Disclaimer: Standard ones apply.
Note #1: Ive rewritten this fanfic, too. I was only going to do Blood of the Warriors but I have a better idea for this one as well. This is still based on the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter books by Laurell K. Hamilton.
Note #2 (6-22-02): I revised this first chapter and changed the POV from first to third. I always seem to be able to write better in third person. Anyway, I corrected a surprising amount of spelling and grammatical errors and basically made the sentences flow a little bit better as well as add a little more description to them. This is a pre-Homeward Bound fic and I personally think HB is where my writing took a turn for the better.
Warnings: This is completely AU and, as usual, I completely ignore DBGT. Now if that isn't your cup of tea, don't complain. I warned you. There are also graphic descriptions of murder scenes. Reader discretion is advised.
Ages: Pan is 17 & Bra is 19
Part one of the "Creatures of the Night Trilogy"
Chapter 1: Letters from the Dead
[ "Do the
words "cruel and unusual" mean anything to you?" - Son Pan ]
Someone had left a note in the mailbox with no return name or address. Pan stared at the plain white envelope, wondering about the letter inside. It could have been from Bra, she sometimes forgot about the small things. The thought left her mind as quickly as it had arrived when she realized that her address was typed and not in Bra's small, neat handwriting. She took the letter into the house to open later.
Her parents were watching television in the living room. They were good parents and good people, but overprotective behavior often surfaced when dealing with their only child. Son Gohan was a scientist and often overanalyzed things outside of the lab. He was tall and still very strong (despite the huge cutback on his training) with short-cut black hair and dark framed glasses. Son Videl (formerly Satan) was short and athletic. She was doing work as a secretary until she received her degree in business. Both looked up and Pan began to speak. She knew what they wanted by the expressions on their faces.
I had a good day. Did you hear someone come up on the porch? She showed them the envelope. This was in the mailbox but I have no idea who its from."
Her mother couldn't see why there was so much fuss about a letter. Open it, then, Pan-chan. Are you afraid of it or something?"
Im not afraid of anything. Pan answered with a mildly offended look but something was holding her back. She couldn't understand why she felt so much trepidation over something so small. Maybe it was the fact that there was no return address. Her thoughts screeched to an abrupt halt when she realized that she was afraid of a letter for kami's sake! Taking the letter opener from her mother, she neatly slit it open.
The words didn't make any sense to her. Yes, they were in a language that she understood and yes, the type was clearly readable. It was the meaning of the typewritten words that puzzled her.
confused, Gohan said, taking the paper from her. He read
it, too, and began to laugh. Pan didnt think it was very
Dearest Son Pan,
We have been watching you for a very long time and believe that you can help. Please meet with us at The Underground, neutral territory, at eight-thirty tonight. We will be waiting for you.
The Master of Satan City
Her father passed the letter to Videl while wiping amused tears from his eyes. "They want your help? You're a seventeen-year-old girl!"
"I know how old I am!" she exclaimed as her temper began to flare. "What's so funny about someone needing my help?" Her voice was low and calm in the way it always became when she was borderline pissed off. Gohan's face sobered immediately, seriousness quickly replacing all traces of humor.
Videl attempted to diffuse the situation. "You don't have experience with anything at all, Pan. That person should really call the police instead."
Pan's dark eyes went down to a new degree of coldness. "I'm going to that club, Okaasan. It's not as if I'm too young to get in."
The Underground, a large building whose music spilled onto the street and attracted all sorts of clientele, was in the heart of Satan City. It was a popular teen hangout that never allowed anyone over twenty-five to even set foot inside the doorway. Pan went there on occasion; Bra went there every Friday night.
"Wait a minute, Videl," Gohan said with a look on his face that Pan knew well. A stray idea had popped into his head, one that he thought was excellent. "Let's allow Pan to help whoever it is."
She was wary and understandably so. It was fine and dandy when her father's ideas involved someone, or something, else but when it involved her, they often were used for "her own good". "What lesson are you trying to teach me, this time?"
He smiled. "Since you want to be an adult so much, you can handle this problem like an adult. Personally, I think you should just enjoy the remainder of your childhood. I never really had one."
"I know, Tousan. You were so busy training to defeat evil aliens or hitting the books that you never had a chance to just be a kid." She had heard the stories many, many times from both her father *and* her grandfather. "I won't disappoint you by acting childish."
She went upstairs to change her clothes and her Videl gave Gohan a worried look. "My baby is going to meet someone she doesn't even know!"
"If anything happens to her," she poked him in the chest, "*you* can expect to be sleeping on the couch for the rest of your life!"
Bra met her at the club, right on time, though she regretted it the moment her friend walked in. She was slender and of average height with greenish-blue hair, blue eyes, and a passion for purchasing the latest styles from Europe. Pan was dressed casually in new jeans and a blue tank top while her taller, older friend was dressed to kill in a black dress. The girl had the worst cause of guy watching that Pan had ever seen. Everywhere they went together -- the mall, the club, even the grocery store! She was always searching for the perfect guy. Because she was her best-friend, Pan didn't have the heart to tell her that he didn't exist.
The music was loud and the tempo was fast, driving even the shyest of people to the dance floor. Pan really didn't like to dance though sometimes she gave in to Bra. The other girl's blue eyes were searching the sea of people for a guy without a girl on his arm.
"Bra-chan, I have something to tell you!" Pan shouted above the music.
She looked up, a slightly annoyed look on her face. "You invite me down here and then you distract me. Why, Pan?"
"We not here to find dates, Bra, we're here to help someone."
"*You* want to help someone?" She was shocked and it showed. Before Pan could respond, a short blond girl took a seat at their table.
"Can I help you?" she asked.
"You are Son Pan?" The girl had an accent that sounded Norwegian. In the seventh grade she had an art teacher from Norway and the inflections were similar.
"Hai. Who are you?"
"I am Kirsten and you are the one I seek. *You*," she glanced at Bra, "are not."
"Now wait just a damn minute!" Bra began but Pan covered her mouth.
"She's my friend, you don't have to worry about her."
Kirsten nodded and motioned for them both to follow her. She lead them across the room to a marked door was marked with a sign that read "Authorized Personnel Only" in bold black letters. Pan had opened her mouth to question her when Kirsten pulled a key on a chain from underneath her shirt and inserted it into the lock. After exchanging curious glances, Bra and Pan followed her inside.
"Always keep me in sight," she told them with a very serious expression as she led them down a narrow staircase. "I cannot protect you if you are not near."
"*You* protect *me*?!" she asked incredulously.
"Ja. I know that you are Saiya-jin but they do not care. I also suggest that you do not purposefully insult anyone. I only have limited control over my people."
"You're just a kid!" Bra said as if she didn't already know. "How could you control *anyone*?"
Kirsten turned slightly. "How can you get a date?" Her question caused Bra's eyes to narrow in anger. "You are as resolute just as I am. You do not understand who, or what, we are."
Her color of her eyes darkened and both girls felt themselves being drawn forward while still remaining still. Kirsten blinked once and the spell was broken.
"Rule number one when dealing with our kind: Never look into their eyes." She smiled and continued onward.
The door at the bottom of the staircase was slightly ajar and no sound came from the room beyond. Kirsten had indicated with her words that there were other people underground but neither Pan nor Bra had ever hear of anyone being completely silent. They also knew that people needed light to live by but the room on the other side of the door was pitch black.
"We are no longer like those above," she said softly, answering the question before it had been asked. Lamps along the walls suddenly flared to life and startled Bra so much that she shrieked. "Our kind thrives in darkness; it is our element. My people live underground in caves, sewers, and tunnels wishing for the day that we will be able to walk above ground without fear.
Pan's eyes were huge as the pale light fell across Kirsten's face. "What are you?" she asked in a whisper, half-afraid of the answer.
"We are the living dead," she said as a strange light entered her eyes. Her lips suddenly thinned and pulled away to reveal a set of pointed fangs. "We are the vampires."
The girls just stood there, staring at her. Bra suddenly laughed. "Oh come on! Those are only plastic!" Pan didn't say anything as a wave of power washed over her but she did begin backing away from the blond girl. The energy was growing in intensity by the second until Pan felt smothered by it. It didn't lightly caress her body like the energy from her friends and family, it assaulted it. Just as quickly as it had been sensed, it was gone. Pan looked back to check on Bra and took note of her pale face.
"You are sensitive as well," Kirsten said to her. "I had not known that."
"You stopped hiding your energy," Pan said with a shaking voice. "I first thought you were human."
Bra looked back-and-forth between the two. "What are you talking about? What sort of ki is it?"
"It's not really ki seeing as she's dead."
"My energy is preternatural and not just limited to vampires."
"Let me get this straight," Pan began. "We can sense your undead power."
"I'm starting to think that not many people can." They were still paused before the door with Pan straining to hear a sound, any sound.
"Unlike the sensing of ki, this is not a learned ability. If you are human you must be born with it."
Kirsten opened the door wide and Bra clutched at Pan's arm. 'She's a demi-Saiya-jin for kami's sake! That was supposed to make her stronger than I am. Why in the world is she trying to use me as a shield?' Bra was surprisingly soft for one of Vegeta's offspring. Too much talking on the phone and gossiping about boys had made her that way.
The first thing Pan noticed was the drops of crimson blood that marked the white carpet from the doorway onward. She went on guard while Bra took a deep breath to calm herself before she began to look around. Kirsten's eyes narrowed and darkened in color right before her voice rose to a near shout.
"Who has done this?" she asked. "Who was not neat with their meal and marred my floor?" Several vampires stepped away from the shadows that were gathered along the sides of the room and all of them hung their heads like children who had tracked mud through the house.
"Master," a brunette began, fear clear in her voice, "I would never-"
"Answer the question! Who has ruined my carpet?" For a moment no one spoke but eventually a man stepped forward and pointed to a closed door.
"Akiro wakes, Master, and David cannot control the hunger."
She strode quickly to the door. "He was not supposed to control the hunger. No one can control it save the master who made him. Is David his master, Caleb?"
"No!" He was quick to respond. "You are his master and mine as well. No one can hope to match your power." He was trembling slightly, afraid that she was going to punish him. "You are our unquestioned leader."
"There is one who questions me." Pan gave into her intense curiosity and followed her inside of the room, leaving Bra to the vampires' company.
The walls were made of concrete, the floor of stone, and both were sturdy and plain. Three simple coffins sat side-by-side with heavy silver chains, one set lying on the floor next to middle one, and a short man was lying half over that coffin with his feet firmly planted on the floor. His face paled as he heard the door open but he didn't move an inch.
David, who had red-hair and light green eyes, grunted as he struggled to hold down the coffin lid. It was pretty easy to see that the person inside wanted out in the very worst way. "I thought that I was strong enough."
"Obviously," Pan said dryly, "you thought wrong."
Kirsten calmly wound the chains around the coffin, padlocked them, and placed a large silver cross underneath a chain. It shone like a star in the darkest of night and both vampires turned their heads until the light faded away. The person inside the coffin, Akiro, screamed in pain for a moment before everything went silent. The short blond plunged her hands into a large bowl of water that had been sitting on the floor and sighed slightly.
"Blessed items burn," she explained before the question had even been asked. "As long as a religion had devoted followers, we cannot touch their holy artifacts."
Pan gasped slightly as she saw the damage done to Kirsten's hands. Blisters had risen on her palms and the skin was a brilliant red. "Are you okay?"
"I will be. Vampires heal very quickly though wounds created by holy objects take a little longer." She smiled pleasantly at her before turning to David. Her face transformed into one of extreme displeasure and David backed away. "You, on the other hand, will not be so lucky. Bring me the blade."
His eyes widened in fear. "Master, I only tried to help! I didn't mean any disrespect!"
"The blade," she repeated slowly. "I will not ask again." Pan got the feeling that the punishment would be hundreds of times worse if she had to fetch the weapon herself.
"The blade" was a twelve inch long shining knife with an obsidian handle. David handed it to her, hilt first, and unbuttoned his shirt. Kirsten gripped the blade tightly in one injured hand but no sound of pain passed her lips.
"Does the girl have to watch? She isn't one of us."
"Son Pan may not be a vampire but she can help us. In order for her to do so, though, she must understand all of what we are."
David's chest was pale and traced by old scars but there was slight color in his cheeks. Before Pan could wonder about that, Kirsten moved forward and buried the knife into his abdomen completely up to the hilt. Blood welled to the surface immediately and Pan knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that no one with Ningen DNA could survive a wound that severe.
Just as quickly as it had been inserted, the knife was withdrawn. The man collapsed to the floor and took rapid, shallow breaths. Kirsten wiped his blood onto his discarded shirt and turned away. Pan gazed at David in mute horror, watching his blood pool onto the cold stone floor.
"He will live but heal slowly. The blade was high in silver content." She motioning for the quarter saiya-jin to follow. "A just punishment for disobeying me."
Pan finally found her voice. "Do the words "cruel and unusual" mean anything to you?"
"We are not people any longer," her voice was sharp. "The world has rejected us so we reject all of the world and its so-called "civilized behavior". The human population is only good for blood donations. Without them we would not survive but without us they would overpopulate the Earth. We are doing them a great service."
"You kill Ningen to satisfy your hunger," she said bluntly.
She laughed. "A vampire cannot kill a human by himself, it usually takes three of us. Even we can become full. Those who are fed upon by a large group of vampires rise three days from their date of death as revenants -- animalistic creatures without souls or reason."
"*None* of you have souls."
They rejoined the others in the sitting room. Bra had abandoned her small spot on the floor and had migrated across the room to strike up a conversation with one of the female vampires. She looked up and only caught the last bit of Kirsten and Pan's conversation.
"Is not a caterpillar reborn as a butterfly? The lesser vampires enter the warmth that their master provides and emerge as a greater being. I give them life, Pan, I call their souls back into their bodies once the sun sinks below the horizon."
"Where do they go?" Bra asked. "Your souls, I mean."
Kirsten spread her arms wide and shrugged. The movement exposed the burns to the weak light. "No one knows the answer, not even the members of the Vampire Council."
"Master!" The brunette from before gasped as she ran to her. "Your hands!"
"Do not worry, Marissa, I will heal in time."
She gently grasped both hands in her own and brought them upward towards her face. "Is this from a holy cross?"
"I will heal," she said softly, catching the taller woman's eyes with her own.
Marissa nodded and turned to the two girls, her skin and eyes looking remarkably human. Her long hair was braided neatly and her eyes were slightly slanted from some sort of Asian ancestry. "Forgive me for not greeting you earlier."
"No problem. When something's going on it's usually hard to remember your manners." A sound man Pan turn her head to the room she had just come from. David stumbled through the doorway, his face still contorted in pain. His wound was healing though you couldn't actually see it happening. Every time Pan blinked, the gaping hole closed just a tiny bit more. She mentally compared it to a flower blooming; you didn't see it happen but you had proof that it did.
"Servitude has its benefits," Kirsten said, her voice calling to both Pan and Bra. It was as if she were hypnotizing them. "You would always have my protection, my care, my guidance, and my love. We are all a family."
Pan just stared at her. "But we don't need any of those things from you. We already have them."
"You do not understand," she smiled, "but you will."
"Are you *threatening* me?" Pan asked as she pinched Bra to bring her mind back to the present.
She spoke pleasantly as if she were only asking about the weather. "That was not a threat. It was a promise."
"What do I have to do with this?" Bra asked, confusion written all over her face. Her question wasn't answered, instead Kirsten handed Pan a brightly printed pamphlet.
"All You Ever Wanted to Know About Vampires But Were Afraid to Ask." One eyebrow rose.
"Ja," she rolled her eyes. "The Church prints these up and now they are finally useful for something other than kindling."
She turned over the pamphlet and pointed to a name in bold lettering. "The Church of Eternal Life. It is the fastest growing religion in the world."
"Can anyone join the Church?"
"Iie, Bra-chan. You are not going to join those people."
Annoyed blue eyes glared at her best-friend. "I didn't want to join, Pan-chan. How stupid do I look?" The shorter girl could think of exactly how stupid and Bra punched her in the shoulder, knowing exactly what would have come from her mouth. "I was just curious, bakayaro."
Kirsten watched them with amusement, her strange blue eyes moving back-and-forth between them. "Anyone who is mortal can become a member. I find most of them to be nothing more than," she trailed off, attempting to find the right words to say, "babbling idiots. Especially the leader, Jezebelle."
"Old rival?" Pan asked with a knowing smile. She was secretly pleased that she had touched a nerve. The tense expression on Kirsten's face disappeared almost as fast as it had arrived.
"I don not think I have had the pleasure of informing you about rule number two yet. Under no circumstances are you allowed to disrespect me." She glared at her. "By doing so you are giving me permission to punish you in any way that I see fit."
Pan, at first, only gaped at her in disbelief but soon a flush of angry color was rising in her cheeks. "WHAT THE HELL?!"
"We're not your people!" Bra exclaimed.
Kirsten smiled slightly. "Yet you are in my territory. Does that not that give me at least partial control over you?"
"Iie, iie," Pan shook her head. "Bra and I have complete control over ourselves and neither you nor anyone else can be our master."
"We will see," she said quietly. "We will see."
Pan had disliked Kirsten almost nearly from the moment she had met her and the blond girl hadn't done much to change her mind. She was a torturer, a riddler, and an annoyance. The small girl had power over adults that Pan couldn't even begin to understand and, she admitted privately to herself, it pissed her off royally.
Bra was silent on their trip above ground and that worried her. The Briefs girl was usually *never* silent.
"Yen for your thoughts," Pan said with a smile but she didn't receive one in return. After a brief moment, Bra began to speak.
"I wonder why she wants me." With a small movement of her thumb, she unencapsulated her car and it appeared on the street in a small puff of smoke. The cherry red convertible, still shiny with newness, was Bra's pride and joy. She was hardly ever seen without it and you scratched her car in anyway, she was ready to claw your eyes out.
One of the most puzzling things in life, to Pan, was the method used to shrink down very large objects so that they fit into the tiny capsules that the Capsule Corporation manufactured. It was very similar to the age-old question "How many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop?". Both would take hours to answer.
"I know why she wants *me*," Pan grumbled, her voice filled with intense dislike for the Master of the City. Kirsten figured that no one would feel threatened by a small teenage girl and would answer her questions truthfully. 'She can take that theory and stuff it were the sun don't shine. Big things often come in small packages. I believe this and so does Veggie-ojisan.'
"Loose the anger, Pan-chan." She hit a button on the remote and unlocked the door. Bra couldn't really handle anything more complicated than that, a television remote, a hair dryer, and, of course, the telephone. She was rather pathetic in the technology area but Pan loved her anyway. Hopping into the car beside her best-friend, the dark-haired girl shifted until she found the best spot in the black leather seat, she continued to complain.
"She treats me as if I'm their only hope for salvation!" Her tone grew darker at that point. "I'm no one's savior. Ojiichan is the true hero."
Bra shook her head, blue spiral curls bouncing with the movement. "I didn't think so, Pan. She didn't treat you any better than the rest of her people."
Pan glared at her. Kirsten treated her people like crap. "Domo arigatou, Bra," she said sarcastically. "You're being *really* helpful." She thought back to the last thing the small master had asked her. 'Will you help us?' The answer had escaped before she could stop it. 'Hai.'
"What in the world was I thinking?!" Pan wailed, causing the other girl to glance over in concern. "I can't help them! The *cops* can't even help them!"
She stopped at a red light and patted Pan on the knee comfortingly. "I'm going to help you, remember? Everything will be fine."
Making a sour face, she refused to consider that as a good thing. "Have *you* ever solved a murder case before?"
"Nope but it'll sure be interesting to learn."
"Homicide involves dead bodies, Bra-chan, and blood. Lots and lots of blood. Are you sure that you're up to dealing with that?"
Her face paled but her voice remained steady. "I'm sure as hell not going to let you do this alone."
"Bodies hacked into tiny bits and pieces, faces contorted into everlasting expressions of extreme pain, pools of crimson blood spilled onto the floor-"
"I GET IT, OKAY?!" Her knuckles were chalk-white on the steering wheel. A humorless laugh then escaped, confusing Pan. "At least papa will be happy that I'm finally ready to take the first step toward becoming a true Saiya-jin warrior."
Pan tried to imagine Vegeta happy but the image refused to come. She and Bra looked at each other and knew that they were thinking of exactly the same thing. Bursting into hysterical laughter, they continued on their journey to the Briefs' home.