A/N: Hi. If you've made it this far, thank you very much for reading! I'd love to hear what you think, and if you have any questions, please let me know. We're building up to a little battle, here, and thing's are about to get a whole lot more dangerous. :)


Chapter 6: Point of No Return

Isiah came back alone, the rain wet on his shoulders as he re-entered Tap. He had left Jill for only a few minutes, his coffee abandoned on the table while he went looking for Lee. Jill closed her eyes, sighing.

"Gone," he said, sitting down slowly into his chair with a huff. He brought with him the smell of the rain and—though he'd tried his best to hide it—cigarette smoke.

"So," Jill said, leaning back. "someone picked him up. Who do you think?" Isiah shook his head. She had never been able to read him, even now, some six years after they'd met. If you thought you knew what he was thinking, it was because he was letting you.

She sighed. "Maybe it's…for the best," she said after a long pause. Isiah looked at her finally, his disapproval written into his frown.

"You don't believe that, Jill," he told her.

"Maybe I do," she said. "Come on, Isiah. You've seen what he's like. You really want a guy like that around us? Knowing us? He'd crack as soon as the AVD looked at him."

"This isn't about the AVD, and you know it," he said quietly. Even phrases that should have sounded threatening seemed dipped in empathy when he said them. "Why are you acting like this? Don't you remember what it was like? Don't you remember being in his shoes?" Jill looked away. The outside was so dark that the windows only reflected the inside of the coffee shop. She saw Isiah looking at her. She saw herself—her dark clothes, her dark hair, all chosen to help her blend in with the night. I do remember what it was like, but so do a lot of vampires.

"I don't like him," she said.

"You don't know him."

"I know what he thinks about us." She turned to him. "We're monsters to him. Maybe he's right, but he can't seem to accept that he's a monster, too. Whatever happens to him now, that's his fault. He turned you away." She was saying too much, she knew it. But she couldn't stop herself from saying it. "You handed him the easiest way for a vamp to live, and he threw it in your face. Now, what? You want to go after him again?"

Isiah didn't react. He seemed to analyse Jill for a few moments, eyes looking deep into hers until she began to feel uncomfortable.

"Jill," he said finally, his voice soft. "He needs our help."

She chewed the inside of her lip, shaking her head a little. "He doesn't deserve it."

"Maybe not," he agreed. "He turned us down and ran away, but wouldn't you have done the same? When I found you, you were tearing some poor guy's throat open and tried to kill me, too. You didn't want my help then." That's different. I wasn't taken to some fancy coffee shop. You didn't find me in the safety of my own flat.

But I also wasn't killed in an alley. She sighed. He was right. She'd known that anyway, but it still annoyed her to no end. He watched her, waiting for some reaction, but she avoided his eyes.

"Fuck it," she said eventually, standing up. "It's not like I've got plans tomorrow, right?"

"Actually, you have a lecture at—"

"If I do this," she said, already on her way out. "then I'm not going in tomorrow. I have a feeling I'm gonna be exhausted." The door closed behind her quietly, leaving her alone in the rain. What am I doing?

She pulled her hood up and began walking down the street. She could almost pick up Lee's scent, the blood and sweat lingered in the air but were dampened by the rain. Trying her best to follow the smell, Jill looked up. Above, the buildings nearby were all fairly short, their roofs slightly slanted to let the rain flow over them.

Isiah wants me to see what he sees, she thought, staring up and letting the water hit her face. I don't know if I can. It's only been six years since I was turned, and I've already met hundreds of Lee Grays. How am I supposed to accept one, now he's become like me? She stood there for a few more seconds, hearing Isiah's words ringing in her ears.

"He needs our help."

Sighing, Jill turned, checking for cameras, then jumped. The force pushed her high into the air with extreme speed, rain whipped at her face and wind blew her hood down. She slowed a couple of metres above the building's roof, arching over and landing on the slippery metal. Alright, Gray. If you try to deny his help again, I'll make you come with me.

She ran, her shoes slamming into the roof as she followed Lee's scent. She crossed to the corner of the building, jumping over a low vent with her hands still stuck in her pockets. The next building over was a little higher than this one, but she leapt over to it easily. This roof was flatter with gravel covering that made her footsteps louder.

She moved faster than a normal human. In fact, to a bystander, she would probably be nothing but a blur past their window, which she was more than okay with. She had always enjoyed being able to run like this—the speed and the freedom let her leave everything else behind.

But this time, she had to focus.

Jill let the smell take her across to the other side of a street. She used a metal railing to leap over and on top of an empty bank. Crossing to the other side, she felt the scent begin to fade away. It no longer grew stronger, but it instead began mingling with other smells. Cheap cologne, beer, and—most worryingly—blood. She stood looking over the edge, trying to find where Lee could have gone.

A manhole a little down the road had been left open. Oh, Christ, she thought. She dropped down, stepping off the roof and landing silently on the side of the road. Approaching the manhole, she noticed the few scrapes on the asphalt where the cover had been opened and closed repeatedly. They were subtle—a human probably wouldn't be able to see them with the naked eye—but they were there. If it's them, if they have him, there's probably not a lot I can do.

"He needs our help," she repeated, whispering into the night as she reached into her back pocket. She pulled out a white surgical mask and put it on. She then pulled her hood up and tucked her hair under it. Warily, she walked closer to—

"Freeze!" a voice said behind her. "Don't move!"


"Boris. You better fucking get this some time soon. I think I found something…crazy. I don't know exactly what it is, yet, so I need you to get over here. Come to Ivor Street. There's a manhole in the middle of the road, I'll leave it open for you.

"I think I found whoever killed our guy."

Boris repeated the voicemail for the third time, listening to Harriet's hushed, but somehow still confident voice. What has she gotten into? I thought she was on her way to the station.

He rounded the corner. Still a few minutes away from where she had told him to come. He felt on edge, the cold dug into his bones and kept him awake despite the tiredness around his eyes. Harriet had been so vague in her message. He had grown used to her being either unresponsive or blunt to the point of insulting. It was part of what he liked about her. Anything that didn't matter was removed from the conversation—washed away so that only the most important information remained.

So if she was being vague, it must've meant she had no idea what she was getting into.

Boris realised he was calling her. She picked up almost immediately, barely a moment after the first ring.

"Harriet?" he said. No answer. Shit. "Harriet? Where are you?"

"Shh," a voice said back—her voice—and Boris released a breath he didn't know he was holding. "Are you here yet?" she was whispering so quietly he had to strain to hear her.

"Not yet," he said. "I'm a few minutes out. Listen, what's going—"

"Code three." Her breath was shaking. "Repeat. Code three. I'll send you the coordinates in a sec." A moment later, she hung up. Boris had stopped walking. Code three, he thought. Confirmed site of a vampire hideout. Send reinforcements immediately. Good God.

As he approached Ivor Street, he saw the manhole cover. A moment later, however, something flashed down from a rooftop, landing on the pavement opposite him. Boris ducked behind a car, his heart thumping in his chest.

The figure walked towards the manhole, stopping a few metres before it and facing away from him. It's only one, he concluded, looking up and down for any sign of others. His hands trembled, whether from the cold or the adrenaline in his veins, he didn't know. I can take one.

He had been trained for this. He knew how to fight a vampire one-on-one, it was basic stuff but would still prove his downfall if not for the hormones he took to enhance his reaction time.

And still, his fingers shook as he grabbed his gun. He walked towards the figure, creeping as silently as he could with his pistol raised. He barely even breathed for fear that they might hear, but for whatever reason, they seemed to be distracted by something else.

"He needs our help," they whispered. From what he could tell, they were a woman not much shorter than he was. She wore a dark blue jacket with a hood over her face and black jeans. Harriet's down there, I can't let them go after her.

"Freeze!" he said, his voice tight in his chest. "Don't move!" They were still for a few moments, barely even raising their head. Boris had the gun pointed at her back, rain landing on its square barrel.

"I'm giving you a chance," she said, still not turning around. Her voice was muffled by something—a mask, maybe? "Put that down, turn back, and go home. Tell whoever your boss is that you didn't see anything. Live to see another day." Boris scowled despite the stab of fear he felt. He had trained for this. He knew how to take a vampire down. Who was she to dictate what he should do? She was the vampire, after all. You think listening to the way I breathe is enough to make you think I'd do something like that? My partner is in there, and I'm not going to let you get in the way.

"Show me your hands!" he yelled, sounding a little more confident. "Now!" Boris knew she would attack. He had studied a lot of cases while training, very few of which included a vampire just giving up and surrendering. Execution was guaranteed for every vampire caught by the AVD, so why not at least try to save yourself?

She didn't move, but she did sigh. "You hear me?" Boris asked. "Put your hands—"

She whirled around and Boris fired. He was too late. She slammed into him, tackling him to the ground before he could react. The air was forced out of him as he hit the asphalt. His gun clattered to the ground and slid on the wet road.

She was on top of him, knees digging into his stomach. She lifted her fist, but he was ready this time. He dodged out of the way at the last moment, her punch striking the road below as he thrust his left fist towards her wildly. It struck her cheek and he used the moment to throw her off him.

He scrambled to his feet just as she lunged at him again. Her claws, long and pointed, would have collided with Boris' throat had he not ducked to the side. He grabbed his silver stake, holding it out in front of him as the girl stood there, eyeing him for a long moment.

"Come on," he said finally, his breathing shallow. His stake gleamed in the light of a streetlamp behind him. Thirty centimetres long, the thin silver tube was sharpened to a deadly point at its end. One good hit to the chest was enough to kill, even minor cuts would do serious damage to a vampire.

She held there for a moment, looking him up and down with her dark eyes. The rest of her face was blocked by a blue surgical mask. What is she waiting for? Eventually, she shook her head and raised her hands, her nails sticking out much further than a normal human's.

She swiped at his chest, but he jumped back in time and thrust his stake forward. She sidestepped to his right and hit his arm, her nails tearing through his clothes and scraping his skin. Boris took a step back, pain shooting up the side of his forearm. She had anticipated this, running at him with incredible speed. He tried to stab down, remembering how she attacked earlier, but her arm shot up, grabbing his hand and stopping it dead. A moment later, she punched with her other hand, hitting him right in the diaphragm and sending him flying backwards.

Once more, he collided with the ground, his breath lost and his chest screaming in pain. He saw the girl standing over him through his blurry vision. She came down, dropping into a crouch. Not like this. I can't.

He swung wildly, his stake not even held in his hand anymore. She moved out the way easily, simply leaning back so that his hand missed her. It did, however, catch on her mask. It ripped from her face, landing on the wet road. She looked down at him, almost looking insulted.

No, not insulted. Sad.

"Jess?" Boris' voice was weak and his vision was blurry, but he recognised her all the same. Jess looked at him for a few moments. Her expression softened a little.

"Go home, Boris."

Then she got up and dropped down the manhole.


At some point, they had knocked Lee out.

When he came to, he was being dragged down some dark tunnel that stank of stagnant water and faeces. Two people were at his sides, carrying an arm each. He only saw one more walking ahead of them. The main guy from earlier, the one that had knocked him out.

Lee began to panic.

"He's up," the one to his left said. "Nils? Want me to gag him?" The one front, Nils, stopped and turned around. He should barely be able to see him in the darkness of the tunnel, but somehow, he made him out perfectly. Short blonde hair, thick chest, even the individual hairs of his stubbly beard were perfectly visible to him. Nils leaned down, watching as Lee began breathing quickly. He tried to pull from the two beside him, but their grips on him were like iron.

"Yeah," he said finally. "Do it. I have a feeling he'll just end up pissing the Widowmaker off."

"No, wait—" Lee tried to speak, but something was forced into his mouth, muffling his voice until the words became imperceptible. Fuck fuck fuck! Where are they taking me? Lee writhed in their arms, splashing water all over, but they kept their grip firm.

They reached an opening a couple of metres wide. Inside was a large round chamber dotted with other openings along its grey walls. In the middle ran a river of sewage, though it had been covered with planks of wood—makeshift bridged between both sides. Small buildings had been built up all around, with at least thirty people milling around, eating food, and disappearing into many of the openings. A few looked their way as they dragged Lee through the room. All these people…are they all vampires?

As they passed one of the small shacks, its makeshift door hanging off its hinges, Lee saw the crude drawing on its outer wall. A curved drop of blood, shaped into a crescent moon. Blood-born.

He felt himself being dropped to the floor. The parts of his arms the men had been gripping ached, if he survived longer than a few hours, he'd probably get bruises there. He pushed himself up, but someone grabbed his shoulder, pushing him down again so that he was on all fours on the ground. I'm going to die here. Again. I guess that's okay. I should be dead, anyway.

"Got someone for you, Widowmaker," Nils' voice said somewhere to Lee's right. He looked up, realising that he was in front of a small table made of wooden boxes and a sheet of rusted metal. A man sat before it, the phone in his hands forgotten. "This one's a newblood. Couldn't be more than a few hours, by the smell of him."

The man at the table stood up, his tall, wide frame blocking out the light behind him. He was broad-chested, with a thick neck and a stern face that was littered with scars. His short blonde hair seemed to cover some tattoo on the back of his head, but Lee couldn't make out quite what it was before he approached him, looming over him like a predator with its prey.

Lee was frozen. Every cell in his body begged him to run. To escape. But he knew it wouldn't work. He wouldn't make it two steps before he'd be caught again or killed. The Widowmaker just looked at him, his face still. Calculating.

Finally, he turned towards Nils. "Take him," he said.

"Wait," Lee's voice was meek. Someone grabbed his arm in the same place as before, sending firey pain up his shoulder. I don't want this. Whoever this guy is, he can see reason, right?

"Wait!" he tried again, fighting the iron grip of his captors. "Please! I've done nothing. I'm innocent. Please!" They dragged him back. Towards a different opening to the one he came in from. "Please! I didn't do anything, I don't deserve this. Please! Help me!" The Widowmaker sat back down in his seat, returning to his phone as if he hadn't heard Lee's pleas.

As they dragged Lee into the depths of the sewers kicking and screaming, Harriet Green watched him disappear into the darkness. She hid back behind the low wall she was using, breathing out slowly and quietly.

Holy fuck.