By Azure Dragon Shoving her black hair off her forehead Kate sighed moving on. Lifting her heavy bags her eyes cast around the space. People went everywhere, some weary travelers, others busy townies. Looking around once more she still didn't see him anywhere. With a sigh she reached into her backpack and pulled out her music. Three Doors Down sang to her as she made her way to the cab circle and found an empty one. The ride was full of hills and stop lights; the scenery was pretty, but didn't effect her. Kate was too tired to ohh and awe over the buildings and views. The cabby made polite conversation as he drove. She ignored him for most part, until one stop light. "It's pretty strange around here with all these weird killings and such." He shook his head. "But then again this is a big city." The light changed and he moved forward. "So where are you from?" Kate looked at him, he appeared harmless enough so she answered. "Detroit." His smile didn't change as he nodded. "So you're a big city girl huh?" The cabby made his way to the curb. "Here's your stop, enjoy your stay." "I'll try." Kate stood on the curb and stared at the building as the car left. There was nothing that separated it from the others. It was done in the same style and even the same color, she still hesitated. As she stood in the warm of the early morning her injuries started to ache again. Pushing aside the pain she decided it was all in her head and realized she just didn't want to see him. Heaving a sigh that caused her to flinch in pain she picked up her bags and went inside. Kate slowly climbed the steps and stopped at his apartment. A dark brown door marked as Door 467, with a brass knocker in a plain setting. Tucking her music away she knocked; there was no response from inside, reaching into her pocket Kate withdrew a key and unlocked the door. Pushing it in she coughed at the stench of old beer, dust and stale air that met her. Heavy dark curtains kept back the light, with thin needles of it peeking around the edges. Dumping her bags on the floor she kicked the door closed and looked around. Things hadn't really changed since she was last here, almost a decade ago. As she entered the living room Kate paused; work boots hung over the edge of a green couch. Arms in a plaid shirt were thrown over his eyes and didn't hide the obvious fact. Two days of not shaving showed on his face. Beer cans and a whiskey bottle lay on the floor near him. Kate sighed heavily with disappointment. If this was anything to go by, things would never change for her. This scene was exact scene at home and exactly like what she had left in Detroit. Picking up a pillow from a nearby armchair, she threw it at his face. The man jolted from his sleep and snorted in a few times. She didn't really expect him to beat the shit out of her for it. If there was one thing different about him it was that he would never hurt her. "Hello Frank." Kate said coolly, crossing her arms and watching him sit up. "Nice to know you're doing well." He leaned against the back of the couch; looking at her for a long time. Blinking like he was having trouble to see straight. "What are you doing here?" "Summer vacation." Kate motioned to the pile of unopened letters. "I wrote you twice that I was coming. I even emailed you yesterday about it." Frank looked at her and sighed; "I've been really busy these days." It was an obvious lie as he rubbed his eyes, "How long are you staying for?" "I don't know yet." Kate said dryly as she shoved off the wall heading into the kitchen. "It looks like you need a hand." "No." Frank stood and staggered his way to the kitchen. "I have been behind in cleaning that's all." Kate looked at the piles of take out boxes and bags, the remains of pizza and Chinese food. There were unwashed dishes and beer cans laying around. Her gaze moved from the trash to the man across from her. Frank didn't look much better then his place; she wondered what had driven him to this. But decided she knew and didn't really want to hear the answer. "You want to unpack?" Frank asked waving at the other side of the room. "I have a spare room. " "Thanks, can you spare a shower?" Kate grabbed her bags, she paused and looked at him. "It's okay that I am here right?" Frank shrugged, "There's not much I can do about it. Just keep out of the way and don't ask questions." Kate smiled slightly, "Fair enough." The warm water and the scent of her shampoo helped her to relax. Her five week old wounds were healing up and they still hurt. Gently she ran her hands over her ribs and thigh, under the water proof bandaging she could feel the mending bones. On her thigh was the knife wound it was closing up. slowly Kate shoved away any thoughts and let her senses revel in the sweet smells. "Kate, I have to go into work." Frank shouted through the door. "There's the number for pizza on the fridge. Money is with it order when you want. I should be home around midnight, maybe one." She listened and sighed, things didn't change. "Alright." He spoke roughly, "See you later." A few minutes later the door closed and silence stretched out. Kate leaned her forehead against the wet wall. With the shower needling her skin she became aware of the body she owned. Pain was nesting in the base of her spine like a black snake waiting to strike. The warm water reminded her of how tired she was, Kate turned it off and took a few seconds to just stand still. Her mind was still trying to catch up with the last few days and weeks. Her muscles were hurting and she was beyond exhausted. Pulling aside the curtain, she made her way to the bedroom and flopped down. Not bothering to dry off or get dressed she just breathed in the sheets and closed her eyes. Sunlight Laundry detergent welcomed her pulling her into a world of black nightmares and bloody dreams. ****** Frank leaned back in his chair he rubbed his eyes and felt the stress. The room around him was filled with the usual sounds and voices. But he didn't recognize the faces. Perhaps he had taken his break for too long or maybe things had just changed really fast. "Frank," Sonny tossed him the file, "You look a little dazed, sure your okay to be back?" "Yeah, I just have to get used to things again." He grabbed the pale envelope and looked through it. "A repeat offender." Sonny smiled and crossed his arms. "This perp has more then a record Frank." As he read the pages following the report, he saw that Sonny was right. "From this it sounds like he has sworn revenge." "Revenge against you buddy." Sonny sighed and sat on the corner of Frank's desk. His face blank as a slate. "Perhaps you should stay home a little longer." "No can do, my niece arrived this morning I have to make a good impression." A frown touched Franks lips and he shook his head. "I didn't even know she was coming." A look of surprise came over Sonny's face, "I didn't even know you had family." Frank sighed and nodded slightly, he leaned back and rubbed his neck. "My brother never got married, but he got stuck with a kid. Her name is Kate DeWinter, she is about 19 now." "Where did she come from?" "I don't know the last time I heard from Carl he was living in Texas. But that was two years ago. Before that, it was Atlanta. He never was good at staying in one place." Frank sat up and slowly came to his feet. "Kate is a total stranger to me I just hope we get along okay. She says it's just for the summer." Sonny saw the sad look in his partners eyes. "You think it will be for longer?" "In the little that I know her she has never liked travelling around. Besides, she looked beat up and a worn out. That is never a good sign." Both men stood and pulled on their coats, "What are you going to do about it?" Sonny asked as they made their way to his car. "I don't know yet. Heck there maybe nothing to deal with." Frank unlocked his door and slid inside. Sonny got in and started the engine. "I just hope she can take living with me." With a look over at his partner, Sonny wondered if Frank would make it through another day. Without asking, he drove into the traffic and made his way to Julian's place. Chapter 2 In the recesses of her brain, a warning went off as her body was ripped from her nightmare. She was standing with her eyes open and searching before her brain kicked in. Late afternoon lazily slid through the room and she suddenly remembered everything. Her knees gave out and she staggered to the bed. Sitting on the end of it, everything that had she had been denying slammed home. Bringing with it every memory and pain, she had endured. Around and around the carousel went, filled with horrific images and screams of pain. "Kate?" She jumped at the sound of her name by an unfamiliar tone. "Who-" That's when she recalled the last twenty-four hours. Tuesday night she had run from Detroit to San Francisco and no one had followed her. Here in town, she was staying with her uncle and she was safe. "Just a second!" She shouted and quickly pulled on clean clothes. Tying back her hair she opened the bedroom door and found there was company. Her uncle had changed too. That must have been what awakened her, his presence in the apartment. Her uncle smiled and waved to a black man in a nice looking leather coat. "Sonny, meet Kate." Frank shrugged on his own coat and adjusted his watch. "We were heading out for dinner, what to join?" Kate regarded the man for a moment there was no reason to not go with them. ?Sure." Her uncle knew a place that was near the water, so they drove in Sonny's car and walked the rest of the rest of the way. The area was old in a nice way, there were restaurants that glittered beside the water as the sky fell to the coming night. As they sat down around a table Frank broke into a dark grin and leaned close. "Have I ever told you the story of Jumping Jack?" Kate shook her head, " No, who's that?" "Well," Frank glanced at his partner; "It was long ago when we were still rookies." "That was centuries ago!" She exclaimed and all three of them laughed As they waited for their drinks and food Frank filled the time with stories. "It was just like old times with us searching for this guy. He called himself Jumping Jack, a real character if there ever was one. A total scumbag and at the time our best source on the street. A real shame when you think about it." She smiled at the expression his partner wore. "You don't agree?" "Well J.J. wasn't prom king material but he wasn't THAT bad. At least he was reliable, unlike some of the others we have bumped into." Sonny took off on another story about their early adventures together. As the sky darkened around them, Kate felt herself pulling away and slipping into night mode. Her smiles and laughing stayed genuine but her attention was divided. She watched the people around her as they talked and ate. Her eyes skipped over most of them until she reached the back corner. A man in a dark blue windbreaker with pale hair and jittery hands kept looking around. It was possible he was just another crack head, but there was something off about the look in his eyes. The classic shine was missing from them and she knew he was up to something. The moment their food arrived, she was at a loss to stop her-self from being distracted by it. Hunger tightened her gut and ran up her limbs. Food had never tasted this good in Detroit. It was only as her uncle and partner were trying to decide over dessert that she remembered the blonde guy. Looking up from the debate, she found he was gone. Clearly, she had been over reacting and just being jumpy. This was different town and not all the same rules applied here. Frank tossed down the plastic page, "What do you say we skip dessert and go see the sights?" "Great idea." Kate said and he smiled, "Care to join us Sonny?" "Wish I could, but I have some much need basket ball to watch." He stood up and paid his share of the meal. "See you tomorrow Frank, it was nice meeting you Kate." "You too, have a good night." She watched as he left and sighed happily. "You know Frank I owe you an apology." He glanced at her as they stood up, "What do you mean?" "When I arrived this morning I thought you were going to be just another drunk." She said gently and he looked at her. "I know now that I was wrong." He shook his head, "Not wrong, for these last few weeks I have been under the bottle. It was the only way to deal with the stuff I was facing." His tone was soft. "But now that I am back at work and have to deal with scum bags, I am feeling much better." She gave him a crooked smile. "You like your job?" "I am a cop, that's the bottom line." He said as they walked out into the night air. "Why do you look at me like that?" Kate smiled and shook her head, letting her hair down she put her hands in her pockets. She took a deep breath. "I didn't know what to expect and I judged you too soon. Most of the people I know are shit and it's a surprise to meet someone who isn't." He laughed. "Thanks now try telling that to the women of this city." She grinned, "What you can't get a date?" "I know, you'd think that they would be throwing themselves at me." He stopped and looked at her. "Be honest now, do I really look that bad?" Kate gazed at her uncle and laughed before she could stop herself. He frowned and she laughed harder. Leaning against a nearby car, she caught her breath as her ribs began to burn. "I guess that answers it." He said glumly. "Oh Frank it's not you. I have a memory of dad that is very similar to what you just said. He was covered in mud and looked like the Swamp Thing. He turned to me and said, 'Now Kate, be honest, do you think this mud bath will do wonders for me?' I said no and we ended up having in a mud fight." Frank smiled, "Carl always did have a sense of humor." "But no, you don't look bad at all. Maybe the women around here just don't know what to do with a good guy." "I suppose." He tapped his chin and shrugged as he continued to walk down the block. "Not that it matters, so what do you want to see first?" Just as Kate stood up to, follow a warning went off and she moved before she thought. Shoving her uncle to the ground just as bullets sprayed the area, he had just been standing. Kate rolled off him to a near by car and peered over the hood. It was the blonde guy from the restaurant; he was carrying a mean looking Uzi in his hands. "Are you okay?" Frank asked as he crouched down next to her. He had his gun out and was watching the street. " We need better cover." "I know." She snapped and quickly scanned the street. "There, the green Alitma, can you make it?" "Me? What about you?" He asked. "No you go first." Kate glanced at him, "Frank I know you are the cop, but trust me on this one." Meanwhile on the street the guy laughed high and crazy. "I know you're there Kate. I saw you." Frank frowned at him; "I wonder who he is." His hand reached for the cell phone on his belt and he flipped it open. "Frank don't call for back up, we don't need it." "Kate, he has an Uzi pointed at us for crying out loud. We need help." She grabbed his arm, "Please Frank trust me on this one." He stared at her for before frowning, "You know something?" "You might call it that." She glanced at the gunman, "Now go to the car get it open, we'll need it. Now go I need room." After a moment of hesitation, he ran for the car. A spray of gunfire followed him and he barely missed being shot. Once he was safe behind the car Kate stood up and whistled. The man looked over and fired at her. She dropped back to the ground and rolled under the car. Pulling off her coat, she ignored the burning pain from her old injuries. From where she lay, she could see his feet and the garden-variety sneakers he wore. Her left hand pulled out the lighter in her jeans pocket as her right took out a slim gray stick. Lighting the tip she came out onto the street and sent it rolling toward the gunman. He was watching the glowing stick and not her. Gaining her feet, she ran like hell to the car. Frank had the door unlocked and she threw herself into it. Slamming the car into reverse, she tore out of the spot and down the street, steering one handed as she went backward on a one-way street. Luckily, the street was empty at the early hour of night. Throwing the car into drive she spun the wheel and applied the brake. The green car swerved around in a 180-degree turn and tore off down another street. Seconds passed before she glanced back and saw the explosion. The white flames bled orange and released smoke into the night's sky. Sound reached her ears and she knew a few buildings would be damaged. "Shit Kate, what the hell did you do?" Frank shouted to her as she slowed down to cruising speed. "Please calm down." She pulled over and looked at him. "You honestly thought I would do something else?" "I sure as hell didn't expect you to blow up a city block!" Frank shouted. "What about those restaurants and the people?" Kate shook her head,"It was an incendiary device. The guy is now a pile of ashes but the buildings will just have some burn marks on them." Chapter 3 Frank sat in the station house and glared at the tiled floor watching the ugly brown pattern. As much as he wanted to say he was made he couldn't. Kate had saved their lives and that was what bothered him. He was the cop, he was the grown man. Wasn't it his job to save people? Shaking his head he looked up and watched as Sonny and DeFalco questioned Kate. She looked relaxed and completely at ease with the whole situation. If only Frank could copy that. He glanced nervously at the two officers and wanted to know what was happening. Sonny shook his head and stood up seconds later the door opened and the man stepped out. He had a look of deep thought and sighed heavily. Looking up he stared at his partner and looked away. Turning he went to the coffee machine and took his time getting three cups of sludge. Frank went up to him and stood on his right. "What has she said?" He asked. "I can't tell you anything." Sonny replied and picked up the three cups, holding them in a triangle formation. " Just go home Frank." "Sonny she saved our lives." Frank looked at his partner. "Has she said something else?" The man sighed. "Frank let it go. I'll call you later." He walked by his partner and into the room. Once again leaving Frank with nothing but his questions. ** Arriving home was depressing and Frank stared at the shadow filled living room. Looking around his eyes were drawn to the guest room and he couldn't stop himself from walking to the door. His hand rested against the knob and he stared at it. Slowly his hand opened the door and he looked at the dark interior. His heart rate shot up as he flipped on the lights and looked around. Kate's bag was on the floor. Looking through it would be easy enough, and it's not like she would ever know. Frank had enough control to keep himself standing there and staring at the dark canvas bag. "I have to know about this. "He told himself and went to the bag. Resting the duffel on the bed he zipped it open and took out the contents. Jeans, one skirt, various shirts and other girl things. A black bag containing her toothbrush and other things. He stared at the empty bag and frowned. It was as he turned it upside down that he noticed the seams. Turning the duffel inside out he stared at the false bottom. Frowning as he pulled it open his hands stopped at the sight of plastic bags full of powders and pills. A sigh exploded out of him and he laughed roughly. "Easy Frank," he told himself as he stared at the assortment. "This is still illegal." He made himself put everything back and leave her room. Sitting on the couch he wondered just what he should do. Kate was clearly a drug dealer and that was why she had run from Detroit. That guy must have been a dealer or customer and he had followed her. Yeah that was it. She was just a drug dealer. It was disturbing but Frank found himself okay with that knowledge. He could deal with drug dealers. He could control the situation after all. ** Kate rubbed her eyes under the hawk like gaze of Detective Benito DeFalco. His stone hard face was cut from the same material as Sonny except for the color. They both stared at her with blank and empty expressions. She wasn't sure of the time that had passed since she had been brought in. It must have been hours. Not that she was in rush to go anywhere. As long as she sat in the station she was safe. Perhaps that was why she was dragging out the interrogation. Had she wanted to, Kate could have told them the truth and let the Police do their jobs. But as it stood, she didn't say anything. The longer she could spend in safety the better. "Okay Kate," Sonny said wearily. "Let me clarify this." He looked at his notes but she doubted it was for anything but effect. " You claim that the man opened fire at you and Frank. There was no time to get a look at him before you took cover behind some cars. Although he was said to have shouted for you, you didn't go. Is that right?" "Yes." Her tone was tired and exhausted and there was no faking that. "We have been over this hundreds of times Sonny. I don't know what caused him to come after me. I don't know what he was trying do but my guess he wanted to kill me. Frank and I took cover behind some cars. When I moved to run to a car Frank had high-jacked there was this explosion. I don't know what happened." She held out her cuffed wrists and met the dark brown eyes ."Now please," She glanced at DeFalco. "Either put me in a cell or let me go home. Sonny sat back in his chair and watched her. "You don't know what happened?" She shook her head. "No." "Frank says it differently." DeFalco spoke up and it was like thunder. "He says that you caused the explosion by setting off some incendiary device. Your uncle told us that you were fully in control of the situation and that you were responsible for the car." A sigh escaped her as the last few hours fell onto her body. "I am through talking." "Why don't we get you a lawyer?" Sonny suggested and stood up. "Until then, DeFalco take her to a cell and let her think it over. Make sure she understands the charges we have on her." He stood up as DeFalco hauled Kate to her feet and marched her out of the room. "Hey Sonny, that Luna guy called. He wanted to talk to you about something." One of the uniforms called out as Sonny made his way to his desk. Waving the guy off, Sonny sat down and rubbed his face. Kate had seemed so nice at dinner, he had been considering asking if she wanted...Sonny shook the thoughts loose and sat back. His body was heavy with hunger and tired from the strain of the last few hours. Picking up the phone he held it with his shoulder and dialed Julian's number. "I got your message." He said and listened as his Prince spoke. ?That won't be a problem." He replied and glanced over at the holding cells. Kate was curled up on the cot and watching him. "Yeah I heard that too." Sonny rubbed the back of his neck and rolled his shoulders. "Look Julian, I'll be there in a couple of hours again. Can we finish this conversation then?....yes okay." Sonny hung up and stood his shoulders were tight as he crossed the floor. "Who were you talking to?" Kate asked as she followed him with her eyes. "It looked serious." "Do you have a lawyer?" He asked. She shook her head, "I'll have DeFalco set you up with one then." "Hey Sonny," She sat up and he paused. "I never meant to ruin anything. Not Frank's career or yours. I just had to get away from things." He stared at her, "Why? What was happening that was so bad?" She smiled gently. "Just tell him I am sorry." "You can do that when you see him tomorrow." Sonny caught the look on her face but didn't pursue the conversation. Leaving her to sleep he went out to his car and drove to Julian's. There was no more the could for her or for Frank. Chapter 4 Dawn broke over the waterfront painting the water in neon lemon and hot pink. Blue spilled out from the pearl gray clouds. In the downtown police station Kate woke up to agony. She lay on her back with hands folded over her stomach. Her insides were points of burning pain and nausea. Every breath was like flames in her throat and chest. She sat up and nearly vomited on the concrete floor. None of the officers outside her cell looked up or paid her any attention. Kate sat on the edge of her cot and pulled in slow deep breaths. Her trembling hands untied her left shoe which she removed and turned upside down. Lifting the sole she removed a thin, small plastic case. Staring at the pale white powder in the case she looked around the room. Inside her coat she took out a think pair of plastic gloves and pulled them on. Her gaze was met by DeFalco who sat vigil over his desk. Kate shoved down the shiver of danger that went through at his eyes. Looking back at him Kate was dismayed to find he was walking toward her. He loomed out side her cell and Kate didn't feel very safe. His key unlocked her door and he nodded for her to step out. Bending over to put her shoe back on she hid the plastic case inside her coat Standing up she walked out and allowed him to march her out of the eyes of the station. They marched in silence up the stairs to the roof. He took her outside of the building in the post-dawn beauty of daylight. Kate watched him as DeFalco glared at her. She could see the sweat running down his face as he glanced around quickly. He held her with one arm as he searched. Once he was sure no one was there he gave her his full attention. She stood a few inches from the edge of the building and stared at the nervous cop. "I know about you." He hissed and broke into a lunatic grin. "I know everything." Kate inwardly sighed. "How?" "St. Justin told me all about you Kate....or perhaps I should call you Gone-Star?" She let out a slow breath before allowing herself to smile slightly. "Okay you know. So what?" "Unless you want me to tell the Senate where you are. You will give me fifty percent of the profits from the sale coming up in two nights." A brow arched, "Fifty?" Kate shook her head, "Forget it. I'd rather face a death squad rather then give you fifty percent." "Have it your way." DeFalco drew his gun and placed it against her forehead. As a gentle breeze tickled through the early morning. "Either way I get rich." "Do you honestly believe they will let you live?" She asked. "Once I am dead what do you think will happen to anyone who knows about me?" DeFalco wasn't expecting that and it gave her a few seconds. Kate reached into her sleeve and drew out the plastic case. The cop was still considering her words as she slid the case to her palm. She squeezed her hand into a fist and watched him. "You're right, it's more valuable to keep you alive." He lowered the gun but didn't holster it as he smiled at her. "Forty five percent." "Fine." Kate held out her hand. "Shake on it?" DeFalco grasped her hand and looked down at the sound of something sizzling. Kate threw herself to the ground behind a vent as the explosion blew the man apart. The station was in chaos as the people realized what had happened. There would be men with guns showing up in a few seconds and she was taking too long.. Kate shook herself off and pulled off the plastic gloves. She was especially careful about disposing of them as she folded them up and put them in her pocket. Wasting no time thinking about what she was doing, Kate climbed over the edge of the building and let herself drop to the nearby floor. Above she hear the shouts and calls of the officers. Kate jumped the railing and dropped three floors and finally to the street. Touching cement she took off running for anywhere but here. There was no way she could return to Frank's apartment until things cooled off. Once there were a few blocks between her and the station Kate slowing herself down to a fast walk. She scanned the cars around her, there was no one following her and there was no one waiting for her. She took out her tools and began searching for a getaway car. Finally she found one that was old and easy to break into. Once inside she wired the car and pulled away. Joining the flood of cars heading across the Gate. Chapter 5 Frank wasn't aware of anything being wrong until he found he was blind. Even though his eyes were open he couldn't see anything but darkness. For a long time he refused to believe it. Then slowly as the reality sunk in, panic began to work its way up his spine. Repeatedly he would touch his face and try anything he could to make it not true. Only to find that it was true. "Stop panicking you are not blind. At least not permanently." A strong voice shouted to him and Frank realized he had been shouting for help. "Our man over dosed you on the tranquilizer. Your sight will return in a few hours, possibly days." "Where I am? What have you done to me?" He shouted and was surprised when his voice didn't carry. That told him he was in a small room. "You are in the care of the Senate Mr. Konhanek and as to what we have done....well it will be for your own good. So just sit back and don't give us any trouble." "Who are you?" Frank wanted to see or at least touch something. But his body was completely numb. There was a soft laugh and then a door clicked. Frank could feel the wash of cold air against his face and then a stillness fell over him. He was alone. Kate watched the apartment building and tried to figure out what was going on. There was something wrong with the whole scene. The street was empty of pedestrians, Frank's car was still there and there was no sign of motion from inside. Looking again at her watch she shook her head Frank was now thirty minutes late for work. As she sat back against the seat her eyes began to burn again. The muscles of her chest ached with enough pain that she couldn't breathe. Lifting her hands she rubbed them over her eyes and sandy feeling was worse. "Need a fix?" Her lungs closed at the sound of the oh so familiar voice that came from the backseat. "You are good Gone-Star, really good. But there is one weakness that will always haunt you." Pulling in air she looked into the rearview mirror. " White Sand." The man slid his arm around her neck the flesh of his wrist in front of her mouth. ?Go ahead. I won't tell." Every breath brought the warm scent of life to her. Wild cravings ate up her stomach and guts, clawing through her muscles and twisting around her brain. Kate drowned in the need and could do nothing about it. A shimmering of gold fell over her vision and she could taste the sweet pure air of oxygen. "Now Kate," White Sand whispered in her mind. "Do what we sent you here for." "What about Frank?" He laughed, "Still worried about the human how...soft." "Sandy I can't loose him. Please just tell me if he's okay." She turned and looked into the man's jade eyes. There was no emotion in them and there was nothing to show he cared. "The Senate have him in a holding block in the East Wing cell number B-5. If you want him returned alive then do your job or he will join you." Kate closed her eyes for a moment and took a deep calming breath in. "It will be done by midnight." "Good. We will see that the human is returned." White Sand got out of the car and walked down the block. He looked like any other guy walking down the street. ** DeFalco had been a son of a bitch in his Unlife and Cameron was not sorry to see him leave. But he didn't like seeing that a human had done it. Sitting at his desk with no one around he flipped open the folder. Two pictures in black and white stared at him underneath was a document that detailed her life. He set her pictures out and glanced through the report. Had she been an average assassin he would not have cared. But she was Frank's niece. Cameron smiled at the thought that the bothersome cop had a weakness. Chances were good that if he could wipe out the girl the human cop would back off. Better yet, the girl was not under Luna's protection, she was open for attack. It was perfect and all too tempting. ** Kate found that one hour to midnight and she was cold to the core. Her fingers and toes were numb and she could barely move enough to blink. She had been sitting atop that damn building for much too long. It was dark and promising to rain and despite the relatively warm air she could taste the damp cold. From her perch she could see the streets and the wash of busy night life below. With an hour left to complete her mission she still didn't have the energy to do it. They thought it was so easy for her, that it required absolutely no effort or thought. If only it was that easy. Closing her eyes again she could feel the empty pit that rested inside and knew that it would never work. The mission would not be completed unless she could find something to motivate her. Opening her eyes again she could see her uncles face. The mess of wavy brown hair that was never under control. The sharp features that were handsome and boyish at the same time. He had innocent eyes that were dark with knowledge. He was all that was left of her family. The human side of it any way. All the rest.....Kate slammed the walls down and shut the thoughts away. Standing up she climbed down the side of the building and dropped to the ground. With moonlight at her back she walked through the alleyway to the back of the building. Trash cans that were overflowing were the only company besides shadows. As she came to the edge of the alley she was assaulted with the noise and life of the city. Kate flinched back as she slid her shades into place and took a breath inward. Stepping out, she filed her way through the packs of people, to the doors of the club. Pushing them open she forced herself to walk into the loud, raving depths of the darkness below. ** Frank came to consciousness and stared into the green eyes of a platinum haired beauty. Blinking at the watery image of the woman made his head swim. He lay on the floor and stared at her for a long time. "Good evening Detective." The woman spoke in a surprising deep voice. "Let me help you." Strong hands lifted him to a sitting position and removed the rope from his hands. " I believe you are a little confused." "Where am I?" His voice cracked from dryness as he struggled to speak. "The Senate holding block, more precisely in the East wing of their San Francisco office." Frank stared at the blonde, "What is the Senate thing?" The man smiled, "They are a darker side of Kindred, Detective. Sort of the black sheep in the family." Frank let the man help him stand. "Are you part of the Kindred world?" A wide smile revealed sharp fangs, "You could say that. I am more a freelance vampire. Contrary to what you think your niece is not a drug dealer." "Then why all the bags in her duffel?" Frank staggered as they came to a set of narrow steps. "What is she doing here?" "Kate is an assassin Detective, she has a rare gift that allows her to...move unseen. The items in her duffel were chemicals that Kate uses." The man pushed open a door to the left and it was a shower room. "Clean up and then we will see what happens." "Wait." Frank took hold of the mans arm. "Could Kate end up dead?" "Yes. Her gift consumes her if she uses it too often that leads to madness."The man looked away for a moment. " Quite often we have had to restrain her from killing herself." "If she dies then you can't make her a vampire, right?" Frank saw him nod and stared at him. ?Don't you care about that?" The man shrugged, "Put aside the gift she possesses and she is just another human." "What is her gift?" There was a long pause and Frank was unsure if the man would answer. "Are you familiar with the character The Shadow?" Frank smirked at the mention of the comic book hero, "He could cloud people's minds right?" "Yes. Now imagine if you had the ability to erase their minds. To wipe clean even the deepest of memories and replace them." "Kate can do that?" Frank arched a brow and shook his head. "No way." "I would not lie about this Detective." The man pulled away and closed the door behind him. Leaving Frank alone in the massive shower chamber that could fit a dozen. ** Kate went up the stairs at five minutes to midnight and looked around the VIP area. Her target sat back against the couch surrounded by girls who were underage. Kate made no cover about approaching him and he noticed her. His dark eyes taking on a note of curiosity as she paused at the edge of the couch. "Can I help you?" He asked in a thick and warm accent. "White Sand sent me over said you were looking for fun." His eyes sparked bright as he waved the girls off and motioned her to the now empty couch. "Take a seat." He watched her legs as she crossed them and moved his gaze along her thighs up to her chest. "So...What...How much will this cost me?" "That depends on how much you want done." Kate moved her hands to run through her hair and he followed her. As his gaze swept up to follow her she caught his eyes. Dropping her hands to his temples she lowered her shields and released the power. His mind opened to her and pain spread through her spinal cord and down her bones. The tortures of his mind filled hers and Kate found herself yanked down by cold hate and pain. The world emptied down to a swirling black wash of agony as Kate felt her heart stop. Just before she blacked out a single thought came to her. ' "Welcome to the world of Darkness Ms. Kohanek." Cameron's laughter filled her mind and Kate went limp in his arms.