It was the early hours of the morning that Pete finally opened his eyes, left with a sensation of burning from the taser, every nerve ending in his body still jangled from the attack. He knew it had been his own stupid fault. Threatening Joe was never going to get a good reaction, but he overreacted. No, he sighed, he didn't. In the same situation, he'd have done exactly the same. Pete frowned, sometimes he hated his conscious mind. All too often, it could be so… understanding! Moving a hand slowly to his side before moving his prone form, he realised with relief that the stake in his side had been removed. He couldn't believe Andy had attacked him with Holy Water soaked stakes. Yes, it was true that he had attacked Andy first, so he would defend himself, but to have those stakes already about his person meant that they were expecting trouble. It was that that annoyed him more than anything else. Okay, so he had been right, but that wasn't the point. The point was he expected Pete to give him trouble. So he expected trouble, he would give him trouble!
Finally pushing himself from the floor and expecting to find himself still in his own room, Pete was furious to discover that he was once again locked in the cage - if only for the fact that he was alone. Patrick wasn't locked up with him. Oh no! Patrick was forgiven, Patrick was trusted. And here he was… again.
“Well, I got out of here once, I can do it again,” he muttered irritably to himself.
Lowering his shoulder, Pete stepped back ready to ram the door. Edging back a little further, all the hairs on his neck and arms stood on end.
“Huh?” he gasped as a chill seemed to run through him.
Standing upright once more, Pete gingerly extended a hand towards the bars. Even as much as six inches from the bars, he could feel the crackling of the increased current running through the bars. Moving his hand closer towards one of the bars, an arc of blue light rose between his fingers and the bars before connecting with his extended arm. The flash of blue filled the cage and sent Pete spiralling backwards. Even after he dropped, still shaking to the floor, the pained scream was still dying on his lips and a second sound, a siren, filled the room and very possibly the entire warehouse. By the time he looked up once more, the siren had been shut off and Joe and Andy stood three feet from the cage behind a painted yellow line.
“What did you do to it?” Pete grumbled unhappily as he fought the urge to count his limbs to make sure they were all intact.
“Patrick increased the current,” Joe replied calmly. “He said he understood better now what would hold a vampire and what wouldn't.”
“Yeah?” Pete turned an acerbic frown towards his friend. “Well, tell him it works.”
Joe frowned at the words, which drew an instant curious reaction from Pete. Surely that it worked was a good thing? Why the frown?
“Do you know where Patrick is?” Joe asked.
Pete glanced around theatrically. “I know he's trusted enough to not be in here with me!”
Joe sighed heavily and he and Andy exchanged concerned glances.
“What? You expect me to be happy about this? You expect me to just accept that after fourteen weeks of being locked up and proving myself to you on hundreds of occasions since then - here I am again! I'm locked up and Patrick's free to do whatever he wants!”
“You don't understand…” Andy began, only to be interrupted.
“Your damn right I don't!”
“Patrick's missing!” Joe yelled.
Pete's brow furrowed and he shook his head.
“We had a row, he's probably gone for a walk to cool down.”
“It's an hour until sunrise and he's not back!” Joe yelled back at him, calming as he saw Pete's reaction give away that he had no idea how late it was. “You have a connection with him, don't you know where he is?”
Pete concentrated, closing his eyes he reached out with his mind. His brows knit as he repeatedly drew a blank.
“I can't find him,” he finally replied, his voice edged with concern. “Maybe it's the current… blocking me?”
Joe looked at Andy who returned the uncertain expression.
“Look, get the fucking taser if you don't trust me! Just turn off the current, I can't sense him, don't you understand?” Pete yelled.
Without leaving the room for the taser, Joe shut off the power to the cage and Pete once more closed his eyes trying to find his friend. Frequently he felt as though he was almost within reach but something was blocking him.
One more try, he thought to himself. One last determined effort to reach Patrick. But already he knew that something was wrong. There was no way, even if he were still angry with him, that Patrick knew how to block Pete's mental link with him.
Pete's eyes flew open in horror as in his mind he heard mocking laughter and could suddenly picture Patrick lying on the floor of a darkned room, unconscious, beaten and bloody. Suddenly lifted from his feet, Pete was propelled backwards slamming into the bars of the cage at a ferocious speed, all the while the laughter echoing in his mind.
“Prepare yourself for suffering beyond your limited imagination. Tell Joseph he's first.” A voice sounded clearly in his mind as he slid to the floor, his eyes closed once more.
Already he could hear the door to the cage opening and Andy and Joe rushing to his side. Feeling himself being propped up on someone's lap, Pete finally opened his eyes and looked up at Andy's concerned face. Rolling his head to the side, he realised that Joe was supporting him.
“Did you see him?” Andy asked urgently. “Is he okay? Where is he?”
“He's in trouble, he's been attacked.”
“Who's going to attack a vampire? We're the last hunter group in town,” Joe commented.
“Another vampire?” Andy offered.
“Beckett,” Pete cut in hoarsely.
“But he's dead,” Andy replied, his brow furrowed.
“No,” Pete shook his head as he pushed himself up out of Joe's lap. “I don't know how but he survived and he's got Patrick and… Joe… he said he was going to make you suffer first.”
“Me?” Joe frowned deeply. “Oh God! Andrea!”
“Where is she?” Andy asked, his eyes wide.
“She went back home, she needed a good night's sleep. She has to see if she's still got a job to go to tomorrow. Who's going to believe a story of being held prisoner by a vampire?”
“Joe, only people who walk around with their eyes shut don't realise there are vampires here,” Pete replied kindly.
“I got to go to her, make sure she's okay,” Joe was already on his feet and heading for the door.
“Joe,” Pete had followed in an instant and pulled his shoulder back so they faced each other. “Call her first.”
Joe nodded, reaching for his phone, he dialled quickly and waited impatiently.
“Hello?” came a sleepy voice over the phone.
“Joe?” she asked, hardly believing he could be calling her so early. “Do you know what time it is?” she asked turning the clock towards her. “It's just after five, Joe!”
“Andrea,” Joe began, “I don't know how to say this. Beckett's alive and I think he's targeted you.”
“Beckett?” she replied suddenly awake. “Are you serious?”
Over the phone, Joe heard the doorbell ring and heard a repeated rap on Andrea's front door.
“Don't answer it!” he cried. “If you don't invite them in they can't hurt you.”
“It might not be them,” Andrea replied, yawning. “And like you say, if I don't invite them in…”
“Don't answer it!” Joe cried.
“Andrea,” Pete spoke urgently, having snatched the phone from Joe. “You know Beckett can make you invite him in, he's controlled you before.”
“Pete?” Andrea replied surprised by the change of voice. “You're worrying over nothing!”
“He's already got Patrick! I'm not worrying over nothing! He's…”
“It's stopped,” Andrea announced. “Whoever it was has gone.”
Joe snatched the phone back from Pete and held it to his ear.
“Andrea, you're coming back here. Pack a bag, as much as you need, you…”
“Wait a minute, Joe!” Andrea interrupted. “We agreed that I would keep my apartment and my job, if they'll still have me…”
“Andrea! Don't you understand? Beckett's out to get you, all of us!”
“And he'll destroy us much faster if we give in to him,” she replied.
“We're coming to pick you up,” Pete shouted, even though Joe still held the phone.
“Tell him that's doubtful, given the time and I'm not going anywhere except to work.”
“Andrea, please!” Joe begged, worried for her safety.
“I have an hour before my alarm goes off, Joe, and I'm going to spend that time sleeping. Goodbye!”
Joe stared at the phone, as he listened to the dialling tone. He knew she was independent, but this was taking things too far! Risking her life wasn't something he was comfortable with.
“She hung up,” Joe frowned miserably.
“We'll follow her tomorrow, Joe,” Andy placed a comforting arm around Joe's shoulder. “We'll make sure she's okay.”
“And in the meantime,” Pete sighed, “we have to find out what Beckett's up to and where he is.”
Joe nodded distractedly. All that effort to rid the world of William Beckett and his Coven and it simply hadn't been enough. He had Patrick and was going after Andrea. Worse still, she wasn't taking the threat seriously. He would make her see, bring her home, protect her.
Pete glanced uneasily at Joe. He was so frightened for his beloved Andrea.
“Patrick is the priority,” he announced, staring at Joe and Andy for confirmation.
“Yeah… yeah, of course,” Joe replied frowning at the words.
“Just remember that,” Pete warned. “Patrick is the priority.”
“You think I'm going to get so wrapped up in…”
“Yeah, I do,” Pete replied honestly. “And I think you know it too.”
Joe paused for a few moments and chewed on his lower lip. He understood Pete's concern, but if he had to be honest, his priorites had changed and Andrea was one of them.
“I know my priorities, Pete.”
“Good,” Pete nodded. “Provided they're the same as ours, it won't be a problem, will it?”
“I know my priorities!” Joe shouted as the tension in the room grew thick. “Now are you going back in there, or do I need the taser?”
Pete's lips curled into a near snarl. Was Joe seriously asking him to go back into the cage?
“All right, Trohman, I'll go back in, but you had better have a damn good reason for keeping me locked up! And it had better not be to keep me out the way so you can go after Andrea!”
“I told you…”
“Andy,” Pete began as he stepped back into the cage and watched Joe swiftly lock him inside. “I think you need to watch over Joe too. He needs to stay objective and he isn't.”
Pulling the switch, the current that ran through the cage fired to life and did its best to keep Pete captive within the cage.
“I don't think he's considered everything, somehow. A little too much in love!” Pete's eyes drooped as he said the words, he could feel sunrise approaching.
“I think we all need some sleep,” Andy commented.
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