Breaking & Entering

Inside the Apartment of the 'Silver Shackle Suicide' Victim

A small apartment, nothing fancy. No more than 500 square feet. There's a kitchenette to the right of the door, a small livingroom/dining room combination and a short corridor that leads to a bathroom and the apartment's only bedroom. Apparently, the vampire that lived here wasn't only 'young', he was also pretty broke.

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Kate's pretty damn good at being sneaky about things. The police also seem to be mostly content to have ruled this a suicide, despite the silver and the ashing, so as far as the shifter is concerned, it's not a risk coming here. She jimmies the door on the mid to cheap apartment with a credit card and slips inside. Her hands are covered in latex gloves taken from her paramedic's bag and she has little footies over her shoes. SHe's careful about this. Now actually inside the apartment, she begins to scent. It's harder in this form… she might shift, but she checks to see if she can pick up anythign specific with her usual nose first.


What the police do, and what the FBI do, are two totally different things. Most cops, Rachel knows, don't care two figs about the death of a vampire. Only a handful more care about the fangbangers — and them only 'cause the 'bangers are still technically human. And, God knows Rachel's no fan of either.

But it's her job to care about catching serial killers. So, no matter what the uniforms down at DPD HQ feel, there will be an investigation into the Silver Cuff Suicide… or whatever it was — if only because the lead federal agent in the city (that'd be Rachel), one of the few profilers in the country intimately experienced with vampire-related crimes, is pretty sure its actually related to the rest of the vampire-related serial attacks in the city.

Imagine her surprise, then, when she arrives at the vic's apartment to find the door jimmied open and the police line she'd insisted forensics put across it, fluttering ever so slightly in the faint cross-breeze.

Easing her weapon from its holster, she cups it in both hands and slides into the room.

"FBI," she declares, seeing a shadow silhouetted by the glare of a street lamp filtering up through the window. "Hands where I can see them."


If Rachel can sense magic at all, or energy, there is that heat that passes through a room when a shifter changes. Far, far better to be someone's random dog than a human being caught at the scene. Hopefully she can't sense magic and she won't know. Now in her furred skin, Kate kicks her sundress behind her in the hall and pads out into the front room slowly on big, loping paws, trying not to move too fast lest she get shot for startling the agent.

In this form, Kate's a big, droolly, almost cute bloodhound. Red brown fur with black patches, large ears that almsot touch the floor and heavy jowls, she looks like a gorgeously bread bird dog. Her tail wags slowly, nervously, as if picking up on the tension in the air. And her nose flares… Scent, scent scent.


Rachel looks down at the dog as it emerges from the hallway. She blinks curiously, glancing back around the room. Funny. Alvarez didn't mention a dog in his report. She reaches out with one hand, using the back of it to flip the switch on the main light in the room. Brightness flares. But, there's no one else there other than the dog.

At least, no one immediately visible… and no sound of anyone beating a hasty retreat, either.

"So, who let you in here, hmm?" she asks, looking down at the dog again.

She doesn't put her weapon away. Instead, she points it down and away, finger alongside the trigger cage, rather than immediately against the firing lever. "They still here?"

She starts moving a little further into the apartment, obviously intending to begin a room-by-room sweep.


Shit. If the woman sees the clothing, something's clearly going to be up. Kate's got to think a bit fast. She whimpers, licking at her nose with a dry tongue, doing her best to do some sort of 'I'm thirsty!' gesture as she paws in the woman's direction. She just needs Rachel a few minutes out of the room to hide her shoes and light halter dress. Otherwise, the apartment is indeed completely empty. No feeling that there is anyone else here, no sound of breath, just a dog's panting in the Texas heat.


It's a sad fact, really, that even pet owners will put aside an animal's needs for something they consider a more pressing concern… all of which means that a trained FBI agent is not going to be dissuaded from her sweep by the panting of a dog. It's not that Rachel doesn't like dogs. She does. Heck, how many times did her father come home from the precinct and tell her about the usefulness of the K9 unit? (Especially Clarke's bloodhounds, which, come to think of it, the floppy-eared interloper definitely resembles, if Rachel's dim memories of the precinct Family Picnics are any indication.) But, she really doesn't want an assailant sneaking up on her while she's at the sink or distracted by liquid blue eyes and a cold snout.

"Yeah," she says softly to the animal. "You can wait a few. Till I know we're safe."

She starts moving toward the hall, reaching out with the back of her hand for the light switch once more.


Though the dog looks full grown, the whimper from her throat is all puppy-pathetic. Oh yes, Kate knows how to play it up. She backs up slowly, trying not to trip on her own clothing but position her body above the things in hopes the FBI agent will look it over, or think she's protecting the clothing of some dead and gone owner. Even if that clothing includes booties and latex gloves. Kate then waits, letting Rachel do her whole sweep of the fully empty apartment.


It's not a big apartment. And, as she opens the door to the bedroom and bathroom, finding nothing, Rachel marginally relaxes. "You know," she says seriously to the dog, as she steps back into the hallway, "I'd feel a lot better about this place being empty if it hadn't been rented to a vampire." Because, really, despite having turned on all the lights, how does she know there isn't a vampire still lurking?

Still, the animal's pathetic whimper doesn't go unnoticed. In a stroke of truly human stupidity, though, she mistakes the puppy whine of 'but I really want a drink' for 'look at what I found'. Doesn't that just figure?

"What you got there, pup?"

Slowly, she kneels beside the hound to find out just what she's protecting.


That makes her wince. Not that it's necessarily clear on her features, but there's another whimper from her throat and it's not at the fact she's pretending to be thirsty. Her tail instinctively tucks down between her legs and she skitters back, not picking her paws up off the ground, trying to take the clothing with her. Maybe Rachel won't look too close if she thinks the dog will bite!


The dog pulls at the clothing beneath it and Rachel frowns faintly. "What's that? Is that a dress?" She reaches out to touch the hem and then gently starts to pull it from the animal's grasp. It's incongruent, really, to find such a light, airy garment in the darkened flop of a young vampire. Most fangbangers go for the goth look, though he could certainly have charmed the garment's owner in some way.

Putting her weapon away, Rachel holds up the dress to the light. The gloves and booties, tangled in the skirt when the dog balled the fabric up, flutter down.

"The hell?"

Rachel reaches out, then, toward the dog. "Okay, pup. You need to move. I need to see what else you got." Because, well, someone opened that door with something.

Her palm settles on the dog's shoulder as she seeks to push her gently aside.


Another whimper, but it's too late now. The dress is a cheap Wal-mart thing, white printed fabric over a light slip. There's two side pockets, one of which contains a plastic credit card, but Rachel's going to get a far more overwhelming sense, and idea of what happened here, as she brushes against the dog's shoulder before she can get to that card.

The door outside this apartment. Far taller, nervous and worried. The thoughts of a vampire's threats in the back of her mind. She reaches her card down and pries open the cheap lock, pushing in and beginning to scent, Nothing's standing out. Nothing at all. And then there is Rachel's voice and the immediate, hot flash of a feeling of shifting… That alone might be enough to throw Rachel for a loop. And suddenly the room from a far lower to the ground perspective.


Yeah, okay, that's a new one. Gasping softly, pulse changing with the unexpected — and blessedly mild — vision, Rachel pulls her hand back from the dog's shoulder as the heat of the change surprises her, even as the vision shifts to an animal's perspective: big paws, sharp scents, and a decidedly different color pallet than the typical human eye would give. She looks at the dog, in her surprise, blinking owlishly. "Who… What are you? What was that?"

She glances to the dress… the same one on 'her' body in the vision. Rising slowly to her feet, she looks about the apartment, beginning to piece together just what she saw. Her head swings back to look curiously at the animal once more. Fumbling with the dress a moment, she finds the right pocket and withdraws the credit card. "Kate Clarke," she reads aloud.

Once again, she looks to the dog. A brow arches faintly and she stoops to pick up the booties and gloves, still watching it. "That wouldn't happen to be you, would it? You know that breaking and entering is a crime, right? Especially when it's a federal crime scene…"


That's enough to make Kate whimper a bit, but the jig is up. She gets that. Especially when her name is read, the accusation is leveled, and Rachel has some sort of reaction -again- to touching something. That makes her head tilt, ears perking just a bit, curious and worried all at once. Finally, in a feat of remarkable energy for a blood hound, Kate leaps up and attempts to reclaim her dress in her maw. It would do no good to shift and be totally nude. If she gets the dress, she treads back into the hall.


Okay, really… Who expects a bloodhound to jump? It takes Rachel by surprise, so the dress is actually easily gotten. Indeed, the agent releases it and retreats a step or two — at first, not sure if she's being attacked or not. When the animal slinks back into the hall, however, Rachel is inclined to follow. True, if the hound (woman?) decided to run, she'd actually have to get to a window, first. Or push past Rachel to the door. Either way, the chances are good Rachel'd be up for the chase. But, it'd be a whole lot easier if she had some idea which way the chase might go.

So, that does give Kate limited privacy.

Even so, Rachel has some vague idea of what might be coming, thanks to the vision. So, she continues to speak.

"Don't go too far, now. You and me, Ms Clarke, we need to talk."


As soon as Kate doesn't think Rachel's going to get some full frontal, Kate shifts back into her human body. She grabs the dress, pulling it on over her head quickly and straightening it out, only one part of the left side of the skirt moist from her drooly, bloodhound mouth. She shakes out her short blonde hair and sighs, treading back towards Rachel's side. She's still not recognized the woman. "…Sorry. I know this… I mean… how the fuck are you not freaking out right now?" Kate finally asks, flat and honest.


Good question, Rachel reflects. She answers. "With all the shit I've seen in this job? This?" She gestures lightly to the woman. "This is small potatoes. Believe it, or not."

She regards Kate for a long moment. Her head cants to the side as she registers both the name and the face together. "You're the EMT from the church, the other night." The night of that migraine-inducing vision from Schlachter. Ohhhhh, yeah. She won't forget that any time soon. "The one with Marius Schlachter." Her expression tightens some.

"You wouldn't happen to be working with him, now would you?"


Kate looks up, studying Rachel a bit deeper, something in the woman's voice and the woman's face that is almost familiar, but Kate's trying to shrug it off as just having seen her the other night. Kate sighs, slipping her feet slowly into her shoes, if Rachel permits that much. She's trying to allow herself to be half put back together. The question makes her wince a bit.

"Not…with him, not really. I'm not fond of vampires. He asked me to come see if I could scent anything and didn't quite make it a request, so…I figured I would. I was careful not to disturb the crime scene." She motions to the booties, "And the cops clearly weren't pursuing it. This fucker would go free if we just ignored it. So…I tried to get the scent."


Rachel lets Kate get fully clothed. Frankly, if she does decide to haul her flea-bitten ass outta here, the fed would sooner do it while the EMT is fully dressed. It saves a lot of awkward explanations later.

"The cops tend to avoid federal investigation sites," Rachel says dryly, now. She regards Kate silently for another moment, or two. Truthfully, she's actually trying to wrap her brain around the fact the woman can change into a dog. But, really, it's not the weirdest thing she's ever seen. Or Seen, as the case may be. "So, did you? Get the scent, I mean."

A beat. "And, when you say he 'didn't quite make it a request,' are you telling me he threatened you?"


"I got -a- scent. I dunno if I'd call it -the- scent. But it wasn't the vampire, you, me, or any cop I smelled on the scene when I was working the death. So…it might be. We'll have to see. As for a federal investigation…" Kate just exhales slowly, mentally kicking herself, her eyes shutting a few heartbeats. She moves for the window, pulling out a pack of cigarettes from her other pocket. THose and a credit card, her only necessities.

"Frak. I'm sorry. I really didn't know…Not over all. I didn't want it ignored. Someone's killing… vampires, and their lovers, in this town. Only a matter of time before it spills over to all supernaturals, possibly. I just… Hell, I clearly didn't think. You wanna arrest me? Go ahead. But then you won't have the scent either, and you'll take one of the hardest working paramedics off these streets." She's dead serious about that last part, no bragging in her voice. She doesn't respond about the threat either.


Rachel gives a shrug, now. "Yeah, see," she clears her throat, briefly, "right now, if I tried to arrest you, I'd have one helluva time explaining how a woman became a dog became a woman again. So, you know… I'm willing to overlook this little 'indiscretion'… in exchange for your help." That about what the vampire did to her, too? In that case, Rachel kinda feels for the woman.

"You're not the only one worried about it spilling over," she admits. "But, it crossed into federal territory right about the time it became clear we had serial attacks happening. Whether it's the work of one or two people, or a whole organization…" She rolls her shoulders slightly. "Well, I'm still working on that."

She gives a tight smile, and gestures back into the main living area — where there are places they can speak a little more comfortably… providing they're very, very careful.

(Besides. Forensics has already been through the place.)

"Why don't you start by telling me everything you know about the attacks, the victims, Schlachter, and any other hunches you might have…"


Upon hearing that she's not going to be arrested, Kate exhales a breath she didn't even realize she had been holding. She comes back through the rooms towards the front area where they can sit. It wasn't really polluting anything after all, and the man didn't die here, so it wasn't unnerving to sit around the place. Kate hasn't bothered to slip her shoes back on, much prefering to pad barefoot and comfortable around the house. At least she has gotten dressed. She sighs as she moves for the couch and plops down rather bonelessly, trying to think.

"Honestly….I don't know much. The victims mainly started as fang bangers. People who couldn't defend themselves. The attacks were shootings that I witnessed, btu there might have been others. This is the first vampire death I've seen, so the attackers balls are getting bigger, so to speak. Schlachter is an idiot who doesn't even know the blood type of his food… And hunches? Uh… " She shakes her head quietly, "Not vampires, as much as I want it to be. This is hurting the vamps far, far more than helping them"


Rachel can't help but generally agree with that assessment. While it's possible that the whole thing could be a vengeance thing — one vampire against another — there's no evidence to really support it. All the vics, so far, seem to have been completely unrelated, other than their sympathy to or existence as vampires. That definitely suggests that the vendetta is against the leaches, not between them.

Still, her head cants slightly. "The shootings you witnessed — those are the ones you mentioned back at the church, right?" If not, she's got more questions to ask.


Kate nods quietly, "Yeah. Though they happened in the vamp district down town. I put it all in my police report, for as much as they care." If Rachel's looked into it at all, and no doubt she has, Kate has earnestly completely cooperated with the local police and did absolutely everything she could to make certain the situations got recorded, investigated and handled as quickly as possible. She doesn't like flaunting the law, only when she thinks the law isn't doing anything, it seems. Now that the conversation is getting a bit more comfortable and less guilty, the blonde leans back into the couch, casually crossing her lithe, bare legs and trying to look perfectly natural despite just having turned into a dog and back.


Yeah. Turning into a dog and back… that was the weirdest sensation Rachel's had in a vision in a long time. The one from the vamp — the one with the torture wheel she's since identified as a Catherine Wheel (very popular in medieval Germany, it seems) was pretty much the worst vision she's had in a while. Compared to that? Shifting form and growing extra hair is positively relaxing.

"Have you run into Schlacter often? You didn't really answer my question, earlier, as to whether or not he threatened you, by the way. You redirected it, said you were worried this business would spill over into the rest of the supernatural community." Funny how she doesn't blink an eye at the thought there could be more supernaturals out there than just vampires. "Do you have connections there, too?"


Not just relaxing. Freeing. If Rachel remembers anything about the vision, it's the sense of comfort, freedom, everything being right with the world that was both relaxing and thrilling at the same moment. The kalediscope of scents and sensation so different from the world, the lacking colour but amazingly more vivid scents. The ease on paws, natural wagging of a tail, sense of purpose that comes with very little else. Being a dog is just about the best thing on the planet for Kate, and hopefully that helps make up for some of the worst visions Rachel has had.

"Oh…Uh… a few times too many, so to speak. And who is to say what a threat from a vampire is? Their very existance is threatening. He could have just been talking…" But those words are enough of a dance around that Rachel might get the sense Kate was threatened but really, really isn't comfortable selling out the big vamp on campus right now. "And no…I don't really have connections anywhere here. I'm new to town. Just since Katrina."


The way Kate dances around the subject is telling enough for the profiler. No, she can't prove it, but Rachel's gut is pretty sure the woman was indeed threatened by the vampire. And the fact the EMT's not willing to sell him out, despite being decidedly not-fond of the leaches is even more telling. Give how brash and refreshingly NYC the other woman is, it must've been quite the threat.

Rachel simply files that bit of information away.

Still, she can't help but indulge an internal sigh — that outwardly appears as a slow inhalation of breath, rather than exhalation. One of these days, she's figure out connections to the greater supernatural community in this god forsaken town. Maybe then her job will get easier.

Right. Tell yourself another one, McKendrick.

"You were EMT back up in the City, too?" Sure, Kate could be from Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, or a dozen other places in the Empire State, but, given her accent, that just ain't likely. New Yorkers know their own. "What district?"


"The 51st, mainly, but we swapped out, went where we were needed. There were always call offs all over the system, so sometimes we'd be moved over for a night or two. It… wasn't easy, I'm sure you remember that. But the 51st was home." Kate admits, definitely from the city with an accent and attitude like that. If Rachel's really good with her memory, she might recall the paramedic from the 51st that sold out an entire nest of vampires that was killing people. It was Kate, most certainly, but she disappeared off the scene shortly after. Probably fleeing for her life. At least she's well and breathing now, all the way across the country.


"Fifty-first," Rachel echoes. The sell-out of the nest happened after she transferred, but she did hear rumours of it through the grapevine at Houston when she was there briefly — mainly 'cause someone thought she'd be interested her ex had to suck it up and let the NYPD do what the FBI couldn't, thanks to the info the EMT passed on to Police Commissioner Clarke. "Busy route," she concedes.

Her head cants slightly again and her brows dip. An odd, wry half-smile touches her lips. "Clarke," she says aloud then, naming the woman. "Any relation to the Police Commissioner?"


"My father. He didn't appreciate my having to duck out of town, but he sure as hell understood." Kate admits, a touch proud and saddened by it at the same moment. She loves her father beyond words, he and the dogs were the only family she's ever really had, so leaving his side was a knife to the gut. That might be when Rachel remembers a bit about her younger dealings with the Clarke family and their dogs. Always raising and breeding those dogs — Bloodhounds.


Rachel chuckles dryly, now. "You know, that whole case makes so much more sense now." She refrains from mentioning Owen's misfortune, however. The other woman doesn't really need to know, and the Bureau wouldn't apreciate it, in any case. "Still… I think I remember you, now. You're the kid from the cop family picnics that always had a pack of bloodhounds with her. My dad was a detective under Clarke when he was still a Captain. Jim McKendrick, Midtown North."

Of course, Det. McKendrick died 15 or so years ago, now. So, there's no telling if Kate would have marked his death at all.


"Oh God… Rache… wow…" Kate remembers all too well, now that her memory has been jogged. She exhales slowly. "Damn….it's been a long time." A half embarrassed, half happy laugh crosses her husky voice throat. She nods in approval, but the mention of the woman's dad turns Kate a touch more serious. "Oh…Rache. I'm so sorry. He was…. he was a good man." Kate remembers all too well. She attended that funeral at her father's side. "Heh, the world works in strange ways. We both end up out here… "


Again, Rachel chuckles dryly. "Both chasing vampires," she notes. "Yeah. Funny how life goes, isn't?" She gives an off-handed shrug, however, at the expression of sympathy, though she does give a brief smile of thanks. "Thanks. Hey, he died with his boots on. Couldn't have asked for anything better. Besides. Long time ago now."

"In any case, you did a lot of people a favor, uncovering that nest." A beat. "It was you, wasn't it." No, not really a question. "Personally, I should thank you for it. The Bureau should, too, of course, but I think the New York offices are still smarting." Her eyes dance a little. Apparently, she's okay with that.

"Last I heard, though, they got the bastards. So, you know, you might even be safe to visit your family for the holidays." Not that she'll promise it, mind.

She turns her attention back to the case before her, eyes scanning the room, its broken window, and urban-chic-meets-neo-gothic decor. "Is it just me, or did this guy have really cliched taste in decor?"


Kate nods in quiet agreement about Rachel's father, understanding in her eyes. "It is the best way to go. He was a good man. Still, sorry…" Kate murmurs that a hint softer, the sympathy earnestly clear in her voice. But the conversation moves on. She takes in a deep breath at the question about the next, trying to hide the flicker of reaction to the memories, but to a profiler it's clear this is all still rather fresh for Kate. And she's still terrified.

"I don't think it was… just that nest. They started things but…" Kate shakes her head quietly. She smelled more. Saw more. Had more people dying in her hands than a single nest. She sighs, standing slowly. "But, there's work to be done here. So, here we both are." Needless to say, she's not going back to NYC any time soon.

When the comment is made about the decor, Kate chuckles faintly, "If there is nothing else, Agent… yes, this place is rather… horrific, and I think we've both got everything we're going to find. You have my number if you need anything else."


"Yeah," Rachel agrees, shoving herself to her feet. She crosses toward the window, staying off to one side of it, rather than presenting an open target. Paranoid? No. Just careful. "I suggest you grab your stuff and get outta here. I know where to find you, when I need you."

She didn't miss the woman's reaction to the memories. And she doesn't in the least fault her for it. Mention the name 'Preacher' to Rachel and watch her flinch, sometime.

She considers the thought of a larger network than just one nest. It wouldn't surprise her. Gut instinct tells her the vampnet is a lot more extensive than anyone imagines. For a brief moment, she wonders just who the Lord of all Vampires may be and what his (or her?) agenda may be.

That's a problem for another time, however.

"I'm gonna poke around here a bit more, see if I find anything else." A beat. A half-smile. "If you think of anything, give me a shout."


"Sounds good, Rache. Sounds good." Kate pauses, leaning over to give a small hug to the woman she's not seen since she was a child. She hugs tightly a heartbeat later. It was good to have a friend. "Don't be a stranger. Even if it's just for a drink." With that whisper, Kate steps back and moves for her flip flops. She slips them on and drops her credit card down her dress' front pocket. That done, she gives a small salute and turns for the door. "Be safe." A heartbeat later, she's gone.

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