Title: Life Shifted On A Cosmic Scale
Author: Ragna (afteriwake)
Fandom: CSI: NY/Supernatural/Buffyverse
Disclaimer: None of the characters from any of these shows belong to me.
Author's Notes: And this part, my friends, is what started the whole Flack/Bela thing in my AU.
“Hey, wait up!”
Bela paused. She’d had her arm out and had whistled a few times, but no cabs had stopped. Must be no one really needed a fare, she thought to herself. “I have nothing left to say to you, Detective.”
“I came to apologize.”
She lowered her arm and turned to look at him. “An apology?”
“I shouldn’t have been a jerk.”
“Well, it isn’t every day your carefully ordered world comes crashing down around you, so I suppose I can let it slide,” she said with a sigh. “Damn cabs.”
“Trying to get home?”
“Wasn’t that obvious?” she snapped. And then she took a deep breath. “I suppose it’s my turn to apologize now.”
He shrugged slightly once he got next to her. “Guess I could let it slide, too.”
“How very kind of you,” she said, crossing her arms and looking at him. “Why did you run after me? Just to apologize?”
He nodded slowly. “It’s kind of in my nature. I’m not really a jerk.”
She looked at him intently for a moment and then nodded. “Then consider your apology accepted. Now, if you would be so kind as to help me hail a taxi, I would appreciate it.”
“What makes you think any New York cabbie is going to stop for me when there’s an attractive female trying to wave them down?”
She stared at him, mouth hanging open slightly. Only a few minutes ago he’d wanted nothing to do with her or the truth she’d laid out for him, and then he called her attractive? This was definitely a man with mood issues, she thought to herself. “You have a badge.”
“I also have a car. I followed Danny here, remember?”
“Are you by chance offering me a ride?” she asked.
“Consider it part of my apology.” He tilted his head to the side slightly. “Well?”
“All right, I’ll take a ride,” she said. “It isn’t a police vehicle, is it?”
“Not a squad car, if that’s what you mean,” he said, starting to head back up the block. Bela stayed in step with him. “It’s one of the Suburbans the crime lab uses. Usually I get one of the Crown Vics, but they were all signed out tonight.”
“Ah,” she said.
“You need to head home right now?” he asked.
She stopped dead in her tracks. “I knew there was a catch,” she muttered.
“I just…I want to learn more about what I saw in that alley,” he said.
“I do want to just go home,” she said. “But…provided you don’t talk to Detective Messer about this first, I suppose I can tell you what I know about the shadowy world of hunters.” She paused. “Or you could just ask Jessica Angell. She’d probably be able to tell you more.”
His eyes widened and his jaw dropped. “Jess? She…what?”
“She is a Detective as well, correct?”
“Well, yeah. We work out of the same precinct.”
“I’ve sold her talismans and other assorted things, in exchange for favors.”
She looked at him and then laughed. “No, not bribes. If I ever got arrested I’d deal with it on my own. I have an excellent lawyer on retainer. But she’s a hunter, and every once in a while a hunter…finds things. We worked on a barter system, where I would give her things to help her out and she would give me things that my clients would find valuable.”
“I don’t believe this. First Danny, then Jess? And Hammerback?”
“It’s a big city. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were others you know who are connected to the city’s finest who hunt on the side.” She looked at him. “Perhaps…”
“Perhaps I could go for a cup of coffee right now,” she said. “And I could tell you more.”
“You can start by telling me how you met Jess,” he said, beginning to walk again.
“Her mother was a hunter. Apparently she trained her and her brothers. One of her brothers went after someone who stole a relic I had stolen for a client. I pulled a gun on him and she pulled a gun on me. Then the man shapeshifted, and all three of us shot him. Their bullets had more of an effect than mine did, considering they were silver bullets. When I explained that I was trying to retrieve the relic, they gave it to me. Begrudgingly, of course, but Jessica and I worked out our deal when I gave her something very valuable in exchange for the relic.”
“You’re a thief?” he asked, stopping in his tracks.
“Well, I was,” she said with a shrug. “I don’t feel inclined to return to the profession, even if I am very good at what I did.”
“I don’t believe this,” he muttered.
“I never stole money, and I never hurt anyone in the course of my thefts.” She paused for a moment. “Except Sam Winchester, but that was a calculated risk, and he survived. I mean, it was barely a flesh wound. His brother made such a fuss over it. And I lost the damn rabbit foot, too.”
“This Sam guy…was he one of the good guys?”
“He’s not such a nice boy anymore,” she said softly. “At least, that’s what I’ve heard from old contacts.”
He was quiet for a moment. “How bad is he now?”
“Very bad. He was…” She shook her head. “It’s complicated. To be honest, I’ve only been back a week or so. I haven’t found out just how badly things have gone yet.”
“Why were you here tonight?”
“I was invited by your friends to a meeting at the morgue,” she said. “They assumed that if I knew about what was going on I would help stop it. Their assumption was correct, but I was explaining that I don’t do things with a team as they drove me home when we spotted the vampires. We all got out of the car to deal with them and then you appeared in the middle of it.”
“Bad timing,” he said.
“Yes, very bad timing.” She looked at him. “I don’t know this area of town very well. Do you think we might get that cup of coffee soon?”
“There’s a place at the corner, and there’s a park nearby.”
“You want to sit at a park at this time of night?” she asked, an eyebrow slightly raised.
“I don’t think anyone at the coffeehouse needs to hear this conversation,” he said.
“You raise a very good point,” she said with a nod. “And you have a gun. I feel safer knowing that.”
He grinned at her. “I’m a good shot, too.”
“So am I, detective. One of these days I may show you just how good I am.”
His grin widened slightly. “As long as you’re not shooting at me, I think I’d like to see that.”
“I find myself no longer wanting to shoot you,” she said, beginning to move again. “Let’s just hope things stay that way.”
They got their coffee and went to a bench near a small park. They sipped their coffee in silence for a moment before Flack turned to her. “How did you get mixed up in this?”
“You mean this particular mess I’m in now, or my thievery in general?”
“Both, if you want to tell me. If not, just how you’re involved now.”
She was quiet for a moment. “As a child, I was…abused. I won’t go into detail because I don’t particularly care to remember it, let alone relive it. One day a demon came to me and made me a deal. I’d get ten years before the bad guys came to collect my soul, and in exchange my problem would simply go away.”
“Did it?” he asked.
She nodded. “In a fashion. My parents were killed.”
“Was that what you wanted?”
She shrugged slightly. “At the time, I didn’t really know. Now…yes, I think that was what I wanted all along. My parents were evil, in their way. Not quite the evil of demons and vampires, but had they been allowed to live the abuse would have continued. Even if I’d run away, and I tried to do that once, they would find me and it would continue.”
Flack nodded slowly but stayed quiet for a moment. “So you were an orphan.”
“And I inherited quite a bit of money. And, with one thing or another, I became obsessed with thievery. Like I’ve said before, I never stole money. I had plenty of my own. Meeting the demon got me interested in the world of the supernatural, and I made it a point to steal valuable trinkets that could be sold to clients willing to pay a small fortune for them. I’ve made a comfortable living between my inheritance and my profits.”
“And you were good at it?”
“Very good,” she said with a nod before taking another sip of coffee. “Now, keep in mind that I am only telling you this because I find myself wanting you to trust me. I’ve never changed my name, so you can verify that my parents died in an accident when I was young. You can’t really check my confession of being a thief because my clients would never admit to it and, as I stated, I was damn good at what I did. Most people did not even realize I had stolen their artifacts and talismans until I was out of town.”
“Then I’ll just take your word on that,” he said.
She smiled at him. “Then we’re making progress.”
“So, this mess going on right now. What’s your connection to it?”
“As I said earlier, I was brought back from Hell. Apparently God stuck me with prophetic dreams, and he can’t tell what I see. And he needs my connections. I’m not sure which ones quite yet, but I get the feeling Jessica and her family are one of them. Jessica connects me to Danny and Buffy, which connects me to the Slayers like Buffy. It’s actually quite a confusing mess, to be honest. I’m getting dragged into this war whether I like it or not.” She looked at him. “And so are you, apparently.”
“Well, at least I’m not kicking and screaming anymore,” he said before taking a sip of coffee.
“I noticed that,” she said. “What prompted the change?”
He was quiet for a few moments. “Danny risks his life every day being a cop. And he’s a solid, decent guy. If he’s risking his life to get a handle on this problem we’ve got that I never knew about, least I can do is help.”
“I think that’s quite noble, Detective, but if you’re going to help fight this fight you need to be more informed before you truly commit to it, because the other side of this war plays dirty and plays for keeps. You could be risking a lot more than just your life.”
“Oh, your friend’s lives, your sanity, your soul…possibilities are endless,” she said with a slight shrug. “If you really want to commit to this, you need to learn everything, and there’s quite a bit that I simply cannot tell you, things that Danny or Buffy or even Jessica would be better to tell you. I never really concerned myself with this city and its supernatural problems that didn’t directly affect me.”
“What kind of problems did you concern yourself with?”
She took a long drink of coffee. “Trying to save my soul,” she said quietly. “For the last six months before I died, that was my primary problem that I was, pardon the phrase, hell bent on solving.”
He nodded. “Yeah, I can see that.”
“I made a very bad move that may have tipped the scales in the bad guys favor,” she said. “The demon who held the contract on my soul said that if I brought her a certain gun, one that could kill demons, she would renege on the contract. I got her the gun, and then the rules changed. I think even if I’d done what she wanted me to do I still would have gone to Hell.” She paused. “Though maybe it would have been best if I had succeeded in what she wanted me to do.”
“What did she want you to do?”
She paused. “Remember that man I mentioned earlier that I had injured on a job, Sam Winchester? Lilith, the demon who held my contract, wanted me to kill him.”
“Because he’s been a very important piece in a very complicated game,” she said. “And now…” She sighed. “If I had killed him, maybe things would be better now.”
“You said earlier he wasn’t such a good guy anymore,” he said slowly.
“His brother, Dean, had also made a deal with a demon, only he only got one year. They were frantically looking for any way out of it, just as I was. Neither of us succeeded, apparently. Dean was still taken to Hell, not long after I was. And Sam apparently fell apart. But instead of dwelling in his misery, he snapped. Now he’s playing for the other side, and from what my contacts have told me in the last two days, he’s very much a threat. There have been many rumors about him, but not much fact. And that is something that terrifies me.”
Flack whistled soundlessly. “You don’t seem the type of girl to scare easily.”
“I’m not,” she said. “There had been rumors that Sam had demon blood in his veins, that he was tainted and that it was only a matter of time until he switched sides. When the Devil’s Gate was opened and all of those demons escaped from Hell, and everyone found out the Winchesters were there…well, some people wondered just how much Sam tried to help stop it, or whether he was happy that this had happened. From what I saw of the boys I don’t think he was.”
“Now I’m not so sure.” She looked at him. “I don’t know much about the things a Slayer has to deal with, but the demons that I know about are a particularly nasty group of evil beings. They can inhabit any body, do monstrous things in it, and sometimes cause the body to be killed. And the only true way to get rid of one is to exorcise it and send it back to Hell. Sadly, I do not know any exorcism spells, though my Latin is very much above average.”
Flack nodded slowly, looking down at his coffee. “What should I do now?”
“After you take me home, I suggest you call Danny and have a talk with him, or with Buffy. Maybe with both of them, if you can manage it. Learn about everything that they can tell you. Have them get in touch with Sid and have him talk to you. I have to give Jessica a book tomorrow morning, and I’ll let her know you are interested in learning more, and she can contact you. And then…well, I suppose then you need to weigh all the facts we’re giving you and decide if you truly want to join this fight or if you want to ignore what we do.”
“Then I guess that’s what I’ll do.” He turned to look at her. “Thank you for telling me all this.”
“Don’t thank me just yet,” she said with a wry smile. “If you decide you don’t want to be a part of this, potentially all I’ve done is give you nightmares.”
He grinned back and then stood up, waiting for her to join him. “So, where am I taking you?”
“I live on Central Park West,” she said.
His eyes widened slightly. “Wow. You really must have a lot of money.”
“Oh, quite a bit, yes,” she said. “Maybe one of these days you’ll even learn how much.”
“Could be interesting to know that,” he said as they began walking away from the park towards his car.
- NEW FIC: Life Shifted On A Cosmic Scale (4/6)