: Catalyst Author
: Spacefille Rating
: Mature/R Warnings
: When Greg quits his job and disappears, Nick sets out to find him. What he finds is something very unexpected, even for a CSI who believes he has seen everything. Part 1 is here
For the next couple days Nick was skitterish around me. It wasn’t too obvious of course… just stuff like making sure there was at least an arms length between us at all times. Occasionally standing with his hand just resting on the top of his gun. Stuff like that. He didn’t stay very long either. I didn’t blame him and all… one of us still had to go to work.
On the second night he brought me a quarter pounder with cheese. A week ago I would have been all over that like a fiend but now it just made my stomach turn.
“Well?” Nick gave me an expectant look. “Eat up.”
I eyed the hamburger and then eyed him. “That is totally not appetizing,” I said.
“Have you eaten anything in the last two days?” Nick wanted to know.
“What, besides you?” It got out before I could catch it.
Nick made a face.
“Technically I haven’t eaten any human food in, like, seven days,” I continued quickly so he didn’t have to think about that too long.
“Just eat the hamburger,” Nick had his arms folded across his chest now with a semi-scowl to boot, which was Nick speak for meaning serious business. Right now, if I were back at work I’d be cowering a bit and looking for the right funny thing to say to make the situation… more awkward I guess. I was never very good at defusing tension. At least I was a good distraction. Annnnddd… Nick was still looking at me with an expectant look on his face.
“This is sooo not going to go well,” I muttered as I picked up the hamburger. I stared it down for a moment, then took a bite. Then another.
The hamburger stayed down for all of thirty seconds. It came back up… all over the kitchen floor.
“Gross,” Nick commented as he came over to peer over the countertop at me.
The third night he came over with a big brown bag. I watched as he put it in the fridge, then took a smaller brown package out of the large brown bag. He handed it to me.
It was slightly squishy. “What is it?” I asked.
“Cows blood,” Nick replied. “You can order it from specialty butcher shops. Took some phoning around, but hey, I got it for you.”
I stared at him and then the squishy package in my hand. “… Ew.”
The cows blood stayed down a slight bit better than the hamburger. I aimed for the sink when I threw it up.
Now Nick had a slightly worried look on his face. “You can’t drink that either?” he said.
I shook my head. “Looks like I’m a vegetarian,” I quipped.
He frowned and started pacing. I sighed and cleaned the sink, then watched him for a bit before deciding to ignore him and go back to my chemistry set. It was all I had right now and I still had about half a pharmacy worth of drugs to test on myself.
The forth night I wasn’t doing so well. The buzzing was getting really bad again. I was trying to keep it contained but my hands were shaking slightly as I did and redid tests.
When he got there I had been taking a rest. I had pretty much made the kitchen area and the attached dining room my home, my bed was an old mattress I had dragged down from upstairs and some blankets. The windows on the main floor were boarded up, and, until Nick showed up the front door had been as well so there wasn’t much chance I’d get fried by sunlight.
I guess I had fallen asleep because the next thing I saw was a frantic looking Nick standing over me.
Right then and there, there was nothing I wanted more but to leap on him and sink my teeth into his lovely lovely neck. In fact I nearly jumped him. I forced myself to stay still with every ounce of will power I had and fisted one hand in the quilt beside me. “Hello?” I said.
Nick rocked back on his heels and looked relieved. “I thought you were dead,” he said. “I couldn’t find a pulse.”
I stared at him, then laughed out loud.
Now I was getting the confused look again.
“First of all,” I said as I sat up. “I am actually undead. Not alive or dead. Somewhere in the middle,” he frowned. “And I do have a pulse. It’s just kinda really slow. Last I checked.” I put my fingers on my own throat to check again. … Yup there it was. Good ol’ faithful, pumping that borrowed blood around. Hell it didn’t even feel like my own heartbeat any more. Something alien… the beats seemed wrong. Then again my entire body had become something alien so I supposed I should be happy it was still beating at all.
“So if you have a pulse, you aren’t dead,” Nick said, apparently ignoring all I said about undeadness previously.
I dropped my hand from my throat and sighed. I wasn’t even going to bother. “I guess not,” I said as I got to my feet and padded barefoot to the kitchen.
“Greg,” the worry was back in his voice. “You really need to get to a hospital...”
I shook my head “no”. “We’ve been through this already.” I said as I picked up a beaker to rinse it out.
“Well I was talking to Langston and…”
I dropped the beaker. It shattered in the sink and I barely heard it as I stared at Nick. “You TOLD someone?”
Nick winced. “No man, just some general questions you know… like if he’d ever seen someone so sensitive to sunlight they’d get burns in seconds and… what are you doing?”
I was dumping all of my work in the sink and gathering up what I could. My supply boxes and bags were inside the counters and I grabbed one of them. I only had room for a couple samples but I had all my notes, that’d be enough.
“Greg? Greg,” he was in the kitchen now, trying to grab my arm. “Wait! Stop, no one knows anything! What are you doing?”
“Moving,” I said with a growl and shoved a couple more papers in next to my laptop.
Now he really did grab my arm. “I toldja no one knows, Greg!”
It happened so fast I didn’t even see it coming and I was the one doing it. One second Nick had my arm and then next I had him up against the wall, my own arm against his throat.
Now I’m not weak or anything but Nick is a strong man. He works out like all the time. As he pushed against my arm I barely felt it. “They’ll find me,” I snarled. Was that my voice? That didn’t sound like my voice. “You did.”
He stared at me, a bit like he was seeing me for the first time. I suppose I didn’t look very friendly. Then his expression changed to a determined one. He struggled against the arm that had his neck trapped. I didn’t move, so he opened his mouth and started talking, gasping to get air past my arm. “I asked… around the neighborhood. On my own time. A woman saw someone break in here.” he said through gritted teeth. “Put… me… down. Now.” he was angry, I could tell from his voice.
It was only then that I realized I had him a couple inches off of the ground.
Oh shit. I let him go and stumbled back.
As quick as the panic and angry had come it left, leaving me feeling weak and dizzy. And the buzzing in my head was back and worse than ever. I leaned up against the counter and groaned.
I heard the click of the safety before I saw it. I jerked my head up and stared at Nick.
He had that LOOK on his face. I’d seen it before. In profile. It was the one he gave known murders and the like.
“Nick?” I squeaked. I put my hands up in the air.
“You’re not human,” he said.
My jaw dropped. “Yes...” I said slowly.“I told you that yesterday. And the day before. Where’s your faith, huh?” I tried to joke. It’s a bit hard when you got a gun trained on you.
He shook his head quickly and kept the gun pointed right at me. “No man. Your eyes.”
“W-what about my eyes?” I asked nervously.
He blinked then relaxed just a touch, shifting the gun away slightly. “They were glowing,” he said. He brought his unoccupied hand up to rub it across his face briefly, then frowned as he looked at me.
I… hadn’t expected that. I blinked a couple times. “Really?”
He dropped his hand so the gun was pointed towards the floor and clicked the safety back on. “Yeah really,” he replied. “Its gone now.”
Now that I wasn’t going to get shot… I dropped my own hands and gave him a half grin. “You know, that’s actually kinda cool,” I commented.
Nick didn’t look amused.
“Right,” I said. “Shutting up now.”
It was a few minutes later and we had made our way down to about Def Con 3. I was sitting on the floor against the kitchen counter, him against the dining room wall. He still had his gun out but he definitely didn’t look like he was going to use it any time soon.
Nick had been quiet the entire time and I wasn’t about to antagonize him by talking. More.
“I guess I owe you an apology,” he said finally.
I stared at him. “For what? I mean I’m the one who just slammed you up against a wall and did an eye glowy thing at you…”
He made a face. “Yeah, I know. I’m just… well I’m sorry I doubted you and all. About the vampire thing. I guess I really didn’t believe it… until now, with your face going all weird. And you’re strong now… too strong,” he trailed off meaningfully.
Obviously I was strong enough to finally convince him.
I smiled slightly. “It’s okay, Nick. You’re just doing your job in a way. I’m sorry I freaked out.”
He nodded and we both lapsed into silence.
“Nick…?” I began.
“I need to leave,” I told him as honestly as possible. “I can’t risk what just happened to you.” I waved my hand at him. “Happen to anyone else. I mean just having you HERE is torture,” he looked a bit surprised. And tired. “Remember how I jumped you when you first found me?” he nodded. “I’m getting close to that point again.”
He looked surprised for a second and then a change came over his face. Kinda shuttered off like when he’s dealing with a really complicated crime scene and needs to focus only on that.
To make things worse he got to his feet. He took a couple of steps towards me, thinking frown still firmly stuck on his face. “If you leave,” he said slowly, considering each word as he said them. “You’ll jump someone else won’t you?”
I couldn’t look at him. I stared at my hands and nodded slowly. “Probably,” I said quietly.
“Greg,” he crouched down so he was facing me again, just like the other day. “Have you attacked anyone else besides me?”
I drew in a deep breath. And then another one. God, now my eyes were welling up with tears. I couldn’t look anywhere near him so I stared at the fridge instead. What a lovely color it was. White. How nice.
“Greg,” he prodded gently, just like Grissom used to. I could never lie to Grissom when he used that voice. “Talk to me.”
“I…” my voice cracked and I had to try again. “I lost control. It – it was right after I woke up. In the park. The one near my house.” Apparently I couldn’t lie to Nick either. I looked back at him through my tears. “I think I killed her Nick. I didn’t even know who she was. I – I just left her lying there…”
I silently broke down. Geez, I hadn’t even done this when I ran over that kid…
I could smell more than see him shift around beside me. He heaved a sigh and switched his gun from one hand to the other. A second later his hand fell on my shoulder and squeezed.
“Hey. Hey now.”
I blinked up at him through my tears.
“Look,” he said. “I think you’re okay. If it was in that park someone woulda seen her and we haven’t had a female DB in over a... AOWW!”
It wasn’t even something I did consciously. One minute he was talking, then next the buzz took over and I moved my head, just enough to sink my teeth into his arm. I had both hands up in a flash holding that delicious arm in place before he could yank it away. It wasn’t as good as from the neck, not as close to the heart I guess, but ohhh it was definitely good enough. Happy blissful feelings filled me as I gulped down a mouthful. And then another.
A couple mouthfuls was all I got.
Nick was talking, even though I wasn’t paying attention. If I had I would have heard the rising alarm in his voice. “Greg, let go. Greg. Let. Go. GREG.” This time the order was accompanied by a click and the cold feel of the nuzzle of his gun against my cheekbone.
It may have not have necessarily been a kill shot, but my brain sure thought it was. It was like an instant off switch. I let go of his arm and opened my mouth. He jerked his arm away. “Christ,” he swore and for some ridiculous reason I wondered if his parents would be disappointed. He heaved a sigh of relief at the same time. “Now why you go do that for?” he complained.
I turned my head to look at him and concentrated on breathing. In out. In… look at him, not the gun. “I’m sorry,” I said softly. “I’m really really hungry.”
Amazingly that got a half smile out of him. “I *gathered* that,” he replied, looking his wrist over. Oh look it was already healing. That’s nice. He must have thought it was nice too cause that half smile remained as he looked back at me and shook his head. His hand dropped and he clicked the safety back on again.
Realization hit me with a flash and a roaring in my ears. “Keep the gun on me,” I said a bit desperately.
The half smile was gone. “What?” he replied, sounding incredulous.
I actually grabbed his arm and moved it up again so the gun was pointing at my forehead. Now that was a kill shot.
“I can control myself when you do,” I replied. “See?” I threw my arms wide. “No bitie.”
“That’s…” he stopped talking and gave me a long, hard look. “Okay.” He took a deep breath. And another. It occurred to me that Nick probably really didn’t like playing with guns. Which is understandable in our line of work and how he was shot and all. “Okay.” Carefully he switched the gun from one hand to the other and slowly started reaching to me.
He was going for my shoulder. His hand landed and carefully rested there.
It was a test. I got it. I kept my gaze level with him. The roaring in my ears was back but amazingly I could control it. I was so damn hungry, but staring down a muzzle of a loaded gun was occupying my senses more than eating his hand.
“I can’t believe this,” he muttered. From here I could see every detail of his face. The lines around his eyes, the hairs of his eyebrows, his tiny mole, the way sweat was slowly trickling down his left temple. He was nervous. He didn’t pull away either.
Test wasn’t over yet I guess. And sure enough his hand went travelling. Up my neck, cheek, mouth. I parted my lips. He frowned in concentration as he brought one finger tip to touch the tip of one of my canines.
And, holy crap, if this wasn’t one of the most erotic things that had ever happened to me. Maybe teeth were an erogenous zone for vampires. The moment I thought that my brain replied with a ‘Duh.’ Smartass brain.
I don’t know if Nick noticed my breathing had sped up but he definitely noticed when I moaned softly. He jerked away suddenly and blinked. “I… uh, yeah,” he went to lower his gun but then remembered and brought it back up again. He then tapped his knee with his free hand and got back to his feet. He stood over me with his gun still trained. The safety was on, but it was still there, like a big black and silver barrier between us.
We stared at each other. “Nick,” I said quietly. “I don’t want to die.”
I could practically see the clockwork going on in his head. “Yeah,” he replied. “Yeah I get that,” he scrubbed at his face with his hand again. “I don’t want you to die either.”
I lifted my arms and made a little shrug.
“Okay, okay look,” he said, shifting from one foot to the other. “You need blood right?” I nodded. “People blood,” I nodded again. He sighed and looked at one of the walls in the kitchen. Then the other wall. I wondered what he was leading up to.
What he was leading up to surprised the hell out of me. “So if I gave you some of mine, right now, would it stop you from going out and attacking someone else?” I stared at him in shock then slowly nodded.
“Nick, you don’t have to…” I began.
“Yeah,” he cut me off. “Yeah I kinda do. Here,” he thrust the gun free hand towards me, underside of his wrist up. “Don’t take too much. I don’t want to die either. Or end up like you, no offense or anything.”
I would have giggled if the situation wasn’t so serious. “… Are you?” I began.
“Yeah,” he replied. “Hurry up before I change my mind.”
Slowly I sat up so that I was on my knees. God his wrist was so close I was salivating. Briefly I wondered if this was a test as well. If it was it was a really mean one.
My eyes darted to the gun. “You have to…” I began.
“Oh. Right,” he moved his hand that was holding the weapon down to along his side so that the gun was pointed at the floor.
It was like instant release. I had that wrist in my mouth less than a second, and drinking greedily from it a second after that. I only vaguely registered his hiss when my teeth pierced his skin for the second time that night and his muttered comment that sounded something like “this is messed up”. Then all I knew was bliss. Letting out a soft growl I lost myself in feeding.
A couple nudges with the handle of Nick’s gun brought me back to reality. I looked up at him. He was breathing hard, an expression of intense concentration on his face. I swallowed and stopped drinking, reluctantly opening my mouth and letting him go. He didn’t move. We stayed there frozen for a moment and I stared down at his wrist. Blood was pooling in the double wounds my teeth had made. I couldn’t help it, it was too good to pass up. I quickly leaned forwards just enough to lap up the last couple drops with my tongue.
Nick groaned. It wasn’t a pained groan either. I could see that as I sat back on my heels. I was at just the right height.
I looked away quickly. Hey, I wasn’t doing much better myself but it wasn’t quite as obvious when sitting.
“Enough?” Nick asked. It was a stupid question, if I drank much more he’d probably need a transfusion. I was kinda glad he interrupted me when he did.
Instead I looked back up at him and nodded.
He held his gun out and to the side, away from both of us. “Need this anymore?” he asked.
The buzzing had disappeared back into background noise. Apparently I had had enough to satisfy it for now.
I shook my head. “No. Not right now.”
“Good,” he quickly re-holstered it and turned away. I watched as he walked from the room. I almost asked him where he was going when I heard the sound of doors being opened and then closed again. Oh. Washroom.
“Third door to on your right!” I called out.
“Yeah thanks,” he called back sarcastically.
When Nick got back I had my lab mostly set up again. He watched me silently for a bit. “You know it’s too bad,” he said finally.
“What’s that?”I returned as I tried to position my laptop in the perfect place to be able to leech Internet off of the neighbors.
“Well we have crime scenes all the time with blood in them and you need the blood… and we can’t get it to you. It almost seems like a waste.”
I looked up and wrinkled my nose at him. “Ew… corpse blood.”
He looked surprised at that. “You mean you can only drink it fresh?” he replied. The look on his face pretty much mirrored my reaction to his previous statement.
“Naw I could probably drink it. The question is, would I want to?” I flashed him a grin to show I was playing. “Hey, if it stays down and makes the cravings go away I’m all for it.”
He watched me with my laptop for a bit. “You’re not going to leave then?” he asked.
I stiffened. “Do I need to?” I asked him.
He shook his head, then spread his hands wide. “Hey man, no one would believe me anyway. ‘Hey Cath. Greg turned into a real vampire. Blood sucking and everything. Cool, huh?’ ”
I laughed off the tension and shook my head. “Grissom might believe you,” I offered.
He grinned back at me. “Yeah, well, lucky for you Grissom is in Paris,” I laughed at that too.
The laughter faded and we were both quiet for a bit. “I’m worried about you Greg,” he said finally as he leaned against the counter.
“Yeah,” I turned to look at him and smiled a bit. “I got that. Thank you,” I said honestly.
He nodded and sighed. “I couldn’t find anything in your house. The finger prints didn’t match anyone in the database either.”
“Well, it’d make sense if she’s been around for a while. Finger printing is a relatively new technology.”
He looked surprised at that. Okay, fingerprinting was old but not in comparison to the age of a vampire.
I looked at him. “Immortality? If she’s been around for hundreds of years she’s going to have learnt how to cover her tracks.”
“Ah,” he replied. “Right.”
“I mean, if everything we know about vampires is true, I’ll outlive you. And everyone we know. My mom would be so proud.”
He was tuning out again. Or at least I thought he was. He turned to look at me suddenly. “Where did you say you met her again?”
“Organix,” I replied. It was a relatively new night club near the strip that catered to the ‘alternative’ crowd.
He nodded and looked like he was considering something.
“Wait, you’re not planning on going there are you?”
He struggled. “Nothing else is turning up. It’s been over a week. Trails getting cold.”
I groaned inwardly. Cowboy Nick going into a bar like that? Great. Granted he goes into bars like that often enough at work, but that was usually after all the people had cleared out and there was only a dead body lying around to be documented.
“At least let me go with,” I replied.
He looked concerned. “Are you up to it?” he asked.
I gave him a look. “Did you feed me tonight?” I replied.
“Ah,” Nick actually looked away with embarrassment. It was enduring. He covered it up by clearing his throat. “Well, despite the fact that SOMEONE left us short handed… I have tomorrow off,” he said. He looked at me and smiled. “Let’s say you and me do some hunting.”