21 Short Fics About Abigail Whistler And Hannibal King
by Gale


Damon sees her leaving Starbucks just as the front door's being locked, headed across the parking lot. He's not sure exactly how stupid someone has to be to walk across a deserted parking lot at eleven at night on a Tuesday, but he's not complaining. Cows aren't that bright, either.

He follows her as unobtrusively as he can, which isn't saying much for a guy standing 6'3" without boots on. But she has her iPod on and she's wearing a floppy hat, and her cellphone's ringing. He feels himself grin. Dinner's not even going to be a problem tonight.

"What?" the girl says, fishing her keys out of her messenger bag. "No, no -- honey, I can't hear you. You're breaking up." She gets the keys out and fumbles for the door key, shifting her phone to the other ear. "Yeah. Yeah, no, I'm just leaving now."

Damon doesn't even have to look in a mirror to know he's changing. He can feel his face shifting, preparing, getting ready. Throwing the mask away. This is who he is, a mighty hunter, and he will do as nature intended.

"Yeah," the girl's saying, and her words sound even louder now as his ears change, elongate. "Yeah, I know. Well, if it was okay with you, I thought I'd do this," and she spins and kicks Damon hard, right in the balls. Those, at least, have not changed yet.

Damon howls and drops to his knees, but manages to backhand her into a wall. The girl slams against it, hard, and grins. "I'll have to call you back, honey," she says, tossing the hat aside. "Some guy's giving me crap in the parking lot." She shuts her phone and skids it across the parking lot. "No, no," she yells, and she's almost laughing. "Nothing I can't handle."

He can see her face now, her features, and oh he's so totally fucked. That's Whistler's...

"You sure?" a guy says, coming out of the car, and he had to be crouched on the backseat, and if that's Whistler's Daughter this is Hannibal King and he is so. Totally. Fucked. "Because I can help, if you want."

"Maybe later," Whistler says, and kicks him again.

From the way the pain is shooting up his leg and into his chest, it means she's packing silver. Which means he's packing silver. Which means Damon is a dead man.

Still, it doesn't mean he has to go quietly. He rears up and digs his nails into the girl's face, trying to take something with him -- her nose, maybe, or a few feet of skin. Something, anything, so he doesn't go out alone. They'll remember his name forever: Damon Henderson, the 'wolf who fucked up Whistler's face forever.

But before he can do more than graze her, he hears King say "uh uh, bad puppy" behind him, and there's a sharp pain in the back of his head.

Damon has just enough time to think oh fuck, silver before everything goes white.



"Did it hurt?" Abby asked. Proof enough she was drunk, because no way in hell would she have asked that if she'd been sober.

King was silent for a minute. "Yeah," he finally said. "A lot." He shrugged. "But much like having a baby, it's the kind of pain you forget."


"Fuck no. That's gonna wake me up in flop sweats when I'm 60. It's like..." He stopped and looked at her. On anyone else, his expression would have been embarrassment. "You don't want to hear this."

"No, go ahead," Abby said. "Really."

King kept looking at her for a few seconds, then turned to look out at the water. "It didn't really register at first, because, you know, distracted by the sex. I thought it was just some new kinky shit -- which, for the record, I was all for right up until then. And then there's this weird moment where you realize, 'Oh, hey, this chick's biting me,' and then you realize, 'Oh, wait, she's DRINKIN...'" He stopped.

Abby waited.

"But she wasn't drinking, she was feeding. There's a difference, you know."

"Yeah," Abby agreed, even though she hadn't.

"And it hurts, and then it really fucking hurts, and you're screaming and she's laughing, but she's feeding while she does it, so some of it drips back onto you, and after a while either the shock gets you or the blood loss does. With me, it was the blood loss. I just...went to sleep." King shrugged again and took a long drink. "And didn't wake up for five years."

"But you..." Oh, this was horseshit, asking him this. Pointless torture, and cruel besides. "But you remember what you did."

"Of course I do," King said. "I was still me, just -- different. It's like if you turned into a shark tomorrow: you'd swim, you'd maybe eat some divers. It's the nature of the beast." He paused and added, "So to speak."

"But that's different," Abby argued. "People aren't sharks. People can't be sharks. People can be vampires, though."

King nodded. "Exactly my point."

"You're..." Abby shook her head and muttered, "I'm very confused."

"Yeah, that'll happen." King was quiet a minute, staring out at the water. "I can't ever make up for what I did," he said quietly, "but I can try. And more importantly, I can stop them before they hurt anyone else."

He didn't say anything else for a while. Neither did Abby.

The next morning, both of them had hellacious hangovers, but during the middle of Frank's lecture on responsible behavior King raised his head enough to make a face at Abby, who snorted and clutched her head because OW, and that was that.




Calder and the others are waiting for them back at the warehouse. Abby's not sure of anyone else's name yet, but she's pretty sure the blonde who's dressed up like Power Girl is named Mapes. She can't be more than 17, but she's the one who asks, "So did you screw this up, too?"

Calder and the other woman have the good grace to look embarrassed at that, anyway. Abby resists her initial urge to slam the kid's face into a table. She's too tired to start something, and if she did it'd either end with her getting her ass kicked or Mapes dead. Abby's in no mood to pull her punches right now.

Instead, she tells Calder, "Worked like a charm. It's airborne." She tosses him the arrow she dug out of the wreckage, still wet with Drake's blood and the DayStar.

"We'll start mass production immediately," he tells her, and heads for the lab they've constructed.

Mapes isn't done, though. "What, all this work for two ounces of blood? And for that, we lose three operatives, not to mention Blade, all so you can play hero?" She sneers. "Big, tough Whistler's Daughter, doesn't have a scratch on her..."

Oh, wonderful. A girl out to make a name for herself by starting something with Whistler's Daughter. Never mind that Whistler's Daughter has a name and a personality, and has lost people in the last 24 hours, and feels like handmade shit. Abby sighs and starts rolling her muscles.

"...little hunter wannabe, never lost anyone, just doing this for kicks--"

"Hi," King says, appearing out of nowhere. He's holding Zoe's hand and looks like Abby feels, but he's smiling. At Mapes. Oh, this isn't good. "You're -- Mapes, right?"

The girl goggles at him for a second. "Yes, sir," she says, straightening. "And you're Hannibal King."

She says it so reverently that Abby snorts. She forgets, most of the time, that he's Hannibal King, the same way she's Whistler's Daughter, like they're both creatures of myth and legend. He's just King, the guy whose mouth never stops but who always has her back.

That earns her a glare from Mapes. King tries to hide it, but she can tell he's trying not to start laughing. After the night they've had, you take your laughs where you can find them.

"Yeah," he says, and leans down to whisper something to Zoe, who looks at him for a second before letting go of his hand and hurrying over to take Abby's. "How many vampires have you killed, Mapes?"

The girl straightens even further. "Over 50," she says proudly.

"Uh huh. And who did you lose?"

"My fiancé," Mapes says quietly. "A year ago."

"Anyone else?"

Mapes is confused. "Sir?"

King punches her in the nose. It's not a practice swing, either. Mapes yells and drops to one knee. Everyone just watches, except Zoe, who's playing with her shoelaces with her free hand.

"We've all lost people," he says quietly. "Abby lost her dad a few days ago. Zoe's mom..." He cuts off sharply, glancing at Zoe. "The rest of our cell got finished off tonight, and the only reason I didn't is because my whorebitch ex-girlfriend held a grudge like you would not believe." He looks at her for a couple of seconds, then offers her a hand.

Mapes doesn't take it. She gets to her feet by herself, glaring at King the whole time. King looks at her, then shrugs a shoulder and pulls his hand back.

"If anyone needs me, I will be in the shower," he says. "Debrief can wait a while. And if it can't, then you can fuck off and do it without me. Zoe?"

Zoe clings tighter to Abby's hand.

"Okay," he says, and meets Abby's eyes. "You got her?"

She nods. "Go take a shower," she tells him. "You smell like ex-girlfriend."

That almost makes him smile. Abby counts it as a win anyway.



King never talks about the scar on his neck.

It's on his left side, just under his ear, almost against his hairline. It's almost an inch long and impossibly deep, a thin line of scar tissue that he doesn't draw attention to or from. It's just there, like his tattoo, and he doesn't try to hide either of them from anybody.

Abby tries, sometimes, to think about how deep and hard Danica would have had to bite to make a mark like that, but her brain skitters away before she can think about it for too long.

That's probably for the best.



Whistler met King about six months after they rescued him. He'd come by to talk to her and Sommerfield about some stuff, and he'd caught sight of King sparring with Frank. He was good, but he could be better. Still, for someone who'd picked it up cold with no preamble, he was doing better than she'd figured.

"That him?" Whistler had asked Sommerfield, jerking his head towards the other room even though the other woman couldn't see him do it. Habits were hard to break. "The test case?"

"He has a name," she'd said, more sharply than she'd intended.

Her father had looked at her for a minute. "Uh-huh," he said, and looked at her for a minute before going back to talking to Sommerfield.

He'd talked to King for a while later that night; she hadn't heard any of it, but from the way they kept gesturing and shoving shirtsleeves and pant legs up, she was pretty sure they'd been comparing scars. Nothing much, but after that, Whistler always called King by his name.

"He's not bad," he said the one time she asked him about it, and from her father that was high praise.



"Shit," Abby hisses, stretching her leg out as best she can in the cramped backseat. "How bad does it look?"

King doesn't answer.

No muscle damage, the voice in his head says. A few months ago, it seduced and cajoled; now it sounds like Leonard Nimoy from season two of Trek, before "Spock's Brain". Just surface damage -- a few blood vessels torn, probably. There'll be a mark, but no scar.

"King!" Abby yells sharply, startling him. "Are you going to be okay? Because if you're not..."

"I'm fine," King says, and is surprised to find, as he's applying pressure to the wound, that it's true.



Abigail spent the better part of a wet and rainy Tuesday going through photo albums until she found it.

She went to her mother that night and held up a picture of a man. He was in camouflage, with his arm around another man's shoulder. Both of them were grinning at the camera and flipping off either it or whoever had taken the picture.

She said, "That's my father, isn't he?"

Her mother sighed and nodded, patted the sofa next to her. "Come on, honey. I'll tell you about him, if you want."



King makes noises every few months about getting the tat removed, but he never does.

Part of it, he figures, is serving as a reminder to the new kids, the ones who think they're all badass because they say they are. No, kids, badass is being a vampire, then being cured of it, then hunting them.

He never says it out loud, though. Abby already thinks his ego's ridiculous.

It's a reminder to himself, too: don't fuck up, don't let your guard down. Besides, it's not as if he can remove it. Sommerfield ran tests way back in the beginning, found the ink ran all the way down to the bone. He'd have to peel skin away, and there's no guarantee even that would get rid of it. And it's not as if he regularly goes around shirtless, so most of the time it's fine.

It's even mostly okay at home. Abby likes to run her short-and-not-terribly-girly nails across it and dig in a little deep, like she's trying to claw it off. She doesn't even know she's doing it, sometimes. But it's been six months so far, and after six months, the faint scratching noise has kind of grown on him.



The call came in just after nine, thanks to Hedges' hacking into the police bandwidth: suspect captured, being brought in for questioning. Multiple fatalities, including suspect's accomplice, one John Whistler.

Abby can feel everyone staring at her, even Sommerfield. The only exception is Zoe, who's busy doing her math homework in the lab. Her mom gets pissed if she doesn't get her homework done before her bath.

"You going to be all right?" Dex asks on the ride over to the station, and it pisses Abby off. Like she's supposed to stop being professional just because her father--

"I'm fine," she says shortly, not looking up from her laptop. She still has half a playlist to fill, and they're two blocks away. She wishes everyone would shut up and let her get on with it.

For once, King doesn't say anything. Abby's ridiculously grateful for that.



"Did it hurt?" she asked once, a couple of weeks after they met. King had been human again for just long enough to start having conversations again, but not screaming nightmares. He'd cut way back on those.

He put the ammunition down but not the gun, and stared off for a second. "Sort of," he'd said, still not looking at anything in particular. "You can't use regular ink on a vampire, so it's mixed with holy water and a diluted amount of silver. For vampires, I mean. Familiars can just use ink." He glanced at her and shrugged, then gone back to loading the gun. "The burns from the water and silver heal, but by that point the ink's leached into your skin."

"But did it hurt?"

"It's relative," he'd said. "Everything hurts, you do it the right way."



Officially, no one collects trophies. It cheapened the job, Whistler used to say, made it more of a hobby, like sport fishing. Scars were okay, because it meant you were the one who walked away from the fight.

Unofficially, Abby was the one who went over to Dex's apartment and stole the mostly-intact vampire skull he kept in his safe. She cracked the jaws and took the pronounced canines -- one for herself, one for King. She never wears hers, never sees him wear his; too easy to inspire the new kids to do something stupid.

A couple months later, she wakes up to find a plain white box on her kitchen table, her name written on the front in King's spiky handwriting. Inside is what could loosely be called a knife, if the blade was steel and not seven inches of slightly-yellowed enamel.

She doesn't test it out on herself -- they're still not sure how the virus for lycanthropy is transmitted, despite Calder's efforts to find out -- but one good throw knocks the blade through her closet door and into the wall, leaving spiderwebbed cracks in the plaster.

Way, way better than jewelry.



"I've been thinking about growing a beard," King says.

Abby glances up from checking her bow for damage. "Couldn't hurt," she shrugs. "Might make you look older."



When Abby came back from patrol a few nights later, Sommerfield had been inside the quarantine area talking to a guy in a pair of jeans and a Che Guevera t-shirt, both of them Frank's.

It took her a second to realize that the guy was the vampire they'd bagged.

He was taller than she remembered, and had two days' worth of stubble on his face, and looked like he hadn't slept or eaten since she'd last seen him. She lurked around the edges, doing routine things -- weapon inventory, updating sighting lists for the different cells- until Sommerfield had told her to stop lurking and get her skinny ass in there, there was someone she wanted Abby to meet.

Sommerfield had looked extremely satisfied, almost smug. She knew damn well it wasn't a viable option for mass production -- it didn't work on Purebloods, for a start, and they didn't dare release it into the population without knowing how it would react on humans -- but it was a weapon, and every weapon counted. Every little bit helped.

"Abby," Sommerfield said, staring at the space next to Abby's face, "I'd like you to meet Hannibal King."

And that's the day they met, really. Abby didn't count the other thing, even if everyone else did.



The first Wednesday after Blade disappears, King shows up at her apartment with Indian food and no Kevlar. It's disconcerting.

The lack of armor, not the food. She likes Indian.

"What are you doing here?" she asks. It's not like it's a total shock; they know each other's addresses, which is a complete breach of protocol but sometimes you want to crash somewhere that's not headquarters or your own apartment. But it's still strange. Usually, they call first.

"It's Wednesday," King says, not even blinking. It's surprisingly hard to ruffle him. Of course, with that background, it'd be hard to. "They had a run on onion kulcha earlier, so I doubled up on the roti instead, if that's okay."

"That's fine," she says absently. "King..."

"And you're sitting down and watching Audition if I have to tie you to the sofa," he says, brushing past her.

"No I'm not," she says, closing the door. "You know I hate horror movies."

"Japanese horror movies," he says, putting the food down on the kitchen table and going for plates. "This isn't a horror movie, it's a change to learn something new about a different culture. Besides, it's not a horror movie. It's a love story."

"A love story," Abby says, crossing her arms over her chest.

"Yeah. Well, mostly. Sort of." King looks up from her fridge. "Please tell me you have beer."

She really should thank him and toss his ass out. She really, really should. This whole month has been a nightmare.

"Behind the Diet Coke, way in the back," she tells him, peering inside the bags.

Okay, so. She'll toss him out after the movie. What the hell.



Abby looks up for two seconds, and gets a Jimmy Choo in the face for her troubles.

She rolls with it, because that's all you can do, and lands on her back, flipping up to her feet. There are two of them, the glossy pale dark-haired woman and the slightly less pale blond guy in the pinstriped suit. They look less like vampires and more like models, except for the fangs. The fangs always give it away.

"Whistler's Daughter," the woman sneers, and Abby can hear the capital letters in her voice. "We must have pissed off some pretty impressive people."

"Not really," the guy says, smirking. "You see Blade around here anywhere?"

"Sorry," King says, coming around the corner. "Looks like you guys are still..."

And then he stops dead, which is weird enough. But so do the vampires, which is even weirder.

"Oh, fuck me," King mutters.

The woman stares at him for a second -- a very long second, by Abby's estimation -- and dives for him, screeching like a banshee. A metaphorical banshee, anyway; Abby's never met any other kind.

The female vamp wraps one hand around King's throat and claws at his face for a couple seconds before the guy drags her off. "Not now, Dan," he says, holding her arms behind her back.

She breaks free and glares at him, hissing, fangs exposed. Abby might as well not even be there.

"Not now," the guy says again, and there's something in his voice, because the woman glares and yanks a pay phone out of the wall and throws it at King, but she doesn't even wait to see if it hits. By the time he's ducked out of the way, both the vampires are gone.

"Goddammit," Abby says, annoyed. "What the hell, King? And don't give me that shit about it happening to everyone, because right now it's not funny. Not in the middle of a situation."

King just stands there for a second, staring at the spot where they were standing a few seconds before.

Okay, this isn't good. "King."

"That's. um." King stares for another couple of seconds, then shakes himself out of it. "Sorry," he says, glancing around. "But, hey, now I get to spend the rest of the night telling Sommerfield how we ran into my bitch ex-girlfriend and her brother."

His ex-girl..."What?"



"So," Abby said brightly, "Zoe told me what Danica said to you. About eating her."

King froze for a moment, then went back to checking his guns over. "Yeah?" he said as blandly as he could.

Abby swallowed and tried again. "Everyone would understand," she said, perching on the corner of the desk. He really shouldn't have been out of bed yet, but getting King to stay on bed rest was sort of impossible. "If you told them..."

"I didn't tell them anything," King said precisely, checking the bullets before he loaded them. "Which is a relief, because I'd hate to think I had the shit beat out of me for no reason."

"But even if you had," Abby pressed, "it wouldn't be a problem, because..."

A clip went flying past her head and crashed into the wall. Abby managed not to flinch.

"I didn't. Tell them. Anything," King said slowly, still not looking at her. "And I gotta tell you, Whistler, you're the fourth person who's had a little talk with me today about the situation. I sort of wish you'd just interrogate me and get it the fuck over with."

Shit. He knew. "King..."

"And while we're sharing, I have to say I'm a little disappointed that you of all people would think I'd talk." He looked thoughtful. "Not surprised, though. Just disappointed."

"They were going to do it again!" Abby yelled, surprising herself. "The one thing in the world you would do anything to avoid. What are we supposed to think?"

"You're supposed to think that I can get the shit beat out of me for a good long while," King snapped, looking up at her. "Nothing that hasn't happened before. Nothing new." He opened his mouth. "Duh yuh ee hat?"

What -- oh, right. Abby peered inside. "I see teeth."

"Exactly," King said, closing his mouth. "That's the idea. The back left molar has a capsule. Three seconds after I take it, I'm dead." He closed his mouth and looked, for a few seconds, like he was chewing something. Then he coughed and spat out a small capsule of violently green...something.

"They're not taking me again, Abby," King said quietly, and for a moment he was the guy in Frank's clothes all over again, the one with circles under his eyes and no beard. "That's not me talking out of my ass, for once. Hard to bring back a corpse."

Then he drops his eyes and takes the capsule back, putting it back into his mouth and doing something with it -- presumably, securing the fake tooth. "I should get this done," he tells her, and doesn't look up again, not even when Abby leaves.



Abby knows it would be a better story if she'd found King if she'd met him years before and found him as a vampire and decided to save him from what he'd become. It's what Zoe wants to hear, judging from the way the girl's sitting on her bed, head in her hands, listening raptly.

The truth is, Sommerfield had told her and Frank to go out and get her a vamp -- a new one, if they could find it, and not a Pureblood. "It'd just kill them," she'd said, still typing away on her keyboard.

King had been the first one they'd seen hunting alone, which was strange enough; most vamps in big cities tended to hunt in groups. She'd waited for a subway, standing a few feet away from him, and busted out Innocent Girl routine number 17, and sure enough it had worked. It had been close for a second -- neither she nor Frank had wanted to capture instead of kill -- but they'd managed to knock King out and steel-gag him, then take him back to the barge.



"But there are other bad things out there, right?" Zoe asks one night, sitting up straight.

Abby stops in the doorway and mentally sighs. Dammit. She'd thought the kid was asleep. "Well, sure," she says, flicking the light on. "People do bad stuff all the time, Zoe. That's why there are jails."

"No," Zoe says, rolling her eyes. Abby's pretty sure her mom didn't teach her that. Probably King. Possibly Dex. "Weird bad things. Like vampires and werewolves and stuff."

"There's no such thing as werewolves," Abby says automatically.

"And there's no such thing as vampires," Zoe says, setting her jaw. Okay, so the stubbornness is all Sommerfield. Not like she's lacked role models for that, though.

"Well, there aren't," Abby says, pulling the blankets tight around Zoe and poking her in the forehead until the girl gives up and leans back against the pillow. "Not anymore. Remember?"

"You had that party," Zoe says, finally -- finally -- sounding sleepy. "I wasn't invited."

"It was a grownup party," Abby says. "You can go to those when you're older." Kind of somber, compared to the parties she went to in high school -- Jennifer burst out crying, and Calder got drunk and sang dirges half the night. She and King ducked down to the docks and watched the sun come up. It had been a good night.

She looks to see if Zoe has anything to say to that, but the girl's fast asleep.



"So we didn't talk about it," Abby says later, shaking herself awake.

King lifts his head from the pillow. He still sounds drowsy. "Mmn?"

"Hunting," she says patiently. "The reason I came over here." He lifts an eyebrow at that. "Okay, half the reason," she admits, smiling.

"What about it?" he asks, rolling over onto his back to look at her. "I thought we talked about this already, before we got." He does this weird twitching thing with his face that she guesses means he's trying to hide a smile. He's not that good at it. "Distracted."

"You're not suggesting we do this by ourselves," Abby says flatly. No way in hell. That's some WB shit. Real teams act as, you know, a team, not just two well-trained people with silver and guns. Plus, neither of them is good at the technical stuff. King's not bad with ideas, but actually combining mechanical parts together to make things is not his forte. Switch "combining mechanical parts" with "biology", and you have her. There is no way--

King's looking at her like she's crazy. Again. "Of course I'm not. What are you, stoned?" He pushes himself up on one elbow. "I called Calder and Mapes, asked for a meeting tomorrow morning at the new crib."

"Don't say 'crib'," Abby says absently.

King glares at her. "Fine. Tomorrow morning, at the new headquarters." He makes air quotes around the last word. "We'll figure it out them," he says, dropping back onto the mattress.

"Figure what out?"

"Abby," he says quietly. "Don't play dumb. I'm better at it than you are."

That's not strictly true; King's a wiseass, but he doesn't play dumb. But she knows what he means anyway.

He means let's go ahead and give it a shot. He means nothing's felt as good as last night in a long time. He means someone has to do it, preferably people who know what they're doing so why not us?

And he's not wrong. Not about any of it.

"There have to be rules," Abby finally says, looking at him, frowning a little. She's talking to King, but her head's out past the training stages, thinking about what they have and what they're going to need. Werewolves aren't vampires, after all. They're messier, for a start. Last night proved that.

"Same as it always was," King agrees. "Don't hunt without letting someone know, don't go out without backup, always have a plan. It's just less UV and more silver." He looks thoughtful. "Though the laser should still work. There aren't a lot of things something half as hot as the sun won't kill. We should probably try to capture a couple, see if they revert back once they're dead. It'll be a lot harder explaining a dead naked guy than it will be a few piles of ash that disappear as soon as sunlight hits it."

Abby looks at him. "This sounds frighteningly like you've given it some thought," she says.

He shrugs. "That's what happens when you don't hunt for the better part of a month. You want to see my taxidermy collection?"



She's okay with a sword. Not bad with a staff. She's surprisingly good with a gun, for someone who'd never handled one before eight months ago. But Abigail's weapon is the crossbow, and she loves it.

They'd had an archery unit in high school, about a hundred years ago. She remembers being okay at it; no two great shakes, but nobody had been, at fifteen. She could hit a bale of hay, and not hit the practice dummy in the face, so she'd called that a win.

She doesn't aim for the face, now. She aims for the heart, or occasionally the brain, if the bolt's thick enough. Anything else is collateral damage -- probably good enough to wound them or piss them off, but unless you're shooting to kill, you're just wasting ammo. And you never, ever waste ammo.

The 'bow itself is a thing of beauty: sturdy without being unwieldy, compact and fairly light. "I built it for you," Whistler tells her when he gives it to her. It's the first thing he's ever said to her that's made her tear up.

Secretly, Abigail calls her 'bow Denise, but she never tells anyone that.



A week or so later, King shows up soaking wet and practically bouncing. He hasn't been that awake in -- hell, since the sutures came out. "You have to come with me."

Abby just blinks at him. It's hard to see under his jacket, but he's armed. "That doesn't look like Murg Tandoori. Or Banquet of the Beasts."

"Just come on," he says, impatient as ever, and practically drags her to the elevator. She makes him wait while she grabs a couple of knives, just in case.

He doesn't explain anything as they go, just stands next to her quietly, almost vibrating. It's like he's trying to do an impression of who he used to be, but he's failing miserably. The beard, for one thing. And I-Was-a-Vampire-Two-Weeks-Ago King didn't grin like that, like he could smell a fight coming -- more importantly, like he was looking forward to it. He'd been very grim, once.

Ten minutes later, they're waiting around the corner from a nondescript brick building. It's covered in graffiti, same as most buildings on this side of town, but no vampire sigils. "King," she whispers, "this is ridiculous. What are we..."

"Sssh," he says, almost inaudibly, and jerks his head forward. "Look."

So she looks. Nothing weird, no big deal, just a couple of girls leading a couple of guys out of a club. They're a little muscular for club girls, all decked out in makeup and glitter and wigs, but so what? And yeah, they're grinning a little too widely, and their teeth are a little too white, but so...

It hits her suddenly, sharply, in a way she can never explain to someone who doesn't do this, too. She looks at King.

He shakes his head and looks back at them. So does she.

Those girls aren't human. Not the way she is, not the way King is. They're not vampires, they're not pale enough for that, and they don't feel like vampires, though that would never make sense if she said it out loud.

The girls lead the guys further into the darkness, teasing and coaxing and making all the right noises, but there's something off about them. Abby's starting to regret not bringing anything stronger than knives with her. The girls step into the shadows, and the guys look really excited, like, guys, that's just sad...

--and then the girls are snarling, and their faces are changing, and there's reddish-brown fur peeking out from under those A&F tank tops, and holy shit, they're werewolves. There are fucking werewolves twenty feet away from her. There are fucking werewolves, period.

Part of her starts freaking out about that. Like it's not bad enough there were vampires, now there are werewolves, too? What the hell else is out there? Oh, God, please don't answer that.

The rest of her is drawing her knives and darting forward before she can think about it, because a hunt is a hunt is a hunt, and bad things are bad things, and this is her job.

The guys take off as soon as she distracts the 'wolves, which is fine; that's half the point. The other half is currently growling and trying to beat her to death.

Dodge the first fist, duck the second one, try to get a chance to stab something, anything. Shit and goddamn, she should have brought weapons. She survived fucking Dracula; there is no way she's going to let B-movie Michael Landon rejects kill her in an alley downtown. She's Abigail goddamn Whistler, and there is no way--

Then King's at her back and he's pressing a gun into her hand. "If you're going to leave the house without protection," he says, and it sounds like he's grinning, and she's grinning too, though as soon as she gets the chance she's kicking him in the balls for that. Asshole.

Goddamn, she missed him.

And then one of the 'wolves grabs her and flings her into the wall, and she has to roll to keep from breaking something, so she thinks: fuck it. There'll be time to think about this later.

And she brings the gun up and around, aiming for the muzzle.


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