Categories > Movies > Underworld > In Sheep's Clothing


by Ithilwen 0 reviews

A warrior in civilization.

Category: Underworld - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure, Angst, Humor - Characters: Other - Warnings: [!!!] [V] - Published: 2006-04-09 - Updated: 2006-04-10 - 2857 words

I do not own Underworld or its characters or settings. For these, I would like to thank Len Wiseman, Danny McBride, Kevin Grivioux and Magda Habernickel, dialogue editor. The next time a movie has major exposition delivered by a character with a thick Austrian accent and a painful shoulder wound, we will all know whom to request.

And now, the conclusion...

SELENE: As you can see, this question was entirely moot.

ANNA: The two of us simply became united in our defense of tight, revealing, fashionable corsets!

SELENE: Or in my case, a tight but arguably functional corset.

ANNA: Only if the function has to do with the male anatomy.

SELENE: Take that back, bitch!

ANNA: Make me!

SELENE: All right, I will!

(fight resumes)


"Don't get too attached to him, runt," said Pierce, swinging the passenger door shut. "He's not going to last long."

"I don't know," Taylor answered at last. One of his hands left the wheel long enough to rub the side of his head. Bruising had gone the way of his fear of balding and ability to digest bread, but old habits died hard. "Lucian's probably going to keep him back at base camp during the attack, but after he's had a chance to learn the ropes, I think this guy could hold his own."

"True," Pierce allowed, "but that isn't what I meant."

Taylor all but pulled over. "Dammit, Pierce!" he fumed. "The boss said that this guy was important for the war. I don't know what the fuck that means, but he was pretty clear about no eating him!!"

"Well not before we make it back," Pierce protested.

"Pierce, if you get us in trouble again-"

"Can it and drive!"


"Fuck! This guy is heavy."

"Shut up and bring him, runt."

"I don't see why I should have to drag him," Taylor complained, shifting his grip on the inert medical intern's black T-shirt. The less-than-Prada material stretched and snagged as the new mark slid heavily across the dank tiles. "After all, you were the one who-"

"Maybe if you spend less time whining and more time walking, we'll actually get him to Singe before the vampires finish their Awakening and we have to wait another hundred years."

"Yeah, whatever..." Taylor sulked. Still, it was the cheerful kind of sulking. The kind that a guy did when he was suddenly filled with renewed confidence. Lucian and Pierce hadn't been able to speak freely over the radio in the cop car, but Taylor had certainly gotten the gist that if anyone was going to give him a sterling silver body piercing in the next six hours, it wouldn't be the boss.

Taylor exhaled hard. "Did I fight that hard when you and Raze brought me in?"

Pierce shot him a look. "Are you kidding? You went as limp as a day-old halibut. We thought you were dead."

"Oh." Taylor pointed his eyes straight ahead and ran a stop sign. "Well-" He closed his mouth. "I don't really remember, I guess..."

"It turned out you just fainted or something," Pierce went on. He sighed. "And I'd been hungry that night, too."

"You..." Taylor paused, eyes crossing. "...wait."

A dark chuckle broke out next to him. "For fuck's sake, runt!" One of Pierce's palms rapped the wall. "I'm messing with you. You were as hard to bring in as the next guy." He rubbed his jaw in the place where the bruise had formed and faded by the time they'd ditched the cop car. "Well maybe not this next guy, but respectable enough. Jesus, I just tell you half that stuff for the look on your face."

Taylor narrowed his eyes. "How often do you do that?" he demanded.

A new voice swallowed Pierce's answer. "Holy fucking mama of Christ!" Taylor looked up to see the door guard from the previous night, half-assembled Uzi half-forgotten on his fingers. "Is that the guy?"

Behind his shoulder, Taylor felt Pierce's look from the new guy to their packmate and back. "The one he wanted," he supplied.

The guard nodded. "Fucking amazing."

"Fucking heavy," answered Taylor. "I haven't seen any of the other guys from the raid. Is Singe back yet?"

The guard tore his eyes from the new mark to Taylor with no effort at all. Something in those eyes told him that he'd either said something very good or very bad. "What?" he asked, the air turning heavy in his lungs. "Don't tell me the old guy didn't make it back."

The guard put his eyes back where they belonged. The magazine slammed hard into place. "Didn't anybody make it back."

Taylor's posture was still in half-crouch, fingers aching in the suddenly clammy cloth of the new guy's shirt. "No way."

"We fucking sent six men with him," Pierce answered in doubt. "No one dealer's that good, not with those odds."

The younger lycan felt his neck move, felt his head nod.

"We still got enough to do this, maybe." The guard tested the sight along his weapon. "If we're lucky, they still don't know we're coming."

Taylor shifted his grip against the new mark's shirt.

"Tell the boss we have the candidate."


What was so special about this guy anyway?

Under other circumstances, that might have been a rhetorical question.

Taylor had never gone recruiting before, but he was pretty sure that mainlining a shot glass of wolfsbane enzyme was supposed to put a guy out of commission for more than half an hour. This mark was already twitching behind his restraints as Taylor watched from the doorway. The boss'd told Pierce to stick around and help - with what he still wasn't sure - but he hadn't said anything one way or the other to Taylor, so he'd stayed to watch.

Lucian's feet touched and left the laboratory floor, eyes full of purpose as he handed Pierce a syringe. Only a touch of nervousness lent its sickened intensity to his steps.

There was something about this Corvin guy, and Taylor wanted to know what it was. He was pretty strong, but so was Raze. Hell, so was Taylor on a good night. From the start the boss had treated Michael like some pet project. There had been no talk of bringing the other candidates into the clan - except in the Pierce sense of the expression - and Lucian had gone and turned this guy himself. Why did he get to be a brother all of a sudden? Lucian had mentioned a lycan civilization. This kid doctor sounded like exactly the sort of person who could help pull that off. Was that why the boss had wanted him? Taylor felt his thoughts sour. Scholars and scientists. Pierce had a point. Guys like them didn't fit into that too well.

From what little Singe had long-sufferingly explained to him (probably using more small words than he'd really needed), this kid had something special in his blood, the enzymatic end result of the rarest kind of gene that would let a guy get bitten by a wolf and a vampire at the same time and not die.

And the boss wanted it. Taylor quickly rethought his jealousy. If Lucian had needed more than Michael's blood, needed his heart or his guts to make the plan work...

He'd have done it. He'd have picked his men over a stranger - even an innocent stranger - and kept the lycan race alive. Maybe he wouldn't have been doing it for his thuggish, expendable soldiers, but he'd have done it.

He could see it, but he couldn't tell what it was. It was in his eyes, in his skin, under his fingernails, slipped in his scent, Taylor realized as Pierce held the kid's arm down to get a blood sample. Lucian had made a good call on this one.

Metal broke skin and a thick growl welled up from the mark's unchanged throat and he pulled his arm just free enough to give Pierce a good whack on the coconut. He barely flinched when Pierce hit him back. Taylor stifled a snort. Fuck immortal genes. It would be worth having the kid around just for this.

"That's enough!" Lucian barked. "Just ...go and see what's keeping Raze, would you?"

Taylor was still chortling when Pierce sulked back out into the hallway. "Shut up..." muttered the older lycan.

"I didn't say anything."

"Fucking keep it that way."

"You've been given an enzyme to stop the change," Taylor overheard the boss tell the new guy as he and Pierce hurried off. "It may take some time for the ...grogginess to dissipate."

Taylor held in a snort. "Because someone hit him over the head with a two-by-four."

"Can it runt," growled Pierce.

"No, and stop calling me that," he snapped. "Do you even know my real name?"

Pierce paused. "Shut up," he said at last.

"You don't, do you?" Taylor sulked. "Don't mind me. I'm just worried about Singe, I guess."

Pierce snorted. "What's to worry about? He's dead."

"Don't talk like that! It's not like we know."

Pierce stopped in his track. "Either the death dealer killed him then and there," he explained heatedly, "or she took him prisoner. If you want to worry about something, worry about how much he told her."

"You don't give a damn about him at all, do you?" Taylor asked.

"Did you think no one was going to die in this, runt?" Pierce asked, his usual gruffness coming from too deep in his throat.

"I did. I just-"

"Did you think he'd live forever?"

"It's not like I thought he was immortal or-" Taylor flinched, neck and shoulders pulling his chin to his collarbone. "Damn it, but they shouldn't call us that. I thought he was smart!" Taylor admitted. "I thought he was smarter than any of us."

"Who's to say he wasn't?" Pierce asked. "Smart doesn't mean you can't die out here, runt."

"That's not what I mean," Taylor answered. He swallowed the uncertainty in his mouth. "He was smart..." he tried again. "He was a scholar and a scientist," the words came in slow steps, one and then the other, "but he doesn't act like scrubs like us-like fighting is all we're good for." He looked up, one hand feeling the air between him and Pierce. "The boss has his fancy ideas, but Singe lets us know where we stand. And he's a good man for that."

Something moved in Pierce's face, but Taylor couldn't tell what it was. He couldn't tell much of anything, it seemed.

"Save it for the funeral, runt."

"We don't have funerals," Taylor reminded him as they headed out to look for Raze.

"I didn't kill the cat."

Taylor looked up, brow creasing.

"That damned stray you got so worked up about," Pierce allowed. "I never even saw it. I didn't know about it until you started yapping."

"Then what did-" Taylor's blood went hot and cold at the same time. "You didn't-"

"No," Pierce answered. "Never did." He shrugged. "Who likes the taste anyway?"

Hot, cold and slow. "So why are you-" his brain finally caught up to his blood. "Fuck, Pierce. If you're going to talk like we're both about to die, then could you at least promise to stop calling me-"



"Please escort our 'guests' downstairs."

Dorkula did not look pleased. This by itself was not a problem, but the boss didn't look pleased either. Taylor figured it would be a good idea to hold his position, glare imposingly at Kraven's guards and keep his damned mouth shut. Kraven exhaled nervously and ran one ringed hand through hair so greasy that Taylor'd swear that's why the rings shone. Why anyone with access to clean water would go that long without washing his hair was beyond him.

Taylor tried to keep from wrinkling his nose as he brought up the rear. It seemed that Kraven's hirelings shared their boss's opinions on regular bathing. Not for the first time, Taylor realized that not everything about his new sensory system was fun.

One of Kraven's men shot him a glowering look over his shoulder. Taylor kept his face steely and held the pace. Hell, it was a kick being this close to a real vampire warrior, almost a death dealer, who couldn't do shit about it. The Uzi in his grip was a definite comfort. He noted with a touch of pride that his hands weren't shaking.

Something was going down tonight. Something big. Something that involved a vampire so strong that the boss had wanted to take him out while he was still asleep. Taylor kept his eyes on the gooey-headed blood in front of him, but he let himself take in Pierce and the others from the edges of his vision. Murphy'd laughed at his jokes most of the time. Switch played things close to the chest, but he was a good guy, really.

How well did he know any of them?

That was what his whole life had had in common, Taylor realized. That was what Pierce had been talking about. He'd never been important to anyone.

A new-bitten lycan had a low life expectancy, and that was just the way things were. It didn't make any damned sense to get too attached, and Pierce must have learned that a long time ago. Taylor had heard something in a martial arts movie about that Buddha guy saying having no attachments kept people from being miserable, but from where Taylor was standing, it seemed to suck ass.

Even here in the clan, keeping a safe distance was the only way to go (especially when a guy was still working on controlling his change). Lucian had treated him like another good solider ...well, another soldier. Singe had tolerated all his stupid questions. Pierce didn't bother to remember his name, but his bitching was at least nominally geared toward helping him stay alive. Taylor had never had a situation in which the other guys could afford to get attached to him more than just a little, but the lycan clan came damned close. But not in the gay way because he totally wasn't into that.

Taylor almost bumped into Pierce as the older lycan stopped short. He frowned, mentally rechecking the placement of his hands on his weapon.

The scent reached his nose. Leather. Gun oil. Kraven's personal police force had those things too, but this was something different. If there was one thing a lycan solider came to learn, it was that not every kickass fighter knew shit about military uniformity.

More importantly, it was coming from the wrong direction.

"Exit shaft!" bellowed Pierce. "Move it!"

Whatever problem he might have had with the guy personally, Taylor wasn't about to turn down a good idea just because it came from the other end of an asshole. He and Switch forced the door shut behind them and twisted the bolt into place. Kraven's handpicked thugs hadn't been above turning on the coven and sure as fuck didn't seem like the sort who'd be too good to shoot a hardworking lycan in the back to distract the death dealers.

Taylor and Pierce exchanged a glance. Fuck attachment; he could tell what the other guy was thinking. Make it up the shaft. Come around. Get at them from the other side and for the love of all that's holy don't drop your fucking gun.

There was eating the food they ate. There was stealing cars and uniforms. There was kidnapping a dozen decent strangers and using them for parts. They'd done all those things to stay alive. Taylor'd had the hard and heavy end of the stick his whole life. He knew all about accepting that the world could be a pile of shit sometimes and walking through it anyway, but that wasn't the end of it. A guy didn't have to be a scholar or a scientist to know that it was okay to give more than a passing damn when a good man finished things up, even if he hadn't been all that good.

Maybe that was it.

They could still come out of this, Taylor realized as Murph hauled the shaft door open. Mildew and stagnant water choked his senses, but he dove right in, putting his fingers to the grimy bars. Taylor had a brief flashback of trying to climb that damned rope in gym class. He was twelve feet from the bottom by the time it passed. Not everyone was going to make it. Pierce had just been right about that. It was about proving Singe right. It was about proving Lucian right. It was about being a lycan in a way that was worth more than one breath and then another.

A warrior in civilization.

It seemed like a plan.

There was a sound at the other end of the shaft, and a flash of something fistlike and metallic falling past him.

Taylor's senses froze. He didn't know how he could yell the right warning before figuring out what it was, but the words left his throat all the same.

"Silver grenade!"

"Oh shit," breathed Pierce.

Sign up to rate and review this story