Valentine for RealbyNachtmahr©
This is side story from my alternate 'verse set in Austin, TX. It is for Valentine's Day and I hope you like it. You don't have to read chapter one of Austin City Blues to follow this, but feel free to do so if you like. Happy Reading!
As I stood outside of the old Texadelphia on the Drag, I wondered what was keeping my date. Kelly had taken a lot of no's for an answer before I finally caved in to her badgering. "You have to have a date for Valentine's Day, Beth, you simply aren't going to talk your way out of this one" she had said, as she glared at me through our last Skype session. In desperation, I decided to agree just so she would quit bothering me every few hours. She told me that she didn't know the guy personally, but that one of her friends from work had gushed for days after she had been out with him. Something about his amazing stamina in the bedroom, or at least that is what I think she was going to say before I stuck my fingers in my ears and started making lalala noises. I love Kelly like a sister, but she gets around like a cat in heat and I am generally far more reserved when it comes to having someone put their bookmark in my novel.
Of course, my profession tends to put me in harm's way more often than not, so it isn't very safe to be my sweetie. As a Deputy U.S. Marshal authorized to apprehend law-breaking para-normals, known as Verschlungen amongst themselves, I tend to make a lot of enemies. Logically most of them are the para's that I take in, or their next of kin if it goes south, but more and more it is the people I am supposed to be protecting. So many radical groups have popped up in the last year alone, some willing to just protest the "harsh and illegal methods used to apprehend innocent para-normals" and others that prefer to take a hands on method. Just last month I broke my savings account to pay for all new tires and windows for my Elantra, plus find new living accommodations, after the Chronicle screwed up and listed my former address in a featurette on regional enforcers. Last year I had needed to buy the Elantra itself to replace my ten year old Civic after it was found buried in seaweed and looking like it had been stored in salt water for years. I can't prove anything, but I still think it was the widow of the each-uisge that I had to put down in Galveston after the disappearance of multiple swimmers from the area.
I decided I would give my late beau about five more minutes to show before I texted Kelly and let her know that not only did Jeff not show, but that I had stood out here for half an hour in the still chilly weather, when I could have been home watching Sherlock on my DVR. I guess my annoyance is why I didn't hear the steps behind me before I felt a light tap on my shoulder. Surprised, I let out a small shriek and jumped, although this quickly turned to anger as I realized how girly I looked and sounded. I whirled and glared at the person behind me, subconsciously preparing to bridge the distance between us with hand strikes or kicks if needed. The person behind me stood about a foot taller than my 5'5'' height and I stepped back a bit, knowing that the size and weight difference would not be in my favor if I tried to grapple. He was actually fairly cute, with a shock of dark brown hair and eyes to match, a well sculpted face, and a nice smile with strong white teeth. The only thing that subtracted from his looks was a nose that had apparently been broken and badly set. Before I could ask him why he had touched me, he spoke, "Hi, name's Jeff, are you Beth?"
I relaxed a bit, realizing that he did somewhat fit the description that Kelly had given me when I had finally given in to her attempts. I still had an edge of anger to my tone, both from the shock and having been made to wait so long, when I responded. "Yes, I'm Beth, and I was just about to leave. Do you normally make your Valentines wait for you, or did I just get the special treatment?" His face fell a bit, making feel like a complete bitch. I can be quite bitchy, but I've been trying to work on my temper and so I tried to smile to appear that I had been joking.
He gave a nervous laugh. "I'm very sorry that I was late, I was tied up at my job and Kelly never gave me your phone number. She said you didn't like for it to be given out and I didn't want to press." He smiled again and dragged his fingers through his hair. I felt my knees get a little weak, the combination made me feel quite hot suddenly as I had a flash of my hands running through his thick hair while screaming in ecstasy go through my mind. While I certainly don't think I would mind the scenario playing out for real, I hoped that it wasn't actually one of my visions. I get them usually when I am on the job, almost like daydreams, and if I am lucky I go into sort of a trance where I can predict what my target will do next. I also have really strange and terrible dreams most of the time when I am sleeping, but I forced myself to come out of my reverie and focus on what Jeff was saying.
"Are you OK? You look like you were a bit out of it there for a second." Jeff said as he reached out to steady me. My hormones did a little dance of glee as his large, strong hands wrapped around my upper arms and held me. There was definitely something about him that made me feel like a giddy schoolgirl and I had only just met him. This definitely wasn't good, not if I wanted to stay aloof from the romance side of things like usual. I guess I could play it off like Kelly and just have a one night stand, but something deep in my brain told me this had the potential to go further than just casual carnal knowledge. As he leaned closer, I involuntarily felt myself tilt my chin up and slightly purse my lips.
"Beth, I said are you OK?" he said with a broad smile, almost as if he could tell exactly how much I desired him right now. For some reason, this made me calm down a bit and throttle back my wishes to throw him in my car and drive him to my apartment for a night we would both remember.
"I'm just weak from hunger, you made me wait soooo long and I'm dying for some food. Preferably something hot and greasy, with lots of cheese." I said, hoping he wouldn't notice my lie.
He smirked. "I just bet you are, fortunately for you I seem to recall there is a great burger joint near here." He held out his arm like an old fashioned gentleman and we headed to Dirty Martin's, one of my absolute favorite burger places in Austin. I actually began to drool as I pictured wrapping my lips around one of their O.T. Special burgers and a side of fries. I don't get to eat everything I like due to my petite size, but it was Valentine's Day and I figured I could splurge.
Over our burgers and fries we made polite small talk, the getting to know you before I let you come back to my place and make me breakfast the next morning kind. It felt wildly freeing to just forget about the horrors of my job and relax with a funny, hot guy. I guess that is why I felt a surge of disappointment when my phone went off. Only two possible phone calls could be coming in, Kelly had a situation and needed help or it was my job sending me an emergency dispatch. I prayed that it was Kelly but I felt my face fall when I saw the contact information. I held the phone up to my ear and answered, "Hello, Marshal Jaeger speaking."
"Hey Beth, we have a situation near Cameron and Rundberg at the Englebrook apartments. The APD says it looks like a possible were attack, can you go check it out?" I recognized the voice as Bobby, one of the older dispatchers. I knew he wouldn't have bothered calling unless there was an almost guaranteed incident. The newer ones made mistakes sometimes, but not Bobby.
"Yeah, let them know I am en-route and tell them I don't want any shit from them like last time. They don't even have the equipment to go after a were and I am not going to play whose jurisdiction is it for half the night." The local police are pretty decent, but there are some of them that have a deep seated belief that if they can snag a para without involving me, then they can write their ticket for promotions. Usually I am lucky enough to get there before they realize, too late, that they only were writing a tag for their toe. Assuming they find that much of them left, that is.
"Jeff, I've had a great time but I have to go to work."
"Yeah, I heard. I'm going with you." I looked at him in shock, not knowing why he said that or how he had heard the details of my call. My earlier suspicion fell back into place as I glared at him.
"Jeff, you are a civilian, you are absolutely not coming with me to a crime scene." He smiled and held up his phone. I looked in disbelief as I recognized the number. I had been so upset over the disruption of our evening with my call that I had never seen him reach for his phone. The number that had dialed him was the local were hotline, a number for were's that are having difficulty controlling themselves or that need assistance in some other fashion. Realization slowly rose within me as I looked back into his dark brown eyes. "You are a were? I should have fucking known, how long have you been playing me by sniffing out my emotions?"
"Wow, I didn't know you had issues with were's and I don't even need to 'sniff out' your feelings about me. You've been wearing them on your face practically since you first saw me." He continued before I could retort, "Besides, your issues aside, I'm the on-call were rep tonight and I have to be there, or did your prejudices make you forget that." He looked hurt now, and even though I had more than enough reasons to hate weres for my entire life, I felt like shit for making him feel bad. Normally I just didn't care what Verschlungen of any type felt about me, but for some reason I didn't want him to not like me.
"I'm sorry Jeff, I have my own personal reason beyond my job to dislike your type, but that gives me no right to treat you like that. Please forgive me?" He smiled and held out his hand, which I recognized to be guy language for everything was forgiven. I took his hand and shook it, trying not to notice that I felt a little wave of heat shoot through my lower body at his touch. What the hell was going on with this guy? My mind wanted to hate him for not being human, but my body had it's own agenda apparently and it was opening the gates for the invaders. I shook my head to clear it. "Do you want a ride to the scene?" He looked a bit shocked but nodded his agreement and then followed me to my Elantra.
When we got to the scene, I almost immediately had to run to the restroom and vomit my O.T. Special into the commode. It was an efficiency apartment in a bad area of town and when we walked in all I could smell was coppery pennies. At first glance the walls appeared to be painted a bright red, but as your mind tried to work it's way around to the truth, you realized that they hadn't started with that color. Every step I took had an uncomfortable squooshing feeling through the crime scene booties that they had handed me when we arrived. Jeff took one look at the door and then excused himself, mumbling something about the smell. Now that I knew he was a were, although not what type, I could understand why. Even well trained weres have major problems around fresh kills and this was one of the freshest I had seen.
Surprisingly APD didn't hassle me in regards to my appearance at the scene, although I'm sure there would be jokes for months over my run to the bathroom. I normally don't throw up at attack scenes, but this one was just too vivid, too new. I could only assume that the only reason that I hadn't been singled out for harassing so far was because most of the cops looked like they had a spot or two of their own vomit on them. Messy, if you ask me, I took the time to clean myself and prepare for round two. "So, what do we know about the vic?" I asked the detective standing near the couch where the remains lay.
"Hey Beth, sorry you had to come in on Valentine's Day for this. Looks like the vic was Cathy Jones, twenty-two and a burger flipper at Jack in the Box up the road. We aren't sure if she was seeing the perp, but by all evidence there was no forced entry and we found some flowers and chocolates over there." He motioned towards a rickety table in the corner near the kitchen. "The neighbors say she was dating one Warren Jackson; we pulled his sheet and he is a petty dreamdust dealer that has taken a few busts, but he manages to give up a supplier and walk usually. Neighbors said they heard moaning and then screams, also some howling." I thanked him and went outside to talk to Jeff, hoping he might have some behind the scenes insight on Warren Jackson.
Turns out that he was a veritable fount of information; Warren was a new were that Jeff had been mentoring. According to Jeff, Warren had confided in him that he had been infected by sharing needles with a were while he was in County waiting for his latest trial. Lycanthropy, just like HIV and other blood borne diseases, can easily be introduced by using dirty needles. Just like that, he went from a small time dealer to a killing machine, so the court remanded him to the care of the local were committee.
He had been infected by the lupine strain apparently, so they gave him to Jeff. This little tidbit gave me the knowledge that Jeff was also a lupine were, I tucked it away in my head for future reference. Jeff was really upset after hearing the name, he had been working with Warren for three months and had let him go unattended tonight, as long as Warren swore he would not put himself into any situations that would lead to excessive temptation.
"Jeff, you can't blame yourself. Warren should have known better than to go to his girlfriend's apartment and start fooling around. Three months is long enough for most urges, but not that one."
Jeff looked at me sadly. "I know that he should have been fine, I told him he could go see her but not to allow any type of sexual contact. I gave him my phone number and told him to leave immediately if she initiated anything, then call me." He shook his head, "If only I hadn't decided to go out and try to meet someone for Valentine's Day, she would be alive and he wouldn't be running for his life." He sat down on the pavement and wrapped his arms around his knees, hanging his head in shame. I knelt and wrapped my arms around him against my better judgment and instincts. Something about him tugged at my heart like nothing had for a long time.
"It's OK. If I can get him to come in quietly, they might go easy on him. The courts have been trying to be really careful after SCOTUS recognized para's as having the same rights as humans. They might even consider it involuntary manslaughter; was she coming to the training sessions as well?" Jeff nodded, looking me in the eyes as if surprised by my contact. "Then she should have known as well as he did not to 'do the nasty' yet and while I don't want to imply she deserved what happened, it should be considered as a mitigating factor." I continued, "Do you think you can help me take him without a fight?"
Jeff nodded, "I can control his change if needed, if that is what you mean?" I am sure the shock appeared on my face as well as my scent; because to be able to do that, Jeff had to be an Alpha, a much more powerful were. In all the research I had done after losing my family, I had learned that there were generally very few that had that level of power. I should have sensed him immediately with my abilities, but he somehow managed to hide it from me. That alone meant he must be either the local leader of his were pack, or maybe the second. I shook my head to clear my thoughts and offered him a hand. Somehow I managed to pull him up, although I will give him some credit for helping.
We followed the scent trail, or more correctly, Jeff followed the scent trail that Warren had left in his flight from the crime scene. We didn't have to go very far, maybe a few blocks before we found him hunched against the wall of a nondescript industrial building, still in his changed form. Just in case I drew my concealed gun that I had been carrying in a hideout purse, an XDs .45 caliber that was perfect for situations like tonight where I couldn't carry a duty sized handgun.
It was loaded with silver RIP rounds, a new technology that allowed the bullet to stabilize due to the precision machining. When the bullet hits the intended target, it breaks up into 9 smaller projectiles, making a horrendous wound channel and stopping said target in it's furry tracks. I was hoping I didn't have to use it, but if push came to shove, I was walking out of here instead of Warren. I held back and let Jeff attempt to talk Warren into surrendering.
Jeff held out his hand and walked forward, concentrating on the shivering figure. All of a sudden a wave of sheer, warm power enveloped the area, nearly driving me to my knees. As I looked on, Warren screamed and began to change back into his human form, hair disappearing as if by magic and bones cracking as they changed back into human shapes. It was over almost before it began and the power rushing off of Jeff faded. I had a headache from it, but I would gladly accept it if I managed to take Warren in alive.
Jeff bent and spoke to Warren in soft, calming tones for a couple of minutes, before they both came towards me. I slowly reached for my handcuffs, made of steel with a silver lining that would sap Warren's strength and make it safer to transport him. Warren was tall and drastically thin in his human form, small dots of acne spotting his face and body, with surprising bright red hair. I almost was tempted to ask him if it came from a bottle, but dismissed the wisecrack because he was obviously in a state of anguish. Being a new were, he held his hands over his groin; most of the older ones didn't seem to care about personal nudity, but he was still ashamed.
"Warren, my name is Beth Jaeger and I'm here to take you into custody for the death of your girlfriend, Cathy Jones." I read him his Miranda rights and he allowed me to cuff him without resisting. For some reason I felt the need to tell him to remain quiet until he spoke to the Pack lawyer, pretty odd considering normally I would want him to fry for his girlfriend's death. But then my visions kicked in without warning.
He had went to his girlfriend's apartment to celebrate Valentine's Day, also he was excited to be left on his own for the first time in three months. I watched as she seemed to almost taunt him with sex; she was wearing a thin, see through baby doll nightie that left nothing to the imagination. I saw him back away from her and beg her to stop, but she told him that it was Valentine's day and she wanted sex or she was going to find a real man that could put out instead of a dog.
She slowly slipped off the nightie and started stroking him through his jeans. He obviously was excited because I saw his cock thicken beneath the fabric and his pre-cum was so copious that it made a small dark spot. I could almost feel the moment his control broke, as she knelt and unzipped his pants, releasing his cock and rapidly swallowing it to the hilt, slurping on it noisily.
I saw his nails begin to lengthen and his hair grew thicker as it covered his body. Even his cock jutted out larger, forcing her to remove it from her mouth. She looked impressed, not realizing the danger she was in as she bent over the couch arm. I heard him howl and then thrust his huge member into her, causing her to scream in a mixture of pleasure and pain as he began pumping furiously while his change continued.
Thankfully the vision faded before I saw the aftermath. I will never know what foolishness led her to do this, having been told of his lack of control. I figured he was going to end up charged with involuntary manslaughter and would probably do a few years, better than frying up at Huntsville if it had been calculated murder. I was starting to wonder if I was becoming a softie in regards to monsters, but I banished the thought.