prepared if O'Dwyer brings it up."
She looked to the shop. It was a New Age-y place called Wyrd. "Is this Miss O'Dwyer's place?" She asked.
Kara nodded. "Let's go."
They got out of the car, and Zach seemed to be just as composed as he'd been before. Impressive, Kara thought. The man seemed rather good at containing emotions. She wondered if all witches were like that.
They walked inside the store, where Kara was greeted with a strong, herbal scent. Wyrd wasn't a very pretty shop. It was, however, functional, with shelves lining the walls, packed to the brim with any number of items. Kara's eyes scanned the aisles of the store. There were two people in the store who were browsing, an older woman and a girl who looked young enough to still be in high school.
Santiago, however, walked them to the counter. Kara knew, immediately, that the woman behind the counter was Caitlin O'Dwyer.
She was a lovely woman, with creamy pale skin, and dark hair. Her features were delicate, though her green eyes burned with a life of their own. She wore a t-shirt, a long skirt, and combat boots. "Hello, Zach." Her eyes turned to Kara. "And you, I don't know you." Her voice held a lilting quality to it, and Kara quickly guessed that her name wasn't the only thing Irish.
"No, ma'am, I'm Inspector Kara Archer, Major Cases." She nodded to her.
"Indeed," Her green eyes flicked back to Santiago. "She's a pretty one. How new are you, love?"
"I just started Major Cases yesterday."
"Yesterday?" She arched an eyebrow. "And are you Inspector Santiago's partner? I'd say I would be surprised. He's not the type to work with a partner, usually."
"I'm Owen Reese's partner, actually. Santiago's borrowing me for the day."
"Oh, Owen?" Her eyes swept over Kara. "Mm, interesting. You have a very nice aura about you."
Kara furrowed her brow. "Aura?"
Caitlin nodded. "Witches can see auras around people, determine their nature, their energies. You have a very positive one. Natural, alive."
"Glad I've got the good mojo." Kara chuckled a little. "Now, uh, we came here to talk to you about something involving a case."
She smirked. "Of course, it's always a case." She stepped up closer to the counter, extending a hand. "All right, let me see it."
Kara reached into her jacket, pulling out the photograph of the carvings on Felicia Brewer's skin. "Here we go," She said, and set the photo into Caitlin's hands.
She brought the photo up to her eyes, and started to look over it. "This. This is weird." She whispered, her voice soft with curiosity.
"What is it?" Zach asked. "I mean, I know it's demonic, but beyond that, I don't know any of this."
"Because no one's used these symbols for decades." She said, then looked up from the picture to the both of them. "It's been a while. Last time I saw these were in the twenties."
"Wait, the twenties?" Kara asked, astonished.
"She knows we witches live long, right?"
Kara crossed her arms across her chest. "I'd appreciate you not speaking as if I weren't here. I know about that, yea, at least to some extent. I just didn't think..." She whistled. "You don't look like you were around in the twenties."
"Oddly polite," She laughed. "But, anyways, yes. The roaring twenties were quite the time for demonic cults. I encountered one that was using very similar signs in Hartford." She reached down to the counter, and pulled on some glasses. "Can you two fine officers watch over the store for a moment? I'm going to go into the back and take a look."
"Certainly," Santiago said, bowing his head politely. "We'll wait here."
"Of course you will," She chuckled, and she walked away from the counter towards the back of the store, her hips swishing. Something in Kara admired her, definitely. She was confident, mysterious, and had her own powerful presence.
"She's something else, isn't she?" She whistled, once she was sure that Caitlin was in the back room.
"Yea," He chuckled. "Cat is well, crazy powerful, and sort of a leader of the community for civilian Arcanes."
Kara couldn't help but smirk. "Are you hitting that?" She asked.
Zach looked at her for a second with an inquisitive look before laughing. "Hell no," He said. "Witches don't really go well with witches." He said. "We're too much alike."
"But there is something there." Kara noted.
"She pulled me out of a bad place. Any feelings I have towards her are pretty platonic, but she's earned my respect."
"Interesting," She murmured, and she waited for Caitlin to return. She had with her a large tome, which she was carrying under an arm.
"Well, it looks like I've found it. It was a good thing my memory stretches back that far, lovelies, as this one is rather rare." She set the book down on the counter, and opened it up, flipping it open.
She had it opened to a page, which looked to be faded, yellowed, and old. "Here," Caitlin said. "We're dealing with a demon, a bottom feeder."
"What's a bottom feeder?" Kara asked.
"One of the worst kinds." She said. "Demons are, for the most part, stuck in other dimensions. They're entities that are bound to other realms. A bottom feeder, however, is what we call a demon that can hug our dimension, get close enough to influence it and people susceptible to it."
"And just who is susceptible to one of these bottom feeders?" Kara asked.
"The mentally unstable, particularly Arcanes." Santiago said. "That definitely narrows the field. However, those particular Arcanes aren't really particularly active in the community. For all we know it's a vampire who's staying in someone's closet."
"Would they have been able to move the body there, though? It was pretty sunny."
"Vampires get sunburnt on a bad day," Caitlin said. "But apart from that, they're not really affected by it." She looked to Santiago. "It could have been a witch, or someone with some minor magical talent. The ones I dealt with before were a couple college student with almost no magical ability, but the demon had been influencing their minds, getting them to commit the ritual murders."
"Wait, murders?" Santiago furrowed his brow. "They did multiple killings?"
Caitlin nodded. "Yea, four women were killed like this, and each ritual added on to the demon's power. When it got enough, the cult brought it into our reality using a ritual. Thing killed five more people before I was able to take it down with the help of a few other witches."
Kara sighed. "That's great, just great. So, this was just a random murder, done just because she was convenient?"
"I'm sorry to say so." She said. "But I'll tap into my sources, see if anyone else has been doing research into these symbols, all right?"
"Yea, thanks," Kara nodded. "I'll-"
She was interrupted by the door to the store bursting open. Kara spun on her heels, hand immediately going for her gun.
She stopped herself when she saw the situation. Owen was standing in the doorway, holding her brother's unmoving form.
"Caitlin," Owen growled. "Got a patient for you." He spoke as if Kara wasn't even there. "Santiago, you too." He looked to Kara finally. "Wait here, just a minute, please."
Kara's temper flared hot. "Just wait a minute here, what's my brother doing here? I am not just going to stand here and wait around!"
"Kara," Owen said. "Time is not on his side, and I need witches more than I need his irate sister. I'll explain once we've got him stable."
She wanted to hit him. That was her brother he was talking about. Kara was half-tempted to just whale into him and beat him up until he told her what was going on. But Jason's sweaty, sickly face brought her back to the present. "Fine," She hissed.
She watched as Santiago and Caitlin followed Owen into the back room, feeling very helpless in that moment.
Owen knew the drill. He'd done this before. There was a small cot in the back of the room. Caitlin had been a friend of the MCU cops for years. She kept the cot whenever one of the cops had a fight with their ladies, or times were rough. Her knowledge of magicks had also come in handy when someone got an injury that needed something more than medical attention.
"Care to explain to me what's going on?" Cat's voice was peaking with anger. Owen had known her long enough to realize that the Irish accent creeping into her voice was not because she was pleased with him.
"Shut the door." Owen growled as he set Jason down on the cot. He turned back to face the two witches. When Cat shut the door, he answered. "This is Kara's twin, Jason. In the past twenty-four hours, my sister got her fangs into him, and apparently fucked him and turned him."
"Turned him?" Santiago groaned. "Oh, you have to be fucking kidding me..."
"Apparently, Jason and Kara Archer are the kids of two badass weres, and they had no idea. In fact, neither of them has changed before. But, Iris pumped him full of something, a drug it sounds like, and well, here we are with a twenty-five year old man getting a whole load of werewolf genes kicking in."
Cat rolled her eyes. "Oh, you bring the interesting ones to me..." She sighed, and she walked over to the cot, grabbing an amulet on the way. "Does Kara know she's a were, Owen?" Cat asked.
"No, definitely not." She said. "And we're not going to break it to her like this."
Santiago rolled his eyes. "Balls. You have to be fucking kidding me, Owen. We're not keeping this from her."
"Yes we are," Owen growled. "and I'll call The Captain in on this. You know I will."
"Boys," Caitlin snapped. "Shut up, kindly. You can start yelling again when I've diagnosed him."
Owen let out a grumble of agreement, and crossed his arms across his chest. He watched as an orange energy shone from the amulet. He could sense the magic floating through the air. Even as someone who'd been involved in the Arcane for years, he still found witches and magic to be something alien, unknown. They weren't very numerous, but powerful witches like Caitlin outstripped anything Owen could bring to bear. It made Owen, at least in part, disappointed that Santiago rejected his gift.
After several minutes, Cat looked up. "I can't tell what this is, honestly. It's magic, but there's some of the black tossed in. Whatever this was, it violently awoke his beast. It's definitely an alpha, no doubt about that."
"I've seen him naked." Owen said, quietly. "He didn't have our tattoos."
Cat sighed. "And he should have been consumed by the beast without them."
"I wasn't born an alpha," Owen said. "But after my first changes, I was impossible to control until I got my markings." He felt his chest tingle just at the mention of the power lurking inside of him. "I would've thought he'd be a feral monster by now, with how powerful it was."
"I thought the tattoo was used to facilitate the change." Zach said. "I'm confused now."
"For those of us who have the genetics passed down, puberty comes with the first changes. Depending on how strong our beast is," Owen said. "That influences when we get the tattoo. The tattoo not only reinforces our human side over the beast, it makes the beast stronger."
Santiago nodded. "But, if he doesn't...well, what's that mean?"
"It means he's something we haven't seen in hundreds of years, a naturally born were who could possibly control his beast." He looked back to Cat. "What's his beast?"
"He's a coyote." She said quietly. "I could tell that much just from his aura. I was wrong, he's not an alpha. He's an omega."
Owen bristled. Omegas were the outsiders of the pack. They existed outside of the structure, and were a mixed back. Iris was an omega, and one of the worse ones. More positive outcomes included bounty hunters, sheriffs for the were community, and the occasional news reporter, he guessed.
"An omega, fuck." He sighed. "Well, there goes an easy integration into the pack." Owen ran a hand through his hair.
"You think Kara will be the same?" Santiago asked.
"Dunno, Zach," Owen shook his head. "Won't find out until she turns." Jason's words rung in his head. She's next. Whoever had hired Iris to turn Jason would be coming after
His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of gunshots.
Kara was sitting behind the counter, pretty pissed at Owen. They were in the back, with her brother, who was definitely not looking great. She wanted to scream, cry, or any number of things.
She'd been pacing at first, but the old lady and teenager had both gotten sick of it, and left her with an empty shop to watch. She'd forced herself to sit down, before she did something stupid like barging in there. She wanted to, badly, but whatever Owen did, she knew he had a reason. She just wasn't sure she'd like it.
It had been about ten minutes when the front door to the store opened. Two men, dressed in jeans, black shirts, and jackets, walked in. They were Slavic, by Kara's guess.
"You Kara Archer?" The first one, a man with slightly darker hair than the other, asked.
Something about them set her on edge. She stood up from the chair, her hand drifting into her jacket.
The second one, who had a scar running across his jaw, growled. "You come with us."
"I don't think so." She drew her pistol, racking the slide and centering it on the man with the scar. "Get down on the ground."
The two men didn't answer her. The black-haired man lunged forward, and Kara's instincts kicked in. She drew the Glock closer to her body, bringing it from his reach, and fire off a pair of shots. It was part of her training. Two to the chest, one to the head. She didn't have time to line up a headshot, so the two to the body would work just fine.
But the man she'd shot didn't go down, even if Kara could see both wounds, gushing darker stains on his shirt. Both came at her, and Kara ducked out of the way. She rushed past the counter, down one of the aisles away from them. She could hear at least one of them hot on her back.
Kara brought up her pistol, firing blindly behind her back. She didn't look, but she didn't hear anyone stopping, so she just kept running to the end of the aisle.
However, she was quickly running out of space, and she had to turn to avoid hitting the wall. She felt a hand grab at her, and spin her around.
The scarred man had a hold of her arm, and he certainly wasn't letting go. She raised her gun to take a shot, but his hand batted at her wrist. She knew the move, definitely, and Kara dropped the gun. "Son of a...." She struggled against him, and screamed. "HELP!"
The man moved to take a swing at her, but the noise of the back room's door bursting open stopped him. Both Owen and Santiago were standing there, guns in hand.
"Touch her again, and you'll be dead before you hit the ground." Owen growled.
The man lunged, and almost immediately, a pair of shots filled the air. Two holes appeared in his head, and he slumped to the ground, like a marionette with cut strings.
Kara, however, was below him as he fell, leaving her trapped beneath what she guessed was at least two hundred pounds of whatever-he-had-been.
She grunted, looking up at the two of them. "I am so freaking glad you two showed up when you did." She gasped. "Jeez, I just..."
Owen rushed over to her, pulling the dead man off of her. "Kara," His voice was in the same low growl that it had been before. He pulled her into his arms, holding her close against his chest. "I've got you, it's all right."
Damn him, she thought as she hugged him. Just bearing near the man was calming the storm of worry in her. Why were these men coming after her? Was this connected to her brother? "What the fuck is going on?"
"I'll explain when we get you somewhere safe." Owen promised, whispering into her ear. Then, she felt him turn. "Zach, get this shit cleaned up. Call the Captain if you need to. I'm taking her out of here."
Santiago sighed. "Shit, man. He's not going to like this."
"He can deal with me later." Owen growled.
Kara couldn't wait for Owen to explain all of this. Shit, this was weirder than she'd thought a new job could ever be this bad.