With a choking cry of shock she struggled awake, feeling a great weight holding her down as the most vile scents assailed her nose. Fighting wildly she pushed and shoved at what rested above her, the soft material that was holding her down slowly shifting as she rose up through the wreckage, eventually reaching the open air.
The soldier rose from the great trench filled with the bodies of her slain comrades, her armor soaked with blood and gore as she tried to stand amid the bodies. The ravens broke away in fear, cawing their dismay while rising to the sky in a ominous black cloud as she looked around in confusion seeking any landmarks.
"Where am I?" her voice was barely a croak, long black hair falling in a tangled mess around her face. She made herself walk away from the mass grave, discarding her foul cloak even as her chain mail hung on her body like some anchor. She was exhausted, blood clinging to her undershirt and staining her leggings, stumbling forward almost blindly.
There was a sound up ahead, barely a whisper as she stumbled forward, rain pelting her cool skin, then she saw a shape off in the distance. He looked up, grimy face pale as he pulled a golden ring from the body before him, a bag full of booty beside him, then his eyes widened in disbelief. "Lady McKennit?" he managed weakly.
'My name,' she felt a surge of relief as she finally remembered it, 'I am Heather McKennit.' Trying to gather her fragmented thoughts she demanded, "What's going on?"
"No," he blurted in fear, backing away from her with eyes wide with fear, "You died in the battle! You're some kind o' ghoul!" Turning around he bolted, spindly legs carrying him away across the wreckage of a battlefield.
Without even thinking about it Heather raced after him, catching him with surprising ease as the man's pulse hammered in her ears. His cry of agony shocked her as she grabbed him, jerking him to a stop with a simple bracing of her muscles. She was fascinated by the heat coming off of his skin, the sound of his blood flowing like a drum beat in her ears.
"Tell me what I want to know," Heather roared, shaking him roughly.
"M'lady, please," he whimpered weakly, trying to look away from her.
Pulling him near Heather realized he smelled so good, like a finely roasted venison or maybe the coolness of a spring ale. No longer thinking of her questions Heather bent forward, tongue rasping across his filthy skin, the taste merely spurring her hunger. Driven forward by instinct she opened her mouth wide, feeling an aching in her gums then bit down....
...as something tasking very like liquid fire flowed into her mouth, gushing with every beat of his heart. He struggled violently in her grip, blows landing on her arms and shoulders, raining down on her head but she ignored them like the bites of a flea. Instead she was completely consumed by the feeding, the rush like fire in her veins and swift return to warmth in her body. His efforts slowly faded away as his strength waned, the blows trailing off until he lay limp in her arms, bent back as the last drops of his life poured into her.
Heather let her arms relax, the body falling unheeded to the mucky earth. Filled with sensation, the rain nearly sizzling on her skin she stood there for long moments, mind strangely blank. Finally she gazed at the corpse, a ache rising within her that she had been unaware of before, coupled with a slowly dawning horror.
"My god," Heather murmured, swaying slightly as she brought a hand up to her bloody mouth, "what have I become?!"
"10... 9... 8... 7... 6..." Heather tuned out the countdown as she intently scanned the New Year's Eve crowd, the massive group who had gathered in the city center to celebrate the turning of the year to 2006. Dressed in black leather pants and a off-white top she was a striking figure, especially with her bone pale skin and sunglasses.
'I certainly have changed,' Heather thought to herself wryly, remembering the first fumbling moments of her new existence. She still didn't know who had bit her and begun the process of her becoming a vampire, but she knew she owed them a debt... either of honor or revenge, she wasn't always sure which.
Around her the crowd gazed at her in awe and just a bit of fear, somehow aware that she was a predator among her prey. Heather strode through the crowd like a lion on the plains, at home and dangerous in this, her hunting ground. Certain people seemed not just in awe but were drawn to her, looking up at her with expressions almost like dazed lust.
'No, not here,' Heather thought bleakly, turning away from all the adoring faces. She didn't know what, exactly, she was longing for tonight but this wasn't it. Completely ignoring the cheering, dancing crowd she strode towards one of the nearby dance clubs, entering the dim interior to look around her imperiously.
Men and women danced wildly together, packed tightly out on the floor as music pounded out. Uncaring about her rudeness Heather strode right across the dance floor, people instinctively moving aside as she passed. The room was filled with a primal hunger, the mating drive pushing these random people together desperately and she found she liked that energy.
The man at the bar looked up, giving her a gruff nod. "What can I get you?" he asked, wiping out a glass casually.
"Do you have a good wine?" Heather asked him. He rattled off a few choices and Heather raised her eyebrow in surprise, "Not bad, you've added some new stock." A few moments later and she was drinking a pretty good red, leaning on the counter as she watched the people.
"Just for you," the bartender chuckled, "you've become enough of a regular it makes sense."
"Thanks," she flashed him a careful smile. Conversations around the room were as easy to hear as her neighbors' due to Heather's powerful hearing, and she filtered through them with ease. She was looking for something, some sign of need, but until then she drank casually.
"Aw, c'mon honey," the young man plead in a annoyingly whining voice, "I thought you wanted this, too."
The girl sounded annoyed, "I do, Sam, but this isn't the place."
"You're just a cock tease Alice," now he sounded resentful as he complained, "we've been dating for weeks."
Alice was angry, "You jerk!" There was a moment's pause then she started fearfully, "Hey, what do you think you're...."
Before Alice had a chance to finish her protest Heather was on the move, striding towards the darkened corner she had heard the conversation coming from. The little redhead was weakly struggling with her boyfriend, arms held back by force, right before Heather grabbed him by the collar and bodily yanked him backwards.
"What the fuck?" Sam blurted, then looked up at her in surprise, his stringy brown hair falling into his eyes. At nearly six foot tall she was half a foot taller but her manner made her even more imposing, somehow.
"The lady said no," Heather's voice was mild but her eyes glittered dangerously as she coldly stared him down.
"Stay out of this," he hissed angrily, recklessly throwing a punch. Shockingly she seemed to simply disappear, shifting aside to dodge before grabbing his arm and slamming him up against the wall with bone rattling force.
"You all right?" Heather asked Alice with surprising gentleness, still holding the boy pinned up against the wall.
"I think so," Alice rubbed at her throat from where Sam had tried to grab her, a few painful tears in her eyes. She looked at Sam coldly, "I can't believe he'd...."
"I've learned never to underestimate men," Heather said wryly.
"Let me go," Sam wiggled uselessly in Heather's grip, her firm hold keeping him pinned and largely helpless.
"Sure," Heather yanked him forward, shoving him as she quickly followed the young man. She tossed Alice a smile "Be right back."
"Right," Alice was so dazed she didn't even try to complain as her supposed date was forced to walk with Heather through the bar and out the back.
The alley stank with urine and spilt beer, boxes and garbage scattered around as the light bulb flickered above them, casting them in a sickly light. Sam seemed to have recovered some spine as he looked up at Heather, "What the fuck? You're no cop or you'd have flashed a badge."
"No, I'm not," Heather agreed, looming over him as she looked down at him with a smile... not a friendly one but the expression of a predator.
Sam paled as he began to back away, eventually bumping into the wall. "Not that I mind," he said weakly, subconsciously trying to inch even farther away.
Heather moved with lightning swiftness, pining him so that their faces were only inches apart. "I know your type," she softly mused, "I've seen them far too often. You've tried to hurt women before, haven't you?"
"Hell no," he squeaked fearfully, beads of sweat running down Sam's face.
'He's lying,' Heather knew, her incredibly acute senses confirming it.
Without a word Heather struck, the vampire tearing at the collar of his shirt as she plunged her teeth into his neck. His jerking struggles made the ecstasy of feeding even sweeter, adrenaline mixing with the alcohol and uppers in his system to give the blood a unique taste. With remarkable self control Heather stopped herself when she felt the first flutter of his heart, the warning sign she was going to far.
"Wha' a'e yo'?" Sam managed, drooling a bit from the corner of his mouth.
"Shut up," Heather took a self-adhesive bandage from her pocket and slapped it roughly on the wound. He was incredibly suggestive now, in the aftermath of the taking, and Heather ruthlessly took advantage. "You will never hurt a woman again," she commanded as she started into his eyes, "the very thought will make you ill, violently sick."
"Sick," Sam agreed dully.
"When you remember tonight, you fought with Alice, went out to the alley and got sick," Heather instructed him, "then went home. That is all you will remember, understand?"
"Yesss..." Sam slumped, passing out.
Carefully Heather rook a cloth and wiped her lips, tucking the bloody fabric away into her coat. Smoothly she strode back into the bar, weaving through the crowd to where Alice waited a bit nervously. "Where's Sam?" she asked, more out of politeness than any real concern.
"He wasn't feeling too well," Heather shrugged, "he went home."
"I hope he throws up on himself, he deserves it," Alice scowled.
"He didn't hurt you, did he?" Heather asked, eyes narrowing as she considered going back to the alley and finishing the job.
"No, thanks to you," Alice smiled suddenly. "How can I ever thank you?" she asked, looking up to meet the taller woman's gaze innocently.
Heather though of many flirtatious comebacks to that but quelled them all, touched by the innocence in her eyes. "You just did," she answered, reaching out to casually brush a bit of the girl's hair from her eyes. Before the temptation overwhelmed her Heather turned away as she softly said, "Excuse me, I have to go."
Alice felt strangely bereft as Heather strode away, yet unable to move after her. As she felt her racing heart calm itself she returned to the bar on shaky legs, meeting the bartender's eye as she asked for a drink.
"I saw Heather go over there," he said as he handed her the glass, "you all right?"
'Heather, that's her name?' Alice felt a moment of relief. "Yes," she nodded, "does she come here often?"
"On and off," he confirmed.
Alice turned back to the crowd, sipping her drink as her thoughts were elsewhere. She found herself fascinated by her impressions of Heather, the mysterious rescuer who's presence had made her heart race in a way Sam's clumsy kisses had not. She was stunning, as well as frightening in an odd sort of way, and comfortingly strong as well. 'I want to see her again,' Alice realized, silently resolving to return to this club again.
Notes: This is probably part of my larger "Blood" and "Daughters of Artemis" continuity, and I'll be having her turn up there too. There MAY be further single part episodes, as well as a lemon, maybe.