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Angels & Devils

Summary:
Seattle has been invaded by covens of Rogue Vampires - vampires who hunt and prey upon other vampires. Bella and the Cullen siblings are in Seattle for a rare night out on the town. They are attacked by Rogues, and Alice Cullen is lost in the ambush. The family fears the worse, believing that Alice is dead. Alice awakens with no memory of who she is, where she is or how she came to be there. She also has no clue that's she's fallen into the hands of an old enemy to her kind. A half-vampire who once waged a 50-year long war of vengeance against all vampires. A enemy so vicious that the Volturi had dubbed him with the name, "Lucifer", and who was long since believed to be dead himself.


Notes:
This is my first Twilight Fanfic. It is currently posted in part to the FanFiction.Net site under the same pen name, and has 52 chapters up. There is still a few hundred more pages that are written and waiting to go. I decided to post this to a few fanfic sites to see what feedback I can get from the experts. This story has some violence, language, and minor adult situations (not too descriptive or vulgar - I tried to keep in mind how SM handled such things in writing.) so I guess this would need a "R" rating. Thanks.


1. Chapter 1: Better To Let Sleeping Demons Lay

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Chapter One: BETTER TO LET SLEEPING DEMONS LAY

It was her eyes that saved her.

I remember seeing her in the club, dancing just below the stage while the band played. At first when I started playing professionally, I might have dropped the beat when I first noticed her. Now a days, I just keep the rhythm going. I stay in the pocket… keep the groove.

They’re not hard to miss if you know what to look for. I’m somewhat of an expert at that. There’s far more of them out there then you could possibly know.

But… that’s not my life anymore.

I’ve learned to pretend that they don’t exist. Pretend I’m just as oblivious to them as the rest of the world. I have my music, and a relatively good life now, even if I had spent most of it on the road. Going from place-to-place, town-to-town, and club-to-club while I played with various bands.

They don’t bother me, I don’t bother them. That’s been a pretty good philosophy and has worked so far for me… until tonight.

As small as she was, she was kind of hard to miss, even in that packed crowd. Ordinary people seemed to find themselves moving out of her way as she danced, willingly giving her room when space on the floor was at a premium because the place was jammed full with bodies. It wasn’t what she was that earned her that strange respectful space, nothing like fear or some other distasteful characteristic, it was more because everyone wanted to watch her move in that eerily graceful way that all her kind had.

Though I’d have to say she had more than her fair share of that charisma. Almost everyone around her was mesmerized by her performance.

I’d learned not to fall for it a long time ago.

She didn’t seem to notice her audience, or maybe it was that she just didn’t care. Most of the time she danced with her eyes closed, letting the music take her wherever it might. Never wandering far from my end of the stage. The few times I recall seeing her eyes opened, they locked with mine far too many times for my liking. As beautiful as they were, they brought back memories of times I wanted to forget.

However, in those cases when our glances met, she’d smile in my direction as if she had a secret, and then she’d close her eyes once more and go back to swaying and waiving to the beat.

More than one guy came up and tried to get her to dance with them, a few women too. She’d always wave them off with a smile meant not to harm or offend. The more persistent ones who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer and insisted on invading her space, she slipped away from within a few seconds, with the ease of a ghost. After her admirers had wandered away shaking their heads in mystified confusion, she’d return to claim her place again and continue to dance.

I did my best to ignore her as much as I could for most of the show, focusing my attention on the neck of my guitar, fingering out the rhythm lines and adding a few new things to distract myself. She wasn’t on the hunt – as there was nothing that said a gold-eye wouldn’t or couldn’t occasionally take a human if they were of the mind to. She’d had plenty of opportunity the entire night to find a victim if that were the case. She had turned each and every one of them away.

Tonight it was all about the music. She just wanted to dance like everyone else, and was no danger to me.

I could live with that.

But I found I couldn’t help but return to watch her dance even so. Concentrating on the songs didn’t really offer much in the way of a diversion in the long run. I knew them all by heart, could play them all in my sleep, and my fingers worked off the root-chords to make the bass lines without much thought on my part.

I don’t know much about fashionable clothing, but I could tell the black and white outfit she wore probably cost more than I would make in six months playing in the band. The scheme complimented her porcelain white skin and ink-black wild hair. The short wild spikes framed her faultless elfin features much too perfectly to be human. She had some type of cloth choker and pendant displayed just so around her ivory neck, near the hollow of her throat… it must have been something important to her because it never seemed to shift very far no matter how vigorously she moved her feet and twisted her body to the music.

And I knew where there was one of her kind, there were generally more. Though I couldn’t see much passed the first couple of rows on the floor because of the bright, ever-changing, stage lighting.

During the first break, and every break after that one, she disappeared from view. Which was just as well with me. Had she still hovered near-by that really would have made me feel ill at ease, and set off all sorts of alarm bells. I finally convinced myself that she couldn’t possibly know who I was, or who I had once been. And that she was just another vampire enjoying the club scene for the night. I’d run into them countless times as I’ve said, when you decide to try your hand at being a professional musician you were bound to meet all sorts. Which is one reason I rarely mingle much with the crowd on breaks.

I prefer to keep to myself, while my other band-mates go out and socialize with the audience. I rarely if ever drink, politely refusing all offers from club patrons to buy a round. Saying a short but polite “thank you” whenever someone did manage to corner me to tell me how much they like the show, and then excusing myself as quickly as possible.

I had as little in common with normal people as I did the vampires.

But that had been my life for close to the last 50-years or so. Since I stopped hunting vampires, and trying to eradicate the species from the face of the Earth in my one-man-war.

Since the semi-formal truce, my life has had little else to keep me occupied besides keeping a low profile and disappearing off the vampire’s radar.

I had my music, a relatively quite existence these days, and I guess until now… that had been enough.

At the start of each following set, she’s back, in her usual spot. By then my band mates had finally noticed her tendency to stay on the floor just in front of me, nor had they missed the occasional eye contact, and they were engaging in some good-natured ribbing at my expense between songs.

I pretty much decided I wouldn’t mind killing them myself about then.

Or better yet, maybe introducing them all to one of her red-eyed cousins. But I decided that the distraction the band offered me a few nights a week was just slightly more important to me than arranging their immediate and bloody demise… despite the name of the band, and who the hell thought, “Bend The Signal” was a good name for a band?

The band’s name had originated from our guitar player’s habitual over-use of his Wah-pedal. I think a better name in that case would have been “Could Use Some Music Lessons” or “Distortion Is My Friend.”

Whatever, the audience seemed to like the sound we had, so I guess all personal tastes aside, that was what mattered the most and made the group the money.

Unfortunately, I was positive the little vamp-girl could hear their teasing of me; just by the way she kept giving me that secret smile every time they started ripping on me.

I’m glad at least she was amused by it, but the last thing I wanted was her attention on me at all.

If it hadn’t been such a long time since I’d been in serious conflict with the species… I probably would have been real paranoid about then. The girl looked young, no more than maybe 18 or 20-years-old, but that didn’t mean much with a vampire. She could be several hundred years old, though I doubt even in that case I’d ever encountered her before.

Most of the vampires who encountered me in those early violent times were dead. Only a handful that could identify me existed to this day… and most of them were involved in helping me disappear.

After the encore, I look around the venue suspiciously but she was now gone. With the house lights up, I inspect the rest of the remaining crowd but only found humans there.

If there were others, they had left with her.

I can’t begin to tell you how relieved I felt regardless.

Packing up the gear after the show goes without a hitch. We make fairly good money for a cover band, but not enough to afford roadies like the real rock stars can. As usual I’m the last one out at the end of the night. I’m sort of anal-retentive about leaving equipment behind at a gig. Besides, it’s a real pain in the ass sometimes to replace stuff that’s gone missing or that had just simply been left behind at the end of the night.

I’m finally out behind the place at the stage door, packing up my own personal gear into the rear of an old Ford Explorer I owned. My stage cabinet and amp head go in first, followed by my road case of odds and ends that I need for the show. Last in is my Zon Legacy Standard Bass guitar in its case.

I’m not a great bass player by any standards. Hell, I’m barely a passable bassist in my own humble opinion, but I love my Zon and its pretty much the only joy I have left to me. Not only has the guitar model not been made in years, but also it took me more than two years of searching high and low before finding one that was for sale.

And at five-grand-plus for a Legacy Standard, you can imagine I’m a little bit touchy and protective about it.

Its strange how the focus of your life can change so radically.

I have no family – not any more. No real friends outside of the band, and they are more acquaintances really than actual friends. They were probably more like casual co-workers than anything else… thus my willingness to consider making them vampire bait earlier tonight.

I have no girlfriend nor have I ever had a wife – though I came close to marrying once long ago. I have no interested in attempting to find another of either. There’s just too much pain yet still connected in that type of relationship, and I don’t think it was ever meant to be in the cards for me, so its better to just accept that this was how it was meant to be.

And thankfully, I think the part of me that would desire such a thing had been burned out long ago anyway. Decades of constant hatred can do that to you I suppose.

Not that it would be easy for me to explain certain odd things about myself to anyone I might consider getting close to again, even if I wanted to.

My bass gear and music had become pretty much the center of my life now.

Yeah, pathetic I know. But you do the best that you can with what you got to work with.

Which is why I wasn’t very happy to hear footsteps running up behind me in a dark back-parking lot, just as I’m getting ready to safely load my pride-and-joy into the back of my Ford.

I turned with the case still in my hand, just as a small figure darted into view under the lone sodium light that lit the small rear lot of the club.

The shape was moving far faster than anyone this side of the grave had the right to be moving. It paused for only the barest of split seconds as it realized I was there in the lot, and then it came right for me at full bore.

“Help me!” said a female voice as the figure closed with me from across the alley that served the back lot as an entrance off the street.

It was then that I could see it was her, the tiny dancing girl from the club… the little dark-haired vampire.

I silently cursed myself; my first thought was that the thing thought I was prey!

Then as I said before, I saw those eyes.

They were still that golden honey brown… that’s what initially saved her. Had they been any other color I would have done my best to kill her without a second thought… before she had a clue as to what I was.

It was also then that I realized she wasn’t attempting to work a glamour on me. Instead her eyes were actually wild with fear, and then I noticed her gait didn’t have the grace it should have… just before she tripped and collided with me in a sprawl that was anything but graceful.

I caught her easily with one arm, and at the same time managed to set my precious bass case safely down besides me. I might have suspected it was still a trick, if I’d never seen a vampire in such honest to god fear before.

She clutched weakly at me with one arm, her small thin hand burying itself in my jacket. Her expensive clothing was torn in several places I could see now… and there was blood coming from a large gash in her slender neck.

“Help…me!” she weakly asked again, with pleading eyes.

And then her weight began to sag on me.

This was bad… this was very, very, bad.

I’d like to say I did something heroic. Like sweeping her up in my arms and assuring her that she was safe and that everything would be all right.

I however did nothing of the sort.

Instead, I looked at her with something that certainly had to amount to confusion and a great deal of dread as her eyes rolled up into the back of her head, and then her full weight became dead in my arm.

Like all vampires, she was slightly heavier than she looked, and I had to snag her with my other hand to keep her from falling over and taking me with her.

I have seen plenty of dead vampires many times, even though they are extremely hard to kill for the most part. But I had never seen or heard of a vampire being knocked unconscious before, which led me to seriously reconsider that the girl was in fact playing me after all.

With vamps, most times things were never what they seemed to be.

It was probably a good thing I set my bass safely down, otherwise I might have gotten really annoyed if I would have had to drop it because of this charade.

Her head rolled limply to one side, and I automatically caught the back of it with one hand without thinking. It was a purely human reaction to the moment, despite my reservations I guess.

I had tried for years to erase such failings, as they tend to be offer points where my guard could go down for just that split second. Though sometimes like now, especially being out of practice… I slipped up.

Luckily it wasn’t my undoing. What I discovered in that single involuntarily move laid most of my suspicions to rest immediately.

The girl’s hair resting in the palm of my hand I could now feel was thickly matted with blood. It had not been noticeable in the dim light of the light against the natural darkness of her hair.

A closer examination with my fingertips then showed me that the back of her skull had been partially caved in as well.

A human would have been killed instantly by such an injury, but still I was amazed that even she had been able to get up and run after taking that kind of damage. Causing trauma to the brain was one of the few ways I knew of to slow a vampire down even just a little bit.

I could even feel the bone under her hair slowly moving, and skin trying to knit itself back together as I held her.

There was not many things that could harm a vampire to this extend, especially cracking one of their skulls this badly. One of the things that could do it for sure though… was another vampire.

This just went from a ‘very, very, bad’ situation… to an extremely very, very, bad situation. I was thinking it be best to beat tracks out of there before this became a very, very dead situation… for me.

I wasn’t really willing, or of a mind, to be drawn into a clash between vampire covens.

This definitely wasn’t my problem, and if I were smart, I’d just lay the girl down on the ground and get the hell out of there before whoever she’d been fighting with showed up to give her the coup de grace.

I was just about to command my knees to bend to do just that, because I found I couldn’t bring myself to just drop her after all… poor kid. I even felt a tad bit sorry for her… I just didn’t want to become involved in whatever altercation she was into with others of her kind.

I made the mistake of looking at her face again, realizing once more how sweet, young and pretty she looked, and hesitated for a few seconds. Then I remembered how she had lost herself in the joy of dancing earlier that night, and then the look of pure fear in her eyes just a few moments ago as she begged me to help her.

“Dammit!” I swore hotly. I didn’t want this! I didn’t want to leave her defenseless… but this wasn’t my fight.

Then I grudgingly recalled what my past ignorance had caused all those years ago, and I briefly wondered if I was letting it happen all over again. I had been famous for making bad decisions, for acting without all the facts, for causing death were death wasn’t warranted.

I owed someone restitution for what I had done, for the mistakes I had made… so why not this girl who pleaded for my help?

I was caught between a rock and the hard place and it froze me for a moment. Getting involved could ruin everything I’ve made for myself these passed decades. It might also bring me kicking and screaming into the type of spotlight I most definitely wanted to avoid at all costs!

I was still considering what to do with the girl when that decision was taken completely out of my hands. I hadn’t been paying attention, and from the shadows of the alleyway leading to the street came a low familiar hiss.

Whoever had stove the girl’s head in had shown up to finish the job.

I didn’t have long to wait to get a look at the new arrival, as a man bounded into the light and grinned coldly at me. He still had a thick trickle of blood running down his chin from the corner of his mouth. I could smell him even where I was across the small parking lot. Nothing smells worse to me than a vampire whose diet consists solely of human blood. To me its like a slight underlying whiff of decaying meat. But nothing smells of old rust and burning copper as the blood of a vampire taken in the heat of a fight.

That’s what I smelled now coming from the newcomer’s direction; he’d been feasting on another vampire just recently. I remembered the slash on the girl’s throat and wondered if it had been her?

In my past I’d found that nothing was cockier than a tracker vampire; and the only thing worse than a Tracker at being plainly mean… was a Rogue Hunter. Human prey wasn’t exciting enough for a Rogue, so they find the sport they were looking for in the hunting of other vampires.

Guess which kind of vamp this guy had to be, bless my luck?

Further bad news on the Rogue account was that they most often hunted in packs, some larger than a normal vamp coven might be. You had to have the numbers on your side if you were going to hunt the big game. Which more than likely didn’t bode well for the fate of the girl’s companions if she had anyone with her tonight… or the possibility of them coming to the rescue in that case.

So for the moment there was only him, me, and the tiny vampire girl he meant to make a snack of.

I cursed my bad luck again, this time for not having the proper gear to get myself out of this jam. It had been decades since I needed it, so in my new peaceful life, I’d gotten out of the habit of carrying it with me at all times.

The Rogue grinned wider and chuckled lowly at finding me holding the unconscious girl. I could almost see in his mind how much the idea of a two-for-one happy-meal pleased him.

I don’t smell like a vamp or a shifter, and I had a heartbeat, so he didn’t consider me very much of a threat.

Bad for him, good for me. Stupid vamp.

I carefully eased the girl down to lean her up against the back tire of my vehicle, then stood back up to hold up both opened hands toward him in a peaceful gesture, basically in surrender. I couldn’t help the girl’s blood that coated the palm of my one hand. I was pretty sure he could scent her wounds anyway, so it probably didn’t matter.

“Look buddy… whatever your beef is with your girlfriend here, I don’t want any part of it,” I told him. “She came running in here and fell into my arms, honest.”

I could play the part of a clueless human if I had to too. Sometimes it was my best camouflage.

The Rogue paused under the full light of the parking lot lamp to let me get a good look at his bright red eyes. I guess the gesture was meant to be alarming and I was supposed to be afraid too. He didn’t want my blood, just the fun of killing me. And I guess it be extra special for him if I was scared shitless before he did it.

My canine teeth started that old familiar ach in my mouth; I’d forgotten how much I’d always hated that part of what I was.

Instead of focusing on the growing discomfort in my jaw, I played even dumber… which was not too hard considering what I had gotten myself in the middle of.

“Nice contacts,” I said with a look that said I pretty much thought I was dealing with a nut-job who liked to play dress-up.

The vampire then gave me a look of utter contempt that told me he’d just come to the decision that I was too stupid to figure out what was going on, and that he wasn’t going to waste anymore of his time trying to entertain himself with me any further.

He growled impossibly low for a human, and charged, swinging a lazy haymaker at me that was meant to take my head clean off my neck when it hit.

He was of course extremely fast, much faster than a human.

But so was I.

I’d always had a passion for the Asian martial arts. In fact I’ve studied several of the more deadly ones over the years. It was kind of a job requisite for the life I had led for quite some time.

The vamp relied mostly on brute force and speed to give him the advantage, and in those departments he did out-class me, not by much, but enough to easily win if I didn’t know what I was doing.

I did however have an edge he didn’t know about… certain knowledge, and a slightly un-human physiology myself – thanks to another stupid mistake I made a long time ago.

Thinking it would help me secure the vengeance I was seeking, I drank the blood of a tracker vampire I had killed by pure sheer luck and accident. Relying on the stories and fables I heard, I didn’t know that you needed the blood of a living vampire to crossover.

Instead, the blood of the dead vamp combined with a human disease of the lymphatic system I suffered from and left me partially transformed… somewhere in the middle between vampire and human.

I did not have their full speed and strength or even their unearthly beauty, but I was faster and stronger than a human. My heart still beat, though at a much slower rate. I also aged, but very, very slowly. On the plus side, I could go out in full sunlight without shimmering like a disco ball.

I’d also found I was immune to their venom – for the most part. Bites were very painful and the amount of pain directly coincided with the amount of venom I adsorbed, but I quickly found that I would never fully complete the change no matter how many bites I suffered.

I was stuck where I am now… somewhere on the vampire evolution line, and not completely human anymore either.

I belonged in neither world.

Being bitten also had another unpleasant side effect that was nearly debilitating, and that lasted until the vampire that bit me was dead.

Just another one of an uncaring god’s little jokes I suppose.

It was with these limitations in mind that I began to figure out a ways to even the playing field… so I traveled to Asia and spent the better part of a decade mastering as many martial arts as I could. For as many empty-hand arts I learned, I leaned how to handle a variety of weapons as well, particularly blades.

A nice sharp piece of special steel was the best way to dispatch a vampire, followed quickly by burning the pieces if at all possible.

I have to admit… I use to enjoy the hacking part.

But then again, for about forty-five years I wasn’t exactly what you would call sane anyway. I don’t believe anyone could have lived what I have been through and rightly called themselves sound of mind.

Before you judge me however… just remember, I didn’t ask for this… and I certainly did not start this.

As strong and as fast as my new unwanted playmate was, his weakness was that he still had a body designed basically like a human’s, that still had to obey certain laws of physics and design.

Even with my better than human physical edge, it still would have been difficult, if not impossible, for me to halt his blow dead in its tracks. So the secret is not to bother trying. It is however possible and very easy to deflect and/or redirect a blow no matter how much power is behind it.

And that’s where martial arts styles like Judo and Aikido come in handy.

My prior success with surviving vampire attacks came from a mixture of some skill and some tactical knowledge, thrown in with a good helping of black-hearted vengeance, a heap of bad attitude, and a whole lot of crazy-ass recklessness.

It also helps if you were able to crazily and literally laugh Death in the face… it keeps them guessing as to what you’re all about.

Fighting is like riding a bicycle… you never really forget how once you learn… and even if you did, your body remembered for you if you trained long and hard enough.

Which was lucky for me because I was pretty sure that I was really, really rusty at it. In those cases its best to just do and not think about it.

To a normal human, the Rogue would have been just a blur. To me, he seemed to slow down to a manageable speed as the fight or flight syndrome took over for me. All human experience the effect of things seeming to go into slow motion to some extent while in this state, particularly during a violent encounter.

I let my body do what it had to do as the Rogue’s fist sailed in toward my head. With vamps I’d trained myself to do the one thing they never expected a human to do. Instead of backing away, I stepped into his attack at a slight angle.

This of course threw him off and allowed me to use my forearm to guide his fist safely pass me, and not explode my head. My other hand reached up and grabbed him at the shoulder, while in the same move I turned with him in the same direction he was still traveling in.

I added my momentum to his own, and I have to say I thought he was very surprised when I help him accelerate face first into the brick wall of the club.

The Rogue’s super hard body hit so hard he actually cracked the cinderblocks that made up the wall.

Had I been normal for a vampire, I could have just ripped his arm off. Unfortunately, I’m not… so I had to act fast and cheat some more if I wanted to live through the next couple of seconds.

I had only managed to stun him for a good second at the most, despite the damage to the bricks. So as his head recoiled off the club wall the first time, I quickly backed that up with several well-timed elbows to the back of his head, smashing his forehead several more times in rapid secession into the same spot… and hopefully rattling his brains enough to buy me a few more precious seconds to inflect damage elsewhere, before he recovered enough to return the favor.

My next target was to exploit that human design weakness I mentioned. He might have had vampire hard bones and vampire tough joints, but his knees were still meant to bend in only one direction and in one direction only.

I drew my nearest leg up as high at I could and stamped it down on the side of his closest knee. Okay, what I really did was stomp down on it until it snapped and I was standing on the ground with his shattered knee under my heel.

He howled at that… and then became really pissed off with me.

His own elbow shot back and nailed me right in the floating ribs, and I think I might have shrieked myself. I was too busy trying to blink away the blinding white light that suddenly blinded my eyes as new and interesting pain filled me to pay much attention as to who was yelling what.

I was also pretty sure at that point that he’d shattered my ribs in repayment by the way they felt.

I do remember landing on my ass, and wondering how somebody managed to set off a grenade in my ribcage without me noticing.

The Rogue tried to stand, but his knee buckled under him and he howled some more. I knew it was only going to be a matter of a minute or so before all my hard work was undone and the knee healed itself. I didn’t have that luxury with my aching ribs.

The vamp wasn’t going to wait for health to return, and instead began crawling toward me using his hands and pushing off with his one good leg, and all the while describing in great detail how he was going to dissect me slowly for the pure fun of it.

My night was just getting better and better by the moment.

I began kicking myself away from my executioner, surprised that while my ribs hurt like hell, that I didn’t feel any ripping pain that meant shards of rib bone was tearing up my internal organs – which I still desperately needed despite my part vampire state.

About two or three scoots backwards, my hand hit something hard and cold. I felt around the object and quickly determined that it was a loose brick that I hadn’t noticed.

The Rogue was gaining on me despite his disability and by the time I’d found the piece of masonry, he was pretty much on top of me, so I halted my retreat, keeping the brick in the hand that found it and hidden from his view behind me.

Anything was better than nothing at this point in the game.

“I’m going to rip open your belly and let you watch while I chew on your entrails, human,” the creature snarled at me, his sharp inhumanly white teeth less than a foot from my face. “What do you think about that?” he asked with a humorless chuckle.

I was scared. I was angry. And I was getting pissed that he was dismissing my potential to still be trouble so easily. Nothing like wounded pride to cause my canine teeth to slide and lock into full extension. Damn, I hated the way that made my mouth ache like hell.

I didn’t have the natural razor sharp teeth and venom that full vampires had. The over-size canines were a distant step on the vampire evolutionary scale, probably going back a few hundred thousand years. Which in vampire society basically made me a Neanderthal as far as they were concerned. More than one of my prior nemeses had remarked that it made me little more than an animal to them.

“Well? What do you think about that, human scum?” he asked again with a smile. I guess he really wanted an answer before tearing me apart. Some people just can’t help but need approval for anything they do.

He had started moving the leg that I’d taken out, meaning the knee was just about healed. In his arrogance he still hadn’t realized, I wasn’t human.

Time to enlighten him.

I smiled brightly… showing him my long fangs.

He blinked in surprise, and cocked his head a little to one side.

“I think… batter up!” I said.

That puzzled him even more than my spiffy new dental gear did… and he cocked his head just a little bit further over.

How very nice of him to oblige me.

I swung the brick around like I was winding up to throw a fastball… and a good part of it shattered to powder against the side of his head and jaw.

“STT-RIKE!” I yelled insanely as the vamp hit the ground next to me. Amazingly, his lower jaw was dislocated and hanging off at a weird angle. He wasn’t going to be biting anyone for the next few moments.

Forgetting about my ribs in the excitement of the moment, I rolled to my knees and bashed him in the head several more times with the piece of brick I still held.

When I finally got to my feet, I put a couple of more boots to the Rogue’s head with my shoes for good measure. I then took a moment to break both his knees this time, and his arms as well, while he was still helpless to buy me even more time.

I looked around for something that might help me do what needed to be done next. At first, nothing jumped out at me and I began to panic. Then I saw the small panel truck parked in the back corner of the lot and inspiration struck me. It was going to be hard, but I figured it might be able to be done.

I reached down and picked up the biggest hunk of the brick that was left, and then went over to the Rogue. I grabbed him up by the back of his jacket collar and dragged him with me toward the back of the truck.

“You know,” I ranted. “You just couldn’t leave well enough alone, could you?”

The vamp tried to answer me, but without use of his lower jaw, his words came out in a meaningless slur for the most part. It didn’t matter, I was pretty well pump up on the situation and had a whole lot of anger issues at the moment.

“I just wanted to be left alone,” I said as I dropped him on the ground behind the panel truck. I was a little more than put out at how the night was ending, so I kicked him in the head again to make myself feel better.

His grunt wasn’t all that satisfying as I hoped it would be.

The padlock holding the big roll-down door of the truck was fairly cheap, a single twist on my hand, backed up by my fury, and it snapped right off the latch for me.

“Look at my clothes!” I shouted at him. “I just bought these to wear at work… they’re ruined.” I rolled the door partway up and looked down at him. “I freakin’ hate shopping!”

Yeah, I was pretty much losing it. So I turned to look at the lower edge of the door and found the angled lip I expected to find there.

A few bashes with my half-a-brick straightened out a section of it that I needed, turning it from a bent “L” shape to a straight “I”.

I reached down, and heaved the Rogue’s body into the bed of the truck, leaving just his head hanging over the edge of the tailgate.

“And do you know what the worst part of the night has been?” my tirade ran at him. I can see by the wild look in his red eyes that the vamp knew what I had in mind next. I reached up and took a firm hold of the door just above his head.

“You made me recite baseball idioms,” I informed him. “I hate baseball!”

I yanked down as hard as I could on the door. It’s rattling nearly drowned out his wordless cry, but it didn’t quite cover the wet whack of the straighten edge cutting into his neck. Regular steel wasn’t hard enough to cleanly cut vampire flesh, and I had to raise and ram the door down several more times with all my force to accomplish the task, the metal chopping through the vamp like a dull axe.

Finally I heard the dull thump of his head hitting the ground. I glanced at the door to see the bottom of it all managed and slightly crinkled.

I bent and picked up the head, its eyes blinked at me but it made no sound, seeing it no longer had a set of lungs to make sounds with. It would have been better to burn the head and the body, but starting a fire wasn’t an opinion, so decapitation had to be good enough.

I looked around wondering what to do with my new trophy, and soon discover a manhole cover leading to the sewer. I stuck my fingers in the pry gap and lifted the cover from it seating. Somewhere in the darkness below I could hear the sound of fast rushing water.

Perfect.

I smiled at the Rogue’s head and wished it happy trails… then dropped it into the hole, hearing a splash almost immediately.

Let’s see them try and put that bad boy back together now, I thought.

Sometimes, I could be a real sick puppy.

I replaced the manhole cover, and didn’t give the body still in the back of the truck a second thought. The Rogue’s friends would probably find it shortly, and without a head to reattach, would probably just burn it themselves… saving me the trouble.

I did still have one pressing problem left to me though.

I made it back to my Ford and found the girl still exactly where I left her. She hadn’t moved an inch.

What to do with her? I asked myself. The smart thing would be just to leave her… maybe her friends would find her.

If any of them were still left alive.

But it was more likely that the rest of the group of Rogues would find her first… then all this trouble would have been for nothing. They were probably going to know that the girl didn’t rub out their playmate by herself no matter what. If I left her here, she was certainly going to pay the price for it though… and the coven might not give it any more thought if they could take their vengeance out on her.

If I took her with me I thought next, they might think she did it by herself anyway, and I’d be free and clear.

I scratched that thought a second later. My scent and the scent of the fight was going to be all over the area and impossible to hide or erase in any case.

In for a penny, in for a pound of flesh… and I’d decided that I couldn’t be cold-blooded enough to just leave her behind totally helpless anyway.

I might as well take her with me and just roll with it.

I first added my precious Zon to the pile of gear taking up the back of the Explorer, then walked around and picked the unconscious girl up.

Damn it, she was a pretty little thing I noticed again, as the parking lot light hit her face. I saw then, that the ugly gash in her throat had just about healed over. That was a good sign I would have to think. I didn’t have much experience with nursing vamps back to health… just in killing them.

I had already opened the backseat door to the Ford and I placed her inside as carefully as I could. Not that I could probably do anything to harm her, or hurt her more than she already was at this point.

I quickly searched her pockets, looking for some type of identification, or anything else that might give me an idea of where or who she belonged to. I found nothing but an impressive wad of cash on her.

Turning her over to her own people wasn’t going to be an option available to me right away it appeared.

I suddenly remember something else from earlier in the night and reexamined her neck, hoping that I had just not noticed the choker there just a moment ago, the one that she was wearing inside the club – that might have held a clue to who she was.

Unfortunately that was gone also, she had probably lost that in the attack when her throat had been sliced open.

I frowned, looks like this was going to have to be done the hard way. I had tracked plenty of vampire covens down before, but this was going to be the first time I’d done it to return one of their lost sheep to them.

I was just about to close the door on my new charge, when something glinted in the overhead interior light. I flipped the corner of her torn vest over to discover a jeweled pin making a highly stylized capital “A” resting there.

That was something at least. I had to assume the letter “A” stood for the initial of her first name.

I don’t know why, but I found myself reaching out to gently stroke the dark spiky hair that framed her elfin features.

“Well, ‘A’,” I found myself saying to her next. “Welcome to Seattle.”

I closed the door, and then got into the driver’s seat to start my journey back to my current home with my silent passenger.