I have no idea where this is going, but I wanted to do a little more with this plot bunny. Jim was kidnapped while Blair was off visiting the clan; however, Blair's demonic genetics provided the vision that would save Jim even as it pulled him into the clan.
Kin of the Clan
Sentinel/Buffy/Angel the Series
From the Kin series.
Pairings: Oh lordie. We're going with the OTClan on that one. Xander/Angel, Cordelia/Spike, Graham/Faith are the biggies.Part One
Now on to Part Two...
The RV bumped to a stop, and Jim pulled against the chains that anchored him to the small alcove where Spike and Faith had kept him since rescuing him from the basement.
Jim suspected that rescue was the wrong verb. However, Spike had more talent at keeping a prisoner than Harrison. As much as Jim had been trying to find a way to free himself, he couldn’t find one crack in the security. He was chained to his bed in the RV by his wrists and ankles at all times unless Spike appeared to guard him as he took a bathroom break. Jim had tried to fight Spike exactly once. Apparently vampires really did have supernatural strength. Since Jim didn’t like ending up face down on the bunk with his arms wrenched behind his back, he’d decided to go along until he got a better opportunity.
At least Faith had fed him and Spike had escorted him to the bathroom regularly. And both said that they were taking him to Blair. When trying to break a prisoner, the captor should keep all promises vague, so the fact they had made that very specific promise, Jim could only hope they were telling the truth.
“Hey handsome, you ready to go?” Faith pushed back the curtain that provided Jim an illusion of privacy.
“I don’t know. Is Spike planning on dropping me in a hole?”
Faith laughed and crouched down to sit on the edge of his bunk. “Nah. Spike’s bark is worse than his bite.”
“No it isn’t,” Spike said as he appeared in the narrow corridor behind Faith. “My bite is soddin’ terrifying.”
Faith didn’t answer, but she did roll her eyes. Either they were playing a psy-ops game on him, or they had a sibling relationship. “Look,” Faith said, “this is hard on the Sandman, you know?”
“Not really, no,” Jim said drily. When he saw Sandburg, he was going to have a few words about secrets. Blair had definitely implied that his LA friends were hippy types, not demons.
Faith narrowed her eyes as she studied him. “Do not give Blair shit. He doesn’t need the guilt.”
Spike grabbed her arm and pulled her away from Jim’s bunk. “Sandburg can take care of himself. Go see to that boy of yours.” Spike pulled the key out of his pocket while Faith retreated. “Right then, are you planning on making a scene?”
“I don’t know. What are you planning to do?” Jim asked. There was no way he was making any promises.
For a second, Spike sucked air through his front teeth and seemed to think about that. “Faith’s right about Sandburg. He about threw a wobbly when he thought you were in trouble. I doubt he would have stayed here if Xander hadn’t sat on him. If you go trying to drag him away from his family, things are going to get dangerous, mate.”
“Dangerous.” Jim echoed the vampire’s word. “That sounds like a euphemism for me ending up dead.”
“Doubt it.” Spike shrugged. “More likely Angel will throw a fit, and he’ll lock you up in the basement. That way Blair won’t have to choose between his family and you.”
“Clearly Blair would choose you since he didn’t even bother telling me about your little merry band of monsters.” Jim tried to keep his voice neutral, but he could hear the bitterness in his own words. He thought he and Blair were friends. He told Blair secrets that he never shared with anyone. He’d cried in front of the man, and in return, Blair had hidden all this. Jim wanted to scream his frustration, and three days chained in a bunk on an RV had not improved that.
Spike’s eyes turned yellow. “More than likely he didn’t want you in the middle, but you are now, and you’ll find your place in the family or Angel’s going to take an interest in shoving you into a slot head first,” Spike warned him. At least Jim thought it was a warning rather than a threat. “And after that, he’s going to feel guilty about it and Xander will start in with all the rot about ethics and respect, and it’s likely to get unpleasant for all of us.” Spike leaned close. “Listen up, mate. If you make my life uncomfortable, I will make yours a living hell. Got it?”
Jim clenched his teeth, but he was still chained hand and foot so he really only had one possible answer. “Got it,” he agreed.
Spike snorted, but at least he reached for the chains around Jim’s ankles. “Angel’s the head of the clan, so stay out of his way. That attitude of yours is going to be like waving a red flag at a bull, and Peaches isn’t known for his patience. Cordelia and Xander are both human, but they’re higher than you in the pecking order, so if they tell you to do something, you bloody well do it or I’ll find you and teach you a few manners.”
As Spike unlocked the wrist shackles from the wall without unchaining Jim’s wrists, he waited for the rest of the speech, but none came. “What about Faith or all these other people Blair has mentioned around here?” Off the top of his head, Jim recalled that there was a woman named Fred along with Anya and Harmony and a guy named Lorne.
“Work it out with them,” Spike said. He took a step back and gave the chain a hard jerk, forcing Jim to stand or to get dragged by his wrists. Luckily his shoulder had time to heal or that would have damaged it even more. Spike led him down the center aisle past several more bunk bed style cubicles. The RV was built for practicality and ease of transporting serveral people. Jim suspected he wasn’t even the first prisoner transported, not when his bunk had been equipped with a heavy bar bolted in place.
“Welcome back, Spike.” A man climbed up the front stairs by the driver’s seat. He had a square jaw and the short haircut that Jim associated with soldiers. Oh, it was a little shaggy on top, but it was definitely too short for fashion.
Spike stopped, and since he was holding the chain to Jim’s wrist, that meant that Jim was forced to stop with him.
The new guy smiled with a sort of apple pie charm Jim hadn’t seen in quite a while. Either this was some corn-fed Midwesterner or he was a first rate con-man. “Faith said that no one has done much explaining.”
“Not really my thing, mate. Now move.”
The guy ducked his head, but he definitely didn’t move out of Spike’s way. “Blair’s a little worked up. Xander’s talking to him, but they thought maybe I should talk to Detective Ellison, soldier to soldier.” The guy glanced up without fully raising his head. The submissive pose didn’t match the wide shoulders or the idea that this guy was a soldier. Most of the soldiers Jim had known would have fought until they couldn’t stand before submitting to a vampire.
The guy shrugged.
“Don’t let him get away or it’s your hide I’m hanging from the wall as a trophy.” With that threat delivered, Spike thrust the end of the wrist chains in the soldier’s hand and pushed past him to get off the RV. That left Jim with a new threat—and one that might be weaker than Spike if his display meant anything.
The new guy gave Jim a wry smile. “That’s Spike. What can you do? He’s too grumpy to actually like, but then he saves everyone’s lives so often that it’s hard not to like him. I’m Major Graham Miller, U.S. Army Ranger.” For a second, Jim thought the man might actually hold out a hand and offer to shake, which would be awkward since Jim still wore chains.
“Good for you,” Jim said. Graham. He was the one sleeping with Faith who Blair commented on being pathologically heterosexual. Looking at Graham’s military physique, Jim wondered what it meant that Blair was sorry that he couldn’t get in Graham’s bed.
“Maybe we can sit and talk.” Graham gestured toward the bench behind the driver’s seat.
Jim held up his hands and rattled the chains. “I think this is your show.”
Graham lost a little of the color out of his face. Maybe this one wasn’t as interested in the kidnapping plan. Interesting. It was also interesting that he chose to identify himself as a Ranger, not a former ranger. That combined with the fact that he was young to be a major meant that either he was lying or he’d taken enough difficult posts to rise in the ranks pretty damn fast.
“Take a seat, detective,” Graham gestured toward the bench. For now, discretion was the better part of valor, and Jim moved to sit where he’d been directed. “To let you know, the Army has already contacted the Cascade Police Department. The story is that Harrison kidnapped you because of his father’s arrest, but he was also being paid by someone from your past to hand you over. This mysterious someone is related to your work in the military and the details are classified. However, the Army brass has told your captain that you have been extracted, and Captain Banks now believes that you are being debriefed and that we are doing a threat assessment to determine if the current danger has been neutralized.” Graham delivered the explanation without a single twitch. There was no dilation in his pupils, no sour stench of fear-sweat. He was telling the truth.
“The Army contacted Simon?”
Graham nodded slowly. “The Army is well aware of Angel’s crew and the exact nature of their…” Graham cleared his throat at his word trailed off. “Everyone knows they’re vampires,” he finished.
“And you’re what? A liaison officer?” Jim guessed. The Army knew about vampires. Jim wanted to be angry or shocked, but the fact was that he had grown used to the fact that the government lied to people. Hell, he was ready to get it tattooed on his ass just so he never forgot that simple fact.
Graham sat down, the chain to Jim’s manacles still in his hand. “I started that way,” he agreed. “However, vampires are largely creatures of instinct. As long as I answered to the generals, they felt a need to dominate me in ways that were rather uncomfortable.”
“Rape you,” Jim guessed.
Graham’s shock might not be obvious to everyone, but Jim could see the way his pupils widened slightly and the tightening of the skin around the base of the hair follicles so that the tiny hairs on his arm all shifted like grass in a wind. “No,” he said, and that was only a partial truth.
How the hell did someone only partially lie when denying a rape?
Jim watched the man closely, but Graham had already changed the subject. “Angel will avoid you if you can’t submit to him. His demonic side won’t put up with any challenges, but his human soul means he doesn’t want to hurt you.” Graham had calmed his physical responses so quickly that Jim almost doubted his own observations. “Spike is Angel’s main enforcer, though. He’s going to want to prove his superiority. Luckily with Spike that usually means getting our asses handed to us during sparring sessions. After a few years with Spike as a teacher, I doubt there’s a man in the Rangers who could take me in hand-to-hand. Unfortunately, Spike isn’t in the Rangers and most training ends with Spike sitting on me.”
“So they’re just friendly vampires,” Jim summarized.
Graham leaned back and looked at Jim. “You were a Ranger.”
“Was,” Jim confirmed. He suspected Graham had already seen his whole military file.
“Vampires are one more local population, Detective. Some are useful, some are unimportant, some are fucking dangerous and need to be taken out before they can do too much damage.”
“And you want me to believe that Angel and Spike are the good ones?” Jim asked.
“No.” Graham shook his head. “No, they’re the useful ones. When other demons are trying to inflict mass casualties, Angel and Spike fight to keep the status quo because they like the earth the way it is now—with no gaping doorways to other dimension to let in bigger and badder demons that would turn us all into feed animals.”
“And how many humans do they kill?” Jim braced himself and waited for the bullshit to start flying.
“They’ve killed plenty,” Graham said, which was more honesty than Jim expected. “But they’re both old enough that they considering hunting humans on the streets a game for weak vampires—and they kill weak vampires. They protect the people of LA better than the Army could. Anyone who doesn’t know about the supernatural is off-limits in LA and that rule sticks because Angel owns this town.”
Jim felt a cold chill travel down his spine. Angel owned the town? That sounded a lot like some sort of supernatural mafia. What the hell had Blair gotten himself into?
“What do you want from me?” Jim asked.
“For you to keep an open mind.” Graham fingered the links on the chain he held. “When I came here, I believed all the bad intel about vampires being monsters, and I was still willing to put myself under their authority because I believed they were the best way to defend my country and my world. I still believe they’re the best line of defense and the military agrees. They know that my loyalty is to Angel, and they are willing to accept that and give up all rights over me, including the right to reassign me, just to keep the lines of communication open.”
“So if they’ll give up their bright and shiny soldier, I should expect them to be even quicker to sacrifice me,” Jim finished. It was the most logical conclusion.
Graham gave him a half smile. “Yeah, they will. This crew has taken out necromages, evil law firms, and gods bent on ending the world. The Army would probably give them nuclear weapons if Angel asked nicely enough, so the two of us are small potatoes.”
Jim clenched his teeth. Once again he was a pawn and the generals moving the pieces around on the board didn’t give a shit about the people whose lives they destroyed. Helpless rage crawled up Jim’s throat, but he had to keep his calm. In a capture situation, anger was your enemy.
“Luckily, we aren’t small potatoes to this family,” Graham said softly. “There’s a chain of command, and unlike a traditional vampire clan, that chain of command has nothing to do with physical strength.”
“So you’re here to tell me who to report to?” Jim gave a mirthless laugh. “I’m not very good at following orders, so don’t think I’m going to start saluting you, Major.”
“I wouldn’t expect you to,” Graham said. His tone of voice was odd. “Hell, I’m not the one to explain clan, Blair is. However, Blair is so freaked out that if you yelled at him, he’d lose it, and then you’d have more trouble than you could handle.”
Jim hated hearing this man—this man that Blair regretted not getting to bed—talk about Blair as if he knew him. He didn’t know shit. “Blair is stronger than he looks.”
“Yeah,” Graham agreed, “he is. When Angel has a question about how the world works, he goes to Blair. When Faith needs help recovering from the crap her birth family put her through, she went and lived with Blair. When Xander was faced with making a moral choice that might have ended the world, he asked Blair for advice. Blair carries a lot of emotional baggage, and I’m going to admit that I’ve handed him some of that baggage because I didn’t know who else to trust.”
Jim clenched his teeth. Fuck. If Blair was in that deep with some sort of military-approved vampire mafia, Jim had no idea how to extricate them from this mess.
Graham spoke slowly and deliberately. “Detective, Blair is right there under Angel and Spike and Xander and Cordelia. Those are the four main officers. Angel runs the show, Spike is his right hand, Xander is the one to keep those two on the moral straight and narrow and Cordelia handles all the logistics. You piss them off and you will see the inside of the cells we have in the basement, and the government is going to go out of their way to make sure that no one makes a fuss about your disappearance.”
“So, is this a friendly warning?”
“This is me trying to explain how things work so maybe I can spare you a few bruises.” Graham dropped the chain so it fell against Jim’s leg. “You can try and run, but Angel and Spike aren’t going to let you do anything that will pull Blair away from them. They will use whatever coercion they need to. However, if you submit then you won’t be trapped here any more than Blair is. If they trust you to know your place in the family, then they won’t feel any need to keep an eye on you.”
Jim’s stomach felt like it was twisting into knots. “So if I bow down to all these vampires, then I can go home?”
Graham stood up. “I wish it was that easy. Blair talks about you like he follows your lead. That puts you above me in the chain of command, Detective. That puts you above Faith and Fred and it sure as hell puts you above Anya and Harmony. If you were at the bottom of the chain of command, Angel could let you fall off the family tree without even noticing. But as long as Blair looks up to you, that means you have to find a way to make yourself fit in that slot.”
“Or what?” Jim asked.
Graham shrugged. “I’m not a demon. I’m not even a little bit demonic the way Faith is, so I don’t have any of the instincts that they do. I just know that right now, being fifth in line for the family isn’t a safe place for any newbie, and that’s exactly where Blair has put you by talking about you like the sun shines out your ass. I just hope that Wesley is right about Sentinels being descendants of eudemon because you’re doing to need a few of those instincts.” Graham turned and headed out, leaving Jim sitting in the dimly lit RV by himself. His wrists were chained, but this was the closest he’d come to freedom since Harrison had grabbed him outside the hotel.
He should find a weapon and try to find another exit.
But if he did, he was going to have fucking demons looking to hunt him down and put him in his place, apparently. Jim couldn’t call Simon and drag him into this mess. Hell, he couldn’t call anyone he knew.
He looked at the RV’s door. He could talk to Blair.
Jim stood, caught between doing the sensible thing and searching for a weapon and heading out into the unknown. Clearly Blair needed him.
Actually, from the sounds of things, Blair needed and extraction team and then a deprogrammer to convince him to give up this crazy clan. However, Jim was short one team of a team. As much as Jim’s training told him to escape, Jim couldn’t leave Blair behind, not even when he was pissed as hell.
Grabbing the chain so it didn’t drag on the ground, Jim headed for the stairs that led down out of the RV. The vehicle was parked in a dark, dank basement level, but Jim could see the group of people gathered near a door. A man with short dark hair stood very close to Blair.
The second Jim put a foot on the ground, Blair’s head came up. Even in the dim light, Jim could see the distress on his face. “Jim?” he called.
Jim noted that Faith leaned against Graham and Spike was near the back of the RV smoking a cigarette. Jim had a feeling that if he stopped and did a full threat assessment, he would find that he was surrounded. However he didn’t have time.
When Blair practically threw himself at Jim, he put his hands up in surprise, only to have them caught between their bodies as Blair hugged him. “Holy shit. Seriously? You got kidnapped out of a police convention? Man, that is… that is seriously sucky karma,” Blair complained, but Jim could feel the tremors and smell the salt of Blair’s tears.
“Hey, Chief, I’m fine,” Jim soothed him. Yeah, the others were all nuts, but Jim couldn’t do anything to hurt Blair, even if Blair deserved to a good chewing out. Jim would just save the yelling until some time when Blair wasn’t already on the verge of tears.
“Fine?” Blair backed up a step and looked at him. “You were about to die. If they hadn’t gotten there… Harrison had a grave dug!” Blair was trembling harder now. “I saw a vision. Man, I never get visions, and this was a fucking strange time to start. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. They buried you alive.” The trembling was definitely getting worse.
Jim raised his arms so he could slip his chained wrists around Blair’s back, and then he pulled his guide close. “Hey, I’m alive and fine,” Jim promised. He tightened his arms as he felt the first of Blair’s sobs slip out. “I’m right here.” Jim kept his voice calm, but after what he’d seen, he couldn’t ignore Blair’s words as superstition or more of Naomi’s crazy spirit walks. Blair had a vision of Jim being buried alive. Bile climbed up Jim’s throat and he held Blair closer.
“Come on, you don’t think someone like Harrison was really going to be able to hurt me, did you?” Jim tried to keep his tone light, but Blair grabbed his waist and held on so tight that it was uncomfortable. Not all Jim’s bruised and cracked ribs were totally healed yet. A woman with long, dark hair stepped up behind Blair and put her hand on his shoulder.
“Come on, Blair. Let’s get you and your man up to your room. After all, the rest of us have to deal with the Tritilli delegation later, and we don’t have time to stand around in the garage.” She was clearly trying to sound annoyed, but too much concern leaked through for her to be even a little believable.
“Hey, Chief, I’m still sore, so maybe you could show me where I could lay down and maybe you could get your friends to unchain me so I could have a long bath. How does that sound?”
Blair still trembled, but the silent sobs stopped.
A voice from the shadows on the far side of the bus answered. “Get him up to their room, but do not remove the chains. Detective Ellison, if I find you anywhere other than your room, you will not like what happens. Are we clear?”
“Angel!” Blair said in an outraged voice, his head snapping up.
Jim suspected they couldn’t afford to be outraged. Angel sounded too on-edge for Jim to challenge on anything right now. “Understood perfectly,” Jim said. Part of him wanted to add a “sir” and another part wanted to tell Angel to fuck off. Jim ignored both. The dark-haired woman who wasn’t Faith started guiding them toward a door, and Jim mentally tracked all the players he could. Spike was moving toward the shadows where Angel stood. The man who had been comforting Blair watched with a troubled expression. Graham seemed more resigned than anything, but Faith was asking how people had done in their absence, and she sounded perfectly happy with the whole situation. A blonde vampire, as evidenced by the lack of a heartbeat, watched as they passed her on the stairs, and a reedy looking man with glasses stood behind the front counter of the hotel lobby as they came out of the hallway from the garage.
“Is that the Sentinel?” the geeky man asked.
“Not now,” the woman escorting them barked. “Seriously, Wesley, show some tact.”
“Of course. Excuse my lack of tact. And of course you’re the master of tact, Cordelia,” he said with more sarcasm than was really necessarily to make his point.
“Compared to you,” Cordelia snapped back, “and it’s mistress.”
Wesley muttered something under his breath that Jim couldn’t be bothered to focus on, but then Cordelia was ushering them into an elevator. “Blair, can you get him to the room from here?” she asked, but she kept talking before he could answer. “It’s room 208. That’s the family wing, and some of the family are a little loud with reunions, so if you hear banging or loud moans, try to ignore it. Some people are just tacky about oversharing,” she told him as she reached in and pressed the button for the second floor. She backed out before the elevator doors could close.
“Oh, and detective, welcome to the Hyperion,” Cordelia said, waving as the elevator doors closed. This was officially the strangest kidnapping Jim had ever endured.