Hard Day's Night

St. Cecilia Catholic Church

A small entry hall lit by a single chandelier contains a bulletin board for parish news, and a rack containing various church brochures. In the left corner is a barrel marked "City Food Drive".

The church is a generally open and lofty place, several chandeliers hanging from the arched cathedral ceiling. A huge stained glass window above the door washes the pulpit in color. Pews of dark wood have the slightly polished and used look due to the decades of parishioners using them. As well, the kneeling bars look well worn. At the back of each pew are hymnals and the Book of Common Prayer.

The altar is on a dais, carpeted with crimson and surrounded by a small rail. To the right is the lectern, to the left the pulpit. Above the altar is a suspended wooden cross.

kate_icon.jpg marius_icon.jpg rachel_icon.jpg

It's late. Stupidly late. Late enough that the Church might not always be open, but with the messiness that's been happening in town lately, and the trickling, lingering victims from Katrina, the church has gone back on 24 hour business as of late. It's a very quiet, dim structure this time of the night though. A bum sleeping in a pew far towards the back, the prayer candles flickering their dim, warm glow across the lowered lights. A few spotlights on the Saints. But, over all, the church is definitely in hiberation mode this long after midnight.

Kate doesn't care. As long as it's open, and it is, that's all she needed. The paramedic steps through the large double doors, still in her uniform from shift. She's finally signed on permanently with the Dallas EMS, so she has one of their navy uniforms, though now it's darkened in a few areas with bloodstains and sweat. Even her boots have dried blood on them. The scenes with the fang bangers are just getting worse. She couldn't save them all tonight and that, well…Sucked.

Her heavy, steel toed boots clap quietly down the elegant flooring of the middle aisle. She hasn't been here for a long time, but now she just walks, all the way towards the front. Two sweaty dollar bills are wadded tight in the fist of her right hand, probably intended for the candal donation box, but she hasn't quite made it there yet.


Settled in a pew, his head facing forward, his eyes fronted as well, sits what could be considered a prime example of a 'lapsed Catholic'. The blond-haired vampire stares straight ahead; not a sound, not a movement comes from the being before Kate makes it up the aisle. As she gets closer, however, he speaks softly, the accent antiquated though the words come seemingly naturally, his eyes casting down as an 'odd' gesture is made with a hand— genuflection? "Et hoc quoque egregius." «And let this be a noble cause.»

Looking up again, he turns his gaze to the EMT, studying her for a moment before he makes to rise. He can smell the blood on her; it's like a siren song, but one that can be resisted. He's fed this evening, and he's satiated.. so there isn't even a slip of the fang.


"No. Really. I can see myself out," Rachel says, emerging from the parish office into the main foyer of the church. "Thanks for your input, Father. It's been… helpful." The last word is said with a thoughtful cast as the profiler turns toward the doors. She takes half a dozen long strides toward them before her strides slow and shorten. A moment passes. She glances toward the sanctuary. Letting out a soft breath, she turns now, heading away from the doors to — entirely inadvertently — follow the EMT into the sanctuary proper.

She's not even a lapsed Catholic. Protestant all the way, she is. Still, she follows her impulse, anyway. It's not terribly likely the local Methodist chapel would be open at this hour of night, in any case. Her eyes sweep the room habitually, noting details — the fall of shadow and light, the layout of entrances, exits, and furniture. The people within.

A brow arches faintly as she recognizes the blond man. Huhn. Well. Isonzo did mention that no church, open to the public, could keep his kind out. She just didn't expect to see it first hand.

Then again, she could say that of a lot of things in her life.


A small turn of her hips once she makes it to the very front row, but steps in front of the raised altar, but she doesn't go up there. Kate moves for that long, wrought iron black bank of candles, well over half of which are lit in prayer. That was her destination, for what good it would do to the great nothing in the sky. She's just about to drop those sweaty ones into the small, locked donation box when she hears the language she does not know. Blue eyes flicker up to the other far, far older blonde. She studies him with a deeper frown then looks away, dropping the money in instead.

Her eyes flicker to the woman, but she doesn't recognize her either and Kate wasn't here for card club. She was here for the man whose blood she wore. Once the money is settled in the box, she shifts her slender, slightly sticky with sweat and the powder-on-the-inside-of-latex-gloves hands to the long wooden sticks used to light the candles. A single one is withdrawn and silently caught fire on one of the already flaming candals. Her eyes narrow a hint, focusing on the candle she likes, trying to block everything else out. Her eyes flicker to the man as he nears, though.


"Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen," is whispered again, just loud enough for a two-natured to catch. A second language to him, easily.. or a third? «Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen» Marius gains his feet, though he glances to the side now to see who else may be coming in and out of the sanctuary. Rachel is simply just another breather.. another lamb, if only for the moment. Instead, Marius homes in on Kate at the votives.

Marius' voice is still canted low, reverent almost.. unwilling to raise it in a place such as this. "Perhaps you should have gone home and discarded your clothing before venturing out again? You smell of.. life."


Rachel's ears aren't sensitive enough to catch the sub-vocalization of a vampire. And as good as her eyesight is, she's certainly not going to catch his subtle lip movements well enough to read the words on his face. In any case, having met him the once, she doesn't feel a need to get any cozier with him this time than she did then. He still twigs her sociopath'dar, of course, but, as Isonzo once said, that could just be prejudice on her part. (But, she doesn't think so.)

However, she doesn't really know the etiquette of the cathedral. So, while she's by no means obvious about it, she watches the pair for some clue as to expectation. She hardly reaches halfway down the aisle, however, before she slows to a stop. Good Methodist, she, it seems somehow 'unnatural' to go right down to the front to pray when there are perfectly good pews all the way to the back of the sanctuary. God'll hear her just as well from there as anywhere else, she's sure.

Silently, she slides into the nearest pew and sits for a moment in silent contemplation.


Kate touches the flame gently to the candle, not aware of the latin, though some of the words catch a hint of familiarity in her ear. She doesn't really recall her prayers all that well. She just bows her head, eyes shutting a few heartbeats, probably sending prayers of thoughts on to whatever diety there is. She doesn't dare speak aloud about a patient, treading too close to HIPPA violations there. But she does pray for him and then gently blows out the small flame on the wooden stick she used to light the candle. Ritual done, she drops the stick in the humble waste basket and turns, only to find Marius almost Right There. Her breath briefly catches.

"I did not think I'd be bothering anyone. Most of it's dried…" She looks down at those patches of blood on her, her uniform too blessedly dark to let them look red. Really, to a laymen's eye, the could just be sweat or coffee stains. "And I did not feel like going open. Pardon if I offended your senses trying to save another one of the humans -dying- for you folk." She states coldly, no more forgiveness for the vampires in her voice than there every was before.

Kate's eyes then flicker to the woman, the only other awake and aware person in the cathedral. She gazes apologetically upon Rachel, earnestly sad that she's disturbing the woman's prayer.


Marius cants his head, the edges of his lips curving ever so slightly, though cold blue eyes remain dead. Lifeless. "Fresh. Dried. Days old. Years old.." There's almost a shrug. "It is imprinted."

He catches her words, however, and an almost human gesture is allowed for in the narrowing of those orbs as he studies her. Immediately, knowing the wont of humans, she could possibly be referring to interfering with a feeding.. and the subsequent almost draining of a vessel? "Speak to me of that."

The presence of the others doesn't seem to concern him at the moment, though he is more than aware of their presence.. moreso in that Kate acknowledged the woman in the back. "I would know."


The conversation between the pair drifts back to Rachel. Her own ears rise slightly as she catches the gist of the conversation. Her eyes flicker to Kate's uniform. EMT. And the vampire's question…

She pushes to her feet, now. Frankly, this just crossed over into 'on-duty' territory. The fangbanger attacks are on her docket — they have serial attacker/killer written all over them. Hell, at the rate things are going, she's damned likely to see herself promoted to SSA and given a Behavioral Assessment Unit of her own, just 'cause of the Weird Shit that happens in Dallas.

Actually, that wouldn't be so bad. It's easier to work in a team… preferably one not based in Houston.

Were she to describe her pace down the aisle, she'd call it a casual 'amble'. And, maybe by New York standards, it is. But no Texan would call it that. A Texan would call it almost stalking.

"Actually," she says, as she nears them, "so would I." She pulls a leather flip wallet from her back pocket and displays the badge within. FBI.


A deeper frown cuts across the paramedic's full mouth, as always, the most feminine thing about her, those lips. Even pulled into a smirk, Kate can't make her mouth really small. Just angry. She's walking a bit quicker down the aisle, torn between lingering and disturbing the one other parishoner or just ducking out into the night with a suspicious vampire. Suddenly, lingering seems a wiser idea. She doesn't stay towards the front, though, not nearly so rude as that. She just begins down the middle row, trying to be as quiet as she can with exhausted limbs and heavy boots.

And then the woman is suddenly THERE. Kate really is tired, damn, she's almost to the point of losing time. She gives Rachel a half smile and a slight nod of respect as she sees the badge before Kate responds to both of them, "Not much to be said. More vampire haters attacking the people who can actually be hurt — your lovers and addicts. The attacks are escalating. Yes, they're against the vampiric community, but it sure as hell seems the only people dying are your humans. Even with TrueBlood, people aren't safe around you, are they?" Kate rasps out, trying to keep the vitriol out of her voice and not really succeeding. There is no doubt where she places the blame for these deaths.


Rachel's appearance and question that seconds his own results in a glance in her direction once more from the vampire. The showing of the badge means little to nothing to Marius, though he does recognize it as 'police'. Exactly what type? Who knows?

"They would go after us if they had more courage," is offered up to Rachel. But, apparently they don't. "So they attack those who believe…" Okay, this one is tough. What he is about to say is ceased due to his understanding of the convoluted matter. Mayor McNaab is in the center of it all, though he's keeping his hands clean… so Marius believes. "…in and understand their duty." Spoken as if he believes it— which he does. Wholeheartedly.

"It is hardly our fault for the actions of others against those who wish to feed us."


Rachel notes Kate's use of pronouns with the vampire. 'Your humans'. 'Your lovers and addicts'. No. There's no doubt where the paramedic places the blame. But, it's not necessarily helpful, either. Not, mind, that the fed can't read between the lines and see her point. Without vampires, anti-vampire attacks against fangbangers wouldn't happen. But, her own experience says something else would.

Nevertheless, she hears in Kate's voice a familiar accent. Born and raised in NYC, herself, her own accent and demeanor has The City written all over it. She gives the med tech a faint, lopsided smile of sorts. An acknowledgement that they're both effectively northern 'ex-pats'.

And, really? It's just nice to hear that familiar, blunted accent instead of the usual twanging drawl. She's missed it.

"Yeah, see, here's the thing:" she says to Marius, now. "Far as I'm concerned — far my agency's concerned — we need to figure out who's doing it. Really doesn't matter if its a fanatic attacking people sympathetic to vampires, or the vampires themselves, we need to find them and get them off the streets as surely as we would were it someone attacking people who didn't like vampires. Everyone's the same under the law. Vampires and humans alike."

Yeah. Some things are a real bitch. That's one of them.

"The last one you found," she says to Kate. "Were there uniforms/forensics on the scene?" I.e. was it called in while she was off following other leads? "Or was it a good Samaritan call?" That'll dictate what questions she asks next.


Kate's managing to keep calm until the moment he mentions people 'understanding their duty'. That just makes her twitch. She stares up at Marius in shock, her pulse suddenly double timing, and it always runs a bit fast and hot for her two-natured soul. But this is beyond nature, it's temper, and a mix of exhaustion and being raked over emotional coals for the night does not serve this instance well. She snaps at Marius, "It is not humans' DUTY to be your FOOD!" Her fingernails dig into her palm, knuckles white, forcing herself not toss a right cross at Marius for good measure. She knows she's overreacting. It doesn't make it any easier to stop.

Fortunately, the familiar accent from the fed across from her does slightly draw her attention and calm her a hint more. There was work to be done, not just blame to be placed. She forces herself to draw a breath in, to calm a hint, before responding to Rachel, "I think there were a few locals on the scene by the time I was riding off. I didn't really stick around. Sorta hoped my guy would make it through. Throat wound, though… A knife wound, not a bite, he'd lost so much blood…" Kate shakes her head. If he's still alive, she doesn't have much hope for what is left of his brain functioning. "Found in an alley outside of a vampire bar. Someone heard a scream… he was on the ground by the time they arrived."


Rachel's seemingly rapidfire explanation garners a blank, lifeless look from the vampire. It's something, in his experience, that breathers have come to expect, and, well.. it took him a couple good minutes to work out what she was actually saying. Only then does he actually respond, "And retaliation for wrongs?" He honestly doesn't know. "What does your law say of that?" Like everyone else in the state, Marius carries a gun.. presumably to 'handle' things if it gets out of control? Who target shoots?

Marius looks nonplussed at Kate's reaction to his words, unfazed by the vehemence of the words, though he leans forward ever so slightly and inhales; a gesture that requires some thought and deliberation. "Cholera." He speaks, of course, of the humours rather than the disease, but he doesn't elaborate. He obviously enjoys it, however…

The description of the attack, however, brings Marius back around to the topic at hand; someone tried to kill one of their vessels, and this is simply not to be tolerated. "A knife wound.." Definitely not a vampire. "Such a waste."


All of which means Rachel will be heading to the crime scene after she leaves the cathedral. No doubt forensics and uniforms are all over the place, by now. And there'll be photos and breakdowns for her to look at, come morning. That's the joy of being the 'lone gun' fed assigned to the DPD. She doesn't always get to be first boots on the ground unless she gets a tip. She's a 'consultant'. And, really? Houston tends only to care about what happens in Dallas when Dallas calls.

While Rachel does make a move to juxtapose herself between the EMT and the vampire — a futile gesture, she's sure, but one made more for the tech's benefit than the vampire's — she is saved from having to bodily intervene as Kate backs down of her own accord.

"Knife, huh?" she echoes, nodding slightly. Fits the MO, to be sure. She frowns, however. Her lips draw into a thin line. "Was he alive when you got him to the hospital? Which hospital?"

She glances to Marius at his question. "When we catch this guy," she uses the word 'when' quite confidently, "he — or she," she concedes, "will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Which means he'll be put away for a very, very long time." A beat. Her hand comes up, palm open and empty in a forestalling gesture. "What we don't need, though, are vigilantes — human or vampire — taking matters into their own hands. What we do need is the full cooperation of anyone that may know anything about this at all." Another beat. She regards Marius directly… though she doesn't directly meet his gaze. (Apparently, she knows not to do that.) "So, if you, or someone you know that may have some influence in the vampire community knows anything or has any ideas about it, I'd appreciate being told anything and everything. You never know what might help."


The paramedic looks between the two and, having given her report and really not calmed her temper, she sighs. "I'll be outside. I need a cigarette." It's said mainly to the fed, not the vampire. A sort of invitation if the woman wishes to continue the conversation. Marius is given one last look, though no more threats, before Kate stalks towards the door and out into the human midnight air. She's got a cigarette out from her back pocket already, chomping at the nicotine bit, so to speak.


"When I discover information, I will share it." Eventually. Marius is unconcerned as to how long that will take, however.

The maneuvering of the police officer doesn't escape the vampire's notice, and he makes mental note. Watching the dual-natured seek the retreat, he's content enough.

As a result, however, the vampire really doesn't have a play-toy to harass as this one doesn't look as if she'd rise with ease.. which is all Marius really looks for— simplicity. It is just as satisfying at times. A step, and then another is taken towards the door in which he'd entered, back through the nave, his words trailing him, "As it is, I have my suspicions."


Rachel follows Marius as he heads toward the door, both emerging outside not too long after Kate. "Hang on. What suspicions?" Rachel asks, reaching out her hand to stop him. "If you know something, I need—" Her fingers close lightly over his bicep, hardly creasing the fabric of his jacket. Whatever she was going to say is lost in a sudden gasp of pain. Her brown eyes open widel. Then, they roll back in her head. For a moment, it's as if she's having an epileptic seizure — though she doesn't end up thrashing. Still, the reaction is similar.

Her body recoils physically from him. She utters a shocked, surprised cry of sudden pain and collapses in a heap on the steps to the cathedral. Curling into a fetal ball, she covers her head with her arms and shakes uncontrollably for long, agonizing minutes.


Of course, Kate's cigarette is well, well trumped by the fact that someone is clearly in medical distress. Kate jerks to the side, cigarette dropped, jumping up in Rachel's direction and kneeling down there to ensure that firstly, the woman does not tumble down the steps and secondly, she doesn't swallow her tongue. Kate lacks gloves, so she drags a small kerchief out of her pocket, folded and clean, using that to reach up and attempt to grip Rachel's tongue as she waits for her patient to, hopefully, come out of it, "Fuck….someone dial 911, please!" She growls out, back towards Marius really, since no one else is around. She says that entirely too much these days, it feels like. Her free hand continues to gently stablized Rachel's head, ensuring the woman doesn't damage herself further. "Officer….Officer, I'm here with you…can you understand me?"


Rachel's touch is nothing.. a landing of a fly upon his sleeve. Her words to him have little effect as Marius has already made his decisions on the matter and there is little that could sway him. Not impossible, mind, but decidedly difficult.

As far as the vampire is concerned, the evening still holds a few more events for him, and he cares nothing about the reaction to the touch. Even the request given out in concern coupled with that adrenaline rush doesn't bring his regard back. After the last episode, Marius still knows nothing of this '911'.. and doesn't seem to care to… and he walks on.


The pain is excruciating. In fact, Rachel has never in her life felt anything like it. And she's felt some doozies before now. It's probably a good thing the EMT is there. It's a better thing that the other woman is protecting her head in some way, since Rachel snaps it back as Kate's fingers cross her lips. "No!" she groans out, trying to pull away entirely. "Let go. Letgoletgoletgoletgoletgoletgoletgo!" She's almost frantic, actually, as she tries to get away. Tears stream down her cheeks, which is something since her eyes are now tightly screwed shut. "Fuck. Fuck! Make it stop! Please, God!"

She pulls in tighter against herself, peering out between clentched fists. What she could possibly see on the street that causes such fear and pain is… well, invisible to anyone else.

As quickly as it began, however, the whole thing stops. She trembles, to be sure. But her eyes come back into focus. She looks to the side and sees Kate, finally registers what's happening around her. And groans again.

"FUCK," she swears again. She looks at the EMT, clearly focussing, clearly lucid, a sheen of sweat across her brow as she snarls, "I fucking hate vampires."


Kate's good enough at her job to recognize when something is an emotional reaction and not an actual grand mal seizure, which is what she feared at first. The moment she's certain her patient is lucidly responding, Kate doesn't reach to touch her any more, she just hovers near to be certain that Rachel will not tumble the rest of the way down the stairs. She's worried, a hint panicked, but she's good at keeping it under wraps as she waits for the woman to come out of it. "Ma'am…are you…Well? Should I call an ambulance? What happened?" Kate asks smoothly, worried but calming. She's very good with her 'Everything is just fine' voice.


Rachel grinds the back of her wrist against her cheeks and eyes to wipe the saltwater away. She slowly uncurls, sitting on the top step, hunched over a little as she leans her elbows on her knees and pats her face down with her hands, massaging her temples with the heels of her hands for a few moments. "No," she says softly, voice still ragged. "No ambulance. It's a sudden onset migraine. I'm prone to them… on occasion. I'll be alright in a bit." She wipes the long edge of a finger beneath her nose and glances at it. "But, if you've got a kleenix, that'd help. I think I burst a capillary, again." As her heartrate slowly returns to normal, she grimaces, panting becoming slow deep breaths through her mouth. "I haven't had one that bad since…" A beat. A grimace. "Since the day my father died."


Kate hands that unused kerchief over to the woman instead, "Here, it's clean…Keep it. As… as long as you're sure you're fine. I'd get to a doctor either way. Severe, sudden onset migraines can be a sign of a serious problem, officer. I mean it." Kate's voice is stern, someone used to being in some sort of position of authority herself, hoping that the woman actually will LISTEN to her. That bit of advice given, the shifter is bone tired. She gives a small nod, "I…I should actually head back. Be safe out there…The cop should have my ambulance number if you all need to find me again." All her reports were filed proper, so that's no issue. With that, she gives a small wave and begins down the stairs to head off.


"Hang on," Rachel says, rising shakily to her feet as she takes the handkerchief and presses it to her nose. "I just need your name." She gives a bit of a smile. No. She won't be going to the doctor about this one. She will, however, be seeking out the only other seer she knows in the city for a brainstorming session. "I'm McKendrick, by the way. Special Agent Rachel McKendrick." She winces as the after-image pain sets in, in earnest. "I may need to speak with you again, if you don't mind."


Kate calls behind her. "Kate…Kate Clarke. See a doctor, Special Agent. I mean it!" It's Kate's last bit of advice for the day, but she was off duty and mentally checked out. With those last words, she disappears into the night, almost limping in exhaustion.


Rachel watches the woman leave for a moment before she stumbles down the steps, herself, heading for the parking lot and black SUV she usually drives. She only sits in it until the taxi arrives to take her home. Driving is so not an option. She's seeing double. She'll have to send someone 'round to fetch it for her in the morning, if she's not feeling well enough by then to do it herself. But, really, at the moment, that's the least of her concerns.

No. At the moment, her biggest concern is: Exactly who is that blond vampire, and who the hell was he ripping apart on that torture wheel? And why, just when everything should have gone black, did the world completely shift entirely out into left field?

She's really gotta find someone she can talk to about all this. NYC VOIDs ain't got nuthin' on Dallas.

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