It's always darkest before dawn. A Tomorrow People crossover/fusion with various vampire mythos/universes.
Used here without permission, but not for profit.
Author's Notes: I never claimed to be sane. Weird, yes; sane, never. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
That said, this story takes place in an alternate universe which is a blend and fusion of Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake universe, Whitewolf's Vampire the Masquerade, and of course, it's a universe where the Tomorrow People exist as well. If you don't know anything about Anita-verse or Whitewolf-verse, don't worry about it. All you have to do is approach it with this thought: Vampires, zombies, werebeasties of all sorts, ghosts and magic really do exist (and unlike in Buffy-verse, people actually know about it). So, yes, it is dark. You've been warned.
The timeline of this story is seven years after "The Living Stones."
This particular story is a stand alone although it starts in media res.
When I was growing up, I always wondered if there was a world somewhere where vampires and zombies, and werewolves and other shape-shifters didn't exist. My parents protected me, as much as they could, from the underground world, but I knew that it existed. Any child over the age of five knew that it existed; it wasn't whether or not you knew that it was out there, but whether or not you were a part of it. I wasn't a part of it.
I knew the places to stay away from; I knew how to avoid the attentions of vampire and shape-shifter predators. And eventually, I, like so many other people in this world, started to pretend that world was separate from mine. It didn't blend with mine, it didn't match mine and it certainly never ever bled into mine. Even after I became a Tomorrow Person, it seemed like it was more normal to be able to teleport and talk to my friends telepathically than it was to acknowledge that the too pale man serving us at the coffeehouse might be a vampire or that the girl who danced with me at the club with the flickers of yellow in her eyes was some sort of were-beast.
It was a safe, sacred world.
Sitting in the sickly florescent lit waiting room of the hospital lobby, trying hard not to smell the strong medicine and antiseptic odors that so significantly clung to every cubic meter of air and every article of clothing, I really wanted to go back to that idyllic non-knowledge. I wanted the power to turn the clock back seven years, to avoid a run in with a scientist who actually created a time machine and cost me one of my best friends. I wanted the power to stop this night from happening, to prevent myself from sitting here while another of my best friends lay on a surgery table while doctors worked to remove a bullet from somewhere in the vicinity of her spine.
"I'm going to get some coffee. Do you want something?" Lisa spoke for the first time in quite a while, the sound of her voice, slightly hoarse, shattering the tepid silence hanging between us in the waiting room. Her hand rested lightly on my arm, and her eyes looked as tired and weary as I felt. She gave a brief glance across the waiting room, that single look alone communicating more than her question and touch did.
"Coffee. Black." I didn't follow her gaze. I was done talking to Adam for the night. Nothing good could come of any words that would be exchanged between me and the vampire that wore that face of the man who used to be my best friend. I'd baited Adam enough for one night, accused him of being the cause of Ami's injuries, and been blatantly insulted by Jade when she sough comfort and refuge in the arms of the vampire. Even now, I knew she was curled up on the couch beside him, her head resting in his lap, his dead fingers stroking her hair. It was a mimicry of friendship and affection that no longer existed - at least not in my world - but Lisa and Kevin were of the opinion that I was doing more harm than good by trying to separate Jade from the vampire.
Tonight Adam, despite his manipulations and machinations and lies of omission, was a hero and all sins were forgotten. All because he managed to get Ami to the hospital after a Purist decided to put a bullet in the back of a teleporter. I didn't see him as a hero because I didn't doubt that somehow, someway it was Adam's fault that Ami was in line of fire. Yes, she'd been outed to the media, and no doubt that had something to do with Adam as well. Because when all was said and done it all came back to Adam.
/Megabyte,/ Lisa nudged me mentally, not comfortable enough to leave my side just yet.
"I'll take a coffee too," Kevin muttered from the seat on my other side revealing that he wasn't as asleep as I thought he was. The message was clear even if it wasn't spoken aloud. I wouldn't be left alone with Adam, and I wouldn't be allowed to harass him anymore.
Didn't matter. I was done with harassment for the night. If bitterness and rudeness didn't make him go away, maybe simply ignoring him would.
/Megabyte,/ Kevin chastised.
I sighed and pushed myself to my feet. I was damned if I did and I was damned if I didn't. But just because I had to tolerate Adam's presence didn't mean I had to be in it. "Better yet, I'm coming with you."
Lisa nodded and after a quick glance at Kevin, a private exchange that I'm sure had more to do with how to keep me calm and civil when dealing with the vampire, she took me gently by the arm and led me away. We didn't exchange a single word, not even telepathically, until it seemed certain that we were far from Adam's earshot.
"Megabyte, I'm not comfortable with him being here either, but without him maybe Ami wouldn't have survived long enough to be in surgery."
"And maybe she would have." I raked my hands through my hair and glanced at her. "And who the hell let Jade get that close to him? What the hell were you and Kevin thinking?"
"We didn't let Jade do anything. You know she is an adult who thinks for herself, right?" Lisa held up a hand indicating that she wasn't finished talking yet. "She migrated to his side the moment he got here. He reminds of her of when things were safer; he's her safety net, Megabyte and I'm not going to take that away from her. Not right now when she needs something to cling to. We all cope in our own ways."
I stopped walking and stared at her. Normally, Lisa and I stood eye-to-eye and staring her down was a pretty easy feat. Today though she'd obviously come from the office, and in her black pumps, she had a good two inches on me, meaning I actually had to shift my gaze up just a bit. It made the stare-down a bit more difficult, but I think I managed it. "And is that your professional opinion, Dr. Davis? Because, really, not in the mood to talk to the resident TP shrink."
Lisa didn't back down one iota. I didn't really expect her to. "Jade knows what Adam is, we all do. But most importantly, she knows who Adam is. And those doctors in that OR, they know who Adam is too, and that, if nothing else might just be what's needed to make sure they do the job right."
The implication of her words sent a chill down my spine and once again, I really yearned for the days when we all so much younger and more innocent. We were accepting Adam because we had to accept Adam; he had a power here that we did not. He had the power to see that Ami survived . . . or not.
Lisa clearly hadn't yet made the leap to that obvious conclusion, so for once I decided to bite my tongue and keep my thoughts to myself. Where Adam was concerned, it wasn't easy.
We continued onto the hospital cafeteria in silence. It wasn't a comfortable silence, not in the sense that we were happy with it, but more of the uncomfortable type of silence that stemmed from haunting bad thoughts that you really don't want to share aloud. The sort of thoughts that tended to become reality if given voice and structure.
Coffee in hand, we didn't immediately return to the waiting room. We both had our own reasons and I didn't press Lisa on what hers were. Instead we sat at a small table near the window overlooking the darkened courtyard, sipping hot coffee and trying to pretend like everything was normal when it couldn't have been any further from normal.
A glance at my watch told me that it would be sunrise in another hour, but the sky outside was as dark as darkest night.
I drank my coffee and stared into the night.
It was always darkest before dawn.