Lady Serez

Please send all comments to Lady Serez

K:tE belongs to Mark Rein*Hagen and his horde of Malkavian lawyers who should

have been locked up long ago, but for their talent for writing a great brief.


Chapter 1

*You never knew who would walk in this station next. It could be a woman who was just mugged, or a armed robber running for his life, and took the wrong turn somewhere in San Diego. And look who just walked in. Julian Luna, bigger than life Mafioso. Only, he's not a Mafioso. And I'm stuck with him.* Frank Kohanek sighed as he looked up from his desk into the dark eyes of Julian Luna. Sonny was nowhere to be seen, and he could sense the whispers begin.-isn't that Julian Luna?- -I heard...-- --I thought Kohanek had better sense than that..-- Frank turned his head, and saw Kwan looking more serious than usual. "Kohanek? Hello? Earth to Frank?" Kwan remarked, looking annoyed. "Yeah, boss. What's up?" Frank leaned back in his chair, and heard the chair complain. *gotta put oil on that joint, or stop eating all those donuts.* thought Frank. "Kohanek, someone made threats against Luna's life. You and Sonny have a light load right now, and Sonny can do the paperwork. In short, you've been assigned to Julian Luna. Have fun."

Chapter 2

*Did Kwan say what I thought he said...let's reprocess that.. Lunaís life been threatened, I'm his bodyguard. Bodyguard?!?* "Uh, Kwan. Doesn't Luna have a private army to guard him already?" Kwan looked at all the cops standing around, whispering and stealing glances. "Let's go to my office. We need some privacy for this." Once in the office, Kwan sat down with a audible groan, and muttered, "Really should take that vacation. Hawaii will be great.... OK, Mr. Luna, Kohanek, sit down please." Kwan sighed loudly, "The first death threat came two days ago, at the Wolf House. At first, Mr. Luna thought it was just a crank call. Later that night, someone shot at him at The Haven, a local bar run by a woman named Lillie Langtry. He didn't report that because he felt..." Julian interrupted, "That it was a normal part of my...job. After all, when you're a CEO, people tend not to like you too much. However, the next day Lorraina found a pipe bomb tied to the muffler of one of my limos. I started to get concerned. At about 5:00 my butler received this call. Fortunately, he taped this." Julian put a small tape player on the desk, inserted a tape and pressed the play button. Frank leaned forward so he could hear it. (Tape) Muffled voice, low-pitched : "Luna, this is your one and only warning. If you don't pay $4 million to this account: 56757346 at the Switzerland National Bank, I will reveal you to the world for the monster you are. The shot you ducked last night at the Haven is proof of how serious this is the pipe bomb your bimbo found. HEHEHEAAHAHAWHA!" (phone hung up.) Frank leaned his chair back, and remarked, "That's one of the most weirdest death threat I've ever heard. Who is this guy?" Kwan glared at him. "That's your job, Kohanek. You're going undercover as Luna's bodyguard." Frank did a double take, and even Julian's head flinched a quarter of a inch. "Uh...Kwan, what are you, nuts? All of Luna's boys know me, and about 2/3 of them hate me. What makes you think this is gonna work?" Kwan smirked, and leaned back in his chair. "That's the beauty of it. No one is going to believe that YOU are willing to act as bodyguard for your...uh...romantic rival. What, you think I didn't know about Alexandera? Frank, EVERYONE knew, and was glad for you. Losing the wife that way is bad, but losing your girlfriend is even worse...and Luna was her former boyfriend." Frank looked like a stunned deer, so Julian took over. "Mr. Kwan, I believe that if we told him who the suspect is, that it would be easier on Mr. Kohanek. And talking about his and MY romantic life is not only embarrassing, it's also a invasion of privacy. Hmm?" Kwan looked affronted at being told about manners from a Mafioso, then realized that Julian was correct. "Sorry, Kohanek. OK. We think this perp is a man named the Preacher. He's been in and out of hospitals since the Vietnam war, which by the way he was in. The Preacher was diagnosed with multiple personality disorder, highly dangerous." Julian inserted, "and the Preacher is *known* to me. He's cunning, and mad as a hatter. I need Kohanek, because the Preacher won't know what to expect from him. He would, from my "private army" as you called them, Kohanek, but he doesn't know anything about you. And that's my ace." And at that precise minute, Julian's limo exploded.

Chapter 3

Frank turned his head to a nearly perfect 90o degree angle, as he looked at the limo's front fender hanging off the telephone pole. Several foot away, Julian was shouting into his cell phone to the Kindred's version of AAA. "I need another car, and I would like it right now, if you don't mind, gentlemen! What? What are you talking about, Cameron has the other car for tonight? I don't remember giving permission for, I most definitely did not give permission for that!" Julian looked up to see several curious cops looking at him, and quickly lowered his voice to a rasping undertone. Kwan gazed with awe at the damage the bomb had done. When the bomb went off, it blew out all the windows in a 2 blocks range and totaled the limo. The biggest piece of it was about 3 foot across...and it was understood that after all the forensics people were done, the pitiful remnants of the limo was to be given a ceremonial escort to the nearest scrap yard. "Will you look at that? Whatta you think, C-4 or fertilizer pipe bomb? Toussaint back yet?" O'Fallon, a Kindred Irishman who had been in San Francisco for several generations, remarked. "Well...looks like a C-4, but we'll need the forensic guys to say yes or no." Frank turned, and saw Cash roaring up and nearly running into a drooling rookie. "Nice motorcycle, man! A Indian?" the drooling rookie said, ignoring the fact that he had almost gotten a chance to examine the motorcycle from under its wheels. Cash grunted, then called out to Julian. "Where's Lorraina? She was driving tonight, wasn't she?" Julian turned, "Lorraina should be around here somewhere. I gave her permission to give a message to Lillie. After all, I didn't expect to get....ambushed outside a police station. She should be fine. If you wish, you can search for her." "No way, man! You could have gotten killed! After that thing a few weeks ago, I'm not leaving you alone. Not even for you to go to the restroom. I mean it, Julian! Zack can do it for me. Were you able to get a car from AAA? No? I've got room on my Indian. You can ride with me." Cash finished. Julian looked dubiously at that proposal. He remembered the first time he had ridden on Cash's Indian. "Cash, last time I did that, I got thrown into the foundation at Wolf House. I have no inclination to repeat that experience again. Thank you for the offer, nevertheless. Mr. Kohanek here will drive me. Won't you, Mr. Kohanek?" And that's how Frank found himself driving in his Corvair with Julian in the front and Cash crammed into the back. Zack had taken Cash's motorcycle, after many directions from Cash concerning what to do with his precious Indian and gone off to look for Lorraina. *well, I thought waxing the front end with Lady Dior lotion was a little ..too much.* "OK, Julian. Who's the Preacher, and what does he want with you? I know, from the emphasis you used on the word mine in the office, that he's Kindred. But what Kindred? I don't think even Brujah would even *think* about doing something this birdbrain." Julian glanced at Frank at that, "Turn left here, Frank, and then go straight ahead until you reach a gate. Cash, what are you doing?" Cash looked up, "Why do you have a pile of coffee cups back here? Looks like 4 months worth." "Hazards of police work. Doesn't Sonny have a similar pile in HIS car? Ah, we're here. Now what?" Julian smiled, and leaned across Frank to speak into the intercom affixed to the gates. Frank smelled something seductive, then realized that Julian's smell was similar to the smell Alexandra had, except it was more.. masculine. Long ago, that had been.. Alexandra smiling at him, grabbing his jacket lapels, and kissing him... "Frank? You can drive on now. Frank?" Julian looked concerned. "Oh! Sorry--was daydreaming. Where can I park this--over there?" Julian looked hard at him, shook his head and pulled away. "Yes, right over there. Are you all right?" "Yeah, stop worrying...and get that Cash out of the back before he tears it up! Hey! You little..." Julian paused briefly to break up the brewing fight between Frank and Cash, and started walking to the front door. *Why did Frank have that look on his face? He's only had that look when he's remembering Alexandra.. and why should he remember now? And what was it about me that caused him to remember her? I'll think about that later. Right now, how do I explain the Malkavians to Frank...and will he believe me? He better...or the Preacher's going to tie him up in knots.*

Chapter 4

As the three men walked toward the Wolf House, a man hid in one of the trees that covered Julian's estate. *Hehehe.. so Julian thinks he can beat me by introducing an unknown element into this oh-so interesting game...I'm not a Malkavian for nothing!* The man, known as the Preacher, stood up and leaned against a branch, trying to see through the French doors. The Preacher was about 35, with a head of light black wild hair. In fact, he looked like Einstein on a very, very bad day. He had faded green eyes, filled with the joy of madness. The Preacher wore a clerical suit, faded and threadworn with age, but the collar still shone bright white. Inside, Julian asked Cash to send word to all Kindred in the city to look for the Preacher, but it was understood that a Blood Hunt had not been declared yet. Cash left under protest, but he went. With that done, Julian escorted Frank into his sable-colored study and poured Frank a glass of brandy. "Julian, I really don't want a brandy, and we're not allowed to drink on duty. What I want to know is, who is the Preacher and what does he want?" Julian raised his eyebrows, sighed, and slugged down Frank's brandy. "All right. But bear with me please. First, I need to tell you what clan the Preacher belongs to, and what they're like. Then, I'll tell you why the Preacher has a grudge against me. In exchange for this information, I want to know about your family. You do have one, I suppose?" Frank twitched, and sighed. "Yeah, I do. But I really don't like to talk about them. How about I tell you about my sister Cat? That ok?" Julian cocked his head and nodded. Frank demanded, "But I'm not telling you anything until you tell me what you know." "All right. You're not very patient are you?" "Comes of sitting one too many all-niters outside warehouses, waiting for Eddie Fiori to trip up." "Hm. I must say, I'm relieved he's dead. He was endangering the Masquerade too much as it was. And eventually, he would have challenged me for title of Prince. Fiori was a stupid and dangerous fool, but he could control the Mob here. Just for that, I would have put up with him for much longer than I normally would have." "Julian, forget Fiori. What about the Malkavians? Who are they, and what do they want, and why haven't I seen one?" "You saw a potential candidate in the Nightstalker. Remember him?" "Who could forget? Sliced through 7 people in one week, tried to hang me until you cut me down, and then lost his head. Yeah, I remember him." Julian walked to a chair, and showed Frank another chair he could sit in. "By potential Malkavian I mean that that clan takes insane people and sane people who have the potential to be, as they view it, gloriously insane. They believe that they're the only sane ones and that everyone else is mad. You are aware of the concept of nirvana I take it?" "By nirvana you mean the idea of perfect peace, not the band?" *the Julian patented glare* "Quite. You really should get to know Cash. Your mind and his follow some of the same tracks. Nevertheless. The Malkavians are one of the clans here in San Francisco, and before you ask why you've not seen them, this is why: they prefer to live in mental hospitals, asylums, and halfway houses. I know that you often go to these places, but they're very good at hiding themselves. Tell me, if someone started to yammer at you or talk to invisible people, would you run away or figure out if they're Kindred? Three times out of four, people generally run. If they don't the Malkavian usually shadow their minds--plant misinformation. It's also very difficult to talk to one. They'll tell you what you want to know, but they'll couch it in vague and confusing terms....or you won't know what they're talking about. *Delightful* people. Archon hated them, and once you meet one, you'll understand why." Julian stopped to think for a minute. Frank got up, and started to walk around the room. "Ok, Julian, I get the general idea. Now why does this maniac hate you?" "He doesn't hate me--he just enjoys tormenting me." And then Sasha screamed.

Chapter 5

"Sasha? SASHA! Is everything all right?!?" a very frightened Julian ran into Sasha's room, with Frank close behind. Sasha looked up at Julian, and with a shaking finger pointed at the smirking creature in the corner, "What is THAT creature, and why is it laughing at me?" Frank had run into the room with his gun out, but then put it back into his holster, once he realized who the creature was. "Petunia. What're you doing here? Come on, let me help you up. I thought you said you would stay in the shelter for tonight. What happened? Some punks harass you?" He reached down and helped Petunia up. Julian stared in shock at Frank and Petunia. "Frank--Did you know that's a Malkavian? And what are *you* doing here?" Petunia cackled, and hopped forward to sit on the bed. Sasha grimaced at the damage being done to her favorite bedspread, and took the opportunity to look at this creature. She hadn't, earlier. She'd been too busy screaming. Petunia looked like a average bag lady, except for one thing--she had spoons pinned to her clothes, and they clanked together as she moved. "Ooooo Frank! You didn't tell you had a new girlfriend. Heheha! She's *way* dangerous.. but then you knew that, didn't you, gingerbread boy! *cackle*" "Petunia, trust me, Sasha is *not* Frank's girlfriend. She's Cash." Petunia looked up at that, "Cash the wolf boy! With a Brujah?" She looked at Sasha then, and had a spate of laughter that lasted several minutes. During Petunia's spate, Frank had grabbed Julian's lapel and demanded to know what he thought Petunia was. "Frank, she's the Primogen of the Malkavians. I'm surprised, to say the least, to see that you know her. But this just proves what I said earlier, about Malkavians being able to disguise themselves..." Petunia's hand shot out and grabbed a cigar from the nightstand. She lit it and started to smoke it, in pure pleasure. "Uh, Petunia, what're you doing here scaring Sasha?" Frank asked. Petunia's black eyes looked piercingly at him, and she started to sing, "Oh, little boys play together in the fog, oh, yella hair no good, collar no good either, oh!" Julian sighed, and she turned her attention on him. "You know the Preacher's after you, right? You and gingerbread boy better get together and figure out how to get rid of him.. permanently. *cackle* Told him yet why the Preacher's after you? Hehehehe! Gingerbread boy, the Preacher's after the Creole's bod, yo better stop him before he gets all of it, ha!" Petunia nearly fell off the bed, cackling with laughter. Julian had staggered to the nearest chair, dropped into it, and buried his head in his hands. Sasha decided she had had quite enough of this conversation, which was growing weirder by the minute, and get out before it got even weirder. She slinked toward the door, and then was gone. "Why? Why? What did I ever do to deserve this?" moaned Julian. "You got embraced, that's what," the unhelpful Petunia said. "Julian? Why did Sasha--" Cameron stopped just short of the door, stared at Petunia for a minute, then disappeared. Julian and Frank could hear Cameron start to run, and a door slammed somewhere. "Cameron ran? A Brujah ran? What's wrong with this picture? Petunia's not that bad. You just have to be patient." a puzzled Frank remarked. "You have no idea. You have no idea." "Well, maybe it'll help to explain things...and tell me about the Preacher. I want to know just how deep in the quicksand I am." "All right. All right. But be quiet. I'll answer any question after the story, but not during. I'm afraid I'll kill somebody if you do." "If you insist." "I do. Now shut up."

Chapter 6

*flashback* San Francisco--Spring 1850 Julian Luna raised his head from the table, his lanky hair dripping with beer. *where am I?* The burly miner roared with laughter and pinched the giggling Chinese girl. *no. what time is it?* "Hey, Creole! Come on. You can't mourn your wife forever. Look at all the hurly girls!" The miner slapped his huge hand on the table, making it jump. "Man, I understand. I lost my wife too...but life got to go on. You can't mope around for her too long, 'pecially here. Here men slit throats for a speck of dust. You got to pay attention, you idiot Creole!" the miner slapped the table, this time causing it to break. "Oops. Damn, here comes that Chinaman. Hey man, here's...." His voice sounded more and more fainter to Julian, and he wondered why...a few seconds before he hit the floor. Before the miner could do anything, a man peeled off the wall and started to walk quickly toward Julian. The miner, in a liquor-fueled haze, peered at the silver-haired man in a finely tailored black suit with a black hat. *damn if I could have a suit like that...* Archon knelt in the beer-soused floor the miner and others like him had left. *why am I doing this? he's nothing. he'll die in less than a month, and no one will mourn him. WHY?* But the minute he turned the black haired stranger to look at him, he knew. *he looks so like my lost dancer. the look is the same...* "Mr. Raine? Mr. Raine, can I help you with anything?" The Chinese had finished his harangue of the miner, and come over to see if Archon needed anything. "Yes. Yes, I do. Chen, go get my driver and tell him to come in. And hurry. I don't want to be in here for much longer." Julian moaned as he came up through a fog. "Don't move. Have some water, it'll help your thirst." A glass was raised to his lips, and Julian drank. "Well. I would like to know who the lostling in my bed is. Who are you?" The voice was kind, but Julian could hear the steel in the voice. He didn't think it was a good idea to deny this stranger anything.. "Julian Luna. Of New Orleans. Where am I? This isn't the Pleasure Palace of the Gods is it?" "Pleasure Palace of the Gods? Chen must have gotten fancy. Really. No, it isn't. This is the Wolf House. Now, don't sit up so quickly. Quinn says you have a touch of pneumonia." Julian looked with alarm at the white haired man, and subsisted. *the Wolf House! the one everyone in the Marina talks's dangerous to even be on the yard, and I'm in the House itself! I really got myself in it, my love.* *Look at the fear in his face. It must be the rumors. Damn! These rumors are good for keeping trash like those Kangaroos out, but it scares decent people so much they don't come here. Not even the milkman. Damn!* "Let me guess. You heard those baseless rumors didn't you? That's what they are: fiction. Lies. You pick the word." " don't do human sacrifice?" *WHAT?!? That damn Preacher. He's at it again! I really need to talk to Petunia...hope today's one of her good days.* "No. Why do you think I do that?" As Julian looked around the room, luxuriously appointed in red, Archon's mind raced. " don't have any of the signs. I'm from New Orleans, so I should know. Voodoo and all that." "Voodoo? That city must be interesting." "It is. Or it was. My wife and I moved here some time ago." "Your wife? Then why were you in that saloon?" "Ah. I should tell you, as you were kind enough to pick me up off the floor. She died a few weeks ago, leaving a son named John. Childbirth. It's a curse. She was so beautiful, and lovely...but she didn't want to come here. I made her, promising her everything. That soon turned to ash in my mouth. She's gone. What do I have to live for?" "Your son, for one. He needs you, and you need him. Do you have a job?" At Julian's shake of his head, Archon continued. "I need a secretary to keep my files in order, and to keep this house going without too many problems. The pay is good, but one of the problems I have had with keeping my secretary is the parade shall I put this? Unusual people. Do you think you can do that?" The glow in Julian's face was answer enough. *gods look at him! I think I'm in love. Gods!* "All right. I'll take that as a yes. You can put your son with a woman who lives a few houses from here. She has other children, so she knows how to take care of John. Will that be fine with you?" "Yes. Yes, you have no idea. And I think I will have no problem keeping your files and house in order. Thank you. When do I start?" Julian started to get out of bed, but Archon stopped him. "No, I don't think so. My pile of papers can wait until you recover. Where do you live?" Julian told him, and Archon nodded. "You write a brief note, and I'll send one of the servants to get your boy. Stevie Ray? Stevie Ray, I need you to take this note to Mrs. Gervans' boardinghouse and get the baby John Luna." When Stevie Ray left, Archon turned to Julian, "Go back to sleep, and recover. Next week, if Quinn allows it, you'll start work. Sleep." And with that Julian slid back under the covers, disbelieving his good fortune. Archon closed the door, and leaned against the walls. *gods, what have I gotten myself into this time? a lostling. a lostling!* San Francisco--Winter 1851 Julian winced as he heard yet another door slam. Archon was angry today, more angry than when Julian had accidentally misplaced the shipping reports or when Stevie Ray had staggered in at 4 in the morning, dead drunk and singing, "Irish Eyes are fucking Smiling!" Archon came into the study, muttering something about the Preacher. *oh damn. not the Preacher again.* thought Julian. Ever since he had come to work at the Wolf House, the Preacher had been at him night and day. It was readily apparent that the preacher was insane, and it was also apparent what he wanted. Julian's body. Julian. As Archon stomped toward his desk, that's all he could think of. The Preacher had burst into council this morning, causing Petunia to do something he'd never known her to do--threw the coffee Stevie Ray had made at the Preacher. Admittingly, the coffee was bad--*Julian should have made it* came the unbidden thought-- but not that bad. With coffee dripping down his face, the Preacher had demanded permission to embrace Julian. Archon and Petunia had refused, for various reasons. Angry, the Preacher walked out, stopping long enough to threat to break the Third Tradition--the one that demanded the permission of the Prince to embrace a mortal. That reason alone had caused Archon to decide to order Julian to stay in the Wolf House. Archon pushed back that part of his brain that taunted, *no that's not want Julian to yourself.* And he had spat back, *me? Iím too old for him, and besides he's attracted to women.* The voice replied, *in the embrace, sex of the person means nothing. love and affection does. and Julian has a fondness for you. look at him now.* and Archon looked at Julian, tiptoeing toward him, as if there were glass under his feet, and realized why Julian was doing this. "Julian, don't do that. I'm not angry at you. I'm just angry at...the Preacher. He demanded something I couldn't give him." *I don't want him to know about the Kindred...he should stay in the mortal world for his son.* "I understand. I heard a lot of angry shouting, and thought it had something to do with the Preacher. Would you like a cup of coffee?" And Julian smiled that sweet smile, that had caused Eva Luna and Archon to fall for him, and more than a century later, a certain cop. Archon looked at Julian, and figured, *Preacher won't do anything. it was a idle threat, nothing more. He knows what I'll do if he ever did what he threatened.* "Yes I would. With a bit of cream, please." "Of course. Here's some sugar." He was wrong. Dead wrong. San Francisco--April 3, 1851 "Where is he? WHERE IS HE!" A furious Archon walked among chaos. Stevie Ray was ordering his Gangrels to find Julian, Daedalus was rocking baby John, now more than one year old and an handful, and Petunia was hanging on the wall, where Archon had put her. "Archon, calm down. Archon? You're frightening the baby." "Don't joke, Daedalus. Look at him, he's more fascinated by your ear than he is frightened by me." replied Archon. Archon thought back to the night before, April 2. As a reward for Julian's first year of service, Archon had taken him to a nice restaurant, Paris , and then to the opera--or what passed for opera in San Francisco. Archon wasn't exactly sure *exactly* what a boatload of sailors had to do with a woman dressed up like Queen Victoria, but Julian had enjoyed it. He had seen Julian home, forgetting his resolve to have Julian move into the Wolf House...and then Julian had vanished. At first, Archon thought the Kangaroos had taken Julian, knowing him to be secretary to one of the richest men in San Francisco, but with the receipt of a note, he knew it was the Preacher. Now he had to find Julian before the Preacher embraced him or told him of the Kindred. One of Stevie Ray's childe ran in, yelling, "We found him! We found him!", sounding like a puppy depositing his prize at his master's feet. Archon turned and snarled, "Where is he? Why didn't you bring him?" Refusing to be deflated, the childe replied, "Come and see. The Preacher trussed him like a chicken! And we can't get to him." Upon arrival at the warehouse where the Preacher had taken Julian, Archon saw why the childer couldn't get Julian down. The Preacher had tied Julian, complete with a gag, and suspended him in the air. Daedalus got him down, blowing the Masquerade, and Archon knew he had no choice. Julian was exhausted from the long night, and Archon knew that night wouldn' t be easy. Later that same night Julian woke suddenly, afraid the Preacher would be there. A voice soothed him, "The Preacher isn't here. He isn't even in San Francisco. If he ever comes back, the Blood Hunt will be called." At these strange words, he turned his head and saw Archon sitting besides the nightstand. At first, he couldn't believe what he was seeing. Archon was wearing only a robe, and he was sure there were nothing on beneath. Julian looked down and realized he was in Archon's bed, the same one he had woken in a year ago. And that he was, as his mother used to say, 'naked as the day he was born.' " you remember anything?" Julian jerked his head, "I remember a man--he got me off the rafters. He looked very strange, pale with odd ears." "Yes, well your son likes them. Julian, you saw something you shouldn't have seen." "The Preacher--he said he was a Kindred--I got the impression he was a vampire." *oh no. oh no. Damn you, Preacher. Damn you for giving me what I most want--but in the getting I may lose him. Damn!* "Yes, Julian, he was telling you the truth. Unfortunately that truth has pulled you into my world, and I can't let you out." And Archon told Julian everything about the Kindred. At the end, Julian was hunched up in bed, quietly crying. "Julian. The Embrace doesn't have to be bad. It can be, but it isn't. Julian. Look at me. Look at me!" Archon stood fluidly and let his robe fall to the floor. Julian looked tentatively at him, and Archon almost laughed. *a virgin. oh gods a virgin! What did they do, do it in the dark? Probably.* "Julian, I want you to look at me, and I want to look at you. We'll go slowly, but you must be Kindred before the sun comes up. Take that blanket off." The command was obeyed, and Archon stood looking at the beautiful body. *ooh. stand up, please.* Echoing Archon's thoughts, Julian stood up. He didn't look at Archon, but looked away. Archon stepped close to Julian, brought his face back to his, and kissed him. *Oh. I never knew a kiss could be like that,* Julian thought. He smiled, and Archon knew he had Julian. Taking Julian into his arms, he let Julian feel him while he felt the texture of Julian's skin. *so smooth.. silken* Slowly, Archon's hand stole to the valley between the cheeks, and began to look for the opening. Julian started to sweat and moan with pleasure. *I don't need him to pleasure me this time. Do that later. Right now, I need to distract hi...oh gods!* Archon found the opening and slipped a lubed finger inside. As Archon fingered him, Julian forget about the Kindred. He forget about everything except the pleasure. He threw his head back and moaned. Archon looked at him, and decided it was time for bed. He walked Julian back to the bed, Julian moaning all the way. Before he sat Julian on the edge of the bed, he took the finger out. Julian was totally out of it, because god, it felt so damn good he thought he was going to die. Slowly, Archon spread Julian's legs as he stood between them, and bent Julian's head so that his neck was exposed. The bed was high enough that Archon could start to feel for the opening again, and when he found it, his penis followed where the finger went. As Julian felt it go into him, he moaned with both pleasure and a little pain. Archon decided now was the perfect time. He lowered his head, and Julian tried to raise his head. Archon wove his fingers into that lovely hair, and kept the head. As his mouth touched Julian's skin, his fangs came out and bit deeply into Julian. Julian jerked, then quieted, as the pleasure spread through his veins. Archon finished, then raised his head. Julian was starting to stagger, a sign he was dying. Quickly, Archon cut his neck, and bent so Julian could reach it. Julian opened his eyes, and saw the blood flowing from Archon's neck. He turned his head a little, and saw Archon and *hope.. why hope* in his eyes. He bent his neck and drank. After the exchange was finished, Julian pulled away from Archon and crawled under the covers. Archon looked sadly at him, and leaned to pick his robe off the floor. As Archon headed for the door, a voice stopped him. "Archon...stay, please. I don't want to be alone...and I don't think you do either. Come on. Archon?" Archon turned, and walked to the bed. **end flashback***

Chapter 7

"Archon fucked you? He actually did the nasty with you?" exclaimed an awed Frank. "What did you think, that we Kindred have no sex life? Apparently yes you did. And before you ask, we were lovers for many years, up to the day he died. God. I miss him greatly. He was a good friend before he was a lover, and I consider him as the best thing that ever happened to me. He taught me quite a lot, but I don't think you want to know about that now, do you? Petunia, why are you pointing at the door?" remarked Julian. " 'Bout time you and gingerbread boy told each other the truth. And Sasha, Cash and Cameronís behind that door, and I 'hink I heard Cash grab Sasha and, well, like gingerbread boy here said, did the nasty. But not in public. They just don't have the soul of a Malkavian. *sigh* Now, the good old days..." Julian looked narrowly at Petunia, as Frank tried to process this new information. It wasn't easy....Archon and Julian? "Gingerbread boy? I thought you were going to tell us the sordid story of your life.. only fair, since Julian told us *his* story. How about it? Or are you too much of a coward to tell it?" "You bitch." "Ooooh! Dirty words from the clean cop! What a rush!" cackled Petunia. "I said I'll talk about my sister, and that's it. I won't talk about anything else," snarled Frank. "Just get on with it. We did have a deal, remember? I told you about the Preacher, and you were to tell me about your sister. I want to know more about your family, because frankly, I'm curious. We weren't able to get much from vital records..." "Vital records?!? You went through my private life?!" yelled Frank. Julian held up a steadying hand, "Remember, we didn't know very much about you, and you -were- threatening us. We needed to know as much as possible about you. Understand?" Frank nodded, but he didn't like it. He leaned back into the chair and started to talk. "The first thing I remember in my childhood is my sister Cat. She's older than me, by about 11 years. I had 3 sisters, and she was the oldest. I remember.." Frank absently minded hunches up in his chair. Julian noticed, and didn't like that. "She protected us from our parents. Or, at least, she tried. But sometimes she couldn't..." **flashback** San Francisco--1970 "You bitch! You can't do anything right! You couldn't even give birth to the right baby!" John Williams screamed at his wife Maureen. She screamed back, "And you, you can't do anything right either! How long has it been since you were able to hold down a *fucking* decent job?!? You can't, because you're so fucking drunk you smell like a brewery!" Frank Williams, 4 years old, huddled in the corner, hoping he could get to the door that led to the rest of the house before his parents noticed he was there and decided to hurt him for "eavesdropping". Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Cat, 14 years old, beckoning to him. She whispered, "Crawl, Frankie. You can do it. I'll distract them." Frank didn't whimper, because he knew that meant the tall people would hurt him, and he didn't want that. No, he didn't. He remember the last time Cat had taken him and Marian to the hospital after the last beating. The doctor had frowned and shaken his head, "This is the fourth time, Cat, that you've said that Marian and Frankie fell down the stairs. Now, explain to me -how- they managed to get burned falling down the stairs? Cat?" Frank looked at Cat, and she nodded. He began to crawl, stopping only when it seemed either John or Maureen was going to see him, but they kept on fighting. When he reached the door, Cat picked him up and hustled him to the kitchen, where his other sisters Marion and Calia waited. Cat started to prepare supper, what there was of it, while the children listened to the fight next door. She handed the children peanut butter with jelly sandwiches, and told them to keep quiet. As Cat sat down, Frank saw a bruise on her face, and knew she'd gotten that from the man they called father. Later that night, when the children had gone to bed, Cat stayed with them, braiding her red hair and telling them stories about San Francisco. "And when the gold rush began, many many people came here, and what was once a sleepy port turned in a big, busy town.." *gunshot* All the children jumped, knowing that their father must have shot at their mother, or vice versa. This went on all the time, and Cat returned to her story, "..and then Julian Luna set up a huge saloon, where people went and had fun..." *gunshot* This time Cat looked concerned. She could hear a police car's siren going off, and it sounded like it was coming closer to the house. She again tried to go back to the story, but the noise kept getting louder and louder, until she decided to go and see what was going on. "Frank, Calia, Marion--stay where you are until I come and get you, OK? I'm going to see what happened." The children nodded, and slid down under the blanket until only their hair, including Frank's buzz cut, showed. Cat crept down the stairs, and came face to face with a bearded cop with kind eyes. She blinked in surprise, and pointed at him. "Little girl...did you hear the gunshots?" She nodded, and he continued, "OK, is there any other babies in the house?" Uh..yes. Frankie, Marion, and Calia.I'm Cat. What happened? We heard the gunshots, but we thought it was the same thing.." Cat jerked her head up to see John Williams being led out of the house in handcuffs, screaming. "mama.." Cat whimpered. Janek Kohanek looked at the red-haired girl, but after one whimper, she straightened up and said, "You want the kids, right? Let us get dressed first,please." She turned and went up the stairs. Sometimes Janek couldn't understand it--why he and his wife Miryam, who wanted children, couldn't have them, and why people like John and Maureen Williams had children... Cat walked back into the room, called the children, and told them to get dressed. Janek followed, and watched in disbelief as the children put on clothes that apparently had seen *much* better days. He then noticed bruises on Cat and the kids, and remembered that the other beat cops had been here before. He sighed. John Williams, in a fit of rage, had shot his wife to death. Finally. Everybody, even the children, had been expecting this for a long time. On impulse, Janek picked up the two youngest, Frank and Marian and all of them walked down the stairs, Janek steering them away from the kitchen where the killing had taken place. "Janek! Janek!" called his partner, Zack Bethany. "Janek, the social worker says they have no place to put the kids, and she wants to know if you and Miryam would be willing to take them for a night or two. Or at least until they find something." Both Frank and Marion was out cold on Janek's shoulder, and someone had given Cat and Calia a stuffed animal each and two for the youngest kids. "Zack, let me call Miryam and let her know what's going on. Hey little one, I need that," as Janek slid his CB radio out from under Frank's cheek. "Miryam, " as Janke sat down in the patrol car, keeping both kids from waking up, "We've got four kids from a killing tonight. Their dad killed their mom, and the social worker can't.." "Janek, don't say anymore. Just bring them. Find out if they have had something to eat." "Cat..." "Just peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, that's all." Janek finally pulled the kids off his shoulders, and put the seatbelts on them. It was the end of his shift, but his sergeant had told him he could take the kids home and sign the sheet tomorrow. As he drove, all but Cat fell asleep. Cat sat bolt upright, looking out the window. He pulled up the drive in a nice suburb of San Francisco, and he saw Miryam standing outside. "Hello, children. Come in, the beds are all made up for you. Oh, Janek, give me the little girl," as Janek handed her Marian. They went inside, and Miryam fed them, bathed them and got them into bed. As Miryam turned off the light in Cat's bedroom, she sighed. "Janek...these kids are so sweet. Is there any way we could keep them all? I think this is a gift from God....after all these years. I think maybe...we were asking Him for the wrong thing--a baby of our own. We should have asked Him for children--period." Janek smiled a weary smile, and "Miryam, if you want to try, we can." Cat opened her eyes, and smiled. She had this feeling that they were safe now... with that cop with kind eyes and the women with black hair. **end flashback** "You were adopted. That explains why we couldn't find you--we were looking under the name of Kohanek, when we should have been looking under Williams." Julian sat back. "Yes. We were adopted by Janek and Miryam Kohanek, and we've done well ever since. Cat's a U.S. deputy Marshal, and Mom worries a lot about her, because she *loves* her job. Remember the movie, "The Fugitive?" She's the female Samuel Gerard. Calia's a lawyer in New York, divorced with two kids, Will and Rose Kohanek. Marian's...well, I have no idea why she wants to do that-- it's even more stressful than being a cop.She's a emergency room doctor, and a damn good one, too. Dad retired a few years ago, and he was driving Mom crazy until he became a guardian ad litem. He's doing a good job, too. Mom belongs to the Hadasseh Sisterhood, and she's on the temple board. She runs everything in sight. I was damn lucky to get them...and if any of the Kindred ever touches them..." Frank finished. "Don't worry about that. Don't ever worry." Julian promised. And at that minute, Kamala Torres, Cameron's latest sweetheart, screamed out, "Get off my car, you crazy shithead!"

Chapter 8

*The things I do for my clan,* thought Cameron as he ran outside to see what had disturbed his latest...and probably permanent, girlfriend. He'd been eavesdropping on Julian, along with Sasha and Cash. The shock he'd gotten listening to Julian telling about himself and Archon, had been equaled when Sasha had gotten horny and started kissing Cash--right in front of her Primogen! Worse, she'd hauled Cash off somewhere, and he now thought he could hear Cash screaming in orgasm. *ugh. why couldn't Sasha have picked a nice Brujah boy?* The revelations about Frank startled him, but now that he knew something about Frank, he began to understand Frank a little better. Or at least, why Frank was so obsessive a cop. There were several things Julian didn't know about Frank's family that Cameron knew...and would tell Julian. Now, to find out why Kamala was yelling her head off. Kamala Torres, 24 years old, red-haired with legs that had Cameron moaning each time he looked at them, stood yelling at the wild-haired man on her car. She had just walked from the door of the Wolf House when Cameron didn't answer, and found this man on her car. "WHO ARE YOU, YOU SHITHEAD!?!? AND GET OFF MY CAR! I JUST BROUGHT IT!" Petunia wobbled out of the house then, and ran down the hill to the gates. "Peabrain, damnit! I told you never to get on cars! Julian," as Julian arrived, Frank with his gun out,"this lady is right. Peabrain is a shithead. However, he must have information about the Preacher...oooh. That's a good way to shut someone up, other than stitching their mouths shut." at the scene that Julian, Frank, and Petunia were looking at. Cameron had caught up with Kamala, and now was kissing her---a kiss that caused Petunia to remember the man on the estate where she grew up..*now that man could curl my toes..* Peabrain looked as well, and was a little disappointed that no one was looking at him, except the cop. "Gingerbread boy, here's my message. To the right, to the left, and straight on till morning. Make it so! In Xavier did Kublai Khan build a pleasure's the rest of it go? I don't care. Bye, you old bat! I'm off to hide in a tree!" yelled Peabrain, and disappeared. "Where's he go? And what was that about Kublai Khan? " Frank frantically said, casting his gun about. Julian narrowed his eyes, and thought. "That line with Kublai Khan is from a poem by Coleridge--" "the greatest of us Malkavians!" Petunia cut in. "Thank you for that, Petunia. I have no idea what the straight on till morning was, but you're right, Frank, 'Make it so' is from Star Trek." Frank stopped, put his gun back in his shoulder holster, and said, "Where did you meet Archon? Something about a guy named Chen and a pleasure palace? Maybe Peabrain was trying to tell you that Preacher's there?" "Most likely. But we can't do anything right now. Look. The sun's coming up and I need to Feed. Go back inside and wait for me in the kitchen. Petunia, you should go and rest. Cameron..Cameron?" At that, Cameron jerked his head up, "Yeah, Julian. I need to tell you something before I leave with this lovely morsel here.." "Oh sweetie, stop!" "I told you never call me sweetie, damnit! Ah well. Go and wait for me in the car, liebchen. I need to finish something up first." Cameron noticed then that Frank was trudging back to the house, and Petunia had disappeared in much the same way as Peabrain. Kamala nodded and walked back to her car. She noticed the scratches and sighed. *got to go to that professional car wash again. Maybe I should bill Cameron for this? Each time I go out with him something happens. No, on second thought, I'll make him get me insurance in case something happens, like the kidnapping on the first date. First date!* Frank looked back at Julian and Cameron, who were still talking, and walked into the foyer. He wasn't sure where the kitchen was, but..oh. Look. A door, with a nice soft, inviting sofa inside. *Julian's got taste. He also doesn't have anyone who's pregnant, here.* With that thought, he got on the sofa, kicked off his shoes, placed his gun holster where he could get at it in case of emergency, and went to sleep. Julian and Cameron had managed to have a decent conversation, and Cameron had informed him of several things he didn't know about Frank's family. One, John Williams had been embraced about four years ago by the late, unlamented idiot Eddie Fiori, and two, the Preacher had been making a nuisance of himself down at the Brujah headquarters. Apparently Eddie had been protecting him over the years, without Archon and Julian's knowledge, and now the Preacher was insisting that the Brujah help him kidnap Julian. Three, Williams and the Preacher had joined up. With that grim knowledge, Julian watched as Cameron palaced his girlfriend and drive off. He looked at the sun, and walked inside. But Frank wasn't in the kitchen. Puzzled, Julian walked toward his bedroom, only to find Frank out cold on the sofa. Julian needed to Feed, and Frank would do just as well as his secretary. Frank woke to see Julian's face near his, and Julian's hand smoothing his side, as a person would soothe a nervous dog. Frank snuggled even deeper in the bed......BED? *how did I get here--oh. never mind. this is great. just perfectly soft, the way I like it...* Frank started to retreat into dreamland, but then came awake as Julian kissed him on the neck. *Julian said he needed to Feed...oh shit. I'm his breakfast.* Julian nuzzled Frank's neck, smelling the cop. He licked, while he kept soothing Frank with his hand. He felt a quiver go all along Frank's body, and knew he had to hurry up and feed. But he didn't want to. Not really. But. He opened his mouth, and the fangs emerged. Julian then bit down, and started to drink. Frank opened his eyes wide,*he had never felt this with Alexandra* and then passed out from the pleasure. Julian finished up, stood up and smiled at the unconscious Frank. He knew how Frank felt, because Archon had done the same to him. He got a wet cloth, and cleaned the wounds on Frank's neck.Frank stirred, and woke up a little. He then forced Frank to drink some orange juice, and once Frank finished drinking, pulled the silk cover up around Frank's neck. And for the first time in several years, Frank slept smiling.

Chapter 9

Julian sat up in his bed, seeing the dying light that comes before darkness come through the curtains, realizing what he had done earlier. He looked down at a peacefully sleeping Frank. *I bit Frank....and enjoyed it. Wonder what Archon would say? The hell with it probably. Now, to deal with the Preacher and John Williams. Cameron probably will help me do this, he doesn't like either one. Then what? We need to talk. I've never had a feeding quite like that one.* Frank, at about the same time, stirred and stretched. *Oh, but that was a GREAT wet dream. Wanna do it again. Waitminuit..Julian DID bite me. Uh-oh.* He opened his eyes tentatively, afraid of what he would see. Julian smiled at the almost-afraid look on Frank's face. Sonny had looked the same way once, long ago. *Long ago and far away, as the song goes.* "Frank? Frank, we need to talk. We have to find a way to deal with the Preacher, and then we'll talk about what just happened." Julian said. Frank shifted around on the bed, and finally sat up. When he did, dizziness hit him almost instantly. "Frank--take it easy. Here, have some toast and orange juice. I took more than I meant to, and I'm sorry." Julian handed him the foresaid items, and at that moment, Cameron kicked in the door. "That little Malkavian shit! I'm going to KILL him when I find him! Kill him! OH. Excuse me, please." At that moment, Cameron finally realized what he was looking at. Julian...and Frank, in bed together. "What is this, an orgy? Cash and Sasha, you and there something in the water?!?!" Cameron angrily remarked, then sat down at the foot of the bed and sighed. "Cameron. Not that I appreciate you kicking in the door, but what happened?" Julian got out of bed, walked over to the chair, picked up his robe and put it on. Frank started looking for his clothes when he realized he couldn't see them anywhere. "Frank, try the closet--yes, to the right." "Julian, I don't wanna look like your clone. Don't you have any jeans and shirts?" "Frank..." "OK, OK, here's something I can live with." Frank got into the dark blue shirt and black linen pants. He didn't know that these were the clothes that Julian had wore when he went to meet with Alexandra for the last time. Julian, however, did know the story behind these clothes, and sighed. Cameron finally looked up and said, "The warehouse's gone. It's been blown to kingdom come. That little shit. Julian, when you finally corner him, I want a piece of him." "Cameron. What warehouse?" Frank looked up from his orange juice, "The warehouse where Boyle died? It was blown up?" "Yes, the one with all the chains. God. I loved that place--it was uniquely Brujah. Damnit!" Julian turned around, putting on his vest. "Blown up? What happened?" "That little shit--he called at about 3 in the morning, saying that I didn't live up to my end of the deal. What deal? I don't remember making one with that twerp. As a result, he said, he would take the thing most dear to us Brujah. We thought he meant the Marina. Well, it was pretty close. That warehouse was the headquarters for all the Brujah in the city. I lost everything--paperwork, records, etc. Damnit. Worse, Kamala saw the place blow up. She's at the hospital getting stitched up, she got a cut over the eye and one on her arm. I want a piece of that shit!" Julian looked at Frank, "You better call in to the department. See what they have on the warehouse." Frank shook his head, "Depends on if anyone was killed. They only call us in when someone dies. Did any die, Cameron?" No. Injuries, but no deaths." "OK. You really need this information, Julian? If you do, I've got a friend who can get it for me. Aria, or probably Hawk. Let me call them." "The phone's right there, Frank. Just dial 4 first to get out." As Frank called, Julian beckoned Cameron closer. "Cameron--you said you could track the Preacher and John Williams down. Can you?" "Sure. Now?" "No. I need to get the clans together first, figure out how to concentrate our efforts. Cameron? Why don't you go get something to eat, or take a nap? You look like someone drove over you." "This--from a Venture? My God. There really IS something in the water. My God." Cameron staggered out of the room. He leaned against the wall, and at that moment, he looked right at the stairs. Cash and Sasha had finally come out of their room, and now was kissing like there were no tomorrow. "Sasha? I need you to come with me. Sasha, are you even listening to me?" Cameron moaned, and slid down the wall. *Disasters on top of disasters. Why'd I get out of bed today?* At that moment, Julian's butler walked up to him, "Sir. Your bed is turned down and ready. Would you like something to drink?" "Yeah. Bring me a straight shot of whiskey, but in my rooms. I really don't want to deal with anyone right now, much less Petunia. Whatever you do, don't let her in my rooms. I'm going to take a two hours nap." With that, Cameron got up and walked to his room. His last glance was of Cash and Sasha, still kissing. *There has to be something in the water. *sigh** Frank and Julian sat on the bed, looking at each other. Neither was sure what he wanted to say, but he wanted the other to be the first to say something. Julian broke the silence. "Frank--you were the best." "Nice to know you like Irish blood with some whiskey, Julian." Julian looked at Frank for a long second, then started to laugh. After a startled silence, Frank started to laugh too. Both rolled on the bed, laughing helplessly. Two pairs of eyes glared at the giggling, laughing couple, promising vengeance. One thought, *the cop has what should be mine.* The other thought *so that's my son. doesn't look like much. a pig, no less. should have killed him instead of his slut of a mother.*

Chapter 10

"Aria and Hawk say that the arson squad report will be given out in a few days, but they already know what the report says. According to Hawk, "The warehouse was so wired with explosives that if someone had even breathed sharply, it would have gone up. Nice fireworks, by the way."" Frank smiled and hung up the phone. Someone had finally managed to separate Cash and Sasha, but they still grinned like love-struck calves at each other. At the name Hawk, Cash's head jerked around and glared at Frank. "Hawk? Hawk Mavkinsky? I know him--" "Yes you do. He was undercover with the Gangrels a few years ago, but never got as far as the upper circle. If I remember correctly, Stevie Ray had asked me for permission to Embrace him, but when it came out that Hawk was a cop, he beat him up in the Haven. Lillie complained about the bloodstains for weeks after that. Speaking of who, where is she?" Julian looked around, but Lillie wasn't there. Cameron looked up from the hair of the dog he was nursing, "Why is that kine here, Julian? You're so damned hot on the Traditions, and then you bring that, that cop in and fuck him! Why don't you just do it on the Marina and sell tickets?!?! " Julian's face turned white with anger, but Frank beat him to the punch. Walking rapidly around the table to Cameron, he punched Cameron and watched as he fell out of the chair, and adding insult to injury, deliberately poured the hair of the dog on Cameron's face. Frank spoke slowly and steadily. "Cameron. What happens between Julian and I is none of your business unless it jeopardizes your precious Masquerade. You were right to question my presence at this table, but wrong to insinuate that Julian cares nothing for the Traditions, whatever they are. I understand that you've been under a lot of stress lately, but next time you say something like that, it won't be a punch you'll get. It'll be a phosphorus gun. Understand?" Cameron wiped the tomato mixture from his face, looked at Frank and quietly nodded. Cash had to work to hide his grin. He liked this cop and his attitude. Of course, his help with Zane hadn't hurt any. His thoughts grimly turned to Hawk. Stevie Ray's last love. And his last grief. But he would worry about him later. Now, the Primogens had to deal with the Preacher. At that point, Petunia sashayed in the room. Julian's head swerved to behold the vision that was Petunia. "Don't you like those clothes? You should, I stole them out of Lillie's closet. Don't think she'll mind--she's flirting with her latest prospect for embracing. Gingerbread boy--you smell of Cajun cooking! *cackling* Ha! Ooh. The Preacher should be busy untangling the presents I gave him. *sounds of paper ripping* Nice paper, Cajun." "Petunia--I'm not Cajun, I'm Creole--why am I telling you this? You're just going to forget it one millisecond after I tell you. Do you know where the Preacher is? Cameron's hopping mad--" "That Preacher destroyed his little clubhouse? Julie , dear, that's what we Malkavians do. We commit mayhem and wipe-spread destruction. You really think the earthquake did all that damage back in '89? Nah, was us! But, see, the Preacher went over the edge,line, whatever. He wasn't supposed to stalk the Prince--only the primogen can harass you. Now don't you feel loved?" And with that Petunia smiled. "Sure. I do. Petunia, come on. I do need to stop them before they crack the Masquerade wide open. Frank, what else did they say?" Frank had unknowingly taken the Ventrue clan seat, and Julian blinked at that. "Well, Aria still has contacts, as does Hawk from their undercover days, and they say that these contacts saw Williams and Preacher near this rundown hotel next to a bar named "Rosie's". It's their guess that our boys live there temporarily." Petunia had been playing with the paper, twisting it into a horse-shaped object, when she heard the word "Rosie's". "That's where they are--and where I left the presents. Heh." Cameron, who had climbed back into his seat, fell off again when he heard Petunia's confirmation. Standing, waving his glass in the air, he howled, "What the hell are we waiting for?!? Let's get these SOBs! Brujah! Godamnit, what the hell are you doing, fucking in the goddamn fountain?" Julian quietly got up, whispered to Cash to get the cars ready. When Cash asked about the Brujah, Julian just shook his head, "I think all the Brujah in the city heard Cameron from here. They know, and they'll be there." He stood up and looked at Frank. "Frank--go back to the station. You'll know soon enough what happened. And--thank you for the nourishment.We'll talk later." "Only you Ventrue could use the word "nourishment" to describe sucking someone.." muttered Petunia. ********* Two Days Later "Look at this--the place looks like it's in Sarajevo. Wonder what happened there?" Hawk Mavinsky waved the picture of the destroyed hotel in Sonny Toussaint's face. Sonny pushed away the picture, and glared at Aria *my mother was a hippie, what can I say?* Wind. Frank grinned at Sonny. He knew it wasn't any fun dealing with the most wildest people the 35th had to offer--excluding him, of course. He looked away and saw Cameron and Kamala walking toward him. Kamala had a nice whopper of a black eye, sustained from the explosion and Cameron had an air of someone who've been satisfied--thoroughly. Kamala began. "We've come to give our statements about the explosion at that warehouse." As Frank went through the statements with both Kamala and Cameron, and asked them to sign the papers, a thought occurred to him. "Kamala, what do you do?" he asked. Kamala smiled and said, "I'm a IRS investigator--I investigate illegal activities....Cameron! Cameron, what the..?" Frank looked over the side of the desk, and called for the guy who replaced Charon in the morgue to come help. "He's a doctor?" "Yes, but he cuts up bodies for a living.." The End...of this story.

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