"In other news, the Burbank Buy More was evacuated due to what some are calling, a 'staff riot.' Sandra Playa is on the scene with some of the customers."
"All I remember is someone yelling something over the intercom and it became bedlam!"
Carlton looked up at the television with a scowl. Leave it to Morgan to almost bring more attention to the situation than help fix it. Never the less, he did stop more of those godforsaken cell phones from being sold, and that was at least something.
"Carlton, are you okay?" Marlowe sat up on their couch and looked at him questioningly.
He hadn't told her about what had happened yet. He'd basically come home, gotten blood, and slumped down on the couch, turning the TV on. It wasn't something Carlton did often, and he knew it would raise his wife's suspicions, but he'd been too tired and worried to say much.
"Baby, something happened at work..."
It didn't take as long as he'd thought it would to explain the horrible position that they, and vampires in general had been put in. There was still a chance that things would smooth over. Maybe.
The first thing Marlowe asked after he'd given her the rundown was, "How are Shawn and Juliet taking it?"
Carlton smirked, his wife did tend to think of others before herself. "O'Hara and Spencer are using tonight to plan, and maybe tell his mother and father what's going on."
Marlowe nodded. "Does this mean it wouldn't be a good time then?"
The detective bit his lip. He had a feeling this was coming. "Marlowe, until this blows over, I think we should wait. I'm sorry but−"
"No. No I get it. It's alright Honey Bear." She got up from the couch and leaned over to kiss him. "I'll see you before you go to bed." Their lips touched briefly before she walked to their room and closed the door.
Putting his head in his hands, Carlton growled in frustration. She wanted to be turned, and he wanted to turn her, but it never seemed to work out timing wise. Things kept popping up and now, even to himself, it started to sound like he was making excuses not to.
Damn it Spencer this is all your fault!
Deep down Carlton knew it wasn't even close to Shawn's fault, but it was his own fears of what could happen to Marlowe if he turned her. Anyone with a brain could see that Shawn was barely holding it together, and even the thought that something similar could happen to Marlowe was more than he could stomach.
Is that all we are? Just animals waiting until something happens that brings out our beast?
He'd been asking himself that question since day one, but the day he and Shawn had to confront their first rogue in Santa Barbara, it really began to eat at him.
Three Months Earlier:
It had been less than a couple months since Shawn had come back, and Juliet had come off of maternity leave just a week before. She was still on desk duty, but had been happy to have something to do and said she was sick of all the guys fawning over her because according to her she was 'perfectly fine.'
Karen Vick had still been on her own maternity leave, having her son only a couple weeks after Felicity had been born, so Carlton had been made Acting Chief once he'd assured her that he could handle it. Albeit, in retrospect he shouldn't have brought the subject up during her labor.
He remembered the day had seemed almost blissfully... normal. Carlton had the office door open, so he could see what was going on in the bullpen while he finished up some papers. It was just past four in the afternoon, when Shawn had showed up with a smoothie for Juliet, and to let her know that Felicity was at his parent's house for the afternoon.
"C'mon Jules! We haven't had any us time in weeks!" He gave her his best pout, while Gus wrinkled his nose at the innuendo.
Carlton smirked, and figured he was jealous because Coraline had been out of the country for a bit, getting things in line so she could move most of her research back to the States. He was just going to get up and tell them to break up the love fest, and that his partner still had some work to do. It was the same old, same old, that almost gave him comfort that everything really would be okay.
That's why no one had been prepared for the call to come in.
"Attention all units: Person acting erratically at Paseo Nuevo shopping center on State Street. Be advised, subject may be armed and unstable."
Carlton stopped at the door, listening for any more information. Shawn froze and was doing the same. Paseo Nuevo was the same mall that Zach, one of the gang members that kidnapped Shawn and turned himself, had killed three people at almost six months ago. Karen and The Cleaners had smoothed the situation over, but some of the families were still demanding answers and there was a memorial for the victims currently going on.
Hundreds of people were there.
Carlton didn't know why, but he had a sinking feeling that something was very wrong.
"That can't be a coincidence." He stated, walking closer to the radio. "What is his description?" He was really hoping it was just a remorseful relative of one of the victims, who had too much to drink and was getting a bit unruly.
A few of the other officers, as well as Shawn, Juliet, and Gus gathered around the dispatcher, who was looking decidedly nervous to have his boss staring him down. "Caucasian, 5'8", blond hair. According to the officers on site for the memorial, he's wearing a lot of leather, biker gear." Carlton saw Shawn physically relax. He'd probably been hoping it wasn't Adam and that the large, redheaded man was still somewhere in Timbuktu with Pierre Despereaux. Carlton could say he felt the same. "They also said he did say something about the murders being vam−"
Before the dispatcher could continue, a transmission blasted through the radio. "Dispatch, he has a hostage!"
Shawn and Carlton acted instantly, both turning around and running out the door for their respective vehicles with both of their partners right on their heels. Carlton didn't know how he'd called it, but it definitely had something to do with the murders. He and Juliet hopped in the car, despite his protests. "O'Hara I need you to stay out of this!"
"No chance partner. Drive!" She smacked the dashboard.
Gritting his teeth, he knew, that she knew, that they didn't have time to argue about this. "Fine."
Gus hopped in his Blueberry while Shawn veered away and got in his green Charger.
Carlton and Juliet got out of the parking lot first and both Psych cars were in quick pursuit towards Paseo Nuevo, only three minutes away.
Oddly, when they pulled up, there didn't seem to be any panic yet. Patrons were still going about their holiday shopping, and there was a larger group hanging out at the side entrance where most of the candles were being lit for the memorial. Being in the middle of December, it was already almost full dark despite the early hour.
Suddenly, there appeared to be a shift in the mood, a lot of shoppers were leaving very quickly, and the first screaming person exited shortly after. The mourners on the side were curious at first, but then more officers showed up and started to usher people away and secure the doors.
Jumping out, Carlton went into 'Chief Mode' and pulled one of the officers over, finally getting a brief on the whole situation. "The memorial had just started, and this guy gets up, saying that vampires were responsible, and that everyone there was part of the food chain. A few of the relatives tried to get him quiet, some were rougher than others, but this guy... he tossed a two hundred pound man like he was a sack of flour and ran into the store."
"No. No no no." Shawn grumbled and paced like a panther who's territory had just been invaded. Gus tried to comfort him but his helping hand was brushed off. The scents he was giving off were chaotic, caught between excitement and rage, but the detective couldn't have his sire going off the handle.
"Cool it Spencer!" Carlton growled back at him and motioned for the officer to continue while Shawn tried some deep breaths.
The officer looked nervously at Shawn before continuing. "After he got inside, he grabbed a lady who was Christmas shopping and backed himself into a corner. We can't get to him."
"Alright. Back everyone out, but keep them close. I'm going in to negotiate." The officer nodded and radioed the plan to the other officers. He turned to Shawn, "Are you ready for this?"
Shawn closed his eyes, and nodded. "I can do it Lassie." While Carlton readied his silver clip, Shawn addressed Juliet. "Jules, you and Gus stay here!" Shawn ordered, holding his fiancé's shoulders and looking her in the eye.
"You've got to be kid−"
"If he gets past us we need you to get him or keep him away from the civilians until we can get The Cleaners down here. The cops don't know what they're dealing with and a lot of them could get hurt if he gets loose." Finally understanding, Juliet nodded. "Good girl. Gus, keep her safe."
"You know that's right." The men bumped fists and Shawn turned, indicating he was ready.
They made their way through the crowd and were let into the almost deserted mall. Down the archway they could see a couple of officers keeping their sights on the suspect until they got there. "Lassie, you go from the front. I'll sneak up from behind and see if I can get the girl away from him."
Carlton considered for a moment and agreed, nodding. "What the hell are we going to do once we get him? We can't take him to the station." This whole thing was way too public to brush it off as a 'drunk and disorderly.'
"I don't know. You think maybe we'll figure that out when he doesn't have a woman by the neck." Shawn cocked an eyebrow at him, and pulled out a vial from his pocket.
Carlton got a whiff immediately and groaned. "No... not that stuff again."
"Would you rather him find out and announce to the whole force what we are, or do you want to get up in there right now like a super cop and save her?"
The detective didn't reply. He simply took the dropper and put who drops on himself. Luckily, they found out they didn't have to practically roll in the stuff, just a dab would do it. Unfortunately it also messed with their own sense of smell too. "Aren't you going to put some on?" Carlton asked.
Shawn put the vial in his pocket without putting even a drop on. "I need to be able to get a read on him. Besides, you're stinky enough for both of us."
"I'm going to kill you." Carlton knew he'd smell for days no matter how hard he scrubbed. Last time Marlowe wouldn't even touch him until the stink had worn off.
"Save that pent up rage for the rogue okay, buddy?" Shawn patted him on the back and ran quickly, and surprisingly quietly, up the stairs to the second floor.
Stifling a growl, Carlton took his gun out and slowly made his way to the corner near the food court. Once the other vampire laid eyes on him, he quickly adjusted his position, addressing the new threat. The other officers turned and looked to him for help. The rogue had himself almost completely covered by the woman, and they had no shot.
Stepping forward he stated, "I'm Acting Chief Carlton Lassiter of the SBPD. Let the woman go, and put your hands on your head." Carlton didn't recognize him at all, which was good, but he could definitely see the vampire was hungry, and very agitated. The rogues face was normal for the moment, but the silvery white bleeding into his eyes was giving away his state of mind.
The hostage's life was hanging by a very thin string.
"Chief? what do you want us to do?" One of the officers next to him asked.
"You two go down the corridor and make sure he doesn't get past me. I'll try to talk him down." It was the only way to get them out of harms way if this went bad. They both quickly did as he asked, and stopped to usher a couple more scared patrons out from under the tables.
Then, it was just him and the rogue.
The other vampire's eyes narrowed, and his nose wrinkled in disgust at the cover scent Carlton had put on. "Stay back! I'll bleed her out if you come one step closer!" To make is point, his nail grew out and he pressed it right against the woman's jugular. She moaned in fear and he put his nose next to her neck, sniffing up the line of her flesh to her hair. Fear was like ambrosia for vampires, and it was just a matter of time before he snapped.
Carlton knew he had to get him talking. "I know what you are. This doesn't have to end badly, let her go."
That got the rogue's attention from the woman back to him. "You have no idea what I am, or what I can do. This place should be a goddamn shrine!" The rogue looked around in reverence. "Not to the cattle who were killed, but to the vampire that had the balls to show the world exactly what he was... what WE are."
Mick and Josef had warned him that vampires like this were out there, searching for any reason to show themselves. It's why The Cleaners wanted to take care of it so quickly. Copycats were common.
Vampire see, vampire do.
"What are you besides a wannabe who crashes someone else's party?" Carlton knew he'd probably gone to far, but the little jerk-off was getting on his nerves, but he also had to be careful what he said with the woman right there. "How do you think this is going to end for you?"
The rogue's smile was unnerving to say the least. "I'm going to show the world what we're capable of." He sneered. "Starting with you and the woman. Next, the whole town!" Carlton's grip tightened on the trigger. He didn't want to risk hitting the hostage, but in a second he'd have no other choice.
Then, the rogue's demeanor changed and he sniffed the air, turning towards the darkness shadows of one of the food court pillars. From behind it Shawn stepped out, fully changed and pale with fangs showing. The hostage gasped in horror. "No! Please! Oh my God, don't kill me!"
Carlton was shocked and furious. He'd been playing everything straight while Shawn had the plan to expose himself as a vampire the whole time. Damn it Spencer!
While Carlton was still cursing Shawn's name, the rogue was still trying to assess whether Shawn was friend or foe. "Who the hell are you?"
Shawn came closer and put his hands up. "Hey man, I'm just here because I smelled something was up." The rogue backed up further, protecting his meal. "I'm not here to take her. I've already eaten." Shawn grinned and showed his fangs. "I figured you could use a hand with the detective over there."
The psychic's heartbeat was steady and calm. No doubt the rogue could tell it too. If Carlton hadn't known better, he'd say that Shawn was about to turn on him.
"You can help me? You can help me show them?" The excitement in the man's voice was clear.
"Yeah. Take'em out and show them who's really on top of the food chain. I was just waiting for someone with the same...agenda." Shawn moved closer, as if sensing the other vampire relaxing at his presence. "We could take the whole town. Really show them what we can do. That's what you want right?" Another step closer...
Apparently it was one step too close. The rogue reacted and moved to bite the woman. Shawn reacted too, faster than the rogue he reached and grabbed the woman out of the other vampire's grip, only leaving a small chunk of her hair in his hands. Once safe, the now screaming hostage was pushed towards Carlton and he caught her. "It's okay. There are officer's down the hallway, get to them!"
He wasn't sure if the panicked woman had understood what he'd said or not but she ran in the general direction that he'd pointed, which was good enough for him. Turning around Carlton saw both vampires struggling and screeching on the floor.
"This is my town you crazy sonofa bitch!" Shawn growled, gouging a deep line of claw marks on the rogue's face and putting him in a headlock. A knee to Shawn's stomach forced them apart again before Carlton could enter the fray.
Both detectives circled the cornered rogue. Their line's gift instinctively let each of them know how to move in tandem with the other to keep their prey secure and trapped. Shawn's teeth were bared, ready to attack, just waiting for the opportunity to tear the rogue to pieces for invading his town. The look in his eyes was akin to his look before he'd ripped Zach's head off with a chain and Carlton worried that they'd have to be cleaning up a body instead of wondering how to keep a live vampire in jail.
The rogue roared charged at Shawn again, teeth and claws aimed to rip his face off. Shawn deftly dodged to the left, grabbing the back of the rogue's leather jacket and slamming him to the ground face first. "Lassie! A little help here!" He called from the angry vampire's back.
Quickly grabbing the silver cuffs from the velvet case his pocket, Carlton latched them onto the rogue's hands that Shawn had wrapped around his back. As soon as the silver came in contact with the vampire's skin he screamed, cursing Shawn for betraying his own kind.
"GAAH! You take the side of humans over us?! You deserve to be dusted mother fu−"
Carlton had enough. He was stressed, and didn't have time to argue with a psychopath. His inner vampire burst through and he'd roared in the rogue's face. "Shut up!" The rogue went silent, surprise and terror on his face realizing just how outnumbered he actually was. Honestly Carlton surprised himself more with the display of authority.
"Wow, Lassie I didn't know you had it in you." Shawn grinned, still holding the rogue down, and still fully transformed.
Fury surged up at the boneheaded move Shawn had pulled. "What the hell do you think you're doing? Do you want The Cleaners to erase you? That woman saw everything!"
"Relax Lass." Shawn wiped a bit from his face and a white base powder showed on his sleeve.
Carlton gaped. "How−?"
Both of them turned to see their partners running up to them along with at least a dozen officers. Juliet and Gus caught sight of Shawn's face and gasped. A few of the other officers saw too. It didn't help that the hostage behind them was yelling about vampires trying to eat her.
"Shawn, what did you do?" Juliet asked, frightened at the repercussions they'd all face if anyone found out.
With a knowing laugh, Shawn started wiping off the white make up on his face, and the reddish tint around his eyes. "Claire's still had a bin of Halloween costume make up that hadn't sold. I saw it last week when we were here shopping with Felicity. Lassie distracted him, while I put on vampire make up to get close to him."
It was a good cover. Really good, and Carlton had to hand it to Shawn thinking on the fly like that. Now, no matter how much the man screamed about vampires short of changing into one himself (which Carlton and Shawn would never let happen) no one would believe him.
Juliet hugged him tightly while Carlton leaned into his ear and hissed, "Now can I ask what we do with him?" They couldn't keep a vampire in jail for long. Someone would find out the truth.
Juliet broke away and he shrugged. "Relax. I'll call The Cleaners and keep an eye on him till they get here to 'post bail.'"
At the mention of The Cleaners, the rogue started to struggle again. "You think this is over! You'll see! Once they know what you are they'll kill you like the rest of us!"
Playing dumb, Carlton pushed the man forward while holding him as tight as he could, "Sure whacko. Tell it to your lawyer."
The Cleaners had gotten there in two hours flat, and the rogue was 'extradited' to Los Angeles for other crimes he'd supposedly committed there. The SBPD was more than happy to get that loon off of their hands and didn't ask too many questions as he was hauled away, still screaming about vampires ruling the world.
That's what got Carlton thinking. What if rogues weren't the exception, but the norm?
Unfortunately, that meant he and his friends who lived and worked with humans were the freaks. That would also mean that the only thing keeping most of their kind in line was the fear of repercussions. In that case, it would only be a matter of the status quo changing to bring out the real side of their species. It was the same with humans on some level, but humans couldn't lift Buicks and slice someone in half from stomach to neck with their claws in one swipe.
Vampires were bred to kill, and that's exactly what they'd do.
It was a terrifying thought, for anyone, let alone someone wanting to bring their wife into that kind of life. "I can't do that to her, not now."
With a heavy sigh, Carlton walked to his room to lay with Marlowe for a while before getting in his freezer. So far she'd been patient with him, and he hoped her patience would last because this situation was far from over.
Two weeks later:
"See Mick. See! 'I told you so' doesn't even cover this!" Josef paced, swigging his blood and randomly throwing his arm in the air for emphasis. "It's a catastrophe! We're finished. Ruined! We'll be hunted to extinction and burned alive!"
He always was a nervous eater. Mick thought as he watched his friend practically tear his hair out watching the newest reports come in on the StarLite phones.
Not even two weeks after the phones were released, despite the best efforts of the vampires with clout in the technology world, the dam had already started to break. Too many of the phones had gotten out, and when people began to use them, to Snap Chat, Twitter, and Vine it was all too apparent when people just 'didn't show up.'
Everyone thought it was funny at first. Balls floating in mid-air and such. Then it was friends refusing to be photographed, news reports showing clothes moving by themselves, and people saying the "V" word.
So far, the media was playing it up as an elaborate prank. Mick wasn't sure if some vampires in power were behind some, if not all of the covering up. Reporters would say it's some kid with too much time on his hands who thought it would be funny to fake invisible people in their videos. According to them, the other videos popping up of the same thing were just part of the fad, like 'planking' or the 'cinnamon challenge.'
"Monkey see, monkey do." As he'd heard Josef put it when he'd seen a video of kids simultaneously eating bananas and drinking Sprite with horrible results.
However, just this morning, a Buzzwire news broadcast had shown their network affiliate on scene complete with live video of the apprehension of a robbery suspect. No big issues there, but it was the video turned into them later that morning that showed the same apprehension, but two of the paparazzi were missing from the footage. Of course their cameras were there, and their clothes, but nothing else. They even had the time stamp from when the video was taken, and there was no way it could have been altered, at least that quickly.
It had been playing off and on all afternoon, showing the side by side video of the disappearing young men that no one had been able to explain. Mick knew that they wouldn't ever be able to explain it, and it was only the start.
"We just have to lay low for a while Josef. Let it run it's course. You know humans, people will get bored and it will die off." Mick hardly believed it himself, but it was better than spreading mass panic among a volatile species.
Josef stopped his pacing, and put his drink down with a sigh, not meeting the private detective's gaze. "Mick, I love your sense of insufferable optimism, but I think in this case the only thing that will be dying off... is us."