Categories > Movies > Underworld > In Sheep's Clothing

Solution to Everything

by Ithilwen 1 review

Taylor ponders life, the universe and getting off Lucian's bad side.

Category: Underworld - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure, Humor - Characters: Lucian, Michael, Other - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2005-11-22 - Updated: 2005-11-22 - 2001 words

I do not own Underworld or its characters or settings I do not own Underworld or its characters or settings. For these, I would like to commend Len Wiseman, Kevin Grivioux, Danny McBride and contact lens technicians Olina Norkova and Zsuzsanna Mile.

This is still a bit of a work in progress, so all criticism of a constructive nature will be welcomed with evil cookies courtesy of Chaos Baked Goods. Pure evil. With sprinkles.

This is the third version of this chapter.

(Bows to M K)


Taylor didn't think of himself as a coward. He'd held his own in a fight or two - before and after the wolf - but, all talk of immortality aside, a new-bitten lycan had an average life expectancy of about three years. That meant refilling the ranks as soon and as reliably as possible. Raze and crew took the humans they could find - dockworkers, street enforcers, petty thieves. Soldiers were a fucking recruiter pipe dream. God only knew how they sniffed out the ones who could take it. Taylor sometimes wondered why he hadn't up and run when he'd found out what was what. He wondered if it was a wolf thing, loyalty to the alpha and all that zoology psychocrap. He wondered if it was something new in his blood.

Taylor didn't think of himself as a coward, but the thought of a displeased Lucian made him want to tuck his head down turtle-style into his poufy cop jacket.

"Do you think he's still-"

"Yes, quite upset with both of you," rasped Singe, measuring agarose into a beaker.

"All right," Pierce admitted, "the diner was a mistake. Can we please move on?"

"That isn't what I meant," Singe explained. "That duel of yours made quite a bit of noise. The death dealers nearly learned about our little refuge." The older lycan fixed Taylor with a clear but beady gaze, brow furrowing. "What set the two of you off like that anyhow?"

Pierce laughed smugly. "The runt completely overreacted."

"That's a matter of opinion." Taylor glared at him before turning back to Singe, "It was-"

He cut off at a clang from the outer door. Then the dingy hangings swished aside and Lucian strode through, blood still wet on his skin. His eyes were lit with something that had nothing to do with the fluorescent lights humming down on the makeshift lab.

For all that basic training had still kicked Taylor's ass, 'military discipline' in the lycan clan was limited to "fight hard," "don't trash stuff we'll need later" and "/shut the hell up when Lucian's talking/." Taylor and Pierce didn't exactly stand at attention, but the vibe rolling off Lucian with every step made both of them pull back and take notice.

Singe raised an eyebrow. "A second escape," he remarked. "Impressive. Perhaps Raze wasn't overstating matters."

"Raze didn't bring back this," he answered, holding up a red phial.

Singe's other eyebrow joined the first, every shred of sarcasm falling away as a fearful eagerness took its place. He looked up at Lucian. "If Michael is indeed a carrier, the vampires will-"

"Relax, old friend," Lucian's voice was as smooth as a lava floe, cold to the touch. "I've tasted his flesh. Just two days 'til full moon. Soon, he will be a lycan." His smile was hard. "Soon he will come looking for us."

Singe took the phial and Lucian followed him into the inner lab.

Taylor held back a laugh the hangings swished shut. "This is great," he muttered to Pierce in a loud whisper. "I freaking hate being the new guy."

Pierce was shaking his head. "/Him/? We're letting a weakling like him into this clan?"

"Pierce," said Taylor, "this Michael guy was tough enough to get away from Raze and he passed medical school. It's a safe bet he's not a total loss."

"Maybe," he growled, "but anyone who-"

They both cut off at the sound of clinking glass, followed by Singe's amazed pronouncement:

"Positive." The word shuddered through the air like chills on a frosty morning.

"Wow," murmured Taylor at last. Pierce only grunted.

A moment passed, and then the hangings moved aside as Lucian left the inner lab. The boss gave them a nod and Taylor felt a bit better. This was good news, right? If Lucian shouldn't be so badly disposed as to think up evil punishments for a pair of inept but very very well-meaning henchmen...

"Out of curiosity," Taylor whispered to Pierce as Lucian crossed the room toward the armory, "what did you think we were going to do with the final candidate?"

Pierce shrugged and said at a quite ordinary volume, "The same thing we did with all the other candidates."

Taylor froze. So had Lucian. Taylor cringed as his leader slowly turned around. "Pierce," Lucian said wearily, "Michael Corvin carries the gene that permits the hybridization of the two immortal species, the gene that we have been searching for for years." He raised one hand, still caked with congealing blood. "If he proves trustworthy, he could be a great asset in our war against the vampires."

"So..." Pierce searched, "we're not going to eat him?"

Taylor shook his head. "That's your solution to everything."

"Quiet, runt!"

"No," Lucian said darkly, "we are not going to eat him." And then - shockingly - the lycan commander actually closed his eyes, letting one hand touch his forehead. "This war has been going on too long," he muttered. "It's been six hundred years since our kind was free to be anything but soldiers and before that..." he trailed off, ghosts hovering in his eyes. "Can you understand what that means?" he fixed the two of them with a half-dead fervor. "There has never been true lycan civilization on this earth. We may yet get the chance to bring our species to its potential. There will be warriors, yes, but perhaps we will also begin to recruit scholars, scientists-"

Taylor brightened, "Chicks?" he asked.

Lucian sighed. "Yes," he answered, "we will start turning women again."

"All right!"

"But if the two of you keep up your current, spectacular level of ineptitude, then..." Lucian squeezed his eyes shut for a moment. "Just go and check the armory, would you?" Taylor nodded and turned toward the exit shaft, barely feeling Pierce follow. "And try not to do anything stupid."


Maybe it wasn't the zoology psychocrap. Maybe it was the life-and-death situation psychocrap. Taylor had read about the sort of thing where soldiers in dangerous situations could form strong bonds so that obeying the leader guy was almost a reflex. ...okay, so he'd skimmed about it. ...okay, so it'd been on an episode of Oprah. He sighed. There were times when being a creature of the night was god-damn ass-confusing.

Still, it beat his old gig most of the time.

"Hey runt," snapped Pierce without looking up from the boot he was cleaning, "get over here and answer the phone."

This was not one of those times.

"Get it yourself," he shot back.

"You know the rules," Pierce leveled a finger at him. "We put all the chores in a hat and you pulled phone duty. Unless you switch with someone-" Taylor really wasn't in the mood for another reaming. He stifled a chuckle. Said scolding session would have been more effective if Pierce's hair hadn't been crimped wild from when he'd bunned it back for the cop uniform. He looked like a twelve year-old girl fresh from a slumber party.

"All right. I'm getting it." Flesh-eating brotherhood of wolves, and they made him the damned receptionist. Taylor sighed, crossed the room and picked up the whining cell phone. Singe had set up a nearly untraceable rental. God only knew how they go so many bars underground. "Hello," he said cheerily. "You have reached the Vegan Association of Hungary. How may I direct your call?"

Taylor took half a step to the side and Pierce's boot hit the wall instead of his head.

"Hold, please."


Taylor slid through the dingy hangings and poked his head inside the lab. If Lucian was still mad, then he had worse things to look forward to than a crummy spoke on the work wheel. After having had a whole day to think about it, he had determined that regardless of the reason; keeping the leader happy was important on many levels, mostly the ones that Taylor didn't want pounded into lycan-flavored pudding mix.

"What makes you think the death dealer won't simply kill him?" Singe asked as he cleaned out an Erlenmeyer flask with a molting tube brush. "New-bitten or not, he's just one more lycan to them."

"He was still human when she saw him first," Lucian was saying, "and - sad to say - the death dealers have enough information on our, ah, 'recruitment practices' to know that's not how we operate." He pulled in a weary breath. "It is possible that Selene won't notice the wound."

"Still, if the candidate dies..."

Selene? Taylor blinked They were giving them names now? Of all the things Taylor'd had to worry about with death dealers, forgetting their names hadn't been one of them. Most lycans seemed to get by with saying, "the one with the short black beard and the throwing stars," "the one with the buzzcut and the submachine gun," or the more versatile, "oh /shit/." As far as Taylor knew, only one vampire had gained any kind of offical nickname.

"Sorry to disturb," Taylor interrupted, nodding to Singe before holding out the phone to Lucian. "Dorkula on line one for you, boss."

Lucian blinked. "What?"

"Kraven's on the phone and he wants to talk to you," Taylor tried again. "He sounds royally pissed off about something."

"Ah," Lucian all but rolled his eyes as Taylor handed over the cell. He lifted it to his ear and snapped out, "This number is for emergencies, cousin. What is it?"

Taylor could just hear the answer, "Don't call me-"

"Would you rather I shouted out 'Hello Kraven, vampire conspirator,' where some human operator might pick up on it?" Lucian went on. "Now why have you called?"

Kraven must not have liked the question. Over the faint electronic whine, Taylor picked up the words, "Lay low ... she ... human."

Lucian's hand went still against the tabletop. "A human?" Taylor could hear Lucian's heartbeat pick up, "And it escaped?" There was a pause. "Yes, the usual place. I will come with more than adequate protection. Now get off this line before someone hears you." Lucian clicked the phone shut and fixed his eyes on Taylor. "Speaking of which..."

Taylor gulped and took a step back. Singe gave a rusted laugh. "Next time you want to eavesdrop," he said, indicating the flask in his hand, "try to look a little busy."

Lucian shook his head. "Don't encourage him, old friend." So much for not getting on Lucian's nerves. "We need to set up another meeting," Lucian stretched his lips in leashed disgust. "It seems our ally among the vampires requires a bit of hand-holding."

"Kraven," Taylor griped. "I know why we had to deal with him and all," he said, "but how can you stand the idea that people think you got offed by a wuss like him?"

"I won't pretend it's easy," said Lucian, with something that might have been amusement.

He shoots. He scores. He gets off the boss' shit list!

"I mean..." he went on, "he spends his life taking care of Viktor's house and cleaning up the guy's messes. What kind of job is that?"

"Long ago," he said. "It was my job."


"Taylor," Lucian said with the barest hint of weariness, "do fetch Raze. I will need him to stand security."

"The big guy does scare the crap out of people, sir," he replied. "You want Pierce and me to come on this one too?"

Lucian stared at him darkly. Singe raised an eyebrow.

Taylor looked away. "Forget I asked."


Where to send the blame: drf24 (at) columbia . edu
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